Last Modified: Tuesday, February 26, 2013 11:57 AM
Editor’s note: Julie Ann Fay is a member of the Lake Area Film Group. She has acted in three independent feature films, one Travel Channel episode and countless short films.
To watch videos of Ms. Fay's Oscar reviews go to www.youtube.com/scribegirl10.
Oh, the Oscars! They were the original awards show on television when I was a kid. Now that I’ve grown up, I love the Oscars more than ever. In my opinion, this year’s choices offer many delights for many tastes. So let’s start with a film Southwest Louisiana folks can identify with.
The film was shot in the New Orleans area and is set in a fictional Louisiana community called “The Bathtub” on the wet side of a levee. This film made me boiling mad during the first 10 minutes. The trailer promised me a magical, fairy-tale bayou and instead I was immersed in extreme poverty and hopelessness. But the film won me over as its fable unfolded to reveal a savage and poetic story about our place in the world.
Prediction: While I give kudos to the young Quvenzhane Wallis for being the youngest Oscar nominee ever in the Best Actress category, I don’t think her fierce portrayal of Hush Puppy will win. Alas, I predict that “Beasts of the Southern Wild” will find itself on the flooded side of the levee without an Oscar.
Moving on to another film set in the Deep South, “Django Unchained” is also savage but there’s more blood than poetry. While I found director Quentin Tarantino’s story about a slave’s vengeance thoroughly entertaining it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what makes the movie so good. Was it the quirky characters? The unique storyline? The acting? All of the above?
Prediction: I don’t think Oscar voters will be able to defend why they would choose “Django” as the ultimate winner. Which ironically, might make it the perfect Best Picture, but they didn’t ask me. I think “Django Unchained” will also leave the Oscars empty-handed.
I’m not sure if I’m the best person or the worst person to review “Les Miserables” as I had never seen it onstage. What I can say is that the sound of moviegoers sniffling into their tissues was abundant. I enjoy movies that really get my emotions pumping, and “Les Miserables” didn’t disappoint.
Prediction: I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more raw, gut-wrenching performance onscreen than actress Anne Hathaway’s. She pretty much stole the show, which is saying a lot because her character is only onscreen during the first quarter of the film. I’m placing my bet on Anne Hathaway for Best Actress in a Supporting Role. It may also get kudos in the Costume Design category.
It’s one thing to have a movie that explores different religions without choosing one for you, but it’s quite another to do it when the main character is in danger of being eaten by a tiger. My favorite part of this movie is the ending, which is designed to leave you debating in the parking lot, “Did it happen or didn’t it?”
Prediction: Even with the tiger, “Life of Pi” is quieter than other more emotional films. I predict it will be in third place for Best Picture but will score in visual categories like Cinematography.
Grand and historical, Stephen Spielberg’s “Lincoln” fascinated me with all the political maneuverings it took to abolish slavery. I was fully engaged on an intellectual level.
Prediction: There was a lot of Oscar buzz about this one at first, and “Lincoln” has the most nominations, so it could sweep. But I predict it will win a scattering of awards but won’t walk away Commander in Chief.
Is it a drama? Yes, but I laughed a lot. Is it a comedy? Yes, but I also cried. Is it about mental illness, football and ballroom dancing? Yes! What makes this patchwork film weave together wonderfully are the characters. Mentally ill or not, they remind us of our neighbors, co-workers, family members and sometimes even ourselves.
Prediction: I’d love to see this little film sweep every category and run onstage yelling “Touchdown” while giving Oscar host Seth McFarlane a high five. Realistically, though, I’d like to see Jennifer Lawrence win for Actress in a Leading Role, Robert De Niro win for Actor in a Supporting Role and the film win in the Adapted Screenplay category.
This is an impressive film. The legwork to do all the investigating into the tracking of Osama bin Laden from Sept. 11 to his final breath is mindboggling. Controversial torture techniques were shown and the film’s final image was pitch perfect. But the film was way too long in my opinion before its tense final showdown.
Prediction: It won’t win Best Picture. Jessica Chastain might win for Actress in a Leading Role. I also think it will do well in Film Editing, Sound Mixing and Sound Editing.
It’s a true story so nutty, it sounds like fiction. “Argo” starts off as a serious film about rescuing the Iranian hostages in the 1970s, takes a comical turn in Hollywood and leaves our heart pounding during the final act of the film.
Prediction: I saved “Argo” for last because it’s my best bet to win Best Picture. It’s historical, it’s about Hollywood, it’s entertaining, it’s intellectual and it’s emotional. All things Oscar loves rolled into one movie.
Here’s my disclaimer: I was not able to watch “Amour” before the Oscars. Thus, it could very well walk away with a slew of awards. It could be the wild card that turns the tables on everything tonight.