That’s right. On Sunday night the stars will come out in Hollywood to parade across that famous red carpet in a glamorously ostentatious display of glittering jewels, form-fitting designer gowns, mind-boggling wealth, and daring décolletage to celebrate the 85th Annual Academy Awards. Throughout the years this yearly event has evolved into one of the most needlessly lengthy and often insufferably boring shows on television. From pathetically inane attempts at humor by the host or hostess to the time-consuming gaudy production numbers to the often embarrassingly rambling acceptance speeches, this torturously tedious awardathon is a true test of the most hardcore film fans’ endurance.
From the first Academy Awards ceremony in 1929 until 1944, the number of films nominated for best picture varied from three to 12, but after 1944 the films competing for this coveted honor were limited to five. Then in 2009 Sid Ganis, the president of the Academy, announced that 10 pictures would nominated for the 2010 awards show. Now the rules state that anywhere between five and 10 movies may be nominated for best film of the year. And the formula for selecting the nominees is enough to make Einstein slash his wrists.
Throughout the years various stars have served as the host for the Academy Awards, but the king of them all was Bob Hope, who emceed the show 18 times. I watched a veritable plethora of the Oscar telecasts, and, of all those who have hosted the show, my two favorites are Billy Crystal and Johnny Carson with eight and five shows to their credit respectively. They are tough acts to follow, and that’s why many subsequent hosts have bombed badly. This year’s guy in the spotlight is Seth MacFarlane, and it will be interesting to see how he handles the pressure. It’s probably a safe bet that he will have his foul-mouthed teddy bear with him at some point.
Well, that’s enough trivial background information. Let’s get to the matter at hand of offering my predictions of winners in the major categories on the big night. The nominees for Best Supporting Actress are Amy Adams in “The Master,” Sally Field in “Lincoln,” Anne Hathaway in “Les Miserables,” Helen Hunt in “The Sessions,” and Jacki Weaver in “Silver Linings Playbook.” From everything I’ve seen, Hathaway has a lock on this one, but she definitely would not be my choice. In the first place, her part in the film is quite small, but she does sing the signature song, “I Dreamed A Dream.” While her performance of the number was respectable it was not in the same galaxy as Susan Boyle’s rendition. The other nominees are worthy candidates, but my vote would go to Hunt for her incredibly touching and sensitive portrayal of a sex surrogate in “The Sessions.” Best Supporting Actress: My preference: Helen Hunt.
The race for Best Supporting Actor could be a close one, and the candidates are the following: Alan Arkin for “Argo,” “Robert De Niro for “Silver Linings Playbook,” Philip Seymour Hoffman for “The Master,” Tommy Lee Jones for “Lincoln,” and Cristoph Waltz for “Django Unchained.” Interestingly enough, every one of these candidates already has an Oscar to his credit (De Niro has two.), and all of them deserve their nominations this year. Of all these performances, however, the one I enjoyed the most was that of Waltz as the smooth-talking bounty hunter with the big vocabulary in “Django Unchained,” but Jones has a habit of almost stealing any movie in which he appears, and his portrayal of a stubborn abolitionist in “Lincoln” is no exception. Best Supporting Actor: My preference: Cristoph Waltz. My Prediction: Tommy Lee Jones.
All of the women (and one girl) competing for the Best Actress Oscar certainly are deserving of their nominations, and they are the following: Jessica Chastain for “Zero Dark Thirty,” Jennifer Lawrence for “Silver Linings Playbook,” Emmanuelle Riva for “Amour,” Quvenzhane Wallis for “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” and Naomi Watts for “The Impossible.” At the tender age of 9 (She was just 7 when the picture was shot.) Wallace is the youngest female ever to be nominated, and Riva, who will be celebrating her 86th birthday on Oscar night, is the oldest, and it would be interesting to know whether or not their ages played any part in the voting. Now I am a huge Jennifer Lawrence fan, and I think she is unquestionably the most brilliant young actress in Hollywood. She’s only 22, and this is her second Academy Award nomination. Both Lawrence and Chastain are outstanding in their nominated roles, but Watts’ physically demanding work in “The Impossible” gives her the edge for me. Best Actress: My preference: Naomi Watts.
Of all the major categories, probably the one easiest to predict is that of Best Actor, and the nominees are the following: Bradley Cooper in “Silver Linings Playbook,” Daniel Day-Lewis in “Lincoln,” Hugh Jackman in “Les Miserables,” “Joaquin Phoenix in “The Master,” and Denzel Washington in “Flight.” As exceptional as all these men were in their respective parts, only one of them actually became the character he played. When you see him on the screen, you don’t think to yourself that you are watching Day-Lewis as Lincoln. Rather you believe that you are really watching Lincoln in the flesh, and the experience is as uncanny as it is eerie. This one should be a lock. Best Actor:
Although nine films received the nomination for Best Picture, only five directors have earned the chance to take home the golden statuette, and this makes absolutely no sense because without the director the film wouldn’t even exist. Nevertheless the nominees for Best Director are the following: Michael Haneke for “Amour,” Benh Zeitlin for “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” Ang Lee for “Life of Pi,” Steven Spielberg for “Lincoln” and “David O. Russell for “Silver Linings Playbook.” Why Ben Affleck (“Argo”), Kathryn Bigelow (“Zero Dark Thirty”), and Quentin Taratino (“Django Unchained”) didn’t make the elite list surpasses my realm of comprehension, and my vote would have gone to Affleck in a heartbeat. But that’s history, and my preference and my prediction among those in the competition are one in the same. This director took the technology of computer-generated imaging to new heights in the film about a young boy who spend more than 200 days at see in a lifeboat with a mammoth Bengal tiger.
And now we come to the biggest prize of all – Best Picture of the Year. The nominees in this category are the following: “Amour,” “Argo,” “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” “Django Unchained,” “Les Miserables,” “Life of Pi,” “Lincoln,” “Silver Linings Playbook,” and “Zero Dark Thirty.” I can eliminate two films from this list quite quickly. In addition to being one of the most depressing movies (but good) I’ve ever watched “Amour” also has been nominated for Best Foreign Film, and because it has its own category, I think it should be excluded from the other best-picture competition. And although it received plenty of hype, “Les Miserables” didn’t affect me nearly as much as “The Impossible” did. In considering the remaining films on the list, I’ve changed my mind about the best choice just about every day recently, but after giving it some really serious thought, I finally arrived at a decision. Best Picture: My Preference: “Zero Dark Thirty.” My Prediction: “Argo.”
All that remains now is to watch the show on Sunday evening and see how things play out. I’ve laid in a good supply of NoDoz, and I’m ready. How about you?
OFFICIAL TRAILER FOR “ARGO”