Sunday, January 6, 2013

Oscar Predictions: Best Picture

This year, Oscar nominations will be announced on Thursday, January 10th. I’ll be offering detailed predictions in most of the major categories, saving some of the biggest categories for last.

Last year’s nominees: The Artist, The Descendants, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, The Help, Hugo, Midnight in Paris, Moneyball, The Tree of Life, War Horse

This year’s locks: Lincoln, Argo, Zero Dark Thirty, Silver Linings Playbook

Very likely: Les Miserables, Django Unchained, Life of Pi, Moonrise Kingdom

Possible: Beasts of the Southern Wild, The Master, Skyfall, Flight

Unlikely: The Dark Knight Rises, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, The Hobbit

The rundown: It frustrates me to no end that there will be between five and ten nominees rather than a finite number. Last year produced nine, and I think this year will be the same. In the past three years, the Producers Guild of America list has matched up 8/9, 9/10, and 8/10. I think that, this year, all but one of the PGA’s choices will make the cut. I’m still nervous about predicting Skyfall for an Oscar nomination, let alone one in the top category, given James Bond’s track record at the Oscar. Instead, I’m predicting eight Golden Globe Best Picture nominees and one new contender, Beasts of the Southern Wild. There’s no way that the top three dramas, Lincoln, Argo, and Zero Dark Thirty won’t get in, and Silver Linings Playbook should as well. I think Les Miserables should be safe, but “Dreamgirls” got snubbed with a similarly strong precursor showing. Django Unchained is in unless voters decide they don’t like Quentin Tarantino anymore, and Life of Pi should be fine if voters don’t take too much issue with the film’s length and script. Moonrise Kingdom is an eclectic choice and would be the first Wes Anderson film to make the top race, but I suspect that it can do it. After that, there’s a slew of contenders with improbable chances. The Master might be right up Oscar voters’ alley, but I think it will have to suffice with acting and screenwriting nominations. Flight will live through Denzel Washington’s performance. The Dark Knight Rises has lost momentum, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, despite its SAG ensemble nomination, is too unserious, and The Hobbit was just too long. The only thing that would make me change my prediction is if anything other than the nine films I’ve picked above gets a DGA nomination on Tuesday.

One possible crazy scenario: Only five films get nominated, indicating a lack of enthusiasm for some of the contenders I’ve indicated doubt for above.

Forecasted winner: I think it’s going to be Zero Dark Thirty in the end.

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