Weep ‘n Win?–Oscar Predictions

It’s Oscar weekend! YAY!! It’s the most wonderful time of the year, especially if you’re in the business or just an avid movie buff. For the sake of time, and so this article doesn’t go on forever, I am only going to focus on the major categories: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Original Screenplay & Best Adapted Screenplay. And for fun…Best Cinematography.

Best Cinematography has always been a bit confusing to those who don’t really understand what it is. Basically, the cinematographer is responsible for the general visual look of the film. According to Wikipedia, they “could also be referred to as the film director’s main visual collaborator.” On a set, the cinematographer is generally known as the “DP” or “Director of Photography.” Essentially, they are the ones that the actor is going to have the most contact with (aside from the director) on the crew side. The DP can make you look amazing or make you look horrid (So don’t piss them off. Hehe.) The nominees this year run the gambit:
Nominees:

Anna Karenina (2012/I): Seamus McGarvey

Django Unchained (2012): Robert Richardson

Life of Pi (2012): Claudio Miranda

Lincoln (2012): Janusz Kaminski

Skyfall (2012): Roger Deakins

My pick for best cinematography this year is Life of Pi. I think in terms of a visual look, Pi has this one locked. It’s a visually stunning piece. However, Skyfall could also be one to watch.

For Best Adapted Screenplay, this year especially, it’s difficult. There was so much great source material that helped make great films.
Nominees:

Argo (2012): Chris Terrio

Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012): Lucy Alibar, Benh Zeitlin

Life of Pi (2012): David Magee

Lincoln (2012): Tony Kushner

Silver Linings Playbook (2012): David O. Russell

Argo might win this one because the source material is from a 2007 article in Wired magazine. Life of Pi by Yann Martel (my roommate’s favorite book,) Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick and Lincoln were all adapted from books.

Lincoln, adapted by Kushner from the book Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin, poses a issue with me, especially when it comes to the title. I know a lot of people who went into viewing the film thinking it was going to be a genuine bio-pic of Lincoln himself. However, a lot of people I’ve talked to were a tad disappointed because they thought the title was misleading. If one is going to have a film about a specific moment in history such as the passing of the thirteenth amendment, then why not call it “Team of Rivals?” The answer is simple. Daniel Day-Lewis is the star.

Beasts of the Southern Wild was adapted from a one-act play that Lucy Alibar had previously written, so difficulty of adapting it to the screen was rather slim. And Oscar voters seem to go for complexity.

My pick (simply due to difficulty of adaptation and a fantastic script): ARGO.

Best ORIGINAL Screenplay is another story all together.
Nominees:

Amour (2012): Michael Haneke

Django Unchained (2012): Quentin Tarantino

Flight (2012/I): John Gatins

Moonrise Kingdom (2012): Wes Anderson, Roman Coppola

Zero Dark Thirty (2012): Mark Boal

Zero Dark Thirty seems to be receiving a really bad reputation at the moment which I think is going to hurt the chances of it winning in both the writing and acting categories. I think it’s a toss up between Django Unchained and Moonrise Kingdom. Both are so unique and different from your normal cinema fare. But I think Quentin will take home the gold. If he doesn’t, I think the shocker would be if Michael Haneke took it.

Best Supporting Actress: Weep and Win?
Nominees:

Amy Adams for The Master (2012)

Sally Field for Lincoln (2012)

Anne Hathaway for Les Misérables (2012)

Helen Hunt for The Sessions (2012)

Jacki Weaver for Silver Linings Playbook (2012)

Oscar voters and viewers love the “Give me my Oscar” moments. The only one who has been consistently winning throughout awards season in every major category is Anne Hathaway (and maybe DDL, but we’ll get to him in a few.) This brings me to a question that I am asking of all of the acting nominees (whether current or past): Do you need to weep to win? Crying, weeping, sobbing, hyperventilating…they all seem like viable things to do within a role to win an Oscar. Helen Hunt did it in 1998 with As Good As It Gets. And Sally Field won 2 Oscars for playing down on her luck characters. Now, enter Anne Hathaway…playing a down on her luck single mother. AND she does it within the first 30 minutes of the film. She cries, hyperventilates, acts AND LIVE SINGS her way to an Oscar nom…and to be honest, yeah, she’ll win. I didn’t really see any other actress in that category have a “GIVE ME MY OSCAR” moment…other than Sally Field playing well, every character she’s ever played. Ever. Only with a big poofy dress. Oh, and Helen Hunt spends 90% of her movie naked, Jacki Weaver plays a supportive mother, and Amy Adams helps Philip Seymour Hoffman jack off in the bathroom. I love Amy Adams, I’m a huge fan, but an Oscar nom for that role is kind of a joke.

My Pick: Anne Hathaway. Plus, I’m a little biased because I know the back story and actually met her. Whatever. She deserves it.

Best Supporting Actor: They’ve ALL WON BEFORE!
Nominees:

Alan Arkin for Argo (2012)

Robert De Niro for Silver Linings Playbook (2012)

Philip Seymour Hoffman for The Master (2012)

Tommy Lee Jones for Lincoln (2012)

Christoph Waltz for Django Unchained (2012)

Alan Arkin does what he always does but his schtick got him an Oscar for Little Miss Sunshine, so he’s not all bad. However, if anyone in that movie should have been nominated for Best Supporting Actor, it should have been Bryan Cranston or John Goodman. I doubt the voters will give him an Oscar for doing the same work he’s always done.

Robert DeNiro steps out of his normal tough guy persona and plays a dad who just wants to help his son get back on his feet and delivers one of the best monologues I’ve ever heard. He truly had a “Give my my Oscar” moment. And I hope for his sake, it pays off.

Philip Seymour Hoffman is one of my favorite actors. We studied at the same school with the same coaches. I love his work. But much like Amy Adams, I don’t really think he’ll win. Not because his acting was terrible, but because I honestly forgot he was nominated.

Tommy Lee Jones…you’ll probably win. If not you, then it’ll be Christoph Waltz.

Again, I’m pulling for Robert De Niro. I really want to see him win.

Now for the toughest categories (in my opinion.)

Best Actress:
Nominees:

Jessica Chastain for Zero Dark Thirty (2012)

Jennifer Lawrence for Silver Linings Playbook (2012)

Emmanuelle Riva for Amour (2012)

Quvenzhané Wallis for Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012)

Naomi Watts for The Impossible (2012)

First off, you have the oldest nominee ever (Emmanuelle Riva) and the youngest nominee ever (Quvenzhane Wallis) in the same category…in the same year… Then, you have nominees who won the Golden Globes in each of the lead actress (Drama & Comedy) categories: Jessica Chastain and Jennifer Lawrence. Although it seems like the battle of Jess & Jen, I wouldn’t discount Naomi Watts. She was nominated in 2004 for 21 Grams which is an amazing film. If you haven’t seen it, put it in your Netflix queue. Now. Part of me feels like The Impossible should be subtitled The Impossible: Desperately Seeking Oscar. I felt like the whole film was Naomi Watts screaming for an Oscar. I have to say, this category is anyone’s game.

I voted for Jennifer Lawrence in the SAG awards. I think she might just take home that Oscar.

Best Actor:
Nominees:

Bradley Cooper for Silver Linings Playbook (2012)

Daniel Day-Lewis for Lincoln (2012)

Hugh Jackman for Les Misérables (2012)

Joaquin Phoenix for The Master (2012)

Denzel Washington for Flight (2012/I)

Come on, even the nominees know they’re going to lose to Daniel Day-Lewis. But if anyone can beat him, it might be Hugh Jackman or Joaquin Phoenix. But seriously…do I even have to predict it?

Daniel Day -Lewis for the win.

And now for the most snubbed category: Best Director:
Nominees:

Michael Haneke for Amour (2012)

Ang Lee for Life of Pi (2012)

David O. Russell for Silver Linings Playbook (2012)

Steven Spielberg for Lincoln (2012)

Benh Zeitlin for Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012)

I really hope whoever wins this decides to give it away to Ben Affleck. He got robbed. But if anyone were to win over him, I really want it to be David O. Russell. And as a side note, Spielberg…we know, you’re the best. Ben Affleck still deserved your spot.

Finally: Best Picture:
Nominees:

Amour (2012): Margaret Ménégoz, Stefan Arndt, Veit Heiduschka, Michael Katz

Argo (2012): Grant Heslov, Ben Affleck, George Clooney

Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012): Dan Janvey, Josh Penn, Michael Gottwald

Django Unchained (2012): Stacey Sher, Reginald Hudlin, Pilar Savone

Les Misérables (2012): Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Debra Hayward, Cameron Mackintosh

Life of Pi (2012): Gil Netter, Ang Lee, David Womark

Lincoln (2012): Steven Spielberg, Kathleen Kennedy

Silver Linings Playbook (2012): Donna Gigliotti, Bruce Cohen, Jonathan Gordon

Zero Dark Thirty (2012): Mark Boal, Kathryn Bigelow, Megan Ellison

My money is on Argo. It’s an amazing film and if Ben Affleck can’t win an Oscar for directing this fantastic film, he better get one for producing it. Again, this category is filled with amazing films, but honestly…Argo for the win. Maybe Les Misérables if the voters are feeling particularly musical. Who knows?

HAPPY OSCAR WEEKEND!!!!

Film, Theater, Television, New Media and Everything In Between: Welcome

Welcome to my new blog! I’m excited and honored to get to share my passion for the arts with the world on WordPress. There are a lot of blogs out there that deal with the topic of entertainment. However, I think that there are very few blogs  that come from the perspective of an actor. I’m not talking about your Hollywood starlet or your dashing leading man; I’m talking about your honest to goodness, work for the day and still has to audition every day-ACTOR. Technically, I’m considered an actress, but for the sake of clarity and to not get too gender-specific, I’ll use actor.

Now, for the introductions. My name is Stephanie Gould and I am an actor. I have union status in both theater (AEA) and film & television (SAG-AFTRA) and have been living and acting professionally in NYC for about 6 years now.  My goal with this blog is to provide my audience with a unique view of the industry and the craft itself. I’ll equate it to being in battle (in a sense, fighting for what you want) and reporting from the trenches.

I’m still in the trenches. I fight every day for my career. I want to keep nurturing it and grow from my experiences.  I also believe that in order to grow and thrive as an artist, no matter what the medium, there needs to be a community that is, dare I say it, supportive.  More often than not, I see other artists (especially actors) try to tear each other down and raise themselves up through gloating or a “know-it-all” attitude. I, at times, especially early on, was guilty of this too. But I can’t blame actors. It might come from the fact that we are really proud to achieve something, whatever it is, in an industry that prides itself on being very exclusive. It’s the big boys club. Like Frank Sinatra said of New York, “If I can make there/I’ll make it anywhere…” And it’s true. As an actor in New York City, it’s difficult.

The whole industry is difficult. But if it were easy, everyone would do it. That’s true of any profession. If being a doctor were easy, we would all be doctors. It takes a very special individual to realize their talents in a given field and pursue them. I have a talent for acting, I know that. I also have a talent for writing. In some respects, I’ve been writing before I could actually physically do it. Apparently, I would tell my mother stories and she would record them on either a tape recorder (old, I know) or write them down. I’ve been telling stories, whether fictional or not, since a young age both on paper and on stage.

I’m glad that I get to meld my two loves into one project. In college, I wrote for the student newspaper called the Crier and I reviewed films (mostly) and occasionally predicted awards shows. I want to use that as a jumping off point for this blog. Not only do I want to review films, television, theater and the ever expanding “new media” categories, but I also want to do it from a specific perspective. I’m an actor who is, in general, at the beginning of my career. I’ve only been considered a “professional” since I filmed the movie Dribbles in 2005.

I’ve been acting professionally for the past 8 years or so. And I’ve been in the unions since 2009. However, I feel I can offer enough of a daily insight to make things interesting. I’m not going to sugar-coat the truth.  I’ll relay the information about auditions (without mentioning specific casting people, directors, etc.) and even general frustrations and triumphs.

There is a blog that was acquired by the industry trade publication Backstage called Audition Update. And, while it’s a wonderful resource to use for audition purposes (i.e. where they are held, who is in the room, whether or not they are seeing non-union) it has it’s drawbacks. There is a specific section that rubs me the wrong way. It’s called The Bitching Post. Up until very recently, I was one of those people (although not active in the forums) who, for lack of a better word, bitched about anything and everything that went on in the industry. It’s not to say that one can’t vent their frustrations, but when it bleeds over into your everyday life and makes you a Negative Nancy, that’s when things have gone too far.

From the audition process to projects themselves,  I want to say, here and now, that a bad attitude, whether it is in jest or not, doesn’t help move things along. In a great many ways it hinders the growth of an artist because they are so hung up on faults and things that they might find irksome. The industry is hard enough, so why do we as actors make it even more difficult through self-deprecation and put-downs? I think the important thing to note is, the entertainment industry is a wonderful industry with artists who look at life from a different angle. Why not make it a positive one? Let’s take this journey through the industry together. Let’s review films, watch television, go to the theater and watch web series with gusto. Let’s learn from each other. Thank You for taking time out of your day to come and visit my blog.

Happy Viewing,

Stephanie

For more information on my career please visit my listing on: IMDB