This year’s Oscar race will likely be remembered more for its noticeable snubs than for its nominees and eventual winners.
The dual snubbing of Argo’s Ben Affleck and Zero Dark Thirty’s Kathryn Bigelow in the best director category is laughable to say the least.
A mere three years ago, Bigelow became the first female director to win the best director prize for her work on the Iraq War film, The Hurt Locker, which also won the highly coveted best picture prize, not to mention four additional Oscars out of nine nominations overall.
With Argo, Affleck finally put to rest any speculation that his first two outings as a filmmaker, Gone Baby Gone and The Town, were lucky flukes. He’s the real deal both in front of and behind the camera, and Argo’s unparalleled clean sweep of all the Hollywood union awards (DGA, PGA, WGA and SAG included among them) over the past month leading up to Oscar night makes Affleck’s snub all the more egregious.
Thankfully, both Affleck and Bigelow are nominated in the best picture category as they also pulled double duty producing their respective films – Affleck with longtime producing partners George Clooney and Grant Heslov, and Bigelow with regular collaborator Mark Boal and financier Megan Ellison.
The trend of overlooking popular entertainment in the best picture category continued this Oscar season with the snubs of Christopher Nolan’s final installment in his Batman trilogy, The Dark Knight Rises, the latest (and arguably best reviewed) James Bond film, Skyfall, and 2012’s box office behemoth, Marvel’s The Avengers.
Director Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln leads this year’s pack of films nominated for best picture with a whopping 12 nods, followed by director Ang Lee’s Life of Pi with an almost-equally impressive 11 nods. Tom Hooper's Les Misérables and David O. Russell's Silver Linings Playbook scored eight nods apiece. Argo is up for seven Oscars. Michael Haneke's Amour, Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained, and Zero Dark Thirty are in the running with five nods each. And last year’s Sundance Film Festival breakout, Ben Zeitlin's Beasts of the Southern Wild, which was executively produced by Milwaukee native Michael Raisler, is up for four.
So, who’ll win come Oscar Night this Sunday, Feb. 24?
That’s anyone’s guess, but Moviegoers’ Mack Bates reviewed the top nine categories (best supporting actor/actress, lead actor/actress, best director, best original screenplay best adapted screenplay, best animated feature, and the biggie, best picture) to determine who will win, who should win, and who might break through the pack and pull off an upset.
He also gives props to those who, in his honest opinion, were overlooked in the main categories, and singled out his pick for the year’s worst nominee.
Drumroll, please! And the Oscar goes to…
Best Supporting Actress
Will Win: Anne Hathaway for Les Misérables
Should Win: Hunt (Technically, she's a lead which has worked in the favor of several women in this category over the years, including On The Waterfront's Eva Marie Saint, Tootsie's Jessica Lange, The Accidental Tourist's Geena Davis, Ghost's Whoopi Goldberg, and A Beautiful Mind's Jennifer Connelly.)
Possible Spoiler: Hunt
Overlooked: Judi Dench for Skyfall and Susan Sarandon for Jeff Who Lives At Home
Best Supporting Actor
Will Win: DeNiro (If he wins, he'll join the likes of Katharine Hepburn, Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep as one of a handful of actors to win more than two Oscars for acting.)
Should Win: DeNiro
Possible Spoiler: Christoph Waltz for Django Unchained
Overlooked: Javier Bardem for Skyfall and Leonardo DiCaprio for Django Unchained
Will Win: Lawrence (If she wins, at age 22, she'll be the second youngest actress to win in the best actress category. The youngest? Children of a Lesser God's Marlee Matlin, who was 21 when she won back in 1987.)
Should Win: Jessica Chastain Zero Dark Thirty
Possible Spoiler: Wallis (If she wins, at age 9, she'll be the youngest actress in history to do so, and the second African American actress following Halle Berry's historic win for the 2001 film, Monster's Ball.)
Overlooked: Julianne Moore for “Game Change” (Had the film been made for theatrical release instead of for television, Moore would be taking home her first long-overdue Oscar this year. She also would have quietly made history by becoming the first actress in her 50s to win the best actress Oscar – crazy, but true.)
The nominees are…Bradley Cooper for Silver Linings Playbook, Daniel Day-Lewis for Lincoln, Hugh Jackman for Les Misérables, , and Denzel Washington for Flight
Will Win: Day-Lewis (Similar to DeNiro, if he wins, he'll be one of a handful of actors to win Oscar gold for three or more film performances. He'll also make Oscar history as being the sole three-time male acting winner to have won all of their Oscars in the best actor category, and he'll be the first actor to win best actor for playing a US president.)
Should Win: Joaquin Phoenix for The Master
Possible Spoiler: Joaquin Phoenix for The Master
Overlooked: Daniel Craig for Skyfall and Richard Gere for Arbitrage
Will Will: Ang Lee for Life of Pi
Best Original Screenplay
Should Win: Ang Lee for Life of Pi
Possible Spoiler: David O. Russell for Silver Linings Playbook or Steven Spielberg for Lincoln
Overlooked: Ben Affleck for Argo & Kathryn Bigelow for Zero Dark Thirty
Will Win: Django Unchained/Quentin Tarantino
Should Win: Zero Dark Thirty/Mark Boal
Possible Spoiler: Moonrise Kingdom/Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola
Overlooked: Paul Thomas Anderson for The Master & Neal Purvis, Robert Wade and John Logan for Skyfall
Best Adapted Screenplay
Will Win: Silver Linings Playbook/David O. Russell
Should Win: Lincoln/Tony Kushner
Possible Spoiler: Lincoln/Tony Kushner
Overlooked: Stephen Chbosky for The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Best Animated Feature
Will Win: Wreck-It Ralph
Should Win: Wreck-It Ralph
Possible Spoiler: Brave
Overlooked: Rise of the Guardians
Will Win: Argo
Should Win: Zero Dark Thirty
Possible Spoiler: Beasts of the Southern Wild
Overlooked: Arbitrage and Moonrise Kingdom
This Year’s Worst Nomination - The Pirates! Band of Misfits for best animated feature
The Pirates! Band of Misfits may be a disarming guilty pleasure of sorts, but the fifth slot for best animated feature should have been filled by the more imaginative and thoroughly entertaining Rise of the Guardians, not to be confused with 2010’s Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole.
The 85th Annual Academy Awards, hosted by Oscar nominee Seth MacFarlane, airs live this Sunday, Feb. 24 starting at 6 p.m. on ABC. Check local TV listings for additional details.