Someone needs to explain to me how the Academy hasn’t turned the Oscar nominations into a primetime bonanza akin to CBS’ NCAA Tournament “Selection Show”. Who wouldn’t tune in to ABC at 9:00 on a Tuesday night for an hour-long show where the Oscar nominations are announced and winners and losers are Skyped in for reaction? “We’re joined now by Jim Carrey, who misses out on what would have been his first ever nomination once again – Jim, are you surprised that Mr. Popper’s Penguins didn’t get the recognition it deserved?” Or “Meryl, you literally played a woman who eats chapstick – how did you turn this into an Academy Award-nominated role?”
Anyway, the Oscar nominations will be announced live tomorrow morning at “8:36 AM EST”. Why’d I put the time in quotes? Because someone, somewhere, decided that it would be a great idea to announce the nominees for the most-watched awards show in the world at 8:36 in the morning in the EAST! How many people in California are waking up to watch this? Three? I care about the Oscars approximately 875 times more than I should, I’m in the best U.S. time zone for this and I still probably won’t get up to watch the show. How has Harvey Weinstein not figured this out yet?
All gripes aside, with the nominations on the way, it’s time for me to throw on my savant cap and predict the nominees for this year’s Academy Awards. I’ll start with the things that I have absolutely no knowledge of before moving forward and eventually getting to the things I have almost no knowledge of. Carrying on…
Best Animated Short
Paperman – Just sounds like something that would be nominated for an Oscar.
The Fall of the House of Usher – Christopher Lee narrates. Because of course he does.
Tram – No idea what this is, but the director’s been nominated before.
Dripped – The sequel to Ryan Reynolds’ Buried.
Maggie Simpson in “The Longest DayCare” – And the Oscars are officially broken.
Best Live Action Short/Best Documentary Short
No Christopher Lee or Simpsons? I’m tired.
Best Animated Feature
Brave – Generic Pixar slot.
Frankenweenie – Tim Burton gets critically loved. May not have the box office to sneak in.
A Liar’s Autobiography: The Untrue Story of Monty Python’s Graham Chapman – I don’t know what this is, but my fingers hurt just from typing it.
ParaNorman – Critics seemed to love this, too. Hopefully this makes it over Madagascar 3 or Hotel Transylvania, which you know are terrible without having to watch.
Wreck-It Ralph – Everyone seemed to love this.
Best Documentary Feature
How To Survive A Plague – 100% on RottenTomatoes, about AIDS. Sure, why not?
The Imposter – Because I’ve heard of it.
Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence In the House of God – The director (Alex Gibney) already has an Oscar. Good enough for me.
Searching For Sugar Man – The trailer looked fantastic. That’s all I got here.
This Is Not A Film – I have also heard of this one.
Best Foreign Language Film
Amour (Austria) – Might get nominated for Best Picture, so it should be a cinch here.
Kon-Tiki (Norway) – The most expensive film in Norway’s history. So, there’s that.
The Intouchables (France) – It’s made $420.8 million worldwide. And no, you’ve never heard of it.
No (Chile) – Just so I don’t pick five European films.
A Royal Affair (Denmark) – It’s about a queen who falls for her king’s physician. It has costumes, royalty and it’s a period piece. You really think this won’t get nominated? (Right, you don’t have an opinion.)
Best Visual Effects
The Avengers – HULK WIN OSCAR.
The Dark Knight Rises – I didn’t love this movie, but it would be awesome if it got nominated here, because of the use of practical effects.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey – I didn’t love this movie, and it would be terrible if it got nominated here, because of the ridiculous overuse of terrible CGI.
Life of Pi – Probably the winner.
Prometheus – My favorite visual effect is the guy who taunts the alien snake…oh, wait, that was an actual person!
Best Sound Editing
The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises, Django Unchained, Skyfall, Zero Dark Thirty…absolutely no commentary here.
Best Sound Mixing
The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises, Les Miserables, Skyfall, Zero Dark Thirty…absolutely no commentary here, either.
Best Art Direction
Django Unchained, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Les Miserables, Life of Pi, Lincoln…this will probably be the only category I nail, for no apparent reason.
Best Costume Design
Anna Karenina – Sounds costume-y.
Argo – The ’70s look is pretty solid, plus there’s that crazy sci-fi read…you know what, I’m talking myself into a costume design nominee! I might be a redneck! Er, no, that’s not how it goes…
Django Unchained – For Jamie Foxx’s blue thing.
Les Miserables – Obviously.
Lincoln – If the Academy loves this movie as much as I think it will.
Life of Pi – I really need to see this…looks like a visual masterpiece.
Lincoln – Janusz Kaminski. Next!
The Master – Please, Academy, don’t screw this one up.
Skyfall – Without having seen Pi or Zero Dark Thirty, this is my current favorite.
Zero Dark Thirty – That being said, this is definitely an amazing-looking film.
Best Original Song
Brave, “Lean Me Right” (Birdy/Mumford & Sons) – Who the hell is “Birdy”? Anyway, people apparently like this, and, again, Pixar.
Les Miserables, “Suddenly” (Hugh Jackman) – This song could have been three minutes of garbage cans banging against meat grinders, and it still would have been nominated. But it’s actually very good.
Paul Williams: Still Alive, “Still Alive” (Paul Williams) – I have absolutely no clue what this is, and I don’t want to listen to the song, but again, people seem to like it.
Skyfall, “Skyfall” (Adele) – Everyone loves Adele.
This Is 40, “Dull Tool” (Fiona Apple) – Everyone seemed to love Fiona Apple last year, right? I give up.
**POSSIBLE SPOILER** Katy Perry’s “Wide Awake” from Katy Perry: Part Of Me: 3D: Like The Justin Bieber Movie: Whatever The Hell This Was Called, my second-favorite Top 40 song of the year.
Best Original Score
Dario Marianelli, Anna Karenina
Alexandre Desplat, Argo
Mychael Danna, Life Of Pi
John Williams, Lincoln
Jonny Greenwood, The Master
**POSSIBLE SPOILER** Hans Zimmer for The Dark Knight Rises, which would be so freaking cool.
Hitchcock, Les Miserables, Lincoln – Yeah, whatever.
Best Film Editing
Argo – The frontrunner here? Incredibly tense, especially in its latter third.
Life of Pi – Because I have it down for a bunch of other nominations.
Lincoln – Just because.
Skyfall – Gets the action film spot.
Zero Dark Thirty – WHY HAVE I NOT SEEN THIS YET…oh, right, it’s going into wide release this weekend.
Best Original Screenplay
Quentin Tarantino, Django Unchained – Christoph Waltz should get credit for being a co-writer.
Rian Johnson, Looper – Bit of a wild-card pick, but I think it’s engaging and fresh enough to earn a nod.
Paul Thomas Anderson, The Master – I’m bored.
Wes Anderson & Roman Coppola, Moonrise Kingdom – Could challenge for the win.
Mark Boal, Zero Dark Thirty – Probably the favorite here.
**POSSIBLE SPOILER** Martin McDonagh, Seven Psychopaths, especially after the Academy nominated In Bruges.
Best Adapted Screenplay
Chris Terrio, Argo
David Magee, Life Of Pi
Tony Kushner, Lincoln
Stephen Chbosky, The Perks Of Being A Wallflower
David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook – EVERYTHING ELSE IS IRRELEVANT.
**POSSIBLE SPOILER** Ol Parker, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, because funny British old people.
Best Supporting Actor
Alan Arkin, Argo – Not really sure why, but he’s become the standout of the film, according to every awards committee that exists.
Leonardo DiCaprio, Django Unchained – Don’t feel good about this one, thanks to the potential of the vote-splitting from Waltz and Jackson – but I think Leo’s a big enough name to sneak in. Less than 50/50, though.
Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln – Probably the favorite. He’s certainly mine.
Philip Seymour Hoffman, The Master – …but it’s close, thanks to this guy.
Robert De Niro, Silver Linings Playbook – Hasn’t been here in a while, but boy, does he deserve it.
**POSSIBLE SPOILER** Matthew McConaughey has a legitimate shot at getting in for Magic Mike. In fact, I almost took him over DiCaprio.
Best Supporting Actress
Maggie Smith, Best Exotic Marigold Hotel – Everybody loves this Downton Abbey thing, right?
Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables – Your winner.
Sally Field, Lincoln – Your runner-up.
Amy Adams, The Master – Support for the film has been a bit more muted than people might have expected, but the Academy loves her. And frankly, she deserves to be here.
Helen Hunt, The Sessions – I’ve only read and heard good things. And she’s an Academy favorite as well.
**POSSIBLE SPOILER** Samantha Barks, if the Academy really loves Les Miserables.
Denzel Washington, Flight – Nobody seems to be all that crazy about the movie anymore (why not?), but he still towers over the proceedings and should be safe here. Should be, at least.
Hugh Jackman, Les Miserables – He’s in. Terrific role, terrific performance, terrific narrative.
Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln – “And the Oscar goes to…”
Joaquin Phoenix, The Master – I know he called out the awards process, but he’s just so. damn. GOOD.
Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook – The nomination I will be most happy to see. Seriously.
**POSSIBLE SPOILER** No one, really…this is a six-person race, with John Hawkes drawing raves for The Sessions, and nobody else should have much of a shot.
Emmanuelle Riva, Amour – I think it’s between her – age 85 (!!!) – and Beasts of the Southern Wild‘s Quvenzhane Wallais, age 9 (!!!!). When in doubt, go old.
Naomi Watts, The Impossible – Can you believe she only has one nomination? Wait, who am I talking to again?
Marion Cotillard, Rust & Bone – So much awesome, all the time. Except for the whole TalOOPS DARK KNIGHT RISES SPOILER ALERT SORRY, NOTHING TO SEE HERE.
Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook – ❤
Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty – It’s her or Jennifer for the win.
**POSSIBLE SPOILER** Rachel Weisz has started lingering for The Deep Blue Sea, and she…already won an Oscar? When did this happen?
Ben Affleck, Argo – Ben Affleck actually might be the front-runner in a Best Director competition. Those crazy Mayans…wait, I can’t use that excuse anymore!
Tom Hooper, Les Miserables – Should he get in? No. Might he? Yes.
Ang Lee, Life Of Pi – You know, I really didn’t like this book all that much.
Steven Spielberg, Lincoln – Of course.
Kathryn Bigelow, Zero Dark Thirty – Don’t stop making Middle East movies.
**POSSIBLE SPOILER** Quentin Tarantino, Django Unchained – I’d be pretty shocked, but people have really responded to the film lately. So don’t completely count him out.
As a reminder, the Academy now nominates anywhere between five and 10 pictures. I’m projecting the full 10, but let’s rank them in case we get fewer than 10…
1-6, in some order: Argo, Les Miserables, Life of Pi, Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook, Zero Dark Thirty
7: Django Unchained
8: Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
9: The Master
10: Beasts of the Southern Wild
**POSSIBLE SPOILER** Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom, which everyone seems to love. But the Academy hasn’t recognized Wes yet, so is this really the year?
Well, it’s 3:04 in the morning, so I’m not putting pictures in here. Sorry to bore you. Let’s check back in six hours and see how it all looks at that point, k?