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Year-in-Advance Oscar Predictions 2013

It's been only two weeks since Michel Hazanavicius’ silent black-and-white flick The Artist nabbed five Oscars including Best Picture and Best Director. Martin Scorsese’s Hugo also took five honors, though all of its wins came from crafts races. Not even two weeks have passed, but the movie geeks we are, we are already looking ahead to 2013.

Predicting the happenings of next year’s ceremony is silly because we don’t know if any of the films that look good on paper will actually be good. Contenders will come, and contenders will go. Films that feel like major frontrunners now might end up with nothing, while a film we’ve yet to know exists (such as The Artist a year ago) might emerge as the 85th film to pick up the Academy’s top honor.

John already gave a rundown of 10 films that might make an impression in the next Oscar race, and here’s how the rest of the Player Affinity Movie Staff currently sees next year’s major races unfolding.

Best Picture

Beasts of the Southern Wild
Django Unchained
The Great Gatsby
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Les Misérables
Life of Pi
The Master
Osama bin Laden Thriller

The currently untitled Osama bin Laden thriller will be Kathryn Bigelow’s first film since her Best Picture-winning war drama The Hurt Locker, so that could make an impression. Last year’s Sundance Film Festival didn’t’ turn out any Oscar hits, but there’s tons of buzz around Benh Zeitlin’s Beasts of the Southern Wild. Although Ben Affleck’s The Town failed to make the Academy’s Picture list, his follow-up Argo could be the actor/director’s first film to snag a spot in the race. Meanwhile, Quentin Tarantino and backer Harvey Weinstein surely have high hopes for the spaghetti Western Django Unchained. Alfonso Cuarón’s sci-fi epic Gravitymight become a surprise contender.

Typical Oscar bait emerges with Ang Lee’s take on the novel Life of Pi, Paul Thomas Anderson’s religious drama The Master, Baz Luhrmann’s treatment of The Great Gatsby, Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, and Tom Hooper’s adaptation of the stage musical Les Misérables; those last two films were the only ones to make all of our lists.

Best Director

Paul Thomas Anderson (The Master)
Alfonso Cuarón (Gravity)
Tom Hooper (Les Misérables)
Ang Lee (Life of Pi)
Baz Luhrmann (The Great Gatsby)

The Master
might mark Paul Thomas Anderson’s best shot at Oscar glory thus far. Alfonso Cuarón could reap his first Director bid for Gravity. Many met Tom Hooper’s win for The King’s Speech with disdain, but he could prove himself with Les Misérables. If Ang Lee’s Life of Pi does well, he might return to the race. Lastly, Baz Luhrmann has yet to swoon the directing branch for any of his films, but if his Great Gatsbyfits into the Oscar framework, he might score an overdue nomination. Before heading to the next category, I should note that not one director made all our lists.

Best Actor in a Leading Role

Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln)
Philip Seymour Hoffman (The Master)
Hugh Jackman (Les Misérables)
Bill Murray (Hyde Park on Hudson)
Brad Pitt (Killing Them Softly)

Stepping back into serious character-acting mode, Daniel Day-Lewis looks to score yet another nomination – and possibly a third win – for the biopic Lincoln, playing the titular U.S. President. Also aiming for nomination glory – as well as his first win – for embodying a U.S. President is Bill Murray as FDR in Hyde Park on Hudson. Since winning Best Actor for 2005’s Capote, Philip Seymour Hoffman’s become an Academy favorite, so we can expect him to return if The Master becomes popular.

It’s not a role that fits the usual Oscar mold, but Brad Pitt might earn his fourth acting bid for Killing Them Softly, the film formerly known as Cogan’s Trade. Hugh Jackman, who earned recognition on all of our lists, seems very likely to finally get a nomination for Les Misérables.

Best Actress in a Leading Role

Sandra Bullock (Gravity)
Keira Knightley (Anna Karenina)
Carey Mulligan (The Great Gatsby)
Meryl Streep (Great Hope Springs)
Quvenzhané Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild)

As the central character in Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity, Sandra Bullock could pick up her second nomination after missing out this past year for a heartbreaking turn in Picture nominee Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. We did mention her on all of our lists after all. Keira Knightley only has one nod to her name, but under the helm of Joe Wright, she could very well add another nomination for Anna Karenina.

Since Carey Mulligan scored her first bid for An Education, we saw her as likely for follow-up nods these last two years. Though it didn’t happen in either year, we can’t help but predict her to make the cut for The Great Gatsby. Maybe the Academy won’t feeling like nominating Meryl Streep again since she finally got a third win for The Iron Lady, but I wouldn’t bet against her and her upcoming performance in Great Hope Springs sight unseen. Finally, newcomer Quvenzhané Wallis could make an impression for the Sundance hit Beasts of the Southern Wild.

Best Actor in a Supporting Role

Sacha Baron Cohen (Les Misérables)
Leonardo DiCaprio (Django Unchained)
Ryan Gosling (The Gangster Squad)
Tobey Maguire (The Great Gatsby)
Joaquin Phoenix (The Master)

We were all over the place with this race, so nobody here had our unanimous support. Sacha Baron Cohen’s role in Les Misérables could earn him his first acting nomination. Leonardo DiCaprio’s villainous turn in Django Unchained might see the actor finally earning more Oscar recognition. 2011 proved to be a terrific yet nomination-less year for Ryan Gosling, but he might come back with The Gangster Squad. The never-nominated Tobey Maguire might finally join the club for The Great Gatsby, and if Hollywood can forgive him for his I’m Still Here stunt, Joaquin Phoenix might return to nomination glory for The Master.

Best Actress in a Supporting Role

Amy Adams (The Master)
Samantha Barks (Les Misérables)
Halle Berry (Cloud Atlas)
Helena Bonham Carter (Les Misérables)
Isla Fisher (The Great Gatsby)

If On the Road gets a U.S. release before the end of the year – a very likely possibility – Amy Adams might compete in the Lead Actress race for The Master, but for now, we have her in Supporting. After a rather lengthy casting process that turned out to mean nothing in the end, stage actress Samantha Barks earned the role of Éponine in Les Misérables. It’s an Oscar-bait role, and she’s the only actress to pop up on all of our lists.

Halle Berry
tackles multiple roles in the time-spanning sci-fi epic Cloud Atlas and might finally earn a second nomination. Helena Bonham Carter has a role in Les Misérables that seems right up her alley. Lastly, the Academy might nominate comedic actress Isla Fisher for her dramatic work in The Great Gatsby.

Best Original Screenplay

Beasts of the Southern Wild
Django Unchained
The Master
Osama bin Laden Thriller

Sundance players that go on to earn Oscar glory usually get strong notices for their writing, so that would put Beasts of the Southern Wild in a rather strong position for recognition here. Quentin Tarantino’s writing tends to pick up acclaim, so Django Unchained might earn a spot in the Original Screenplay race. Kathryn Bigelow’s Osama bin Laden thriller sees the director once again teaming with her Hurt Locker scribe Mark Boal, which might reap another writing nomination. The Master seems like an extraordinary opportunity for brilliant writing, while the sci-fi epic Gravity, which made all of our lists, might boast a strong script.

Best Adapted Screenplay

Anna Karenina
Cloud Atlas
Les Misérables
Life of Pi

This is a category that seems hugely abundant in possibilities but also sorely lacking in likely options. That being said, we all listed Les Misérablesfor Adapted Screenplay, though if it stays relatively true to the nature of the stage musical, the film will boast little to no dialogue. The other options are just somewhat educated guesses that like everything else may or may not come to pass at season’s end.

Best Animated Feature

After a year off of their game, Disney/Pixar looks to return to prominence with the female-led feature Brave. We might see Tim Burton returning to his roots with Frankenweenie, and the British quirk of Pirates! Band of Misfits might help it positively stand out from the crowd. Those three flicks were mentioned by all of us; filler spots include the surprise hit Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax and the upcoming ParaNorman.


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