Friday, February 22, 2013

Beware big Harv, but 'Argo' will win

OK, the biggest question heading into Sunday night's 85th annual Academy Awards (8 p.m. on ABC-TV) isn't whether Steven Spielberg's heavily nominated "Lincoln" might stop the Best Picture momentum of "Argo."  No, it's more likely a matter of whether "Argo," Ben Affleck's Critics Choice, Golden Globe, BAFTA and SAG (ensemble)-winning thriller, can hold off  Harvey Weinstein.
Can Ben Affleck's "Argo" continue its hot streak?
Yep, the same former Miramax Pictures heavyweight who orchestrated the startling 1998 Best Picture upset of his "Shakespeare in Love" over Spielberg's classic "Saving Private Ryan" is at it again with a brilliant marketing campaign for another comedy, the often moving "Silver Linings Playbook."
Of course, Weinstein also has a second major awards player this year with Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained," meaning that The Weinstein Company easily could become the evening's real Oscar king. (A third Weinstein film, "The Master," adds three more acting nominations.)
We'll see, but here's a preview of what should go down, starting with another very competitive category:  

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Alan Arkin, "Argo"; Christopher Waltz, "Django Unchained"; Tommy Lee Jones, "Lincoln"; Phillip Seymour Hoffman, "The Master"; Robert De Niro, "Silver Linings Playbook"
Will Win: Christoph Waltz
Should Win: Waltz, who simply dominated "Django" and really could have been a contender in the Best Actor contest.
Could win: All five nominees are former Oscar winners, but last month's SAG victory for grumpy ol' man Jones makes him the favorite going in. 
Should have been nominated: Another former winner, Javier Bardem, "Skyfall"

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Anne Hathaway, "Les Miserables"; Sally Field, "Lincoln"; Amy Adams, "The Master"; Helen Hunt, "The Sessions"; Jacki Weaver, "Silver Linings Playbook"
 Hathaway looks to be a sure winner. 
Will Win: Anne Hathaway
Should Win: Sally Field, who dumped any and all ego to play the insufferable Mary Todd Lincoln.
Could win: Nobody except Hathaway, a legitimate actor on and off the screen. For some reason, Oscar voters apparently really like her this year.
Should have been nominated: Samantha Barks, "Les Miserables," easily the most charismatic player in the film. 

BEST ACTRESS
Emannuelle Riva, "Amour"; Quvenzhane Wallis "Beasts of the Southern Wild"; Naomi Watts, "The Impossible"; Jennifer Lawrence, "Silver Linings Playbook"; Jessica Chastain, "Zero Dark Thirty"
Will WinJennifer Lawrence (very narrowly over Jessica Chastain).
Should Win: The versatile young Lawrence (very narrowly over Chastain).
Could win:  Riva is coming on strong and, as fate might have it, she'll be celebrating her 86th birthday on Oscar night.
Should have been nominated: Marion Cotillard, "Rust and Bone"

BEST ACTOR 
Hugh Jackman, "Les Miserables"; Daniel Day Lewis, "Lincoln";  Denzel Washington, "Flight";  Joaquin Phoenix, "The Master"; Bradley Cooper, "Silver Linings Playbook"
Will win: Daniel Day-Lewis
Should win: Brit Day-Lewis's great performance does justice to our greatest president.
Could win: Nobody else.
Should have been nominated: John Hawkes, "The Sessions"

BEST DIRECTOR
Michael Heneke, "Amour"; Benh Zeitlin, "Beasts of the Southern Wild"; David O. Russell, "Silver Linings Playbook"; Ang Lee, "Life of Pi"; Steven Spielberg, "Lincoln"
Will Win: Steven Spielberg
Should Win: In this group, Spielberg probably deserves it.
Could win: With awards show darling Ben Affleck and critical favorite Kathryn Bigelow ("Zero Dark Thiry") not even under consideration, everyone but Zeitlin is a possibility. If favorite Spielberg does lose, look for Russell to pick up the gold.
Should have been nominated: Affleck and Bigelow, of course.

BEST PICTURE
Michael Heneke, "Amour"; Benh Zeitlin, "Beasts of the Southern Wild"; David O. Russell, "Silver Linings Playbook"; Ang Lee, "Life of Pi"; Steven Spielberg, "Lincoln"
Will Win: "Argo"
Should Win: "Zero Dark Thirty"
Could win: "Silver Linings Playbook," with Svengali-like Weinstein orchestrating some superb promotion, makes anything possible. Hey, already his movie is the first since "Reds" to garner nominations in all four major acting categories, and that was more than 30 years ago.
Should have been nominatedThe Impossible

OTHER LIKELY "BESTS"
Foreign Language Film, "Amour"; Documentary Feature, "Searching for Sugar Man"; Score, Cinematography, and Visual Effects, "Life of Pi"; Song, Adele, "Skyfall"; Editing and Adapted Screenplay, "Argo"; Makeup, "The Hobbit"; Costume Design, "Anna Karenina"; Original Screenplay, "Django Unchained" and, from a second straight mediocre field for Animated Feature, "Wreck-It Ralph."

Click here to see all of John M. Urbancich's Critics Choice RATINGS ON NEW RELEASES). 

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