RT's Oscar Picks 2013 - Results

How did we fare this year in our Academy Awards predictions?

by | February 25, 2013 | Comments

We at Rotten Tomatoes freely admit we’re not the world’s greatest Oscar prognosticators. Still, we did a bit better than usual this year; while there were some surprises (Sound Editing was a tie?!) and a few winners that aren’t all that surprising in retrospect, most of our predictions came true at the 85th Annual Academy Awards. Read on to see how our forecast squared with the final results!


Best Picture: Argo

Momentum has been building for Argo in the past few weeks; it took home best picture honors at the Golden Globes, the BAFTAs, and the Critics’ Choice Awards (and not to toot our own horns, but it won the Golden Tomato Award for Best Wide Release as well). Argo hits several sweet spots that the Academy voters find irresistible: it’s inspirational, but loaded with historical gravitas; it was both a mainstream hit and a critical favorite; and, perhaps most importantly for voters, it’s a celebration of the power of movies and the people who make them. Lincoln and Silver Linings Playbook have enjoyed some dark horse cache, but we think Argo will be the first film since Driving Miss Daisy to win Best Picture without garnering a Best Director nod.



Best Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis for Lincoln

This category has been in the bag since the ink was dry on Daniel Day-Lewis’ contract.


Best Actress: Jennifer Lawrence for Silver Linings Playbook

This was the toughest category for RT editors to whittle down. At opposite ends of the age bracket, Emmanuelle Riva and Quvenzhané Wallis each gave remarkable performances, and Riva in particular could muster some votes. Even more likely is Naomi Watts, whose physically grueling work in The Impossible has also generated buzz. Early on, it looked like Jessica Chastain had this category all sewn up, as critics societies around the country were heaping praise on her. However, in the last couple months, all the Oscar mojo has seemingly shifted toward Jennifer Lawrence; with a Golden Globe, a Critics Choice, and a SAG award under her belt, we think Lawrence will walk away with the Oscar as well.



Best Supporting Actor: Tommy Lee Jones for Lincoln

Each of the nominees has an Oscar to his credit, so there aren’t any unjustly ignored sentimental favorites to choose from. Christoph Waltz won the BAFTA and the Golden Globe, but it seems unlikely he’ll win just a few short years after his breakout role in Inglourious Basterds. Robert DeNiro has a strong chance, especially since his work in Silver Linings Playbook helped to erase memories of the great actor’s string of mediocre films. However, we think Tommy Lee Jones – who was already honored by the Screen Actors Guild –will ultimately claim the Oscar.

INCORRECT – Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained. We shouldn’t have discounted Waltz’s previous award season victories.

Best Supporting Actress: Anne Hathaway for Les Misérables

Anne Hathaway has enjoyed almost universal Oscar buzz since before Les Misérables even hit theaters, and her wins at the Golden Globes and the BAFTAs confirm her status as the front-runner here. It’s possible, though unlikely, that either Helen Hunt or Jacki Weaver will steal this category; if Weaver wins, it could be an early sign that Silver Linings Playbook will have a huge night.



Best Director: Steven Spielberg for Lincoln

Since Ben Affleck was inexplicably snubbed in this category, we think Steven Spielberg will take home the hardware as a consolation prize.

INCORRECT – Ang Lee, Life of Pi. It just wasn’t Lincoln‘s night, and the Academy was obviously more enamored with Life of Pi overall. It’s still a mystery why Ben Affleck wasn’t even nominated in this category.


Original Screenplay: Django Unchained

The Usual Suspects, Fargo, Lost in Translation, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Juno… The screenplay awards are the place where the Academy honors innovative stuff that’s a little too wild and wooly for Best Picture. Quentin Tarantino’s consolation prize for Pulp Fiction losing to Forrest Gump was a Best Original Screenplay trophy, and he’ll pick up another one for Django Unchained this year.



Adapted Screenplay: Argo

Following up on the last entry, we must make note of the fact that because there are two screenplay awards, it makes sense that one goes to something a little left of center, and the other goes to whatever won Best Picture. So chalk up Argo for the Academy Award for Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay).



Best Foreign Language Film: Amour

Given that Amour was also nominated for Best Picture (not to mention noms for Michael Haneke in the direction and screenwriting categories), this one seems like a lock.



Best Documentary: Searching for Sugar Man

This was another contentious award for RT editors. In a year of particularly strong choices, we think it’s down to a three-way race between Searching for Sugar Man, The Invisible War, and The Gatekeepers, with the feel-good vibes of Sugar Man carrying the day over its more somber, issue-oriented peers.



Animated Feature: Brave

Another tough call. We think the competition is ultimately between Brave and Wreck-It Ralph. However, because graying Academy voters can’t tell Call of Duty from The Call of the Wild, we’re gonna go with the little redhead. (It must be noted that RT editor-in-chief Matt Atchity insists Frankenweenie will win, loudly telling the rest of the staff, “You’re all wrong.” Sure thing, chief.)



Best Cinematography: Life of Pi

Life of Pi‘s visual splendor is so mind-blowing that it seems improbable that anyone could steal this category from its cinematographer, Claudio Miranda.



Best Film Editing: Argo

Argo already took home the BAFTA in this category, and we think three-time nominee William Goldenberg will add to the film’s Oscar haul.



Best Music – Original Score: Lincoln

John Williams is one of the most nominated figures in Academy history, and hasn’t won in a long time. We think he’ll win Oscar number six, but Mychael Danna’s eclectic score for Life of Pi could surprise some people.

INCORRECTLife of Pi. We had a feeling Mychael Danna could steal this one, especially since John Williams has so many Oscars to his name already.


Best Music – Original Song: Skyfall

These days, award shows exist for one reason, and one reason alone: to bestow trophies upon Adele.



Best Production Design: Anna Karenina

This looks like a tossup between Anna Karenina and Les Misérables. We decided to go with the period piece based on a classic novel. And when we realized we were being forced to choose between two period pieces based on classic novels, we picked Anna Karenina, because Leo Tolstoy had cooler facial hair than Victor Hugo.

INCORRECTLincoln. We got this one completely wrong. Probably should have considered the painstakingly recreated period detail of Civil War-era Washington.


Best Costume Design: Anna Karenina

Take this one to the bank, comrades.



Best Sound Editing: Zero Dark Thirty

The controversy over Zero Dark Thirty‘s politics have hurt its Oscar chances in a number of categories. Still, few questioned the film’s technical brilliance, and we think it’s here that Zero Dark Thirty will take home the hardware.

HALF CORRECT – Ties are rare in Oscar history, but not unprecedented. Zero Dark Thirty split the honor with Skyfall.


Best Sound Mixing: Les Misérables

A big deal was made about the fact that the cast of Les Misérables sang their songs live on camera. That’s pretty tough to record, especially with canons going off everywhere.



Best Visual Effects: Life of Pi

Dude, remember the tiger in that movie? It was all CGI. Pretty cool, huh?



Best Makeup and Hairstyling: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Those ears didn’t get pointy all by themselves.

INCORRECT Les Misérables. We were so focused on the pointy ears we neglected to take note of the grit and grime that accumulated on the faces of the actors portraying 19th Century Gauls.

Best Short Film – Live Action: Curfew

An idiosyncratic dramedy about a depressed writer tasked with babysitting his precocious niece, Curfew has racked up a bunch of festival awards, and we think it will add an Oscar to its haul.


Best Short Film – Animated: Paperman

Paperman is the wistful tale of an office drone who goes to great lengths to reconnect with a beautiful woman he glimpsed on the subway. It’s sweet, it’s beautifully animated, and it had the benefit of being the opening act for Wreck-It Ralph in theaters.


Best Documentary Short: Open Heart

This is a particularly solemn year for documentary shorts. We think Open Heart, the tale of eight Rwandan children traveling to Sudan for heart surgery, will earn both tears and votes from Academy members.

INCORRECTInocente, the story of a homeless girl who dreams of becoming an artist, took home the Oscar.




For our full Oscar coverage on the day, go to RT’s Awards Tour page

Written by Tim Ryan

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