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85th Academy Awards lacks clear-cut favorites

 

MCT

The Oscars —the pinnacle of movie accolades and a celebration of the film industry’s best creations over the last 12 months. 
           

 This year, “Family Guy” creator Seth MacFarlane is taking over the hosting duties and expectation are high for the renowned funny man. MacFarlane’s comedic success in “Family Guy,” “American Dad” and most recently motion picture “Ted,” have many anticipating his impression work to be the crux of his act. 
           

 After the disastrous hosting of James Franco in 2011 and the predictably safe Billy Crystal last year, MacFarlane will hopefully add some much needed freshness to proceedings.

             

 It’s predicted that Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln” will take most of the credits, as it has been nominated for 12 awards — the most this year. Other big pictures expected to take away some of the major awards of the night include  “Silver Linings Playbook,” “Les Misérables,” “Life of Pi,” “Argo,” “Zero Dark Thirty,” and “Django Unchained.” This year seems to have few clear favorites and will hopefully make for an exciting battle for the coveted awards.

           

 “Silver Linings Playbook” is an interesting case for this year’s Oscars, being something of a wild card nominee. This is due to the fact that the movie has received nominations for all four leading acting categories: Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress. 
           

 What is fascinating is that this film did not receive a lot of publicity or promotion and seemed to fly under the radar until the last few months. At first it was only released in limited theaters, but now is being shown all over the country so that everyone can catch a glimpse of the hype surrounding this year’s surprise package.     

           

 An even bigger surprise this year is the nomination of youngster Quvenzhane Wallis for her role in “Beasts of the Southern Wild.” At the age of nine, she is the youngest to ever be nominated for best actress at the Oscars. Although she is unlikely to pick up the award against the much more experienced competition, she is certainly one to look out for in the future.      

           

 Many movie theaters have brought back the nominated films to theaters so that Oscar viewers can catch up on movies that they have missed before the awards are dished out on Sunday. This marketing tactic has only been utilized in the last few years, with Hadley’s very own Hampshire Mall currently showing most of the favorites still. “Argo” has already been released on DVD and Blue-ray to encourage people to watch and support it before the 85th Academy Awards.

           

 On the topic of “Argo,” one of the biggest disappointments is the fact that Ben Affleck was not nominated for best director. The academy snubbed him, a decision that has drawn much criticism from the press. Although he picked up the best director award at Golden Globes, it’s a bitter blow that he has to miss out this year, as well as fan-favorite Quentin Tarantino for his direction of “Django Unchained.”

           

 The award for best actor in a leading role looks to be a toss-up between Daniel Day-Lewis in “Lincoln,” Bradley Cooper in “Silver Linings Playbook” and Hugh Jackman in “Les Misérables.”

           

 The award for best actress however, seems to have a heavy favorite  Many think it will go to Jessica Chastain for her bold, realistic take on events in “Zero Dark Thirty.” The race for best supporting actor seems to be neck and neck between Tommy Lee Jones in “Lincoln” and Christoph Waltz in “Django Unchained,” while the race for best supporting actress seems to be between Sally Fields for her performance in “Lincoln” and Anne Hathaway in “Les Misérables”

             

The 85th annual Academy Awards will begin this Sunday at 8:30 p.m.

   

Rachel Arlin can be reached at rarlin@student.umass.edu. 

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