TN movie reviewer chooses ‘Argo’ for Oscar’s Best Picture

Published 10:35 am Saturday, February 23, 2013

by Lauren Bradshaw

The Academy Awards will be presented Sunday, Feb. 24 — my favorite night of the year!

I have been watching the Oscars religiously since I was little, and anyone who knows me, knows I make a big production about getting ready for MY Super Bowl.

Although I am disappointed by how political the whole process has become, the Oscars give me the chance to rant and rave over who won or lost, or rage over those people and films that were snubbed by the Academy all together (cough “The Impossible” cough).

To prepare for the big night, I watch every movie that is nominated (even down to the shorts) so I will be able to be an Oscar judge myself. Thankfully, this was a great year for movies.

Starting in November, movie studios and publicists begin to campaign for their films to receive an Oscar nomination. They mail members of the Academy various “For Your Consideration” advertisements and screeners (DVDs) of their films, as well as host special free screenings in theaters around the United States.

In late December, the nomination ballots are sent out to the Academy’s 6,000-plus voting members who are split into categories based on their profession, for example, actors, directors, makeup artists, etc.

During the nomination process, each Academy member may only vote to nominate people from the professional category with which they are associated — directors vote for Best Director, actors vote for the Best Actor categories, etc.

The only exception is Best Picture; every member of the Academy votes to nominate the Best Picture category using a preferential voting system, which is a more complicated process to explain than there is room in this article.

The categories for Best Foreign Language Film and Best Animated Picture are nominated by a committee of people chosen from different professional categories.

The ballots are sent to PricewaterhouseCoopers, an accounting firm used to certify Academy ballots for the past 79 years, for official tallying. The nominations are announced at a ceremony in Hollywood in January.

Once nominations are announced, final ballots are then redistributed to the Academy members for voting. Unlike in the initial nomination process, every Academy member is allowed to vote on each category for the final selections.

The final results are announced on the live award ceremony.

Best Picture

What Will Win: “Argo.” Argo has been racking up the awards this season; the most important being Ben Affleck’s Best Director win at the Directors Guild Awards.

The winner of Best Director at the DGAs has correctly predicted the Best Picture winner at the Oscars 58 out of 64 times. Those seem like good odds to me.

What Should Win: I would be happy to see “Argo” win. It was a fantastic film that will hopefully make up for the fact Affleck was not nominated for Best Director. I do wish, however, that “Zero Dark Thirty” and “The Impossible” (it’s shocking to me that this film wasn’t even nominated) could all qualify for a triple tie.

Best Director

Who Will Win: Steven Spielberg for “Lincoln.”

In a year where many other directors should be nominated, Spielberg will win this one by default. Though I wouldn’t be shocked if the Academy surprised everyone with a win for David O. Russell for “Silver Linings Playbook” or Ang Lee for “Life of Pi.”

Who Should Win: Kathryn Bigelow for “Zero Dark Thirty.”

I loved Affleck’s direction in “Argo,” but it took a lot more skill and talent to bring all of the elements of “Zero Dark Thirty” together. Bigelow’s snub at the Oscars proves just how political the nomination process has gotten.

Best Actor

Who Will Win: Daniel Day Lewis (Lincoln). Daniel Day Lewis’ portrayal of Abraham Lincoln was top-notch. I don’t think anyone can disagree with that. Known for his intense method acting, Day Lewis proved he deserves to be on top.

Who Should Win: Daniel Day Lewis. Few, if any, actors in Hollywood could pull of such a great portrayal of Lincoln. Too bad Hugh Jackman (Les Miserables) and Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook) had to be up against him this year.

Best Actress

Who Will Win: Jennifer Lawrence for “Silver Linings Playbook.”

Lawrence has recently become the frontrunner for Best Actress. While I love Lawrence — she is one of my favorite actresses — I don’t think her performance was the best of the year. She was great, but Naomi Watts and/or Jessica Chastain deserve to win this one.

Who Should Win: Jessica Chastain for “Zero Dark Thirty.”

Due to the politics of Hollywood, I would be very surprised to see Chastain walk away with a win, though she deserves it the most.

Her incredibly restrained performance in “Zero Dark Thirty” would be hard for any other actress to pull off. She is the best actress to come to Hollywood since Kate Winslet. Unfortunately, she was unable to schmooze with the Academy elite at the traditional Oscar campaign luncheons and parties because she was starring in a play, “The Heiress” on Broadway.

Not to mention, due to “Zero Dark Thirty’s” perceived “political” nature, it hasn’t been receiving the accolades it deserves.

Naomi Watts’ performance in “The Impossible” was also incredible; her gut-wrenching, emotional portrayal of a mother trying to bring her family back together in the midst of the 2004 Tsunami tragedy was amazing. If it can’t be Chastain, it should be Watts.

Best Supporting Actor

Who Will Win: Christoph Waltz for “Django Unchained.

This is partly because I think he will win and partly because I refuse to name Tommy Lee Jones’ for “Lincoln” as a potential winner.

Jones plays the same role in every film, which is himself.

Waltz was fantastic in “Django Unchained,” and out of everyone nominated for Best Supporting Actor, he deserves it.

Who Should Win: Tom Holland. Holland was absolutely fantastic in “The Impossible,” and it blows my mind that he wasn’t nominated for an Oscar. It is incredible that he was only 13 years old when he filmed the movie. Thankfully, with his talent, I expect to see him at many awards in the upcoming years.

Best Supporting Actress

Who Will Win: Anne Hathaway for “Les Miserables.” Hathaway did a great job in Les Miserables as Fantine. When thinking about the film, her emotional rendition of “I Dreamed A Dream” is what sticks with you.

Who Should Win: Anne Hathaway or Amy Adams for “The Master.”

Hathaway brought a lot of emotion to Fantine, and I wouldn’t be terribly upset to see her win. However, I would like to see Amy Adams take this one home too. Adams is great in everything she’s in and I appreciated her incredibly reserved performance in The Master. With her fourth nomination, it’s finally time for Adams to take the prize.

The Oscars will be aired at 8 p.m. on ABC. I’ll be live tweeting the event and would love to hear what you think (@flickchickdc).

Who do you want to win the top categories?

LAUREN BRADSHAW grew up in Courtland, graduated from Southampton Academy and doubled-majored in foreign affairs and history at the University of Virginia. She lives in the Washington, D.C., and can be reached at