The suspense for the 85th Academy Awards race is building. It's more difficult then ever to predict who will win. What will the academy pick? The true story of a fake film crew that saved lives during the Tehran crisis, or that of a bi-polar patient who risks it all on a dance competition to redefine himself and give love another chance, or the epic and beautiful tale of a man who despite being treated unjustly saves the life of a little girl and finds redemption and hope in nineteenth century France? I don't envy them having to make the decision. Get your Oscar Pool ballots ready, but realize these guesses are no guarantee.
Tom Hooper's Les Miserables is filled with so many wonderful performances, that it's difficult to stand out, Anne Hathaway does. Before seeing the movie, I was almost convinced I wouldn't be happy with the quality of the singing, it's not often that modern day musicals beckon back to that of Lionel Bart's Oliver (1968). Though her scenes are minimal, Hathaway's portrayal of Fantine is heart-wrenching.
Silver Linings Playbook requires rare acting chops from Jackie Weaver in being able to do comedic scenes so well and then capture the suffering of a mom with a bi-polar son trying to keep her family together. Her performances especially in some of the fighting scenes are memorable. She and Robert Deniro play off each other extremely well. This is a tough call, but because of her performances in Becoming Jane, The Devil Wears Prada, and already having been nominated for Rachel's Getting Married, Anne Hathaway deserves to win for Best Supporting Actress.
For Best Supporting Actor, Christoph Waltz (Django Unchained) and Tommey Lee Jones (Lincoln) are battling it out. Who can compete with Lincoln? Alan Arkin's performance in Argo is also superb so he might take it as well. Jones is most likely to win.
For Best Actress, Jennifer Lawrence's performance in Silver Linings Playbook won her the Golden Globe. Jessica Chastain might also win it, but I'm going to say that Emmanuelle Riva will take the Oscar prize for Amour.
For Best Actor, Daniel Day Lewis's portrayal of Abraham Lincoln is excellent, and I think Bradley Cooper also deserves to win for capturing the turmoil and the wide range of emotions associated with Bi-Polar. It's too bad his competition is so stiff because Hugh Jackman also blows us away in Les Miserables. The latter is most likely to win.
Tom Hooper's Les Miserables deserves to take Best Picture. In watching Argo, I got to go back to the year I was born, and it's stylistically and excellently told, with an unforgetable climax, but I'm going to take a risk and say that Best Picture and Best Director will go to Michael Haneke for Amour. I could very well be wrong this year and David O. Russell or Stephen Spielberg could snatch it away. 2012 was a great year for movie watchers. Hope you win your Oscar pools and glam it up for the 85th Academy Awards on February 24th!
--- Leticia Cambre