Snubs, Surprises and Shocks: A Guide to this Years Oscar Nominations



Award season has been upon us for quite a while now. Nominations for other major awards have been announced, and others have already been given.

With the Oscars coming soon, and the nominations recently announced. I thought it would be a good time to go over some of the major categories along with my thoughts, predictions and recommendations. Enjoy!

Categories Covered
Best Picture
Best Director
Best Actor
Best Actress
Best Supporting Actor
Best Supporting Actress
Best Writing Adapted/Original
Best Cinematography
Best Film Editing
Best Visual Effect

I left several categories out because I either do not have enough insight into the particular category, or have not seen enough of the movies in a category.

Lets start at the bottom and work our way up.

Best Visual Effect – Nominees

The Avengers

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Life of Pi
The Avengers
Snow White and the Huntsman

The visual effects category is an interesting one this year. While I will say right off the bat, I do not think Snow White and the Huntsman has much of a chance. It is only nominated in one other category (costume design), and has not received much attention in general.

I think many people were surprised by the Hobbit being largely ignored this year, given the success of the The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Visual Effects were one of the films strong points and if it is going to win any of its three awards, I think it would be here.


While Prometheus was being heavily lauded upon release, I think a lot of voters will have forgotten it in favor of more recent offerings. The same can be said about The Avengers, having a summer release date. I personally really liked The Avengers and its visual effects were definitely among the best of the year. I just hope The Avenger’s gets remembered come voting time.

Life of Pi is the other film on this list that I have yet to watch, but the film has snuck in and gained 11 nominations, including a few of the major categories. The fact that it got nominated here was pretty much a given, but I don’t think people expected it to get as many nominations as it did. Add in the fact that it has already been nominated for a slew of other major visual effects awards, and having won quite a few awards already gives it some steam.

What I Think Will Win – Life of Pi.

What I Want to Win – The Avengers

Best Film Editing – Nominees


Life of Pi
Silver Linings Playbook
Zero Dark Thirty

This is a close race in terms of the talent involved with the five movies nominated. All five films have at least 5 different nominations and all of these editors have previous Oscar nominations.

Life of Pi has Ang Lee’s long time editor, the movie has stacked more award nominations and wins from the visual effects side. I do not see it winning in this category. I also don’t think Silver Linings Playbook has much of a chance. Silver Linings has 8 nominations but hasn’t gotten as much attention for its editing as it has in other areas.

To me its between Lincoln, whose editor Michael Kahn has 8 previous nominations and 3 previous wins (all for other Spielberg films). Argo, whose editing has gained quite a bit of attention thanks to William Goldberg (nominated twice before) . Goldberg is also nominated this year alongside Dylan Tichenor for Zero Dark Thirty.

With Michael Kahn already in possession of 3 oscars, my guess is that the award will be given to Goldberg either way. The two films are nominated in similar categories. I give the edge to Zero Dark Thirty because it has been getting nominated and in many cases winning, several awards for its editing. Argo has gotten more nominations overall than Zero Dark Thirty, but both directors are notably absent from the best directing category, which I will get into later.

What I Think Will Win – Zero Dark Thirty, followed closely by Argo.

What I Want to Win – Argo, despite the fact that I find ZD30 to be the superior film, I found the editing in Argo added a lot to the film as a whole.

Best Cinematography – Nominees


Anna Karenina
Django Unchained
Life of Pi

When it comes to the first surprise of the year in this article, I would say it is the snub of Mihai Malaimare for his work on The Master. Despite people’s mixed feelings towards the film, it is hard to deny the 70mm cinematography epic. It is also surprising considering Malaimare has been nominated, and won several other awards this year.

Aside from this disappointment, there is still some fine talent among this years nominees.

As far as the underdogs go, Anna Karenina probably doesn’t stand much of a chance among the power houses it is going up against. Even though cinematographer Seamus McGarvey has been nominated once before for Atonement, it doesn’t seem likely that this will be his year.


My next in the line of underdogs is actually Django Unchained. The movie has received quite a bit of attention for its direction, acting and story, but its cinematography has been notably under looked this year. Also the fact that cinematographer Robert Richardson has three oscars under his belt already makes me think they will give it to someone else this year, which leads me to…

Lincoln, Life of Pi and Skyfall.

Lincoln and Life of Pi dominated the nominations this year, Lincoln with 12, Life of Pi with 11. Despite that, I really think that Skyfall’s Roger Deakins will finally bring home his oscar this year. Having been nominated a staggering 9 times before without a single win, it seems like this is going to finally be his year. He is getting older and despite Skyfall not being his best work, I think his collective work and his older age will finally help him obtain that Oscar.

What I Think Will Win – Skyfall, but if Lincoln or Life of Pi sweeps this year, it could end up going to one of them.

What I Want To Win – Skyfall

Going into the next categories is really where we will start to see where things are going to happen. In a year when 2 movies gained high nomination counts, it will be interesting to see if there will be surprises or if Lincon/Life of Pi will just sweep the awards. I find the ladder less likely but it is always a possibility. This is also where we will begin to have some of the major ommissions. Lets start with the writing categories.

Best Adapted Screenplay – Nominations

life of pi

Beasts of the Southern Wild
Life of Pi
Silver Linings Playbook

This category is one of the more straight forward ones, with Lincoln being the top pick and Life of Pi being second. Lincoln has gotten a lot of attention for its adaption of the book Team of Rivals. it has generated quite a bit of buzz and I really think it has the edge. However Life of Pi is based off of a best selling novel and has also gotten attention for its writing and interesting take on the source material.

As far as the other three go I would say either Argo or Silver Linings could gain some steam as the awards get closer. I don’t think either has the same buzz as Lincoln or Life of Pi.

While Beasts of the Southern Wild has gotten quite a bit of love and attention this year, especially on the festival and independent circuits. It is probably the true underdog of the awards this year. Nominated in several other categories, Best Actress, Picture and Director, I am hoping it has a loyal enough following at the Academy to give it a chance.

What I Think Will Win – Lincoln

What I Want to Win – Beasts of the Southern Wild

Best Original Screenplay – Nominations


Django Unchained
Moonrise Kingdom
Zero Dark Thirty

On the original side of things we have quite a few surprises. The first is Amour being nominated in a couple of major categories this year including, Best Picture, Director, Actress, Foreign (which it is now pretty much a lock) and it’s Original Screenplay. While I do not think it is going to win in this category, it will be interesting to see it competing in some of the later major categories, being the only foreign language film.

As for the surprises, I was surprised by both Moonrise Kingdom (which has been sadly ignored) and Flight, which only has one other nomination for Denzel.


I was disappointed personally in not seeing The Master nominated, but it has been pretty much ignored aside from its trio of acting nominations.

The two screenplays really fighting for it this year are Zero Dark Thirty and Django Unchained.
Both men have won previous Oscars, Mark Boal for The Hurt Locker and Quentin Tarantino for Pulp Fiction. At this point it could still go either way. I am giving a slight edge to Zero Dark Thirty as it has already won quite a few awards for its screenplay, and I also think the subject matter appeals more to academy members given there love of The Hurt Locker a few years back.

Flight has also been getting attention specifically for its screenplay on the award circuit and could come in for an upset, but I doubt it will happen.

What I Think Will Win – Zero Dark Thirty

What I Want to Win – Django Unchained

Moving on to the acting categories should be another interesting one to look at. While some picks are pretty much locked, others are still up for debate. There are also some big surprises and some big upsets in these next four categories. Let’s start with a lock.

Best Supporting Actress Nominations


Amy Adams – The Master
Sally Field – Lincoln
Anne Hathaway – Les Miserables
Helen Hunt – The Sessions
Jacki Weaver – Silver Linings Playbook

This is one category that I can feel pretty confident in predicting, Anne Hathaway. Most people agree she is one of the best parts of the movie. She has been nominated once before, for Rachel Getting Married. She is pretty much a lock this year and rightly so.

As for the other nominations, Helen Hunt and Jacki Weaver both sort of snuck in and gained nominations. Sally Field was pretty much a lock in for a nomination even though she has mixed reviews for her portrayal of Mary Lincoln. Amy Adams had a lot of buzz when The Master first premiered, but she has lost a lot of steam in favor the others.

Who I Think Will Win – Anne Hathaway

Who I Want to Win – Anne Hathaway

Best Supporting Actor Nominations

django unchained 1c

Alan Arkin – Argo
Robert De Niro – Silver Linings Playbook
Philip Seymour Hoffman – The Master
Tommy Lee Jones – Lincoln
Christoph Waltz – Django Unchained

Shame on the Academy for not giving a nod to Leonardo DiCaprio. While his role in Django Unchained my not have been his best, I was really hoping for him to finally get a win this year.
I am interested to see what movie finally gets DiCaprio his Oscar, I hope he does’t end up being another Scorsese.

As for the rest of nominations there are no real surprises. All of the nominees have gotten attention in there respective roles this year, but some more than others. To me it is really anyones award. All of the nominees have a previous Oscar.


I think it is going to come down to either Tommy Lee Jones or Philip Seymour Hoffman. Both of whom have gained nominations in just about every major award show for Best Supporting Actor. Hoffman has already won quite a bit of awards but Jones has been making a recent run especially with Lincoln fresh in peoples minds.

If there is going to be an upset it will come from Christoph Waltz, although since he won a couple years ago in the same category, I don’t think he will win it again this year. Arkin and De Niro have both received attention for there respective roles, but not nearly as much as the other 3.

Who I Think Will Win – Tommy Lee Jones

Who I Want to Win – Christoph Waltz

Best Actress – Nominations


Jessica Chastain – Zero Dark Thirty
Jennifer Lawrence – Silver Linings Playbook
Emmanuelle Riva – Amour
Quvenzhane Wallis – Beasts of the Southern Wild
Naomi Watts – The Impossible

In terms of interesting categories, it is hard to beat the Best Actress nominations this year. The two biggest surprises are Emmanuelle Riva (Amour), and Quvenzhane Wallis (Beasts). Riva is the oldest actress ever to be nominated at age 85. Then we have Wallis who is the youngest actress ever nominated at age 9.

While I do not think either has much of a chance, the fact that both got nominations was a nice surprise, and probably an award in itself.

While Naomi Watts has gained some steam for her role in The Impossible, I really think it is going to come down to Jessica Chastain and Jennifer Lawrence. Both woman have been on a bit of a roll recently and these two movies are there most heavily lauded yet. In terms of nominations for other awards they are pretty even. It is a tough call but I am giving a slight edge to Lawrence because her acting truly shines out even among her fellow nominated cast mates. Chastain has a pretty good chance as well, but since Zero Dark Thirty didn’t receive as many nominations in other categories I do not think it will win here.

Who I Think Will Win – Jennifer Lawrence, followed closely by Chastain.

Who I Think Should Win – Quvenzhane Wallis. Despite her powerful competition, Wallis displayed a maturity and emotion that veteran actors can hardly attain. She is an actress to watch for in the future and I hope she isn’t forgotten after this movie.

Best Actor – Nominations


Bradley Cooper – Silver Linings Playbook
Daniel Day Lewis – Lincoln
Hugh Jackman – Les Miserables
Joaquin Phoenix – The Master
Denzel Washington – Flight

I hate to start this category by saying this one is a lock, but there isn’t much standing in the way of Daniel Day Lewis winning another Oscar. This was a decent year for acting, but DDL just towers over them. It is however, well deserved as Lewis is one of the most focused and intense actors working today.

Cooper made a jaw dropping change for the movie Silver Linings Playbook, Jackman was great as always in Les Miserables, and of course Washington is getting attention for Flight. These actors were pretty much expected but I personally am very disappointed in John Hawkes not receiving a nomination for The Sessions.


Then there is Joaquin Phoenix for the Master, who gave one of the ballsiest performances in recent memory. People may not like that crazy style but it is hard to deny that he gave one hell of a performance. In the end however Lewis is going to be the one to bring it home. It is very unlikely that there will be an upset in this category, but you never know.

Who I Think Will Win – Daniel Day Lewis

Who I Think Should Win – Daniel Day Lewis. Followed by Joaquin.

And Now we Reach the Two Big Categories, Best Director and Best Picture. Let’s start with the Directors as it will most likely narrow down the nominees for Best Picture since these categories generally share a common winner.

Best Director – Nominations


Michael Haneke – Amour
Ang Lee – Life of Pi
David O. Russell – Silver Linings Playbook
Steven Spielberg – Lincoln
Benh Zeitlin – Beasts of the Southern Wild

This category is going to be pretty heavily dependent on what wins the rest of the awards. For example, if Lincoln ends up sweeping the categories, then you can bet Spielberg will win this one. The same thing can be said of Ang Lee’s Life of Pi and David O. Russel’s Silver Linings. However if the awards are evenly divided, then it could be anyones statue.

Three major shocks this year, are the absent Quentin Tarantino, Kathryn Bigelow and Ben Affleck. Affleck in particular has been getting quite a bit of praise for his direction, and Argo is his most solid effort yet.

Then there is Tarantino who at times the academy can really love, like with Inglourious. This year however it seems that Django was pushed aside in some major categories in favor of smaller films.

Last there is Bigelow, who I thought for sure was going to get a nomination, especially considering this film is far superior to The Hurt Locker, which won 6 Oscars in 2008. Even though these three omissions are a bit of a shame, it does make the other three nominations a lot more interesting as the Academy seemed to go with, smaller film directors this year.


Michael Haneke surprised everyone with his film Amour gaining 5 nominations instead of just a foreign film nomination. David O. Russell sort of makes sense given the fact that his movie got 8 nominations, and with the recent love towards more comedy oriented dramas, it isn’t as much of a surprise that he gained a nomination.

The last nominee is Benh Zeitlin for the independent smash, Beasts of the Southern Wild. Zeitlin is one that I am both surprised and impressed with. While I personally loved Beasts, I wasn’t sure if the movie would have enough momentum to carry it to Oscar season. I am glad it gained momentum and it is a great turn for the Academy to be honoring a first time director especially among his more seasoned competition. I think if there is a big surprise this year, it should be Zeitlin winning an oscar.

What I Think Will Win – Steven Spielberg/Ang Lee if there respective movie sweeps earlier categories.

What I Want To Win – Benh Zeitlin. With both Spielberg and Lee already having been nominated for awards previously, and since Haneke and Russell already have multiple award winning films. I think it would be awesome for a new director to come in and take it home on the first try.

Best Picture Nominations


Beasts of the Southern Wild
Django Unchained
Les Miserables
Life of Pi
Silver Linings Playbook
Zero Dark Thirty

Looking at the best picture nominations now is a different ball game from the last couple of years. I have my own feelings about the category being extended from 5 – 10, but that is for a different time. This year should be a good for a couple different reasons.

The first reason is the Best Directing Nominations is normally the first place to start analyzing for a possible winner. This year however most of the major director’s who also had film nominated for Best Picture were passed over in favor of smaller productions. The exceptions of course being Life of Pi and Lincoln. This may actually be one of the years that the best Director does not match up with the best Picture.

The next thing I want to point out about the nominees is that there are nine this year instead of 10. This is sort of where I start to lose faith in the new system. It seemed to me that the original intention of extending the categories, was due to the outrage of movies like The Dark Knight not getting there just desserts. This year would have been perfect to honor a movie like The Avengers or Moonrise Kingdom for being different than your average oscar film. Instead what ends up happening is like last year giving a nomination to Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, even though it was generally disliked by most people. This year did a better job of rounding out it’s roster and I would say the only film I don’t think deserves to be on there is Les Miserables.


A lot of this has to do with the politics of the Oscars but that is a different subject.

This year is really going to be kind of a toss up when it comes to picking a winner at this time. Like I have mentioned several times earlier, if a movie like Life of Pi, Lincoln or Silver Linings sweeps early categories, chances are it is going to go on to win Best Picture. If however the awards are spread around it really could be a toss up between quite a few films.

As much as I loved Django Unchained it is hard for me to think that the academy would award it best picture, especially with Tarantino absent from the directing category. I have similar feelings towards Argo, while being very well received I do not think it has the steam to win in this category.


Zero Dark Thirty is one of the most critically and commercially successful films of the year yet it didn’t get nominations in as many categories as people were expecting. I think without the best director nomination it is unlikely that this film will win best Picture, especially since The Hurt Locker won just a few years ago.

The long shots really are Beasts of the Southern Wild and Amour, both of which were pretty surprise nominations, Beasts gained 4 total and Amour gained 5. The two are competing in almost all of the same categories, so it’s hard to pick which of the two actually has the edge.

All in all I think this Oscar ceremony has the potential to be a very memorable one. With Seth Macfarlane hosting and the surprising addition of a few key independent films. I hope that one movie does’t just sweep every category, and given the last few years, I don’t think that will really happen. That being said I still think Lincoln has the strongest chance followed by Life of Pi. If however one of these two directors wins in the directing category, I think the Best Picture could possibly go on to be something different. Here’s hoping for something as bold as Beasts or Amour.

What I Think Will Win – Lincoln/Life of Pi.

What I Want to Win – Beasts of the Southern Wild/Amour

Full Article by Michael

Here is hoping for a great show! Cheers!
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I am a film student living in LA area, I love movies, videogames, music and most other types of media. Any questions feel free to email me.

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