Last Friday, we brought you the best damn Oscar predictions around. Now that the awards show has happened and the results have been announced, we know that Looking back on those predictions, we can see that, once again, the Academy got nearly everything wrong. I mean, even Nate Silver’s actual sorcery only properly mathed four of the six categories that he wrote about. That’s crazy. Nate Silver doesn’t get things wrong; everyone else does. (Unless he disagrees with us, in which case he is the wrongest of the wrong).
Fortunately for you, we have started running our own awards to make up for their failings. But while you wait with what I am sure is bated breath, we have some reactions to last night’s show. In our predictions, we promised that we would break some windows with chairs if certain conditions were met. Fortunately for our neighbors’ windows, not too many of those things went down. But that doesn’t mean things went all hunky dorey. I mean, seriously, how the hell did Ang Lee win?
Now the biggest award of the night is one of the ones I had the fewest problems with. While Argo wasn’t my favorite of the nine films that were nominated for Best Picture (that would be Amour), it was really the best choice. Haneke’s film was always going to win Best Foreign Film, and giving one film two “Best” awards would be unfair to the rest of the contenders, and I think it would have caused some problems with the perceived existence of the Foreign Film category in general.
The blank tenth entry (which should have been Skyfall or Detention) is where most of my issues with this whole thing come into play. But Argo is both a period piece and a movie about movies, which is even more Oscar bait-y (see: The Artist) than a political period piece about a leader with a weird voice (see: The King’s Speech). It’s also damn good, and even if it plays with the truth a bit (especially in the thrilling third act), it reminds us that sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction. — Alec Kubas-Meyer
This is definitely the weirdest award of the night. It isn’t just that Ang Lee didn’t deserve the Oscar, it’s that he really didn’t seem to have much momentum going into the show. There was never really a shot for Michael Haneke (which is a shame), Benh Zeitlin (which I’m kind of apathetic about), or David O. Russell (who had no right being nominated in the first place), but I honestly didn’t think Ang Lee had much of a shot either. It was a really weird season because the man with the most momentum (Ben Affleck, who deserved a win) wasn’t even nominated. Nate Silver acknowledged that this category was mostly a toss-up because there just wasn’t much to go by.
Even so, between Life of Pi and Lincoln, there’s no question that Lincoln was the better (and better directed) film. As stupid a directorial choice as Lincoln’s ending was, the vast majority of the film is extremely well-done, and it’s a film that has continued to grow on me the more I’ve contemplated it. Stephen Spielberg’s direction is a big part of that. On an unrelated note, how awesome would it have been if they played him off with the Jaws theme? — Alec Kubas-Meyer
Duuuuuuuuuuuh. Joaquin Phoenix should have taken this, but the Academy sucks at doing anything that’s interesting when giving out awards. I’m not saying that Daniel Day-Lewis didn’t deserve an Oscar for his amazing vision of Lincoln; I’m just saying that Phoenix isn’t as guaranteed to be back around here as Mr. Day-Lewis. Plus, and I’ll just come out and say it, Phoenix’s performance was better. So much is said about how Day-Lewis inhabited Lincoln, but if you want to see someone truly going the distance, pop in The Master and watch Phoenix. — Matthew Razak
I don’t know if you can be upset that Jennifer Lawerence does anything let alone win an Oscar for a strong performance. The girl tripped on the way up to get her statue and then proceeded to admit that she’d done a shot before talking to press. Even if you thought she shouldn’t, win you’re still going, “Well, I can’t hate her.” But seriously, who else was going to win? Sally Fields didn’t need it, it’s never the kid, and it’s never the really old woman unless she’s already won a bunch of awards. That leaves Jessica Chastain, who turned in an equally good performance but wouldn’t have been nearly as endearing post-win. Really, this was for the best. — Matthew Razak
What else can we say about Christoph Waltz’s Oscar win for Best Supporting Actor? Sure, folks like Robert DeNiro and Phillip Seymour Hoffman turned out masterful silver lining performances (see what I did there?), but we all knew it was going to Waltz at the end of the day. After all, you cant begin to talk about Django Unchained without mentioning what a pure joy he was. After a humble speech thanking the other nominees as well as his fictional character, it was clear that Christoph Waltz was always the easy choice. — Andres Bolivar
I haven’t had a chance to see Les Misérables yet, but I’ve followed Anne Hathaway’s career all this time, and I knew it was only a matter of time before she was awarded an Oscar for her talents. Her range is excellent, and she always fits whatever film she’s doing, in whatever scene she’s acting in. We’ve seen her as everything from a sexually-driven faux-chonga to a leather-suited super heroine, and she just gets better and better.
… Let’s just not hold last year’s hosting duties against her. — Geoff Henao
I’ll be honest: I’ve only seen Paperman. But it was such a pure and wonderful treat that I almost enjoyed it more than the film it preceded (both times). It was like they extracted the purest part ofThe Office seasons 1-3 and made a truly beautiful short with it. As someone who so desperately wants to meet his paperwoman, I could relate to Jim’s Paperman’s plight. From the clips they showed, the other shorts look great, but I really loved Paperman and am so, so, so glad it won. — Sean Walsh
I always had my bets hedged on Tarantino. Moonrise Kingdom, perhaps, might’ve thrown a curveball in the works given, well, WES ANDERSON. In my opinion though, Tarantino deserved this award more than any other. His writing style sticks out like a good sore thumb amongst Hollywood’s wordsmiths and his punchy dialogue is what makes all of his flicks really tick. Django Unchained really is his best film since Pulp Fiction, the last film Tarantino won the screenplay gong for. It’s a shame that Flight and Zero Dark Thirty weren’t given much noise throughout the ceremony, Flight in particular had a very strong screenplay, but this really was always Tarantino’s to take. — Nathan Hardisty
This was a little left-field for me. I thought Lincoln would sweep this because, seriously, Lincoln. With Life of Pi also taking everything up to that point in the show, I also half-expected it to fall Pi‘s way too. Instead, Argo taking Adapted meant it could garner some momentum towards Best Picture (which most of us saw coming a mile away). This was the point at which the Oscars got really interesting. I’ve read the books that Pi and Lincoln were based on and I do prefer the literature to the film in those cases. Argo taking the cake makes some sense too given the last time Mr. Affleck’s film won an award it was in the screenplay category with Good Will Hunting. — Nathan Hardisty
This was one of the few categories where I assumed Life of Pi had a lock, but that doesn’t mean I was happy about it. It’s unquestionable that Life of Pi is a damned pretty movie, but it’s also unquestionable that the movie is almost entirely fake. Colors, animals, lights, water, almost everything was at the very least touched up if not entirely created in the post-production process. For that reason, it deserved Best Visual Effects (even if the CG was not in and of itself particularly impressive), but it sure as hell didn’t deserve Best Cinematography.
Now, the fight between digital and film will rage on for probably another decade or so, but anyone hoping that Paul Thomas Anderson’s decision to shoot The Master on 65mm film in an effort to capture some extremely well-performed emotion would be recognized has probably realized that this is the beginning of the end. But as gorgeous as that film was (and if it had been nominated, I would probably have wrestled with this decision a bit more), Skyfall further cemented what Drive told us all in 2011: the Arri Alexa is the best damn camera out there, digital or not. Cinematographer Roger Deakins has been nominated ten times for this award, and it’s a goddamn crime that he hasn’t won yet. I think Skyfall is some of his finest work, and it truly deserved all kinds of awards. — Alec Kubas-Meyer