The 85th Academy Awards has come and gone, and as usual there were a few surprises including the sixth-ever tie at the ceremony. Like so many prognosticating pundits, I made my picks and couldn’t get them all, but all things considered, I did pretty well.
Every link below leads to my review of the film. The first eleven categories are the ones I classified as major categories; for these, I got 10 points for a win, 5 for a darkhorse win, and 2.5 in categories where I selected two darkhorses. The final ten, marked by dashes, are minor categories. For each of these, I got 5 points only in the case of a direct win. I didn’t include Live Action Short Film, Animated Short Film, and Short Subject Documentary since I have not seen them.
The maximum total of points I could achieve was 170. When the Academy Awards were announced last year, I guaranteed an 80% or better success rate on my picks and ended up getting 74%. This year, I aimed to exceed 80%, which means I needed to accumulate at least 136 points.
10 points. Ben Affleck, George Clooney, and Grant Heslov made Argo about the easier pick imaginable.
Zero points. Ang Lee won for Life of Pi, and while no tracking could have predicted the winner safely, but I was dead wrong with David O. Russell for Silver Linings Playbook.
10 points. Daniel Day-Lewis was a no-brainer for his eponymous role in Lincoln.
10 points. Jennifer Lawrence was also a pretty safe pick for her role in Silver Linings Playbook.
Best Supporting Actor:
Zero points. Christoph Waltz won for Django Unchained, a win preceded by his victory at the BAFTAs. I flubbed this with the safe pick of Tommy Lee Jones for Lincoln.
Best Supporting Actress:
10 points. Anne Hathaway was also as safe as it gets for Les Misérables.
Best Original Screenplay:
10 points. Quentin Tarantino may not have been a runaway favorite, but he was tracking ahead of his compatriots with his script for Django Unchained.
Best Adapted Screenplay:
10 points. Chris Terrio locked up a deserved Oscar for Argo and had probably the best speech of the night.
Best Documentary Feature:
10 points. After a few years of depressing picks, Malik Bendjelloul and Simon Chinn were due for the uplifting Searching for Sugarman.
10 points. It pains me to be right; as much as I love winner Claudio Miranda, even if I didn’t see Life of Pi, Roger Deakins had a much more successful effort with Skyfall. Remember, though, both Avatar and Hugo beat out the ASC winners for Oscars just because they’re 3D.
Best Foreign Language Film:
10 points. Michael Haneke’s win for Amour was an easy pick, seeing as he got the film nominated in four other categories.
– Best Animated Feature Film:
5 points. Brave may not have been the favorite, but that win at the BAFTAs went a long way toward insuring its success. Always bet on Pixar.
– Best Production Design:
Zero points. I wasn’t even close to picking Lincoln on this one, thinking that Anna Karenina had the best chance.
– Best Film Editing:
5 points. Traditionally the Best Picture winner also gets this category, and Argo was no exception.
– Best Original Score:
5 points. I predicted Life of Pi would take home the most Oscars and was not disappointed.
– Best Original Song:
5 points. With this being the 007 and musical tribute Oscars, it wasn’t hard to believe Adele would win for the title song in Skyfall.
– Best Costume Design:
5 points. Anna Karenina didn’t shock in this category, as predicated by major wins in the design guilds.
– Best Sound Mixing:
Zero points. I assumed the technical awards generally go with one big film, but forgot that Les Misérables had live singing. Whoops.
– Best Sound Editing:
Zero points. I didn’t get this one, but neither did anyone else. Skyfall and Zero Dark Thirty tied, giving Zero Dark Thirty its only Oscar.
– Best Makeup and Hairstyling:
5 points. With Les Misérables one of only three nominees, it was a lock.
– Best Visual Effects:
5 points. With 3D dominant, cinematography and visual effects go hand in hand, so Life of Pi was a no-brainer as well. Though I would have been happy to have been wrong and seen this go to Prometheus.
So, how did I do? Well, wouldn’t you know it, I ended up with 125 points and matched last year’s success rate of 74%; not bad, but I’ll need to improve in the future. Considering I base most of my picks on tracking other awards before the big show, have I uncovered a 26% unpredictability rate with the Academy Awards? You decide!
E-mail Bryan at ExaminerFilm@gmail.com for questions, advice, opinions, and suggestions. Questions, advice, and opinions may be posted anonymously. Follow Bryan on Twitter at ExaminerFilm and on Facebook at FilmExaminer.