For the first time in my recollection I have seen ALL of the films nominated for "Best Picture". Quite a feat since there are NINE this year. I have also seen several other films that I thought would get nominated so I have seen a majority of the entire Oscar nominated categories.
Since I have seen the majority of the nominated films (I will ONLY bold in red the correlating nominations that I have NOT seen.)
My pick will be under “Cool Black’s Oscar Pick:” These are NOT who I think WILL win; it’s who I think SHOULD win based on my opinion and those who know me, know I am quite discerning. While I do think some films were "omitted" I'll vote by the nominations as selected by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.
Every year I try to keep my Oscar picks as general as possible and try not to get to into the technical categories, but this year there are some I must mention and give my vote to. For the first time I’ll tell you who should get the Oscar for Production Design, Costume and Visual Effects.
And now...the awards.
The Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay is the Academy Award for the best script not based upon previously published material and the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay is awarded each year to the writer of a screenplay adapted from another source (usually a novel, play, or short story but also sometimes another film). All sequels are automatically considered adaptations by this standard (since the sequel must be based on the original story).
This year what are usually the clear cut choices for me, the screenwriting awards, are the hardest.
Chris Terrio, adapted from the books The Master of Disguise by Antonio J. Mendez and The Great Escape by Joshuah Bearman
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Lucy Alibar and Benh Zeitlin, adapted from the play Juicy and Delicious by Lucy Alibar
Life of Pi
David Magee adapted from the book of the same name.
Tony Kushner adapted from the book Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin.
Silver Linings Playbook
David O. Russell adapted from the book of the same name.
Cool Black’s Oscar Pick: Lucy Alibar and Benh Zeitlin for Beasts of the Southern Wild. The little I know about the play is it’s as abstract and fantastical as the film ‘Beasts’ and I thought they did a wonderful job at transforming that for the screen.
Michael Haneke for Amour
Quentin Tarantino for Django Unchained
John Gatins for Flight
Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola for Moonrise Kingdom
Mark Boal for Zero Dark Thirty
Cool Black’s Oscar Pick: Michael Haneke for Amour. While I liked the screenplays for Flight and Zero Dark Thirty, I thought the screenplay for Amour was wholly original and dealt with a subject not explored on the screen and depicted it with honesty and strength.
Life of Pi—Tim Squyres
Silver Linings Playbook—Jay Cassidy and Crispin Struthers
Zero Dark Thirty—Dylan Tichenor and William Goldenberg
Cool Black’s Oscar Pick: TIE William Goldenberg for Argo and … William Goldenberg again this time with Dylan Tichenor for Zero Dark Thirty. Both films had excellent climaxes and much of that was due to the editing in those climatic scenes.
(Build and or design sets for the film)
Sarah Greenwood & Katie Spencer for Anna Karenina
Dan Hennah, Ra Vincent & Simon Bright for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Eve Stewart & Anna Lynch-Robinson for Les Misérables
David Gropman & Anna Pinnock for Life of Pi
Rick Carter & Jim Erickson for Lincoln
Cool Black’s Oscar Pick: Eve Stewart & Anna Lynch-Robinson for Les Misérables. Even though I didn't see Anna Karenina and The Hobbit, the sets in Les Misérables were just outstanding especially the very last scene in the film.
Anna Karenina – Jacqueline Durran
Les Misérables – Paco Delgado
Lincoln – Joanna Johnston
Mirror Mirror – Eiko Ishioka
Snow White and the Huntsman – Colleen Atwood
Cool Black’s Oscar Pick: Colleen Atwood for Snow White and the Huntsman. While the costumes in Les Misérables were really great Chalize Theron’s costumes in SWATH were outstanding.
(The special, often computer generated, effects for a film)
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey – Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton, and R. Christopher White
Life of Pi – Bill Westenhofer, Guillaume Rocheron, Erik-Jan De Boer, and Donald R. Elliott
Marvel's The Avengers – Janek Sirrs, Jeff White, Guy Williams, and Dan Sudick
Prometheus – Richard Stammers, Trevor Wood, Charley Henley, and Martin Hill
Snow White and the Huntsman – Cedric Nicolas-Troyan, Philip Brennan, Neil Corbould, and Michael Dawson
Cool Black’s Oscar Pick: Life of Pi – Bill Westenhofer, Guillaume Rocheron, Erik-Jan De Boer, and Donald R. Elliott. This was a hard category because the visual effects in The Avengers, Prometheus and Snow White and the Huntsman were all really great, but I had to pick the film with the most outstanding computer generated tiger I have ever seen. Without the great work on the tiger (a main character) the movie would have failed.
Seamus McGarvey for Anna Karenina
Robert Richardson for Django Unchained
Claudio Miranda for Life of Pi
Janusz Kamiński for Lincoln
Roger Deakins for Skyfall
Cool Black’s Oscar Pick: Roger Deakins for Skyfall. Some of the most stunning visuals and shots that I’ve seen in any picture 2012. Life of Pi had stunning visuals as well, but most of them were CGI, computer-generated imagery. The visuals in Skyfall were practical…or so they seemed. In any case great work by Mr. Deakins.
ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Alan Arkin in Argo
Robert De Niro in Silver Linings Playbook
Philip Seymour Hoffman in The Master
Tommy Lee Jones in Lincoln
Christoph Waltz in Django Unchained
Cool Black’s Oscar Pick: Tommy Lee Jones in Lincoln. I've seen all of these nominated performances and while all worthy, Tommy Lee Jones was outstanding in Lincoln and one of the best things about the film!
ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Amy Adams in The Master
Sally Field in Lincoln
Anne Hathaway in Les Miserables
Helen Hunt in The Sessions
Jacki Weaver in Silver Linings Playbook
Cool Black’s Oscar Pick: Helen Hunt in The Sessions. I've seen all of these nominated performances as well and again while all worthy, Helen Hunt gave a brave and nurturing performance in the film.
ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
Bradley Cooper in Silver Linings Playbook
Daniel Day-Lewis in Lincoln
Hugh Jackman, in Les Miserables
Joaquin Phoenix in The Master
Denzel Washington in Flight
Cool Black’s Oscar Pick: Joaquin Phoenix in The Master. Daniel Day-Lewis was great as ever in Lincoln, Hugh Jackman, gave the performance of his life in Les Miserables and Denzel Washington gave one of his best performances in years in Flight, but it was Joaquin Phoenix’s performance in The Master that was just phenomenal.
ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE
Jessica Chastain in Zero Dark Thirty
Jennifer Lawrence in Silver Linings Playbook
Emmanuelle Riva in Amour
Quvenzhané Wallis in Beasts of the Southern Wild
Naomi Watts in The Impossible
Cool Black’s Oscar Pick: Emmanuelle Riva in Amour. Jessica Chastain was really great in Zero Dark Thirty and carried the whole picture; Jennifer Lawrence was great as ever in Silver Linings Playbook and one of the best things about the film, and Quvenzhané Wallis…she was truly remarkable at such a young age. I really loved her performance in Beasts of the Southern Wild, but if there was a better performance by an “Actress in a Leading Role” than Emmanuelle Riva in Amour in cinema 2012—I haven’t seen it.
Michael Haneke for Amour
Benh Zeitlin for Beasts of the Southern Wild
Ang Lee for Life of Pi
Steven Spielberg for Lincoln
David O. Russell for Silver Linings Playbook
Cool Black’s Oscar Pick: As I've seen all of these films I can say that all of these directors are worthy of their nominations.
Michael Haneke did a really great job at conveying the love and angst of the couple in the middle of an adverse situation that many face as they get older.
Ang Lee did a really great job at converting what many though was an in-adaptable book into a spiritual, visual delight.
Steven Spielberg brought all of his cinematic mastery to capture the historical period piece and political dealings of Lincoln.
David O. Russell did a great job of capturing mental illness and making it funny without turning it into satire or buffoonery in Silver Linings Playbook.
My PICK though has to be Benh Zeitlin for Beasts of the Southern Wild. Zeitlin composed a cinematic feat that was touching, emotional and magical.
Producers: Margaret Menegoz, Stefan Arndt, Veit Heiduschka and Michael Katz
Producers: Grant Heslov, Ben Affleck, and George Clooney
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Producers: Dan Janvey, Josh Penn, and Michael Gottwald
Producers: Stacey Sher, Reginald Hudlin, and Pilar Savone
Producers: Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Debra Hayward, and Cameron Mackintosh
Life of Pi
Producers: Gil Netter, Ang Lee, and David Womark
Producers: Steven Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy
Silver Linings Playbook
Producers: Donna Gigliotti, Bruce Cohen, and Jonathan Gordon
Zero Dark Thirty
Producers: Mark Boal, Kathryn Bigelow, and Megan Ellison
Cool Black’s Oscar Pick: While all these pictures, save for one, deserved to nominated for Best Picture, I have to mention:
Amour, a searing yet veritable film about love. A wonderfully composed story about adversity among a couple that does not sugarcoat it.
Argo was a fantastic tale of suspense based on real life events that will have you on the edge of your seat until pretty much the end.
Les Misérables was an ornately orchestrated musical with some really great performances and songs.
Life of Pi while a visual delight was also in the end a very spiritual story of survival.
Silver Linings Playbook was a funny love story that dealt with mental illness in a way that did not make light of it or make it overwhelming.
Zero Dark Thirty breaks down a lot of the politics it took to track down Osama bin Laden and by the end, the action packed way they got him.
My PICK for BEST PICTURE goes to Beasts of the Southern Wild.
I’ve also picked Beasts of the Southern Wild as my favorite film of 2012 and this is what I said
My favorite film of 2012 had to have been the one that moved me the most. Watching this film was a reminder of the power of cinema to me. A phenomenal film.That pretty much summed it up why I think its Best Picture.
So that’s it, my picks this year. As always looking forward to the ceremony!