Friday, February 22, 2013

Win Your Oscar Pool: Who to Bet On

Posted By on Fri, Feb 22, 2013 at 1:10 PM

Page 24 of 24

Argo Best Picture
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Django Unchained
Les Miserables
Life of Pi
Silver Linings Playbook
Zero Dark Thirty

Will win: Let me be clear: I do think Argo is going to win. That said, I also think the talk of its "momentum" (versus closest competitors Silver Linings Playbook and Lincoln) in the past month or so has been wildly overstated, not least because it began with Argo winning the Golden Globe for Best Drama, because contrary to press generalizations, there isn't a goddamned Academy member on the planet who's sitting around going, "well, I was going to vote for Lincoln, but I'm not so sure if the Hollywood Foreign Press would sign off on this decision." If Argo is going to win (and it probably will), it's not because everyone decided in the past two weeks that they really ought to rally behind Poor Ben; it's because the directing branch didn't nominate Affleck in a competitive but the full Academy voting body (which decides the winners in most of these categories) likes the movie a whole bunch and isn't thinking about whether a movie without its director nominated "can" win Best Picture.
Should win: Lincoln is my favorite of these nine, which I could easily split into three tiers: Tier one, movies I think are legitimately very, very good, has Lincoln, Django, and Life of Pi. Tier two, movies I like but maybe a bit less than their many passionate advocates, has Silver Linings Playbook, Zero Dark Thirty, and Amour. And tier three, movies that don't really deserve a nomination but don't make me cringe just thinking of them, has Argo, Les Miserables, and Beasts of the Southern Wild. Say this for Argo: It is definitely my favorite movie in the third tier.
Missing: For the past few years, this is where I've composed a long list of un-nominated movies that I consider superior to the presumed winner. With Argo, such a list won't be nearly so long and winding, because Argo is a pretty good movie. It's also a movie without a whole lot going on beyond telling an interesting story in an efficient and involving way. No small thing, of course, but I'd argue that something like Premium Rush does basically the same thing as Argo, with about as much relevance below the surface. Anyway, here's a shorter-than-usual list of movies that are superior to your eventual Best Picture winner: Moonrise Kingdom; The Master; Looper; The Dark Knight Rises; Magic Mike; Haywire; Damsels in Distress; The Cabin in the Woods; Skyfall; The Avengers; Seven Psychopaths; Prometheus; most of the Best Animated Feature nominees; Cloud Atlas; Take This Waltz; Bachelorette: Fat Kid Rules the World; 21 Jump Street; Safety Not Guaranteed.

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