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Oscar 2013 Winner Predictions Picture

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Oscar 2013 Winner Predictions: Picture
Oscar 2013 Winner Predictions: Picture

Despite the hysteria, it may not be appropriate yet to call a time of death on the decades and decades’ worth of precedent that will be shattered when Argo wins Best Picture despite very conspicuously not being nominated for its director, not having even remotely close to the year’s highest nomination tally (it trails behind four other films), and not having even a halfway plausible shot at winning more than two other categories aside from this one. After all, there’s still one tradition working in the movie’s favor. It’s going to win the all-important Oscar for Best Editing, some would say for how exhilaratingly it crosscuts between a grim interrogation at a Mehrabad Airport checkpoint, Walter White barking out commands in D.C., and Alan Arkin and John Goodman being humorously cockblocked from answering their telephone by archetypal union (i.e. guild) workers, whereas others would say for how ruthlessly it edits out any historical perspective that doesn’t turn the Iranian populace into swarthy pod people.

Oscar 2013 Winner Predictions Sound Mixing

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Oscar 2013 Winner Predictions: Sound Mixing
Oscar 2013 Winner Predictions: Sound Mixing

It’s at this point we had to ask ourselves, “Is Argo really going to end up a two-Oscar Best Picture winner?” Because while it seems almost certain to buck all sorts of precedent and take Best Picture, which of its six other nominations will be there to back it up? Honestly, the way things have been developing among the guild awards, the only nod that seems entirely out of reach is Alan Arkin’s bid for supporting actor. We’ll cover Best Editing in the next few days, but the movie still seems more of a spoiler than a frontrunner for original score and adapted screenplay*. In theory, that leaves Argo’s two sound bids to prevent the movie from achieving a dubious feat not achieved since Cecil B. DeMille’s The Greatest Show on Earth. Some of us are going to hedge on our Oscar-pool ballots and give Argo one or both of them, but unless the topsy-turviness of the race infects every category, both it and Lincoln seem to lack the “bigness” this category seems to require.

Oscar 2013 Winner Predictions Supporting Actor

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Oscar 2013 Winner Predictions: Supporting Actor
Oscar 2013 Winner Predictions: Supporting Actor

All right, all right, all right. We should’ve known. As it turned out, Matthew McConaughey’s still supple ass cheeks in Magic Mike were no match for AMPAS’s preference for saggy old balls in this category. And not just old, but used balls. As was pointed out during this year’s overproduced nominations press conference, all five nominees have already won Oscars. And so in the absence of a swimsuit competition, the narrative this go around shifts onto the question of which person do Academy members feel most deserves another trophy, and which of them is the most overdue?

Oscar 2013 Nomination Predictions: Supporting Actor

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Oscar 2013 Nomination Predictions: Supporting Actor
Oscar 2013 Nomination Predictions: Supporting Actor

With all due respect to the gentlemen in contention, this year’s likely Supporting Actor crop has shaped up to be a snooze, filled with veterans who, however gifted, feel like obvious choices, and whose singling out undermines some truly vibrant male turns. It’s true that Silver Linings Playbook boasted Robert De Niro’s best performance in years, giving the actor a tender comic role that required more than just cracking wise and mugging for the camera. And frontrunner Tommy Lee Jones turned in fine, fiery work in Lincoln, bringing complex life to abolitionist Thaddeus Stevens, whose character arc is arguably the movie’s most dramatic. But both industry icons still feel a tad like instant candidates, and they’re liable to be joined by Alan Arkin (Argo) and Philip Seymour Hoffman (The Master), both of whom have been lauded for performances that are neither remarkable nor surprising. As consistent and consummately professional as Meryl Streep, Hoffman is faithfully intense as L. Ron Hubbard stand-in Lancaster Dodd, but there’s nothing in the character we haven’t seen him play before. And Arkin, whose crotchety film producer is a wellspring of rib-elbowing condescension, seems to have joined this race merely for his seasoned way with one-liners.

On Trend Stallone, Schwarzenegger, and the Rise of the Over-50 Action Hero

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On Trend: Stallone, Schwarzenegger, and the Rise of the Over-50 Action Hero
On Trend: Stallone, Schwarzenegger, and the Rise of the Over-50 Action Hero

You might have noticed that Hollywood’s superhero well is running a little dry. If a comic book legend hasn’t made it to the multiplex, he’s found a home on the small screen (see The CW’s Arrow), and high-flying favorites who only just resurfaced are getting pushed back through the sausage factory (see The Amazing Spider-Man, Man of Steel). Box-office returns are surely holding steady, as The Avengers’ $600 million-plus is history’s third-biggest domestic haul, but this party can’t last forever, and Tinseltown knows it. As usual, the dwindling resources have left industry bigwigs scrambling for the next bankable formula, and in a rare twist, one such formula involves ditching fresh faces for weathered ones. Thanks to the success of the Expendables franchise, which Sylvester Stallone fashioned into a frat party of over-the-hill meatheads, yesterday’s action stars are back in vogue in a big way, as proven by all the over-50 fare that’s followed Stallone’s guns-and-grunts series. The world needs new heroes. Will its old ones suffice? What can be learned from their resurgence?

Oscar Prospects: Argo

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Oscar Prospects: Argo
Oscar Prospects: Argo

Ben Affleck’s Argo emerged from the Toronto Film Festival as virtually every pundit’s Best Picture frontrunner, its grand reception topping off a heap of baity ingredients. This particular bit of groupthink is particularly disheartening, as those ingredients are, collectively, something Argo itself is never able to soar above. You know the mouthwatering pitch: Based on the impossible true story, this white-knuckle political thriller recounts the daring escape of six American diplomats during the Iran hostage crisis. Produced by Academy Award winner George Clooney and Oscar nominee Grant Heslov, and directed by Academy Award winner Ben Affleck, who also stars, Argo is both a topical drama and a rousing crowd-pleaser. Which, of course, says nothing of the movie’s juicy Hollywood ties, doubling as an offbeat slice of film-biz history wherein a C.I.A. specialist uses a faux sci-fi production as his rescue ruse. On paper, Argo reads like a dream project, and it certainly helps that Affleck stocks his cast with a fine mix of Oscar favorites and of-the-moment faces (alongside Alan Arkin are Bryan Cranston, Kyle Chandler, and Chris Messina). This is a movie that drums up sight-unseen support, specifically for Affleck, who’s been soldiering forth as a filmmaker and has finally made a film about something. It’s a shame that what he’s made also plays like a thin and shameless Oscar box-checker, and if it were to take the big prize, it’d only amplify the bemused awards-watcher’s cynicism.

The 79th Annual Academy Awards

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The 79th Annual Academy Awards
The 79th Annual Academy Awards

PICTURE
The Departed

DIRECTOR
Martin Scorsese, The Departed

ACTOR
Forest Whitaker, The Last King of Scotland

ACTRESS
Helen Mirren, The Queen

SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Jennifer Hudson, Dreamgirls

SUPPORTING ACTOR
Alan Arkin, Little Miss Sunshine

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Michael Arndt, Little Miss Sunshine

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
William Monahan, The Departed

ANIMATED FEATURE
Happy Feet

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
The Lives of Others

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
An Inconvenient Truth

CINEMATOGRAPHY
Pan’s Labyrinth

FILM EDITING
The Departed

ART DIRECTION
Pan’s Labyrinth

MAKEUP
Pan’s Labyrinth

SOUND EDITING
Letters from Iwo Jima

SOUND MIXING
Dreamgirls

DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT
“The Blood of Yingzhou District”

SHORT FILM (ANIMATED)
“The Danish Poet”

SHORT FILM (LIVE ACTION)
“West Bank Story”

VISUAL EFFECTS
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest

COSTUME DESIGN
Marie Antoinette

MUSIC (SONG)
“I Need to Wake Up,” An Inconvenient Truth

MUSIC (SCORE)
Babel

SPECIAL OSCAR FOR CAREER ACHIEVEMENT
Ennio Morricone

JEAN HERSHOLT HUMANITARIAN AWARD
Sherry Lansing

Oscar 2007 Winner Predictions Supporting Actor

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Oscar 2007 Winner Predictions: Supporting Actor
Oscar 2007 Winner Predictions: Supporting Actor

Yes, when making our three-out-of-five predictions on who would be nominated here, we argued how refreshing it was to see a prospective category stocked with supporting performances, instead of co-leads. Even though, in replacing Jack Nicholson and Brad Pitt (who both were sort of iffy on the lead-supporting continuum) with Mark Wahlberg’s middle finger and Jackie Earle Haley’s little appendage, the Academy implicitly agreed with us, the no-small-parts-only-small-actors initiative will probably fail to move through committee if Oscar voters vote with where history has informed us their hearts lead them: lefty, global market agitprop. Eddie Murphy has the Globe and the SAG endorsement backing him up. However, Djimon Hounsou’s ferocity in his co-leading Blood Diamond role—hell, he might actually have a tad more screen time than DiCaprio—will certainly translate to ethical sincerity to many Oscar voters (who already indicated their affinity for the film by nominating it in nearly as many categories as Murphy’s film). It’s a battle of showbiz sensationalism against political…um, sensationalism. Even on the shorter Oscar calendar, it’s difficult not to perceive the Dreamgirls snub in the Best Picture category as a sign of even-still receding enthusiasm. If Hounsou could get nominated out of thin air for In America (and over a strong list of also rans including Peter Sarsgaard, Albert Finney, and everybody in Seabiscuit), it’s difficult to imagine he can’t win for Blood Diamond. Sure, we may still end up hedging our bets when money’s on the table in our Oscar party pools and opt for Murphy (whose alternately rakish and morose performance, the only human thing in all of Dreamgirls, is certainly more award-worthy than Jennifer Hudson’s turn). But if the Screen Actors Guild and Golden Globe voting bodies are largely made up of people who are just thrilled to be in the same room with stars like Murphy, the Oscars are mostly voted on by people who actually have to work with him…on scale with no residuals. Add to that the release of the Mama Klump-besmirching Norbit and we’re not exactly cashing in the goodwill here.