- Best Director
Backup Pick : David O. Russell for Silver Linings Playbook. The production company of Weinstein have been campaigning hard for this and it's a good film with the acting performances set up well. The thing about best director is it's the easiest award to give to someone the academy likes because it's ambiguous and the academy doesn't really love Russell.
Most deserving : Michel Haneke for Amour. Haneke has the most carefully crafted film here. All in all it is definitely his film in every scene. His presence is all around the film and it is an excellent film. If they give it for the greatest impact a director has on the film, this is it.
- Best Adapted Screenplay
Backup Pick : Silver Linings Playbook from David O. Russell from The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick. Significantly different from the novel, this one definitely is an adaptation. I found the dialogue representative of mental disorder and that realism portrayed in every scene. But even then love stories are hard to write without being cliche. And this film avoids every cliche while still embracing the universality of love.
Most deserving (My pick): Life of Pi from David Magee from Life of Pi by Yann Martel. I always like it when a good book becomes a good film (doesn't happen too often, Revolutionary Road and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy come to mind recently). I read this book about 15 times before the movie came out and the movie lived up and matched every mental visual I had from the book.
- Best Original Screenplay
Backup Pick : Django Unchained by Quentin Tarantino. Tarantino making homages to his favourite genres. Again. I hope he does a sci-fi or spy film homage next. Every time he writes a screenplay you can see how much hours of watching genre films he has done, because his films capture the moments that you expect, those moments that make a genre film what they are. Perfect homage to the spaghetti western.
Most deserving (My pick): Moonrise Kingdom by Wes Anderson & Roman Coppola. Wes Anderson writes strange films about strange families. And they're very good. This one is about summer time and summer camps and those times where so much seems to happen so quickly. The focus on the children is especially great because it serves somewhat as an idea of what the adults in Wes Anderson's films were like as children.