The 2013 Oscars Preview: Best Picture

The last and fine grueling category of the 2013 Academy Awards.  It’s been a long journey, and considering this is the final day before the big day, it’s always important to note the films that haven’t won Best Picture as does who did.  Here are some films that did not win Best Picture:  Citizen Kane, Psycho, The Shawshank Redemption, Vertigo, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Star Wars, Apocalypse Now, Fargo, Pulp Fiction, Jaws, Goodfellas, E.T., The Wizard of Oz, The Social Network and many more.  Considering these are some of the greatest films of all time including Vertigo and Citizen Kane being ranked number one and two on AFI’s Greatest 100 films, yeah, the Academy doesn’t get things right all the time.  This may include the 2013 Oscars, but for now, let’s preview the Best Picture category.  

Best Picture

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

This race has been a gruesome one.  We’ve had multiple frontrunners and favorites in a span about 4-5 months, starting off with Argo in early October.  Coming off a hot premiere in Tulleride, it looked like the early favorite in a very weak year, until November and December came around.  This included the releases of over half of the BP nominees, and Argo took the back burner of the hot and fiery race.  Lincoln was looked at as the monster of this year’s Oscar race, considering the general public was drowning it with financial success, and pairing it with the historic performances from Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field and Tommy Lee Jones and one of the top five greatest directors of all time in Steven Spielberg, it was a forecast in Lincoln’s favor.  

Then for a slight moment, there was this arousal of Les Miserables, which only came from a weekend of screenings and word of mouth.  Once the critics got a hold of it, people knew it wasn’t going to withstand a chance at winning Best Picture.  Then came the entire situation with Zero Dark Thirty.  It met with praise and critical acclaim, and it became the favorite to win Best Picture and other categories including Actress, Director (maybe) and Original Screenplay.  And then came the eventual downfall of the film, as it was blitzed with a media annihilation on all this torture nonsense.  Once the favorite, it now had to be rewarded to another film.  The question was which film?

Films like Amour, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Les Mis and Django are all fills that round out the nominees, but have little to no chance of winning.  Zero Dark Thirty, though most likely will be one of the selected films in this list that will have a long lasting legacy, cannot win either.  Too controversial to win, it will be rewarded in the same way The Social Network, Goodfellas and Citizen Kane is, by it should’ve.  Though I don’t know how much satisfaction that provides, it is good to know you’re film is collectively better than the eventual Best Picture winner.  But if Zero Dark Thirty doesn’t win, that the Academy has to award a film that is everything Zero Dark Thirty isn’t.  And that’s where Argo comes in.  

Lincoln isn’t liked enough.  Too “talky” for it to win.  Life of Pi is possibly to spiritual and too challenging of a film to win, considering it doesn’t have the domestic appeal as some of the other films.  And this is where we go down the line, in quality and in critical success, where Argo’s name takes the spot.  I wonder if the Academy will realize that their opinions of Argo is clearly stated in the nominations, especially when Ben Affleck was snubbed, and then still reward it win Best Picture.  And in all likelihood, they will, because the Academy is becoming more centered on what the guilds tell them to do rather than what they themselves think they should do.  

Though Argo has swept all the awards and precursors, I still see a possible chance of Lincoln, Life of Pi or Silver Linings Playbook take Best Picture, but it all depends on how some of the earlier categories play out.  Here are some of the scenarios favoring the four films still in play.

-Win Best Adapted Screenplay
-Anyone except Spielberg or David O. Russell wins Director
-Win Best Editing
-Wins both Sound Categories

-Must win Best Director
-Must win Best Adapted Screenplay
-Wins 1-2 Tech Categories 
-If Sally Field upsets, it definitely has a much stronger chance of winning Picture

Silver Linings Playbook
-Wins Best Director
-Wins Best Adapted Screenplay
-Wins Two Acting Categories (Actress and Supporting Actor)

Life of Pi
-Wins at least four Tech Categories
-Must win Best Director
-Wins Best Adapted Screenplay

Considering all of these scenarios, I think Argo’s chances are still the greatest by a long shot.  But the only reason I believe this is how all the previous awards have played out.  The only winner has been Argo, and as a progressing “expert”, you have to sense the culture and get past your own personal choices and opinions.  I would love to see any other film than Argo win Best Picture, mainly because I want to see something shocking.  I love when the underdog wins like Adrien Brody for the Pianist.  

But the reality is is that it’s going to be Argo’s night.  Argo will also go down as one of the weakest winners of all time, as most experts are predicting it to only win between 2-4 Oscars.  I predict it’ll win three, and if that’s the case, then it deserves to be placed along winners including The King’s Speech, Wings and Crash.  And most likely, that’s where Argo will be placed, as Lincoln, Zero Dark Thirty and Life of Pi will be placed on a higher legacy pedestal.  


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