2013 Oscar Predictions: Best Picture

By Doug Strassler,

Here are the nominees this year for Best Picture:

Amour

Argo

Beasts of the Southern Wild

Django Unchained

Les Miserables

Life of Pi

Lincoln

Silver Linings Playbook

Zero Dark Thirty

The lowdown: Sure, nine films are nominated, but this is a year where a limit of five nominees would have sufficed. While Amour and Beasts topped my end-of –the-year list, none of the other movies listed here approach being a masterpiece. Lincoln is sensitive and accessible, but overlong and perhaps not quite as insightful as many think it to be. Silver is a mess; Miserables is overblown. Django is skilled, but it too, is too long and its theme of retribution is already a familiar part of director Quentin Tarantino’s canon. Zero demonstrates major filmmaking prowess but emphasizes skill over character (and then didn’t even get nominated in its most deserved fields of directing, editing and cinematography). Pi is beautiful but hollow in its own way.

Argo is based on a riveting true story, though from a filmmaking standpoint the best thing director Ben Affleck did was get out of the way of his story, which does include a fictional climax. (And he could have done better by his film by hiring a more seasoned actor to play the lead role essayed by him). Still, it has swept the Oscar pre-cursors, and even if Affleck didn’t get the Best Director nomination, look for him to stand at the podium in this category instead. And detect a pattern: following The King’s Speech and The Artist, this will be three Best Picture winners in a row that in its own way, deal with performance and show business. Hollywood’s love fest with itself continues.

Snubs: Your Sister’s Sister

Should win: Amour

Will win: Argo

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