Tonight sees the announcement of the 2013 Oscars. After months of waiting, we will finally hear the winners of the biggest awards in cinema. The Golden Globes and the BAFTAs have been and gone, with very few surprises along the way.
I’ve predicted most of the awards already, but here I take a look at each of the Best Picture nominations and weigh up their chances of victory.
Michael Haneke’s moving study of old age and illness is a dead cert for the foreign film category at the 2013 Oscars. However, after its shock Best Picture nomination, it does stand a chance at the big award. The Academy loves drama and Amour is by far the most emotionally resonant film on the nomination list, with Emmanuelle Riva’s BAFTA win also giving a welcome push.
Unfortunately for Haneke though, the film might be a little too depressing for voters and it’s extremely rare that a film from outside of America gets near the Academy Awards.
This is the clear frontrunner for the Best Picture accolade. After winning at the Golden Globes, BAFTAs and virtually every other award ceremony, Argo is going strong on the gong trail.
It’s an utterly stunning film, managing to make a group of people shuffling through an airport the most tense scene of the year. Affleck’s direction is strong and the script manages to strike a perfect balance between Hollywood satire and political thriller.
It’s the film that most deserves the top prize at the 2013 Oscars and I’ll be shocked if it doesn’t win.
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Without doubt the most shocking entry in this list, Beasts of the Southern Wild is a great film, but there is absolutely no way that it’s going to win Best Picture. It’s very nice to see a smaller, arthouse film in amongst the battle for the biggest prize in cinema, but I just wish it had more of a chance.
Aided by the performance of Quvenzhané Wallis – the youngest Best Actress nominee ever – it rattles through its poignant tale with astonishing pace, creativity and emotion.
Benh Zeitlin is a talent to watch, but the 2013 Oscars are not his time.
Quentin Tarantino is back at the Oscars this year with revenge Western Django Unchained. Like any Tarantino film, it was a huge event and, like most Tarantino films, it completely delivered on its hype. It already stands as one of the best films of 2013 and it stands a decent chance at the 2013 Oscars.
Its probably too raw and controversial for the Academy to actually vote for it, but the pull of Tarantino may be just strong enough to bring the voters in. It’s inevitable that a Tarantino picture will win the big prize eventually, but it probably isn’t going to be this one.
Despite my reservations about how terrible Russell Crowe’s singing is, Les Misérables was a solid movie and Tom Hooper deserves credit for doing something innovative. It’s exactly the kind of thing the Academy laps up and it seemed for a while that Les Mis was in with a shot of scooping the top prize, along with Anne Hathaway’s inevitable Supporting Actress gong.
It has lost momentum throughout awards season though and now seems unlikely to go away as Best Picture, especially with the lack of a director award for Tom Hooper.
Life of Pi
Easily the most visually impressive film on this list, Ang Lee’s adaptation of “unfilmable” novel Life of Pi, proved a hit with audiences and critics. It hasn’t been nominated in any of the acting categories, but it isn’t unknown for a film without acting noms to triumph on awards night.
Life of Pi may be brilliant and it probably deserves more than just a handful of visual effects prizes, but in such a strong Best Picture field, it’s going to have to do very well to pip Argo or Lincoln.
Steven Spielberg leads the field at the 2013 Oscars, with Lincoln up for 12 awards. After the Academy snubbed Ben Affleck for Best Director, it looked like Lincoln was set to pick up the lion’s share of the gongs on Oscar night. However, Argo has built up a stunning amount of momentum and now seems set to steal the crown from the top of Lincoln’s head.
It has everything that the Academy likes. It’s a biopic of a historical figure; is imbued with patriotism; features a barnstorming central performance and is led by a powerhouse director. Everything points towards it being a film that the 2013 Oscars will love.
That said, with the momentum given by Daniel Day-Lewis’s inevitable Best Actor victory and Spielberg’s probable directorial triumph, Lincoln is probably the closest challenger.
Silver Linings Playbook
David O Russell seems to be very good at directing actors. His last film – The Fighter – won Best Supporting Actor (Christian Bale) and Best Supporting Actress (Melissa Leo) in 2011. Now, Silver Linings Playbook has become the first film in decades to receive a nomination in all four acting categories.
Despite this, it stands virtually no chance of walking away with Best Picture at the 2013 Oscars. For all of its fun, warmth and wit, it just isn’t weighty enough to please the Academy.
Zero Dark Thirty
An early contender for Best Picture, Zero Dark Thirty has seen a catastrophic fall from grace. After constant negative press around its supposed glorification of torture, the film has all but lost its chances of winning the main award at the 2013 Oscars.
Strong performances are not enough to save it from a lacklustre final act and the political battle of Oscar campaigning, which it has resoundingly lost.
Whatever the outcome tonight, cinephiles can rest assured that this is one of the strongest Best Picture fields in recent years. Almost all of the films on the list would be deserved winners, but in the end, it’s going to be Argo’s night.