Thursday, January 31, 2013

What Each Film Needs to WIN to Win Best Picture

When I predict the Best Picture Race, I don’t necessarily look at the Precursors as much as some do. Sure, they are important. But what is MORE important, is what each film needs to win on Oscar night in order to Win the Best Picture Oscar. Remember, only THREE films in history have won the Best Picture Oscar and nothing else on Oscar night – The Broadway Melody (1928/29), Grand Hotel (1932 – it didn’t even get nominated for anything else) and Mutiny on the Bounty (1935). That’s 77 years people. And only five other films have managed to win the Best Picture Oscar and only one other Oscar – Wings (1927/28), All Quiet on the Western Front (1930), You Can’t Take it With You (1938), Rebecca (1940) and The Greatest Show on Earth (1952). Again, that’s 60 years. Both of those make the 23 year old Driving Miss Daisy exception (the last film to win Best Picture without a director nominated) seem relatively new by comparison. So, pretty much you have to win at least two other SUPPORTING Oscars if you want to Win the Best Picture Prize. And another thing to note, no film since Rebecca (1940) has been able to win the Oscar without winning at least ONE of – Director, Any Acting Award or Either Screenplay Award. So, one of those Supporting Awards has got to be a BIG one. So what does each film nominated need to do to win this year.

Amour – Win Foreign, Win Original Screenplay, Win Actress
The Chances of it Winning Those? Foreign is a mortal lock for Amour, so that’s not a problem. Original Screenplay is going to be a tight race, but, Haneke could easily take it. Actress is also tight, but Riva could take that as well.
Why It Needs Those: Amour is only up 5 Oscars this year, and Director is not likely to happen (although that would be AWESOME). The reason it needs to take both Original Screenplay and Actress, is because Foreign is not really a Supporting Award in this instance – no film has ever won both.
The Chances of it Actually Winning Best Picture: Approximately ZERO. It’s my favorite of the nominees, and would get my vote, but it could easily win all those Awards, and still not come close to winning Best Picture.

Argo – Win Editing, Win Score OR Sound Mixing OR Sound Editing, Win Adapted Screenplay OR Supporting Actor
The Chances of it Winning Those? Editing pretty much HAS to be a lock for Argo – it won a number of awards for it throughout the season, and when it lost it was to Zero Dark Thirty, which seems like an also ran at this point. I think Score OR Sound Editing are possible, but perhaps not probable. Still, I don’t think they’d hedge too much giving it one of those. Adapted Screenplay is tough – Lincoln has dominated the category all year, and it’s hard to see it losing there. Supporting Actor is a long shot, then again, since EVERY nominee in the category has at least one Oscar already, the Academy won’t feel too bad about throwing their support behind Arkin, if it means Argo can win Best Picture.
Why It Needs Those: Editing is a definite need, as is ONE of Adapted Screenplay or Supporting Actor – with Adapted Screenplay there being preferable. I think it needs either Score or Sound Editing, just to juice it’s stats a little bit. With no Director nominated, it needs help.
The Chances of it Actually Winning Best Picture: Pretty good actually. On nomination day, Argo seemed dead in the water, but the damn thing keeps winning everything in sight. Somehow people starting feeling sorry for Ben Affleck, and he’s on a role. That sympathy COULD extend far enough for the Academy to make some irrational decisions (like Screenplay or Supporting Actor) in order to award the film. We shall see.

Beasts of the Southern Wild – Win Adapted Screenplay OR Director, Win Actress
The Chances of it Winning Those? Virtually none. It has no chance at Adapted Screenplay or Actress, and without those, Director and Picture are no go’s.
Why It Needs Those: It only got nominated for 4 Oscars – you damn well got to win MOST of those if you’re going to win.
The Chances of it Actually Winning Best Picture: Less than Amour. I don’t think the film is winning any Oscar night – but don’t feel too bad – for a film this small, the nominations are the award.

Django Unchained – Win Original Screenplay, Win Supporting Actor
The Chances of it Winning Those? Decent. It’s a tight three way race for Original Screenplay, and Quentin won the Globe, which gives him a leg up. It’s a tight 5 way race for Supporting Actor, and Waltz also won the Globe, which may give him a leg up (although, I doubt that one).
Why It Needs Those: With no director nominated, few tech noms, and only one performance, it has to go perfect in the other majors to have a shot at winning.
The Chances of it Actually Winning Best Picture: Not good. The outpouring of sympathy for Ben Affleck is not something Quentin has received. If it wins those other Oscars, the Academy will feel they have been more than fair to the film, and it still won’t win Best Picture.

Les Miserables – Win Supporting Actress, Dominate Technical Awards
The Chances of it Winning Those? Decent. Hathaway is a lock, and Sound Mixing should be as well, and you can never tell with categories like Costume Design and Art Direction – not to mention Song.
Why It Needs Those: This was the path Chicago took to winning in 2002 – and with no Director or Screenplay nominated (like Chicago had), and no chance for Jackman in Best Actor, it’s the only hope the film has.
The Chances of it Actually Winning Best Picture: Not good. It could easily win 3 or 4 Oscar night, and go home empty handed in the Best Picture race. This film has no chance of actually winning.

Life of Pi – Win Director
The Chances of it Winning Those? Not bad. I have my doubts that the Academy will split Picture and Director this year, and once again give Spielberg a Director win for a film that DOESN’T win Best Picture. Then again, you could say the same thing about Ang Lee.
Why It Needs Those: The film has no Acting nominees, and has NO chance at screenplay. But it will probably win quite a few tech awards – Visual Effects, Sound, Cinematography, perhaps Score so all it needs to do is win Director, and it has a shot at the Big Prize.
The Chances of it Actually Winning Best Picture: Not good. Despite good box office, good reviews and 11 nominations, no one is actually talking about Life of Pi in the Oscar race. It feels like the type of film that wins a few tech awards, and nothing else.

Lincoln – Win Director, Win Actor, Win Adapted Screenplay
The Chances of it Winning Those? Very Good. Day-Lewis has Actor in the bag. Tony Kushner SHOULD win Adapted Screenplay easily as he has all season. Who else are they going to give Director to?
Why It Needs Those: It needs to hold off Argo in Adapted Screenplay – if it does that, I don’t see how it’s going to lose. It will most likely win a few other below the line awards as well (and perhaps Jones as a second Acting winner).
The Chances of it Actually Winning Best Picture: Very good. Despite all the Argo wins, I still don’t see a clearer, easier path for any film winning the Best Picture Oscar than Lincoln. Now if Argo wins the WGA award, I may change my mind – but even Affleck winning the DGA wouldn’t.

Silver Linings Playbook – Win Actress, Win Supporting Actor OR Adapted Screenplay
The Chances of it Winning Those? Good. Jennifer Lawrence seems to have retaken the lead for the Actress prize, and while Chastain or Riva could still pull it off, it’s looking more and more like Lawrence’s to lose. Supporting Actor is wide open, and if Daniel Day-Lewis can win his third Oscar, is anyone going to complain about DeNiro winning a third as well. Adapted Screenplay is a pipe dream though, so they really need DeNiro to pull it off.
Why It Needs Those: It’s not winning Editing, and I don’t see how it’s winning Director either. And because I think Adapted Screenplay is a long shot at best, it needs Two acting wins to have a shot.
The Chances of it Actually Winning Best Picture: Not good. Sure, Lawrence and DeNiro could both win – I can easily see that happening. But this actually pushing aside Argo or Lincoln? I don’t see it. Sorry.

Zero Dark Thirty – Win Original Screenplay, Win Editing
The Chances of it Winning Those? Decent. Original Screenplay is a tight three way race, and Boal’s work in the thick of it (although, probably slightly behind Django and Amour). The film has dominated the editing awards all season – and since ONE of the two editors for it is also nominated for Argo, the Academy could give him an Oscar AND someone else. Two for the price of one.
Why It Needs Those: The controversy surrounding the film means that for the Academy to truly show it love, it needs one of Boal or Bigelow to win – and since Bigelow isn’t nominated, it’s all on Boal’s shoulders. Chastain winning wouldn’t be enough.
The Chances of it Actually Winning Best Picture: Not good. It got off to a fast start, but unlike Argo, the lack of a director nominee pretty much killed this movie’s chances on nomination morning. The idiots who think the movie is pro-torture WON’T SHUT UP ABOUT IT.

The wild card in the race could well be the preferential ballot the Academy moved to when they switched from 5 to 10 nominees (and have kept it since they moved to the “floating” number). What this has shown us since it was adopted is that films with BROAD support trump those with PASSIONATE support. And out of all the nominees, Argo has the fewest (although not ZERO) vocal detractors. Perhaps it can pull off a victory, without the typical supporting prizes.

But for now, I’m sticking with Lincoln for the win.

No comments:

Post a Comment