Song and Dance

I wasn't as heavily invested in awards season this year as I usually am, despite having seen so many movies in 2012. Still, I can't resist the Academy Awards, and happily went to a party thrown by a couple of friends. There's always good food, good company, and cute dogs to snuggle, plenty of snark to hurl at the screen, MST3K-style, and the contest to see who can predict the most categories. Winner goes home with a movie theater gift certificate, and I've won several years running. I have a reputation to maintain! It was rough this year, though; so many races seemed like close calls, and I only wound up seeing four of the nine Best Picture nominees before the ceremony. So, judging by what I said in the nominations post, how did I do?


I predicted a Lincoln juggernaut back in January, but my eyes and ears have not been idle since then. I started hearing more and more support for Argo after Ben Affleck got snubbed for a directing nomination, and I was reminded that the plotline revolves around Hollywood helping to save the day. If there's one thing the Academy voters like to do, it's give themselves a warm pat on the back. So, I switched my vote to Argo, and snagged the point. Ding!


I said it seemed fairly certain that Daniel Day-Lewis would win, and indeed he did, becoming the first person in history to win three Best Actor awards. I knew he was the horse to bet on, so I got this one, too. Ding!


This was a tough choice. It really came down to Jessica Chastain versus Jennifer Lawrence to me, and since support had been quickly ebbing away from Zero Dark Thirty, I went with Lawrence, who really was amazing in Silver Linings Playbook. The voters agreed! Ding!


In a field with five previous winners, it was even tougher to make a choice in this category. I knew Lincoln had to pick up awards somewhere, and everyone seems to love/walk in mortal fear of Tommy Lee Jones, so I chose him. Nope. Christoph Waltz plus a Quentin Tarantino movie apparently equals unstoppable force. Bzzzt!


I was pulling for Anne Hathaway in this category, and her buzz seemed to build and build once she was nominated, so I happily marked her down on my ballot. And she pulled it off! Perhaps this isn't the most shattering performance to ever win an Oscar, but it was really good, and I feel like she's been steadily impressive in multiple roles, so I was pleased. Especially with another point! Ding!


I figured Spielberg would be unbeatable. Of the many difficult choices I had to make in filling out a ballot, this seemed like one of the safer choices. Damn that sneaky bastard Ang Lee! I jest. I haven't seen Life of Pi yet, but Lee is a fascinating director adept at working within a wide array of genres, so I don't begrudge him the win at all. Bzzzt!


I wanted to pick Moonrise Kingdom, but thought choosing Amour would be a safer bet. Turns out they both led to dead ends, as Quentin Tarantino picked up an Oscar for Django Unchained, then gave a rambling, incoherent speech, as is his wont. Bleh. And bzzzt!


I figured Lincoln had a good shot at this, though I considered the possibility that Silver Linings Playbook could sneak in and take it. And guess what? Turns out they both led to dead ends, as Chris Terrio picked up an Oscar for Argo. Man, the writing categories are just kicking my ass tonight. Bzzzt!


This one proved to be one of the more interesting categories of the night. Would voters see that a decent Pixar movie was on the list and just knee-jerk vote for Brave, or would they realize that Wreck-It Ralph was a better movie? Opinions may vary, of course, but the opinion that any of the other nominees was better than Wreck-It Ralph would be just plain incorrect. However, Brave did have gorgeous animation. I let my heart be my guide and voted for Wreck-It Ralph. Nope. Brave. Stupid heart. Bzzzt!


Amour. Duuuuuuuh. Ding!


I thought this would be the year that Roger Deakins would finally get recognized (he's been nominated ten times without a single win). Skyfall was gorgeous. In what turned out to be the most surprising win of the night, Life of Pi took this one. It seems weird that a movie so dependent on visual effects would win for cinematography, but there it is. Bzzzt!


I was considering choosing Les Miserables for this one, but switched my vote to Anna Karenina at the last moment. Good thing I did! Ding!


And in this one, I was assured in my choice of Anna Karenina. Except I shouldn't have been, because Lincoln, while far from being the awards monster I thought it was going to be, did manage to poach this one. Bzzzt!


I didn't know what to pick for this one, and since the relative stodginess of the folks at Entertainment Weekly and the relative cutting-edge of the /Film podcast both predicted that Searching For Sugar Man would win this, that's what I picked. Thanks, prognosticators! Ding!


I picked Inocente based on nothing but a prediction in Entertainment Weekly. They pulled through. Ding!


As with Best Picture, I switched my vote from Lincoln to Argo, and was again rewarded for following the herd. Take a lesson, kids. Ding!


Life of Pi had been getting serious buzz in this category, and I didn't think any of the other nominees were so stunning that I should venture to choose something else. And indeed, Life of Pi deservedly took the prize. Ding!


It must have been difficult to make attractive people look like pure hell, so I opted for Les Miserables. It was the right choice. Nobody loves hobbits this year. Ding!


I didn't realize how many awards Life of Pi took until I started writing this entry. They won this one, too, and since other people had recommended that I vote for it, I scored a completely undeserved point. Ding!


I figured Adele winning for Skyfall was the second-surest bet of the night, right behind Amour winning for Best Foreign Film. And yup, her streak of winning every award she's ever been nominated for continues. (I don't know that that assertion is literally true, but even if it isn't, it can't be far wrong.) Ding!


When it came to Documentary Short, I relied on Entertainment Weekly. On this one, I went with Paperman, even though the magazine urged me to pick something else (I believe it was Adam and Dog). Take that, professional entertainment journalists! Ding!


On this one, I again allowed the magazine's prediction be me guide, choosing Death of a Shadow. And as bad as I was at predicting the writing categories, that's how bad these people were at predicting the shorts. This one went to Curfew. Bzzzt!


People in the Oscar audience gasped when it was announced that the results of this one were a tie. Then they realized it was sound editing, and nobody really cares that much. I chose Skyfall and got the point, but so did all the people who chose Zero Dark Thirty. How about that Zero Dark Thirty, by the way? All that buzz, all that awards chatter, and what statues does the movie walk home with? One. That they tied for. Ouch. Ding!


I chose Les Miserables on a whim, and got lucky. Ding!

That's 16 out of 24. Was it enough to win? It was! Yaaaaaaaaaaay! The movie theater gift certificate has been given a place of honor alongside my ones for Trader Joe's and Lion's Choice. Prizes asides, this was an odd year for the Oscars. The show was an exceedingly strange mix of glittering production numbers, jokes that ran the gamut from flat to questionable, and the usual stiff segments like the summary of the untelevised technical awards. Seth MacFarlane seemed out-of-place, and knew it, referencing multiple times that he was nobody's first choice. He wasn't awful, just profoundly mediocre. Some of the production numbers were great, though. Jennifer Hudson and Shirley Bassey blew the roof off the place. I'm not sure why the callbacks to Chicago were necessary, but I enjoyed them all the same. And I'm pleased with most of the winners; aside from the animated feature category, I don't think anyone from this year needs to be taken to task in an Award Repo. And with that, it's time to put the awards season to bed and get our asses back to the theater to start the whole process anew. Spoiler Alert: I don't think Identity Thief will garner many nominations.


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