Sunday, 24 February 2013

I'll be the first to admit it - at university, when I'm deep in the most stressful of terms, I'm not the most in touch with current affairs. I think I know who the Prime Minister is, but apart from that, ask me what's  going on in the world and I won't be able to say much. I'd probably give you a lecture on why David Attenborough has been prioritising a heterosexual family dynamic in his narrative discourses and then realise I don't even know what the weather's like outside.

One big cultural event that, as a follower of film, I can't ignore, however, is the awards season. With the BAFTAs been and gone, and the Kermodes sadly underrespected compared to the flashier affairs, the world turns its Kino-eyes to the Academy Awards. Now, I'm not a big fan of the Oscars. Anyone who doesn't put Skyfall on their list of last year's best films is under suspicion in my book, and they've made many other unagreeable decisions in the past. This look into the mind of an Oscar voter sums it up - "I don't vote for anyone whose name I can't pronounce."

An Oscar voters' screening.

On the other hand, as I know naff-all about sport, this is one of the only times of the year at which I can engage in a little gambling and have fun predicting results of things, as well as being angry when the actual results are wrong.

So, without further ado, here comes the 2013 edition of my disorganised Oscar thoughts:

Best Picture

Skyfall should win. I think I've mentioned before that I like Skyfall

Out of the films that have actually  been nominated, my personal choice would be Les Misérables, which took the popular stage musical, brought its songs to the screen through a group of excellent prformances (Mr. Crowe aside) and used all of cinema's capabilities to make it into an epic and heartbreaking piece of musical cinema which left me with a smile on my face and a tear in my eye.

But that's my opinion; what are the Oscar voters going to choose? It's not one of those years where there's one clear cut winner (The Artist last year) or one of those years where it's a race between two biggies (The King's Speech vs. The Social Network). This year is messier.

The favourite at the moment, reeling from its BAFTA success, in Ben Affleck's Argo, a very tense, very thrilling film that had me on the edge of my seat throughout its engaging hostage rescue plot. But, to me, Argo never felt like much more than this - the political context is brought up but underplayed, Affleck's need to rebuild his family seems awkwardly tacked on, and I never felt emotionally moved by the character. An excellent, talky thriller, yes, and the Hollywood scenes add a nice humourous touch, but best film of the year? As much as I'd disagree, the BAFTAs, and sort of the Golden Globes, thought so.

Steven Spielberg's Lincoln no doubt has some chance too, and, though I haven't seen it, Silver Linings Playbook has been very well received. Hey, what if the Academy surprised us by making a leftfield choice with Amour? No, that won't happen. But it might not necessarily be Argo...

Best Actor

I think it's got to be the great Daniel Day-Lewis, who already has the BAFTA tucked away under his top hat. After he accepted that award with such surprisingly great humour, mocking his own method acting style in his witty speech, I'd love to see him pick up another.

Best Actress

Jessica Chastain and Jennifer Lawrence were the favourites, but we didn't see Emmanuelle Riva's BAFTA win coming, did we? A really interesting line-up for this one - it has the youngest nominee ever and the oldest! It'll go to Lawrence, though, it must do. Riva's performance in the harrowing Amour may have entranced the British Academy, but I feel it's just that bit too depressing for Hollywood. Maybe she should have tracked down Bin Laden before suffering a stroke...

Best Director

Probably Spielberg? Yeah, why not. I'm surprised there's no nomination for Ben Affleck though; he'd definitely be a contender. I'm also unsurprised but disappointed at the lack of nominations for Sam Mendes or Christopher Nolan, whose films this year have been remarkable, thoughtful, and majestic, telling great stories with great visuals, and yes, have featured James Bond and Batman.

Best Supporting Actor

Tommy Lee Jones should have this one in the bag, but Christoph Waltz took him by surprise when he claimed this at the BAFTAs. Waltz is great in Django Unchained, but, to be fair, is giving a performance that we've seen him do before. And it was more interesting when he did it as a villain, deservedly picking up this very Oscar a few years ago for Inglorious Basterds. I'm calling Tommy Lee. 

Phillip Seymour Hoffman was also brilliant as the calmly manipulative titular figure of The Master, even if the film as a whole was flawed, and I wouldn't be averse to him getting some shiny recognition.

Best Supporting Actress

Judi Dench. Obviously.

Sorry, I meant Anne Hathaway.

Best Original Screenplay

Perhaps this could be the category in which Django Unchained gets some recognition? It probably  won't be, but Quentin Tarantino is a great writer of dialogue, giving his characters quirks, humour, darkness, and, above all, depth, taking his films beyond all the shootiness that they can be looked down upon for. Admittedly, Django was far from his best script, and he does need to learn to edit...

This might go to Zero Dark Thirty, though.

Best Adapted Screenplay

Hmm... Life of Pi was enjoyable, but more for its visuals. Probably another win for Argo.

Best Cinematography

Hey, Skyfall got a nomination! Woo!

All the others

I don't have anything interesting to say, or don't care.

1 comment:

  1. Catherine Marshall24 February 2013 at 13:54

    I'm definitely with you on Les Miserables, and would have loved to see Hugh Jackman get Best Actor if only to lay Wolverine to rest, but I guess Daniel Day Lewis will triumph. Enjoyed Skyfall too by the way, but then my husband's something of a Bond buff!