Politics look to dominate Oscar night

By Jackson Santy ’13


Directors, Hollywood moguls and movie buffs alike are becoming more and more excited as the Oscars approach.

Despite the fact that I am not an actor or director, I usually hold an excitement equivalent to those who are nominated for a golden statuette. We will learn their fates Sunday, Feb. 24th.

However this year after nominations were released, my feelings have changed and my interminable enthusiasm has turned into frustration and skepticism.

The Oscars have faced criticism for being “too political,” in the sense that so many nominated films (some even not nominated), go without the recognition they deserve and instead the highest grossing film of the year goes home with the most awards. Referring of course to the politics of Hollywood, not Washington D.C.

That said, this year in particular, the “political” nature of the Oscars has a sense of irony to it.

In all the major categories there is one movie title that stands out—“Lincoln.”

Directed by Oscar veteran Steven Spielberg, the presidential biopic has been a box office smash and one would imagine that Spielberg is already making room on his award shelf in anticipation for Oscar night.

Not so fast, Steven.

We mustn’t forget about Oscar night three years ago when a similar situation occurred with a little film called “Avatar.”

James Cameron had his sights set on bringing the house down but his ego was incorrect.

“The Hurt Locker” and director Katherine Bigelow, coincidentally Cameron’s ex-wife, swooped in as a major sleeper and brought home the Best Picture and Director honors.

Even though I have a somewhat pessimistic outlook for how Oscar night will go, I have rays of hope in the sleepers or at the very least, a good idea of who truly deserves an Oscar despite the constant political nature of these awards.

Best Picture

Who should win: “Beasts of the Southern Wild”

Who will win: “Lincoln”

People have asked me “What’s your pick for Best Picture?” I answer “Beasts of the Southern Wild” and I’m often met with confused looks and responses like “I’ve never even heard of it,” or “Which one is that?”

“Beasts of the Southern Wild” was by far my favorite film this year and in my opinion, the best.

Faced with both her hot-tempered father’s fading health and melting ice-caps that flood her ramshackle bayou community and unleash ancient aurochs, six-year-old African-American girl named “Hushpuppy” must learn the ways of courage and love.

The film had a limited release (only released in select theatres around the country) so it lacked the hype and publicity of films like “Lincoln.”

Notwithstanding it’s modesty in the box office, the film was powerful, inspiring, emotionally driven and stupendously acted.

If there’s any movie that deserves recognition, it’s “Beasts of the Southern Wild” and I along with nearly everybody else who had the opportunity to see the film would be thrilled to see it come out with the upset.

But still, only a few spots away on the list is “Lincoln,” directed by someone who’s been on that stage delivering his acceptance speech as well as an actor who’s shared the same stage.

Actor in a Leading Role

Who should win: Daniel Day-Lewis, “Lincoln”

Who will win: Daniel Day-Lewis, “Lincoln”

Two years since his last win for his harrowing performance in “There Will Be Blood,” this is Daniel’s fifth nomination and will likely be his third win for Actor in a Leading Role.

There was some slight competition in this category with possible sleeper potential from Hugh Jackman in “Les Miserables” or possibly a true shocker from Bradley Cooper in “Silver Linings Playbook,” but Daniel Day-Lewis as Abraham Lincoln seems to have it locked.

Actor in a Supporting Role

Who should win: Philip Seymour Hoffman, “The Master”

Who will win: Tommy Lee Jones, “Lincoln”

This category is a complete tossup.

Each of the gentlemen nominated have won before (some more than once) and I’m afraid to say I have no idea who to say for sure has the role.

Actress in a Leading Role

Who should win: Quvenzhané Wallis, “Beasts of the Southern Wild”

Who will win: Jennifer Lawrence, “Silver Linings Playbook”

Quvenzhané Wallis is breaking down walls in her acting debut, becoming the youngest person ever to be nominated for an Oscar at nine years old.

As much as I’d love to see Wallis come home with an Oscar to put on her shelf next to her stuffed animal collection, it seems all too good to be true.

Jennifer Lawrence has been breaking down just as many walls in her blooming career coming in with her second nomination for Best Actress in three years, something usually unheard of for actresses of her age.

These two young bloods are without a doubt the top contenders in the category but signs are leaning towards Jennifer Lawrence.

Actress in a Supporting Role

Who should win: Anne Hathaway, “Les Misérables”

Who will win: Anne Hathaway, “Les Misérables”

Is there anything Anne Hathaway can’t do?

She can fight the street urchins of Gotham City, share the screen with Meryl Streep and now she’s shown us that she can belt out mournful tunes, dance and convey the pain of a love-stricken French revolutionary era peasant.

Respect to Helen Hunt for making her comeback to the screen and receiving a nomination just as quickly  to the same to Sally Field as Mary Todd Lincoln, and apologies to Amy Adams for delivering a great performance but getting put in a category where she falls just short (“The Fighter” in 2011 and “Doubt” in 2009).

Hathaway’s got her first Oscar win in the bag.

Animated Feature

Who should win: Brave

Who will win: Brave

One word—Pixar.