Who is watching the Oscars tonight? Not me, because it is on Sky Movies, which I don’t have. But I am not bitter. Oh no. I am just going to make my own Oscars and they are going to be ten times better than the actual Oscars. And only me and my loyal readers are invited.
OK, let me set up some ground rules for my Oscars. So, they aren’t too similar to the actual Oscars, mine involve every film in 2012 and a few early films from 2013 (Les Mis, Django Unchained, etc…). I am also trying to move away from my own personal opinions and going for what films actually deserve these awards. For example, my favourite film of 2012 was ‘Avengers Assemble’, but that isn’t really the kind of film that deserves an Oscar. So I am going to distance myself to avoid being biased and hopefully come up with a truthful awards ceremony that is so much better than the actual Oscars.
BEST VISUAL EFFECTS: DREDD
OK, I know that ‘Life of Pi’ is the obvious choice here, but ‘Dredd’ was the film that made me have faith in 3D technology again. The story even made the slow motion effects made sense, rather than some cheap gimmick thrown into the final draft of the movie to earn it 3D status. One of the most memorable scenes from the movie is the point where Ma-Ma is in the bath, high on the Slo-Mo drug, and she lifts her arm in the water. The slowed-down droplets of water falling from her body was stunning to watch (God, that sounded far more perverted than I meant it to – I am just talking about the water here, people!), really earning this category’s trophy. Also, when it wasn’t showing off its beautiful set-pieces, it was using these visual effects to give us some of the goriest deaths we have seen in a long time. Therefore, I am happy to give this award to ‘Dredd’.
BEST ORIGINAL SONG: EVERYBODY NEEDS A BEST FRIEND – TED
The battle for original song is so dominated by Adele’s ‘Skyfall’ and the additional song in ‘Les Miserables’, that people seem to have forgotten the charming opening credits sequence that is ‘Everybody needs a Best Friend’ by Norah Jones in the movie ‘Ted’. The entire film just captures the moment of the narrative: the sweet, young friendship that holds the film together. Isn’t that what this category is about?
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: LOOPER
‘Looper’ deserves far more credit than it gets. It was the underdog of the year and cemented its place, as one of my favourite films from 2012 (yes, it is better than ‘Skyfall’!). Rian Johnson wrote this screenplay, toying with the idea of the science fiction genre. What we got as a result of this was a fantastic piece of cinema that was impossible to guess the ending. It also rolled over the whole ‘plot hole’ thing, by not bothering to explain the idea of time travel. And who could forget the chilling execution of Paul Dano’s older self? No contest for this category.
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: LIFE OF PI
If anyone has read the ‘Life of Pi’, then they will know how impossible it seemed to get a motion picture out of it. Then Ang Lee came along and made it seem like the easiest thing in the world. If that doesn’t deserve an award at the Oscars, I don’t know what does.
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE: THE DARK KNIGHT RISES
What I love the most about the Dark Knight Rises is the fact that the score manipulates your emotions throughout the entire thing. When Nolan wants the audience to feel elated or depressed, all he has to do is give Hans Zimmer a nod and he creates a beautiful piece of music that takes us all on a journey. I have watched ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ countless times, just to have this sensation. In some ways, it is like a high. A close second for this category was ‘The Hobbit’.
BEST MAKEUP: LES MISERABLES
This is not just because I was present on set for this film, but I do genuinely think that the make-up artists went all out for this movie. Just look at Jean Valjean in the opening scenes: he looks brutal. I know this was partially down to Hugh Jackman dehydrating himself for two days, but the make-up still deserve a pat on the back for his appearance. The contacts he wore made him look lifeless, the ruthlessly shaven head made him look like a savage and the yellowed teeth made him (and Anne Hathaway for that matter), look decayed. It was a holistic success.
BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM: THE RAID
I have never really watched foreign films, but ‘The Raid’ was made out to be the best thing by ‘Empire’, so I gave it a shot. While not the five star masterpiece they built it up to be, it did have some fantastic direction. I hear they are making a sequel that takes place five minutes after the ending of the last one (continuing the non-stop action from the first). I am not sure how this will go down, so I will give ‘The Raid’ its due credit now, before it becomes the film that sparked off a cheap, action franchise.
BEST COSTUME DESIGN: LES MISERABLES
And another point for Les Mis. It was hard not to give them this award, because they needed to have all hands on deck to keep up with the high demand for costumes in this movie. The streets are bustling with characters, all from different classes and eras, all needing a separate costume. It’s the kind of thing I am ashamed to have not paid more attention to on its first viewing, although it is hard to focus on the little details, when you are being blown away by the vocal performances.
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE: FRANKENWEENIE
Who doesn’t like this movie? Tim Burton is back at his best, after a disappointing ‘Dark Shadows’. He falls back on animation, after struggling with the real action side of his career. The stop-motion is flawless and the gothic features that we associate with Burton were very clear. I hope Burton sticks with this style of cinema for a bit longer. As far as children’s cinema goes, Burton is always the, if not best, most original storyteller.
BEST ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE: ANNE HATHAWAY IN ‘LES MISERABLES’
Who are we kidding? There is no one else for this role and I will very surprised if she doesn’t get the Oscar for her amazing performance here. Her rendition of ‘I Dreamed a Dream’, although causing horror in the trailers, hit us hard in the actual movie. It was beautiful, emotional and flawless. A standing ovation.
BEST ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE: TOM HARDY IN ‘THE DARK KNIGHT RISES’
I am really surprised Tom Hardy or Javier Bardem weren’t nominated for this. They brought us two of the best villains of the year. I am giving Tom Hardy the upper hand here, because, despite a mesmerising performance, Bardem went a little too loopy nearer to the end of the film. As for Tom Hardy, he saved one of the hardest villains to get right in the Batman franchise. I expect a lot more from this actor in the near future.
BEST DIRECTOR: QUENTIN TARANTINO
The master of direction does it again. This time Tarantino turns to a slave dialogue and, consequentially, jumps to the top of the genre. His controversial style takes the genre to places it was unable to go before, as well as attracting new faces to this part of American history. Sure, he indulges himself in gory finales and wacky characters, but that adds to the charm. ‘Django Unchained’ may, in time, be viewed as one of his very best.
BEST ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE: HUGH JACKMAN IN ‘LES MISERABLES’
Wow, ‘Les Miserables’ is racking them up. Hugh Jackman delivers a stunning performance so different from anything we have seen him in before. Where he shows off his macho side in the X-Men franchise, here we see his soft side, as he plays the struggling father with a dark past. His vocals are great, as he grabs every little bit of emotion out of the songs. In the end, he was the only choice for best leading actor.
BEST ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE: JENNIFER LAWRENCE IN ‘SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK’
Jennifer Lawrence was the actress of the year that everyone kept raving about. I never saw her in anything till the ‘Silver Lining Playbook’ (I am ashamed to admit I didn’t realise it was her as Mystique in ‘X-Men: First Class’ until recently). However, I was not disappointed. She captures the character amazingly well, really pulling on your heartstrings as the girl who can’t quite manage to express her feelings. I was blown away by her performance and I hope that she picks up the award in the real Oscars.
BEST PICTURE: THE DARK KNIGHT RISES
This movie gets a lot of hate for its plot holes and weird voices. However, in my eyes, it was the most impressive film of the year. The character arcs were brought to a climatic end in this three-part story and it was hard not to hold your breath, as you realised that Batman was walking to his death. As I have said with the best score award, the emotions it brings out of you make this one of the more memorable films of the year and is probably the film that has earned the most repeat viewings out of 2012. An amazing end to an amazing trilogy.
BEST EXTRA: LUKE ABBOTT IN ‘LES MISERABLES’
OK, maybe I am a little biased.