The 85th Academy Awards: If I had been a voter

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Today I’ll be going back once again and looking at a recent Oscar lineup and explaining what my vote would have been in each of the big eight categories. I mentioned that potentially I could do this once a week with previous Academy Award ceremonies, and while I’m going to be doing that here and there, there’s a chance that this could turn into a long running thing. Again, if nothing else, this gives you an interesting look into my cinematic tastes. Over the course of the year you can sort of get a feel for what my current favorites are, but now we can look to the past a bit more.

Alright, here goes nothing:

Best Picture – Argo

The nominees here for this ceremony were Amour, Argo, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Django Unchained, Les Miserables, Life of Pi, Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook, and Zero Dark Thirty. When you factor in that it was my favorite film of 2012, a vote for Best Picture winner Argo would be a pretty clear and decisive choice here (the rare occasion when my favorite movie of the year actually wins the Oscar). I wouldn’t argue with a vote for Django Unchained, Silver Linings Playbook, or Zero Dark Thirty, but Ben Affleck’s flick was far and away my number one.

Best Director – David O. Russell for Silver Linings Playbook

I’d have voted for Affleck here, but shockingly (and insanely) he wasn’t nominated. The actual nominees were Ang Lee for Life of Pi, Michael Haneke for Amour, David O. Russell for Silver Linings Playbook, Steven Spielberg for Lincoln, and Benh Zeitlin for Beasts of the Southern Wild. Without Affleck, I very nearly went with Spielberg here, but in the end I just like Russell’s movie better. The aforementioned Affleck is easily my personal pick overall, but Russell is my choice of the actual nominees.

Best Actor – Joaquin Phoenix for The Master

In an absolutely perfect world, I’d have seen Denis Lavant in the lineup for Holy Motors and subsequently he’d have been my vote, but that was always a super long shot. The actual nominees here though were Bradley Cooper for Silver Linings Playbook, Daniel Day-Lewis for Lincoln, Hugh Jackman for Les Miserables, Joaquin Phoenix for The Master, and Denzel Washington for Flight. Everyone is very worthy here and I actually really came close to selecting eventual winner Day-Lewis, but Phoenix was just so incredible and showed me so much that it would have been enough to give him his first Oscar.

Best Actress – Jennifer Lawrence for Silver Linings Playbook

Without the ability to cite the snubbed Zoe Kazan for Ruby Sparks here, my choices in this category were obviously just Jessica Chastain for Zero Dark Thirty, Jennifer Lawrence for American Hustle, Emmanuelle Riva for Amour, Quvenzhané Wallis for Beasts of the Southern Wild, and Naomi Watts for The Impossible. Chastain was a real compelling second choice for me, but I have to go ahead and agree with the voters here that Lawrence was just superb in Russell’s flick and well worth bestowing an Academy Award upon.

Best Supporting Actor – Christoph Waltz for Django Unchained

The real Best Supporting Actor of this particular year to me was Jason Clarke in Zero Dark Thirty, but in lieu of him, I had to choose from the actual nominees of the category…Alan Arkin for Argo, Robert De Niro for Silver Linings Playbook, the late Philip Seymour Hoffman for The Master, Tommy Lee Jones for Lincoln, and Christoph Waltz for Django Unchained. Hoffman would have been my second choice, but of this close group, I’ll again go with the masses and cite Watlz’s hugely entertaining performance.

Best Supporting Actress – Anne Hathaway for Les Miserables

Without question, this was a bit of a weak category, so my top choice would have been Elizabeth Olsen for Liberal Arts, but that nomination was never actually going to happen. The nominated women here were Amy Adams for The Master, Sally Field for Lincoln, Anne Hathaway for Les Miserables, Helen Hunt for The Sessions, and Jacki Weaver for Silver Linings Playbook. Eventual winner Hathaway is such an absolute scene stealer that I had to vote for her, even if Adams nearly got my pick initially.

Best Adapted Screenplay – Argo

Here’s a rare instance where the nominees were the best of the bunch, give or take The Dark Knight Rises not being there. The nominees were Argo, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Life of Pi, Lincoln, and Silver Linings Playbook. Tony Kushner’s Lincoln script and Russell’s one for Silver Linings Playbook are close runners up, but I’m going with the winner one more time here and citing Chris Terrio for Argo.

Best Original Screenplay – Zero Dark Thirty

Finally, the nominees here were Amour, Django Unchained, Flight, Moonrise Kingdom, and Zero Dark Thirty, but this was always a two horse race to me. Quentin Tarantino’s screenplay for Django Unchained won, and I have no problem with that, but ever so slightly I preferred Mark Boal’s work on Zero Dark Thirty, so that’s where my vote would go.

Stay tuned, there will be another one of these in the next week or so!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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