The Oscars 2013: If I Had a Ballot

If I Had A Ballot 2

I let you in on my unqualified opinion on how The Academy Awards will go tomorrow night while giving a little insight into what my favorites were in each category this last year.

I broke down most every category, picking a Will Win, a Should Win and Zac’s Ballot. Should Win is my pick from the Academy’s Ballot.

Also check out my 2012 Year in Film here.

And with that, my picks:

Best Picture:
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Silver Linings Playbook
Zero Dark Thirty
Lincoln
Les Miserables
Life of Pi
Amour
Django Unchained
Argo

Zac’s Picks:
The Cabin in the Woods
The Master
Magic Mike
Zero Dark Thirty
The Avengers
Holy Motors
How To Survive a Plague
Girl Walk // All Day
Moonrise Kingdom
Looper

So it seems like Argo is going to win this Sunday, I would probably rank that or Les Miserables at the bottom of that list, but everyone is hoping for some sort of surprise. Lincoln or Silver Linings Playbook might play spoiler, but if I had to pick I would go with Zero Dark Thirty. That is the only film that appears on both the Academy and my own list, but you can get more thoughts on my top 10 in my Year in Review, here.
Will Win: Argo
Should Win: Zero Dark Thirty
Zac’s Ballot: The Master

Best Actor
Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
Denzel Washington, Flight
Hugh Jackman, Les Miserables
Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook
Joaquin Phoenix, The Master

Zac’s Picks:
Denis Levant, Holy Motors
Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
Joaquin Phoenix, The Master
Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Looper
Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained

We have more crossover here than best picture, but only by one. Day-Lewis is the considered front runner, but that would make three for him and I feel like the Academy doesn’t like that. I would love Phoenix to sweep in and surprise here, but if I was going to call spoiler it will probably be Jackman who might get the love Les Mis won’t find anywhere else.
When it comes to my own ballot I could have thrown in a couple more names; Jamie Foxx in Django, Matthias Schoenaerts in Rust and Bone, John Hawkes in The Sessions, Jack Black in Bernie, Seann William-Scott in Goon, Martin Freeman in The Hobbit, Liam Neeson in The Grey and Mads Mikkelsen in A Royal Affair all came to mind when assembling that list above, but that is a tough ballot to sneak in to.
Will Win: Daniel Day Lewis
Should Win: Joaquin Phoenix
Zac’s Ballot: Joaquin Phoenix & Denis Levant (Tie)

Best Actress
Naomi Watts, The Impossible
Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty
Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook
Emmanuelle Riva, Amour
Quvenzhané Wallis, Beasts of the Southern Wild

Zac’s Picks:
Alicia Vikander, Anna Karenina/A Royal Affair
Emmanuelle Riva, Amour
Anne Marsen, Girl Walk // All Day
Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty
Marion Cotillard, Rust and Bone

Best Actress is a very strong field this year, but I still only found two crossovers in our lists. Riva is who I hear is going to take this thing down and after seeing Amour I am not going to argue. I still prefer Chastain to her, but I don’t think the Academy is going to pass her over. Wallis could sneak attack, and Chastain and Lawrence have both been considered frontrunners as well, so I don’t know. I would consider all five of the Academy’s nominees for my own ballot, but I had to throw in a little bit of my own flair. Anne Marsen is just so great, I couldn’t pass her up. Riva is there for the obvious reasons once you see Amour. Vikander is my breakout pic over Wallis and Cotillard is an old staple who just missed the cut this year. Anna Paquin would be on my list of Margaret was an actual 2012, I won’t cheat here, and Keira Knightley is great as always for Joe Wright, but she got pumped for her co-star. You also always have to consider Michelle Williams who is great in Take This Waltz, she is amazing in that final shot, but she missed my cut as well.
Will Win: Emmanuelle Riva
Should Win: Jessica Chastain
Zac’s Ballot: Jessica Chastain

Best Supporting Actor
Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained
Phillip Seymour Hoffman, The Master
Robert De Niro, Silver Linings Playbook
Alan Arkin, Argo
Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln

Zac’s Picks:
Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln
Samuel L. Jackson, Django Unchained
Matthew McConaughey, Magic Mike
Phillip Seymour Hoffman, The Master
Leonardo DiCaprio, Django Unchained

Supporting actor is full of previous winners, but no field disgruntles me more than this one. Arkin and De Niro have no right whatsoever being here, they bring nothing special to their roles, and Waltz should be in lead like where I put him. You could even argue Hoffman should be in lead, leaving Jones the only true candidate. Jones, Hoffman and Waltz are all very deserving winners here and I think Jones might take it.
As for my ballot, I slip in the two actual Django co-stars in DiCaprio and Jackson who are both fantastic, stealing that film from Waltz and Foxx. McConaughey was robbed of getting his first nomination for his incredible work in Magic Mike so I rectified that. Jones and Hoffman weaseled out the likes of Brad Pitt and James Gandolfini in Killing Them Softly, Jason Clarke in Zero Dark Thirty, Michael Fassbender in Prometheus, Bruce Willis for both Looper and Moonrise Kingdom and Ezra Miller in Perks of Being a Wallflower. Another strong category in the acting branch.
Will Win: Tommy Lee Jones
Should Win: Phillip Seymour Hoffman
Zac’s Ballot: Matthew McConaughey

Best Supporting Actress
Sally Field, Lincoln
Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables
Jacki Weaver, Silver Linings Playbook
Helen Hunt, The Sessions
Amy Adams, The Master

Zac’s Picks:
Lynn Collins, John Carter of Mars
Brit Marling, Sound of My Voice
Emily Blunt, Looper
Amy Adams, The Master
Emma Watson, Perks of Being a Wallflower

Supporting actress is another field I don’t really like that much either and that firmly starts with the supposed win for Anne Hathaway. Really guys, she is in the movie for mere minutes I could have cared less about her character because the film doesn’t either. She sings fine and emotes well, but this wasn’t a character I care to remember. Jacki Weaver, get the fuck out, Helen Hunt I can live with, even with her wonky accent. Amy Adams is my pick of the bunch here though as she was the more convincing woman behind the man over Sally Field.
My picks only repeat with Adams, but I think Marling and Watson match her work in The Master. Marling is mesmerizing, as is Watson who plays the ultimate girl next door in Perks. Emily Blunt showed some wounded and bad ass chops in Looper and Lynn Collins was the shining star of the very fun John Carter. I could make a case for Olivia Thrilby in Dredd and Judi Dench in Skyfall as well, but both just missed the cut.
Will Win: Anne Hathaway
Should Win: Amy Adams
Zac’s Ballot: Brit Marling

Best Director
David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook
Ang Lee, Life of Pi
Steven Spielberg, Lincoln
Michael Haneke, Amour
Benh Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern Wild

Zac’s Picks:
Paul Thomas Anderson, The Master
Drew Goddard, The Cabin in the Woods
Kathryn Bigelow, Zero Dark Thirty
Steven Soderbergh, Magic Mike
Leos Carax, Holy Motors

The best director category is one of the Academy’s I am most comfortable with, even if it is missing out the most deserved director in my own opinion and their own Best Picture field. I think Zeitlin might sneak in and win this one, it feels like he could, and even though I think his film could be better the direction made me immediately interested in wanting to see what he does next. Spielberg and Lee both turn in great work as is usually expected of them, Haneke’s film has great performances and an unflinching vision, its only Russell that leaves me cold on their list. I love Russell’s earlier films, Three Kings and I Heart Huckabess, and I think it is a shame that he is getting all this awards attention now for safer, lesser works. People love them some Silver Linings Playbook though.
My ballot has no carry overs from the Academy and I think they have a pretty good list. PTA not being there is a travesty, Carax would never be make it but his vision is unique and brilliant, Soderbergh’s been there before, but his stellar work for Magic Mike didn’t seem to be taken seriously. Bigelow should be in the Academy’s field, I don’t know what happened there, and Goddard is my most fun pick, but his vision for Cabin in the Woods is sound and perfectly executed. Wes Anderson could have easily been here, same for Tom Tykwer and Wachowski Starship, and Rian Johnson feels like he is a film away from making the leap to even the Academy’s notice.
Will Win: David O. Russell
Should Win: Steven Spielberg
Zac’s Ballot: Paul Thomas Anderson

Best Original Screenplay
John Gatins, Flight
Mark Boal, Zero Dark Thirty
Quentin Tarantino, Django Unchained
Michael Haneke, Amour
Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola, Moonrise Kingdom

Zac’s Picks:
Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon, The Cabin in the Woods
Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola, Moonrise Kingdom
Zal Batmanglij, Brit Marling, Sound of My Voice
Rian Johnson, Looper
Leos Carax, Holy Motors

Again, a lot of differences here, but of the Academy picks John Gatins is the only egregious entry. Boal feels like he should be adapted, but did an incredible job nonetheless, Tarantino I am never going to complain about, Haneke again is here because he is so sure of himself, and I love that Anderson, with Coppola, is back in the Academy fold.

My ballot is full of writer/directors and I didn’t even throw Paul Thomas Anderson into the mix. Goddard and Whedon had one of the best/original scripts of the year, I love me some Wes Anderson, Batmanglij and Marling’s work is intriguing and tension filled, Carax deserves to be there for uniqueness of vision alone, while Rian Johnson continues to shines at every level of his craft building a fully realized world in Looper.
Will Win: Mark Boal
Should Win: Mark Boal
Zac’s Ballot: Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon

Best Adapted Screenplay
Lucy Alibar and Benh Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern Wild
Chris Terrio, Argo
Tony Kushner, Lincoln
David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook
David Magee, Life of Pi

Zac’s Picks:
Tom Stoppard, Anna Karenina
Andrew Dominik, Killing Them Softly
Joss Whedon, The Avengers
Mark Boal, Zero Dark Thirty
Tony Kushner, Lincoln

Adapted seems like it has had a frontrunner in Kushner, but Terrio is apparently coming on strong. Russell is also a wild card in this mix, but Pi and Beasts seem to be more director orientated films rather than their screenwriters.
Over on my side, Kushner is still there and I moved Boal to adapted as I feel like he is telling a well documented story, but the rest are different. Whedon’s script for The Avengers is the reason that film soars, Dominik’s script for Killing Them Softly is a fresh spin on the mob drama, and Stoppard condenses and epic into a two hour film that never stops moving. The Cloud Atlas team probably deserves my vote and I feel like I could make a case Bernie as well, but I like my picks all the same.
Will Win: Chris Terrio
Should Win: Tony Kushner
Zac’s Ballot: Mark Boal

Best Cinematography
Seamus McGarvey, Anna Karenina
Robert Richardson, Django Unchained
Claudio Miranda, Life of Pi
Janusz Kaminski, Lincoln
Roger Deakins, Skyfall

Zac’s Picks:
Roger Deakins, Skyfall
Mihai Malaimare Jr, The Master
Peter Andrews (Steven Soderbergh), Magic Mike
Frank Griebe & John Toll, Cloud Atlas
Dariusz Wolski, Prometheus

I feel like the Academy misses the boat with a few of their picks here, but they can make up for it in full if they finally pick Deakins for a long overdue win. His work is the best in their field and I think I would only put it behind The Master out of my pack. Magic Mike was one of the slickest looking films of the year while Cloud Atlas balanced six different stories yet made them all feel as one. Prometheus is, even to its biggest detractors, one of the most gorgeous films in recent memory and I can’t believe missed the cut along with 65MM photography of Malaimare on The Master. Kaminski is a staple, but he has far better work out there, same goes for Richardson, and for some reason I just can’t get behind Life of Pi even the film is admittedly gorgeous.
Will Win: Roger Deakins
Should Win: Roger Deakins
Zac’s Ballot: Mihai Malaimare Jr.

Best Animated Feature Film
Frankenweenie
Pirates! Band of Misfits
Wreck-It Ralph
Paranorman
Brave

Zac’s Picks:
Frankenweenie
Pirates! Band of Misfits
Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted
Paranorman
Brave

Wreck-It Ralph is the outcast from the jump from the Academy’s ballot to my own and I replaced it with the bat shit craziness of Madagascar 3. Frankenweenie is my winner here and I am ecstatic to have old Burton back, but ParaNorman is only a smidge behind it. Pirates! I was underwhelmed with a bit, but I still go with it over Ralph. Brave is gorgeous, but I think Pixar’s weakest effort to date.
Will Win: Brave
Should Win: Frankenweenie
Zac’s Ballot: Frankenweenie

Best Foreign Language Film
Amour
No
War Witch
A Royal Affair
Kontiki

Zac’s Picks:
Amour
Holy Motors
A Royal Affair
Miss Bala
Samsara

I have only seen two of the Academy’s picks, but Amour is going to run away with this one no matter what. I filled out my list with a couple of shaky choices, one of which I cheat on quite a bit. Samsara has no dialogue, but I feel like I had to honor it somewhere. Holy Motors and A Royal Affair both made my top 20 of the year and Miss Bala was intriguing, but seems like filler to get my list to five. This was one of the weakest years of seeing foreign films I have had in a long time.
Will Win: Amour
Should Win: A Royal Affair
Zac’s Ballot: Holy Motors

Best Original Score
Dario Marianelli, Anna Karenina
Alexandre Desplat, Argo
Mychael Danna, Life of Pi
John Williams, Lincoln
Thomas Newman, Skyfall

Zac’s Picks:
Dan Romer & Benh Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern Wild
Johnny Greenwood, The Master
Alexandre Desplat, Moonrise Kingdom
Michael Giacchino, John Carter
Thomas Newman, Skyfall

A strong group for this field from the Academy, but again I find myself looking else where for all nominations but one. Newman’s work on Skyfall is one of my favorite scores of the year, Desplat I would swap out for himself for his work on Moonrise Kingdom and the rest of the bunch gets thrown out completely. Dario Marianelli almost made the cut for me and I love the theme to Lincoln, but Williams finds himself on the outs as well. The absence of Greenwood, again, for his collaboration with PTA is criminal, but I have no idea how the Academy left off Romer and Zeitlin for their work on Beasts; might be my favorite work of the year. Also, squeezed in some Giacchino because his John Carter score is epic!
Will Win: Thomas Newman
Should Win: Thomas Newman
Zac’s Ballot: Dan Romer & Benh Zeitlin

Documentary Feature
5 Broken Cameras
The Gatekeepers
How to Survive a Plague
The Invisible War
Searching for Sugar Man

Zac’s Picks:
How to Survive a Plague
The Invisible War
Indie Game: The Movie
Jiro Dreams of Sushi
I only got to see three of the nominated films this year and I trimmed down my list to four because I saw so few. How to Survive a Plague is a revelation though and deserves all the awards. I would like to give some added props to Indie Game: The Movie which, along with Jiro Dreams of Sushi, display the passion and craziness needed to make something great. Searching for Sugar Man is way overrated if you ask me and it winning would be one of my biggest disappointments of the night.
Will Win: Searching for Sugar Man
Should Win: How to Survive a Plague
Zac’s Ballot: How to Survive a Plague

Film Editing
Argo
Life of Pi
Lincoln
Silver Linings Playbook
Zero Dark Thirty

Zac’s Picks:
Cloud Atlas
Zero Dark Thirty
The Master
How to Survive a Plague
Looper

Cloud Atlas not being nominated is insanity as that movie works because it is so wonderfully well edited. Zero Dark Thirty is my favorite of the Academy’s picks, but I really don’t get the inclusion of Lincoln, Life of Pi, or Silver Linings Playbook. As for Argo, I understand why it’s there I just disagree with that sentiment.
The Master deserves to be there based on everything I have read about its creation in the editing room and its ability to pick some of the best performances of the year. How to Survive a Plague whittles so much information and pre-exsisting material down into a coherent and rich story. While Looper builds a world without wasting a beat and features two of the best montages of the year.
Will Win: Argo
Should Win: Zero Dark Thirty
Zac’s Pick: How to Survive a Plague

Makeup and Hairstyling
Hitchcock
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Les Miserables

Zac’s Picks:
Holy Motors
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Cloud Atlas

Watch Holy Motors and tell me how that isn’t here? Cloud Atlas had a couple bad pieces of make up, but it relishes in the art form. Really, we are going to give Hitchcock an award for some jowls? As for Les Mis, Hugh Jackman looked rather Hugh Jackman-y under all of his varying arrays of make up. When it comes to The Hobbit, the dwarves look great!
Will Win: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Should Win: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Zac’s Ballot: Holy Motors

Best Costume Design
Anna Karenina
Les Misérables
Lincoln
Mirror Mirror
Snow White and the Huntsman

Zac’s Picks:
Anna Karenina
Mirror Mirror
Moonrise Kingdom
The Master
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

I agree with a couple of the Academy’s picks here, but I think Moonrise and The Master deserve to be there for their quirk and period recreation, respectively. The Hobbit has gorgeous costumes as well, but I think all three of these are left behind by my presumed front runners. Mirror Mirror is another gorgeous film from Tarsem and the costumes are a big part of it. Anna Karenina nails the extravagance of the period, and its gorgeous, but I wouldn’t expect anything less from a Joe Wright Period piece.
Will Win: Mirror Mirror
Should Win: Mirror Mirror
Zac’s Ballot: Mirror Mirror

Best Production Design
Anna Karenina
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Les Miserables
Life of Pi
Lincoln

Zac’s Picks:
The Master
Moonrise Kingdom
Cloud Atlas
Anna Karenina
Prometheus

The Master is one of the most gorgeous films of the year and it should have been here. Anna Karenina I agree with, but The Hobbit got cut out since it is a return visit for a lot of the locations. Moonrise Kingdom established an entire island into Wes Anderson world and Cloud Atlas created six distinct timelines, two of which are well into our future. Life of Pi has a beautiful look, but I think that is again more of a director’s vision. Prometheus is also a haunting and gorgeous alien world that also had a high-tech futuristic element around the ship, where was the love.
Will Win: Anna Karenina
Should Win: Anna Karenina
Zac’s Ballot: The Master

Best Sound Editing
Argo
Django Unchained
Life of Pi
Skyfall
Zero Dark Thirty

Zac’s Picks:
Django Unchained
Life of Pi
The Cabin in the Woods
Prometheus
Cloud Atlas

Django Unchained is on both lists mostly for its brutal gunshots and body blows, but those scenes with the mandingo wrestlers had sounds you can never forget. Life of Pi’s animal work gets it to be a hold over as well from the Academy’s picks and I’m not going to lie that Skyfall might deserve to be on my ballot as well. Cloud Atlas’ futurescape helped find its way here while Prometheus is full of creative aural experiences. Cabin in the Woods also does an amazing job in that big finale which helped it edge out the Academy’s other entries.
Will Win: Argo
Should Win: Life of Pi
Zac’s Ballot: Life of Pi

Best Sound Mixing
Argo
Les Misérables
Life of Pi
Lincoln
Skyfall

Zac’s Picks:
Les Misérables
Life of Pi
Prometheus
Cloud Atlas
Skyfall

Les Mis is the front runner here do to its ability to use the on set recordings and the fact that it is a musical doesn’t hurt. Argo doesn’t know what the hell it is doing here, same for Lincoln, but Life of Pi’s sound is essential to that story’s success. Skyfall is full of excellent sound design as well and I wouldn’t mind that one taking home the win. Prometheus and Cloud Atlas are both here for some futuristic world building, but I don’t know if they match Pi.
Will Win: Les Misérables
Should Win: Life of Pi
Zac’s Ballot: Life of Pi

Best Visual Effects
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Life of Pi
The Avengers
Prometheus
Snow White and the Huntsman

Zac’s Picks:
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Life of Pi
Prometheus
John Carter
The Dark Knight Rises

The Hobbit looks great, even at 48fps, and Richard Parker is a marvel of special effects. I like The Avengers, but I prefer the look of John Carter’s entire world building. The Dark Knight Rises is the perfect blend of practical and CG and I don’t know how Huntsman ousted it. Prometheus’ effects are tough to top as well and they help sell the films world and beauty from the opening frame.
Will Win: Life of Pi
Should Win: Life of Pi
Zac’s Ballot: Life of Pi

I don’t have a lot to say about these later categories, other than Oscar Issac should have been there for Ten Year in Best Original Song.

Best Original Song
“Before My Time,” Chasing Ice
“Pi’s Lullaby,” Life of Pi
“Suddenly,” Les Miserables
“Everybody Needs A Best Friend,” Ted
“Skyfall,” Skyfall

Will Win: Skyfall

Best Animated Short
Adam and Dog
Fresh Guacamole
Head over Heels
Maggie Simpson in ‘The Longest Daycare’
Paperman

I have only seen Maggie and Paperman and I would give the edge to the Simpson short film. Where is Partysaurus Rex; “What up fishes!”

I have seen none of the below so you are on your own.

Documentary Short
Inocente
Kings Point
Mondays at Racine
Open Heart
Redemption

Best Live Action Short
Asad
Buzkashi Boys
Curfew
Death of a Shadow
Henry

  • Lauren

    Ugh Argo… I haven’t seen all these films yet so I can’t really say they don’t deserve to be nominated in comparison to other things, but I still wish there had been some nominations like these:

    -No doubt Daniel Day Lewis is going to win best actor, but I still would have loved to see Sam Rockwell for Seven Psychopaths or Logan Lerman for Perks of Being A Wallflower.
    -Would have also loved to see Seven Psychopaths nominated for it’s writing, along with Cabin in the Woods and Avengers. Heck, even Pitch Perfect, though let’s face it that that would never happen, nor do I know how much was improvised.
    -Joe Wright for director because he had to figure out the choreography for a lot of situations to keep the flow of the movie constantly movie forward. And the theater idea was amazing to see him work with!
    -This isn’t an addition, but I would give best Costume Design to Anna Karenina.

    Anyway those are just my off the top thoughts to the list, but like I said, I have a lot of films to see still so maybe I will update my thoughts later.

  • Lauren

    Oooo also Mary Elizabeth Winstead for Smashed.