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On February 24th the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will hold the 85th annual Academy Awards (Oscars) in Los Angeles, California, recognizing the best in cinematic achievements in 2012. In anticipation of this event, Euromonitor International turned to our network of in-country analysts and in-house researchers around the world to get their predictions on three main awards categories: Best Picture, Best Foreign Language Film, and Best Director. While they are certainly not film experts, the Oscar predictions of these analysts offer global perspectives on what are generally considered to be American-centric awards.
When asked to predict which film will win the Best Picture award at the Oscars this year, analyst opinions seem to be split three ways. Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln,” Tom Hooper’s “Les Misérables,” and Ang Lee’s “Life of Pi” each garner more than 20% of the vote. Beyond these three films, “Argo,” directed by Ben Affleck, is the only other serious contender; just over one in ten analysts believe it will win the top prize. At the bottom of the list, “Amour” is not a favourite for Best Picture; however, its outlook is much brighter for Best Foreign Language Film (see below).
Beyond the global level, analyst predictions for Best Picture fall into a noticeable pattern of regional loyalty. Analysts in the US, Canada, and the Caribbean heavily favour “Lincoln,” a film spearheaded by a legendary American director and focused on the final four months of the life of past US President Abraham Lincoln. Similarly, analysts in Asia-Pacific are the most likely to predict a win for “Life of Pi,” a story set primarily on the Pacific Ocean and brought to the screen by Taiwanese-born Ang Lee, the first person of Asian descent to win an Oscar for Best Director.
While analysts may have regional disagreements on which film they think will win Best Picture, there is little question about the predicted winner of Best Foreign Language Film. Well over half of analysts believe that “Amour,” a French-language film directed by Austrian filmmaker Michael Haneke, will take home the Oscar on February 24, a sentiment shared by many film critics worldwide.
Globally, 51% of analysts picked Steven Spielberg and 34% picked Ang Lee to win the Oscar for Best Director, both far exceeding any predictions of success for their competitors. However, regional loyalties are once again apparent as Spielberg and Lee go head-to-head for their films “Lincoln” and “Life of Pi.” Over two-thirds of analysts in the Americas expect Spielberg to win, while an even stronger three-quarter majority of analysts in Asia-Pacific predict an Oscar for Lee.
Until the Academy Awards ceremony commences on February 24, we can only speculate on likely Oscar winners. Will analysts in Asia-Pacific be vindicated in their predictions with multiple wins for Ang Lee’s “Life of Pi”? Will the Academy favour American history and award Steven Spielberg with his third Oscar for Best Director? Or will “Argo,” winner of many earlier awards this season but not an Oscar front-runner, surpass both to take the prize for Best Picture? Over six thousand members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will soon cast their votes on these and other prize categories.