Scene It All Before: Oscar Predictions – Best Picture

By: Zach Stone / Karson & Kennedy Producer

The time is now. Who will walk away with the night’s big prize?  Let’s discuss the nine best movies of the year as voted on by the Academy.

Best Picture Nominees

“Beasts of the Southern Wild”
“Django Unchained”
“Les Misérables”
“Life of Pi”
“Silver Linings Playbook”
“Zero Dark Thirty”

How do you feel about slowly watching people die when you already know 10 minutes into the movie it is going to happen?  Do you like almost intolerable amounts of sadness?  How about when you are experiencing heart crushing depression, would you like the movie to move along at a snail’s pace to increase the amount of depression?  If so then Amour is for you.  If you aren’t someone feeling the need to feel overcome with severe depression for two hours than feel free to stay away from this movie.  Its crippling depression and snail like pacing made this my least favorite movie of the nine nominations.  And it angers me just how much love people are giving this movie.  I get it, you love your depression to come with a sense of elitism so you are gonna love this movie.  Well give me Hulk and Iron Man teaming up in a faithful adaptation any day of the week.

Beasts of the Southern Wild is kind of in the same boat as Amour.  Not in the horribly depressing one, the low budget indie one.  Usually that is enough to get some Oscar love but 2012 was a great year for movies so this year it is on the bottom half of a very distinguished list. Not bad.

Les Miserables was not nearly as bad as everyone thinks it was.  It probably just wasn’t made for you.  I imagine Tom Hooper believed this movie would lead to big things for him.  And in a weaker year for movies, maybe it could have as the older generation of Academy voters are always looking to make musicals relevant again.  But then Russell Crowe hit the screen.  Okay it wasn’t entirely his fault, it just seemed that way because of how universally jeered he was.  The problem may have been that this movie seemed to be made solely for people who loved the musical, who probably would have loved the movie no matter what as long as he didn’t cut their favorite songs.  Without the crossover appeal to people who may have never seen the show it didn’t generate enough interest to be considered a favorite.

Quentin Tarantino had a similar problem in that he makes his movies for a niche audience as well.  That niche audience is even smaller than the audience for Les Mis, it is just Tarantino.  He makes the movies he wants to make and luckily there is enough of an audience for people who love that style of film making, myself included.  But that will never translate into a Best Picture win for Tarantino.  Django Unchained isn’t even as good as his last movie Inglorious Bastards, which also got some Oscar love, so how would it have a chance at Best Picture.

What may be most surprising to me about Zero Dark Thirty‘s nomination is that it is not getting serious consideration by the Academy as a contender.  Of the major awards it was only nominated for Original Screenplay and Best Actress.  Add that to the graphic nature of the torture in the movie and that diminishes the movie’s chances.  Which is a shame because this was one of my favorite movies of the year at the very least in the top three.

While there are nine nominations it seems like the next four have the best chance to win.

Life of Pi may look like it is on the outside looking in but if you are looking at past trends then this may have the best chance of all.  Usually the Academy’s precursor’s to win Best Picture is based off editing and the director.  As I said in my last post I think Ang Lee should win for director and  the movie should also win for its editing.  Life of Pi is a stunning visual feast.  He tells a compelling story in the setting of a 15×6 sized lifeboat.  It’s a beautiful movie and of all of the films up for Best Picture this one is the most well rounded.

Silver Lining Playbook was probably my third favorite movie of the year, the movie has a fantastic screenplay and terrific performances, but will that be enough to win the award?  Why not, the acting block is the biggest block of voters in the Academy and the movie scored nominations in all four acting categories, something that hasn’t been done since 1981 with Reds. It’s a sweet story with tons of belly laughs and while comedies don’t normally play well this one is sneaking up on people.

I would be fine if any one of the last three movies I just mentioned won for Best Picture, but if Lincoln wins I may lose my mind.  It’s not as bad a movie as I have made it out to be in my previous posts it’s well-made, it’s important, it’s probably one of the best movies that Steven Spielberg has ever made and definitely his best work of the past 10 years.  But a movie that is this boring, this bogged down in dialogue, a movie that felt like it had so many unnecessary moments has no reason to be considered the best picture of the year just because it has all the qualities of previous winners.

Without a doubt the best picture to me is Argo.  This movie had it all, it was fantastically paced.  The supporting cast around Affleck was superb   He was able to jump around from funny to dramatic.  The last 30 minutes was nothing but heart pounding tension.  I love that when I went into this movie I had no idea how it was going to end.  Whereas in Lincoln or Zero Dark Thirty I knew what was coming.  All of the other major award shows have declared Argo the best picture of the year so why wouldn’t the Oscars.  The one thing that hurts Argo’s chances is the Affleck snub in the directing category.  Last time a movie won Best Picture without the director getting any love was 1989 with Driving Miss Daisy.  But come next year’s predictions I imagine that stat will be thrown out as Argo is the heavy favorite to win the night’s big prize.

So who do you think will win?  Let me know what you think.  Follow me on twitter at zstoneathome as I will be watching and reacting to everything that happens on Sunday night.  If Shakespeare in Love can win anything is possible at the Oscars.


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