I’m not 100% sure when I first started watching the Academy Awards. I think it was probably 1990. I can clearly remember Jessica Tandy and Brenda Fricker taking the stage, so I’m sure I watched that year. (Looking over the list of 1990’s winners, I think I’m going to have to watch “Glory,” which I’ve never seen. Denzel Washington is a great actor, but he’d have to have been really fantastic to have been better than Martin Landau in “Crimes and Misdemeanors.”) I don’t have any clear memories of any winners from 1989 (though vague ones of Geena Davis and Kevin Kline), so 1990 was likely when my love for the show began.
I’ve never missed it since. I just adore the Oscars. Though I’ve found that it’s much, much more fun watching with friends (I never miss the company of a certain best friend more than on Oscar night), I still can’t imagine not watching them (assuming they never ask James Franco back to host). And I am definitely planning to tune in this Sunday night. (I’m curious to see if Twitter will make viewing more fun.)
One reason it’s a little bit of a bummer to watch the show without a bunch of friends is that there’s no “pick the winners” contest for me to crush. In lieu of filling out a ballot and pretending I’m not taking winning as seriously as I really am, I am once again offering up my predictions for the winners this Sunday.
I’ve already given one set of picks based solely on my hunches about how the Oscars tend to get doled out. Nobody had won any of the other, lesser lead-up awards yet. Now it’s time for my revised list. (If you must know, my picks are exactly the same as Ebert’s, but with different reasoning behind them. Boy, did he hate “Les Miz” or what?)
First up, Best Supporting Actress. I picked Anne Hathaway, and I’m sticking with it. She’s won all of the other awards this season. Plus, the Academy probably wants to blot out the memory of her abortive hosting gig with something happier. (See above re: Oscar host, James Franco as.) She’s a lock. Bet your house.
Next we have Best Supporting Actor. As I mentioned last time, this was a bit harder to predict. All of the nominees have won before, so the “career achievement” aspect of the award is kind of obviated. I went with Robert De Niro before, and I’m changing it to Tommy Lee Jones. It’s been almost two decades since he won for “The Fugitive,” so he’s Due again. Yet unlike De Niro, he hasn’t cluttered up his IMDB page with a bunch of drek over the past several years, but has continued to appear in high-quality films. De Niro’s win would have been “hey, remember what it felt like to be a great actor?” message. Jones will win because it doesn’t seem like he’s forgotten. Plus, he won the SAG Award, so he’s a pretty safe bet.
Best Actress makes me happy, because I’m switching my bet to the person I was really rooting for anyway. I had said Jessica Chastain (who I hear is really fantastic in “Zero Dark Thirty”), and I’m changing my guess to Jennifer Lawrence. I’ve come to agree with commenter Joe that the torture controversy probably put the kibosh on any wins for “Zero Dark Thirty.” (Don’t let it go to your head.) Lawrence and Chastain each took home a Golden Globe (always a weak predictor, anyway), and the SAG win for the former cemented her front-runner status. Which is great, because I really like Jennifer Lawrence and I’m delighted to see her solidifying a career apart from the “Hunger Games” franchise.
Best Actor? No change. Daniel Day-Lewis in a walk. Bet your kidneys. (Fun piece of Oscar trivia I just learned: Day-Lewis would be the first three-time Best Actor winner. [I could have figured it out if I’d given it any thought. Both Jack Nicholson and Walter Brennan have at least one Supporting win in their tally.])
Best Director will probably be Steven Spielberg, so my prediction is unchanged. It won’t matter, though, because everyone will know Ben Affleck was robbed. Which brings us to…
Best Picture, which I am also switching. “Argo” seems like a sure thing now. Not only has it swept all of the awards (including the very reliable predictor SAG “Best Ensemble” award), but I have no doubt Academy voters will reward the film to make up for the ridiculous snub its director received.
So those are my picks. Are yours any different? Will you be watching? Who are you rooting for?