The Weinstein Oscar Playbook continues today as David O. Russell and Bradley Cooper meet with Joe Biden to discuss mental health.  They have nothing to lose so why not? It’s not like they have to defend their frontrunner status – they get to be scrappy underdog coming up from behind. But the time to do all of this and be taken seriously was BEFORE the Oscar campaign. Now it just kind of looks like shameless campaigning.  But hey – that’s what you could call Oscars 2012: shameless.

Beautiful pictures of Anne Hathaway & Hugh Jackman, Sally Field, Naomi Watts, Lil’ Q, Amy Adams, Christoph Waltz and Jessica Chastain — more at TIME Magazine’s Great Performances.

Vulture lays out Six Reasons Argo is going probably win Best Picture — 1. Hollywood finds itself fascinating. (because it’s a town built on narcissism – the catch: they have to portray Hollywood is a positive light, as in NOT The Player), 2. It’s like a Rocky for actors. (Except even Rocky had a Best Director nomination but, yeah).  3. It’s a Rocky for producers too. (I thought Silver Linings was the Rocky in the woodpile).  ETC.

Life of Pi and Brave ruled the Visual Effects Society awards — Kris Tapley has the rundown.  

Meanwhile, Gold Derby has five reasons Life of Pi can win Best Director at the Oscars

Lincoln hits $171 million, stays in or close to the top ten for 13 weeks.  Aren’t they reading the memos from Hollywood? It was supposed to be a flop.


“Hey Ben, it’s Joe.”
“Yeah, you remember, you campaigned for me once to get the democratic seat in congress?”
“Right.  You were the guy who kept asking me about my hair. Right.  I remember.”
“Your hat.”
“My HAT. Right.”
“So anyway, I think I can finally blow the lid off this Lincoln/Spielberg thing, you know, firm up the old Oscar for you.”
“That’s okay, Joe, I really don’t need–”
“Spielberg must be stopped, Ben.  He is a megalomaniac bribing President Clinton to shill for his movie – he owns half of Hollywood and he has a whole mafia behind him. He paid off all of those critics and I swear he sent his own money to theaters to puff up the box office. NO way the Academy’s gonna go for ‘that movie.’  But there’s something much, much worse.  I’m just going to say it outright: He’s out to ruin Connecticut’s good name.”
“Good name? I don’t follow.”
“We voted yes on the amendment to abolish slavery.”
“You mean, like, 150 years ago?”
“Yeah, I know you, Ben. You made sure every single scene in Argo was right — by history!”
“You have to take certain license — I’m sure that Kushner and Spielberg made a mistake there – there are always going to be mistakes in movies, especially movies about real live events.”
“But — but haven’t you been reading the news? Spielberg isn’t only blackmailing Clinton but he’s out to commit racism – no black people in Lincoln! How about that? You should fear him, Ben. We all should. He deliberately tried to paint Connecticut as racist like those shitkickers in Alabama got nothing on our proud state.”
“Yeah, Joe, you know – in the grand scheme of things does it really matter that much?”
“Well, because Oscar.”
“I gotta go, Joe. BAFTAs are coming up soon.”
“Oh and Argo will sweep! They love Argo too!  Like a lot, a lot! Hey hey, wait a minute Ben! You remember how we hung out, ate chicken tacos? You remember that? I’m gonna fix it for you, Ben. I’m gonna fix the Oscar and it’ll be just like old times! I’m going to force Spielberg out in public to change that fact before Lincoln goes to DVD. I will publicly humiliate him before Oscar ballots go out. And when you win that Oscar Ben, thank me.  Okay? You gonna do it, right Ben? Ben? Hello? Hello?”



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  • steve50

    “David O. Russell and Bradley Cooper meet with Joe Biden to discuss mental health.”

    Whose, in particular?

    I think The Vulture logic is bang on (the article is worth the read and mentions points that have all been brought up by AD commentors). Will it hold for the next 10 days, though?

  • Aragorn

    I agree that the Vulture is making some good arguments. And they collectively could be the reason why Argo may win. As someone who LOVED Lincoln and still hoping for its win, i especially find ” doesnt play well at home” argument important as many voters may choose to see it at home….i think i will get the DVD when it is out to see it myself. Oh yeah, thats a kind of movie i would like to have a dvd at home. Hope it will have some cool extras.

  • Aragorn

    If i dont count it wrong Vulture has 7 points, not six. Unless you collapsed two and made six out of seven 🙂

  • James

    “The Weinstein Oscar Playbook continues today as David O. Russell and Bradley Cooper meet with Joe Biden to discuss mental health.”

    You have got to be kidding me. Are they gonna talk to him about the vanilla approach that they took with the movie. Between this and De Niro’s crying on Katie Couric which felt terribly calculated as that man hasn’t laughed or cried in any interview ever, this is just silly.

  • You have got to be kidding me. Are they gonna talk to him about the vanilla approach that they took with the movie.

    Don’t slag vanilla! It’s my favourite flavour!

    Silver Linings Playbook gave me mental health issues. Discuss that, bitches!

  • helios

    This is disgusting. I quit.

  • Jerry

    I find the motives of every celebrity who goes to Washington suspect whether it’s Affleck, Clooney, Speilberg and now Bradley. However as long as some good comes out of it I frankly don’t get worked up over it. Mental Health funding is disgraceful any help from that front is welcomed.

  • Oi

    Weinstein didn’t do it earlier because they were betting on other horses. This sudden urge to take SLP seriously when Harvey never cared for the film lacks the passion he put into his last two, winning campaigns. And if I see one more clip of someone from SLP tearing up, I will lose my mental state.

  • Jerry

    To add to paranoia…Retired CIA agent Tony Mendez did an interview with George W Bush’s daughter advocating for an Argo win. Applauding the good image of the CIA in the film. Argo haters freak out 😀

  • Watermelons

    Ben pulling political strings is thinking too small. Honestly. Open your mind:

    Who was in last year’s Best Pic winner?

    That’s right: John Goodman (Barton Fink, The Flintstones). What sort of character doe he play in The Artist? A resourceful behind-the-scenes Old School Hollywood man.

    Do you see where this is going? What will win best picture this year? Argo. Who is in ARGO?

    That’s right: John Goodman (The Babe, The Artist). What sort of character does he play in Argo? A resourceful behind-the-scenes Old School Hollywood man.

    The Weinsteins cannot buy the Oscars anymore than you or I could buy the naming rights to Disneyland. These are John’s prizes, all of them, to distribute as he pleases. Whenever he combines his natural gravitas with self-reflexive Hollywood onanism all those ballots may as well be filled out by Mr. Goodman himself.

    The race was not ended by the guilds because we were never viewing a race. We are viewing the life of a mind: John Goodman’s mind.

  • Reno

    If it’s not pro-Lincoln, it’s shameless. Pitiful.

  • d.p

    It’s shameful if it’s not one of the following:

    1. An ex president (done of his own free will) introducing movie + extolling its greatness.
    2. Photo ops of your actors at the white house after a private screening with the current president.
    3. Have a noted presidential historian and respected playwright do the screen play- this will gloss over any historical inaccuracies. Kill the messenger if anyone objects (I’m talking to you Connecticut!)
    4. Play the gender card: this woman producer has never won an oscar! (Make it a front page story on a prominent trade magazine just as Oscar ballots are being handed out).
    5. Remind people of the box office (ignore international BO + that pussy cat richard parker)! If people paid to see it then it must be because it is loved! Give it the Oscar already then. I mean…I paid to see Avatar- which means I, the public, loved it. (Interesting tidbit: Lincoln made 2.6x its production cost. Argo is at 2.7x. Their international tallies are almost even, Lincoln +8M).

  • Tony

    This is getting creepy.

    We can all please chill out? The 13th Amendment won’t be repealed if “Lincoln” fails to win BP.

  • AP

    I was always annoyed by the bullshit comments criticizing the site, but Sasha is acting like the people who dislike Lincoln have murdered anything she’s ever loved. What in the ever loving hell is that conversation!?

  • The Dude

    David O. Russell and Joe Biden discuss mental health. The joke writes itself.

  • PJ

    So much hate for SLP getting some attention to bringing to light mental health issues which, are int he news because of recent mass shootings. Funny, did not hear same complaints when Lincoln was screened at White House or for Congress people. But that isn’t campaigning, is it?

  • JLaw!

    I only have a problem with David O. Russell and DiNiro campaigning the way they are because SLP seriously sucked.

  • Terometer

    “If it’s not pro-Lincoln, it’s shameless. Pitiful.”

    Don’t worry! She’s actually helped to shape a winning story for Argo. Argo can’t win without that blogger. haha.

  • KT

    Aragorn, you are absolutely right in bringing your point up about the screeners. THAT is why the race for Best Picture is OVER. Most Academy members do not have time to go to the screenings and do not see the films in front of audiences. And even if they did, they’ll be rewatching and reconsidering them at home. Unfortunate, yes, for films like Life of Pi, Lincoln, and Zero Dark Thirty which play much better on the big screen, that are immersive and much more ambitious in scope. Argo is winning because of how well it plays at home. You can pause the movie and go back to it without losing your place, fine. You get the jokes–you don’t need to see it with a bunch of people to see how much they are enjoying it, where others are laughing in case you miss anything. You ACTUALLY DO NOT have to pay attention to follow it…sad but true. It’s through screeners where I can at least fathom why some have called Lincoln boring. I increasingly believe that Steven Spielberg’s movie is NOT the Best Picture spoiler, but Silver Linings Playbook, another film that plays well on screener.

    ALSO, if Spielberg wins Director (which is very up for grabs), I would LOVE to see him dedicate and/or give the Oscar to Kathleen Kennedy. It’d be a wonderful gesture, especially knowing that had Affleck been nominated it would’ve probably gone his way.

  • KT

    ^^ It’d also be a slap in the face for whatever team wins Best Picture, should he make a special point to acknowledge Kennedy for their 30-year collaboration.

  • AnthonyP

    I am sooooooo close.
    Tomorrow night I’m going to see the Documentary Shorts. After that, I will have seen every single movie in every single category of the Oscars except The Gatekeepers and No.
    I’m up in the SF Bay Area, so No won’t be showing here till after the Oscars. And I don’t know if or when The Gatekeepers will be.
    Every year, I’ve tried to see it all. Near impossible because of docs and foreign films.

    Pass me links if you got em, please!

  • Kate

    Sasha is not being irrational, hypocritical, or acting like a petulant child. (…Do some of you commenters have her confused with Jeff Wells?)
    This race and the politics behind it can get really f’ed up sometimes, and Sasha can share her opinion and root for whomever she wants to. No need to tone police the creator, editor, and chief author of the site you apparently find worthwhile enough to visit. Go somewhere else and whine if you don’t like what you see.

  • Vinícius P.

    Someone really needs to relax…

  • Watermelons

    1. Hollywood finds itself fascinating. (because it’s a town built on narcissism – the catch: they have to portray Hollywood is a positive light,

    The irony in Hollywood (most likely) doing the self-congratulatory thing of awarding Argo: when we consider American film’s great legacy we look back at films with the magnitude and grace exhibited by, well, Lincoln. No jokes this time.

  • More of this


  • helios

    LMAO at the pseudo-mature responses by some who probably have secret shrines dedicated to their favorite actors/films and gossip behind Sasha’s back in AD forums under different names.

  • AnthonyP

    That would be quite a lonely life if someone is taking on the persona of two different people in this forum and having an argument with themselves just to be noticed.

  • Watermelons

    In my opinion, the only people who should be adopting kooky personae are actors like the Oscar-winning legend of screen acting Kate Winslet (Titanic, Iris)!

  • Nic V

    Well I’m totally confused. I don’t understand that little piece up there with Ben and Courtney.

    If I see one more member of the Silver Lining’s Playbook cast I’m going to start charging them rent. Thank God Jennifer Lawrence has had the good sense to remove herself from that mess. But everyone is everywhere. Everyone except the Lincoln cast. I mean even Jessica Chastain is making the rounds now.

    I get all the campaigning. I get that everyone wants to win. But this year they’ve really gone further than they’ve gone in a very long time. I don’t remember anything like this in a long time.

    And give me a break about the screenwriter taking artistic license with the Conneticut voting. If people are learning about history from movies then I want my damn tax dollars back that are paying for their frickin education. That’s got to be the most ridiculous reason I’ve heard for taking a screenwriter to task. Doesn’t mean I agree with them taking the artistic license but it’s a movie not a history book. They don’t advertise it like American History 101. No more than Argo is CIA History 101. C’mon we’re talking about film not registering for high school or college classes.

  • Pierre de Plume

    @ Terometer, Reno, sj, Brian, d.p, AP

    You’d be happier doing something worthwhile.

  • So much hate for SLP getting some attention to bringing to light mental health issues which, are int he news because of recent mass shootings.

    Now there’s an interesting premise for a new movie franchise. Tiffany roams around the country preventing the mentally ill from killing people by catching them off-guard with a kiss and a slap, and then and cures the potential shooters by making them dance with her.

  • sj, you were sounding almost reasonable with some of what you wrote but that weirdly cruel last line is what got your comment deleted. You’re welcome to try again if you think you can be less spiteful.

    Brian, your entire comment failed. Don’t even bother trying that one again.

  • Andrew

    why are my comments being deleted? is not ok to raise the opinion, expressed by other posters here, that Sasha is going way over the top on the Lincoln-Argo battle?

  • It’s your attitude and wording, Andrew. Tone it down please.

  • Ian

    Sheesh Sasha. Why do you have to be so mean to poor little innocent Argo? What did the film ever do to you besides crushing your hopes and dreams of a 3 hour C-SPAN session winning best picture of the year? I am die hard behind Les Miserables for best picture, but I’m not out there raising hell because I’m angry it’s not going to win. Remember the trick is not minding…Lincoln is a decently good movie, but far from a masterpiece.

    My ranked best picture nominees:

    1. Les Miserables
    2. Argo
    3. Django Unchained
    4. Silver Linings Playbook
    5. Life of Pi
    6. Beasts of the Southern Wild
    7. Lincoln
    8. Zero Dark Thirty
    9. Amour

  • Glenn UK

    The irony of this year is that it appears to be two American movies (with American directors) going head to head. You would think that Sasha would be thrilled bearing in mind the swipes she has made toward “foreign directors” and their movies in the past few years.

  • TOM

    Harvey – your tricks worked when DDL (at the height of MLFoot voting) met with Congress to discuss the rights of the disabled. Now, during final balloting, Cooper and Russell have to meet with puppet Biden??? It’s amazing how cinema junk like Chocolat & The Cider House Rules land so high this time of the year. Just don’t let these gooey tactics spoil Jennifer Lawrence. I have to stop, I’m starting to get DeNiro chokage.

  • Ryan Adams

    ‘”crushing your hopes and dreams of a 3 hour C-SPAN session winning best picture of the year? I am die hard behind Les Miserables for best picture, but I’m not out there raising hell because I’m angry it’s not going to win.”

    No, you’re not out there raising hell. You’re in here. Being a smartass. You’re expressing your own anger and frustration too, Ian. But instead of doing anything useful with your anger, you’re just being a tiny little bitch on the tiny little stage of this page.

  • Sasha Stone

    “3 hour C-SPAN session”

    That is the stupidest thing I’ve heard all year. Let’s remember that Lincoln has some of the best reviews of the year and is listed at #5, way above Argo — WAY WAY WAY above Les Mis. Also, this dumbing down is your typical whisper campaign. That’s the ol’ “Saving Private Ryan is really just about the first 45 minutes.” Weak minded people are so easily manipulated.

  • The J Viewer

    “2. It’s like a Rocky for actors. (Except even Rocky had a Best Director nomination but, yeah).”

    Ha…… Priceless. xD

    However, come to think about it, that was rather offensive — the way my beloved film and no. 1 all-time fav Rocky was being talked about………………………. LOL JK [Don’t puke just yet…]

  • Pierre de Plume

    why are my comments being deleted? is not ok to raise the opinion, expressed by other posters here, that Sasha is going way over the top on the Lincoln-Argo battle?

    You would think that Sasha would be thrilled bearing in mind the swipes she has made toward “foreign directors” and their movies in the past few years.

    Presumably we come to this site to have adult conversations about film and the awards process. This can include disagreement, even heated disagreement. But some here seem to be ignoring the fact that Sasha, in a real sense, has invited you into her house. I ask, if you gave a party and your guests started ganging up on you, how long would you tolerate such immature behavior? At what point would you tell them to give it a rest – or to simply get the hell out – so that those with something constructive to say, whether or not they agree, don’t have to put up with such childish disruptions?

    Get a life for pete’s sake.

  • mel

    @Tom Jennifer was assigned the late night shows gigs. That is what she has to do: keep saying phobic stuff and looking like an adorable red neck and America will keep loving her.
    Harvey’s tactics ruin evertyhing he has done as a producer. He makes great movies but his ways are a huge turn off.

  • Ian

    I do see your point Ryan. And Pierre, I do understand and respect the fact that this is Sasha’s baby for which I’ve always been eternally grateful for. I think I’m most frustrated with the fact that I’ve been visiting this site for 7 years, (and only this site for oscar input, guidance, and tracking), and I always felt the site was very unbiased and straightforward in reporting the race, except for this year where Sasha has gone waaayyyy over the top with her outpouring of love and support for Lincoln, and has now gone so far as to slander Argo, a very good film that has as much right to be in this oscar race as Lincoln. I’m not saying she shouldn’t have an opinion or isn’t entitled to it, but I think this post by her took things to an all new level in terms of biased reporting on a level seen only on Fox News and MSNBC. It’s funny how the slogan of the website reads “the trick is not minding”, yet Sasha has minded very much if Lincoln doesn’t win a million awards. And don’t mistake me for someone who’s against everything Sasha is for either. I’m a hard blue Democrat and worked tirelessly in Iowa to re-elect president Obama. I felt Cloud Atlas was one of the best films of the year. And I have a deep found respect for this amazing site that she and her staff have put together. Don’t take me for a Lincoln hater either. Although the film did not make my personal best picture list, it did make the list in several categories. I also think Spielberg and Kushner and Lee Jones have very good shots at winning. So what was my oscar list this year? See below. Keep in mind this list was put together before nominations were announced:

    What an amazing year for the movies! It seems the past couple years, there haven’t been as many good movies out there. The movies struck back in a big way in 2012, and not just the 10 I have selected on my best picture list. Movies like The Avengers, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Red Tails, Joyful Noise, Lincoln, Wreck it Ralph, Brave, Ted, Madagascar 3, heck…Journey to the Mysterious Island! The year was filled with amazing and wonderful films, but in the end, I had to select 10 films that I found most worthy of oscar recognition. Award selections are only picked from films I have seen. These are my own personal selections, and are neither predictions nor indicative of what the academy will eventually nominate. The winning selections are highlighted in bold. I hope everyone has a chance to go out and see some of these incredible films!

    Best Picture of the Year:

    21 Jump Street
    Cloud Atlas
    The Dark Knight Rises
    Django Unchained
    Silver Linings Playbook
    The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
    Les Miserables
    Life of Pi

    I know many of you have probably already tossed this list aside as garbage after reading the first best picture nomination of 21 Jump Street, so let me explain. 21 Jump Street was hands down the funniest movie of the year, probably one of the funniest movies in the last 10 years. I don’t care much for comedies as it is, so for one to make my best picture list is a major accomplishment. I felt the script was brilliant, the one liners were hilarious, Tatum and Hill did a brilliant job, Depp’s cameo was amazing, the music was brilliant, it had a great human story to it, and the ZZ Top reference put me over the top with laughter. Argo was one of the top 3 films this year. I thought I was going to have an anxiety attack watching that movie. Affleck keeps you on the edge of your seat the entire time and then pays it all off with an incredible conclusion. Gosh I wish they could have made Cloud Atlas a better movie, but it was still good enough to get on my best picture list. The cast and the way they transform from one character to another is an incredible experience to watch and unlike anything I’ve ever seen done in a movie. The material and the way it is all finally wrapped up at the end is emotionally gripping. Just be prepared to watch the film more than once to truly understand it and get the most out of it. The Dark Knight Rises was the perfect conclusion to the Dark Knight trilogy. Although The Dark Knight was a better film, Rises is good in its own right and every bit deserves to be on this list, as much on its own merits as well as a tip of the hat to the whole trilogy. Django Unchained was also in my top 3 this year, and easily Quintin Tarantino’s best work to date. Only he would be brave enough to set a movie in the American South during the height of slavery, have them throw around the N word close to 200 times, and still create a riveting and action packed western adventure film filled with creative dialogue, great performances, and a hint of the bizarre. Only he could come up with the concept of a German bounty hunter in a dentist carriage with a giant swinging tooth on top, who goes around killing white slavers in the American South. Silver Linings Playbook has one of the best ensemble casts of the year, and tells a story with a lot of great humanity and heart to it. Jennifer Lawrence is superb and this film and the Hobbit are definitely the 2 feel good movies of the year. Peter Jackson returned us to the magical world of Middle Earth with what I thought was a great first installment in The Hobbit trilogy. Jackson creates another sweeping epic adventure with a critical emotional message about proving others wrong even when they are doubting you and your abilities, and finding the courage to do so. Knowing the source material, these films will only get better as they go along. Life of Pi was the most beautiful looking movie of the year, with incredible cinematography and visual effects. Not filled with the greatest actors and it is slow to get going, but the movie delivers with an interesting revelatory moment at the end of the film. Skyfall is easily the best modern James Bond film to date, and the only one I have seen that is worthy of a best picture oscar nomination. I hope Ian Fleming is smiling from up above. Skyfall is paced just right, cast just right, has a nice enjoyable plot throughout, and is just an outright pleasure to watch. Hands down the best movie of the year, and one I have already seen 4 times and will see many more is Les Miserables. Tom Hooper brings this musical to the screen in one of the best musical to screen transitions ever done. And he does it with the best ensemble cast of the year led by Hugh Jackaman, Russell Crowe, and Anne Hathaway, with comedic turns by Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen, and breakout performances by Samantha Barks and Eddie Redmayne. I think what makes this one so rich and so special is the fact that all the actors were forced to sing their performances on set and have music added later, completely opposite from the norm of recording the music first and then lip syncing the performance on set. What we get are performances that have a little more reality and humanity to them, albeit with less of the bombastic flair that comes from pre-recording. In a way, the music sometimes suffers from this style of recording, but the movie as a whole benefits from it. Easily the best movie of the year with a great message about selfless love.

    Best Animated Feature Film:

    Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted
    Rise of the Guardians
    Wreck it Ralph

    This wasn’t a terrific year for animated movies. The only 3 I outright loved this year were Brave, Madagascar, and Wreck it Ralph. Rise of the Guardians had a lot of heart and Frankenweenie was bizarrely cute. Brave was really well put together by Disney and made for a good moral lesson to listen to your parents but to also follow your own heart. Madagascar I thought for sure was going to be my winning selection this year. Easily the best in the franchise, filled to the brim with slap stick comedy from beginning to end. I couldn’t stop laughing. And buried underneath the comedy was a really good adventure romp and a good story. But Wreck it Ralph really blew my mind. Finally an original story idea done absolutely perfectly with a great cast of characters and references the video game faithful will understand. I went in expecting to see a decent movie with a bunch of video game references thrown in. What I got was a GREAT movie with an amazing soundtrack, story, characters, and emotion. I cried…

    Best Director:

    Ben Affleck: Argo
    Christopher Nolan: The Dark Knight Rises
    Quintin Tarantino: Django Unchained
    Tom Hooper: Les Miserables
    Steven Spielberg: Lincoln

    It takes an extraordinary director to bring a good film to life. Here are 5 great directing jobs I felt deserved to be recognized. Although I didn’t like Lincoln much as a movie, there’s no denying Steven Spielberg’s touch when it came to the direction of his actors, and in the way he artfully recreated this period piece. He made what should have played (and did at times) like a 3 hour C-SPAN session seem interesting, even to folks who don’t follow politics. Tom Hooper put together the best movie of the year, and had the daunting task of having the actors sing live on set instead of lip sync while keeping the story intact. The only reason Hooper isn’t my winning selection is because he won 2 years ago, and I felt he could have made the best movie of the year even better but didn’t quite push as hard as he could have. Christopher Nolan has to be recognized in some fashion. What an incredible achievement the Dark Knight trilogy was and what a great achievement for superhero films. He managed to deliver what is hard to do in Hollywood, a truly satisfying 3rd installment in a major film franchise that bookended out the entire story with brilliance. I’m not a fan of all of Tarantino’s work, but this without a doubt tops Kill Bill as his best work to date, and is one of the best movies of the year. The writing is brilliant, his direction of the cast is brilliant, his direction of himself is brilliant, his brain is brilliant! Django unchained is the work of a truly original artist. But this year I have to recognize my main man Ben Affleck who had a breakout directorial performance with Argo. Not since Mel Gibson in Braveheart has a man been able to direct and act in the lead role with such brilliance. He kept the pacing and anxiousness of Argo at a fevered pitch the entire way, and had for the most part a no name supporting cast who he directed with subtle brilliance the entire way. An incredibly difficult film to bring to the screen yet Affleck proved that he belongs among the best of the best.

    Best Original Screenplay:

    Quintin Tarantino: Django Unchained
    John Gatins: Flight
    Vanessa Taylor: Hope Springs
    Rian Johnson: Looper
    Phil Johnston and Jennifer Lee: Wreck it Ralph

    Not a solid year in the original screenplay category, but there were at least 2 films that stood out as shining stars and those were Flight and Django Unchained. The others seem a little more filler. I didn’t much care for Looper as a movie but give Rian Johnson credit for his originality with the concept. Wreck it Ralph was also a brilliant original concept and the best animated movie of the year, with clever video game references throughout. Hope Springs hasn’t received a lot of attention this year, but I found Vanessa Taylor’s scripting and dialogue choices to be quite engaging, funny, and suited for the actors. John Gatins had this category in the bag for Flight before Django Unchained came along. I think the brilliance of the opening scene, where Denzel is on the phone with his ex-wife discussing visitation and tuition for his son, a normal regular conversation, while at the same time a stark nude woman trots around the room. Then Denzel hangs up the phone and the woman (who is his flight attendant), tells them they need to do a bump of coke before catching their flight. And then the magic of the refrigerator scene at the end but I won’t spoil that for you. But Quintin’s knack for originality won me over with the brilliantly crafted Django Unchained. His dialogue and method of thinking and scripting is just so out of the box, how can you not give him an oscar in this category. The entire scene with the bagheads is just out of this world brilliance!

    Best Adapted Screenplay:

    Chris Terrio: Argo
    Christopher Nolan and Jonathan Nolan: The Dark Knight Rises
    Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson, and Guillermo del Toro: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
    Tony Kushner: Lincoln
    William Nicholson: Les Miserables

    Screenwriters did a good job adapting many movies to the screen, but these 5 films stood out among the rest. Chris Terrio added a certain urgency to Argo that really wraps the viewer up in the predicament happening on screen. The last sequence with the security guard at the gate is brilliantly scripted and put together. Having read The Hobbit and not much caring for it as a piece of literature, I was amazed with the way the Hobbit screenwriting team was able to take what I felt was a poor book and make a really good movie out of it. I thought the first part would be very long slow and boring, yet they found ways to add excitement and bring in other plot details not from the book that will have major payoffs later on and help explain things that happen in Lord of the Rings a bit better. Again, while not a fan of Lincoln as a whole, Tony Kushner’s mastery of dialogue for this film was superb, especially considering the difficulties of getting nuances to the time period correct, and he was able to make the 3 hour C-SPAN session somewhat interesting. William Nicholson didn’t have to do too much with dialogue or scripting Les Miserables since all of that was already there, but what he did do quite well was writing appropriate action and sequences to go with the music and dialogue that was already there, and keeping the pace appropriate. He did a marvelous job. But my winning selection was Christopher and Jonathan Nolan for the Dark Knight Rises. They need to give these boys something in recognition of their efforts on the Dark Knight trilogy. Really Dark Knight Rises is mostly original material but is obviously put in the adapted category because it’s based on the Batman character. I thought the themes of the movie were well presented, and dialogue was great when it needed to be. “A hero can be anyone. Even a man doing something as simple and reassuring as putting a coat around a little boy’s shoulder to let him know that the world hadn’t ended.” And the payoff and surprise ending montage was just a magnificent piece of writing. There was no predicting the twists and turns of this film and the Nolan’s took us on one heck of a ride.

    Best Actor in a Leading Role:

    Tom Hanks in Cloud Atlas
    Tommy Lee Jones in Hope Springs
    Hugh Jackman in Les Miserables
    Daniel Day Lewis in Lincoln
    John Hawkes in The Sessions

    It was difficult to pick a winner in the best actor category this year. All the performances were really good and it was really hard to choose. The leading contender among experts is Daniel Day Lewis for his portrayal of Abraham Lincoln, which is marvelous don’t get me wrong. But without any record, we don’t really know how honest Abe would have actually been, and Day Lewis sure gives a good interpretation, but I’m not sure he deserves to win yet another oscar for this role. In my opinion, Tom Hanks turned in one of his best performances since Forrest Gump in Cloud Atlas. He brings to life 6 different memorable characters in 6 different periods of time. Each one of them is unique and special in their own way, and only Tom Hanks could have pulled off playing a tribal man from the future, a fiendish doctor from the 1800’s, and an Irish criminal who manages to land a book deal with such poise and brilliance. Hugh Jackman finally gets his due in his best role to date as the title character in Les Miserables. His acting is excellent, his singing, errr, good in some places, not good in others. But he carries this role remarkably well and shows real anger, grief, and emotion in his line delivery and body language. John Hawkes (that John Lennon looking guy from the final season of Lost) returns fresh off his last oscar nomination in Winter’s Bone to a role even more oscar worthy as a man paralyzed from the waist down with polio with a desire to know a woman in the “Biblical” sense. Hawkes had the daunting task of having to deliver his entire performance from a gurney with only being able to show expression and performance in his face alone. He also had the daunting task of trying to deliver his performance half the time with a fully nude Helen Hunt in the room. I finally settled on Tommy Lee Jones from Hope Springs as my winning selection this year. He plays an old retired man who doesn’t give his wife any attention anymore, so she hires a therapist to help rekindle their sex life. Tommy Lee Jones plays this character with perfection, completely out of his element the entire time and the discomfort and anxiety and humor of this role really delivers on the screen. Coupled with his great performance from Lincoln and the great fun he had coming back for Men in Black 3, I’d say Mr. Jones had a good year.

    Best Actress in a Leading Role:

    Emannuelle Riva in Amour
    Quvenzhane Wallis in Beasts of the Southern Wild
    Jennifer Lawrence in Silver Linings Playbook
    Naomi Watts in The Impossible
    Marion Cotillard in Rust & Bone

    This was one of the weakest years I’ve ever seen in the lead actress category. You know it’s a bad year when two of the best performances of the year were actually in French. Marion Cotillard does her usual brilliant thing whether in a French or English movie and delivers a solid engaging performance this time in the French language Rust & Bone. Naomi Watts plays a woman trying to desperately cling to life in the survival story The Impossible, and plays her agony and deteriorating health to great effect. Jennifer Lawrence proves that she belongs among the very best and gave the 2nd best performance of the year this year in Silver Linings Playbook. She plays a young recently widowed woman searching for love and meaning in her life and she finds it in the most unlikeliest of places when she meets a bi-polar man obsessed with his cheating wife. She is in charge of every scene she’s in and really makes you feel for her situation. 5 years old at the time of the performance, newcomer Quvenzhane Wallis delivers a breakout performance to be admired and respected. She plays the daughter or a dying drunken man in the Louisiana bayou, and really makes the character feel like someone real who could be living there. I’ve seen child actors be pretty good, but not this good and at age 5. But my winning pick was on the other end of the age spectrum with Emannuelle Riva, who plays a dying elderly woman who has suffered 2 strokes in the French film Amour. She really brings to life a character you can sympathize with when she pleads for her husband to let her die. She brings to life the difficulties and realities of dealing with incapacitating strokes to the big screen with perfection.

    Best Actor in a Supporting Role:

    Dwight Henry in Beasts of the Southern Wild
    Christoph Waltz in Django Unchained
    Matthew McConaughey in Magic Mike
    Benicio Del Toro in Savages
    Javier Bardem in Skyfall

    As always, I have a hard time with the supporting actor category. Always great performances every year from a bunch of different movies to choose from. Dwight Henry gives a breakout performance for a newcomer in Beasts of the Southern Wild. He plays a poor man living in the Bayou before the onset of a hurricane. He’s a persistent drunk, and sometimes abuser of his little girl, but he truly does love her and wants what’s best for her, but has a hard time coming to grips with having to let her go so she can have a better life. In the end, it is her who refuses to be taken away and stays with her daddy till the end. The role is very convincing and real. Christoph Waltz strikes again in Django Unchained, this time playing a German Bounty Hunter instead of the head of the Nazi SS. He brings a lot of humor and a bit of charm to that part, making him very likable in this strong performance. Benicio Del Toro in Savages is a name you won’t hear thrown around this time of year for awards consideration, and I can’t fathom why not. He plays with expertise a cruel and wicked hit man for a drug cartel, and does it with the perfect mix of charisma and machismo. Javier Bardem gets a lot of oscar attention every other year it seems, and the man can’t even go wrong in a James Bond film. He brings to life one of the most fun and entertaining villains to ever grace a James Bond film in Skyfall. But I have to give Mr. McConaughey his dues. As hard as it was to sit myself down to watch Magic Mike (a terrible film) to evaluate this performance, I’m glad I did because his performance is absolutely golden. I learned one thing about Matt McConaughey that I hadn’t known up till now: the guy can act. This was his year and between Magic Mike and his performance in The Paperboy, the man showed that he has amazing versatility and great talent. I look forward to seeing more from him in the future.

    Best Actress in a Supporting Role:

    Anne Hathaway in Les Miserables
    Samantha Barks in Les Miserables
    Nicole Kidman in The Paperboy
    Sally Field in Lincoln
    Helen Hunt in The Sessions

    I might as well not even mention the other contenders in this category, because nobody is even in the same ballpark as Anne Hathaway’s slam dunk performance as Fantine in Les Miserables. I Dreamed a Dream is 4 minutes and 38 seconds long. For at least 3 and a half minutes of that, Anne Hathaway is on screen, a single solitary take, just her face in frame. Those are her vocals live on the set. She is not singing to a tape. From somewhere beyond the depths of my understanding, Anne sinks into the deep dark despair of Fantine. You can see and feel the emotion and what she’s feeling behind every word. The tears well up throughout most of the song, and then after about 2 and a half minutes, they finally rush down the side of her cheeks. Folks, you can’t make a performance like this up. This isn’t a bunch of different takes edited together to make a good sequence. This is acting in it’s truest form, pure and raw and real, and easily THE BEST PERFORMANCE by an actor or actress in a motion picture this year. And to top the cake with icing, she does a marvelous job in the other scenes she’s in as well. Now that I’ve raved about Anne, there were some fine performances given by some other actresses this year. Sally Field makes for a good disheveled and depressed Mary Todd Lincoln, Samantha Barks also gives an emotional breakout performance as Eponine in Les Miserables, Nicole Kidman plays a kinky trailer trash type woman who gets involved with the wrong man in The Paperboy, and Helen Hunt bares all (literally) in her role as a sexual therapist for the disabled in The Sessions.

    Best Film Editing:

    William Goldenberg: Argo
    Lee Smith: The Dark Knight Rises
    Jabez Olssen: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
    Chris Dickens and Melanie Oliver: Les Miserables
    Stuart Baird: Skyfall

    As someone who aspired to get into film editing, this category always holds a special place in my heart. In my opinion (and even George Lucas acknowledges this), the editing process is the make or break moment for the film. Granted you have to have good footage to work with first, but the editor crafts the final product, making him even more important than the director in my opinion. There were 5 films that stood out among the rest as excellent assembled pieces of work. Jabez Olssen had a lot of footage to sift through in crafting The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Keep in mind he had to take what was originally a framework for 2 films, and then re-edit part 1 with a completely different cutoff point when they expanded it to 3 films. He also had to deal with studio demands to cut down the length of the film to something more manageable for theaters, while saving an extended cut for blu-ray. If he doesn’t deserve a nod on these merits alone, the finished product of Unexpected Journey was fantastic and moved along nicely. Stuart Baird proudly followed in the footsteps of Peter Hunt in creating a fast paced and exciting on the edge of your seat thrill-ride in the latest James Bond adventure Skyfall. Lee Smith continued to prove he’s one of the best in the business with the masterful way he brought all the pieces together and delivered a perfectly cut epic conclusion to the Dark Knight trilogy. The team of Chris Dickens and Melanie Oliver helped assemble the best film of the year with the amazing way Les Miserables came together, especially during musical sequences involving actors singing a song together in different locations. A sign of a good editor is also knowing when not to make a cut, and they did just that by letting Anne Hathaway belt out “I dreamed a dream” in a single take. But there was one film this year that had me on the edge of my seat in anxious anticipation, and William Goldenberg’s break-neck pace of Argo delivered one of the most effectively edited movies I’ve ever seen. The film was paced perfectly, I was constantly anxious about what was going to happen next and whether they would end up getting caught, and the last adrenaline filled sequence was just done so masterfully. This film absolutely would not have even worked in the first place if not for Goldenberg’s crafty editing.

    Best Cinematography:

    Cloudio Miranda: Life of Pi
    Danny Cohen: Les Miserables
    Frank Griebe and John Toll: Cloud Atlas
    Seamus McGarvey: Anna Karenina
    Roger Deakins: Skyfall

    I best sum up Cinematography as the art of creating footage. To me, this would be the most difficult aspect of filmmaking because you have a very limited shoot period, and you have to come up with creative and artistic ways to present the material being shot. If you don’t get what you want while filming, there’s really no going back to get what you want later, and often the Cinematographer can’t figure out exactly what shots he/she wants until the sets are built. There was some beautiful Cinematography this year but I was most surprised with Roger Deakins work on Skyfall. Never did I think I’d be including an action packed James Bond film on my oscar list for Cinematography, yet Roger came up with some absolutely gorgeous shots. Seamus McGarvey captured the elegance and beauty of Russia in sweeping panoramic beauty. My favorite shot was when one of the characters opens a door in a warm elegant building to reveal a field of cold snow on the other side. Danny Cohen captures 3 periods of 1800’s France with exciting flair, and the transitory shots are the best in the film. Hugh Jackman storms out of a monastery, ripping up a piece of paper and the camera pulls back to reveal Paris in all it’s glory, then the camera tracks that same piece of paper as it falls in a rainstorm on Russell Crowe and a troupe of horsemen pounding towards the screen. Likewise for the shot that goes from Russell Crowe singing at the stars to an establishing shot of Paris that zooms in on an elephant statue and as we finally reach the statue, a street urchin pokes his head out the top. Frank Griebe and John Toll were this year’s runner ups for their exquisite work on Cloud Atlas. Capturing 6 different settings in 6 different ages was no small task, and each of them beautiful and wondrous. The footage during the film’s climactic segment really stood out as great visual beauty. But this year’s winner was hands down Life of Pi, which was the only film in this category that really set the bar higher. Cloudio Miranda, along with the film’s spectacular visual effects team created one of the most visually beautiful films ever committed to screen. Whether it’s an island in the shape of a woman full of meerkats, or a bunch of gorgeous dreamlike sequences, Miranda captures each shot with beauty and grace. The best shot of the film is when Pi is thrown under the water during a storm just in time to see the flickering lights go out as the freighter his family was on sinks to the bottom of the ocean. An emotionally riveting shot made even better by the 3D.

    Best Art Direction:

    Katie Spencer, Sarah Greenwood, Thomas Brown, and Nick Gottschalk: Anna Karenina
    Sharon Seymour, Peter Borck, Deniz Gokturk, and Jan Pascale: Argo
    Stephan O. Gessler, Kai Koch, Charlie Revai, and Peter Walpole: Cloud Atlas
    J. Michael Riva, David F. Klassen, and Leslie A. Pope: Django Unchained
    Grant Armstrong, Eve Stewart, Gary Jopling, and Su Whitaker: Les Miserables

    It is amazing how great production design, art direction, and set decoration can have an impact on the beauty of a film, far beyond what visual effects may be able to achieve on their own. This year featured many beautiful films, put together by artistically talented individuals who have a knack for imagination. The design team on Anna Karenina faithfully brought to life 19th century Russia. Architecture and other design elements were spot on. Same can be said for Les Miserables, where the design team faithfully recreates a giant elephant that Napoleon was having built and giant warships. Argo was another period piece where the design team does a faithful job of recreating 1979 Iran. Django Unchained was also a period piece, but the design team had to take it a step farther and artfully come up with original concepts for the more fantastical elements of the story like the dental cart with the giant tooth. But it was the brilliance of the design team on Cloud Atlas, who had to design 6 different time periods, 2 of them futuristic who take the cake this year. Whether it was 19th century or thousands of years from now, they created each environment masterfully and accurately. My favorite overall design though has to be the futuristic cafe where the clones are at work. What an ingenious piece of artistry.

    Best Costume Design:

    Jacqueline Durran: Anna Karenina
    Kym Barrett and Pierre-Yves Gayraud: Cloud Atlas
    Paco Delgado: Les Miserables
    Joanna Johnston: Lincoln
    Colleen Atwood: Snow White and the Huntsman

    You don’t have to be a great movie to have great looking costumes. In fact you can be quite terrible and still get away with great costumes. Such was the case with Snow White and the Huntsman, where Colleen Atwood who seems to make my list every year for something gets recognized again for her stark and exciting costumes, especially her work on the Queen. Cloud Atlas also had brilliant costume design spanning 5 time periods (2 of them futuristic) and was the runner up in this category. Paco Delgado helped bring 19th Century France to life in full force in Les Miserables. Joanna Johnston also put together excellent period costumes in Lincoln. But no costumes were more beautiful or more exquisite than those featured in Anna Karenina. Jacqueline Durran really brought Russian culture and and art to life in magnificent splendor. Another film that I felt wasn’t really good but was an artistic joy to behold.

    Best Makeup and Hairstyling:

    Peter King, Richard Taylor, and Rick Fundlater: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
    Lisa Westcott: Les Miserables
    Lois Burwell and Kay Georgiou: Lincoln

    Many of you know my feelings on this one. Cloud Atlas should have swept this category by a landslide. Not only the best makeup of the year, but in my humble opinion, the best makeup work done on a feature film in the history of movies. Many critics and award watchers shared this opinion, yet for some reason I cannot fathom, the academy did not include it on its list of 7 shortlisted films in the final running for the 3 best makeup nominees. Instead we got movies like Men in Black 3, Looper, Hitchcock, and Snow White and the Huntsman on the short list. I ended up selecting the only 3 films on the list of 7 that stood out as respectable achievements in makeup. The period hair work in Lincoln is wonderful, and I was close to giving this category to the Hobbit, but coupled with the fact that Peter King already won an oscar for much of the same type of work on Return of the King and the fact that they used CGI beards and a lot of the orc characters were CGI instead of makeup/prosthetics this time around, I decided instead to go with my Best Picture selection and recognize the makeup team of Les Miserables. Hugh Jackman goes through an utter transformation from a poor slave with a mangy beard, to a respectable mayor, to a revolutionary fighter, to an old man on his deathbed. Anne Hathaway is likewise transformed from a working class woman to a prostitute, and the makeup helps accentuate her desperation. Supporting makeup is also done well, with particular note given to the many disguises used by Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen.

    Best Original Score:

    Dan Romer and Benh Zeitlin: Beasts of the Southern Wild
    Johnny Klimek and Reinhold Heil: Cloud Atlas
    Hans Zimmer: The Dark Knight Rises
    Howard Shore: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
    Henry Jackman: Wreck it Ralph

    I love film music very much, and I’m surprised more people don’t have an appreciation for it. The score of the film for me is often the thing that packs the most emotion, or sets the atmospheric setting of the moment. It is a vital part of a good movie, and sometimes it will make a bad movie good just because the music is amazing. This was another good year for musical scores. Even movies like 21 Jump Street sported good music this year, and I had a difficult time selecting 5 nominees. The score on Beasts of the Southern Wild is amazing, I just wished it had been used more throughout the film and in a more emotionally impactful way. The score is truly on this list on the merits of the music alone. Wreck it Ralph is truly an under-rated score. Henry Jackman masterfully crafts a score that blends the 8-bit bleeping and blooping of video games with a moving and emotional score. Yes it is on this list because the score was what made me tear up during the film’s final epic moment when Ralph finds the hero within. Hans Zimmer puts a cap on the Dark Knight trilogy with yet another profound and riveting score. I couldn’t in good conscience give it the win, cause a lot of the music is similar to and uses themes from the other Dark Knight movies. But the way Hans worked the music on that last revelatory sequence was incredible. 3 hands were actually involved in the score from Cloud Atlas, and they created the most emotionally impactful score of the year. It reminds me of Inception the way this score builds and builds on itself until the huge emotional payoff at the end of the film when the score bares all and comes out triumphantly. But it was Howard Shore’s return to the music of Middle Earth that I found worthy of winning this category this year. Most composers have a difficult time with creating new music for franchise films. It’s often times too easy to reuse themes from past installments (see Dark Knight Rises above). Yet Howard Shore has created bold new themes in each and every installment of the franchise, and really pulled all the stops out on the Hobbit. Almost the entire film is composed of new music, and just when you think it wasn’t possible, Howard pulls yet another adventurous sounding main theme out of his pocket to dominate the movie. The score is woven in at just the right cues for the best dynamic and emotional impact.

    Best Original Song:

    “Never Had” from 10 Years: Music and lyrics by Oscar Isaac and Alan Doyle. Performed by Oscar Isaac.
    “Touch the Sky” from Brave: Music and lyrics by Alex Mandel. Performed by Julie Fowlis.
    “Who Did That to You?” from Django Unchained: Music and lyrics by Paul Epworth and John Legend. Performed by John Legend.
    “Song of the Lonely Mountain” from The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey: Music and lyrics by Howard Shore and Neil Finn. Performed by Neil Finn
    “From Here to the Moon and Back” from Joyful Noise: Music and lyrics by Dolly Parton. Performed by Dolly Parton, Jeremy Jordan, and Kris Kristofferson.

    Original Song is one of my favorite oscar categories. I like it because it gives the academy a chance to recognize some films that may not quite be oscar caliber but might still be good in their own way or have a song that is really impactful. I agree that in recent years the songs have not seemed to be that good, but just like the movies were better this year, so were the songs. I had a REALLY hard time selecting 5 nominees. I wanted 10-15 nominees! One of the first songs I heard where I knew it would likely be on this list was “Touch the Sky” from Brave. This folksy adventurous song really helps set the tone and independent spirit of Merida as she embarks on her journey. Personally, if I could have given Oscar Isaac an oscar (bad pun I know) last year for his performance of “Love is the Drug” from Sucker Punch, I would have, but alas it wasn’t an original song. This year he strikes back with an original emotional ballad from a little known film called 10 Years. He delivers an incredible yet understated performance at a critical moment in the film. “Song of the Lonely Mountain” is the end credits song from The Hobbit, and Neil Finn summons his inner Jethro Tull and delivers a power ballad of epic proportions. “Who Did That to You?” is this year’s runner up. They should rename the song “Who Did That to John Legend?” What an amazingly catchy nostalgic song that feels like it came out of the real old Motown days. Django Unchained featured a slew of amazing original songs, but this one really stood out. And this year’s winner was “From Here to the Moon and Back” from Joyful Noise. The only song to bring tears to my eyes. Dolly sings it with such sweet melancholy that it goes right to the heart. Joyful Noise was another film that had a slew of great original music, and it’s a shame the film will likely be overlooked because it was released in early January of 2012. Ok, I can’t resist. Here’s 5 more honorable mentions:

    “Everybody Needs a Best Friend” from Ted
    “Suddenly” from Les Miserables
    “He’s Everything” from Joyful Noise
    “Come on Girl” from Brooklyn Brothers Beat the Best
    “Undercover Love” from Rock of Ages

    Best Visual Effects:

    Uli Nefzer, Angela Barson, Stephanie Ceretti, and Russell Earl: Cloud Atlas
    Joe Letteri, R. Christopher White, David Clayton, and Eric Saindon: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
    Bill Westenhofer, Guillaume Rocheron and Erik-Jan De Boer: Life of Pi
    Chris Brenczewski, Greg Strause, Jake Morrison, and Colin Strause: Marvel’s The Avengers
    Richard Stammers, Paul Butterworth, Charley Henley, and Trevor Wood: Prometheus

    This was another outstanding year for visual effects. Whether it was the amazing futuristic cityscapes of Cloud Atlas, a mysterious alien world in Prometheus, the return of Gollum and a slew of new CGI creations in The Hobbit, or a team of some of our favorite superheroes in The Avengers, visual effects artists once again showed off their talents. There are a bunch of other titles I would have loved to include on this list (Dark Knight Rises, John Carter, Red Tails), many of them worthy of being included here, but I selected what I felt were the greatest achievements in special effects, both considering quantity and quality. Dark Knight got left out because of quantity. John Carter was left out because of quality. However, there was only one film this year that really pushed the envelope of what is possible, and that was Life of Pi. Not only did the effects team manage to bring a Bengal tiger and other animals to believable life hair by hair in some of the best CGI work I’ve seen to date, but their amazingly breathtaking work on a sinking ship, dream-like ocean sequences, and a mysterious island populated by meerkats helped deliver one of the most visually beautiful films ever made.

    Best Sound Editing:

    Barbara Delpuech, Mike McKone, and Dan Yale: Battleship
    Frank Kruse and Markus Stemler: Cloud Atlas
    Wylie Stateman: Django Unchained
    Brent Burge, Chris Ward, and David Farmer: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
    Ben Burtt and Matthew Wood: Red Tails

    A lot of people wonder what the difference between the two sound categories actually is. In short, sound editing deals with foley and sound effects (footsteps, gunshots, waves crashing, R2-D2’s beeps), whereas sound mixing deals with the entire sound mix for the whole film (dialogue, music, sound effects). Sound Editing is always the more creative category because the sound editors often have to create their own sound effects, especially for fantasy and science fiction films where there is no basis for the sound. Nobody really pushed the bar this year, but 5 films had outstanding sound effects that stood out. Battleship and the underrated Red Tails had excellent vehicular sound effects that captured the excitement of dogfight battles in the air and war at sea. Cloud Atlas was excellent in all regards from a car crashing into water, to a plane crash, to a sci fi battle sequence. The Hobbit once again populated Middle Earth with exciting and engaging sounds. But it was Stateman’s work on Django Unchained that gets the ultimate honor. From the obviously complex and difficult gun battles (that last one had to be a nightmare), to the more subtle effects like whips and the swaying of a giant tooth on a spring, the sound effects played as much a role in the feel of this movie as the dialogue, music, or action itself.

    Best Sound Mixing:

    John T. Reitz and Gregg Rudloff: Argo
    Lars Ginzel and Matthias Lempert: Cloud Atlas
    Tony Lamberti and Michael Minkler: Django Unchained
    Christopher Boyes, Michael Hedges, Michael Semanick, and Carlos Solis: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
    Fredrick Cuevas, Reagan Mendoza, Andy Nelson, and Mark Paterson: Les Miserables

    In the sound mixing category, we had some very nice sounding movies this year. The action of the Hobbit was mixed very nicely along with the musical score, and Argo featured a great mix as well, especially during that harrowing scene at the end. The mixers on Django unchained carefully mixed dialogue, sound effects, and interesting musical selections at just the right times. And Les Miserables overcame the difficult task of taking singing which was recorded live on set and then mixing that with an orchestra recorded later and still making it sound good. But Cloud Atlas I felt deserved recognition for something this year, and the perfect mix of dialogue, voiceovers, and sound effects accompanied by Heil’s and Klimek’s beautiful score woven in at just the right moments created a mix that really helped breathe life and add emotional depth to this film.

  • [Ian, your epic comment got sidelined for a couple of minutes in the spam filter because of all the hyperlinks. Hope its disappearance into the void didn’t give you a scare.]

  • TOM

    @mel – I’ve seen the ‘charming’ late-night appearances and I know what you mean. I appreciate her and wouldn’t mind if TIronLady magic works, but at some point you’d wish all nominees would have to sign a gag order and just show the dignity that Mo’nique displayed.

  • Sammy

    Harvey should have taken Amour as his race horse! He would have swept everything!

  • Ian

    Nope, we’re good. Not sure how epic the comment is on (as you put it) “the tiny little stage of this page” :p

  • Ian:

    You have LES MISERABLES as your Number 1 preference to win?

    That really warms my heart I must say! Your likes are rare at AD this year! Do we still have a bit of hope for the film?

    And great to hear about the work on Iowa’s Obama campaign! That was a state that was contested for a while, but stood by the President in the end!!!

  • Nope, we’re good. Not sure how epic the comment is on (as you put it) “the tiny little stage of this page” :p

    Hey, but all of us are responsible for making the discussion pages expand or shrink to fit the amount of effort we put into expressing ourselves — sometimes in narrow-minded terms, but mostly with broad-minded thoughtfulness.

  • One other thing Ian.

    As far as Sasha Stone’s “overwhelming” support of LINCOLN on these boards, this is precisely the reason why I have been coming back to these hallowed halls for years. She has real passion, she doesn’t mince words, she stands by her choice with far more than just cheerleading–she backs up her opinion and conviction with artistic, historical and statistical analysis, and she weathers the storm against all the mean-spirited naysayers who troll the boards at one point or another. If she can’t hold down the forte, who can? Not to mention you have seen some cheap shots from the anti-Spielberg brigade–people like Jeff Wells and Kyle Smith and those who use the ‘boring’ card over and over. I love the passion. I love the die-hard support of a single film, and I love the exceedingly intelligent conversation and exceptional writing that backs up this affection. I would have it no other way if I were at the helm here. Every one of LINCOLN’s co-nominees has received comprehensive attention and analysis, and even our beloved LES MISERABLES has been featured in many posts, despite some of the commenters, who have used the film to declare their “taste” and aversion to a genre that always gets a raw deal from the “discerning” blogger.

    I’ve enjoyed the ride here for LINCOLN, and though I am dreaming of a LES MISERABLES or even LIFE OF PI upset on the 24th, there’s at least a small part of me that would love to see Sasha Stone smiling. She’s earned it, and her performance has been a real inspiration for those who move forward with positive energy and sheer passion. It helps too that I love LINCOLN, but even in a few instances in past years when I wasn’t on the bandwagon fully, I always admired what I read.

    Ryan Adams of course is in this equation in a very big way as well, and kudos to him.

  • Sasha Stone

    Hey Sam, here’s a big thank you for that comment. You really made my day. I appreciate that. I’ll never understand why readers want to come here specifically to hate on me. There are so many other sites out there for them to hang out at, where people agree with THEM and not me.

  • Piers Orlando

    Argo backlash?… Bring it on.

    “Argo plays to Hollywood’s worst traditions by erasing a Latino hero
    Argo is a good movie, but Ben Affleck dishonours a Mexican-American patriot by playing Antonio Mendez in ‘brown face'”

    My thoughts exactly. I expected better from Mr Clooney as well. Having said that he would probably have directed a better film.

  • eclipse22

    same old same old i see!
    just testing the waters , putting my pinky toe in to see how cold the water is a week after the DGA ARGO love!!!!!
    clearly still very chilly , i’d say leaning toward sub-zero temperature LOL poor Argo!
    in a way i’m kinda happy its not LES MISERABLES having the audacity to swindle prom king title votes its way , and it well could have been the case phew i guess it dodge a bullet there.

    i think i’d be otherwise more upset and probably would stay away completely , but i did like the analogy of a poster who said its her house.

    i guess i’ll peek in tomorrow night, have a nice weekend everyone!
    i’m watching the carnival of sao paulo in brasil on tv, its a great production show to rival the organization of a film production! everyone is happy and having a great time dancing /

    just goes to show its all about perspective to quote a famous soap “Like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives.” come oscar night the show will be over until next time and everyone will saddle up a horse to get on and ride it the whole way to the promise land of Oscar 🙂

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