It’s that time of year that all film fanatics look forward to: Award season. Much in the same vein as the transfer window does for football fans, January always provides movie buffs with speculation, excitement and occasionally disappointment (Sorry Arsenal fans). Surely though, there can be no film award for exciting, more prestigious, and more coveted than the Academy Awards, or Oscars. It’s Hollywood’s FA Cup Final.
With this year’s nominates announced yesterday, conjecture is already rife as to who will be taking home the awards at the ceremony in April. So, not to condone gambling, but where should you put your money this year you ask? Well, let’s take a look at this year’s contenders shall we…
Let’s start with the big one. Of the 9 films in nominated in this category this year, I can’t really see past Lincoln for a winner.It ticks all the right boxes on the Oscar checklist: historical biopic about an American hero, one of Americas’ most beloved directors, the greatest actor in the world today, and on top of all that it is really a very good film.
Should the Academy surprise us and not choose Lincoln (and that would certainly be a surprise), the gong could go to musical behemoth Les Misérables. . A musical winning Best Picture would be nothing new (the last of which was Chicago in 2003) and as The King’s Speech proved, the Academy are clearly fans of Tom Hooper’s work.
Outside Chance: Les Misérables.
Long-Shot: Life of Pi/Armour
Again, I really can’t see there being any shocks with this one. Daniel Day-Lewis is without questionable doubt the finest actor of his generation. Winning Academy Awards is just what he does, with previous Best Actor awards for My Left Foot and There Will Be Blood. Once again he has shown his incredible dedication to a role by turning out yet another phenomenal performance, this time as Abraham Lincoln. Will he make history and become the first man to win Best Actor three times? Count on it.
After Day-Lewis it really is anyone’s ball-game. Denzel Washington, a previous recipient of the award for Training Day, puts in solid effort in Robert Zemeckis’ Flight, as does Hugh Jackman in Les Misérables. Both actors stand a good chance should Daniel Day-Lewis leave the planet in search of sustainable fuel and greater acting challenges.
Favourite: Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln)
Outside Chance: Denzel Washington (Flight)/Hugh Jackman (Les Misérables)
Long-Shot: Joaquin Phoenix (The Master)
Not so clear cut this category. Any of the nominees would and could be deserving winners, but I think it is going to be between three main contenders. Firstly, Jennifer Lawrence for Silver Linings Playbook; what a 2012 she had with both an Oscar nomination and a heroic, franchise-starting turn in The Hunger Games.
The award could also be won a by another starlet who has burst on to our silver screens in recent years: Jessica Chastain. In Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty, Chastain holds her own in a big way, especially given the delicate subject matter of the film.
Finally, I’d say there is a real chance that the award could go home with Amour’s Emmanuelle Riva. Riva, 85 would become the oldest recipient if wish wins for her portrayal of a retired schoolteacher, but as Christopher Plummer proved last year, age is clearly just a number tot the Academy.
Any one of these actress could win, but if I had to choose, my money would be on Lawrence.
Favourite: Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook)
Outside Chance: Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty)/Emmanuelle Riva (Armour)
Long-shot: Naomi Watts (The Impossible)
This year, the hunt for the Best Director gong is really a two horse race. In one corner, its blockbuster-machine turned Academy-favourite Stephen Spielberg. Ever-present and ever-nominated director will be looking to take home the trophy for the second time after his last victory, Schindler’s List.
In the other corner, the visionary director who filmed the ‘unfilmable’ with Life of Pi: Ang Lee. We know the Academy are big fans of Lee, and visually speaking, Life of Pi may be his best work to date, so if anyone is going to challenge the might of Spielberg, it’s this guy.
Favourite: Steven Spielberg (Lincoln)
(very close) Outside Chance: Ang Lee (Life of Pi)
Long-Shot: David O’ Russell (Silver Linings Playbook)