Entertainment

Handicapping the Oscars :: Jake Mulligan’s Choices

by Jake Mulligan
Contributor
Friday Feb 22, 2013
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The Oscars this weekend bring an end to the Award Season. What started as a horserace is ending as a runaway win with "Argo" rising to the top.

Still, there is always a possibility of an upset, which makes watching the awards a must for movie-goers. That and checking in to see if Seth MacFarlane will soar or belly-flop as the host. (Remember James Franco?)

EDGE film critic Jake Mulligan offers his choices of who will likely win, who he feels should win and what movies or persons were ignored by the Academy.

Below are his choices:


Best Picture

Who Will Win:
"Argo." And Ben Affleck’s apolitical potboiler is a hell of a lot better than "The Artist" or "The King’s Speech," so you’ll hear no complaints from me.

Who Should Win:
Of the nominated films, nothing can hold a candle to Quentin Tarantino’s "Django Unchained."

Who Should Have Been Nominated:
Paul Thomas Anderson’s "The Master" is a 100-year film; a transcendent work of art. Twenty years from now, no one will know what the "Life of Pi" was, but they’ll still be discussing this 70mm marvel.


Best Director

Who Will Win:
I must say, those nominated for this award are a disgrace. Say what you will about Affleck, but snubbing Tarantino, Wes Anderson, Paul Thomas? These are the great artists of our time. David O. Russell will win, and he deserves the attention. But he doesn’t deserve the award.

i>Who Should Win:
Of the nominated crew? Spielberg deserves it. If O. Russell wins, then it’s for his worst film yet ("I Heart Huckabees" for life.)

< i>Who Should Have Been Nominated:
Honestly, I’d swap out all five contenders. Quentin Tarantino. Wes Anderson. Paul Thomas Anderson. Steven Soderbergh. Kathryn Bigelow. Even when restricting the choices to American filmmakers, none of the nominees deserve their spot.


Best Actor

Who Will Win:
Daniel Day-Lewis. Is there any question?

Who Should Win:
Joaquin Phoenix is the impulsive, intuitive side of this year awards; a stark contrast to Day-Lewis’ meticulously curated collection of tics and great-man conceits. His Freddie Quell exists.

Who Should Have Been Nominated:
Jamie Foxx carries "Django Unchained" on his back, Leo and Waltz and Samuel be damned. He takes the first introspective character Quentin Tarantino ever wrote, and he plays him at exactly the right tone. Most would’ve gone over-the-top from the start; Jamie waits his turn.


Best Actress

Who Will Win:
Jennifer Lawrence will take this one, but don’t be shocked if Emmauelle Riva earns the award (even if I don’t believe for a second that anyone in the Academy has seen "Hiroshima, Mon Amour".)

Who Should Win:
A weak crowd this year. I think I’ll take Jennifer Lawrence’s manic screwball energy over Jessica Chastain’s miscalculated freak-outs. Too much of her performance in "Zero Dark Thirty" felt reverse engineered to win Oscars, you know?

Who Should Have Been Nominated:
Kirsten Dunst took "Bachelorette’s" broadly comedic script and, with her own down-to-earth performance, turned it into something almost existential. Every moment is rife with the pain of sincere dissatisfaction. For the second year in a row, she gave the best performance by a woman.


Best Supporting Actor

Who Will Win:
This category is the opposite of Director: everyone deserves his spot. De Niro will win a competitive field because he’s "mid-comeback."

Who Should Win:
Everyone here gave a really, really good performance, except Phillip Seymour Hoffmann. He gave a great one.

Who Should Have Been Nominated:
It’s a damn shame the two people who get nominations out of "Django Unchained" are the white guys. Samuel L. Jackson’s performance, half self-loathing and half desperate self-preservation, cuts deeper than anything else in the film. Tarantino never lets himself off the hook easily in historical situations - think of the way general Nazi soldiers appear more brave than Brad Pitt and his crew in "Inglourious Basterds" - and Jackson gives "Django Unchained" all of its subtextual conflict and complexity.


Best Supporting Actress

Who Will Win:
Anne Hathaway. I hardly follow these awards, but it’s clear no one else even has a shot, right?

Who Should Win:
Amy Adams, in films like "The Muppets" and "Enchanted," already proved herself one of the most charismatic actresses working. With her cold, chilly, exceedingly intellectual turn in "The Master," she shows she’s one of the best.

Who Should Have Been Nominated:
Not sure. Shockingly, there aren’t many good roles for Women in Hollywood films nowadays. So we’ll go with Emily Blunt, who brings a level of feminine mystique to the 3rd act of the (independently made!) "Looper."


Best Original Screenplay

Who Will Win:
This ones a real toss up - "Amour" is too dark, "Django Unchained" is too bloody, "Moonrise Kingdom" is too good, "Flight" is too bland, and "Zero Dark Thirty" is apparently too torture-y. But it’s not winning anything else, so Mark Boal takes this one home for Zero Dark Thirty" - basically by default.

Who Should Win:
A lot of things in "Django Unchained" are great, but the script? The script is perfect.

Who Should Have Been Nominated:
Paul Thomas Anderson for "The Master." It’s too original to win an original screenplay award.


Best Adapted Screenplay

Who Will Win:
This is "Argo’s" award to lose. Chris Terrio’s script is as tight as a drum, to both its credit (the film is tense) and to its detriment (it’s also not about anything.)

Who Should Win:
Tony Kushner’s "Lincoln" screenplay crackles with screwball wit, and brings the man to life in a way Spielberg never would’ve been able to do with lesser words.

Who Should Have Been Nominated:
Michael Bacall’s script for "21 Jump Street," adapted from the original television show, isn’t just the funniest script written this year. It also captures American youth culture with a fervor young adult writers (hey, "Twilight," what’s up, "Beautiful Creatures,") wish they could command.


Best Foreign Film

Who Will Win:
Mainly because no one in the Academy has seen any other Michael Haneke films, "Amour" has become a sentimental favorite (funny, coming from a director who despises the human race.) It takes this trophy.

Who Should Win:
I haven’t seen a lot of nominees, but "No" is basically a better version of "Argo" (at least, aesthetically,) and it sure deserves it a lot more than "Amour."

Who Should Have Been Nominated:
Too many to count. "Once Upon A Time In Anatolia"? "This Is Not A Film"?? "Holy Motors"???


Best Animated Film

Who Will Win:
I know the smart money is on the Disney’s - "Frankenweenie" or "Wreck-it Ralph" - but I have a feeling that Academy voters will vote along with their favorite brand. "Brave" wins.

Who Should Win:
"Frankenweenie." One of Burton’s best films in years, it returns him to the low-key, B-movie styling’s he abandoned in "Alice in Wonderland."

Who Should Have Been Nominated: N/A.


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