Sarah and Doug put Triangle Movie Talk on the line this year with our 2013 Oscar Picks. There is the usual discussion and, for those of you scoring at home, we have bolded in the actual picks for easy reference. A few things we clearly establish is that Flight being nominated for writing might be the single worst nomination in Academy history, Doug is a little too in love with the technical prowess of Life of Pi, and Sarah needs to get a t shirt made up that says “It’s Lincoln’s To Lose”.
Doug: Right off the bat, Best Picture is tough… Damn!
Sarah: I think we think it’s Lincoln’s to lose. And it could lose, if some of these others split the vote.
Doug: And by “others”, we’re saying you’ve got Lincoln, Silver Linings, Argo, and Life of Pi?
Sarah: You have to put Zero Dark Thirty in there, too. It’s a good category. Even Django could get some votes. Maybe we shouldn’t start the picks with Best Picture. Maybe this one is too hard.
Doug (laughs): We’ve got to pick it at some point. I’m gonna pick… Crap. Maybe I’ll narrow it down to Lincoln and Argo. Life of Pi, I don’t think, ultimately has quite enough of a following. And Silver Linings doesn’t quite have…
Sarah: The weight?
Doug: There’s the Affleck factor. Aw, hell, I’m going to pick Lincoln.
Sarah: I do still think it’s Lincoln’s to lose. I don’t see how the others pull it off. So, we’re both going Lincoln. Do we want to name dark horses or underdogs?
Doug: Well, why don’t we just make it clear that it’s an unbelievably tight race this year where any number of movies could win.
BEST PICTURE Sarah: Lincoln Doug: Lincoln
Sarah: OK, Actor In a Leading Role.
Doug: Come on, right? I’ll let you say it.
Sarah: Daniel Day-Lewis.
Sarah: Do we need to even discuss this?
BEST ACTOR Sarah: Daniel Day-Lewis Doug: Daniel Day-Lewis
Sarah: Actor In a Supporting Role.
Doug: Here we go. It could be any of four people. Let’s eliminate Alan Arkin.
Sarah: And I don’t really think Robert De Niro has a chance, but only because of the other three nominees. I mean, look at the other three.
Doug: Uh, oh. I was actually thinking about picking De Niro. It’s De Niro, he hasn’t won in a while?
Sarah: I know we’re picking who we think will win, not who we think should win. If I had the ability to cast a vote, it would be Hoffman or Waltz in this category.
Doug: I’m in complete agreement with that.
Sarah: But I think Tommy Lee Jones is going to take it.
Doug: Which is funny, because my initial reaction is that it’s a Jones vs De Niro showdown. And I’m going to go with De Niro. And you’re going Tommy Lee Jones?
Sarah: I’m going Tommy Lee Jones.
Doug: Alright, you could pick up the key point in this category. T.L. Jones is a good pick. I could regret this one.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR Sarah: Tommy Lee Jones Doug: Robert De Niro
Sarah: Actress In a Leading Role. You could really flip a coin on this one.
Doug: Wow, it’s another tough one. Are we going as many as three ways on this one, no raciness intended?
Sarah: Don’t you think it’s coming down to Jessica Chastain and Jennifer Lawrence?
Doug: You’re right. I was thinking that Emmanuelle Riva for Amour could sneak in there, too. And it’s such a bad way to think about things, but she is quite a bit older, and she could have the whole “last chance” thing going on for her. But I’m picking Jennifer Lawrence here. You’ve convinced me on the greatness of Chastain’s performance, but I’m still going Lawrence.
Sarah: We’ve discussed before that the Academy has a tendency to undervalue subtlety in performances. Again, I would vote for Jessica Chastain if I had a vote, but I think I’m going to surprise you a bit on this one and say that the voters will swing for Jennifer Lawrence.
Doug: Hmmm. OK.
BEST ACTRESS Sarah: Jennifer Lawrence Doug: Jennifer Lawrence
Sarah: Actress In a Supporting Role.
Doug: Yeah, yeah, yeah. We’ve covered this one a ton already. We love Amy Adams, we want Amy Adams, and Amy Adams is going to get 2% of the vote, if she’s lucky. Anne Hathaway wins this one.
Sarah: Yup. And it’s going to be disappointing.
Doug: A little disappointing. But even though she doesn’t have a whole heap of screen time, Anne Hathaway was pretty amazing in Les Mis. All of these categories have a lot of deserving nominees this year. So, there might be some disappointment, but I do think she deserves it. They should hand out multiple trophies on some of these.
Sarah: It’s true. How about if Paul Thomas Anderson just gives his own award to Amy Adams for saving his movie. And speaking of The Master, Philip Seymour Hoffman being in the Best Supporting category instead of Best Actor is pretty annoying.
Doug: That is annoying. We’re going Anne Hathaway here, I take it?
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS Sarah: Anne Hathaway Doug: Anne Hathaway
Sarah: What are we going to skip to next? Do we want to do Animated Feature?
Sarah: My best guess is Wreck It Ralph to win this one.
Doug: That was easy. That’s what I would go with. But you’ve pointed out what a good year it was for animated films, or “cartoons” as I call them. I might lean more toward Frankenweenie if it hadn’t espoused the theory that said don’t make your kids play sports, because if you do you’re just going to end up causing their dog to get run over.
Sarah (laughs): I’m not sure that’s the whole lesson I took from it, but I was OK with that lesson. Let’s celebrate the little artists and scientists.
Doug: I’m on your side. And, remember, if you’re a kid and you play sports your dog is toast unless you can electrocute him and bring him back to life.
Sarah: I also liked the message in that one that says parents aren’t always right.
Doug: You should always follow your own heart. It’s a great message. OK, so Wreck It Ralph wins for Animated Feature.
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE Sarah: Wreck It Ralph Doug: Wreck It Ralph
Sarah: Let’s do Cinematography next. Life of Pi, probably. I think maybe I’ll go Skyfall, though, because I think it should win something.
Doug: Do it, do it. It will give me a chance to pick up a cheap point on you.
Sarah: Just kidding. Life of Pi.
CINEMATOGRAPHY Sarah: Life of Pi Doug: Life of Pi
Sarah: Costume Design?
Doug: Costume design? Really?
Sarah: It’s got to be Les Mis or Anna Karenina. I kind of suspect Anna Karenina will win.
Doug: Alright, you want to both pick Anna Karenina?
Sarah: Sounds good.
COSTUME DESIGN Sarah: Anna Karenina Doug: Anna Karenina
Sarah: Best Director!!!
Doug: Oh, boy!!!
Sarah: It’s another tough one.
Doug: I can see an argument for everyone on this list to win except probably the Beasts guy.
Sarah: Yeah, probably. Although I don’t know that Ang Lee can pull it off.
Doug: That disappoints me. But I agree that I’m not sure he will win. We’ve talked this one over quite a bit, and we’re on the same page, but he did so much as a director.
Sarah: The skill he had to bring to creating such a beautiful, well done movie out of such a pretty thin story was amazing.
Doug: You pointed out that he brought two distinct skill sets, and you could probably say it’s more like three. The technical stuff, the guiding of the actors and putting an almost imaginary vision up on the screen.
Sarah: I hope Ang Lee gets the proper credit for all that, but I’m not sure it’s going to result in the trophy.
Doug: So, who do we go with? Are we going to cop out and just go Spielberg.
Sarah: I do think on some of these larger categories, it’s Lincoln’s to lose. Maybe the math could work out where the vote gets split so much that one of the others wins.
Doug: they’re definitely splitting the vote. Part of me is sort of bothered by the idea that in some of these categories, somebody can walk away with an Academy Award with as little as, say, 25% of the vote. I wonder sometimes if it might be better if they’d keep doing ballots until somebody has at least 50%.
Sarah (laughing): You’re advocating for a runoff election for the Academy Awards?
Doug: Let’s have runoff elections. I understand that the winners of these things aren’t going to be running the country after their victories, but it might be nice to see a winner who gets more votes. Anyway, I am going to be ticked off when I pick Spielberg to win as a safety pick and Ang Lee ends up winning…
Sarah: Pick Ang Lee. Pick Ang Lee. Do it.
Doug: Is it more important for me to go with what I really want, or is it more important for me to defeat you in the contest?
Sarah: That’s the question that you have to ask yourself.
Doug: You have to ask yourself the same question, you know. Is victory more important…
Sarah: Victory, in itself, is not so much important to me. But being right is pretty important to me. It’s not just beating you that’s important, it’s just being correct.
Doug: Aw, such a nice thing to say. So, you’d be happy if we both got everything right?
Sarah: Sure. You can do what I’ve been doing and say you’d vote for Ang Lee if you had the vote, but you’re picking Spielberg.
Doug: But I really think Ang Lee has a shot. Dammit, I’m going Spielberg. Are you going Spielberg?
Sarah: I’m going Spielberg.
BEST DIRECTOR Sarah: Steven Spielberg Doug: Steven Spielberg
Sarah: How about Film Editing next?
Doug: I always like the editing category. Looking at the list, I’d say it has to come down to Argo or Zero Dark Thirty.
Sarah: I was thinking Zero Dark would be in there. The last sequence of Argo was really well done, and that was mostly down to editing. But, overall, I find myself leaning toward Zero Dark Thirty.
Doug: I’m leaning toward Argo. I’m not sure I thought it was a great film, but I do think the movie was pretty skillfully put together. There were a fair number of mood changes in it, and the editing handled it all really nicely. I think I’ll go Argo here. You’re Zero Dark?
Sarah: Zero Dark Thirty for me.
FILM EDITING Sarah: Zero Dark Thirty Doug: Argo
Sarah: Where do we go next?
Doug: I’ll let you choose. Whatever you’d like to take a shot at, I’m in.
Sarah: How about we take a guess at Production Design?
Doug: I think this could be another somewhat technical category that Life of Pi could win. I’m going to go Life of Pi. You had some pretty amazing production designs going on in Lincoln, Les Mis. Impressive period looks in both of those. But, I stick with Life of Pi.
Sarah: OK, well just to be different then, I’m going to throw it to The Hobbit.
Doug: Good one. Part of me can roll with the theory that says if something like The Hobbit just gets the one nomination, maybe there’s a reason for it in that category.
Sarah: I’m throwing a bone to The Hobbit.
PRODUCTION DESIGN Sarah: The Hobbit Doug: Life of Pi
Sarah: Do we want to do Sound Editing next?
Doug: Like I said, I’m in for whatever.
Sarah: OK, f*&k it. I’m throwing it to Skyfall. We’ve got to get a win somewhere for Skyfall.
Doug: I have no idea, so I’ll just pick the same. To use your lingo, f*&k it.
SOUND EDITING Sarah: Skyfall Doug: Skyfall
Sarah: Do you want to go Visual Effects next?
Doug: If Life of Pi is on there, I’ll go with it.
Sarah: Life of Pi is on there.
Doug: I’m going with it. Anything that has to do with appearance or technical aspects, just put me down for Life of Pi.
Sarah: I love the fact that The Avengers at least gets a mention in this category, but I’ll go Life of Pi here, too.
VISUAL EFFECTS Sarah: Life of Pi Doug: Life of Pi
Sarah: Alright, the writing categories. Adapted Screenplay. Another strong category.
Doug: A strong category, but I probably feel more strongly that Lincoln will win here than I do about any of the other categories we’ve picked, other than DDL for Best Actor.
Sarah: Yeah, you’re right, it’s Lincoln. If I’m saying it’s Lincoln’s to lose on all of these categories, why should I change here.
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY Sarah: Lincoln Doug: Lincoln
Sarah: Original Screenplay? I know your pick is going to be Flight, right?
Doug (laughs pretty uncontrollably): At least where on the same page on that. I like it when there’s at least one thing that we agree unequivocally on. The writing in that movie was so bad that it was offensive, was it not?
Sarah: Yes, I finally saw it, and it was just incredibly bad. It didn’t even rise to after school special levels of quality.
Doug: Oh, yeah, the writing wasn’t as good as what you’d see in after school special. You know the writing in a movie is bad when the least offensive part of it is the plane flying upside down. I mean, I serious doubt that physics would allow it to be possible to fly a plane upside down, but the plane flying upside down scenes still rang more true than pretty much anything else in there. Yup, not as good as an after school special. At least with an after school special, you’re usually watching it when you’re 11 years old.
Sarah: Maybe Flight was meant for 11 year olds.
Doug: Flight couldn’t win the screenwriting Oscar even if the Academy voters are all 11 year olds.
Sarah: Just really, really, really bad. Let’s focus on the good stuff in this category. Because there’s a lot of it. Incredible writing from Wes Anderson in Moonrise Kingdom, as is so often the case with a Wes Anderson movie. I really kind of want Moonrise to win here, but it’s probably too far under the radar.
Doug: This might be one that Michael Haneke could win. Amour will probably only win for Best Foreign Language Film. But Haneke gets a ton of respect for the depth and themes of his movies, and this could well be a category that he gets recognized for. I get the sense that, while I thought it was great, some felt that Django didn’t rise to Tarantino’s accustomed levels.
Sarah: I thought it rose to Tarantino’s normal levels. A lot of mention has been made that the original script for Django would have produced a 5 hour movie, so there’s that. But I thought it was well done.
Doug: Yeah, the criticism of this one is that he didn’t take enough out. I don’t necessarily agree, but that’s the criticism, if there is one.
Sarah: He does clearly love his own stuff. My question is how much other good stuff was there. Did he pick the best stuff to leave in? I had read that Tarantino had offered Don Johnson a choice of about 5 or 6 characters that were in the original draft of the screenplay. Apparently, Don Johnson picked Big Daddy as the one he wanted to play because he felt that Big Daddy would never get cut, while some of the other roles could get cut. It just gives you an idea for how monstrous the original script must have been.
Doug: And that’s interesting, because while the bumbling KKK scene was certainly Tarantino-esque, you could argue that it didn’t quite fit in with the rest of the movie. It was almost too farcical compared with the rest of the film. As a stand alone section of the movie, it certainly is funny, though. Zero Dark Thirty has some really good journalistic style writing in it. But, can you give a writing award to a movie that hinges on the journalism style when you’re questioning the authenticity of some of it?
Sarah: The writing category is often the category where they sort of go for the more offbeat movies. This is a really tough category. I would hope Moonrise could get in there as the offbeat choice this year. But it’s been so long since it’s been out. And maybe Zero Dark and Django might have taken over in the writing category.
Doug: Something tells me that the offbeat thing to do in this category this year is to vote for Amour, which is probably the least offbeat of all the nominees for writing. A pretty universal theme, the difficulties with the end of life. I have a sneaky feeling about Amour. If Django wins, I can still say, “I told you so.” But I’m going to go out on a limb on this one and go with Amour.
Sarah: So, you’re going Amour? It bums me out that Moonrise Kingdom probably can’t win. I don’t buy that Haneke can win for Amour. I think it comes down to Tarantino versus Mark Boale for Zero Dark Thirty. I’m going with Tarantino.
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY Sarah: Quentin Tarantino Doug: Michael Haneke