2013 Oscar Predictions for all 24 Categories


My predictions for the 85th Annual Oscars for all 24 categories are included below. Last year, I got 19/24 of these correct.

Best Picture:

‘Beasts of the Southern Wild’
‘Django Unchained’
‘Les Misérables’
‘Life of Pi’
‘Silver Linings Playbook’
‘Zero Dark Thirty’

Will Win: Argo
Should Win: Django Unchained

Best Actor:

Bradley Cooper, ‘Silver Linings Playbook’
Daniel Day-Lewis, ‘Lincoln’
Hugh Jackman, ‘Les Misérables’
Joaquin Phoenix, ‘The Master’
Denzel Washington, ‘Flight’

Will Win: Daniel Day-Lewis, ‘Lincoln’
Should Win: Denzel Washington, ‘Flight’

Best Actress:

Jessica Chastain, ‘Zero Dark Thirty’
Jennifer Lawrence, ‘Silver Linings Playbook’
Emmanuelle Riva, ‘Amour’
Quvenzhané Wallis, ‘Beasts of the Southern Wild’
Naomi Watts, ‘The Impossible’

Will Win: Jennifer Lawrence, ‘Silver Linings Playbook’
Should Win: Jessica Chastain, ‘Zero Dark Thirty’

Best Supporting Actor:

Alan Arkin, ‘Argo’
Robert De Niro, ‘Silver Linings Playbook’
Philip Seymour Hoffman, ‘The Master’
Tommy Lee Jones, ‘Lincoln’
Christoph Waltz, ‘Django Unchained’

Will Win: Robert De Niro, ‘Silver Linings Playbook’
Should Win: Christoph Waltz, ‘Django Unchained’

Best Supporting Actress:

Amy Adams, ‘The Master’
Sally Field, ‘Lincoln’
Anne Hathaway, ‘Les Misérables’
Helen Hunt, ‘The Sessions’
Jacki Weaver, ‘Silver Linings Playbook’

Will Win: Anne Hathaway, ‘Les Misérables’
Should Win: Helen Hunt, ‘The Sessions’

Best Director:

Michael Haneke, ‘Amour’
Ang Lee, ‘Life Of Pi’
David O. Russell, ‘Silver Linings Playbook’
Steven Spielberg, ‘Lincoln’
Benh Zeitlin, ‘Beasts Of The Southern Wild’

Will Win: Steven Spielberg, ‘ Lincoln’
Should Win: David O. Russell, ‘Silver Linings Playbook’

Best Original Screenplay:

‘Amour’: Michael Haneke
‘Django Unchained’: Quentin Tarantino
‘Flight’: John Gatins
‘Moonrise Kingdom’: Wes Anderson, Roman Coppola
‘Zero Dark Thirty’: Mark Boal

Will Win: ‘Amour’, Michael Haneke
Should Win: ‘Django Unchained’, Quentin Tarantino

Best Adapted Screenplay:

‘Argo’: Chris Terrio
‘Beasts of the Southern Wild’: Lucy Alibar, Benh Zeitlin
‘Life of Pi’: David Magee
‘Lincoln’: Tony Kushner
‘Silver Linings Playbook’:David O. Russell

Will Win: ‘Lincoln’, Tony Kushner
Should Win: ‘Argo’, Chris Terrio

Best Animated Film:

‘The Pirates: Band Of Misfits’
‘ Wreck-It Ralph’

Will Win: ‘Wreck-It Ralph’
Should Win: ‘Brave’

Best Foreign Film:

‘A Royal Affair’

Will Win: ‘Amour’
Should Win: ‘Amour’

Best Documentary:

‘5 Broken Cameras’
‘The Gatekeepers’
‘How To Survive A Plague’
‘The Invisible War’
‘Searching For Sugar Man’

Will Win: ‘Searching For Sugar Man’
Should Win: ‘Searching For Sugar Man’

Best Cinematography:

‘Anna Karenina’
‘Django Unchained’
‘Life Of Pi’

Will Win: ‘Life Of Pi’

Best Editing:

‘Life Of Pi’
‘Silver Linings Playbook’
‘Zero Dark Thirty’

Will Win: ‘Zero Dark Thirty’

Best Production Design:

‘Anna Karenina’
‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’
‘Les Misérables’
‘Life Of Pi’

Will Win: ‘Les Misérables’

Best Costume Design:

‘Anna Karenina’
‘Les Misérables’
‘Mirror Mirror’
‘Snow White and the Huntsman’

Will Win: ‘Anna Karenina’

Best Makeup and Hairstyling:

‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’
‘Les Misérables’

Will Win: ‘Les Misérables’

Best Original Score:

‘Anna Karenina’
‘Life Of Pi’

Will Win: ‘Life Of Pi’

Best Original Song:

‘Chasing Ice’: J. Ralph (‘Before My Time’)
‘Les Misérables’: Alain Boublil, Claude-Michel Schönberg, Herbert Kretzmer (‘Suddenly’)
‘Life of Pi’: Mychael Danna, Bombay Jayshree (‘Pi’s Lullaby’)
‘Skyfall’: Adele, Paul Epworth (‘Skyfall’)
‘Ted’: Walter Murphy, Seth MacFarlane(‘Everybody Needs a Best Friend’)

Will Win: ‘Skyfall’: Adele, Paul Epworth (‘Skyfall’)

Best Sound Mixing:

‘Les Misérables’
‘Life Of Pi’

Will Win: Les Misérables’

Best Sound Editing:

‘Django Unchained’
‘Life Of Pi’
‘Zero Dark Thirty’

Will Win: ‘Zero Dark Thirty’

Best Visual Effects:

‘The Avengers’
‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’
‘Life Of Pi’
‘Snow White and the Huntsman’

Will Win: ‘Life Of Pi’

Best Documentary Short:

‘Kings Point’
‘Mondays at Racine’
‘Open Heart’

Will Win: ‘Mondays at Racine’

Best Animated Short:

‘Adam and Dog’
‘Fresh Guacamole’
‘Head Over Heels’
‘The Simpsons: The Longest Daycare’

Will Win: ‘Paper Man’

Best Live Action Short:

‘Buzkashi Boys’
‘Death of a Shadow’

Will Win: ‘Death Of A Shadow’

This will be the first year since 1989 that the director of the Best Picture winner wasn’t nominated in the Best Director category (the last time this happened was ‘Driving Miss Daisy’). ‘Argo’ was a great movie and I ranked it at #2 on my Top 10 List of 2012 (with ‘Django Unchained’ marginally edging out ‘Argo’). 

I suspect the Best Actress award will go to Jennifer Lawrence, though this is difficult to predict. Jessica Chastain gave the better performance (great technical acting) but Jennifer Lawrence’s work is showier. Emmaneul Riva turns 86 on Oscar Sunday – it would be nice to see her win the award, and she just might.

Daniel Day-Lewis is the front-runner for Best Actor. He was pretty much guaranteed to win the award when the poster for ‘Lincoln’ was released.

Best Supporting Actor – Another tough category. This will be between Robert De Niro and Tommy Lee Jones. But, my guess is De Niro will win it and it will be his first win in 32 years (‘Raging Bull’ being his last).

Anne Hathaway for ‘Les Miz’! Undeserved – all she did was sing for a bit and die. Oops, spoiler. Sorry. She’s won every Best Supporting Actress award leading up to the Oscars – she will win the Best Supporting Actress Oscar; this is a lock!

Steven Spielberg will win Best Director. Don’t bet against him. This is the Academy’s chance to honor a film veteran who is back at the top of his game.

‘Amour’ will win Best Foreign. This is a certainty; rarely do foreign film crossover to other categories (especially major ones like Best Picture and Best Director).

Warm Bodies

Zombies are the *new* vampires, and I’m not sure I understand why. Admittedly, George A. Romero’s original ‘Dawn of the Dead’ remains one of my all-time favorite horror flicks but I’m in the minority on Danny Boyle’s ’28 Days Later’/’28 Weeks Later’ and AMC’s ‘The Walking Dead’. Zombies don’t make for interesting creatures – they snarl, walk slowly, sniff the air, feast on human flesh, approach a physical barrier, and are eventually killed with a shot to the head.  We’ve never once been able to identify with a zombie character or understand what triggers go off within their decaying mind. ‘Warm Bodies’ breaks tradition and offers us a story that allows us to see things from the zombie’s point of view.

Based on the novel by Isaac Marion, writer-director Jonathan Levine offers us a fresh spin on the zombie genre. The story takes place eight years after a plague has killed off most of the world’s population and turned those victims into zombies. Now, the remaining humans led by Colonel Grigio (John Malkovich) and protected by his armed militia live behind a huge walled city. On the other side of that wall – zombies; and among the zombies is R (Nicholas Houst) who, like his friend, M (Rob Corddry) live at a deserted airport. R and M have almost conversations – most of these consist of grunts, groans, and “eh’s”. We’re able to hear the thoughts in R’s head and come to understand that he’s conflicted about feasting on humans.

While on the lookout for food, R encounters Julie (Teresa Palmer) and a group of her friends. R sees Julie and is immediately drawn to her. His latest victim ends up being Julie’s boyfriend, Perry (Dave Franco). We learn that a side effect of zombies eating human brains is that they experience the memories of the victim – this makes R’s attraction to Julie even stronger. And this causes him to save Julie from being killed by other zombies. They take refuge in a well-decorated airliner, and eventually Julie comes to realize that R means no harm. I should also mention there’s a difference between the dead and the truly dead; the truly dead as referred to as Bonies – these are ferocious and quicker moving zombies who have resorted to tearing off their own flesh, thus making them skeletal-killing creatures that are on the hunt for both zombies and humans.

If not for the fact that he’s part of the undead, R could very well be a character in a circa-2013 John Hughes knockoff. He looks like a hipster high school kid who found a good make-up artist for Halloween. And he’s got fabulous taste in music (well, except for John Waite’s ‘Missing You’). I also think Teresa Palmer has a great screen presence – I’ve noticed her in previous films (none of which I liked) including: ‘The Sorcerer’s Apprentice’, ‘Take Me Home Tonight’, and ‘I Am Number Four’ and always held the belief that she would be able to shine through in the right role. I only hope she continues to pick scripts as good as this for future projects, and I believe if she continues to do so, she will become a recognizable talent. Perhaps knowing that there was no way for John Malkovich to out-crazy the craziness contained within ‘Warm Bodies’, he gives a surprisingly dialed down performance. The best of the supporting cast is Rob Corddry; he’s able to deliver laughs with minimal dialogue – the key to a good comedy is timing, and Corddry’s comic timing is brilliant.  

‘Warm Bodies’ does have its flaws. The special effects surrounding the Bonies aren’t particularly convincing, and their movements appear to be clunky. Some of the musical choices are a little too obvious; I understand that music is used as a tool for the speech-challenged R to communicate with Julie, but the movie does have an overreliance on it during the first act.  And while there is a degree of subtlety to both the humor of the picture and its message, there are times when it’s not so subtle – most noticeably a scene with R under Julie’s balcony that, you know, reminds us of a tale of star-crossed lovers penned by Mr.Shakespeare.

Thanks to the success of the ‘Twilight’ series (or failure depending on how you look at it), there appears to be a surge in the human/supernatural romance sub-genre. As with any romantic film, the courtship process has an element of mechanics to it. But, at least the characters here are (pardon the pun) fleshed out. Mr.Levine’s script has a terrific sense of humor and I admired his optimistic view of humanity (which was a nice change of pace after seeing some really grim pictures lately) and he infuses the film with stylistic flourishes. I loved ‘Warm Bodies’ and give it major points for breathing new life into a genre that seems as dead as its zombie counterparts. I doubt there will be a better post-zombie-apocalyptic love story this year. QED.

Movie 43


About a month ago, I published my list of the Worst 10 films of 2012. The picture to take the #1 spot on that list was ‘The Campaign’ – the Will Farrell/Zack Galifiankis political comedy which inexplicably seems to have its share of promoters (based on the comments I received for ranking the picture so low). ‘Movie 43’ makes ‘The Campaign’ look like an artful rendition in comparison; and I doubt this picture will have anyone promoting it. Even the releasing studio, Virgin Produced, didn’t screen this in advance for critics, because they knew how we would react to it.

The film’s ads state we can’t unsee this thing. My dear readers, I beg of you not to see this. I watched it and am now I’m reviewing it for you so you don’t have to. Film critics may have the best job in the world – but this is a perfect example of when it becomes rough; I was just robbed of ninety minutes of my life. And despite the fact that I’ve only been a contributor to Chic Darling for a short period of time, ‘Movie 43’ made me want to resign as entertainment writer. In fact, this may very well be my last review.

The idea for this project came from Peter Farrelly – who along with his brother Bobby Farrelly directed some of my favorite comedies of the 1990s: ‘Dumb and Dumber’, ‘Kingpin’, and ‘There’s Something About Mary’. Peter has obviously fallen of harder times. It was his idea to create a film consisting of twelve different storylines, each one done by a different director. These idiots include: Elizabeth Banks, Steven Brill, Steve Carr, Rusty Cundieff, James Duffy, Griffin Dunne, Patrik Forsberg, James Gunn, Bob Odenkirk, Brett Ratner, and Jonathan van Tulleken.   ‘Movie 43’ stars one of the biggest ensemble casts ever in film: Halle Berry, Gerard Butler, Anna Faris, Hugh Jackman, Johnny Knoxville, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Seann William Scott, Emma Stone, and Kate Winslet to name a few.

This is the biggest waste of A-talent in cinematic history – those thinking that this will be an interest star-studded turkey are wrong. There is no camp value to be had; ‘Movie 43’ is gross, scatological, witlessly crude, offensive, and an entertainment-free dead zone as far as I’m concerned.

Apparently, this was shot over a four year period – the only fatality here is the audience. The first segment is entitled ‘The Pitch’. Dennis Quaid plays a mad screenwriter trying to pitch a script to film executive Greg Kinnear. Quaid’s outrageous ideas are dismissed by Kinnear, so what does Quaid do? He pulls a gun on Kinnear forcing him to purchase the film. The following segments show us exactly what Quaid’s ideas are. The second segment called ‘The Catch’ features Kate Winslet on a blind date with Hugh Jackman – when Jackman removes his scarf, she noticed an anatomical abnormality – he has a pair of testicles dangling from his neck; no one else seems to notice it, only her! Haha, hehe, whatever. Then there’s ‘Homeschooled’ where we get to see real-life couple Liev Schreiber and Naomi Watts homeschooling their teenage son. They simulate a high school environment within their home so he can have a completely miserable (but normal) high school experience. Their actions towards their son are too cruel for me to describe. ‘The Proposition’ – another real-life pair Anna Farris and Chris Pratt consummate their love for each other by him defecating on her. Gross. ‘Veronica’: Kieran Culkin and Emma Stone engage in an uncomfortable sexual conversation which unbeknownst to them is broadcasted to the shoppers of a local grocery store because the intercom microphone was left on. And there’s the ‘iBabe’ – a replica of a nude woman which functions as an MP3 player; you see, there’s a fan built into the genital region of the iBabe which is mangling the penises of boys who are experimenting on it. And then there’s a fake commercial called ‘Machine Children’ which is paid for by the society of the prevention of cruelty to children inside machines.

I’m not done.

‘Middleschool Date’ – Chloe Grace Moretz gets her period for the first time during a date with a boy from school. He responds by dialing 9/11 to yell out “Help! My friend is bleeding out of her vagina.” Another faux commercial follows this – this time involving two women and tampax. ‘Happy Birthday’ – Johnny Knoxville captures a leprechaun (Gerard Butler) for Sean William Scott as a birthday present. ‘Truth or Dare’ – Halle Berry and Stephen Merchant are on a blind date in a Mexican restaurant (the least offensive dare involves blowing out the candles on a blind boy’s birthday cake before he gets the chance to). ‘Victory’s Glory’ – Terrence Howard is the coach of an all-black basketball team; they’re about to play an all-white team. His motivational speech: “You’re black, they’re white, this ain’t hockey!” Then end credits finally arrive and we see bloopers in which cast members break out of character and laugh. What were they laughing at? There’s nothing funny going on here. Oh wait, faux end credits too; there one segment left. ‘Beezel’ – Elizabeth Banks is jealous of her boyfriend’s (Josh Duhamel) cat. The cat masturbates over beach photos of Josh Duhamel. I’m not kidding.

Did any of this sound funny to you? What were these cast members thinking when they read the script? This isn’t a close call; this is a very bad screenplay. Now, I’m the person who normally defends crude comedies. I’ve given enthusiastic reviews to: ‘Ted’, ‘Horrible Bosses’, ‘Hot Tub Time Machine’, ‘Get Him To The Greek’, every Judd Aptow film, and almost every Kevin Smith picture. But these movies have smart writing, likable characters with a rooting interest; and amidst all the R-rated humor, they have a big heart, and so there’s a chance to get emotionally invested in the fates of these characters. Not in ‘Movie 43’, not even close. No one here is remotely likable; everyone is an a-hole.

‘Movie 43’ is deplorable, first-class junk. You couldn’t write worse jokes if I asked you to write worse jokes. Even with 86.9167 years left in this century, ‘Movie 43’ has made a strong bid for the worst movie of the 21st century. And if you liked this, you should probably unfriend/unfollow me right now. QED.