Sonic Cinema

Sounds, Visions and Insights by Brian Skutle

Snooch to the Nooch!

Well, with the Oscars finally happening on Sunday, it’s now time for my final look at the nominees, and a look at my final predictions (all nominations listed in order of preference), and whether they’ve changed in the past month.

Before I get to the festivities, though, an update on where my Top 10 Best and Favorites for 2012 stand now.

Brian’s 10 Best Films of 2012
1. “Argo” (Ben Affleck)
2. “Moonrise Kingdom” (Wes Anderson)
3. “Zero Dark Thirty” (Kathryn Bigelow)
4. “The Hunger Games” (Gary Ross)
5. “Searching for the Sugar Man” (Malik Bendjelloul)
6. “Noctambulous” (Kelvin C. Bias)
7. “The Cabin in the Woods” (Drew Goddard)
8. “Lincoln” (Steven Spielberg)
9. “Familiar” (Richard Powell)
10. “Marvel’s The Avengers” (Joss Whedon)

Brian’s 10 Favorite Films of 2012
1. “Marvel’s The Avengers” (Joss Whedon)
2. “Moonrise Kingdom” (Wes Anderson)
3. “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” (Stephen Chbosky)
4. “Silver Linings Playbook” (David O. Russell)
5. “Cloud Atlas” (Andy and Lana Wachowski, Tom Tykwer)
6. “The Cabin in the Woods” (Drew Goddard)
7. “Pitch Perfect” (Jason Moore)
8. “The Hunger Games” (Gary Ross)
9. “The Dark Knight Rises” (Christopher Nolan)
10. “Bully” (Lee Hirsch)

Viva la Resistance!

Brian Skutle

Best Picture
“Zero Dark Thirty”
“Silver Linings Playbook”
“Django Unchained”
“Beasts of the Southern Wild”
“Les Miserables”
“Life of Pi”

Brian’s Top Nine: “Argo”; “Moonrise Kingdom”; “Zero Dark Thirty”; “The Hunger Games”; “Searching for the Sugar Man”; “Noctambulous”; “The Cabin in the Woods”; “Lincoln”; “Marvel’s The Avengers”

Brian’s Pick: “Argo”

Oscar’s Pick: “Argo”. Without a Best Director nomination, it’s always possible “Lincoln,” “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” or “Life of Pi” could take the top prize, but I’m guessing Ben Affleck’s great true story thriller will become only the fourth Best Picture winner that wasn’t nominated for its director, as well. And honestly, it couldn’t happen to a better film.

Best Director
Steven Spielberg, “Lincoln”
Benh Zeitlin, “Beasts of the Southern Wild”
David O. Russell, “Silver Linings Playbook”
Michael Haneke, “Amour”
Ang Lee, “Life of Pi”

Brian’s Top Five: Ben Affleck, “Argo”; Kathryn Bigelow, “Zero Dark Thirty”; Wes Anderson, “Moonrise Kingdom”; Andy and Lana Wachowski and Tom Tykwer, “Cloud Atlas”; Juan Antonio Bayona, “The Impossible”

Brian’s Pick: Steven Spielberg, “Lincoln”

Oscar’s Pick: Benh Zeitlin. With non-nominee Ben Affleck cleaning up the pre-Oscar awards this past month, Best Director is put in play in some intriguing ways. With the exception of Haneke, who will likely win Foreign Language Film, I can see a scenario where the remaining four can each win. But I’m going to go with first-time director Zeitlin, who was a surprise nominee, and whose film, I’m guessing, has deep support within the Academy. True, I probably shouldn’t be so quick to bet against previous winners Spielberg and Lee, whose films led in overall nominees, but with Affleck out of the picture, anything can happen.

Best Actor
Daniel Day-Lewis, “Lincoln”
Denzel Washington, “Flight”
Hugh Jackman, “Les Miserables”
Joaquin Phoenix, “The Master”
Bradley Cooper, “Silver Linings Playbook”

Brian’s Top Five: Daniel Day-Lewis, “Lincoln”; Denzel Washington, “Flight”; Jared Gilman, “Moonrise Kingdom”; Hugh Jackman, “Les Miserables”; Joaquin Phoenix, “The Master”

Brian’s Pick: Daniel Day-Lewis, “Lincoln”

Oscar’s Pick: Daniel Day-Lewis. His third Oscar, and second in five years, is a guaranteed victory for “Lincoln” at this point.

Best Actress
Jennifer Lawrence, “Silver Linings Playbook”
Quvenzhané Wallis, “Beasts of the Southern Wild”
Jessica Chastain, “Zero Dark Thirty”
Emmanuelle Riva, “Amour”
Naomi Watts, “The Impossible”

Brian’s Top Five: Jennifer Lawrence, “The Hunger Games” & “Silver Linings Playbook”; Quvenzhané Wallis, “Beasts of the Southern Wild”; Kara Hayward, “Moonrise Kingdom”; Aubrey Plaza, “Safety Not Guaranteed”; Jessica Chastain, “Zero Dark Thirty”

Brian’s Pick: Jennifer Lawrence, “Silver Linings Playbook”

Oscar’s Pick: Jennifer Lawrence. With Chastain and “Zero Dark Thirty” losing steam late in the game, the stars have aligned for Lawrence, nominated for the second time in three years as Best Actress, to win for her radiant and foul-mouthed performance in “Silver Linings Playbook,” although don’t be too shocked if Wallis or Riva sneak up on her.

Best Supporting Actor
Christoph Waltz, “Django Unchained”
Tommy Lee Jones, “Lincoln”
Philip Seymour Hoffman, “The Master”
Robert DeNiro, “Silver Linings Playbook”
Alan Arkin, “Argo”

Brian’s Top Five: Leonardo DiCaprio, “Django Unchained”; Tom Holland, “The Impossible”; Russ Camarda, “The Night Never Sleeps”; Dwight Henry, “Beasts of the Southern Wild”; Jim Broadbent, “Cloud Atlas”

Brian’s Pick: Christoph Waltz, “Django Unchained”

Oscar’s Pick: Tommy Lee Jones. This is one of the rare years in which an acting category, this late in the race, could go one of five ways; there are plausible scenarios in which each actor could win. But I’m going to go with Jones, not only for giving one of his best performances since his first Oscar win nearly 20 years ago, but also because of how deep the support for “Lincoln,” which may not be a lock for Best Picture, is.

Best Supporting Actress
Anne Hathaway, “Les Misérables”
Sally Field, “Lincoln”
Jacki Weaver, “Silver Linings Playbook”
Amy Adams, “The Master”
Helen Hunt, “The Sessions” (Haven’t Seen)

Brian’s Top Five: Doona Bae, “Cloud Atlas”; Anne Hathaway, “Les Miserables” & “The Dark Knight Rises”; Kelly Reilly, “Flight”; Shirley MacLaine, “Bernie”; Judi Dench, “Skyfall”

Brian’s Pick: Anne Hathaway, “Les Misérables”

Oscar’s Pick: Anne Hathaway. It might be the only major win for “Les Miserables” of the evening, but damn, is it a deserving one. Ms. Hathaway has shone on Oscar night before, but this time, it’ll be as a winner.

Best Original Screenplay
“Moonrise Kingdom” (Wes Anderson, Roman Coppola)
“Zero Dark Thirty” (Mark Boal)
“Flight” (John Gatins)
“Amour” (Michael Haneke)
“Django Unchained” (Quentin Tarantino)

Brian’s Top Five: “Moonrise Kingdom” (Wes Anderson, Roman Coppola); “Safety Not Guaranteed” (Derek Connolly); “Zero Dark Thirty” (Mark Boal); “Noctambulous” (Kelvin C. Bias); “Flight” (John Gatins)

Brian’s Pick: “Moonrise Kingdom” (Wes Anderson, Roman Coppola)

Oscar’s Pick: “Django Unchained”. This is a very tough one to predict. The WGA went with “Zero Dark Thirty,” and believe me, Boal is completely worthy of winning his second Oscar in four years, but the optimist in me wants to say the Academy will reward the delightfully original “Kingdom.” But I think the Academy will go with unpredictability and give Tarantino his second writing Oscar for his crazy revisionist history epic.

Best Adapted Screenplay
“Argo” (Chris Terrio)
“Beasts of the Southern Wild” (Lucy Alibar, Benh Zeitlin)
“Lincoln” (Tony Kushner)
“Silver Linings Playbook” (David O. Russell)
“Life of Pi” (David Magee)

Brian’s Top Five: “Argo” (Chris Terrio); “Lincoln” (Tony Kushner); “Beasts of the Southern Wild” (Lucy Alibar, Benh Zeitlin); “The Hunger Games” (Gary Ross, Billy Ray, Suzanne Collins); “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” (Stephen Chbosky)

Brian’s Pick: “Argo” (Chris Terrio)

Oscar’s Pick: “Argo”. “Lincoln” should be winning here because of Tony Kushner’s smart, engrossing storytelling of a narrative that could have bored the audience to tears, but I have a feeling “Argo,” which might be making some history Sunday, will leap over it for it’s tense, entertaining true story.

Before I get to the music categories, a word. Despite my not having seen a couple of the nominated films, I have been able to listen to all of the nominated scores and songs, so I am able to rank these according to personal preference. -Brian Skutle

Best Original Score
“Skyfall” (Thomas Newman)
“Argo” (Alexandre Desplat)
“Anna Karenina” (Dario Marianelli)
“Lincoln” (John Williams)
“Life of Pi” (Mychael Danna)

Brian’s Top Five: Reinhold Heil, Johnny Klimek, Tom Tykwer, “Cloud Atlas”; Jonny Greenwood, “The Master”; Thomas Newman, “Skyfall”; Alexandre Desplat, “Moonrise Kingdom”, “Zero Dark Thirty” & “Argo”; Hans Zimmer, “The Dark Knight Rises”

Brian’s Pick: “Skyfall” (Thomas Newman)

Oscar’s Pick: “Life of Pi”. This was already a frustrating year for me with this category, but the chances of “Pi,” and first-time nominee Danna, winning, and the lack of some truly deserving, original scores, is disappointing. Don’t get me wrong: Danna is wholly deserving as a composer (he’s impressed me previously with “The Sweet Hereafter,” “Tideland,” and “Moneyball”), but, while his score for “Pi” is very good, it just didn’t have the impact of some of these other nominees. Still, I can definitely be happy for Danna winning, even if I’d love to see Newman or Desplat win more.

Best Original Song
“Skyfall” from “Skyfall” (Adele Adkins and Paul Epworth)
“Suddenly” from “Les Miserables” (Alain Boublil, Claude-Michel Schönberg, Herbert Kretzmer)
“Everybody Needs A Best Friend” from “Ted” (Walter Murphy, Seth MacFarlane)
“Before My Time” from “Chasing Ice” (J. Ralph)
“Pi’s Lullaby” from “Life of Pi” (Mychael Danna, Bombay Jayashri)

Brian’s Top Five: “Skyfall” from “Skyfall” (Adele, Paul Epworth); “Ancora Qui” from “Django Unchained” (Elisa Toffoli, Ennio Morricone); “Into the Open Air” from “Brave” (Alex Mandel); “Abraham’s Daughter” from “The Hunger Games” (Win Butler, Regine Chassagne & T Bone Burnett); “Who Did That To You?” from “Django Unchained” (John Stephens, Paul Epworth)

Brian’s Pick: “Skyfall” from “Skyfall” (Adele, Paul Epworth)

Oscar’s Pick: “Skyfall”. I don’t know how any Bond theme has never won this category, but that drought will end this year thanks to Adele’s great title song.

Best Animated Feature
“The Pirates! Band of Misfits”
“Wreck-It-Ralph” (Haven’t Seen)

Brian’s Top Five: “Brave”; “Frankenweenie”; “The Secret World of Arrietty”; “Paranorman”; “The Pirates! Band of Misfits”

Brian’s Pick: “Brave”

Oscar’s Pick: “Wreck-It-Ralph”. Sadly, I have yet to see Rich Moore’s acclaimed winter hit, but the big box-office, along with critical kudos, make it a big winner over the rest of this impressive list.

Best Foreign Language Film
“Amour” (Austria)
“Kon-Tiki” (Norway) (Haven’t Seen)
“No” (Chile) (Haven’t Seen)
“A Royal Affair” (Denmark) (Haven’t Seen)
“War Witch” (Canada) (Haven’t Seen)

Brian’s Top, Um, One: “Amour”

Brian’s Pick: “Amour” (It’s hard to go with anything else when you’ve only seen one of the nominees.)

Oscar’s Pick: “Amour”. It’s a Best Picture nominee, so I wouldn’t expect anything else here.

Best Documentary Feature
“Searching For the Sugar Man”
“The Invisible War”
“5 Broken Cameras”
“How to Survive A Plague”
“The Gatekeepers” (Haven’t Seen)

Brian’s Top Five: “Searching for the Sugar Man”; “The Invisible War”; “Marley”; “5 Broken Cameras”; “How to Survive a Plague”

Brian’s Pick: “Searching for the Sugar Man”

Oscar’s Pick: “Searching for the Sugar Man”. As I got caught up with this year’s nominees, I found out just how great this year was for documentaries. In a category of powerful social docs, I think the surprising, remarkable true story of “Sugar Man”– one of the best documentaries ever, in my opinion –will win out.

Best Visual Effects
“Life of Pi”
“Marvel’s The Avengers”
“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”
“Snow White and the Huntsman”

Brian’s Top Five: “Life of Pi”; “Cloud Atlas”; “Marvel’s The Avengers”; “The Impossible”; “Prometheus”

Brian’s Pick: “Life of Pi”

Oscar’s Pick: “Life of Pi”. Admittedly, I can see “The Avengers,” the year’s biggest box-office hit, taking this one, but I’m thinking that, as with “Hugo” last year, the Academy will go with the Best Picture nominated, and equally-stunning, “Life of Pi.”

Best Sound Mixing
“Les Misérables”
“Life of Pi”

Brian’s Top Five: “Les Miserables”; “Cloud Atlas”; “Life of Pi”; “Django Unchained”; “The Hunger Games”

Brian’s Pick: “Les Miserables”

Oscar’s Pick: “Les Miserables”. If a musical is in, chances are, it’s going to win, and since they did something never tried before, and recorded the singing live, it’s hard to imagine “Les Miserables” won’t be out “Life of Pi” and “Lincoln” here.

Best Sound Editing
“Zero Dark Thirty”
“Life of Pi”
“Django Unchained”

Brian’s Top Five: “Les Miserables”; “The Hunger Games”; “Zero Dark Thirty”; “Cloud Atlas”; “Life of Pi”

Brian’s Pick: “Zero Dark Thirty”

Oscar’s Pick: “Zero Dark Thirty”. “Life of Pi” is a possibility, but military dramas tend to win here, and I think “Zero Dark Thirty” will, deservingly, continue that trend.

Best Cinematography
“Life of Pi”
“Django Unchained”
“Anna Karenina” (Haven’t Seen)

Brian’s Top Five: “Cloud Atlas”; “Django Unchained”; “Life of Pi”; “Skyfall”; “Beasts of the Southern Wild”

Brian’s Pick: “Life of Pi”

Oscar’s Pick: “Life of Pi”. “Skyfall,” and the never won master, Roger Deakins, could sneak by for the best-looking Bond in ages, but I’m going to guess “Life of Pi,” with its triumphant use of 3D, takes the win.

Best Film Editing
“Zero Dark Thirty”
“Life of Pi”
“Silver Linings Playbook”

Brian’s Top Five: “Cloud Atlas”; “Zero Dark Thirty”; “Argo”; “The Impossible”; “Les Miserables”

Brian’s Pick: “Zero Dark Thirty”

Oscar’s Pick: “Zero Dark Thirty”. I’m really torn on this one. The not-nominated “Cloud Atlas” aside, both “Argo” and “Zero Dark Thirty” are the year’s finest examples of film editing resulting in fluid storytelling, and since “Argo” will, very likely, win Best Picture, I don’t really want to bet against it here. But for that final raid on bin Laden’s compound alone, I can’t imagine the Academy not choosing “Zero Dark Thirty” over “Argo.”

Best Production Design
“Les Misérables”
“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”
“Life of Pi”
“Anna Karenina” (Haven’t Seen)

Brian’s Top Five: “The Hunger Games”; “Les Miserables”; “Cloud Atlas”; “Lincoln”; “Moonrise Kingdom”

Brian’s Pick: “Les Misérables”

Oscar’s Pick: “Les Misérables”. In a race of Best Picture nominees, the impeccably art directed “Misérables” beats out “Lincoln,” although I can see “The Hobbit” sneaking past both.

Best Makeup & Hair Styling
“Les Misérables”
“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”

Brian’s Top Three: “The Impossible”; “Les Miserables”; “Cloud Atlas”

Brian’s Pick: “Les Miserables”

Oscar’s Pick: “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”. “Les Miserables” might win simply because it’s a Best Picture nominee, but thinking about it, I have a feeling the Academy as a whole will recognize the continued excellence of the work WETA has done in returning to Middle Earth for “The Hobbit.”

Best Costume Design
“Les Misérables”
“Mirror Mirror”
“Snow White and the Huntsman”
“Anna Karenina” (Haven’t Seen)

Brian’s Top Five: “The Hunger Games”; “Cloud Atlas”; “Les Miserables”; “Lincoln”; “Mirror Mirror”

Brian’s Pick: “Les Misérables”

Oscar’s Pick: “Mirror Mirror”. A Best Picture nomination helps, but the extravagant duds in the year’s first Snow White film will likely beat out the more traditionally-period “Les Misérables,” “Lincoln,” and “Anna Karenina.”

Here are the three awards those most devoted to movies care about. I haven’t seen many of these, so all these are just guesses.

Best Short Film- Live Action
“Buzkashi Boys”
“Death of a Shadow (Dood van een Schaduw)”

Oscar’s Pick: “Death of a Shadow (Dood van een Schaduw)”

Best Short Film- Animated
“Adam and Dog”
“Fresh Guacamole”
“Head over Heels”
“Maggie Simpson in ‘The Longest Daycare’”

Oscar’s Pick: “Paperman”

Best Documentary Short Subject
“Kings Point”
“Mondays at Racine”
“Open Heart”

Oscar’s Pick: “Redemption”

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