Welcome to the annual Oscars prediction contest at The Quivering Pen blog. Once again, I'm rolling out the red carpet, giving you the opportunity to predict who will take home the little golden statuettes so coveted by anyone who lives in a 25-mile radius of Los Angeles. This makes the third year in a row where I've given blog readers the chance to win prizes (see below) while dazzling us with their cinematic acumen--or really, really good luck as the case may be.
Before I get to the contest itself, I thought I'd share a couple of my favorite moments from the movies I saw this year:
The hospital stairwell scene in Flight: What's that old saying? "There are no small parts, only small actors." That was proved to me in a stunning way when I watched Flight (a terrific character-study of an alcoholic played by Denzel Washington). Early in the film, as Washington's character, a career airline pilot, is recuperating from the white-knuckled plane crash in which he saves 96 of 102 souls on board, he sneaks out to a hospital stairwell where he comes across Nicole (Kelly Reilly), a junkie who's just come through a near-death experience of her own. The two have a little bit of repartee and then they hear the door opening a couple of floors below and someone coming up the stairs. Enter the actor James Badge Dale, a cancer patient toting an IV pole and likewise looking for place to have a secret smoke. Dale is known in the credits as "Gaunt Young Man" and he gets less than five minutes of screen time, but his performance is seared in my brain. He is electrifying as a sarcastic, smart, empathetic man at the end of his life. In one interview, director Robert Zemeckis compared the character to a Greek chorus which comes in, tells the audience about the overarching theme of the story, then leaves the stage, never to be seen again. For my money, James Badge Dale was perfectly cast as Flight's voice of conscience.
Anna Kendrick and "Cups" in Pitch Perfect: On the whole, this Glee-ful comedy about collegiate a capella performers fell short of my expectations. But I thought Anna Kendrick really held the movie together with her performance as a loner who's drawn into one of the singing groups on campus because she thinks it will be a way to please her controlling father (a professor on the same campus). Pitch Perfect gave us a standard montage of would-be harmonizers trying out for the Barden Bellas--mediocre singers for the most part--but then Kendrick takes the stage and shows everyone how it's done, using only her voice and a plastic cup. I don't have a clip from the movie, but here she is on David Letterman, schooling us with astounding hand-eye coordination:
So here we go...
Think you can forecast which way the wind will blow in Hollywood this year? Show us what you've got, Tinseltown Genius!
1. One entry per person.
2. You must answer all the questions in the survey (in other words, predict a winner in each of the Oscar categories, and provide your name and e-mail address at the end of the survey).
3. The contest is open to anyone, though winners who reside outside the United States might have to wait a bit longer to receive the prize.
4. Each correct guess is worth one point. If more than one person ties for the number of most correct guesses, those names will go into a hat and the winner will be drawn from there.
5. The contest closes on Feb. 23, the day before the Academy Awards presentation.
6. The winner will be announced here on the blog no later than March 8.
The Grand Prize
(the only prize, actually...I just wanted to make it sound, er, grand)
One winner will get a copy of each of these books related to the Oscar nominees, generously donated by the following publishers:
Argo: How the CIA and Hollywood Pulled Off the Most Audacious Rescue in History by Antonio Mendez and Matt Baglio
Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt:
Life of Pi by Yann Martel
The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien
Click here to take the 2013 Academy Awards Prediction Contest