Predictions: 85th Academy Awards

February 21, 2013

Here are my final predictions for the Academy Awards this Sunday:

85th-academy-awards

Best Picture

  • “Amour” Nominees to be determined
  • “Argo” Grant Heslov, Ben Affleck and George Clooney, Producers
  • “Beasts of the Southern Wild” Dan Janvey, Josh Penn and Michael Gottwald, Producers
  • “Django Unchained” Stacey Sher, Reginald Hudlin and Pilar Savone, Producers
  • “Les Misérables” Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Debra Hayward and Cameron Mackintosh, Producers
  • “Life of Pi” Gil Netter, Ang Lee and David Womark, Producers
  • “Lincoln” Steven Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy, Producers
  • “Silver Linings Playbook” Donna Gigliotti, Bruce Cohen and Jonathan Gordon, Producers
  • “Zero Dark Thirty” Mark Boal, Kathryn Bigelow and Megan Ellison, Producers

This is going to be a year to remember in Oscar history.I don’t feel like throwing the stats at you (because I’m tired from all my previous posts), but Argo is making history when it wins Best Picture. It’s a great story, especially for Ben Affleck. For those who don’t understand that there is a lot of campaigning during the awards season, everything fell into the right place to allow for Argo’s huge momentum swing. The hands down critics’ favorite movie of the year was Zero Dark Thirty, but we all know what bad publicity did for that film during awards season. And when the nominees were submitted before the guilds, leaving Affleck off of the Best Director category, well that’s the best thing that could’ve happened for Argo.

Prediction: Argo

Best Lead Actor

  • Bradley Cooper in “Silver Linings Playbook”
  • Daniel Day-Lewis in “Lincoln”
  • Hugh Jackman in “Les Misérables”
  • Joaquin Phoenix in “The Master”
  • Denzel Washington in “Flight”

Some are saying Bradley Cooper has a legitimate shot at winning this. If that happens, then my faith will be completely lost because out of these 5 performances, Cooper is the one that doesn’t fit. But I guess that’s just my opinion. This award is going to DD-L and it will be his third Oscar award, making him the only actor in history with three Best Lead Actor awards. Man, this Oscars telecast is going to be historic!

Prediction: Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln)

Best Lead Actress

  • Jessica Chastain in “Zero Dark Thirty”
  • Jennifer Lawrence in “Silver Linings Playbook”
  • Emmanuelle Riva in “Amour”
  • Quvenzhané Wallis in “Beasts of the Southern Wild”
  • Naomi Watts in “The Impossible”

While Jessica Chastain was great in Zero Dark Thirty (and the only nominee who is actually the sole main character in her movie), this category looks all but locked for the most popular actress in the world right now, Jennifer Lawrence. Though I’m hearing that quite a few voters are going for Emmanuelle Riva, so she’s on the alert for an upset possibility.

But when it comes down to it, Chastain’s performance was great but how many voters can really find an emotional connection to her Maya? And for Riva, it would be a great story for her to win on her birthday, but how many voters actually watched Amour (or even enjoyed it)? The same goes for Naomi Watts. Meanwhile, the gorgeous Jennifer Lawrence was the star in a very crowd-pleasing movie. Oh and btdubbs, Lawrence will become the third youngest winner in Oscar history for this category.

Prediction: Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook)

Best Director

  • “Amour” Michael Haneke
  • “Beasts of the Southern Wild” Benh Zeitlin
  • “Life of Pi” Ang Lee
  • “Lincoln” Steven Spielberg
  • “Silver Linings Playbook” David O. Russell

Here’s a tricky category. If Ben Affleck was nominated, he’d definitely win. But he’s not nominated. Common sense would point to a win for Steven Spielberg since Lincoln is dealing with great success across the board (12 nominations + highest gross of all Best Picture nominees). But then again, if Lincoln was REALLY being perceived so well in the Academy, then why is it losing everything? Aside from Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln has practically been shut out of the awards season. This makes me believe that Spielberg won’t win Best Director, because if he did then Lincoln should win Best Picture.

The same thing can be said about Ang Lee and Life of Pi. With a whopping 11 nominations, if Ang Lee were to really win Best Director, don’t you think Life of Pi would be a major player for Best Picture. And just like Lincoln, it’s not. I don’t believe they’ll win. Which leaves me to the Haneke vs. Russell debate (because frankly, Benh Zeitlin’s award is being nominated). David O. Russell and Silver Linings Playbook is very well-received in the Academy, enough so that I’ll consider him as the front-runner of this category (even though he’ll be the first director to win this award WITHOUT a DGA nominee. But heck, this is a history-breaking Oscar ceremony so let’s keep the ball rolling!). But I’m going to use my upset pick here and say Haneke will get the award.

Prediction: Michael Haneke (Amour)

Best Supporting Actor

  • Alan Arkin in “Argo”
  • Robert De Niro in “Silver Linings Playbook”
  • Philip Seymour Hoffman in “The Master”
  • Tommy Lee Jones in “Lincoln”
  • Christoph Waltz in “Django Unchained”

This is another tricky category. Everyone here has won an Oscar before, so there’s none of that newcomer vs. veteran discussion. I think it’s going to come down to how much the Academy likes certain movies. If they absolutely love Argo that much, then Alan Arkin will win. Then again, there seems to be a lot of support for Silver Linings Playbook and they’re pushing for De Niro since he hasn’t won in 31 years. And then there’s Christoph Waltz, whom EVERYONE likes. Man, this is a tough one but I think they’ll actually reward the actor who gave the best performance.

Prediction: Tommy Lee Jones (Lincoln)

Best Supporting Actress

  • Amy Adams in “The Master”
  • Sally Field in “Lincoln”
  • Anne Hathaway in “Les Misérables”
  • Helen Hunt in “The Sessions”
  • Jacki Weaver in “Silver Linings Playbook”

Some will make an argument for Sally Field, but I don’t see that happening.

Prediction: Anne Hathaway (Les Misérables)

Best Original Screenplay

  • “Amour” Written by Michael Haneke
  • “Django Unchained” Written by Quentin Tarantino
  • “Flight” Written by John Gatins
  • “Moonrise Kingdom” Written by Wes Anderson & Roman Coppola
  • “Zero Dark Thirty” Written by Mark Boal

At first, it looked like Mark Boal was on his way to another Oscar for his screenplay, but Zero Dark Thirty hit a wave of bad publicity practically ruining it. So we have Haneke vs. Tarantino, and Tarantino can’t walk away without an Oscar, right?

Prediction: Quentin Tarantino (Django Unchained)

Best Adapted Screenplay

  • “Argo” Screenplay by Chris Terrio
  • “Beasts of the Southern Wild” Screenplay by Lucy Alibar & Benh Zeitlin
  • “Life of Pi” Screenplay by David Magee
  • “Lincoln” Screenplay by Tony Kushner
  • “Silver Linings Playbook” Screenplay by David O. Russell

Another toss up here between Chris Terrio and Tony Kushner. Does the Academy love Argo that much, or just Ben Affleck? We’ll find out soon.

Prediction: Chris Terrio (Argo)

Best Animated Feature

  • “Brave” Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman
  • “Frankenweenie” Tim Burton
  • “ParaNorman” Sam Fell and Chris Butler
  • “The Pirates! Band of Misfits” Peter Lord
  • “Wreck-It Ralph” Rich Moore

Prediction: Wreck-It Ralph

Best Cinematography

  • “Anna Karenina” Seamus McGarvey
  • “Django Unchained” Robert Richardson
  • “Life of Pi” Claudio Miranda
  • “Lincoln” Janusz Kaminski
  • “Skyfall” Roger Deakins

Will this be the year that Roger Deakins finally wins the Oscar? You have to feel for the guy, but nonetheless year after year he does great work. But how do you contend with the cinematography in Life of Pi?

Prediction: Claudio Miranda (Life of Pi)

Best Film Editing

  • “Argo” William Goldenberg
  • “Life of Pi” Tim Squyres
  • “Lincoln” Michael Kahn
  • “Silver Linings Playbook” Jay Cassidy and Crispin Struthers
  • “Zero Dark Thirty” Dylan Tichenor and William Goldenberg

This is a packed category. I’d like to imagine that if there were only five Best Picture nominees, these would be the five films. But I feel the Argo train will take this one.

Prediction: William Goldenberg (Argo)

Best Foreign Language Film

  • “Amour” Austria
  • “Kon-Tiki” Norway
  • “No” Chile
  • “A Royal Affair” Denmark
  • “War Witch” Canada

Prediction: Amour

Best Costume Design

  • “Anna Karenina” Jacqueline Durran
  • “Les Misérables” Paco Delgado
  • “Lincoln” Joanna Johnston
  • “Mirror Mirror” Eiko Ishioka
  • “Snow White and the Huntsman” Colleen Atwood

Prediction: Jacqueline Durran (Anna Karenina)

Best Documentary

  • “5 Broken Cameras”, Emad Burnat and Guy Davidi
  • “The Gatekeepers”, Nominees to be determined
  • “How to Survive a Plague”, Nominees to be determined
  • “The Invisible War”, Nominees to be determined
  • “Searching for Sugar Man”, Nominees to be determined

Prediction: Searching for Sugar Man

Best Documentary, Short Subject

  • “Inocente” Sean Fine and Andrea Nix Fine
  • “Kings Point” Sari Gilman and Jedd Wider
  • “Mondays at Racine” Cynthia Wade and Robin Honan
  • “Open Heart” Kief Davidson and Cori Shepherd Stern
  • “Redemption” Jon Alpert and Matthew O’Neill

Prediction: Inocente

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

  • “Hitchcock” Howard Berger, Peter Montagna and Martin Samuel
  • “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” Peter Swords King, Rick Findlater and Tami Lane
  • “Les Misérables” Lisa Westcott and Julie Dartnell

Prediction: Peter Swords King, Rick Findlater and Tami Lane (The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey)

Best Original Score

  • “Anna Karenina” Dario Marianelli
  • “Argo” Alexandre Desplat
  • “Life of Pi” Mychael Danna
  • “Lincoln” John Williams
  • “Skyfall” Thomas Newman

Prediction: Mychael Danna (Life of Pi)

Best Original Song

  • “Before My Time” from “Chasing Ice” Music and Lyric by J. Ralph
  • “Everybody Needs A Best Friend” from “Ted” Music by Walter Murphy; Lyric by Seth MacFarlane
  • “Pi’s Lullaby” from “Life of Pi” Music by Mychael Danna; Lyric by Bombay Jayashri
  • “Skyfall” from “Skyfall” Music and Lyric by Adele Adkins and Paul Epworth
  • “Suddenly” from “Les Misérables” Music by Claude-Michel Schönberg; Lyric by Herbert Kretzmer and Alain Boublil

Prediction: Skyfall

Best Production Design

  • “Anna Karenina” Production Design: Sarah Greenwood; Set Decoration: Katie Spencer
  • “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” Production Design: Dan Hennah; Set Decoration: Ra Vincent and Simon Bright
  • “Les Misérables” Production Design: Eve Stewart; Set Decoration: Anna Lynch-Robinson
  • “Life of Pi” Production Design: David Gropman; Set Decoration: Anna Pinnock
  • “Lincoln” Production Design: Rick Carter; Set Decoration: Jim Erickson

Prediction: Sarah Greenwood; Set Decoration: Katie Spencer (Anna Karenina)

Best Animated, Short

  • “Adam and Dog” Minkyu Lee
  • “Fresh Guacamole” PES
  • “Head over Heels” Timothy Reckart and Fodhla Cronin O’Reilly
  • “Maggie Simpson in “The Longest Daycare”” David Silverman
  • “Paperman” John Kahrs

Prediction: Paperman

Best Live Action, Short

  • “Asad” Bryan Buckley and Mino Jarjoura
  • “Buzkashi Boys” Sam French and Ariel Nasr
  • “Curfew” Shawn Christensen
  • “Death of a Shadow (Dood van een Schaduw)” Tom Van Avermaet and Ellen De Waele
  • “Henry” Yan England

Prediction: Death of a Shadow

Best Sound Editing

  • “Argo” Erik Aadahl and Ethan Van der Ryn
  • “Django Unchained” Wylie Stateman
  • “Life of Pi” Eugene Gearty and Philip Stockton
  • “Skyfall” Per Hallberg and Karen Baker Landers
  • “Zero Dark Thirty” Paul N.J. Ottosson

Prediction: Eugene Gearty and Philip Stockton (Life of Pi)

Best Sound Mixing

  • “Argo” John Reitz, Gregg Rudloff and Jose Antonio Garcia
  • “Les Misérables” Andy Nelson, Mark Paterson and Simon Hayes
  • “Life of Pi” Ron Bartlett, D.M. Hemphill and Drew Kunin
  • “Lincoln” Andy Nelson, Gary Rydstrom and Ronald Judkins
  • “Skyfall” Scott Millan, Greg P. Russell and Stuart Wilson

Prediction: Andy Nelson, Mark Paterson and Simon Hayes (Les Misérables)

Best Visual Effects

  • “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton and R. Christopher White
  • “Life of Pi” Bill Westenhofer, Guillaume Rocheron, Erik-Jan De Boer and Donald R. Elliott
  • “Marvel’s The Avengers” Janek Sirrs, Jeff White, Guy Williams and Dan Sudick
  • “Prometheus” Richard Stammers, Trevor Wood, Charley Henley and Martin Hill
  • “Snow White and the Huntsman” Cedric Nicolas-Troyan, Philip Brennan, Neil Corbould and Michael Dawson

Prediction: Bill Westenhofer, Guillaume Rocheron, Erik-Jan De Boer and Donald R. Elliott (Life of Pi)


Top Ten Films of 2012

January 21, 2013

How did 2012 treat you? For me there were really no big changes in my life, and I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing yet. I guess I’ll determine that a few years down the line, but as content as I am, 2012 was actually a very good year for films. It was a huge year for blockbusters with The Avengers and The Hunger Games and in addition, we saw some HUGE franchises come to an end with The Dark Knight Rises and Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2.

Also, it was a very good year for all genres across the board. While I’m not a horror fan, I have to admit that The Cabin in the Woods is probably my favorite horror since The Descent. As for comedies, while there wasn’t a film like Bridesmaids this year, there were still some good ones like Pitch Perfect, 21 Jump Street and even the darker Seven Psychopaths.

But now it’s time to get on with it. Here are my top movies of 2012:

10. Flight

flight-poster

Denzel Washington gives a powerful performance as an alcoholic pilot who saves many lives by crash-landing a damaged plane. Zemeckis returns to live action with a drama about a man’s journey to admit he is an addict. The opening plane crash scene is truly terrifying to watch.

My full review here.

9. The Impossible

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Based on a true story of a family who is separated by the 2004 tsunami that hit south Asia, The Impossible packs a huge punch that will hit straight to your heart. A great family drama that gives you hope when you believe all hope is lost. Excellent performances by Naomi Watts, Ewan McGregor, and Thomas Holland.

My full review here.

8. Moonrise Kingdom

moonrise-kingdom-poster

A story about two kids finding friendship for the first time and mistaking it for love, and how their parents don’t know how to handle themselves when they run away. This Wes Anderson feature was his most mainstream film yet while still maintaining his quirky characters. This was a delightful, little movie.

7. Silver Linings Playbook

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Jennifer Lawrence cashes in on her big year with a stellar performance in this crowd-pleasing dramedy. Dealing with mental illness, relationships, and dysfunctional families, Silver Linings Playbook had everything you want from an adult comedy.

6. Beasts of the Southern Wild

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The most poetic film of the year, but still mainstream enough to keep the audience’s attention, this indie-gem proves that there is still room for imagination in cinema. You will fall in love with Quvenzhane Wallis and marvel at Dwight Henry’s performance, neither with any acting credits prior. What a magical film this is.

My full review here.

5. The Perks of Being a Wallflower

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The most memorable high school film in a very long time, Stephen Chbosky (novelist, screenwriter, and director) makes his characters come to life in this film that hits upon several serious issues that high-schoolers face, such as discovering yourself, peer pressure, and personal trauma, to name a few. Complete with a trio of young, talented actors (Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, and Ezra Miller), this film will make you laugh as much as it will make you cry.

My full review here.

4. Les Misérables

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A marvelous adaptation of the beloved musical and novel, Hooper’s direction brings you up close and personal with the characters in Les Misérables. Full of tragedy, action, and love, the movie rendition of this epic is one that will last for many years to come. Anne Hathaway and Hugh Jackman give natural, show-stopping performances.

My full review here.

3. Argo

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A true Hollywood movie, Ben Affleck constructs another hit with the “based on a true story” thriller of how a CIA agent rescued six Americans in Iran during the hostage crisis by developing a fake sci-fi film. Argo is funny, suspenseful, and very well-made from beginning to end.

2. Zero Dark Thirty

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Kathryn Bigelow’s follow-up to The Hurt Locker takes on a grand project about the story of how Osama Bin Laden was finally located and killed. Lead-woman Jessica Chastain gives a controlled and confident performance as Maya, the CIA analyst who took a decade to compile enough intelligence to track down Bin Laden. The procedure plays out like a classic mystery, but the final raid from the Navy SEALs provides for arguably the most tense moments of any film this year.

My full review here.

1. Life of Pi

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Truly my favorite and the most powerful movie experience in 2012, Life of Pi was able to transcend what you expect to receive from watching a film. The ideas that the film suggests remain embedded in my mind since my trip to the theaters. Ang Lee adapted a so-called “unfilmable story” with such success that should (if not already) cement him with legendary status as a director. Life of Pi simply makes you think about your faith and your life in a way that no other film has done before.

My full review here.

Honorable Mention (alphabetical order): Django Unchained, Looper, The Master, The Sessions, and Skyfall.


Thoughts about the 85th Annual Oscar Nominations

January 11, 2013

85th-academy-awards

I should just let it go, but hey, I’m a blogger so there is absolutely no filter to what ends up here. I’ve been following the Oscars for about eight years and can say this was the first year I was legitimately surprised because of the nominations. Why is that? Well, this is the first time where the nominations were voted on by the Academy before the major Guilds gave out their awards. There was a possibility that this could create a great difference in some of the major categories, but most people didn’t think it would. Some believed that the Academy really didn’t weigh in on the guild awards as much as people think. Well the verdict is in and it made a HUGE impact.

The Best Director category is arguably the second biggest award given out on Oscar night. It’s also a great indication to what movie is going to win Best Picture because in the history of the Oscars, there have only been several films that won Best Picture without winning Best Director. Going into Thursday morning, there was a consensus that the major films with the best chance to win Best Picture were Lincoln, Argo, Zero Dark Thirty, Life of Pi, and Les Miserables. It doesn’t matter what your personal opinion is, those were the favorites going into Thursday, but when the nominations were announced for Best Director, everything changed.

The directors nominated for Best Director include Steven Spielberg, Ang Lee, Michael Haneke, David O. Russell, and Benh Zeitlin. Everyone is wondering what happened to Kathryn Bigelow and Ben Affleck, and honestly I am, too. For the record, there have only been THREE films in history to have won Best Picture without receiving a Best Director nomination. The most recent occurrence was in 1990 for Driving Miss Daisy, and the other two times it happened were in 1932 with Grand Hotel and in 1929 with Wings. So that means in the past 80 years, only ONCE did a film with Best Picture without a Best Director nomination. The odds are not looking good for Argo and Zero Dark Thirty.

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But while this is bad news for those two films, the directing category is great news for other films, specifically Life of Pi and Silver Linings Playbook. Those films received a total of 11 and 8 nominations, respectively, and should now be considered Lincoln’s biggest competition for Best Picture. It’s really hard to pick which one might have the better shot at upsetting Lincoln at this point, but if we just look at the Guild nominations, it’s really close. Silver Linings Playbook received nominations from SAG, PGA, WGA, and ACE Eddie while Life of Pi received nominations from PGA, WGA, DGA, and ACE Eddie. Both are missing one major Guild nomination (But to Life of Pi’s defense, no way was it receiving a SAG nomination since it’s a castaway sort of film).

So once again, the ONLY movie to receive nominations from all of the major Guilds is Lincoln. It’s clear that Lincoln is the front-runner, but I understand how people will make their case all the way until February 24 to make it seem like a closer race than it really is. And you know what, that’s what I love about the Oscars because anything CAN happen. Jaws dropped when Shakespeare in Love beat out Saving Private Ryan for Best Picture and when Crash upset Brokeback Mountain. It most certainly can happen again this year, but I’m a guy who looks at the history of the Oscars and the odds and Lincoln is just too much of a favorite and a traditional Oscar film that the Academy most certainly LOVES to ignore.

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Before I conclude my rants, I just wanted to discuss Paul Thomas Anderson and The Master. I’m actually surprised that The Master wasn’t nominated for Best Picture and after all the surprises in the Best Director category, I don’t know how Paul Thomas Anderson didn’t get in. I know that The Master confused a great deal of people and I know how PTA films can divide the public and the critics because of his unorthodox way of story-telling, but the mere fact is that PTA gets the best out of his actors every movie, and that’s one of the most important things about directing. If you look at the nominations this year, only three films received three or more acting nominations: Silver Linings Playbook (4), Lincoln (3), and The Master (3). Spielberg and David O. Russell got their directing nod for truly extracting incredible performances from their actors. But what about Paul Thomas Anderson?


The 85th Annual Academy Awards Nominations

January 10, 2013

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So the Oscar nominations were just announced by Seth MacFarlane and Emma Stone, and needless to say there were plenty of surprises. This was one great year of film and many of the categories were crowded so everyone knew there were going to be snubs, but damn, I’m still shocked at how the Academy voted here. I can’t go on without first commenting on probably the most important and the most crowded category: Best Director.

Best Director:

  • Michael Hanake (Amour)
  • Ang Lee (Life of Pi)
  • David O. Russell (Silver Linings Playbook)
  • Steven Spielberg (Lincoln)
  • Benh Zeitlin (Beasts of the Southern Wild)

Just WOW. I doubt ANYONE had these five nominees predicted for this category, because it excludes two huge names that were practically considered locks for Best Director. These include Kathryn Bigelow for Zero Dark Thirty and Ben Affleck for Argo. Both of those two films have been all the talk leading up to these nominations and have been the movies that have been said are serious threats to Lincoln for Best Picture. Well, not anymore! The Best Director category has always been a great precursor to what film is going to win Best Picture. If that remains true, then there is no doubt in my mind that Lincoln is the front-runner and will most likely win both Best Director for Steven Spielberg and Best Picture. Although, there is the outside chance that Best Director and Best Picture will split.

To me, the biggest surprise was Benh Zeitlin receiving a nomination for Beasts of the Southern Wild, a small independent gem that I had just “sneaking in” for Best Picture. But with this nomination, Beasts of the Southern Wild bumps itself up to an actual potential upset candidate. The same goes for Silver Linings Playbook and Amour, two films that I really didn’t think would crack the Best Director category. With all of these surprises, that simply means directors got snubbed including Quentin Tarantino (Django Unchained), Tom Hooper (Les Miserables), and Paul Thomas Anderson (The Master).

So what does this mean? Well, while I’m glad Ang Lee and the others got their recognition, all of this really just proves how Lincoln is going to sweep this year’s Oscars. Hey, can’t say I didn’t tell you so months ago.

Best Picture:

  • Amour
  • Argo
  • Beasts of the Southern Wild
  • Django Unchained
  • Les Miserables
  • Life of Pi
  • Lincoln
  • Silver Linings Playbook
  • Zero Dark Thirty

Since the rule change, it’s kind of exciting to try and predict how many films are going to be nominated for Best Picture. This year, there was a consensus that nine films would receive nominations and that was right. The only real surprise out of the nine films was Amour receiving a nomination, but then again now since Haneke and Riva in the mix, it’s a serious contender. But overall, this is a very good group of films nominated and you can’t say otherwise.

Best Actor:

  • Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook)
  • Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln)
  • Hugh Jackman (Les Miserables)
  • Joaquin Phoenix (The Master)
  • Denzel Washington (Flight)

No big surprises here, although after what Joaquin Phoenix said I was a bit worried that would affect his chances to get nominated. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I don’t think Bradley Cooper’s performance in Silver Linings Playbook was that great, but Silver Linings Playbook is obviously loved by the Academy, so his nomination makes sense. Unfortunately this leaves out John Hawkes who gave a challenging and spectacular performance in The Sessions.

Best Actress:

  • Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty)
  • Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook)
  • Emmanuelle Riva (Amour)
  • Quvenzhané Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild)
  • Naomi Watts (The Impossible)

There were really no surprises here, although I did predict Marion Cotillard to get a nomination for Rust and Bone. Just a note: Emmanuelle Riva is the oldest Best Actress nomination at 85 years old and Quvenzhane Wallis is the youngest at 9 years old (she was 6 years old when she shot the film). Incredible!

Best Supporting Actor:

  • Alan Arkin (Argo)
  • Robert De Niro (Silver Linings Playbook)
  • Philip Seymour Hoffman (The Master)
  • Tommy Lee Jones (Lincoln)
  • Christoph Waltz (Django Unchained)

Damn! I almost had one category predicted correctly! Instead of Christoph Waltz I included Javier Bardem (Skyfall). Like Emma Stone said after she announced the nominations, all of these actors have won an Oscar before.

Best Supporting Actress:

  • Amy Adams (The Master)
  • Sally Field (Lincoln)
  • Anne Hathaway (Les Miserables)
  • Helen Hunt (The Sessions)
  • Jacki Weaver (Silver Linings Playbook)

Only one minor surprise here and that was Jacki Weaver’s nomination.

Best Original Screenplay:

  • Michael Haneke (Amour)
  • Quentin Tarantino (Django Unchained)
  • John Gatins (Flight)
  • Wes Anderson, Roman Coppola (Moonrise Kingdom)
  • Mark Boal (Zero Dark Thirty)

Once again I was 4/5 with my predictions. I thought Rian Johnson was going to get in for his screenplay for Looper, but John Gatins got in instead. I have no problem with that because Flight was a better film that Looper. Just looking at these nominees and you get a lot of screenwriting heavyweights.

Best Adapted Screenplay:

  • Chris Terrio (Argo)
  • Lucy Alibar, Benh Zeitlin (Beasts of the Southern Wild)
  • David Magee (Life of Pi)
  • Tony Kushner (Lincoln)
  • David O. Russell (Silver Linings Playbook)

There’s no surprise here since all of these films are contenders for Best Picture. I was hoping that Stephen Chbosky was going to receive a nomination for The Perks of Being a Wallflower, but that was more hopeful than anything.

I’m just going to list the rest of the nominees. Once again, the Best Director category really shines a light to how the Oscars could potentially have a Lincoln sweep. With 12 total nominations, it’s hard to imagine Lincoln walking away with anything less than 7 awards.

Best Animated Feature:

  • Brave
  • Frankenweenie
  • ParaNorman
  • The Pirates! Band of Misfits
  • Wreck-It Ralph

Best Foreign Language Film

  • Amour (Austria)
  • War Witch (Canada)
  • No (Chile)
  • A Royal Affair (Denmark)
  • Kon-Tiki (Norway)

Best Achievement in Cinematography:

  • Seamus McGarvey (Anna Karenina)
  • Robert Richardson (Django Unchained)
  • Claudio Miranda (Life of Pi)
  • Janusz Kaminski (Lincoln)
  • Roger Deakins (Skyfall)

Best Achievement in Editing

  • William Goldenberg (Argo)
  • Tim Squyres (Life of Pi)
  • Michael Kahn (Lincoln)
  • Jay Cassidy, Crispin Struthers (Silvers Linings Playbook)
  • William Goldenberg, Dylan Tichenor (Zero Dark Thirty)

Best Achievement in Production Design

  • Anna Karenina
  • The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
  • Les Misérables
  • Life of Pi
  • Lincoln

Best Achievement in Costume Design

  • Anna Karenina
  • Les Misérables
  • Lincoln
  • Mirror Mirror
  • Snow White and the Huntsman

Best Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling

  • Hitchcock
  • The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
  • Les Misérables

Best Original Score

  • Anna Karenina
  • Argo
  • Life of Pi
  • Lincoln
  • Skyfall

Best Original Song

  • “Before My Time” (Chasing Ice)
  • “Suddenly” (Les Misérables)
  • “Pi’s Lullaby” (Life of Pi)
  • “Skyfall: (Skyfall)
  • “Everybody Needs a Best Friend” (Ted)

Best Achievement in Sound Mixing

  • Argo
  • Les Misérables
  • Life of Pi
  • Lincoln
  • Skyfall

Best Achievement in Sound Editing

  • Argo
  • Django Unchained
  • Life of Pi
  • Skyfall
  • Zero Dark Thirty

Best Achievement in Visual Effects

  • The Avengers
  • The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
  • Life of Pi
  • Prometheus
  • Snow White and the Huntsman

Best Documentary, Features

  • 5 Broken Cameras
  • The Gatekeepers
  • How to Survive a Plague
  • The Invisible War
  • Searching for Sugar Man

Best Documentary, Short Subject

  • Inocente
  • Kings Point
  • Mondays at Racine
  • Open Heart
  • Redemption

Best Short Film, Animated

  • Adam and Dog
  • Fresh Guacamole
  • Head Over Heels
  • Paperman
  • The Simpsons: The Longest Daycare

Best Short Film, Live Action

  • Asad
  • Buzkashi Boys
  • Curfew
  • Death of a Shadow
  • Henry

Oscar Talk 2012: Do Critics Awards Mean a Thing?

December 18, 2012

zero-dark-thirty1

I was doing a little research today based on the critics awards to see if they should be relevant at all when predicting the Oscars, and even though everything that leads up until Oscar night doesn’t make anything set in stone, I feel that the critics awards shed light to certain contenders. Let’s take a glance at this year’s critics awards and which movies have been racking up the attention. Below are a few Oscar contenders and listed underneath are the cities from which critics groups rewarded it with its best movie of the year award.

Zero Dark Thirty:
– Austin
– Boston
– Boston Online
– Chicago
– New York
– New York Online
– Washington
– Utah

The Master:
– Kansas City
– San Francisco
– Toronto

Argo:
– Florida
– Oklahoma
– Nevada
– Phoenix
– San Diego
– Southeastern
– St. Louis

Silver Linings Playbook:
– Detroit
– Satellites

Lincoln:
– Dallas/Fort

As you can see, Zero Dark Thirty has been capturing the most critics awards with Argo just behind it. It’s also surprising that Lincoln seems to be in the lead in the Best Picture race, but has only won ONE critics award for Best Picture of the year (Dallas/Fort). But what does this mean? Well, maybe nothing, but let me list last year’s critics awards. As we know, The Artist won Best Picture, but The Descendants was giving it a run for its money during the critics awards period.

The Artist:
– Boston
– Las Vegas
– London
– New York
– Phoenix
– San Diego
– Vancouver
– Washington

The Descendants:
– Dallas-Fort
– Florida
– Kansas City
– Los Angeles
– Satellite
– Southeastern

Last year, The Artist was the clear favorite to win Best Picture after the guild awards, but prior to that it looked like a toss-up between two independent films. What’s important here is that The Artist still had more critics awards than The Descendants, including some major critic circles such as Boston, New York and Washington. Those three critics circles have given their Best Movie of the Year award to Zero Dark Thirty. Coincidence?

Then again, there was the year of 2010 where practically EVERY critics awards went to The Social Network while The King’s Speech ended up winning Best Picture. For the record, that doesn’t happen too often but it puts everything in perspective. Critics aren’t the people who vote for the Oscars so after everything is said and done, do they really matter?

Here’s a fun fact though. One critics awards that ended up picking The King’s Speech instead of The Social Network was Phoenix. Also, Phoenix was one that picked The Artist instead of The Descendants last year. So who did Phoenix pick this year? Argo.


2013 Golden Globes Nominations

December 13, 2012

golden-globes-logo

Here are the nominees:

UPDATE: Check out all the winners and thoughts about the telecast here.

Best Motion Picture – Drama

Argo
Django Unchained
Life of Pi
Lincoln
Zero Dark Thirty

Best Leading Actor – Drama

Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln)
Richard Gere (Arbitrage)
John Hawkes (The Sessions)
Joaquin Phoenix (The Master)
Denzel Washington (Flight)

Best Leading Actress – Drama

Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty)
Marion Cotillard (Rust and Bone)
Helen Mirren (Hitchcock)
Naomi Watts (The Impossible)
Rachel Weisz (The Deep Blue Sea)

Best Motion Picture – Comedy, Musical

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Les Miserables
Moonrise Kingdom
Salmon Fishing in the Yemen
Silver Linings Playbook

Best Lead Actor – Comedy, Musical

Jack Black (Bernie)
Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook)
Hugh Jackman (Les Miserables)
Ewan McGregor (Salmon Fishing in the Yemen)
Bill Murray (Hyde Park on Hudson)

Best Lead Actress – Comedy, Musical

Emily Blunt (Salmon Fishing in the Yemen)
Judi Dench (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel)
Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook)
Maggie Smith (Quartet)
Meryl Streep (Hope Springs)

Best Supporting Actor

Alan Arkin (Argo)
Leonardo DiCaprio (Django Unchained)
Philip Seymour Hoffman (The Master)
Tommy Lee Jones (Lincoln)
Christoph Waltz (Django Unchained)

Best Supporting Actress

Amy Adams (The Master)
Sally Field (Lincoln)
Anne Hathaway (Les Miserables)
Helen Hunt (The Sessions)
Nicole Kidman (The Paperboy)

Best Director

Ben Affleck (Argo)
Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty)
Ang Lee (Life of Pi)
Steven Spielberg (Lincoln)
Quentin Tarantino (Django Unchained)

Best Screenplay

Mark Boal (Zero Dark Thirty)
Tony Kushner (Lincoln)
David O. Russell (Silver Linings Playbook)
Quentin Tarantino (Django Unchained)
Chris Terrio (Argo)

So the SAG Awards nominations came in yesterday and now the Golden Globes nominations are in. Let me just begin with the obvious for anyone who’s been following the awards race: Django Unchained got a MAJOR boost from the Golden Globes. It was practically off the list of contenders until today. Django Unchained tied Argo with a total of 5 nominations including Best Picture – Drama and a Best Director nod for Quentin Tarantino. Why is this substantial? Well, with Tarantino and also Ang Lee in the jam-packed Best Director race now, this bumps down David O. Russell and Tom Hooper who weren’t nominated. How will this potentially affect the Best Picture race? According to In Contention, only four films in history have won Best Picture at the Oscars without a Golden Globe nomination for Best Director. Those films include Crash, Driving Miss Daisy, The Sting and Chariots of Fire.

In the past, I would be quick to say that the Golden Globes don’t matter and doesn’t weigh in on how the Oscars play out. This year… well it’s a little different. The ballots for the Oscar nominations go out in FOUR days. That’s before the other major guilds release their nominations. So for people who usually depend on the DGA and the PGA for which movies to vote for, it ain’t happening this year. All those people will have are a handful of critics awards, the SAG Awards nominations and the Golden Globes. It’s actually kind of scary to think about the possibilities of Academy members being influence by the Golden Globes.

But as the race is still shaping up, there has been a trend that is indicating what I posted in early November: Lincoln is destined to win Best Picture. With no directing nod for Tom Hooper at the Globes, and no Best Ensemble nod for Zero Dark Thirty, these things bring down the two top contenders a notch. Meanwhile, Lincoln is still standing tall, with a nice box office gross, great reviews, and support from the SAGs and HFPA. Sure, the race is still very early but as of right now, all signs are pointing to a Lincoln victory come February 24th.


19th Annual SAG Awards Nominations

December 12, 2012

sag-19th-awards

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture:

ARGO
THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL
LES MISERABLES
LINCOLN
SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK

How important are the SAG Awards when determining which actors and movies will be major contenders at the Academy Awards? Let’s just take a look back at past winners…

Last year, The Help won the big award at the SAG awards while The Artist won Best Picture at the Oscars. But the SAG awards for actors went 3-for-4, with Meryl Streep winning the Oscar over Viola Davis.

In 2010, the SAG Awards matched up with the Oscars in all categories.

In 2009, The SAG Awards gave Inglourious Basterds the final award while The Hurt Locker went on to win Best Picture (Avatar wasn’t nominated for a SAG award). But in the four acting categories, the SAGs and Oscars matched up.

In 2008, Slumdog Millionare won the SAG Award and Best Picture, but the SAGs were just 2-for-4 with the acting categories.

So what does all of this mean? Well, the SAGs might not be the best indicator of what film is going to win Best Picture, but it certainly doesn’t hurt. But when it comes down to it, if you have the support from the SAG (the largest group of voters in The Academy), you’re on your way to win Best Picture.

Now the interesting part about this is how The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is a nominee. No one is picking this film to be nominated for Best Picture, yet here it is poking its nose right in the middle of the conversation. It will most likely be like J. Edgar of last year, but it’s still worthwhile to mention.

Another thing that has to be mentioned is how only two of the three major contenders were nominated for the SAG. Les Miserables and Lincoln comfortably made it on the SAG’s top five, but Zero Dark Thirty was ruled out. It is very possible that Zero Dark Thirty wasn’t screened for the nominating committee on time, therefore snubbing them from the big award and having The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel filling its seat instead. Still, that didn’t prevent Jessica Chastain’s guaranteed nomination for Best Lead Actress at the SAGs.

While I don’t like to weigh heavily on the SAGs, it’s important because it kicks off the Guild Awards. Also, the Golden Globe Awards will announce its nominees tomorrow. Oh what an exciting time of year this is!

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role:

BRADLEY COOPER / Pat – “SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK”
DANIEL DAY-LEWIS / Abraham Lincoln – “LINCOLN”
JOHN HAWKES / Mark – “THE SESSIONS”
HUGH JACKMAN / Jean Valjean – “LES MISÉRABLES”
DENZEL WASHINGTON / Whip Whitaker – “FLIGHT”

I don’t think I was the only one surprised that Bradley Cooper sneaked into this category with his performance from Silver Linings Playbook. It was a fine performance, but can it really be put in the same category as Daniel Day-Lewis in Lincoln or John Hawkes in The Sessions? The surprise was how Joaquin Phoenix didn’t get a nod for his comeback performance in The Master. Maybe what he said about awards season will actually hurt him more than we anticipated.

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role:

JESSICA CHASTAIN / Maya – “ZERO DARK THIRTY”
MARION COTILLARD / Stephanie – “RUST AND BONE”
JENNIFER LAWRENCE / Tiffany – “SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK”
HELEN MIRREN / Alma Reville – “HITCHCOCK”
NAOMI WATTS / Maria – “THE IMPOSSIBLE

Once again, four of the five nominees were expected. Here, I was surprised that Helen Mirren was nominated for her performance in Hitchcock. I’m still expected Keira Knightley to get a nod for her role in Anna Karenina, but nonetheless this is Jessica Chastain’s category and no one else has a chance.

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role:

ALAN ARKIN / Lester Siegel – “ARGO”
JAVIER BARDEM / Silva – “SKYFALL”
ROBERT DE NIRO / Pat, Sr. – “SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK”
PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN / Lancaster Dodd – “THE MASTER”
TOMMY LEE JONES / Thaddeus Stevens – “LINCOLN”

This category seems to be up in the air but the competition definitely is starting to shape up now. Seeing Javiar Bardem get a SAG nomination for his role as the villain in Skyfall is a great surprise. Meanwhile, Philip Seymour Hoffman’s nod shows how the SAG didn’t completely snub The Master

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role:

SALLY FIELD / Mary Todd Lincoln – “LINCOLN”
ANNE HATHAWAY / Fantine – “LES MISÉRABLES”
HELEN HUNT / Cheryl – “THE SESSIONS”
NICOLE KIDMAN / Charlotte Bless – “THE PAPERBOY”
MAGGIE SMITH / Muriel Donnelly – “THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL”

More love for The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel with a nod for Maggie Smith. And the SAGs went for Nicole Kidman in The Paperboy instead of Amy Adams in The Master. I’m also surprised that Jacki Weaver didn’t get noticed by the SAG for her performance in Silver Linings Playbook. But apparently this is Anne Hathaway’s lock, so I guess it doesn’t matter.


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