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The 411 Movies Top 5 02.22.12: Week 362 - Top 5 Oscar Hopefuls
Posted by Shawn S. Lealos on 02.22.2013

Welcome to Week 362 of the Movie Zone Top 5. My name is Shawn S. Lealos and you have entered my world.

The 411mania writers were given the following instructions: I want to know the five people you want to see win on Sunday that will make you happy after the Oscars. You can go with the actors and actresses, directors and best pictures, but try to dig deeper to make it more interesting. Look at the visual effects, screenplays, animated films, documentaries, costumes, makeup and music. Look at all the awards and pick out the five people that deserve it the most.


Bryan Kristopowitz

5. Sally Field wins Best Supporting Actress for Lincoln

I'm a big fan of Sally Field, and if she won she would no doubt give a kick ass acceptance speech. Anne Hathaway is probably going to win in the end (that's my official pick), and she'll give a boring, lame ass "I can't believe I've come this far" type of speech. Who the hell wants to see that, besides the voting members of the Academy? I bet Jacki Weaver would give a great speech, too. Not as good as Field, though. That's what the Oscar show needs. Good speeches. Go Sally!

4. The Avengers wins Best Visual Effects

The Avengers was the biggest movie of 2012, so it would be nice if it was recognized by the Oscar people for something. And since it's the only category it's nominated in, why not make it seem like an obvious choice and just go for it? The movie deserves the award. The flick's Visual Effects were great.

Wouldn't it have been neat if the Academy nominated The Avengers for Best Picture as a kind of reward for cobbling together several different movie characters into one big movie that people enjoyed? Of course it would have. But then the world just isn't cool enough to let that happen.

3. Maggie Simpson in "The Longest Daycare" wins Best Animated Short

The Simpsons are still a pop culture phenomena over two decades later, so that alone Maggie Simpson's little cartoon should win an Oscar. Plus, it would be so damn cool to see Matt Groening holding an Oscar. I don't think it's going to happen, though. I refer back to my number 3 pick. I don't think the world is cool enough to let Maggie Simpson win a major award.

2. Frankenweenie wins Best Animated Feature

Again, my wanting this movie to win is all about seeing a particular person with an Oscar, and in the case of Frankenweenie, a movie I still haven't seen but looks fantastic, I want to see Tim Burton win an Oscar. And if there was ever a category for him to win in, since the Academy doesn't seem all that keen on Tim Burton since Ed Wood, Best Animated Feature would be the category. Cartoons let you be weird, and Frankenweenie seems to be all about weird.

1. Seth MacFarlane wins Best Song for Ted

Part of my longing for this to happen, like my last two picks, is all about Seth "Family Guy" MacFarlane winning an Oscar. I think the guy is hilarious and incredibly talented and deserves the recognition. Plus, I think it would be a fun few hours watching the segment of pop culture that can't stand MacFarlane deal with the fact that the man they all hate has an Oscar while someone they like doesn't. Yeah, it's a little ridiculous, but it's my list. Plus, I think it's high time that the list of Oscar hosts who win Oscars the same night they're hosting expands to three (David Niven and Frank Capra are the only Oscar hosts so far to win an award the same night they hosted. Bob Hope won an award when he hosted, too, but that was an Honorary Award. I'm not sure that necessarily counts here).

Jeremy Wilson

5. Curfew (Best Live-Action Short)

The only reason Ben Piper and Jeremy Thomas finished two ahead of me in last year's 411 Oscar Pool was because I made the mistake of going with my heart when it came to the Live-Action and Documentary shorts. I actually saw them and had the temerity to choose the shorts I thought were clearly and unequivocally the best. Silly me, the Academy disagreed and passed over the clearly superior Tuba Atlantic for the more pedigreed The Shore (from Hotel Rwanda writer-director Terry George and starring Ciarán Hinds). Not that I'm bitter or anything (*cough* still bitter *cough*). Anyway, thankfully this year it looks as if the Live-Action short I thought was the clear standout is actually the favorite to win. Believe it or not, Shawn Christensen the star & writer-director of Curfew was the screenwriter of the Taylor Lautner action "thriller" Abduction. That feature was flat-out terrible, but Curfew definitely gives Christensen redemption and forces one to wonder what hellish torture that Abduction script was put through on its journey to the big screen. Curfew is a stylish, genuine and truly touching ode to loneliness, family, reconciliation, the power of being needed by someone anyone and finding the light at the end of a very dark tunnel.

4. Wes Anderson & Roman Coppola, Moonrise Kingdom (Best Original Screenplay)

I wish Moonrise Kingdom was in the thick of more races and could have at least gotten a Best Picture nod. However, this is the only race it is in at this year's Oscars and at least it has a shot. It's not necessarily the favorite, but all the Best Picture heavyweights are in Adapted this year, opening up the Original Screenplay category for a film that might get its only win. Moonrise Kingdom was in my own personal Top 5 Films of 2012 and I continue to see it as one of the most touching, beautiful and luscious films of the year. It's also Wes Anderson's most accessible film to date, even though it retains much of the filmmaker's unique style and charm. The film's screenplay is fantastic and I would love to see Anderson and Coppola (a name the Academy knows well) bring home some deserving gold for one of the best American films of 2012.

3. Anybody but Brave (Best Animated Feature)

I don't hate Brave. But in a year which saw a plethora of really strong animation, Pixar's latest outing feels like one of its weakest and tremendously unmemorable in comparison to the three nominated stop motion nominees (ParaNorman, Frankenweenie, The Pirates! Band of Misfits) and Disney Animation's Wreck-It Ralph. arguably its best outing since The Lion King. Frankly, I'm pulling for Wreck-It Ralph (followed by ParaNorman) to win, but I'd prefer to see all four non-Pixar entries take home the statuette.

2. Joaquin Phoenix, The Master (Best Actor)

This is less a slap at Daniel Day-Lewis and more of a desire on my part to have Joaquin Phoenix's work in The Master more widely celebrated. For me, the three best male performances I saw this year were Phoenix, Day-Lewis and Denis Lavant (Holy Motors) in any particular order. However, Day-Lewis' march to Oscar #3 has been one giant formality, an uninterrupted string of wins from critics groups and industry bodies alike. He's probably the biggest lock of the night and another Day-Lewis win puts the actor in a singular position of being the only man to ever win Best Actor 3 times. And he's deserving, no doubt. However, Phoenix's performance was bolder, riskier and the kind of work I wished was getting more acclaim. It's a performance I find myself continuing to contemplate nearly six months after I first saw Paul Thomas Anderson's complex and dense film. Phoenix is asked to do things that many of his contemporaries would no doubt flinch or outright balk at doing and while Day-Lewis melts into the background and feels perfectly at home in Lincoln, Freddie Quell is the complete opposite. The camera lingers on Quell, Phoenix asked to both hold audiences' attention while simultaneously delving ever deeper into one of last year's most dark, uncomfortable and unpredictable characters. His chemistry with Philip Seymour Hoffman (who I also hope wins) was electric and helped make The Master one of the most must-see and debated movies of 2012.

1. Roger Deakins, Skyfall (Best Cinematography)

#6 on my list (and therefore an honorable mention) would be Prometheus for Best Visual Effects. I left that off because I didn't want my strong disdain for Life of Pi to take up 2 spots on my list. Plus, if push came to shove, I'd much rather Roger Deakins win Best Cinematography for his work on Skyfall. This is Deakins' 10th nomination and the man one of the truly great cinematographers of this or any era has yet to win one. He's been recognized 3 times by the American Society of Cinematographers (including for Skyfall), won 3 BAFTA awards and has 2 Independent Spirit Awards for Cinematography. He's been behind the camera on some of the best and most visually arresting films of the past three decades. Some of his most memorable and acclaimed works have been Coen Brothers' films (Barton Fink, Fargo, O Brother, Where Art Thou?, The Man Who Wasn't There, No Country for Old Men, etc...). He's also worked on other non-Coen classics, such as Frank Darabont's The Shawshank Redemption, and in 2008 he became the first cinematographer in history to receive dual ASC nominations for his works, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford and No Country for Old Men. The latter won the BAFTA Award for Best Cinematography and he also received dual Academy Award nominations for both films (he lost that year to Robert Elswitt and There Will Be Blood). But even with that hefty resume, Deakins has never won the big one. Skyfall wasn't just one of the best blockbuster action films of 2012; it was one of the most beautiful, featuring numerous iconic shots that have Deakins fingerprints all over them. I have a lot of nominees and films I'm rooting for come Oscar night, but none more than Roger Deakins and Skyfall.

Michael Weyer

5. Wreck-It-Ralph (Best Animated Feature)

Easily the best animated film of last year, a wonderful ride through video game history to thrill geeks and kids alike. But also a warm story of a guy trying to change past expectations with fun humor and good plot, not to mention gloriously done animated sequences across video game landscapes. It's past time a non-Pixar Disney movie took this award and for one of the best of its field, Ralph deserves it.

4. Roger Deakins, Skyfall (Best Cineamatogrphy)

His work elevated a James Bond movie to a work of art, amazing angles and style to match a great story. From thrilling chases to quiet moments to glorious shots of London, Shanghai and other locations, Deakins helped keep the movie running fast and in an enthralling style. The fact the man has been nominated 10 times without a win is a shame and should more than be able to win the gold this time around for turning a simple action movie into a fantastic showcase for how Bond stands atop the field.

3. Maggie Simpson in the Longest Daycare (Best Animated Short)

I expect this award to go to the beautiful Paperman, as it should. But the idea of Matt Goering getting an Oscar is terrific, not to mention the obvious reactions of Seth McFarlane seeing his friendly rival in animation get the big prize. Unlikely of coure but would be awesome for any Simpsons fan.

2. Wes Anderson & Roman Coppola, Moonrise Kingdom (Best Original Screenplay)

This was one of the funniest, warmest, most emotional films of the year, unfairly ignored by many moviegoers and award committees alike. To see its fantastic script honored would be wonderful as Anderson has been deserving of an Oscar for some time and show the Academy does honor some small originality amid the big films.

1. Amy Adams, The Master (Best Actress)

Don't get me wrong, I adore Anne Hathaway and will be more than happy to see her take the award as expected. But I wouldn't at all mind if Adams pulls off an upset. It's her fourth nomination and I argue she deserved it each of the previous three times she was nominated, more than worthy of an Oscar to go with her rising stardom. This was one of her better roles, subdued but conniving, showing new drive and depth to her work and had she not been up against the powerhouse of Hathaway (and Sally Field as well), she might have garnered more award consideration this season. Unlikely but if the old Supporting Actress upset curse were to revive here, I'd be more than happy seeing Amy rising to the top of her class at last.

Shawn S. Lealos

5. Anna Karenina (Best Production Design)

I understand that Anna Karenina is not everyone's bag of tea, however I thought it was bloody brilliant. Joe Wright is one of the best visual directors working in cinema today and what he accomplished with this movie was breathtaking. From the acting, to the direction, to the music to the production design, everything about this movie was unique and inspiring. The production design was especially important, as the entire "dramatic portion" of the movie played out in a theater on stages that interconnected with different scenes and setups in that world. That made the entire production design of the utmost importance when it came to tying the worlds of the story together. There were moments in the "real world portion" of the movie that took place on location, but the design of the stages was masterful and deserves this award over any other contender.

4. Wreck it Ralph (Best Animated Feature)

2012 was arguably the best year ever for animated movies. There were three great animated horror movies, and two of them received nominations. Aardman returned in style with the wonderful Pirates. Ice Age and Madagascar returned with interesting takes on old stories. Even Pixar's Brave was a great movie, although male film critics couldn't relate to the female-driven storyline. However, one movie stood miles above the rest and that was the surprise hit Wreck It Ralph. From the smart story to the funny humor to the videogame in-jokes, everything in this movie worked. If a movie other than Wreck It Ralph wins, it will deserve an Oscar, but none deserve it as much as Ralph.

3. Quentin Tarantino for Django Unchained (Best Original Screenplay)

If Quentin Tarantino has an Oscar nomination, especially one for writing, I want him to win it every time. The guy is a brilliant writer and Django Unchained is no different. He expertly balances humor and violence in this movie, and while it is a bit overlong, it works from start to finish. While I agree that Moonrise Kingdom was also a great script, Tarantino should win this award hands down.

2. Argo for Best Picture

Ben Affleck was screwed by the Academy this year, and as a result he deserves to walk on the stage and get the award for Best Film. I won't mention the complaints about the film because people get butt hurt when talking about this movie, but it was a fantastic film. The drama was top notch, the pacing was perfect and the intrigue was perfectly done. Affleck deserves the Oscar for Best Director for 2012. Since he won't even get the chance, he deserves the award for Best Film in its place. The movie was that damn good.

1. Bradley Cooper for Silver Linings Playbook (Best Actor)

This is not a diss to Daniel Day-Lewis. The man is one of cinema's greatest actors and his portrayal of Abraham Lincoln was masterful, as expected. That is the problem - as expected. DDL will win the award, everyone will expect, and then people will move on to the next one because he is "supposed to win." However, if DDL had never made Lincoln this year, Bradley Cooper would win the award in my opinion. He turned in a masterful performance as a mentally unstable man, without making him look stupid or generic. He played him as a real person and was amazing in his portrayal of someone who could have been a caricature. He made Jennifer Lawrence look better than she otherwise would have, and Cooper proved to be one of the best actors working today thanks to this performance. Bradley Cooper has won a lot of awards already this season, even beating DDL on occasion, so this is NOT a lock for Day-Lewis no matter what some would have you believe. If Bradley Cooper wins the Oscar for Best Actor, I will be a very happy man no matter who else wins the other awards.


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