And so it begins again, ladies and gents, the Oscar race, that time of year when Academy Award hopefuls duke it out in the theaters for the glory of that little golden statue. Granted some of these “guesses” are so damn predictable it’s laughable, but nonetheless, rumors are flying, press conferences are suggesting and studio heads are at attention, schmoozing for their stab at prestige.
(Does anyone want to guess the answer to the real mystery: how many best picture nominations the Academy will choose to have this year? Maybe seven and a half nominations? Oh, how I miss the classy five.)
So, let’s see what titles have a shot at that shiny, gold Academy sticker on its DVD case.
“Argo” directed by Ben Affleck
Affleck’s latest has all the trappings for a best picture nomination (a political drama based on a true story) and we all know the nomination is set. So the only one feigning surprise come the announcement will be the director himself. Even though I liked “The Town” better (and am still bitter he didn’t get more recognition for it) “Argo” is still one of the best movies of the year. Argo fuck yourself! If you haven’t already, that is!
“The Master” directed by Paul Thomas Anderson
The master himself is back with well…”The Master.” Anderson rarely goes unnoticed by the Academy so I’m sure he’s a shoe-in, and that gas guzzling Joaquin Phoenix can expect a best actor nomination alongside it too. Best of luck PTA, you’re the tops and don’t tell any of the others, but also my favorite writer/director.
“Lincoln” directed by Steven Spielberg
A historical drama about one of the most beloved U.S. Presidents in history directed by Steven Spielberg? C’mon. Locked and ready. Daniel Day Lewis can expect some looks his way too!
“Looper” directed by Rian Johnson
This one’s a contender, but I’m worried the genre will axe it for consideration. Stars Blunt and Levitt definitely deserve some recognition for their great performances. I just hope the Academy remember this isn’t Bill and Ted time travel.
“Anna Karenina” directed by Joe Wright
Wright takes a crack at Russian literature after “Pride” and “Atonement” and the reviews already rave about the stunning visuals but that might be all it’s getting. Reviews already in are calling it a somewhat shallow interpretation. But let’s not forget Wright already has a fresh win under his belt, so I’m sure he won’t go unnoticed. Not to mention, when have Academy members been one to listen to critics?
“Flight” directed by Robert Zemeckis
Yes! This flick was a great segue back into live action films for Zemeckis and with a coke snorting, alcoholic pilot no less. I can’t wait to hear this one called out for a best picture and best actor nomination.
“Silver Linings Playbook” directed by David O. Russell
“The Fighter” and “I Heart Huckabee’s” director is back this year with a rather touching tale with indie appeal. Russell also snagged the hot toddy, Jennifer Lawrence, who’s skyrocketed to fame since her portrayal of Katniss in the “The Hunger Games” but had already garnered respect from her “Winters Bone” nom in 2011. Since Alexander Payne isn’t around this year, this one might fill the void. Oh and plus, it looks pretty good.
“Django Unchained” directed by Quentin Tarantino
I can’t wait to watch Tarantino wrangle a spaghetti western, and I’m sure he won’t disappoint his fans (myself included). But in the course of his career, Tarantino hasn’t gotten enough recognition to attest for his talent, so let’s hope the Academy can muster up a couple more nominations for the skilled and gritty auteur this Oscar season.
“Les Miserables” directed by Tom Hooper
We haven’t seen a musical nomination in a couple of years, and “The Kings Speech” director Tom Hooper is taking on this Broadway darling in a special way for the big screen! Shaking things up with live vocal performances instead of the canned prerecorded sound, Hooper will definitely be considered.
“The Life of Pi” directed by Ang Lee
It’s nice to see Lee’s name coming up for consideration in the Oscar rumor rounds since it’s been since ‘05’s “Brokeback Mountain.” Critics are raving over his adaptation of this best-selling novel so I’m hoping to see this talented director back his tuxedo on the red carpet.
“Promised Land” directed by Gus Van Sant
If you can believe it, it’s been ten years since Damon exercised his writing fingers and I’m excited to see what came out for him and his writing partners, Dave Eggers and John Krasinski. I’m a little disappointed that Damon had to pass on directing, but he left it in the capable hands of Gus Van Sant so I’m sure these four will get some notice.
“Gambit” directed by Michael Hoffman
Any peep from the Cohen brothers and it’s in the race, so I’m sure they’ll be an original screenplay nomination with this one.
“Cloud Atlas” directed by Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski and Tom Tykwer
It’s a Wachowski flick, so you know it’s going to get attention, and whispers abound that this one might be in the Academy’s radar come voting time. Personally, I’ve heard it’s magnificent, beautifully confusingly magnificent.
“Zero Dark Thirty” directed by Kathryn Bigelow
This one’s another no brainer nomination and even shelled out a very limited release for December 19th to make the cut-off for consideration, the wide release doesn’t hit theaters until January 11th.
“The Iceman” directed by Ariel Vronmen
Interviews of the real Iceman have captivated TV viewers for years, so I’m sure this true story adaptation will be a hit. Plus, I trust Michael Shannon to really pull this off with his talented acting chops.
Runners up are:
“Beasts of the Southern Wild” directed by Benh Zeitlin and
“The Sessions” directed by Ben Lewin,
Also, creating some buzz around town is a nomination for Melissa Leo, whose performance from “Francine” has been creating waves since its debut at the Berlin Film Festival.
On a side note: does anyone else find it strange that “Gambit,” “Django Unchained,” “The Master,” and “Looper” are the only original screenplays on this list? (Sad but true)