How’d I Do?

With this year’s Academy Awards ceremony behind us, it’s time to take a look at how I did on my predictions for the 85th edition of this annual competition, as first outlined in my previous blog, What To Expect Out of This Year’s Oscars.

And the result? Well, I did OK, but not as well as in previous years. Out of the six major categories, I’d give myself an overall score of 3.5. Here’s how I did:

Best Picture

Projected Winner: “Argo”
Actual Winner: “Argo”
Result: Correct call

This was a slam dunk. Anyone who didn’t see this result coming wasn’t paying attention. As the best picture winner of every major competition leading up to the Oscars, there was no reason to believe that the result was going to be any different this time. It’s regrettable, however, that this picture beat out the best nominee in this category, which was, in my opinion, “Les Misérables.”

Best Actor

Projected Winner: Daniel Day-Lewis, “Lincoln”
Actual Winner: Daniel Day-Lewis, “Lincoln”
Result: Correct call

This was another slam dunk. Day-Lewis swept the best actor category in every major competition leading up to the Oscars, so, once again, there was no reason to believe that the result was going to be any different this time. Thankfully, the right performance came up as the winner in this category; Day-Lewis was very deserving of every accolade bestowed upon him.

Best Actress

Projected Winner: Jessica Chastain, “Zero Dark Thirty” (with the caveat that the award could just as easily go to Jennifer Lawrence, “Silver Linings Playbook”)
Actual Winner: Jennifer Lawrence, “Silver Linings Playbook”
Result: Partially correct call

This was not a surprise by any means, even though Lawrence did not appear to have a solid lock on the award going in. Having split most of the pre-Oscar honors with Chastain, this was a virtual toss-up. I believed that, as is usually the case, Academy voters would have sided with a performer in a dramatic role over one portraying a lighter character. I guess I was wrong. But, having said that Lawrence was just as likely to come up the winner as Chastain, I’ll take half marks on this category. As for who should have won, I would have preferred the award go to Emmanuelle Riva for “Amour,” even though wins by either Lawrence or Chastain certainly would have been acceptable.

Best Supporting Actor

Projected Winner: Philip Seymour Hoffman, “The Master”
Actual Winner: Christoph Waltz, “Django Unchained”
Result: Missed call

I’ll admit that I had considerable difficulty projecting a winner in this category since it was so packed with talent and deserving performances. What’s more, the momentum in this category kept shifting during the course of awards season. When it started out, Hoffman was considered the early favorite with his Critics Choice Award win. It later shifted to Waltz with his Golden Globe Award victory and then Tommy Lee Jones with his Screen Actors Guild Award win. So, by the evening of the Oscar ceremony, the winner was anybody’s guess, and I obviously guessed incorrectly. I would have been happy with victories by just about any of the nominees in this category, though I’ll admit that I was partial to Hoffman, as well as to Alan Arkin in “Argo.”

Best Supporting Actress

Projected Winner: Anne Hathaway, “Les Misérables”
Actual Winner: Anne Hathaway, “Les Misérables”
Result: Correct call

This was the evening’s third slam dunk. Hathaway captured the best supporting actress award in every major competition leading up to the Oscars, so, once again, there was no reason to believe that the result was going to be any different this time. As with Day-Lewis, thankfully, the strongest performance came up the winner in this category, though wins by either Sally Field in “Lincoln” or Helen Hunt in “The Sessions” certainly would have been worthy of such recognition.

Best Director

Projected Winner: Steven Spielberg, “Lincoln”
Actual Winner: Ang Lee, “Life of Pi”
Result: Missed call (big time!)

If there was a major surprise on Oscar night (not only by yours truly but by moviegoers in general), it was the unexpected win by Lee as best director. Given that the best picture and best director winners nearly always go hand in hand, and given that Ben Affleck didn’t land a best director nomination for his work on “Argo,” the field was wide open. Even though there was no clear-cut frontrunner, most Oscar watchers, like myself, believed that Spielberg would take home the award as a sort of “consolation prize” for his film’s failure to capture best picture honors, an expectation that many moviegoers had of this offering before the start of awards season. And, even though Spielberg did not have a lock on the award, Lee’s emergence out of left field caught nearly everyone off guard, given that he was arguably the weakest of the remaining challengers. Admittedly, this was not a particularly strong field of nominees, so picking a truly deserving winner was difficult, though, if the decision had been up to me, I would have given the award to Michael Haneke for “Amour.”

Maybe I’ll do better next year!

In the meantime, be sure to check out my reviews of some of the winners and other nominees at the following links:

Amour“: web site, trailer, review

“Argo”: web site, trailer, review

“Les Misérables”: web site, trailer, review

“Life of Pi”: web site, trailer, review

“Lincoln”: web site, trailer, review

“The Master”: web site, trailer, review

“The Sessions”: web site, trailer, review

“Silver Linings Playbook”: web site, trailer, review

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