Oscar Race – How the 2013 Contenders Are Shaping Up

Attempting to keep a pulse on the season has presented some challenges as of late for the 2013 Oscars and its predictions.  It can be argued that we don’t have a front runner in any category despite some films having strong showings at festivals.

Best Picture has presented real challenges.  Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln finally had its trailer début and all I could think about was War Horse (2011).  The film didn’t scream high quality and I still believe Spielberg and the film aren’t rewarded unless it stands next to Saving Private Ryan (1998) and Schindler’s List (1993).  The film doesn’t look to be of that caliber.  I’ve dropped Spielberg from the Directing predictions for now until some praising reviews come.  A “secret” screening in New Jersey suggested that the film is good, not great.

Because this year has looked like a question mark thus far, I’ve been saying to some of my colleagues, we could be in store for something unprecedented.  This would be something like Michael Haneke’s Amour winning Best Picture, becoming the first foreign language film ever or Silver Linings Playbook, first dramedy to win the top award since Shakespeare in Love (1998).  I’m not ready to go there yet though.  I don’t know how the Academy will respond to Amour, a film all too real in this stage of their average 62-year aged life.  Perhaps Oscar will listen to the critics for the first time in a while.  This could work well for something like Ben Affleck’s Argo or Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master, two films that could be critics’ darlings throughout the season.  What if our Best Picture winner has already been released?  Benh Zeitlin’s Beasts of the Southern Wild, a film with a strong grassroots campaign already stirring could get the big push from Fox Searchlight.  Maybe Oscar listens to audiences this year.  The buzz for Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower has been growing louder and could be a massive audience hit given the popularity of the book.  What if Robert Zemeckis’ Flight takes off in a big way with Denzel Washington in the cockpit?  The lines will surely be long for Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained and his films have yet to breakthrough in the top category.  I’ve gone on record saying that Tarantino is not the Academy’s forte despite Oscar nominations for Inglourious Basterds (2009) and a screenplay win for Pulp Fiction (1994).  I chalk up “Basterds” success to the subject.  What predominately Jewish group wouldn’t want to see Hitler shot up for several minutes?  “Fiction,” Tarantino’s best work, hit the season with thunder in the mid-90s.  I don’t think Oscar has felt that way about him since.  Maybe it’s time for a change.

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  • October 1, 2012 | Permalink |

    I think Chbosky’s Perks of Being a Wallflower – the little film that could may surprise a lot of people this year. Only in limited release so far, the buzz and praise is getting louder, steadily going up the Tomatometer if you care about what the critics say. Audience praise is even better with a lot being moved by the performances esp Logan Lerman’s who is getting audiences in tears. I was at a cinema recently and older and younger audiences were really invested in his character. Could be this year’s The Help. I never cry at movies but I was tearing up at this one – Lerman and Chbosky’s heartfelt direction being the culprits

  • October 1, 2012 | Permalink |

    Additional comments: Beasts of the Southern Wild totally deserves to be on the Best Pic List. Life of PI is getting mixed reactions in NY and the trailer doesn’t really scream best pic to me. I had the same “Warhorse” vibe when I saw the extended Lincoln trailer but DDL will probably get a nomination. I think with the Master, though technically proficient (I have not seen a more gorgeously shot film since the David Lean era) but doesn’t seem to resonate with audiences the way Beasts or Perks of Being a Wallflower seem to. Of course, there’s that other underestimated small film – Exotic Marigold Hotel which could be a dark horse

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