The Unpredictability of This Year’s Oscar Race

oscarnominees We are just under a month away from the 85th annual Academy Awards and it is beginning to look more and more like one of the most unpredictable Oscars in recent memory.  While it will probably be not too much of a challenge to predict who will win in the acting and screenwriting categories, it is becoming increasingly clear that no one film is a sure bet for the coveted Best Picture prize.  It seems like a new film is entering and leaving the frontrunner position every week and, even though I have now seen (and ranked) all nine of the Best Picture nominees, I still have no idea what film will end up with the top prize.  As such, I am going to go through each of the films (in my order of preference) and contemplate each film’s chances.

Amour If I was the one giving out the Oscar for Best Picture, I would give it to Michael Haneke’s Amour in an instant.  It is my personal favourite of the nine and, in a perfect world, I could see it winning.  However, Amour’s biggest challenge is the fact that it’s in French.  I would think that the Academy is more than likely to lean towards a film in their own language, as unfair as that sounds.  However, I sure Amour has a very good chance at getting the Best Foreign Language Film nod. Argo Ben Affleck’s third film is definitely on a roller coaster ride.  It received early Oscar buzz when it came out in the fall, but it sort of fizzled when Ben Affleck didn’t get nominated for Best Director.  Some people, myself included, saw Argo’s Best Picture win at the Golden Globes as the end of its awards run.  However, as it turned out, Argo had big wins over the weekend at both the Producers Guild Awards and the Screen Actors Guild Awards.  If Affleck also wins at the Director’s Guild Awards on Saturday, it can be safe to say that Argo will be firmly back in frontrunner status. Beasts of the Southern Wild Even though it’s safe to say that Beasts of the Southern Wild will probably end up as one of the “also ran” films this year, I am definitely happy that the film received all the Oscar attention that it has, after being somewhat forgotten in all the fall Oscar buzz. Django Unchained It’s nice that Quentin Tarantino still gets Oscar nominations, but I think his best Oscar chances came and went with Pulp Fiction. Lincoln On paper, Lincoln would be the film that you consider the Oscar frontrunner, since it has the most nominations with 12.  However, with the exception of constant Best Actor wins for Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln hasn’t been making much of a splash on the pre-Oscar circuit.  I personally think that the film was a little bit over-hyped, due to its patriotic subject matter, and it is quite possible that the Oscar voters aren’t really going to buy into it. Zero Dark Thirty Kathryn Bigelow’s latest topped a lot of critics lists towards the end of the year, making people think that it was the new Oscar frontrunner.  However, the controversy over the film’s inclusion of torture have quite diluted the film’s chances, with many Academy members saying that they were not going to vote for the film.  As such, it is quite likely the film is now in “also ran” territory. Les Misérables The film has at least one sure-fire Oscar for Anne Hathaway’s supporting performance.  Also, the film’s number of nominations and Golden Globe wins ensures that it will at least be one of the films that has a chance of winning.  However, I highly doubt that the film will walk away with the big prize at the end of the night. Silver Linings Playbook This is definitely this year’s “little movie that could.”  It is definitely the most crowd-pleasing film in this year’s Best Picture slate and it has nominations in every single major category.  There is definitely a very real chance that Silver Linings Playbook could emerge as the underdog winner at the Oscars.  A small chance, but a real one. Life of Pi Let me just say that I almost forgot this film was nominated, which I think says more than enough about its Oscar chances.   So, that is the current state of the Oscar race.  I’m hoping that the race will become a little clearer in the upcoming weeks, after the presentation of the Directors Guild Awards, BAFTAs, and Writers Guild Awards.  However, without a doubt, this is the most back-and-forth Oscar race I’ve seen for years.

Sean Kelly Author

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described über-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).