It’s almost time for the 85th Annual Academy Awards, and I’m gearing up for my annual Oscars live blog Sunday night here at BAM’s Blog.
The Oscars Red Carpet Live official pre-show, hosted by Broken Arrow native Kristin Chenoweth, Entertainment Weekly Managing Editor Jess Cagle and “Good Morning America” anchors Lara Spencer and Robin Roberts, will air from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on ABC.
The Oscars will air live from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. on ABC with Seth MacFarlane hosting. Chenoweth will join MacFarlane in a special show-closing musical performance.
Here are my predictions for this year’s Oscars. To read the predictions of my fine colleagues Gene Triplett and George Lang, too, click here.
Brandy says: From the very day that Ben Affleck was denied an Academy Award nomination for best director, which some predicted would derail his historical thriller’s Oscar chances, “Argo” has swept every major awards show’s equivalent of best picture. Film fans can expect the breathless fact-based adventure to ride that momentum right into Sunday’s Academy Awards. “Lincoln” is the definition of classic Oscar bait, “Zero Dark Thirty” is the zeitgeist-capturing film that makes us take a less-than-comfortable look at our country and thus ourselves, but “Argo” deftly splits the difference with its still-timely political commentary coupled with its painstakingly recreated period drama.
Plus, the only thing that Hollywood loves more than movies about movies saving the day – quite literally a major theme in “Argo” – is a great comeback story. It’s hard to beat Affleck’s turnaround tale as the multi-hyphenate young buck who broke out co-writing an Oscar-winning screenplay, floundered as a leading man and finally found his place behind the camera. While Kathryn Bigelow’s immersive cinematic chronicle of the 10-year hunt for Osama bin Laden spoke more convincingly to me, it’s hard to argue with all the accolades “Argo” has received, not just because of the quality of the film but also because it somehow makes even Affleck’s box-office bomb “Gigli” seem like just a piece of a larger Hollywood story.
Should win: “Zero Dark Thirty.”
Will win: “Argo.”
Brandy says: Daniel Day-Lewis has been the overwhelming favorite since the unveiling of the first poster for “Lincoln.” Already a two-time Oscar winner, the British thespian again stunningly immersed himself into a role, veritably transforming himself into the 16th president of the United States. Even his creative decision to change Lincoln’s voice from the sonorous booms typically ascribed him onscreen to a more humbly high-pitched
tone was so commandingly accomplished that it seems like that’s the voice we were supposed to be hearing in the first place.
Should and will win: Daniel-Day Lewis, “Lincoln.”
Brandy says: The award for the race with the most intrigue should go to this year’s best actress category. While “Beasts of the Southern Wild” leading girl Quvenzhané Wallis, 9, the youngest thespian ever nominated for the honor, and “Amour” grand dame Emmanuelle Riva, 85, is the oldest ever in the category, richly deserve their nods, they essentially cancel out each other. Naomi Watts heartrendingly withstood a tsunami in “The Impossible,” but her fact-based drama didn’t generate enough acclaim or box-office buzz for her to really contend for Academy Award glory. The race really comes down to two of Hollywood’s hardest working and most talented young leading ladies who are both on their second Oscar nominations: Jennifer Lawrence as a troubled and enigmatic widow in “Silver Linings Playbook” and Jessica Chastain as a driven CIA operative in “Zero Dark Thirty.” It’s sure to be a close contest, but the deciding factor could well be that Chastain had to almost singlehandedly carry her film with her force-of-nature turn as a woman whose decade-long search for a terror mastermind transforms her into a walking, talking obsession.
Should and will win: Jessica Chastain, “Zero Dark Thirty.”
Best Supporting Actor
Brandy says: Each contender in this year’s supporting actor race already has at least one Oscar to his name, but two-time winner Robert De Niro will need to make room in his trophy case for his third Academy Award. While Christoph Waltz again teamed with writer/director Quentin Tarantino to create another indelible, complex and ridiculously charming character with his turn as a brutal but high-minded bounty hunter in the slavery saga “Django Unchained,” De Niro’s performance as a compulsive sports-obsessed father dealing with his even more mentally unstable son (Bradley Cooper) in “Silver Linings Playbook” constitutes the beloved thesp’s best work in ages.
Should win: Christoph Waltz, “Django Unchained.”
Will win: Robert De Niro, “Silver Linings Playbook.”
Best Supporting Actress
Brandy says: Every nominee in this category has either won or been nominated previously, so we’re dealing with talented thespians who gave some of the best performances of their already rightly respected careers. While Sally Field was considered an early front-runner for her dynamic turn as Abraham Lincoln’s grief-stricken wife, Anne Hathaway essentially won this Oscar when she delivered her choked-up, soul-searing, live-to-film rendition of “I Dreamed a Dream” while playing the doomed prostitute and single mother Fantine in Les Misérables.
Should and will win: Anne Hathaway, Les Misérables
Brandy says: Honestly, what was the Academy thinking with this year’s directing nominees? Sure, with nine best picture candidates and only five best director slots, someone was going to get overlooked, but “Argo,” “Zero Dark Thirty,” “Django Unchained” and even Les Misérables just wouldn’t be the fantastic films they became without the unique visions and singular talents of Ben Affleck, Kathryn Bigelow, Quentin Tarantino and Tom Hooper. In the interest of spreading the glory a little, I’d love to see co-writer/helmer Benh Zeitlin pull off the upset with his beautiful breakout “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” but his nomination over those notable snubs will be his reward. Expect Steven Spielberg to win his well-deserved third best director Oscar for making politics utterly gripping with “Lincoln,” his superbly acted period piece about the 16th president’s race against time to get the 13th Amendment passed and slavery abolished before the end of the Civil War.
Should and will win: Steven Spielberg, “Lincoln.”
Best original screenplay
Brandy says: Mark Boal, “Zero Dark Thirty.”
Best adapted screenplay
Brandy says: Tony Kushner, “Lincoln.”
Best animated feature
Brandy says: “Brave.”
Best documentary feature
Brandy says: “Searching for Sugar Man.”
Best foreign language film
Brandy says: “Amour.”