For those of you who have never read an explanation before of my methods for accessing buzz, here's a brief rundown. All year long, I do extensive research and read as much of what critics, other bloggers, the general public, and the industry have to say about the year's films in general and said film's chances for year end awards glory in specific. I give points based on a scale that I adjust a little each time around. Because buzz fades over time, several times a year I cut each film's tallies in each category in half, making everything that follows worth twice as much as what came before. This year I found my buzz rankings to transition a little too slowly, so I will probably cut the buzz in half a little more frequently next year. This article concerns itself with the final buzz rankings, which are not my final predictions, but which certainly informed them. It also concerns itself with how I did in my predictions, and a few final thoughts on this year's awards season. Let's get started...
1. Argo 41% (WINNER)
2. Lincoln 24%
3. Silver Linings Playbook 8%
4. Zero Dark Thirty 6%
5. Les Miserables 5%
6. Beasts of the Southern Wild 4%
7. Life of Pi 4%
8. Amour 4%
9. Django 3%
And the buzz did not lie for Picture this year. Even though it became the first film since Driving Miss Daisy to win the top prize without a corresponding Best Director nod (maybe because of it), Argo reigned triumphant. I'm glad I listened to the buzz... 1/1 I guessed correctly...
1. Stephen Spielberg - Lincoln 54%
2. Ang Lee - Life of Pi 27% (WINNER)
3. David O Russell - Silver Linings Playbook 8%
4. Michael Haneke - Amour 8%
5. Benh Zeitlin - Beasts of the Southern Wild 2%
Of course, Argo winning Best Picture meant that it was going to be a year with a split between that category and this one and in such a year anything can happen and the buzz can be all wrong on a major category or two. Such was the case as Ang Lee brought home his second Best Director trophy with no corresponding win for Best Picture (the first was for Brokeback Mountain). Unfortunately, I was NOT brave enough to split with the buzz myself, guessing Spielberg, and I got this one wrong...1/2 I guessed correctly...
1. Daniel Day-Lewis - Lincoln 68% (WINNER)
2. Hugh Jackman - Les Miserables 15%
3. Joachin Phoenix - The Master 8%
4. Bradley Cooper - Silver Linings Playbook 4%
5. Denzel Washington - Flight 4%
Sometimes the buzz is so decisive that there is just no arguing the obvious, as was the case here...2/3 I guessed correctly...
1. Jennifer Lawrence - Silver Linings Playbook 47% (WINNER)
2. Jessica Chastain - Zero Dark Thirty 24%
3. Emmanuelle Riva - Amour 21%
4. Quvenzhane Wallis - Beasts of the Southern Wild 5%
5. Naomi Watts - The Impossible 2%
In this category, I thought that the split support between Lawrence and Chastain might allow Riva to swoop in and nab the trophy, but I was wrong. I should have paid attention to the fact that Lawrence had been widening her lead, but alas...2/4 I guessed correctly...
Best Supporting Actor
1. Tommy Lee Jones - Lincoln 42%
2. Robert DeNiro - Silver Linings Playbook 26%
3. Christoph Waltz - Django Unchained 17% (WINNER)
4. Philip Seymour Hoffman - The Master 12%
5. Alan Arkin - Argo 3%
I suppose that Mr. Waltz's win cannot be said to have come from nowhere, considering his pre-cursor victories, but I really thought that Robert DeNiro would be the upset victory here. Oh, well... 2 out of 5 I guessed correctly.
Best Supporting Actress
1. Anne Hathaway - Les Miserables 67% (WINNER)
2. Sally Field - Lincoln 22%
3. Amy Adams - The Master 5%
4. Helen Hunt - The Sessions 4%
5. Jackie Weaver - Silver Linings Playbook 1%
This was maybe the biggest gimme of the night. Even I (on my worst year in a long time) couldn't get this one wrong... 3 out of 6 I guessed correctly.
Best Original Screenplay
1. Django Unchained 34% (WINNER)
2. Amour 29%
3. Zero Dark Thirty 27%
4. Moonrise Kingdom 8%
5. Flight 1%
Yeah, I predicted Amour to upset here, just like in Best Actress and it worked out just the same... 3 out of 7 I guessed correctly.
Best Adapted Screenplay
1. Lincoln 42%
2. Argo 40% (WINNER)
3. Silver Linings Playbook 11%
4. Life of Pi 4%
5. Beasts of the Southern Wild 2%
Whew!!! At least one time that I went against the buzz, it panned out for me. I correctly guessed that Argo's WGA and Scripter victories indicated enough support to unseat the presumed front runner, not that it held MUCH of a lead anymore... 4 out of 8 I guessed correctly.
Best Animated Feature
1. Wreck-It Ralph 40%
2. Brave 27% (WINNER)
3. Frankenweenie 24%
4. Paranorman 8%
5. The Pirates! Band of Misfits 1%
So far, I haven't really taken much umbrage with who won on Oscar night, whether I predicted their victory or not. That ends here. I gave the Academy too much credit, figuring that the Pixar brand alone would not enable Brave to defeat the far superior Wreck-It Ralph (to say nothing of the just as excellent Frankenweenie). Guess I was wrong...4 out of 9 guessed correctly.
Best Documentary Feature
1. Searching For Sugarman 54% (WINNER)
2. The Gatekeepers 17%
3. How To Survive a Plague 14%
4. The Invisible War 9%
5. 5 Broken Cameras 6%
Fortunately, I went with Searching For Sugarman's significant lead in buzz here, rather than counting on the surprising history of upsets in this category... 5 out of 10 guessed correctly.
Best Foreign Language Film
1. Amour - Austria 69% (WINNER)
2. A Royal Affair - Denmark 13%
3. No - Chile 8%
4. War Witch - Canada 5%
5. Kon-Tiki - Norway 5%
What I said about Documentary Feature, only more so... 6 out of 11 guessed correctly.
1. Life of Pi 47% (WINNER)
2. Skyfall 31%
3. Lincoln 17%
4. Anna Karenina 3%
5. Django Unchained 2%
Although I feel sorry for Skyfall's Roger Deakins, having so many nominations and still no wins, I'm glad I went with the buzz, giving me...7 out of 12 guessed correctly.
1. Argo 51% (WINNER)
2. Zero Dark Thirty 29%
3. Lincoln 9%
4. Life of Pi 7%
5. Silver Linings Playbook 5%
I expected Goldenberg to win this for Argo from the day that I saw the film in the theater... 8 out of 13 guessed correctly.
Best Production Design
1. Anna Karenina 39%
2. Les Miserables 27%
3. Lincoln 16% (WINNER)
4. Life of Pi 15%
5. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey 2%
Even if I hadn't predicted this one for Anna, I probably would have gone for Les Miserables. Still, I certainly can't begrudge the winner... 8 out of 14 guessed correctly.
Best Music (Original Score)
1. Life of Pi 53% (WINNER)
2. Lincoln 22%
3. Argo 12%
4. Anna Karenina 8%
5. Skyfall 6%
I stuck with conventional wisdom pretty much wherever Pi led the buzz and that worked out to my advantage.,, 9 out of 15 guessed correctly,
Best Music (Original Song)
1. Skyfall - "Skyfall" 67% (WINNER)
2. Les Miserables - "Suddenly" 24%
3. Ted - "Everybody Needs a Best Friend" 5%
4. Life of Pi - "Pi's Lullaby" 3%
5. Chasing Ice - "Before My Time" 1%
This one was another no-brainer. I said that if "Skyfall" qualified, it would be the winner way before it even qualified. I saw no reason to jump ship at the last minute... 10 out of 16 guessed correctly.
Best Costume Design
1. Anna Karenina 45% (WINNER)
2. Les Miserables 34%
3. Mirror Mirror 9%
4. Lincoln 9%
5. Snow White and the Huntsman 4%
I was a little worried that the Academy would end up awarding costumer Ishioka posthumously for Mirror Mirror, but thankfully I stuck with Durrant and Anna...11 out of 17 guessed correctly.
Best Make-Up and Hairstyling
1. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey 59%
2. Les Miserables 34% (WINNER)
3. Hitchcock 7%
It was difficult for me to care about this category when they honored these three films over at least four others that I felt were more deserving (two of which didn't even make the short list), but thankfully I went with the Best Picture nominee rather than the front runner... 12 out of 18 guessed correctly.
Best Sound Editing
1. Life of Pi 28%
2. Zero Dark Thirty 25% (WINNER - tie)
3. Skyfall 22% (WINNER - tie)
4. Argo 17%
5. Django Unchained 7%
In a tight three-way race, the Academy had a rare tie decision. I had predicted Skyfall, figuring it would go home with a trophy for something other than just Song. I say that ties are so rare that guessing either of the winners counts as right... 13 out of 19 guessed correctly.
Best Sound Mixing
1. Les Miserables 57% (WINNER)
2. Skyfall 20%
3. Life of Pi 15%
4. Argo 4%
5. Lincoln 4%
The innovation of live singing in a movie musical was a risky and (in most of the film) highly effective choice that was sure to win the film recognition in this arena... 14 out of 20 guessed correctly.
Best Visual Effects
1. Life of Pi 66% (WINNER)
2. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey 19%
3. Marvel's Avengers 9%
4. Prometheus 4%
5. Snow White and the Huntsman 2%
As I said, I usually stuck with Pi in the techs for the most part, and this one was the most forgone conclusion of them all... 15 out of 21 guessed correctly.
Best Animated Short
1. Paperman 50% (WINNER)
2. Adam and Dog 20%
3. Head Over Heels 16%
4. Maggie Simpson in the Longest Daycare 12%
5. Fresh Guacamole 3%
This was a really strong crop of short films, but Paperman was clearly the most well known and publicized throughout the season as well as being arguably the most innovative animated work this year. It had been several decades since Disney won this category, but I'm glad I didn't let that deter me from predicting their win this year...16 out of 22 guessed correctly.
Best Documentary Short
1. Open Heart 45%
2. Inocente 25% (WINNER)
3. Mondays at Racine 19%
4. Kings Pointe 8%
5. Redemption 3%
Not having seen these, I had to simply watch the buzz. Although Open Heart still led at crunch time, Inocente had been surging, so I took a chance. Fortunately, it paid off...17 out of 23 guessed correctly.
Best Live-Action Short
1. Curfew 41% (WINNER)
2. Buzkashi Boys 19%
3. Asad 18%
4. Death of a Shadow 17%
5. Henry 4%
Unfortunately, I predicted the same sort of upset for Buzkashi Boys in this category, and it did not come to pass... 17 out of 24 guessed correctly.
And that was it...my final score was seventeen. It certainly wasn't my best (I think 19 right is my best tally ever, back when The Hurt Locker won for 2009), but it could have been a lot worse. If I had just stuck with the buzz, I would have only scored 16 correct. You know its been a weird year when I did better in the Shorts than in the major categories. Here's hoping that 2013 is an awards season that offers us just as many twists, turns, and surprises. I know I'll see you then...
Related articles: Related Articles: Oscar Winner Predictions & Buzz: Of Snubs and Triumphs (preview), Musical Techs (Score and Song), Noisy Techs (Sound Editing & Sound Mixing), Pretty People Techs (Costume Design & Make-Up and Hairstyling), Pretty Picture Techs (Cinematography & Production Design), Finishing Touch Techs (Editing & Visual Effects), Toons of Any Length (Animated Feature & Animated Short), Docs of Any Length (Documentary Feature & Documentary Short), Screenplays (Adapted & Original), Supporting Players (Supporting Actor & Supporting Actress), Actor and Actress, Foreign Films (also covering Short Live-Action), Picture and Director, Final Predictions, "Lincoln" Perks, Best That the Summer Wields? (Beasts of the Southern Wild review), Acting Master Classes in Private "Sessions", Didn't Quite Take "Flight", Can You "Master" Your Nature?, "Impossible"y Well Crafted, Anna Conundruma (Anna Karenina review), I Think You "Argo"ing to Love It!, Fantasy "Life of Pi"?, Promarlius Kingdom (Moonrise Kingdom and Prometheus reviews), If It Ain't "Wrecked" (Wreck-It Ralph and Paperman reviews), Elena's Brave Law (Brave reveiw), To Rome, Sugarweenie! (Frankenweenie and Searching For Sugarman reviews), The Perfect Para-Killer (Paranorman review), Bernie! On a Ledge of Misfits (Pirates! Band of Misfits reveiw), Surviving the Alps is a Rush (How To Survive a Plague review), Henry's Invisible Arbitrage (The Invisible War review), To Royal Effect (A Royal Affair review), 23? You Don't Play Like a Sequel Over 2. (Skyfall review), The Habit: A Much Expected Returning (The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey review), Ted Butters Up the Polisse (Ted review),
Being Margaret's Mirror (Mirror Mirror review), The Best Huntsman's Shadow (Snow White and the Huntsman review), Merchandiser's Assemble (Avengers review)