Oscar Showdown: Final Face-Off

By Sarah Contreras

On Sunday, the Academy of Motion Picture Sciences will present its most prestigious awards to movies and actors that “deserve” them. However, many viewers often feel that Oscars go to recipients whose performances were not entirely up to scratch (Sandra Bullock, I’m looking at you).

In spirit of this grand tradition, I’ve taken the liberty of choosing which actor or what film I’d like to win in a few categories–not whom I think will actually win, just who I want to win. These two categories may intersect at times.

As a lover of film and a person truly enraptured with many of today’s actors, I take the Oscars very seriously. Year after year, I am disappointed by at least one Oscar winner–especially when great performances are snubbed. So when your favorite movie loses to “Lincoln” this year, take heart; someone out there feels your pain.

Best Picture:


“Les Miserables”

“Silver Linings Playbook”

“Django Unchained”

“Life of Pi”


“Beasts of the Southern Wild”



Since “The Master” wasn’t even nominated in this category, it is a wee bit hard for me to care who wins this most-prized Oscar. That being said, I do hope “Beasts of the Southern Wild” beats out the slew of “try too hard” nominees. It has a certain rawness not present in the other films, and I honestly just love it when a movie that makes viewers go “I’ve never heard of that” wins. I root for the underdog.

Best Actor:

Bradley Cooper–”Silver Linings Playbook”

Daniel Day-Lewis–“Lincoln”

Hugh Jackman–“Les Miserables”

Joaquin Phoenix–“The Master”

Denzel Washington–“Flight”

“Flight” was terrible all around, Hugh Jackman’s Jean Valjean barely tolerable, and Bradley Cooper can certainly do better (though he surprised us all with this one). So Joaquin Phoenix deserves this win, because he is the New Daniel Day-Lewis: Even More Method edition. The man commits.

Best Actress:

Jessica Chastain–“Zero Dark Thirty”

Emmanuelle Riva–“Amour”

Quvenzhané Wallis–“Beasts of the Southern Wild”

Naomi Watts–“The Impossible”

Jennifer Lawrence–“Silver Linings Playbook”

Normally, I am firmly on J. Law’s side when it comes to awards–her not winning an Oscar for “Winter’s Bone” was simply tragic. But this year is different. Though I was blown away by her performance in “Silver Linings Playbook,” I think she has much more left in her. Another movie will come around that truly harnesses that majesty that is Jennifer Lawrence.

So I choose Jessica Chastain. In “Zero Dark Thirty,” she is conflicted and determined–her portrayal of the CIA agent who tracked down Osama Bin Laden is just what it should be: human. Giving a face to the big bad government is a hard burden to bear. Chastain does it exquisitely.

Best Supporting Actor:

Alan Arkin–“Argo”

Philip Seymour Hoffman–“The Master”

Tommy Lee Jones–“Lincoln”

Christoph Waltz–“Django Unchained”

Robert De Niro–“Silver Linings Playbook”

Every actor in this category has previously won an Oscar, and every single one of them deserved it. This is a difficult choice for me, as Christoph Waltz and Philip Seymour Hoffman have given two of my favorite performances of the past eight or so years (“Inglourious Basterds” and “Capote,” respectfully). But my choice has to be Robert De Niro. De Niro’s turn as an OCD-ridden with deeply buried anger issues was startlingly tender.

Best Supporting Actress:

Jacki Weaver–“Silver Linings Playbook”

Amy Adams–“The Master”

Sally Field–“Lincoln”

Anne Hathaway–“Les Miserables”

Helen Hunt–“The Sessions”

I honestly cannot say who I’d like to win this award. I failed to see three of the five nominated performances–for shame! However, I can state this: if Anne Hathaway’s contrived portrayal of Fantine in “Les Miserables” wins an Oscar, I’m rage-flipping tables.