Hooray for Hollywood
All of which is a long-winded way of saying that, if you are ever going to stay up for the Oscars, then this is the year. And we haven’t even mentioned the weird events over at the best-actress corral.
Runners and riders Who will – and should – win the top Academy Awards
NOMINEESAmour, Argo, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Django Unchained, Lincoln, Les Misérables, Life of Pi, Silver Linings Playbook, Zero Dark Thirty.
WILL WINArgo. It’s won virtually everything. The only serious rival, Lincoln, has won virtually nothing.
SHOULD WINAmour. Michael Haneke’s tale of an elderly lady declining after a stroke confirms the Austrian as among the greatest directors of the age. It hasn’t a hope.
NOMINEESMichael Haneke (Amour), Benh Zeitlin (Beasts of the Southern Wild), Ang Lee (Life of Pi), David O Russell (Silver Linings Playbook), Steven Spielberg (Lincoln).
WILL WINSteven Spielberg. Likely to join Frank Capra and William Wyler as a three-time winner. John Ford sits alone at the top, with four.
SHOULD WINMichael Haneke. He won the Palme d’Or. Surely he’ll win an Oscar. Yeah, right. Lucky to be on the starting grid.
NOMINEES Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook), Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln), Hugh Jackman (Les Misérables), Joaquin Phoenix (The Master), Denzel Washington (Flight).
WILL WINDaniel Day-Lewis. No real complaints here. His delicate performance confounded those used to hearty screen versions of Lincoln.
SHOULD WINJoaquin Phoenix. One of the most startling performances in recent cinema. Unfortunately, Paul Thomas Anderson’s film has bewildered too many voters.
NOMINEESJessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty), Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook), Emmanuelle Riva (Amour), Quvenzhane Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild), Naomi Watts (The Impossible).
WILL WINEmmanuelle Riva. Lawrence is the bookies’ favourite. But the oldest ever nominee turns 86 on the night of the 85th awards. They are almost twins. Too good a story to ignore, surely.
SHOULD WINEmmanuelle Riva. It may seem obvious to pick an actor playing somebody with an infirmity. But Riva tackles the role with awful, harrowing compassion. Won a Bafta.
BEST ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
NOMINEESAlan Arkin (Argo), Robert De Niro (Silver Linings Playbook), Philip Seymour Hoffman (The Master), Tommy Lee Jones (Lincoln), Christoph Waltz (Django Unchained).
WILL WINTommy Lee Jones. He’s just about ahead.
SHOULD WINPhilip Seymour Hoffman. Essentially a dual lead with Phoenix, Hoffman brilliantly balances charm with psychosis.
BEST ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
NOMINEESAmy Adams (The Master), Sally Field (Lincoln), Anne Hathaway (Les Misérables), Helen Hunt (The Sessions), Jacki Weaver (Silver Linings Playbook).
WILL WINAnne Hathaway. Unbeatable. As Jennifer Hudson showed in Dreamgirls, if you eat just one song alive the prize is yours.
SHOULD WINAmy Adams. The least showy part in the film, but it reveals the cold heart of Philip Seymour Hoffman’s guru.
BEST FOREIGN-LANGUAGE PICTURE
NOMINEESAmour, Kon-Tiki, No, A Royal Affair, War Witch.
WILL WINAmour. Its unexpected nominations elsewhere should make it a sure thing. But this race has an odd past.
SHOULD WINAmour. No is very fine. But the rest are not in the same league as Haneke’s film.
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
NOMINEESBrave, Frankenweenie, ParaNorman, The Pirates! Band of Misfits, Wreck-It Ralph.
WILL WINWreck-it Ralph. Tim Burton could get his first Oscar for Frankenweenie. But Wreck-It Ralph has a little more momentum.
SHOULD WINParaNorman. A gorgeous, very funny tribute to mid-century horror.