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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Wednesday, April 16, 2014

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In Movies & TV Commentary

"Argo" will be raising several glasses to themselves tomorrow night.

In Movies & TV Commentary

Matt predicts Daniel Day-Lewis will win his third Oscar tomorrow night.

In Movies & TV Commentary

Anne Hathaway will finally win her Oscar thanks to her role in "Les Miserables."

Matt's picks for who will win - and who should win - at the Oscars


We are less than 48 hours away from the Academy Awards, so it seems to be about time to officially fill out a ballot. Here are my picks for who will come out a winner and who, in my mind, should come out a winner Sunday night.

Best Picture

Will win: "Argo"

Should win: "Zero Dark Thirty"

"Lincoln" who? A month ago, Spielberg's historical biopic seemed like a lock, but the buzz faded fast. Meanwhile, "Argo" rode Affleck's snub all the way to the frontrunner spot. It would have been awesome if "Zero Dark Thirty" also received a sympathy bump for Bigelow's snub, but alas, it wasn't to be.

Best Actor

Will win: Daniel Day-Lewis, "Lincoln"

Should win: Daniel Day-Lewis, "Lincoln"

Don't overthink this one, folks; Daniel Day-Lewis has this one in the bag and deservedly so. His performance is so good, it makes up almost entirely for the script's issues. It would be Day-Lewis's third Oscar, firmly putting him in the conversation for best actor of all time.

Best Actress

Will win: Jennifer Lawrence, "Silver Linings Playbook"

Should win: Jessica Chastain, "Zero Dark Thirty" or Emmanuelle Riva, "Amour"

Sometimes, simply buzz is enough. 2012 was the year everyone fell in love with Jennifer Lawrence, and the Academy will cap it by giving her Best Actress. It's a fine performance, but there were two brilliant ones from Jessica Chastain and Emmanuelle Riva. Riva's performance is remarkably painful to watch, while Chastain provided one of the most iconic and powerful characters of the year. Considering her great unrecognized work in "Take Shelter," "The Help" and "The Tree of Life" in 2011, she's also due.

Best Supporting Actor

Will win: Tommy Lee Jones, "Lincoln"

Should win: Christoph Waltz, "Django Unchained"

Best Supporting Actor is actually one of the most interesting categories this year. Jones is the technical frontrunner, but not many in the industry really like him (can you believe that? He seems so lovable and friendly!). Plus, his role frankly didn't stand out in "Lincoln." He didn't do anything more than John Hawkes, David Strathairn or James Spader.

De Niro is next in line for the award in most books, but his performance in "Silver Linings Playbook" also didn't do much for me. It was nice to see him in a decent movie and actually showing up, but this would barely make a list of his ten best performances.

Out of all of the nominees, the one I enjoyed the most was Waltz, but he wasn't even the best supporting actor in his own movie. If Leonardo DiCaprio was nominated for his juicy villainous turn in "Django Unchained," he'd easily be my choice.

Best Supporting Actress

Will win: Anne Hathaway, "Les Miserables"

Should win: Anne Hathaway, "Les Miserables"

Groan. I didn't like "Les Miserables" very much at all, and though Hathaway was pretty good in it, I find it hard to choose her. Her desperately overeager public persona has become a bit too much to bear lately. That being said, she's the best performance in a fairly weak collection of nominees. I mean, Jacki Weaver? Seriously?

Best Director

Will win: Steven Spielberg, "Lincoln"

Should win: Ang Lee, "Life of Pi"

It's pretty much a dead heat between Steven Spielberg and Ang Lee for Best Director, though it will always be considered Second-Best Director since Affleck would have obviously won if nominated. Heck, call it the award for Third-Best Director since Kathryn Bigelow was better than all of the nominees here too.

With the nominees we have, however, I'd give the edge to Spielberg. "Lincoln" is still the Academy's kind of movie, and he's Hollywood royalty. What Lee did visually with an allegedly unfilmable book, however, was pretty incredible.

Best Original Screenplay

Will win: "Django Unchained"

Should win: "Zero Dark Thirty"

The torture controversy killed almost all of the buzz "Zero Dark Thirty" had going into the Oscar season, which is too bad since it's brilliant. I don't know if it gained any of that buzz back, so I'm taking Tarantino and "Django Unchained."

Best Adapted Screenplay

Will win: "Argo"

Should win: "Argo"

Tony Kushner's script for "Lincoln" is a worthy competitor, but "Argo" just has too much buzz right now to be stopped.

Best Animated Film

Will win: "Wreck-It Ralph"

Should win: "ParaNorman"

Strange that a Pixar movie is nominated ("Brave"), but no one cares. Disney will still go home happy thanks to "Wreck-It Ralph," though the creepy claymation creation "ParaNorman" has quite a cult following.

Best Foreign Film

Will win: "Amour"

Should win: "Amour"

Question: How many of the Best Foreign Film nominees are nominated for Best Picture? Oh, just "Amour." And how many other Best Foreign Film nominees have more than one nomination? Yep, still just "Amour." Don't overthink it.

Best Cinematography

Will win: "Life of Pi"

Should win: "Skyfall"

"Life of Pi" was a gorgeous movie, and it might end up with the most awards at the end of the night thanks to the technical categories like this one. However, the award should be going to "Skyfall" and Roger Deakins.

The veteran cinematographer has been nominated ten times without a single win, despite work on films like "The Shawshank Redemption," "Fargo," "O Brother, Where Art Thou" and "True Grit." He was even nominated twice in 2008 for "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford" and "No Country for Old Men" … and still lost. He's overdue, and I fear it will stay that way after Sunday night's ceremony wraps up.

Oh, and "Skyfall" was beautiful. That's the most important reason why Deakins should win.

Best Editing

Will win: "Argo"

Should win: "Zero Dark Thirty"

Both films have sharply edited final acts that easily qualify for the most intense sequences of the entire year. They are the showcase moments in both movies. "Argo" just has a little more love right now.

Best Production Design

Will win: "Anna Karenina"

Should win: "Anna Karenina"

The Keira Knightley-led literary adaptation didn't quite come through on its awards bait pedigree, but it sure looked pretty. It's the predictable choice but also the correct one. Its closest competition is also "Les Miserables," which, thanks to the miserable direction, didn't really showcase the production design.

Best Costume Design

Will win: "Anna Karenina"

Should win: "Anna Karenina"

See above.

Best Makeup

Will win: "Les Miserables"

Should win: "Les Miserables"

What a bunch of terrible nominees. Hopkins didn't look anything like Alfred Hitchcock despite performing under a fat suit and layers of makeup. "Les Miserables" didn't do anything spectacular, and "The Hobbit" seemed like mostly the work of computers. I guess "Les Miserables" wins?

Best Score

Will win: "Life of Pi"

Should win: "Life of Pi"

Another unfortunately weak category this year. I give it to "Life of Pi," mainly because it's the only one I particularly remember. John Williams might win because of his famous name, but I think even he'd admit "Lincoln" was not his finest work.

Best Song

Will win: "Skyfall"

Should win: "Skyfall"

Adele winning for "Skyfall" is another lock, though "Before My Time" is a solid dark horse. It won't win, but it is a beautifully haunting number.

Best Sound Mixing

Will win: "Les Miserables"

Should win: "Les Miserables"

I don't know if you heard about this, but apparently they recorded "Les Miserables" live. That sounds like a guaranteed way to win a sound award.

Best Sound Editing

Will win: "Zero Dark Thirty"

Should win: "Zero Dark Thirty"

Once again, the compound raid at the end of "Zero Dark Thirty" is a pretty impressive technical feat. The Academy will reward them for that here.

Best Visual Effects

Will win: "Life of Pi"

Should win: "Life of Pi"

"The Hobbit" may entice some voters with its 48 frames per second and surplus of effects, but "Life of Pi" is the new "Avatar." Frankly, Richard Parker the tiger might be a better effect than the Na'vi.

Best Documentary

Will win: "Searching for Sugar Man"

Should win: "5 Broken Cameras"

"5 Broken Cameras" was one of the best films I saw all of 2012, so obviously I think it should win here. However, it has a small distributor, and "Searching for Sugar Man" is the kind of movie that makes viewers feel warm and fuzzy afterward.

Best Documentary – Short Subject

Will win: "Open Heart"

Should win: "Open Heart"

My guess is the heartstring-tugging heart surgery documentary. And with these short film categories, all you really can do is guess.

Best Animated Short Film

Will win: "Paperman"

Should win: "Paperman"

In these smaller categories, having a big name and buzz is crucial. "Paperman" has that, plus it's actually just beautiful.

Best Live Action Short Film

Will win: "Curfew"

Should win: "Curfew"

"Curfew" is the only live action short film with any kind of buzz whatsoever. Thus, it wins.

Talkbacks

Photodavie | Feb. 25, 2013 at 8:52 a.m. (report)

I agree with most of your picks (as did the Academy). However the Short Doc "Monday's at Racine" was so heart-wretching, so raw. I cannot believe it didn't win. These days everyone knows someone with cancer. This film helps you understand how the desease takes more than just a physical toll on people. In the theatre everyone from age 10-70 was in tears for most of the film.

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