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Oscar predictions 2013: 'Argo' will take screenplay, film editing

February 22, 2013|By Glenn Whipp
  • A scene from "Argo."
A scene from "Argo." (Warner Bros. )

Gold Standard writer Glenn Whipp is sweeping through all 24 Oscar categories this week, assessing the races, predicting the winners and helping you prevail in your Oscar pools.

Predictions so far: Short Films | Sound | Visual Crafts | Song and Score


Today's predictions:

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

The nominees

Argo,” Chris Terrio | Review

Beasts of the Southern Wild,” Lucy Alibar and Benh Zeitlin | Review

Life of Pi,” David Magee | Review

Lincoln,” Tony Kushner | Review

Silver Linings Playbook,” David O. Russell | Review

And the winner is ... "Argo." And it's not a bad choice. Terrio's screenplay deftly incorporated the lighter Hollywood elements into the movie's thrilling rescue story. Nothing felt forced. And Ben Affleck will be the first to tell you that he simply shot Terrio's script and tried not to mess it up.

That said, it feels almost inconceivable that early-favorite Kushner won't prevail. Outside of Daniel Day-Lewis' lead turn as "Lincoln's" title character, Kushner's deeply researched writing was the most celebrated element of the movie. His screenplay brought the president and his times to life in a way that, aside from the beef of a certain Connecticut congressman, felt truly illuminating. But it likely can't withstand "Argo's" current momentum, which included a win for Terrio last weekend at the Writers Guild Awards.

Unless ... it is "Lincoln" after all, with voters rewarding degree-of-difficulty over the snap, crackle and pop of Terrio's script.

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

The nominees

Amour," Michael Haneke

Django Unchained,” Quentin Tarantino

Flight,” John Gatins | Review

Moonrise Kingdom,” Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola | Review

Zero Dark Thirty,” Mark Boal

And the winner is ... "Amour." Michael Haneke's unflinching drama received five nominations, indicating a broad level of support within the academy. Assuming Haneke won't win director, this would be a choice place for voters to pay their respects, making "Amour" the first foreign-language script to win this category since Pedro Almodovar's "Talk to Her" took the Oscar in 2003.

Unless ... Boal and "Zero Dark Thirty" sufficiently rebound from the early controversy surrounding the film. The tide had turned when ballots were out, so it's possible he could follow his Oscar for "The Hurt Locker" with another win. Tarantino ranks as a strong contender too, for another elevated, entertaining exploitation effort.

FILM EDITING 

The nominees

Argo,” William Goldenberg | Review

Life of Pi,” Tim Squyres | Review

Lincoln,” Michael Kahn | Review

Silver Linings Playbook,” Jay Cassidy and Crispin Struthers | Review

Zero Dark Thirty,” Dylan Tichenor and William Goldenberg

And the winner is ... "Argo" -- and not just because this Oscar often goes to the best picture winner. Goldenberg's work on "Argo" masterfully cuts between multiple stories and tones, maximizing tension at every turn. BAFTA and the American Cinema Editors already rewarded him, as did the Los Angeles Film Critics Assn., with its first-ever editing award. Even though Goldenberg has another nomination here for "Zero Dark Thirty" (the first double-dip for editing since Walter Murch was feted for both "Ghost" and "The Godfather Part III" in 1991), expect the academy to concentrate its votes on the likely best picture winner.

Unless ... like Murch, Goldenberg's two nominations split the vote. Then it's another below-the-line victory for "Pi."

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Glenn Whipp

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