And the Oscar goes to . . .

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07:26 PM February 22nd, 2013

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By: Rito P. Asilo, February 22nd, 2013 07:26 PM

DAY-LEWIS AND CHASTAIN. Award-worthy portrayals in “Lincoln” and “Zero Dark Thirty,” respectively.

While the Razzies are still mulling over who among Katherine Heigl, Milla Jovovich, Kristen Stewart, Barbra Streisand, Tyler Perry, Nicolas Cage, Eddie Murphy, Adam Sandler and Robert Pattinson “deserve” to take home Golden Raspberry trophies for Worst Performances last year, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is getting ready to hand over Hollywood’s most coveted golden statuettes for the industry’s over-achievers at the glitzy Oscar Awards on Feb. 24 (morning of Feb. 25 in the Philippines).

After watching all the nominees for this year’s derby (thanks for “Amour” and “The Master,” Tcel), we polled 40 of Tinseltown’s award-giving bodies to see who’s ahead in the race. Unfortunately, one of the most crucial matches will not even be seen at the Oscars on Monday!

So far, the Best Director race has been a two-way duel between Ben Affleck (“Argo,”  our pick) and Kathryn Bigelow (“Zero Dark Thirty”), with eight wins each. Ironically, neither of them made it to the Academy’s five-nominees list! Their films have won 13 awards to date, while Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln” could only muster three nods.

Tom Hooper, who helmed the screen version of the celebrated stage musical, “Les Miserables,” was also snubbed. If any of Affleck, Bigelow and Hooper’s movies would snag the top prize, it’ll go down in history as the Best Picture winner that directed itself!

Spielberg has one win, while Ang Lee (“Life of Pi”) and David O. Russell (“Silver Linings Playbook”) have two each. Behn Zeitlin (“The Beasts of Southern Wild”) and Michael Haneke (“Amour”) complete the nominees’ circle.

Closest competitor

For Best Actor, Daniel Day-Lewis is unbeatable as the 16th president of the United States. For his crackerjack portrayal, the actor has won almost every accolade there is, amassing 30 awards so far!

His closest competitors are “The Master’s” Joaquin Phoenix (four wins) and “Silver Linings Playbook’s” Bradley Cooper (three). Denzel Washington (“Flight”) and Hugh Jackman (“Les Miserables”) have one award each.

Anne Hathaway is also set to grab her first Oscar (for Best Supporting Actress) for her stirring turn as the tragic Fantine in “Les Miserables.” With “only” five wins, it’ll be hard for Sally Field (as Lincoln’s disturbed wife, Mary Todd, in Spielberg’s historical drama) to keep up with the younger actress’ 21-trophy haul.

The category’s other nominees are Jacki Weaver (“Silver Linings Playbook”), Amy Adams (“The Master”) and Helen Hunt (“The Sessions”).

The race for Best Supporting Actor is a three-way fight between Phillip Seymour Hoffman of “The Master” (11 wins), Tommy Lee Jones of “Lincoln” (10), and “Django Unchained’s” Christoph Waltz (seven), who should have been nominated in the Best Actor category.

We’d be happy if either Hoffman, who’s as charming as he is menacing as an L. Ron Hubbard-type cult leader, or the riveting Waltz, as a bounty-hunting dentist, goes home with the coveted prize. Completing the list are Alan Arkin (“Argo”) and Robert De Niro (“Silver Linings Playbook”), in his first Academy nomination in 21 years!

The Best Actress derby is even more exciting: Jessica Chastain (“Zero Dark Thirty”) has won 17 awards to date, but among Jennifer Lawrence’s 14 accolades are crucial wins from the Screen Actors Guild, the LA Film Critics and the Golden Globes!

Naomi Watts is just as moving in “The Impossible,” Juan Antonio Bayona’s true-to-life drama about the 2004 Asian tsunami— but, Chastain deserves a hearty pat on the back, and the Oscar, for her pitch-perfect portrayal as a relentless CIA agent who tracks down Osama Bin Laden. Her formidable body of work also deserves a trophy!

If the Academy wants some novelty, it just might let its youngest (9-year-old Quvenzhane Wallis of “The Beasts of Southern Wild”) or oldest nominee (85-year-old Emmanuelle Riva of “Amour”) pull a surprise!

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