2012 was a good year for Hollywood, not only because theater admissions were up by 5.6 percent — the biggest single increase in a decade, resulting in a record box office year with $10.8 billion expected (up 6% over last year’s figure), but also because the year saw quite a few quality films top the charts, covering a variety of different genres. As a result, in the Best Picture category, 9 films were nominated, making the Oscar prediction a little hard. The following predictions are divided into two categories: the one that WILL win and the one that SHOULD win, meaning my voting (if I was qualified to vote) will differ from that of the majority of the nearly 6,000 voting members of the Academy:
1. BEST PICTURE: Well, I think it will be a battle between Lincoln and Argo, with the latter just picking up the momentum after the surprising win at Golden Globe. But Academy members, I predict, will go for the former. I instead prefer Les Misérables. To me, Lincoln is too America-centered and to a certain extend resembles the “main melody” films (Party-sanctioned propaganda films) produced in China (such as The Founding of a Republic).
Will Win: Lincoln;
Should Win: Les Misérables.
2. BEST DIRECTOR: I predict this will be Steven Spielberg’s year. Although it seems to me that Steven Spielberg has somehow lost his creative edge after Saving Private Ryan, Academy members may not think so, and Lincoln will be the biggest winner at this year’s Oscar ceremony.
Will Win: Steven Spielberg;
Should Win: Tom Hooper (the odd thing is that he was not even nominated; so this prediction doesn’t count).
3. BEST ACTOR: It is unanimous, and there will be no complication. The winner WILL and SHOULD be: Daniel Day-Lewis for his role in Lincoln. Too unfortunate for Denzel Washington and Hugh Jackman.
4. BEST ACTRESS: This will be a showdown between veteran performer Emmanuelle Riva and newcomer Jennifer Lawrence, the latter playing a slightly neurotic dance lover in Silver Linings Playbook. Emmanuelle Riva, on the other hand, delivers an Oscar-worthy performance in Amour as an ailing music teacher, bringing back our memory of her beauty in Hiroshima mon amour (1959).
Will Win: Jennifer Lawrence;
Should Win: Emmanuelle Riva.
5. BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: It will be a battle between Christoph Waltz and Philip Seymour Hoffman in The Master. It seems that Christoph Waltz is sailing along smoothly, pocketing the Golden Globe in this category. But I hope the Academy will acknowledge the great talent of Philip Seymour Hoffman this time.
Will Win: Christoph Waltz;
Should Win: Philip Seymour Hoffman.
6. BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: No ambiguity, and the winner WILL and SHOULD be Anne Hathaway. She is just mesmerizing in Les Misérables.
7. BEST FOREIGN-LANGUAGE FILM: Like last year’s A Separation, Amour from Austria will win this category without any serious rival. It was even nominated in the Best Director and Best Film categories, making it a rare “foreign” film that enjoys the status of Roberto Benigni’s Life is Beautiful (1997).