A friend recently asked me who I think will win the Super Bowl. My response was: “The Super Bowl? It’s this Sunday? Are the Cowboys playing?” Obviously, I am not planning to watch the game on Sunday (although I heard Madonna will be performing). Lately, my focus has been diverted to my own version of the Super Bowl: the Oscars. Some guys are into fantasy football; I’m into predicting the Oscars.
My earliest memory of the Oscars was in 1991 when Beauty and the Beast was nominated for Best Picture. I was 8 years old then living in Southern California and my school took a field trip to watch the film at the El Capitan Theater in Hollywood. It was perhaps the first time that I had actually seen a film that was nominated for an Oscar for Best Picture and I hoped it would win. Instead, another film about a beauty and a beast would eventually win (Silence of the Lambs). Since then, I was hooked on the Oscars.
Fast forward several years later and I would find myself a student in film school attending friends’ Oscar parties still debating who will win. I would religiously read Entertainment Weekly’s coverage of the Oscars and frequent many Oscar message boards and blogs especially Sasha Stone’s OscarWatch site (now called Awards Daily). I became obsessed. Before the Academy cracked down on unofficial Oscar-viewing parties, I used to attend the Alamo Drafthouse’s annual Oscar party. For two years in a row, I won their prediction contest and was asked to go to the stage to accept a fake Oscar and give a speech.
This may all seem silly, I know, but what makes predicting the Oscars so fun and interesting is that it opens a dialogue about a film’s merits. Just because a film wins an Oscar, does it validate it as the best film of the year? As I’ve come to realize firsthand as the director of a screenplay competition, judging art at any level is, by nature, extremely subjective. The measure of an artist’s talent is not subject to the outcome of a competition or an Academy Award but it sure is fun to debate about it.
So who will win the Super Bowl? Unless Meryl Streep is playing quarterback this Sunday, I have no idea. In the meantime, I’ll eagerly await my Super Bowl on February 26th.
In the weeks leading up to the Oscars, I’ll reveal my picks for each of the categories. This week, I’ll give my predictions for the writing categories.
Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Will Win: The Descendants should take this but the dream team of Zaillian and Sorkin for Moneyball might be enough to upset.
Will Win: Midnight in Paris. The Artist could win here but I think Hazanavicius has a better shot for Best Director and the Academy probably can’t resist giving Woody Allen another Oscar even though he probably won’t show up.
--Matt Dy, Screenplay & Teleplay Competition Director