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The Criticwire Survey: The Oscars' Biggest Surprises

Criticwire By Matt Singer | Criticwire February 25, 2013 at 10:01AM

We asked critics to predict the Academy Awards' biggest surprises. Let's see how they did.
1

"Amour."
"Amour."
Every week, Criticwire asks film critics a question and brings you their responses in The Criticwire Survey. We also ask each member of the poll to pick the best film currently playing in theaters. The most popular choices can be found at the bottom of this post. But first, this week's question:

Q: Finish this sentence: "The biggest surprise at this year's Academy Awards will be _______"

Michael J. AndersonTativille:

"...the Academy's refusal to award a Best Director prize, in response to their own, already legendary snub of Ben Affleck. In related news, Ben Affleck will be awarded a lifetime achievement award in 2014."

Ali ArikanDipnot TV:

"...Phil Donahue throwing up in a tuba."

Edwin ArnaudinAshvegas:

"...'Argo' leaving empty-handed."

Adam BattyHope Lies at 24 Frames Per Second:

"...the moment when the collected Academy take to the stage and reveal that 'The Master' omission is some kind of 'I'm Still Here' prank. Seriously though, and I'm not actually sure this would even count as a surprise at this stage, what with the relatively unpredictable nature of this years awards, but I'm fairly confident that Haneke will take Best Director, and Emmanuelle Riva Best Actress, the latter of which would make for quite the upset."

Danny BowesYahoo! Movies/Movie Mezzanine:

"....if more than half of my predictions end up being accurate."

Christopher CampbellDocBlog

"...that 'Searching for Sugar Man' doesn’t win Best Documentary Feature. Or will that remain only true in my dreams?"

Sean ChavelFlick Minute:

"...'Argo' winning Best Picture but with a total of only 2 wins overall."

Marc CiafardiniGoSeeTalk.com:

"...'Life of Pi' winning Best Picture or Ang Lee for Best Director. Fingers, toes, and shoe laces crossed!"

Matt CohenMeets Obsession:

"...me actually staying awake for the whole thing."

Tony Dayoub, Cinema Viewfinder/Press Play:

"...how badly comedic 'jack-of-all-trades' Seth McFarlane flunks out as Oscars host."

John DeCarliFilmCapsule:

"...Joaquin Phoenix still acting like his 'I'm Still Here' persona, much to the confusion of the Hollywood establishment."

Billy Donnelly, Ain't It Cool News:

"...that Seth MacFarlane's approach to hosting is so lame and tepid that you won't be seeing him asked back for the festivities next year. Let's face it: MacFarlane's brand of humor isn't geared towards those who get to pat themselves on the back repeatedly on the industry's biggest night. If anything, it's built to poke fun at them, and the Academy doesn't take too kindly to that. Remember how pissed they got at Chris Rock for trying to bring some edge to the ceremony? I expect MacFarlane to get the balls cut off his attempts to make the Oscars young and hip again (Isn't that why he got picked in the first place?), and it'll be another example of the Oscars taking themselves far too seriously on a night that should be both fun and entertaining for everyone involved. There's a reason they keep trying to bring safe old Billy Crystal back as much as possible."

Edward DouglasComing Soon:

"...Ang Lee winning Best Director for 'Life of Pi' over Spielberg."

Alonso DuraldeTheWrap/What The Flick?!:

"...Anne Hathaway not winning. (Probably won't happen, but hey, I can dream a dream too.)"

David FearTime Out New York:

"...me being sober or coherent by the end of it."

Steve Greene, Criticwire:

"...that people won't hate Seth MacFarlane as much as they were anticipating/hoping."

Eric HavensDownright Creepy:

"...when Seth MacFarlane somehow makes Tommy Lee Jones smile."

Glenn Heath Jr., Slant Magazine/Little White Lies/Keyframe Daily:

"...Emmanuelle Riva winning Best Actress over Jessica Chastain and Jennifer Lawrence."

Peter HowellToronto Star:

"...Sean Connery showing up to take part in the tribute to James Bond.  The show producers have claimed there won't be a reunion of all six 007s, but I'll bet they've got the first, Connery, and the latest, Daniel Craig. Oh, and also Ang Lee for Best Director!"

Sean Hutchinson, Latino Review:

"...Seth MacFarlane as host. A lot of people hate him, but he's coming off a massive debut film with 'Ted' and I think he'll use his hosting duties as a real introduction to the widest possible audience he can. As long as he doesn't constantly break into the 'Family Guy' voices I think he'll show the one side he hasn't shown anyone throughout all of his endeavors -- himself. He'll be a strong host despite his shortcomings and try to key his entertainer-side to the classic hosts of old like Bon Hope or Johnny Carson. I may be completely and utterly wrong though."

John Keefer51Deep.com:

"...the amount of cut-to's and non sequiturs added into the show to make it appear more entertaining than it actually is. Daniel Day Lewis will slay a vampire town car, something along those lines."

Glenn Kenny, MSN Movies/Some Came Running:

"...me actually watching it, since it airs in the middle of the night in Iceland, which is where I'll be at."

Gary KramerGay City News:

"...who won't mention Ben Affleck not getting nominated for Best Director. It seems like even Kathryn Bigelow is talking about it."

Peter LabuzaLabuzaMovies.com/The Cinephiliacs:

"...BALLOONS! (I really hope there's balloons.)"

Andrew Lapin, The Atlantic:

"...Seth MacFarlane will not suck as host. The dude's clearly a born showman, and my theory is he will lean heavily on the song-and-dance and less on the awful 'Family Guy' hyper-offensive shtick. I'm assuming someone pulled him aside after the nomination ceremony to tell him that Nazi jokes don't fly in the Kodak, and that, in the interest of his future mega-blockbuster movie career, he will dial it down for the big night and be, shall we say, not himself. Which will be no big loss -- it's not like he had that much integrity to begin with, anyway."

Josh LarsenLarsen On Film/Filmspotting:

"...if my TV doesn't melt from the glare of Seth MacFarlane's teeth."

Shawn LevyThe Oregonian:

"...Emmanuelle Riva beatboxing her acceptance speech, but by the time you publish this everyone will have seen it already."

John LichmanFreelance:

"...the monster at the end of the broadcast turns out to be Seth MacFarlane all along."

Adam LowesHey U Guys:

"...when Emmanuelle Riva performs Jack Palance-style one-armed push-ups upon winning Best Actress."

Joey MagidsonThe Awards Circuit:

"... a theme: there won't be. Many of us have predicted extra wins for 'Argo' or 'Silver Linings Playbook,' but this appears like the year where the love will get spread around.  So I suppose as a secondary choice, the most surprising thing could be that 'Skyfall' ends up winning more Academy Awards than any of the other nominees."

Mike McGranaghanThe Aisle Seat:

"...when Seth MacFarlane cracks an inappropriate joke about Quvenzhane Wallis, causing a gallant but misguided Joaquin Phoenix to storm the stage and punch him out, all while Michael Haneke tweets about the incident from his seat, lol. Either that or the Academy coming to its collective senses and realizing Naomi Watts deserves to win Best Actress for 'The Impossible.' I'd be cool seeing either one happen."

Tony NunesDreaming Genius/Sound on Sight:

"...will be a 'Lincoln' sweep. Its about time that man was allowed a good day at the theater. The Dolby will do just fine."

Rudie ObiasShockYa.com:

"...will be Seth MacFarlane does a great job hosting the ceremony. He's got the chops to be wildly entertaining!"

Zac Oldenburg, Having Said That:

"...all the 'Argo' hype falls short. This might just be a bit of wishful thinking, but I feel like its going to lose in a majority of categories.  There isn't any field where I think it's the best of those nominated and while I know I'm in the minority with that opinion I still think the awards love is going to be very spread around. Above all I think it's going to lose Best Picture and we will be exposed to two weeks of new snub articles about Affleck.  I'm fully prepared for the egg on my face by the time you read this, but all I can say is 'Argo'... can enjoy its plethora of other awards."

Kim MorganSunset Gun/MSN Movies:

"...when Anne Hathaway forgets to thank: 'Victor Hugo, Victor Hugo's wife, Adèle, the other Adele because she's so fantastically awesome and she reminded me of Victor Hugo's wife, Tobe Hooper, Sally Field's enduring inspiration as 'The Flying Nun,' dolphin songs, orange crayons, the super sad but super inspiring lives of dying prostitutes, Easy Bake Ovens, Jill Clayburgh's performance in 'I'm Dancing as Fast as I Can,' the Pro-Ana community, Richard Simmons, Russell Simmons, Gene Simmons I mean, J-E-A-N Simmons (gosh golly oh my-goodness-I'm-so-nervous!), Baby Peggy, Adderall, Dr. Sapirstein...'"

Andrew RobinsongmanReviews:

"...when Emmanuelle Riva out Jack's Jack Palance."

Brian Salisbury, Spill/Fandango/Film School Rejects:

"...that the number of cutaway jokes centering on Stalin and Megan Fox eating bacon on a tandem bicycle will be limited to 5."

Michael SicinskiCinema Scope:

"...a clean sweep for 'Modern Family,' WHAT WHAT??!"

Josh SpiegelMousterpiece Cinema/Sound on Sight:

"...'Frankenweenie' winning Best Animated Feature or Joaquin Phoenix pulling out a stunning surprise in the Best Actor category. Or maybe both! What can I say? I’m foolishly optimistic."

Luke Y. ThompsonTopless Robot:

"...if any of it is genuinely entertaining"

Anne-Katrin TitzeEye For Film:

"...if Emmanuelle Riva does not win the Oscar on her 86th birthday."

James WallaceCentralTrack.com:

"...'Zero Dark Thirty' winning Best Documentary Feature."

Max WeissBaltimore Magazine:

"...Emmanuelle Riva for Best Actress. I’ve often said, the worst thing an Oscar handicapper can do is ACTUALLY SEE THE MOVIES. One’s heart should never get in the way  of the clear-eyed political calculation that is Oscar prognostication. That being said: Did you SEE that performance? So moving, so nuanced, so delicate, so heroic. Much as I love Jennifer Lawrence, I’m hoping the 'not so fast, whippersnapper!' factor will come into play and Riva will walk away with the upset win."

Mark YoungSound on Sight/New York Movie Klub:

"...'No' winning Best Foreign Film instead of Michael Haneke's 'Amour.' I simply have no faith in the Academy to ever give Haneke's a statue, not least because he will never make a film that panders for one. 'No' doesn't pander either, unless you are comparing it on a scale where the baseline is any Haneke film."

Alan ZilbermanBrightest Young Things/Tiny Mix Tapes:

"...if I can get through the whole thing without saying, 'This is fucking bullshit.'"

The Best Movie Currently In Theaters on February 25th, 2013:
The Most Popular Responses: "Zero Dark Thirty"
Other Movies Receiving Multiple Votes: "Side Effects," "Amour," "Django Unchained,"  "Like Someone in Love," "Lincoln," "No."

This article is related to: Criticwire Survey


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