Splendid Fred does not advocate gambling, but this is how we’re betting…

by James D. Irwin, Ken Rogers, and Alex Ivanovich

The Academy Award nominations were announced earlier today, whilst we were out having an early lunch at the Boar’s Head Tavern. Although we had only seen a handful of nominated films between us, we had a fierce Ruddles fuelled debate anyway. Eventually we came up with a list of names and went to an out-of-the-way bookies on the wrong side of the tracks.

This is what we’ve bet our £120 and kneecaps on…

Best Picture- Les Miserables

Beasts of the Southern Wild, Silver Linings Playbook, Zero Dark Thirty, Lincoln, Les Miserables, Life of Pi, Amour, Django Unchained, Argo.

We decided this was a two horse race. Last year the Academy went with a slightly unexpected choice, so we’re wildly guessing that this year will see something more obvious win. Musicals and biopics always do well, which means either Les Miserables or Lincoln will probably win. We’re going with Les Miserables because it’s the underdog— Lincoln is a film about America’s favourite president, starring a multiple Oscar winning actor, and directed by a multiple Oscar winning director. Lincoln just feels like a film that’s trying to win an Oscar, and it looks pretty boring. Meanwhile Les Miserables features Catwoman and Wolverine, and the bloke who used to be in neighbours. Also, part of Les Miserables was filmed in Winchester and caused us all varying degree of inconvenience in trying to walk home. If it won we might finally be able to put the residual bitterness behind us…

Best Actor- Daniel Day Lewis, Lincoln

Nominated— Daniel Day Lewis, Hugh Jackman, Denzel Washington, Bradley Cooper, Joaquin Phoenix.

We all want it to be Hugh Jackman, and from the brief trailers we’ve seen he might deserve it. We’ve also heard people say Joaquin Phoenix is a contender, but we’d be surprised.

Especially as Daniel Day Lewis is playing Abraham Lincoln. He probably wrote his acceptance speech before he turned up on set.

Best Actress- Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook

Nominated— Jennifer Lawrence, Naomi Watts, Jessica Chastain, Emmanuelle Riva, Quvenzhane Wallis.

We haven’t seen any of the films, but Silver Linings Playbook has so many nominations it’s bound to win something. Jennifer Lawrence would be a popular winner, and just seems the most likely to us— The Impossible smells of Oscar bait, Zero Dark Thirty is too controversial, and we have no idea who the other two are…

Best Supporting Actor- Philip Seymour Hoffman

Nominated– Philip Seymour Hoffman, Robert De Niro, Alan Arkin, Tommy Lee Jones, Christoph Waltz.

Arguably the hardest category to call— Hoffman is the only nominee not to have won Best Supporting Actor, but he does have an Oscar. We really want Christoph Waltz or Tommy Lee Jones to win, but The Master was touted for Oscar success months ago and it probably won’t win anything else. Plus Hoffman is a brilliant actor, so he’s always worth putting money on…

Best Supporting Actress- Anne Hathaway

Nominated— Anne Hathaway, Sally Field, Jacki Weaver, Helen Hunt, Amy Adams.

Usually a musical will produce at least one winner, particularly if they don’t butcher the songs. Hathaway seems the most logical choice, and a popular one. That’s what we’re basing it on— we haven’t actually heard her sing, but this is the prediction we’re most confident of. That might just have been down to the amount we’d had to drink at that point though…

Best Director- Steven Spielberg, Lincoln

Nominated— Steven Spielberg, David O Russell, Ang Lee, Michael Haneke, Benh Zeitlin.

The Best Director award nearly always goes to the winner of Best Picture, which frankly just makes sense. Frequently those two awards have been won by Steven Spielberg, and when he’s doing a historical biopic of someone as revered as Lincoln everyone else might as well give up. The chances are Lincoln will take Best Picture and Best Director. Ang Lee is our outside bet if Lincoln doesn’t sweep the awards, but it will. We cannot tell a lie.

Animated Feature- Wreck-It Ralph

A completely random guess.

Foreign Language Film- Amour

With nominations in Best Film, Best Director, and Supporting Actress it would be nice to see it win something…

Best Original Song- Skyfall

None of us like Adele’s mopey, downbeat theme tune. It sounds like somebody trying to do a Bond theme, and it has nothing on A View to a Kill, or the even more Eighties Living Daylights. But everyone else seems to be enamoured by her fat lass charm, and throw award after award at her. Ordinarily a song from a musical would be a shoe-in, but obviously an original song isn’t from the Les Miserables stage production and written pretty much so it could be nominated.

This year the Oscars will have a tribute to the Bond films. Skyfall is the most successful Bond film yet. Everyone is still a bit overexcited from that sketch from the Olympics opening ceremony. People like Adele. It will be a largely token gesture in Bond’s anniversary year, but Skyfall will probably win.

Best Original Screenplay- Django Unchained

Nominated: Django Unchained, Flight, Amour, Moonrise Kingdom, Zero Dark Thirty.

Moonrise Kingdom is the only film any of us have seen, and it was brilliantly written. It won’t win for three reasons— the dialogue is quite awkward, with a sense of humour that is far from univeral, it focuses on the ever controversial issue of pre-adolescent sexuality, and finally, because Tarantino is nominated.

Whilst Tarantino’s films aren’t very Oscar-friendly, and often divisive, there is no doubting his talent as a writer. Pulp Fiction won the same award, and the Academy may feel they ‘owe’ Tarantino something for snubbing both Django and Inglorious Basterds for the big awards this year, and in 2010 respectively.

It would be great to see Moonrise Kingdom earn some recognition though.

Best Adapted Screenplay- Silver Linings Playbook/Life of Pi/Lincoln

Nominated— Silver Linings Playbook, Lincoln, Argo, Life of Pi, Beasts of the Southern Wild.

This is the only category where we strongly disagreed. I think Silver Linings will win, to compensate for missing out on nearly everything else. Ken thinks Lincoln is going to win absolutely everything it is nominated for. Alex, the biggest gambler of the three of us, thinks Life of Pi will win. As he rightly points out, the book was considered unfilmable, but was filmed, and the film was nominated for a Best Film Oscar. He makes a convincing case…

Production Design- Les Miserables

Simply because of the scale of the thing.

Cinematography- Roger Deakins, Skyfall

An Oscar Skyfall and Deakins both deserve. Skyfall is easily the best looking Bond film— it takes a special kind of genius to make London look that pleasant.

Costume Design- Les Miserables

We began to develop a theory that Lincoln would take the big awards, and Les Miserables would take the boring technical ones.

Best Documentary- 5 Broken Cameras

We have no idea, but the title is pretty cool.

Best Documentary Short- Mondays at Racine

It was the one that sounded the least pretentious— Inocente, Open Heart, Redemption, and King’s Point all sound like bad student films.

Editing- Michael Kahn, Lincoln

If in doubt, go Lincoln.

Animated Short- Maggie Simpson in The Longest Daycare

The only one any of us have seen, and would have chosen anyway because we love The Simpsons. It features a return visit to the Ayn Rand School for Tots, last seen in A Streetcar Named Marge. In that episode Maggie launched a daring escape, in this she saves a butterfly from her mallet-wielding nemesis Gerald.

Film Short- Death of a Shadow

Although it sounds vaguely pretentious, it also sounds pretty cool. Of course we haven’t seen it, or any of the other nominees…

Sound Editing- Skyfall(?)

We spent so long arguing over what sound editing is we didn’t even get around to blind guessing. I’m going with Skyfall, because there’s a 1 in 5 chance I’ll be right.

Sound Mixing- Les Miserables

The singing was done live, and it has more music than the others.

Visual Effects- Life of Pi

Based on complaints over The Hobbit’s look, complaints over Prometheus not being very good, and the fact that Life of Pi looks really weird and has a lion in it.

Best Original Score- Thomas Newman, Skyfall

Long deserving of an Oscar, a fine score, and another token gesture to the Bond films. Then again Spielberg + John Williams usually = Oscar. We still think it’ll be Skyfall though, because it is a very good score.