2013 Oscars - Tossups

February 13, 2013
A thought by James Berardinelli

There are five categories in which I have minimal confidence in my predictions. These are the too-close-to-call races, where two films are so close that it could lean either way. With the locks, I believe there's a 95% probability those predictions will be correct. With the ones in the "Momentum Surge" post, I have about 75% confidence. But these are at best 55%. If I get three of these right, I have done well. Applying math to the entire roster, I should end up with 16 out of 21 correct. That's my personal over/under. (For comparison purposes, it's worth noting that I scored 14/21 in 2012 and 13/21 in 2011. So I'm setting a high bar for myself.)

Best Animated Film: "Wreck-It Ralph": The three lead contenders are all Disney so it's about 90% certain the Magic Kingdom will come out on top here. I originally picked Brave here but changed my mind at the last minute. The "tea leaves" are all pointing in Ralph's direction and there's a growing sense this film is going to take the award. The disadvantage of picking toss-ups a couple of weeks before the ceremony is that late momentum shifts can't be taken into account. I sniffed this one out just in time.

Best Original Screenplay: "Django Unchained": When I assembled these predications a couple weeks ago, I thought this was a daring pick. Since then, momentum has taken it into a neck-and-neck position alongside Zero Dark Thirty with Amour not far behind. Honestly, if Tarantino is going to be upset, I think it's more likely to happen at the hands of Amour.

Best Production Design: "Les Miserables": I see Anna Karenina and Les Miserables splitting the period piece technical categories. Since Anna is a strong favorite for Costumes, I lean toward Les Mis here. Of course, it wouldn't be a shock for the Academy to favor Anna in both categories. What's clear is that none of the other nominees has a chance here. And if there's an upset in Costumes, it will be Les Mis.

Best Film Editing: "Argo": This is the one category outside Best Picture where I think Argo may get some love. Now that it's a lock for Best Picture (the BAFTA having finally kicked the last vestiges of surprise out of that category), the real question is whether Argo could be the rarest of breeds: a Best Picture winner that doesn't win anything else. If my predictions are correct, it will go home with two awards, but Zero Dark Thirty could spoil that. However, given the anti-momentum associated with Kathryn Bigelow's film, it's hard envisioning that happening. I stand by my belief that ZDT will win one lonely award for Sound Editing.

Best Music (Score): "Life of Pi": Getting Cinematography, Score, and Visual Effects would cement Life of Pi as Hollywood's choice for the most beautifully and aesthetically appealing motion picture of 2012. And that's how I think they see it. Still, you can't count out John Williams. Skyfall will win for Best Song but the score itself wasn't memorable outside the pieces that came from Dr. No, so don't look for Bond to capture both music awards.