Politics of predictions and nominations for Oscars

Published: February 23, 2013

The hopes and dreams of director/actor Ben Affleck have been restored; Argo now has a strong chance of winning Best Picture this year. PHOTO: FILE

The 2013 Oscars race is one of the most exciting in years. With a never-ending season of award ceremonies as a forerunner to the Oscars; from the Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild Awards, Directors Guild Awards to the British Academy of Film and Television Awards, the predictions for tonight’s winners have changed over two months and the Oscar race has twisted and mutated.

While ceremonies preceding the Oscars have helped us make a few predictions, many of the awards are still open and upsets are always possible. It seemed that Zero Dark Thirty (ZDT) was going to sweep the Oscars, but after much controversy regarding the films ZDT, Life of Pi, Lincoln, Argo, Silver Linings Playbook and Django Unchained, the hopes and dreams of director and actor Ben Affleck have been restored; Argo now holds a strong chance of winning Best Picture this year.

According to Nate Silver, who wrote Oscar Predictions, Election-Style for The New York Times, there is also plenty of lobbying from the studios, which invest millions in the hopes that an Oscar win will extend the life of their films at the box office. With an amalgamation of websites and blogs employing different methods to predict the winners, the agreement is that the results are not random. For example, Best Performance comes from the Directors Guild of America Awards — their award for Outstanding Direction in a Feature Film has corresponded with the Academy Award for Best Picture a full 80 per cent of the time. In contrast, the Golden Globe nominations for Best Dramatic Motion Picture have hardly matched the Oscar winners at all. Some awards have a strong track record of picking the Oscar winners in their categories, whereas others like the Los Angeles Film Critics Association almost never get the answer right.

Silver writes that the main reason that some awards perform better is because some of them are voted on by people who will also vote for the Oscars. “Insider” awards, according to Silver, are those like the Golden Globes, which are voted upon by “outsiders” like journalists or critics. These tend to be less reliable.

At the end, we hope that the best man and woman wins!

The nominees for major categories are:

Best Picture: Argo, Life of Pi, Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook and ZDT, Django Unchained, Les Miserables.

Best Director: Steven Spielberg for Lincoln, Ben Affleck for Argo, Kathryn Bigelow for ZDT and Ang Lee for Life of Pi, David O Russel for Silver Linings Playbook.

Best Actor in a leading role: Bradley Cooper in Silver Linings Playbook, Daniel Day-Lewis in Lincoln, Hugh Jackman in Les Miserables, Denzel Washington in Flight and Joaquin Phoenix in The Master.

Best Actress in a leading role: Jennifer Lawrence in Silver Linings Playbook, Naomi Watts in The Impossible, Jessica Chastain in ZDT, Emmanuelle Riva in Amour.

Best Supporting Actor: Alan Arkin in Argo, Robert De Niro in Silver Linings Playbook, Tommy Lee Jones in Lincoln, Christoph Waltz in Django Unchained, Philip Seymour Hoffman in The Master.

Best Supporting Actress: Amy Adams in The Master, Sally Field in Lincoln, Anne Hathaway in Les Miserables, Helen Hunt in The Sessions, Jacki Weaver in Silver Linings Playbook

Best Soundtrack: Adele for Skyfall

Published in The Express Tribune, February 24th, 2013.

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