A few days ago, I posted my predictions for the 2012 Oscars, breaking the categories into Technical and Major Awards. In the process, I predicted that Lincoln would take most of the biggies, that Skyfall would win Best Cinematography, and that rank sentimentality would ensure a third Oscar for Robert De Niro.
Shows what I fucking know, right?
Anyway, I might have gotten a few awards wrong, but how did I do overall? Let's have a quick look.
Best Short Film, Live Action
Prediction: Death of a Shadow
Best Short Film, Animated
Best Documentary, Short Subject
Prediction: Mondays at Racine
Best Documentary, Feature
Prediction: Searching for Sugar Man
Winner: Searching for Sugar Man
Best Achievement in Visual Effects
Prediction: Life of Pi
Winner: Life of Pi
Best Achievement in Sound Editing
Winner: Skyfall and Zero Dark Thirty
Best Achievement in Sound Mixing
Winner: Les Miserables
Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song
Prediction: Adele and Paul Epworth, for Skyfall
Winner: Adele and Paul Epworth, for Skyfall
Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score
Winner: Life of Pi
Best Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling
Prediction: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Winner: Les Miserables
Best Achievement in Costume Design
Winner: Anna Karenina
Best Achievement in Production Design
Prediction: Anna Karenina
Best Achievement in Editing
Best Achievement in Cinematography
Winner: Life of Pi
Best Foreign Language Film of the Year
Best Animated Feature Film of the Year
Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published
Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen
Prediction: Django Unchained
Winner: Django Unchained
Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role
Prediction: Anna Hathaway
Winner: Anne Hathaway
Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role
Prediction: Robert De Niro
Winner: Christoph Waltz
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role
Prediction: Jessica Chastain
Winner: Jennifer Lawrence
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role
Prediction: Daniel Day-Lewis
Winner: Daniel Day-Lewis
Best Achievement in Directing
Prediction: Steven Spielberg
Winner: Ang Lee
Best Motion Picture of the Year
So out of 24 categories I got 11 right, which is far and away the worst result I've had since I started trying to predict the Oscars. All in all, not a great night for me on that front, but it's interesting seeing just where I went wrong. Chiefly, I put too much emphasis on the historical notion that no film can win Best Picture without being nominated for Best Director, a decision which was doubly foolish considering that it is something that has happened on three prior occasions. Still, 3 times out of 84 is not exactly a trend.
However, I used it as a justification to basically ignore the undeniable momentum behind Argo throughout the awards season, and in doing so allowed it to shape my interpretation of how I thought the night would play out. Had I gone for Argo from the beginning, I probably would have got two or three more correct. Not enough to correct the generally poor showing, but enough to push my record over the psychologically significant 50% mark.
Most importantly, I second-guessed myself to death, allowing a flawed methodology to make me choose predictions I didn't have complete faith in. I talked myself out of choosing Jennifer Lawrence or Christoph Waltz because they didn't conform to my established way of thinking, and I plucked for Roger Deakins to win purely because he's amazing and should have won already, something which hasn't led to him winning on any of the nine previous occasions that he was nominated. I also greatly underestimated Life of Pi's popularity and the fact that Avatar smashed the prejudice against digital cinematography three years ago, making its victory in that category more likely than I had previously allowed.
That's enough solipsism, what of the ceremony itself? I thought it was okay. Not half as awful as the Franco/Hathaway trainwreck from several years ago, and I thought that Seth Macfarlane did a pretty good job. The opening was ropey and there were plenty of jokes that fell flat, but he kept things moving along at a pace which, for the Oscars, was reasonably snappy. It was still longer than any of the films nominated and made the idea of the Academy presenting an award for Best Editing truly laughable, but it was neither as good or bad as people perhaps hoped or feared it would be. I could really have done without TWO tributes to Chicago, though. I spent ten years trying to forget that Chicago won Best Picture and I don't much like having that memory dredged up.
The most memorable speeches were those given by Ben Affleck, who really does seem to be amazed by how much his career has turned around in the last five years; Daniel Day-Lewis, who has proved to be a surprisingly funny man in pretty much every acceptance speech he has given over the past few months (and now holds the record for most Best Actor Oscars won, which is not too shabby); Christoph Waltz who is basically what the concept of charm would look like if it took human form; and Shawn Christensen for the short film Curfew. The winners for the short films consistently give the best speeches because they are clearly so floored by the notion of even being at the Oscars that winning is truly special to them. I'm not saying that the people nominated for the Major Awards feel jaded by the whole thing - I'm sure Benh Zeitlin would have given a lovely speech if he'd won for Beasts of the Southern Wild - but considering that most of them will have been through the ringer of the awards season they're probably a little bit more inoculated to the whole thing.
Anyway, I can't say I'm upset by any of the results, largely because it would be unbelievably stupid of me to get emotionally invested in which particular millionaire gets to take home a trophy, but mainly because most everyone was deserving of recognition. I might not have cared much for Silver Linings Playbook, but Jennifer Lawrence is an immensely talented young actress who is great at 22 and will hopefully give many more great performances. (I'd like to think that the members of the Academy rewatched her performance in Winter's Bone, turned to each other and said "Oh, we fucked up!" before decided to give her the award this time around.) Similarly, Life of Pi wasn't my favourite film of the year by any stretch of the imagination, but it was a visually sumptuous and audacious work of pure cinema, and I would much rather that Ang Lee won Best Director over Michael Haneke. The only award that really perplexes me is Anna Karenina losing for Production Design. If there was one film I watched last year whose very existence depended on production design, it was Anna Karenina.
With that, the pageantry of the awards season is behind us and we can all get back to looking forward to what 2013 has to offer. Admittedly it's all been pretty terrible so far, with most of the best films being 2012's leftovers, but I for one can't wait to sink my teeth into Stoker.