Oscars 2013 Will Win/Should Win Selections (Editor Clayton Davis)


Life of Pi (Ang Lee)(The annual “Will Win/Should Win” of the Awards Circuit has been our most popular yet most challenging series where each writer let’s their final thoughts be known on the Oscar categories.  Each writer will reveal their choices everyday leading up to the Oscar ceremony.  Think you can do better?  Let your final thoughts be known in the comment section or by joining our Oscar Pool. -CD)

My talented writers of the Awards Circuit have all chimed in with their final predictions and who they thought should have been mentioned throughout the  year.  It’s time to roll the dice, and foresee any potential surprises that are coming our way on Oscar night.  Before the controversial picks are revealed (and obliterated by people who think they “know” what’s going to happen), this was the HARDEST set of predictions constructed in my decade of covering the Oscar race.  I STILL have no idea what’s going to happen.  I can only pray and think this is going to turn out just fine but I stay suspect.

First of all, I want to thank the entire staff, both current and that have moved on to other opportunities, for their contributions to AwardsCircuit.com.  We turn 5 years old in May and the team in place is one of the most talented and creative minds this side of the internet.  Most importantly, our entire readership deserves all the praise for contributing, correcting, and letting loose on different topics throughout the year.  We appreciate you all and hope you stick around with us for the rest of the year as we kick off new series, both Oscar and non-Oscar related.

Without further ado, the FINAL Oscar Predictions are down below:


SHOULD WIN: Les Miserables
SHOULD HAVE BEEN NOMINATED: Searching for Sugar Man, The Painting, West of Memphis, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Arbitrage

After winning the Directors Guild, Producers Guild, SAG Ensemble, Writers Guild, Golden Globe and BAFTA Awards, is there any question?  I still wouldn’t be terribly surprised if Affleck’s film did end up losing to the most nominated film of the night, Lincoln.  Affleck is still not nominated for Best Director and the Oscars don’t deviate too often from their normal pickings.  The big question is how many other awards do Argo pull in with Best Picture?  Eh…

WHO WILL WIN: Ang Lee for Life of Pi

SHOULD WIN: Michael Haneke for “Amour”
SHOULD HAVE BEEN NOMINATED: Tom Hooper (Les Miserables), Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty), Nicholas Jarecki (Arbitrage)

The default choice that everyone gravitates towards is two-time Oscar winner Steven Spielberg since he helmed the most nominated film of the year since Affleck isn’t nominated.  I cannot in good conscience choose Spielberg in Director without choosing Lincoln in Best Picture.  If there are enough people that love Lincoln and want to cite Spielberg for direction, it would seem just as easy to go for the film in Picture.  Ang Lee and David O. Russell seem to be the two most likely spoilers in this category.  With the Weinsteins pushing Silver Linings Playbook as hard as they have done over the past few weeks, Russell winning Director would suggest the film winning in Best Picture.  As you may have read in my Oscar scenario, there’s a good chance Russell could become the new Mike Nichols.  I got to give the edge to Ang Lee who could get all the credit for the technical achievements Life of Pi accomplished this year.

WHO WILL WIN: Daniel Day-Lewis for Lincoln

SHOULD WIN: Joaquin Phoenix for “The Master”
SHOULD HAVE BEEN NOMINATED: Logan Lerman (The Perks of Being a Wallflower), Jean-Louis Tringnant (Amour), Richard Gere (Arbitrage)

One of the more presumed “locked” up categories, maybe AMPAS voters watched The Master and saw what Phoenix achieves is something we don’t see everyday.  But that ain’t happening.  Day-Lewis will become the most rewarded Best Actor winner.

WHO WILL WIN: Emmanuelle Riva for Amour

SHOULD WIN: Emmanuelle Riva for “Amour”
SHOULD HAVE BEEN NOMINATED: Michelle Williams (Take this Waltz), Emayatzy Corinealdi (Middle of Nowhere), Nina Hoss (Barbara)

The brain says that Jennifer Lawrence’s wins at the Golden Globes and SAG suggest a frontrunner is right in front of us.  Six weeks passed since the Oscar nomination announcement and Lawrence lost the BAFTA during that time.  Normally, BAFTA is never that telling on the race but Emmanuelle Riva is sure to have the international vote from AMPAS members.  Lawrence’s dreadful opening monologue on SNL, a young age that will have many more chances at Oscar recognition, and a performance that borders on Supporting may have lost steam towards the end.  It’s a shame Chastain fell victim to a pointless accusation on Bigelow’s film because she would have made a fine Lead Actress winner.  Same goes Watts who should have plenty of votes but unfortunately is in the wrong year.  Got to go with my heart and say Emmanuelle Riva upsets on Sunday.

WHO WILL WIN: Robert DeNiro for Silver Linings Playbook

SHOULD WIN: Philip Seymour Hoffman for “The Master”
SHOULD HAVE BEEN NOMINATED: Dwight Henry (Beasts of the Southern Wild), Eddie Redmayne (Les Miserables), Sam Rockwell (Seven Psychopaths)

With a category full of previous Oscar-winners, somebody has to stand out more than others.  Robert DeNiro’s crying fiasco on television likely gained him a lot of fans and the “32 years since…” campaign run by the Weinstein worked for Meryl Streep last year.  Christoph Waltz won the Golden Globe and BAFTA awards and is the only actor in the lineup we’ve seen give a speech this year.  Good for him, he charmed the pants off everyone each time.  What hurts Waltz is he’s the most recent winner of the lineup and his character is criminally similar to his first Oscar-winning turn.  Same goes for Alan Arkin who might get pulled in with an Argo train.

WHO WILL WIN: Anne Hathaway for Les Miserables

SHOULD WIN: Anne Hathaway for “Les Miserables”
SHOULD HAVE BEEN NOMINATED: Doona Bae (Cloud Atlas), Susan Sarandon (Arbitrage), Kelly Reilly (Flight)

If Anne Hathaway’s antics in the final weeks didn’t turn off too many voters, she should still win this award easily.  If there is an upset in this category, Jacki Weaver seems lined up to take it from her.  A surprise nomination in a Weinstein film shows massive support and if enough felt obligated to go for Playbook in every category, Weaver could come on through.  Sally Field remains a formidable #3 and probably is second in line to some but Lincoln lost a lot of steam and support.

WHO WILL WIN: Michael Haneke for Amour

SHOULD WIN: Mark Boal for “Zero Dark Thirty”
SHOULD HAVE BEEN NOMINATED: Nicholas Jarecki (Arbitrage), David Ayer (End of Watch), Jean-Francois Laguionie, Anik Leray (The Painting)

Clearly a race between Michael Haneke and Quentin Tarantino with Mark Boal making a strong case, even despite a ZD30 backlash.  I just feel that Haneke has a lot of respect within the Academy and they may feel Foreign Language is not enough and reward a brilliant portrait of love.

WHO WILL WIN: Chris Terrio for Argo

SHOULD WIN: Tony Kushner for “Lincoln”
SHOULD HAVE BEEN NOMINATED: Stephen Chbosky (The Perks of Being a Wallflower), William Nicholson (Les Miserables), Richard Linklater & Skip Hollandsworth (Bernie)

The Writers Guild cleared this up that Argo’s power is going to spill over for Chris Terrio despite strong contenders Tony Kushner and David O. Russell in serious conversation.  Russell winning Adapted at BAFTA was very telling and this may be an appropriate place to reward him accordingly.

WHO WILL WIN: Wreck-It Ralph

SHOULD WIN: Frankenweenie
SHOULD HAVE BEEN NOMINATED: The Painting, Rise of the Guardians, The Rabbi’s Cat

Will they want to stick with their default Pixar pick Brave, or go with the crowd-pleasing PGA Winner Wreck-It Ralph, or even go with the overdue Tim Burton who excels in this genre of?  Sticking with Ralph to wreck the stage on Oscar night.

WHO WILL WIN: David Gropman for Life of Pi

SHOULD WIN: Les Miserables
SHOULD HAVE BEEN NOMINATED: Beasts of the Southern Wild, The Impossible, Hyde Park on Hudson

WHO WILL WIN: Claudio Miranda for Life of Pi

SHOULD WIN: Life of Pi
SHOULD HAVE BEEN NOMINATED: Mihai Malamaire, Jr. (The Master), Masanobu Takayanagi (The Grey), Danny Cohen (Les Miserables)

WHO WILL WIN: Jacqueline Durran for Anna Karenina

SHOULD WIN: Anna Karenina
SHOULD HAVE BEEN NOMINATED: Hyde Park on Hudson, The Master, Django Unchained

WHO WILL WIN: William Goldenberg for Argo

SHOULD HAVE BEEN NOMINATED: The Dark Knight Rises, West of Memphis, Les Miserables

WHO WILL WIN: Peter Swords King, Rick Findlater and Tami Lane for Les Miserables

SHOULD WIN: Les Miserables
SHOULD HAVE BEEN NOMINATED: Lincoln, The Hunger Games, Cloud Atlas

WHO WILL WIN: Andy Nelson, Gary Rydstrom and Ronald Judkins for Skyfall

SHOULD WIN: Les Miserables
SHOULD HAVE BEEN NOMINATED: The Dark Knight Rises, The Avengers, Zero Dark Thirty

WHO WILL WIN: Per Hallberg and Karen Baker Landers for Skyfall

SHOULD HAVE BEEN NOMINATED: The Dark Knight Rises, The Impossible, Cloud Atlas

WHO WILL WIN: Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton and R. Christopher White for Life of Pi

SHOULD WIN: Life of Pi
SHOULD HAVE BEEN NOMINATED: The Dark Knight Rises, The Impossible, Flight

WHO WILL WIN: Mychael Danna for Life of Pi

SHOULD WIN: Life of Pi
SHOULD HAVE BEEN NOMINATED: Cloud Atlas, Frankenweenie, Rise of the Guardians

WHO WILL WIN: “Skyfall” from Skyfall – Music and Lyric by Adele Adkins and Paul Epworth

SHOULD HAVE BEEN NOMINATED: Any five songs from Django Unchained

WHO WILL WIN: Amour from Austria

SHOULD HAVE BEEN NOMINATED: The Painting, Barbara, Araf

WHO WILL WIN: Searching for Sugar Man

SHOULD WIN: Searching for Sugar Man
SHOULD HAVE BEEN NOMINATED: West of Memphis, The House I Live In, Chasing Ice

WHO WILL WIN: Paperman

SHOULD WIN: Adam and Dog

WHO WILL WIN: Mondays at Racine



02/22/2013 (FINALIZED)
LEAD ACTORDaniel Day-Lewis
LEAD ACTRESSEmmanuelle Riva
MAKEUPLes Miserables
DOCUMENTARY FEATURESearching for Sugar Man


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Clayton Davis is the esteemed Editor and Owner of AwardsCircuit.com. Born in Bronx, NY to a Puerto Rican mother and Black father, he’s been criticizing film and television for over a decade. Clayton is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association where he votes and attends the kick off to the awards season, the Critics Choice Awards. He’s also an active member of New York Film Critics Online, International Press Academy, Black Reel Awards, and the Broadcast Television Journalists Association. Clayton has been quoted and appeared in various outlets that include The New York Times, CNN.com, Variety, Deadline, Los Angeles Times, Bloomberg Television, AOL, Huffington Post, Bloomberg Radio, The Wrap, Slash Film, and the Hollywood Reporter.
  • Henry Z.

    Les Miserables should win for Best Picture? That’s a shocker. And Emmanuelle Riva wasn’t even nominated for the Globe or SAG. What makes you think that the BAFTA win is enough?

    • Clayton Davis

      I imagine the same crowd that pushed Amour in Picture, Screenplay, etc. are going to stick with her. Lawrence is pretty young by the category standards.

      I fully expect to be wrong but I think Emmanuelle Riva will edge her out.

  • I’m glad to see I’m not alone with Pi taking Production Design. It’s probably Anna Karenina’s to lose, but you got to go out on a few limbs to earn your fortune and glory.

    • Clayton Davis

      I gotta give you a little credit. You convinced me. But let it be known, if Lincoln wins, I’m punching you in the throat next time I’m in Ohio.

      • Ha! Don’t blame me that you were foolish to listen!! lol I think it’s the third most likely to win, and yet I can’t help but think it pulls it off.

  • Kevin!

    I liked Les Mis, but Best Picture? no. The parts that were not up to scratch with the rest of the film distracted too much (i.e Russel Crowe), that is most of my argument against the film, but it is important that Javert’s part be sung beautifully imo, but this is also the POV from an actor who does a lot of theater and so I think I am biased towards the people I have seen make what it is. (Phillip Quast). I couldn’t switch out any of these directors for Tom Hooper, this year before Acknowledging Katherine Bigelow and Paul Thomas Anderson, as well as Ben Affleck. That being said, Les Mis was a moving film and I liked a lot of the choices, but I just don’t understand when people are so behind it as the best movie of the year, especially in a year like that where I think we have seen, Near-Perfect films such as, Beasts, The Master, Zero Dark Thirty (insert your own picks here.) Aside from that, I think we get either Riva or Deniro, but not both. If Deniro gets it, I see no way Jennifer Lawrence leaves without hers. Though I am pulling for Chastain and Waltz (who I would debate, at another time, gives a completely different performance, that has been judged as the same given his vocal choices and physical nature) But, I have nothing but respect for these opinions. You follow your heart clayton, and I admire that in “critics”

    • Clayton Davis

      Thanks Kevin.

      If it’s Chastain that edges out Lawrence and not Riva, I’m okay with that. Chastain is very good and I argue leaps and bounds over Lawrence.

      I thought about the DeNiro or Riva, not both, argument but Supporting Actor is such a toss up, I didn’t know where to go. All I know in that category that it’s NOT Philip Seymour Hoffman that wins even though he should. Ugh…the worst.

  • Massimo

    Really hope your right about all the Life of Pi wins, especially director.

    • Clayton Davis

      I fully expect “Pi” to be the big winner of the night. It could even pull in 8 or 9 wins if the love is REALLY there.

  • billdale

    Bravo, Clayton, to you and your staff for the unmatched thoroughness with which you have applied all your insight, research and judgement to the current, unprecedented race – without ever pretending (as others have tried) that you know what’s actually going to happen!

    On each of the big, contentious categories, maybe it will all come down to just one, marginal and otherwise small consideration?

    Best Actress – RIVA. She will be 86, and at the Oscars on her birthday (as has been known for a while). No disprespect to her performance or career, of course, but when all else is equal? We KNOW people are voting for her even when they really don’t like the film. Expect Lawrence to win for the next performance she makes it through without falling over or walking off the set. Possibly Chastain too.

    Best Supp. Actor – DE NIRO. Clayton alludes to it… “they’re all pretty good, they’ve all won before, so who is in most need of another one NOW? And in the Academy, we care about such things more than other bodies…” Also, those well-disposed to SLP can happily vote for Riva when they know they can reward De Niro here. Few will think they NEED to honour Waltz, Arkin, PSH or Grumpy Lee Jones… particularly those who are not massive fans of the latter two’s films.

    Best Director – ANG LEE. A LOT of them will NOW want to vote for Affleck – they may or may NOT have done first time around. So, who do they tick instead? It’s a genuine 4-way race – is this unprecedented? Many seem to think Spielberg did a good job, but few think it the BEST job – he didn’t even get a BAFTA nom, which I think is very telling. Difficult to see the AFFLECK club feeling they need to turn to him now, they know DDL will carry the torch – likewise, with Haneke, particularly if they’ve already given him Foreign Film and possibly Actress too (maybe even screenplay?)

    Which leaves two… and it could be a toss-up here. But some seem to think that Russell excelled more as a writer with SLP, and if they can vote for it in one or more acting categories… which leaves ONE. A bold, difficult film, which he pulled off against the odds, and technical accomplishment strong across the board. No-one’s going to feel uneasy about ticking Lee’s name – particularly those still feeling guilty about the Crash debacle.

    And if I am right about all of these… look for Russell to possibly sneak through the otherwise split field in Adapted Screenplay as the Argo and Lincoln fans face off and damage each other. For the reasons outlined under “Director” above!

    Of course, very happy to be told that all the above is a whole load of rubbish!

    • Clayton Davis

      Thanks Bill.

      No one can feel bad AT ALL this year if their predictions are crap. It’s the most wide open year I’ve ever covered. It makes it more fun on Sunday night.

  • steve

    Hahaha, Les Mis should win, good one.

    • Clayton Davis

      not kidding.

      my #1 film of the year and a love I’m okay having on my own (along with some quiet people that read Awards Circuit and decideded to reward it in ACCA 2012 as the Best Picture of the Year).

      I believe in 10-15-20 years, many will talk about Les Miserables, the Hooper version.

  • billdale

    Without wanting to turn into a gushing Clayton fan-boy, I agree with him on Les Mis. Hooper made some bold and strong decisions which turned what probably would have been just another filmed version of a stage (and stagey) experience into a genuinely unique and involving cinematic entity. And I actually really liked Russell Crowe! Then again, maybe my expectations were suitably low…

    But it was always going to polarise people… and some just don’t “do” the opera (as opposed to traditional musical) form, anyway. As such, it probably SHOULDN’T be Best Picture, as it was never going to appeal across the board… doesn’t stop it from being, for some us, our own, best film of the year.

    Maybe people will look back in 20 years time and credit it as the bold masterpiece I think it is? Then again, all of us here will have probably forgotten this debate 20 years from now…

    • Clayton Davis

      Agree wholeheartedly.

  • Greg

    I think Jennifer Lawrence will win Best Actress.

    • Clayton Davis

      A part of me thinks so too but I can’t get the Riva scenario out of my head. I think she tops her off.

  • Dan

    You don’t even mark down Affleck for “should have been nominated”? That surprises me. While I liked Arbitrage, I didn’t like it nearly as much as you did, Clayton. And also, I think Hawkes for the Sessions was the biggest snub of the ceremony. Surprised you didn’t mention him.

    • Clayton Davis

      Affleck is a fine Director choice and it goes without saying that he should have been nominated given where the Academy spread their love.

      However, Affleck doesn’t make my personal five. I believe he sits at #7 or so. I found Bigelow, Hooper, and Jarecki much more innovative and groundbreaking as filmmakers.

  • Patrick

    thanks for your work,clayton.Pi is my favorite film this year.Lee is really amazing and talented in exploring storytelling,he brought the fresh air from estern to Hollywood,which i think is potential and of great benefit for the most developed film area.PI deserves oscars,and Lee absolutly too.

  • Josh P.

    I did not like “Les Misérables” at all, but it’s a far more bolder and daring film than something like “Argo”. I would prefer “Argo” to win, on the simple basis that I think it’s a better movie, but I am secretly wishing for a Les Mis upset, just to piss people off and get people having an actual discussion beyond “it’s good, not great, but everybody likes it.”

    I hope to be proven wrong (though not really because I want my predictions to be accurate), but I just have a feeling that people are overestimating how much the Academy loves “Amour”. I know it got nominated in a lot of the top categories, but the writers’ and directors’ branch are a bunch that has favored indie art house pictures in the past (“A Separation” got nominated for writing too), Emmanuelle Riva benefited from a passionate block and a weak race, and the Best Picture field was expanded. I have a feeling “Amour” is going to walk away with only Foreign Film and nothing else. Can it win three Oscars, same as the probable Best Picture winner? We’ll see.

    I wish Ben Affleck was nominated for Best Director. Not because I think he deserves it, but just because I could just predict him to win and be right about it. I’ll be very curious when they open that envelope and read off the winner.

  • Anthony Chester

    I see only one major flaw in this list. You have Life of Pi winning 4 Oscars and Argo only 3. It’s very rare the Academy gives any film more Oscars than the film they crown BP. Last time it happened was 2005 with The Aviator taking it over Million Dollar Baby.

    My gut tells my Argo will take Score instead of Pi for this very reason.

    • Anthony Chester

      Woops correction. You have Pi with 5 Oscars.

      I also think Lee will lose Director to Russell or Spielberg. Either way.

  • George

    So much Les Mis bashing yet it still won the ACCA 2012. Love it.

    Anyway, I’m going out on a limb here, but I just don’t see Argo winning picture. They didn’t nominate Affleck for director and I don’t care how many consolation/guild prizes it has won, they are not giving an Affleck film Best Picture. I could see a Silver Linings or Life of Pi win more than Argo. I have a feeling that Russell will win screenplay and ZDT will take home editing, which should seal the deal for an Argo loss. I still have faith in the Academy though to pick the actual best film of 2012 (these are the same people that voted for The Hurt Locker right?). Zero Dark Thirty should obviously win picture due to its importance and perfection, and I think the Academy might have come around in the past couple months and realized this.

    Either way, I hope Lincoln doesn’t win, do we really another irrelevant Best Picture that no one’s going to remember for the third year in a row? (King’s Speech and The Artist are both nice films in my opinion though)

    • Josh P.

      I would love for the Les Mis fans to be more vocal on the site. Just because there will be disagreement doesn’t mean you should stifle you’re opinion. Debate is a good thing, and I’d love to have it.