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Here are my original predictions for the awards. Now that all the speculation and rumor was either proven or debunked it is finally time to discuss the awards for one of the better years of movies in quite some time.
Argo. For me, Argo was the fourth best nominee that I saw (I have not seen Amour, Silver Linings Playbook, or Life of Pi) so clearly, while not shocked, I am disappointed with this award. Argo was a very by-the-book, plot driven, espionage thriller. It featured one-dimensional characters, spotty acting from its lead (who also happened to be the director), and some very odd pacing issues. I felt Lincoln was the best movie I saw amongst the nominees due to its acting, production design, and its tonal balance. My next three were Django Unchained, Les Misérables, and Zero Dark Thirty, in that order. Argo was a perfectly fine movie, it did create some good tension and the diligent recreation of some of the images from the time was impressive, but definitely not the best movie of this year. But when you have a movie that allows Hollywood to be one of its heroes, you kind of have to expect Hollywood to reward themselves.
Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln. I’m not sure whether Day-Lewis’s win or Hathaway’s win was less shocking (and perhaps they should have made a special award just for that) but it is no less deserving. He is one of the best actor alive today and has not shown any signs of slippage yet.
Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook. And so the legend of Ms. Lawrence continues. The fact that she was able to pull off the part so incredibly, a part that was originally written for a character in their mid-30s, is impressive. Hopefully she can build her craft off this performance but my dream of a movie starring her and Ryan Gosling, just staring at each other for 2+ hours with the only facial expression they have, will never die.
Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained. In perhaps the best race of the night, the very deserving Waltz received the award. His turn as Dr. King Schultz, a charismatic, German bounty hunter in the mid-19th century, was imbued with heart and exuberance. The slow journey to his final breaking point after witnessing the atrocities at the hand of plantation owner Calvin Candie, felt very real and unforced. Any nominee could have gone home with the award but Waltz deserved it.
Anne Hathaway, Les Misérables. This award should have been awarded to Miss Hathaway last year when her publicity tour first began. It is not at all a surprise. While her screen time was brief, Hathaway’s performance as Fantine was breathtaking. She was the best singer of all the actors in the movie and she completely committed to her role. When this award as forgone a conclusion as this was, it is at least nice to know that the performance was deserving of the award.
Ang Lee, Life of Pi. Dirty little secret, I have yet to see this movie. I figured Spielberg would win for Lincoln and never thought Affleck deserved a nomination for Argo, so this comes as a bit of a surprise. Lee has always been a very good director, both visually and when casting his actors, so I am sure he did an excellent job.
Argo winning best adapted screenplay is disappointing but since Hollywood loves movies about themselves it does make some sense, although Lincoln was a very well done script. Django Unchained for best original screenplay was justified and was the best written screenplay out of any of the nominations, including adapted screenplay.
I thought the Academy might want to reward the very popular Skyfall for cinematography but the visuals of Life of Pi were just too much to not award it, which also goes for its win for best special effects. It was somewhat surprising to see Argo win for best editing but the scenes in Iran were edited especially well to build tension.