Steven Spielberg has already collected two Academy Awards for his directing efforts (Schindler’s List and Saving Private Ryan) so he may have to wait a little longer to pick up a third for Lincoln – but don’t put it past him winning again.
He is more likely to fend off the strong competition for Best Picture, meaning he would then have two for this category to match his directorial achievement with the Academy.
The film is nominated for five of the six major awards – so as with the other favourites, the most likely surprise Lincoln gives us will be one of underachievement.
Biopics tend to fare very well at the Oscars, and when the person focused on is a historical American hero – and the director is arguably the finest to ever walk the earth – the film is always going to be a favourite to pick up the gong no matter what the competition may be.
Although not nominated in the Best Picture category, The Master could land a few surprise awards, as long as Tom Cruise and his fellow Scientology devotees don’t have too much to do with it.
So where could P.T. Anderson’s striking portrayal of post WWII drifters and seekers deliver a few shocks?
Joaquin Phoenix portrays a character capable of evoking much empathy from the audience – the Academy voters included. His unpredictable personality and raw acting ability has served him well in the past – but he has not won an Oscar yet. Will this be his and The Master’s year?
Amy Adams and Philip Seymour Hoffman have also been given the nod for their supporting roles in the film. Both are incredible talents and have forged impressive careers in supporting roles for years.
This is Hoffman’s third nomination in the category and Adams’ fourth. Unlike Hoffman, Adams has not picked up an award yet (his was for Leading Actor in Capote – 2005), so surely she’s not going to have to wait for a fifth nomination in the category before she gets the gold?
Silver Linings Playbook
If you had to order the 10 Best Picture nominated films from most likely to least likely to win – Silver Linings Playbook would probably come in last.
This not to say David O. Russell’s romantic comedy is a bad film. In fact it’s a well-constructed, well-acted addition to the usually whimsical genre. But let’s be honest, romantic comedies have never been very well represented at the Academy Awards. At least not since Frank Capra’s It Happened One Night set the benchmark and scooped all five major awards at the 7th ceremony in 1935.
Surprisingly, for a romantic comedy which will most likely be overlooked completely, Silver Linings Playbook can be found in quite a few categories. It’s not going to win Best Picture, but it is also represented by Bradley Cooper for Actor in a Leading Role, Jennifer Lawrence for Actress in a Leading Role, Robert De Niro for Actor in a Supporting Role, Jacki Weaver for Actress in a Supporting Role, and David O. Russell himself for Directing.
Hold on, that’s all six major categories… Surely not!
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Unlike The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring which was nominated in thirteen categories (winning four of them), The Hobbit only features in three this year: Visual Effects, Makeup and Hairstyling, and Production Design.
Considering Life of Pi will probably win the first of these categories and ‘Les Mis’ will be most likely to win the latter two (although Hitchcock stands a chance for Makeup and Hairstyling), it would be a surprise if The Hobbit walked away with anything this year.
Much like the final instalment of The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit series will probably have to wait until 2015 to pick up some guaranteed awards from the Academy.
Another surprise omission from numerous categories this year is the James Bond film Skyfall, Directed by Sam Mendes. Although Bond films and action films in general are not usually recognised at the Academy Awards, there are a number of reasons I expected to see it nominated more this year.
Firstly, Skyfall marks the 50th Anniversary of the Bond series (and we all know how traditional and nostalgic the Academy usually is). Also, if Bond films needed a reputation boost, Sam Mendes is probably the most famed and critically acclaimed Director ever to be attached to the films. Opposite Daniel Craig as 007, the exceptionally talented and watchable Javier Bardem plays villain Raoul Silva. Add to this the rest of the new cast members including Ben Wishaw (I’m Not There, Layer Cake), Naomie Harris (28 Days Later, Miami Vice) and Ralph Fiennes (The English Patient, The Constant Gardener), then you really do have an ensemble of talent which should overshadow any negative preconceptions of the genre. Though it seems all of these qualities the 23rd Bond film boasts of are still not enough for one of cinemas all-time most successful film series to be taken seriously.
It has only been nominated in four categories, and although it may not fare well in three, it will surely take centre stage for one category: Music – Original Score.
Adele’s collaboration with Paul Epworth resulted in one of the most powerful and iconic Bond themes to date. Obviously it helps that Adele is adored and successful in many countries including America, as well as the fact that she will be performing that very song on the evening of the Oscars. So if Adele was not to win this category, it would create one of the biggest surprises of the night.
Best Picture – Lincoln
Actor in a Leading Role – Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln)
Actress in a Leading Role – Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty)
Actor in a Supporting Role – Philip Seymour Hoffman (The Master)
Actress in a Supporting Role – Anne Hathaway (Les Misérables)
Directing – Steven Spielberg (Lincoln)
Best Picture – Django Unchained
Actor in a Leading Role – High Jackman (Les Misérables)
Actress in a Leading Role – Naomi Watts (The Impossible)
Actor in a Supporting Role – Alan Arkin (Argo)
Actress in a Supporting Role – Helen Hunt (The Sessions)
Directing – Michael Haneke (Amour)