Oscars 2013: Analysis & Prediction (Part 7 of 7)

This is the last part devoted to my analysis and prediction of each category for the Academy Awards 2013 celebrating films from 2012. This section will cover two categories: Best Picture and Best Director.

Django Unchained

Will Win: Argo
Dark Horse: Lincoln
Should Win: Silver Linings Playbook

The biggest prize of them all. This year's Best Picture will go to... Argo. It has the momentum from the box-office, critics, Golden Globes and BAFTAs, and ironically from the Academy's own Director's Branch when they failed to nominate Ben Affleck for Best Director. The only film that could reasonably upset Argo is Spielberg's Lincoln. If writer Tony Kushner wins Best Adapted Screenplay, and Tommy Lee Jones for Best Supporting Actor, they will be quite strong indicators of a possible Best Picture win for Lincoln

I haven't seen Django Unchained, so personally my vote will go to Silver Linings Playbook. It is a tremendously entertaining film with superb performances and a sharp script and sensitive direction. If there is going to be an upset of both Argo and Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook is most likely to steal it, especially with Harvey Weinstein lending his 'influential' support. But I still think you should place most of your bets on Argo (quite deservingly) picking up the big prize. 

Michael Haneke (Amour)
Lee Ang (Life of Pi)
David O. Russell (Silver Linings Playbook)
Steven Spielberg (Lincoln)
Benh Zeitlin (Beasts of the Southern Wild)

Will Win: Steven Spielberg
Dark Horse: Lee Ang
Should Win: Michael Haneke

Before the Best Director nominees were read out, nearly everyone thought it would be something like this: Ben Affleck (Argo), Lee Ang, Steven Spielberg, Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty) and either David O. Russell, Quentin Tarantino (Django Unchained), or Tom Hooper (Les Miserables) filling up the final slot. The two surprises are of course Michael Haneke and Benh Zeitlin. By that logic, it is difficult to see either of them taking home the prize. I would however vote for Haneke, currently one of the greatest and most important active filmmakers to come out of Europe. I think he deserves an Oscar (an honorary one or otherwise) for the kind of challenging work he has been delivering for the last two decades. 

The Academy will most likely be voting for Spielberg, who will receive his third directing Oscar after his wins for Schindler's List (1993) and Saving Private Ryan (1998). It is not one of his best films to date, but Lincoln is still serious Spielberg, and most of the time when Spielberg gets serious, the Academy gets serious. The dark horse could either be Lee Ang or David O. Russell, but I will put most of my bets on the former because some Academy members may want to reward the courage and vision of the famed Taiwanese director for taking up a project that had been repeatedly deemed 'unfilmmable', and yet successfully making a splash with critics and audiences worldwide. I don't mind a Lee Ang win actually - well, a huge dose of Asian pride is always welcoming and inspirational for all of us.



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