I haven’t done any real blogging on this current awards season we’re in, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been keeping an eye on the race. This year’s is more interesting than most, since a lot of the major categories lack a clear front-runner. Sure, everyone knows Anne Hathaway is taking Best Supporitng Actress for Les Misérables, and Best Actor is Lincoln‘s Daniel Day-Lewis‘ to lose, but everything else is still refreshingly open. There are at least four films I could see win Best Picture at this point that wouldn’t cause me to bat an eyelid.
As I’ve said before, awards season to me is an event for the brain and not for the heart. By that I mean that it’s fun to think about and predict the Oscars, but to invest hopes and emotions in the process is a fool’s game. The Oscars are determined by a large number of voters, who all fill out their ballots according to their own opinions – at least in theory. They are as entitled to like what they like as I am, so you won’t hear any cries of “so-and-so should have been/didn’t deserve to be nominated!” when the nominations are announced this Thursday.
That said, if I had a ballot, there are some things I would put on there that the Academy members may or may not be likely to spring for. Here are a few of them.
Best Supporting Actor: Tom Cruise – Rock of Ages & Garrett Hedlund – On the Road
Tom Cruise for showing that an old dog can still learn new “sex drugs & rock n roll”-fuelled tricks. Garrett Hedlund for announcing the emphatic arrival of a new young powerhouse actor. Both for giving some of the year’s best performances.
Best Picture: The Grey
Imagine if they pull an Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close at the nomination announcement by revealing The Grey as a surprise last nominee for Best Picture. My skull might explode with joy.
Best Documentary Feature: The Invisible War
Ideally, I’d have The Queen of Versailles here. It’s such a well-made and fascinating documentary, and one of my favorite movies of last year period. Alas, it failed to make the short list, so it’s out of the running. One great film that did make the list, however, is Kirby Dick‘s heart-crushing The Invisible War, about rape and sexual abuse in the US military. For sheer power and importance alone, this one easily earns a spot on my ballot. As unpredictable as the documentary branch can be, this one might actually happen, unlike…
Best Director: Christopher Nolan – The Dark Knight Rises
This obviously won’t happen. If the Academy members didn’t go for Nolan for superior films like The Dark Knight or Inception, they won’t go for him for this one either, especially in a strong year like this. Still, it would be cool if it did happen, no? A nod for his work on the Batman trilogy as a whole. One can only dream.
Best Actor: Suraj Sharma – Life of Pi
This one draws to mind two other much-praised performances from recent years: Ryan Reynolds in Buried, and James Franco in 127 Hours. They too were tasked with carrying large portions of their films on their own, with nobody to act off of. Suraj Sharma outshines them both, providing both humor, dramatic force, anger, sadness, resignation, and so much more. The money scene at the hospital is definitely nothing to sneeze at either. Powerful stuff, and if the world makes sense, this will just be the start of things to come for young Sharma.
Just for fun, here are some further predictions that could possibly happen, but are still against conventional wisdom. If these indeed hold true, I reserve full rights to shout “I told you so!”. Even if they don’t make me happy per se.
Anthony Hopkins gets a Best Actor nomination for Hitchcock.
Hopkins is awesome, but he hasn’t been nominated since Amistad, which was 15-ish years ago. Hitchcock hasn’t gotten great critical reception, but I read somewhere that it was “likely to only appeal to the 60+ crowds”. So a bunch of older folks might like it? Such as… the Academy?
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel gets tons of noms.
Since we’re on the “AMPAS is old” path, let’s keep walking down it to a film that’s all about the elderly: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. This one could wreak complete havoc all over the place. Judi Dench for Best Actress, Maggie Smith for Supporting Actress, Tom Wilkinson for Supporting Actor, Best Adapted Screenplay… Maybe even Best Picture! Hey, if The Blind Side could do it…
Life of Pi shut out of major categories.
When was the last time a film with a heavy emphasis on religion did well at the Oscars? I don’t know. I didn’t bother checking. Let’s just assume it never happens, and that Life of Pi misses out on Best Picture, Director and all the other heavy-hitting categories. It will still do well with the techs and crafts, however.