6 Months In: The Oscar Picture

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We’re halfway done with the year, so it’s a great time to look at the films that are frontrunners for next year’s Academy Awards ceremony. Who will Oscar be calling? Read on to find out!

Best Picture
The critics agree: if the year ended today, no one would complain about the quality of Best Picture contenders released in the first half of 2013. But if we had to put our money on one, we’d pick Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby to win. Why? It’s all about pedigree. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic book, plus Luhrmann’s tasteful adaptation into three dimensions, is what the Oscars are all about. Had Walter Salles’ adaptation of On the Road contained a little more glitz and glamour, it might have had a shot. But this year, it’s all Gatsby, all the time, old sport. Honorable Mention: The English Teacher, because it’s a book-friendly year; The Bling Ring, because the Academy loves the Coppolas!

Best Director
The critics agree: being a director is hard! So what’s it like making a movie comprised of 14 different smaller films? Our best guess is that it’s at least 14 times harder! That’s why Movie 43 enters the second half of the year as the leader in the clubhouse. After all, there’s nothing the Academy likes more than a good gimmick, which is why it’ll be so fun to see 13 different directors go up on stage to collect their award. In any other year, Jon Lucas and Scott Moore could expect to win for their double-teaming on 21 & Over, but unfortunately Bob Odenkirk, Elizabeth Banks and the 11 other ones have news for them. Hope the Academy has allotted a major chunk of this year’s budget for Oscar statue gold! Honorable Mention: Steven Soderbergh for the magnificent Behind the Candelabra.

Best Actor
The critics agree: Bruce Willis may not be at the top of his game in A Good Day To Die Hard, but both Willis AND John McClane are overdue for a teary acceptance speech. That’s why we expect Willis to win a Scorsese-esque Career Achievement Award this year. Sure, A Good Day To Die Hard is only the second-best Die Hard film, but Willis deserves this. He has some help, too: Tom Cruise will cancel himself out with his two Oscar-worthy performances in Jack Reacher and Oblivion. Honorable Mention: Robert DeNiro in The Big Wedding (perhaps his best role yet); Ryan Gosling in Gangster Squad (oomf); Jaden Smith in After Earth (oomf).

Best Actress
The critics agree: Tina Fey had audiences lizzing so hard in Admission that Oscar will surely be calling! Many thought the 30 Rock star’s career had plateaued at the end of her hit TV series, but then she paired with Paul Rudd in a film that was one fake orgasm short of When Harry Met Sally. It’s a certified classic already, and a deserving Oscar winner. Honorable Mention: Elizabeth Banks in Movie 43 (just falling short of making history as a dual Best Director/Best Actress winner); Halle Berry in The Call (it wasn’t your fault!).

Best Screenplays
The critics agree: Now You See Me getting up on stage and winning an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. That’s right, the magic thriller is surely a lock to win the award come Oscar night. Too few viewers know that the film was made without special effects, putting extra stress on the writing team to create real tricks that could be learned and performed by the cast. Way to go, you guys. It was purely … magical.

As for Best Adapted Screenplay, the critics agree that Gary Whitta and M. Night Shyamalan’s adaptation of L. Ron Hubbard’s Battlefield Earth was finally nailed in After Earth. Shyamalan amends for the sins of John Travolta and the original adaptation, and deserves to be rewarded for it. When will this guy stop making great movies?

Best Supporting Roles
The critics agree: Robin Williams steals the show in The Big Wedding! Yes, that’s right, it’s Tom Cruise in Magnolia all over again, only this time we bet Robin Williams will walk away with the win. The Rock made a great case for himself in the first half of ‘13, but expect too many voters to conflict over which role he deserves to win for: Snitch, Empire State, G.I. Joe: Retaliation, Pain & Gain or Fast & Furious 6? We never thought we’d say this, but here it goes: dude, slow down! Stop making so many good movies!

As for Best Supporting Actress, the critics agree that Heather Graham’s triumphant return to The Hangover series deserves to go down in Oscar history. We all know what a dud The Hangover Part II was, but who knew that Heather Graham was the missing link. She certainly showed us, and we look forward to the lengthy standing ovation she’ll receive when her name is called next March for The Hangover Part III.

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6 Months In: The Oscar Picture