Oscar Circuit: “Let’s dance…”

It’s the first of the month.  Not only that, it’s the first day of the second half of the year.  Anybody else feel like that was fast?  Yet, here we are.

It’s time to start getting serious, Oscar-wise.  Not many things have come out, and not many films are looking like Best Picture nominees from the first half.  Some will argue The Avengers with a $600 million dollar bank is in talks.  Some think the little indie-film Moonrise Kingdom from Wes Anderson could be our “Little Miss Sunshine” of the year.  In limited release, Benh Zeitlin’s Beasts of the Southern Wild has opened and received one of the best word-of-mouth reviews of the year.  Is that a contender for the big prize?  I’d say it is.

I’m ready to start getting down and dirty with these predictions.

We are still waiting for trailers for Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln, which has remained quietly under wraps all year.  We haven’t even received a poster yet.  We’ve seen minimal of Ang Lee’s Life of Pi, which could be a surprising visual fiasco for the year 2012.  I’m still not sure whether or not Terrence Malick’s To the Wonder or Joel & Ethan Coen’s Inside Llewyn Davis will make it to theaters this year.  I still have them in contention for some awards but I’m ready to drop them at any time.

I’m holding on to a few wild cards like Kar Wai Wong’s The Grandmasters, which is going to get canceled out from Palme d’Or winner Amour from Michael Haneke.  But who knows, could we have two foreign films in Best Picture?  Yeah, I don’t think so either.  I’m still waiting for anything on Nicolas Winding Refn’s Only God Forgives or Derek Cianfrance’s The Place Beyond the Pines, two hopefuls that have stellar casts attached.

What’s really getting me aggravated is trying to sniff out the “contender, we didn’t see coming.”  Is it Trouble with the Curve from Robert Lorenz?  Is it The Sapphires or Quartet?  I’m sure you all have some ideas of which film that is.

In the acting categories, it feels like two-to-three spots could potentially be filled already.  The new trailer for Ben Lewin’s The Sessions has confirmed that John Hawkes is a force to be reckoned with.  I still say don’t count out Bill Murray from Hyde Park on Hudson or the likely spectacular Daniel Day-Lewis from Lincoln but Hawkes has critical darling written all over him.  Hugh Jackman is still very much in there for now until something knocks him off.  The trailer got many people excited.  Also, don’t forget Clint Eastwood has his next final acting role, until the next one, in Trouble with the Curve.  AMPAS could eat that story up if it’s true.

On the women’s side, does anyone know if The English Teacher is coming out this year?  If you do, please let me know so I can stop holding on to this notion that Julianne Moore can win an Oscar for something.  I’d rather just be put out of my misery than keep suffering like this.  What’s funny is, if it’s not Moore, I have no idea who put up top.  Keira Knightley looks too “meh” in Anna Karenina.  I don’t know where to really commit to either Laura Linney (Hyde Park on Hudson) or Carey Mulligan (The Great Gatsby).  They both look like Lead or Supporting campaigns could be in their futures.  And then there’s little Quvenzhane Wallis who is stealing hearts one critic at a time in Beasts of the Southern Wild.  Could we have an eight-year-old Oscar winner for Best Actress?

In the Supporting Actress category, Anne Hathaway and Amy Adams look to be a battle in the making for Tom Hooper’s Les Miserables and Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master.  The former seems like the surest bet as of now to triumph.  There’s also any of the ladies from Hyde Park on Hudson including Olivia Williams and Olivia Colman that could be showing up.  Where there are young and pretty actresses, there’s a few veterans on the horizon.  Annette Bening may be going for the gold in the upcoming Imogene as well as Jane Fonda who’s receiving the best reviews in years for Peace, Love, and Misunderstanding.

On the supporting men side, Joaquin Phoenix is looking better and better in The Master.  Woody Harrelson is getting good early ink for his work in Martin McDonagh’s Seven Psychopaths and Tobey Maguire will be fighting for an invite finally in Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby.  I’m still keeping a close eye on Leonardo DiCaprio, who has two big projects but all seem to be hoping for his villainous role in Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained to stick.  I’m feeling some love for David Strathairn on the horizon as one of the many men that will be fighting for a spot from Spielberg’s Lincoln and expect the fanboys to rally together for Michael Fassbender in Prometheus, which sorry to say, is never going to happen.  Those are the same ones that will be yelling for Tom Hardy in The Dark Knight Rises and perhaps Ian McKellen in the upcoming prequel, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.  As those men are listed in contention, I don’t see any of them going too far in the race.

I’ve taken a dab in every category, even Documentary Feature.  Go figure.  The upcoming film Hitler’s Children sounds absolutely fascinating.  But don’t laugh if any of them are misled or are out of contention.  I did the best I could.

Looking over the list, I have high hopes for Life of Pi, which shows up in several categories as well as Les Miserables and Lincoln.  The race is starting to take shape.  Every category has been updated.  Check out all the predictions and don’t forget to leave yours here in the comment section below.  I’m sure many of you have some interesting thoughts on how this race will play out this year.

PREDICTED WINNER CHART:

CATEGORYFILM OR PERFORMER
PICTUREThe Master
DIRECTORPaul Thomas Anderson – The Master
LEAD ACTORJohn Hawkes – The Sessions
LEAD ACTRESSJulianne Moore – The English Teacher
SUPPORTING ACTORJoaquin Phoenix – The Master
SUPPORTING ACTRESSAnne Hathaway – Les Miserables
ORIGINAL SCREENPLAYPaul Thomas Anderson – The Master
ADAPTED SCREENPLAYLucy Alibar, Benh Zeitlan – Beasts of the Southern Wild
ANIMATED FEATUREBrave
ART DIRECTIONThe Great Gatsby – Catherine Martin
CINEMATOGRAPHYBeasts of the Southern Wild – Ben Richardson
COSTUME DESIGNThe Great Gatsby – Catherine Martin
FILM EDITINGThe Master – Peter McNulty
MAKEUPThe Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
SOUND MIXINGLes Miserables
SOUND EDITINGThe Avengers
VISUAL EFFECTSThe Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
ORIGINAL SCOREArgo – Alexandre Desplat
ORIGINAL SONGLes Miserables
FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILMAmour
DOCUMENTARY FEATUREHitler’s Children
CATEGORYFILM OR PERFORMER