Brendan Shick | Freelance Film, Broadcast, & Digital Media

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Oscar Lineup and Predictions 2013

Feb 23 2013 by Brendan Shick Add Your Thoughts

UPDATE: I got 20 out of 24 four picks correct. There's almost as much luck as skill there. I also saw The Master (2012) since first posting and have added references where appropriate.

You might remember my list of Oscar predictions last year where I correctly named the winner in 16 out of 24 categories for the second year in a row.

Oscar Nominees 2013

A chart of all the Academy Award nominees. Titles I’ve personally screened are in green. Purple indicates films and shorts I was unable to see.

Well, this year I’ve stepped it up a notch, adding my personal pick for the film I want to win to each category – and of course that wouldn’t be fair if I hadn’t seen all the films, so I’ve traveled hundreds of miles over the past few months just to get to screenings of everything possible.

Other than the documentary shorts and foreign films, I’ve only missed two nominees (titles not screened are noted in the categories below).

My “Will Win” and “Dark Horse” picks were chosen based on aggregated results of various industry experts, winners of other award shows, trends from years past, and my own personal knack for such things

As for who the Academy will actually pick Sunday night, there are a lot more close races than in recent years. If I match last year’s total of 16 correct picks (or if anyone does) I’ll be more than a touch surprised.

Best Picture


Poster for Argo (2012)Will Win: Argo

Dark Horse: Lincoln or Life of Pi

Should Have Been Nominated: see my top 15 list

Should Win: from this list, Life of Pi (but see my top 15 for a definitive pick)

I’ll soon be releasing my top ten list for the past year – and you’ll see that these weren’t my top 9 picks of the year. That being said, each of these films has its own strength and makes predicting what the Academy will choose a little more difficult than usual. Also is the issue that in past years, the trend has been as follows:

  1. 9 times out of 10, the Academy awards the same picture Best Picture and Best Director.
  2. The Producers Guild and the Academy almost always award their Best Picture awards to the same film.

Argo won at the Producers Guild despite Ben Affleck not being nominated by the Academy for Best Director – so one trend or the other won’t hold true this year – and so, what are usually the two easiest categories to guess are actually up in the air this year.

As Affleck did win at both the Producers Guild and the Director’s Guild awards (and pretty much everywhere else), expect Argo to take home the win anyway.

Best Director

Nominees:Poster for Lincoln (2012)

Will Win: Lincoln

Dark Horse: Life of Pi or Silver Linings Playbook

Should Have Been Nominated: Argo, Les Misérables, or Django Unchained

Should Win: Life of Pi

Ben Affleck has gotten a lot of praise for his achievement on Argo – and has had no problem winning awards for it from everyone who isn’t the Academy. But, not being nominated here, he’ll be passed over in favor of someone else.

Spielberg, Lee, and Russell have the most buzz among those actually nominated – and the slew of nominations given to Lincoln and Life of Pi are proof that they are well liked by the Academy.

Given the fact that the Academy tends to favor actors’ directors in this category, I think Spielberg has a clear edge over Lee – note that Life of Pi didn’t even come close to landing a nomination for acting, despite receiving a whopping 11 nominations overall.

Best Actor


Poster for Lincoln (2012)Will Win: Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln

Dark Horse: very slight chance for Hugh Jackman, Les Misérables

Should Have Been Nominated: John Hawkes, The Sessions

Should Win: Hugh Jackman, Les Misérables

Not Screened: Somehow I missed The Master

Daniel Day-Lewis has the most buzz for his portrayal of our Civil War President.

This should be one of the easiest predictions on your entire ballot, but if you insist on shaking things up, you can insert Hugh Jackman (whose Les Misérables performance would have easily won in any other year…) or Joaquin Phoenix.

But seriously, mark Day-Lewis on your ballot. He’s already won at the Screen Actors Guild – which is a very strong indicator as most of the voters are the same there as at the Academy. Even if you get lucky enough to win with a Dark Horse pick here, your friends will hate you for the rest of your life. Don’t try it.

Best Actress

Nominees:Poster for Silver Linings Playbook (2012)

Will Win: Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook

Dark Horse: Emmanuelle Riva, Amour or Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty

Should Have Been Nominated: Keira Knightly, Anna Karenina

Should Win: Emmanuelle Riva or Quvenzhané Wallis

You know what I just said about SAG and their awards matching the Academy? Well, that’s what caused an upset in the Best Actress category last year (Meryl Streep won instead of the widely expected Viola Davis). So, tread here with caution apparently…

That being said, this is another close race this year. Second-time nominee, Jennifer Lawrence (previously nominated for Winter’s Bone) is viewed as a frontrunner, but Jessica Chastain is not far behind with her performance in Kathryn Bigalow’s Zero Dark Thirty (remember when Bigalow cleaned house with The Hurt Locker a few years back…).

Oldest-ever nominee Emmanuelle Riva is also rightly on many people’s list (as one of the few people in the States whose seen Amour and actually knows French, I can attest to her performance’s worthiness). Youngest-ever nominee Quvenzhané Wallis also delivered an amazingly natural performance that should win her the award, but she unfortunately doesn’t stand much chance of getting recognized for that accomplishment.


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Brendan Shick

Brendan Shick is a freelance DP, gaffer, and sports broadcaster serving primarily the Chicago, IL; Pittsburgh, PA; Grand Rapids, MI; and Fort Wayne, IN, regions. You can find out more by following this blog, his recent work on Vimeo, or by connecting with him on Twitter or LinkedIn. Brendan is also an occasional contributor to the Project Updates feed for one of his most recent films, To Turn Back Time.

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