Saturday, December 1, 2012

Who'll Hold The Gold?: Bait-And-Split

I've got to say, this Oscar race has me quite excited. This is the first race since 2006, when The Departed ultimately took the prize, where I have no clue as to what movie will hold the gold at the end. Since The Departed, the Best Picture winners have been pretty easy to call early on. Some might say The Departed was an easy call; in hindsight I can see that, but my young mind was in other places back then. The way I saw it (of the films nominated), Babel was the "Oscar Film", Letters From Iwo Jima and The Queen were the "Oscar Bait", Little Miss Sunshine was the hopeful "Indie Darling" just happy to be included in the fun, and The Departed was the highly liked Gritty/Edgy Best Picture nod that so often never wins. I had no clue who was going to win. My best guess was Letters and Queen would split the vote leaving the win to Babel. Little did I know, The Academy was finally ready to reward Martin Scorsese. So, in a year like this, what kind of things can we look at and for to help us make our predictions? Lets try and figure that out after the jump.


I'll start off by listing some of the heavy hitters many are expecting to possibly enter the best picture race.

Amour
Argo
Beasts Of The Southern Wild
Django Unchained
Flight
The Hobbit
Les Misérables
Life Of Pi
Lincoln
The Master
Moonrise Kingdom
Silver Linings Playbook
Zero Dark Thirty

Now, How do we widdle this down?

Amour - The general public and myself know nothing about this movie. The Academy probably doesn't either.
Argo
Beasts Of The Southern Wild
Django Unchained
Flight - Academy members will be happy to see Zemeckis working in live-action again, but as nice as this movie is, I can't see them rewarding him for this particular character study.
The Hobbit - You've already had your turn.
Les Misérables
Life Of Pi
Lincoln
The Master - I highly dislike this movie. A movie I highly dislike hasn't won since 1985. I don't think it'll happen this year. Even with Weinstein, The greatest promoter in the biz, behind it, this movie has no chance. Man do I hate Out of Africa!
Moonrise Kingdom - While this is slightly out of Wes Anderson's wheelhouse, I don't think the risks taken are big enough to grab the Academy's attention. It will still be "A Wes Anderson Movie" to them. I wouldn't worry though, I can see him walking in Hitchcock's shoes and win an Honorary Oscar for directing someday.
Silver Linings Playbook
Zero Dark Thirty

We're down to 8. Lets get into some possibilities with this selection and make a case for each of them.

Argo - Nice mix of procedural political drama and comedic notes. Hollywood saves the say, and the academy pats themselves on the back by letting Argo Hold The Gold. Plus the Star Wars references would make up for the Annie Hall BP win!
Beasts Of The Southern Wild - The Indie Darling that Couldn't. Votes split with SLP?
Django Unchained - Still too violent for the old Academy. Scorsese of his day. They'll hand him one down the road.
Les Misérables - Votes are split with Lincoln.
Life Of Pi - Uncanny valley and some questionable acting keep votes low.
Lincoln - Votes are split with Les Mis.
Silver Linings Playbook - Subject matter too light and seen only as a romantic comedy and nothing more. Splits votes with Beasts?
Zero Dark Thirty - A procedural drama with no comedic levity finds itself to dry for the Academy. Didn't we just give a Bigelow flick an Oscar not that long ago?


Argo - Votes are split with ZDT.
Beasts Of The Southern Wild - Quvenzhané Wallis melts Academy hearts. The Indie Darling that Could!
Django Unchained - Still too violent for the old Academy. Scorsese of his day. They'll hand him one down the road.
Les Misérables - Votes are split with Lincoln.
Life Of Pi - Uncanny Valley and some questionable acting keep votes low.
Lincoln - Votes are split with Les Mis.
Silver Linings Playbook - Subject matter too light and seen only as a romantic comedy and nothing more.
Zero Dark Thirty - Votes are split with Argo.


Argo - Votes are split with ZDT.
Beasts Of The Southern Wild - The Indie Darling that Couldn't.
Django Unchained - Let's say critics love this and it pulls in mad Box Office. Weinstein pushes hard. Quentin Tarantino has paid his dues and the Academy rewards his picture.
Les Misérables - Votes are split with Lincoln.
Life Of Pi - Uncanny Valley and some questionable acting keep votes low.
Lincoln - Votes are split with Les Mis.
Silver Linings Playbook - Django has a great response. Weinstein backs off SLP to propel Django to the Gold.
Zero Dark Thirty - Votes are split with Argo.


Argo - Votes are split with ZDT.
Beasts Of The Southern Wild - The Indie Darling that Couldn't.
Django Unchained - QT's eccentric style doesn't stand a chance next to this Oscar Bait
Les Misérables - Oscar Bait City. Academy solidifies their love for Tom Hooper to spite those who disapproved of their King's Speech choice.
Life Of Pi - Uncanny Valley and some questionable acting keep votes low.
Lincoln - Oscar Bait City didn't pave Musical Boulevard.
Silver Linings Playbook - Looks so small when compared to the epic Oscar Bait flicks.
Zero Dark Thirty - Votes are split with Argo.


Argo - Votes are split with ZDT.
Beasts Of The Southern Wild - The Indie Darling that Couldn't.
Django Unchained - QT's eccentric style doesn't stand a chance next to this technical wonder
Les Misérables - Votes are split with Lincoln. While large in scale, the academy wants a little more spiritualism in their best picture winner.
Life Of Pi - Sorry Brokeback Mountain and sorry Avatar. They can hit two birds with one stone here. The spiritualism may hit well with voters. Reward its technical achievements with a Best Pic win.
Lincoln - Votes are split with Les Mis.
Silver Linings Playbook - This light RomCom doesn't stand a chance next to the technical wonders of Pi.
Zero Dark Thirty - Votes are split with Argo.


Argo - Votes are split with ZDT.
Beasts Of The Southern Wild - The Indie Darling that Couldn't. Vote split with SLP?
Django Unchained - Voters would rather reward real history over fictional history.
Les Misérables - Didnt we give a Hooper flick an Oscar not that long ago?
Life Of Pi - Uncanny Valley and some questionable acting keep votes low.
Lincoln - Spielberg's first character driven film. Abe Lincoln made Obama possible. Lincoln is everyone's favorite president.
Silver Linings Playbook - Vote split with Beasts?
Zero Dark Thirty - Votes are split with Argo.


Argo - Votes are split with ZDT.
Beasts Of The Southern Wild - A little too indie. The Indie Darling that Couldn't.
Django Unchained - Poor reviews has Weinstein backing SLP
Les Misérables - Votes are split with Lincoln.
Life Of Pi - Uncanny Valley and some questionable acting keep votes low.
Lincoln - Votes are split with Les Misérables.
Silver Linings Playbook - The indie scrapper that could. Deals with disabilities. Old male voters fantasize about sleeping with Jennifer Lawrence. Voters enjoys the levity in these hard times we live in. Crowd pleaser. Two Words... HARVEY WEINSTEIN.
Zero Dark Thirty - Votes are split with Argo.


Argo - Voters wanna make Affleck work a little more before they reward one of his movies. Academy is sad we never get to know any of the characters.
Beasts Of The Southern Wild - The Indie Darling that Couldn't.
Django Unchained - Still too violent for the old Academy. Scorsese of his day. They'll hand him one down the road. And if not, there's always an honorary Oscar.
Les Misérables - Votes are split with Lincoln.
Life Of Pi - Uncanny Valley and some questionable acting keep votes low.
Lincoln - Votes are split with Les Misérables.
Silver Linings Playbook - Seems so small in the grand scheme of things.
Zero Dark Thirty - Procedural political drama that is HIGHLY Relevant. Still living on the high that Osama Bin Laden is gone. Female driven movie by a female director.


These are just some possible scenarios I can imagine playing out. I see most of them playing out through splits in votes between common films. That's one of the reasons Silver Linings Playbook really stands out to me right now, It's so different than everything else. Life of Pi also stand out in the crowd, unless The Hobbit makes the cut. You could say Les Mis stands out due to it being a musical, but I can see voters lumping it in with Lincoln.

I can see some of these scenarios being totally off but in my head I can see any of these cases playing through exactly the way I describe. It's an exciting year. I haven't been wrong since The Departed won and I'm kind of hoping I'm wrong this year. As of now I still haven't made a selection on what movie I think will win Best Picture. I'm hoping once The Hobbit and Django Unchained come to my area I'll have a firmer grasp on the Oscar race, and can finally make a prediction. What movies do you see making it into the final 5-10? And who do you think will be left standing to Hold the Gold?