Since 1929, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has been recognizing cinematic excellence in a number of creative categories. Over the years, the films they selected have best embodied the creative spirit that has driven countless filmmakers to bring their dreams to the big screen. The Academy Awards have evolved into one of the biggest spectacles on television with millions tuning in each year to watch an obscure organization pass out small golden statues of a naked man holding a sword. The Academy Awards are truly the Super Bowl of film awards shows. For the past two years, I have had the opportunity to work at the Academy Awards as a Talent Page. It is truly fascinating to see the amount of time and effort that goes into the production of this annual TV icon. The number of people working behind the scenes far exceeds the guests in the audience.
No Academy Awards article is complete without the requisite predictions. As a self-described movie nut, I have based these predictions on years of scientific research that has led to the development of complex mathematical formulas. These rather convoluted formulas factor in cultural trends, wild theories from critics, analysis of past winners, Academy voter preferences and what everyone else on the Internet thinks will win. Pass me the envelope please.
â€œBeasts of the Southern Wildâ€
â€œLife of Piâ€
â€œSilver LInings Playbookâ€
â€œZero Dark Thirtyâ€
This has proved to be an especially difficult year for Best Picture predictions with a number of prominent films competing for the biggest prize of the night. Â At the moment, it looks like Ben Affleckâ€™s spy thriller â€œArgoâ€ is the frontrunner. This would be a rather disappointing selection in my opinion. The more deserving but less likely alternatives include Kathryn Bigelowâ€™s â€œZero Dark Thirtyâ€ and Steven Spielbergâ€™s â€œLincoln.â€
Michael Haneke (â€œAmourâ€)
Benh Zeitlin (â€œBeasts of the Southern Wildâ€)
Ang Lee (â€œLife of Piâ€)
Steven Spielberg (â€œLincolnâ€)*
David O. Russell (â€œSilver Linings Playbookâ€)
In a surprising turn of events, â€œArgoâ€ director Ben Affleck failed to receive a Best Director nomination. Since â€œArgoâ€ will win Best Picture, it is likely that the Academy will give the Direction award to one of the runner-ups for Best Picture. I am predicting that Steven Spielberg will go home with the prize, but â€œLife of Piâ€ director Ang Lee could challenge him.
Bradley Cooper (â€œSilver Linings Playbookâ€)
Daniel Day-Lewis (â€œLincolnâ€)*
Hugh Jackman (â€œLes Miserablesâ€)
Joaquin Phoenix (â€œThe Masterâ€)
Denzel Washington (â€œFlightâ€)
They should rename this category the Daniel Day-Lewis Award. Every time this man is nominated for Best Actor, he is the frontrunner. This year is no different. Quite frankly, this is his award to lose. Countless critics have lauded Lewisâ€™ portrayal of President Abraham Lincoln and I would be shocked if the Academy gives the award to anyone else. Â The only actor that stands a chance of pulling off an upset is Bradley Cooper for his role in â€œSilver Linings Playbook.â€
Jessica Chastain (â€œZero Dark Thirtyâ€)*
Jennifer Lawrence (â€œSilver Linings Playbookâ€)
Emmanuelle Riva (â€œAmourâ€)
Quvenzhane Wallis (â€œBeasts of the Southern Wildâ€)
Naomi Watts (â€œThe Impossibleâ€)
Out of all the categories, the award for Best Actress is the most difficult to call. Over the past few weeks, Jessica Chastain, Jennifer Lawrence and Emmanuelle Riva have all received considerable Oscar buzz for their incredible work. Even though â€œZero Dark Thirtyâ€™sâ€ buzz has dulled slightly over the last few weeks, I still believe that Jessica Chastain is going home with the prize. A major upset win could go to French actress Emmanuelle Riva, who will be turning 86 on Oscar night.
Best Supporting Actor
Alan Arkin (â€œArgoâ€)
Robert De Niro (â€œSilver Linings Playbookâ€)*
Philip Seymour Hoffman (â€œThe Masterâ€)
Tommy Lee Jones (â€œLincolnâ€)
Christoph Waltz (â€œDjango Unchainedâ€)
Famed American actor Robert DeNiro has been in a bit of a slump as of late but his compelling performance in â€œSilver Linings Playbookâ€ put him back in the Academyâ€™s good graces. I predict that he will win on Sunday night but the award could also go to Tommy Lee Jones who was spectacular in â€œLincoln.â€ This is another close race.
Best Supporting Actress
Amy Adams (â€œThe Masterâ€)
Sally Field (â€œLincolnâ€)
Anne Hathaway (â€œLes Miserablesâ€)*
Helen Hunt (â€œThe Sessionsâ€)
Jacki Weaver (â€œSilver Linings Playbookâ€)
Even though Tom Hooerâ€™s â€œLes Miserablesâ€ turned out to be a bit of a critical dud (which still managed to receive a Best Picture nomination), critics have been seemingly unanimous in their praise of Anne Hathaway. Anyone else winning in this category would be a major upset. If anyone stands a chance of doing it, it is Sally Field for her portrayal of Abraham Lincolnâ€™s wife Mary Todd Lincoln.
Best Original Screenplay
â€œAmourâ€ (Michael Haneke)*
â€œDjango Unchainedâ€ (Quentin Tarantino)
â€œFlightâ€ (John Gatins)
â€œMoonrise Kingdomâ€ (Wes Anderson & Roman Coppola)
â€œZero Dark Thirtyâ€ (Mark Boal)
This is a tough call. At best, my prediction is a wild guess. I happen to think that Michael Haneke will win for â€œAmourâ€ (which he also directed) but he has strong competition from Quentin Tarantinoâ€™s script for â€œDjango Unchained.â€ Since both of these men wrote and directed their Best Picture nominated films, I believe that either one of them could win a shiny gold statue on awards night, with a slight edge going to Haneke.
Best Adapted Screenplay
â€œArgoâ€ (Chris Terrio)*
â€œBeasts of the Southern Wildâ€ (Lucy Alibar & Benh Zeitlin)
â€œLife of Piâ€ (David Magee)
â€œLincolnâ€ (Tony Kushner)
â€œSilver Linings Playbookâ€ (David O. Russell)
As of now, I will predict that â€œArgoâ€ will win the award for Best Adapted Screenplay. Â The better choice would be either â€œLincolnâ€ or â€œSilver Linings Playbook.â€ Due to the fact that â€œArgoâ€ is not a frontrunner in any other major category besides Best Picture, I believe the Academy will go with Chris Terrioâ€™s script, which contains a rather humorous portrayal of 1970â€™s Hollywood.
â€œLife of Piâ€
This is the category that is closest to my heart. As an aspiring cinematographer, I am holding out hope that my idol Roger Deakins will win for his stunning work on Skyfall. As of this year, Deakins has been nominated an astounding 10 times without a win. The poor Brit, who is the most talented working cinematographer in my opinion, cannot seem to catch a break from the Academy. Even though Claudio Miranda is likely to win for â€œLife of Pi,â€ I continue to pray that the Academy voters will realize the error of their ways and give Deakins his long overdue award.
Best Animated Feature
â€œThe Pirates! Band of Misfitsâ€
Movie nerds call Best Animated Feature the Pixar award for good reason. Even though â€œBraveâ€ was less of a critical darling than some of Pixarâ€™s more accomplished productions like â€œToy Story 3,â€ I still think that they will win in this recently included category come Sunday night. An unlikely but hopeful upset could come in the form of a much deserved win for â€œParaNorman.â€
Andrew Rieger is a senior communication major Â who has worked for the Academy Awards for the past two summers.