Leonardo DiCaprio on location for the 'Wolf of Wall St.' in NYC


It’s not as difficult these days as it once was to early-predict Best Picture. The thing about the awards race that we can pretty much count on: the fix is in. There was a time when Big Oscar Movies could be very disappointing out of the gate. Not anymore. Somehow movies go all the way even when they aren’t very good.  This is a matter of timing, of less “real” critics on the beat (bloggers are less critical, more easily swayed), and great publicity teams. After all, there wasn’t a single win on Oscar’s stage in the major categories that didn’t have an unbeatable publicist behind it.

Sometimes movies can indeed break out in unexpected ways, and thus, they have their “Oscar story.” You really don’t need me to teach you about the importance of an “Oscar story” because we just lived through one. The comeback of Ben Affleck, his perceived snub, proved as unstoppable as Slumdog Millionaire’s “It was going to go straight to video” meme.  I always figured no one could beat Lincoln’s “Oscar story,” which was actually real but no one cared. One perfectly spun Deadline story after the Golden Globes regarding Bill Clinton was all that was needed to derail that.

But most of the time, they enter the race, and most of those on our radar right now are the kind that don’t really have an Oscar story. When you see them coming from that far away they begin the year as the “defacto frontrunner.” That puts them in the Goliath category as they await this year’s David.  In the Oscar race, quality, preparation and execution has nothing to do with it. You are trying to calculate human emotions.  So we’ll be on the lookout less for the best picture of the year and more on the lookout for the best “Oscar story.”

Let’s get started with this year’s already presumed Oscar movies – I suspect at least three of them will go to Telluride, a couple with go to Cannes, and probably all of them will go to Toronto. If they’re smart they will remember that you have to get your movie out there at or around Toronto if you want to win. You have to pretend to be under the radar — some can do that more easily than others — and you can’t ever look like you think you’re going to win the Oscar.  Even Schindler’s List would have a hard time nowadays. A Slumdog would have beaten a Schindler’s List, I figure.  I shudder to think of the ways the press and social networking would have picked that movie’s “historical accuracy” apart like vultures on a dead squirrel.

WhatCulture has assembled a decent top ten of their Best Picture predictions and we’ll kind of use that as a guide.  I also got some of these titles from this IMDB list of top 30.

The most likely out of the gate appear to be one long sausage fest, as usual:

1. Monuments Men — I have no comment on this, so I will quote What Culture instead:

And now we get to the big sharks of Oscar season. George Clooney and Grant Heslov are fresh off Oscar wins for producing the Best Picture-winning Argo, and are looking to win back-to-back gongs with this film based on the novel The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History by Robert M. Edsel.

This time, however, Clooney could potentially nab four awards, given that he is director, producer, screenwriter and actor, starring alongside Daniel Craig and Cate Blanchett in a film about the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives program of WW2, which sought to preserve art before Hitler could destroy it.

It’s a subject “worthy” of the Oscars, and voters will no doubt find its themes of art preservation to be self-reflexive and poignant; shooting starts in just a few short weeks, and I’m expecting big things.

2. Nebraska — Alexander Payne is overdue for a big win, with two screenplay Oscars under his belt and the film that should have won against Million Dollar Baby, Sideways. For Payne, like most great storytellers, he can’t make a movie dumbed down enough for Oscar voters. It seems beyond his ability.  The movie that wins has to illuminate the goodness in people, no matter what. You have to be able to root for the hero who appears to be the underdog triumphing.  But Payne makes movies about the darker, more embarrassing aspects of our nature.  Oscar voters have nowhere to put their “likes” — so either they want to reward Payne himself as their “like” or they want to reward the film’s scrappy underdogs that could.  Nebraska is directed by Payne from an original screenplay. Usually Payne writes the scripts he directs but this time, it’s a screenplay by Bob Nelson.  So whatever happens, Payne can’t win for Screenplay. The plot is “An aging, booze-addled father makes the trip from Montana to Nebraska with his estranged son in order to claim a million dollar Publisher’s Clearing House sweepstakes prize.”

At first glance, Nebraska doesn’t seem to be an “Oscar movie.” But you just never know how things might turn out. The only thing we do know going in is that Payne is overdue to win Director and Picture.

3. Wolf of Wall Street is another big one. It will be the fifth collaboration between Leo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese and will have a similar problem that Payne’s movie has – is it feelgoodie enough? I sincerely doubt it. But it’s one of a handful I’m anxiously awaiting.  DiCaprio fans will be hoping this is the role that will finally win DiCaprio what they consider is his overdue Oscar. I guess I’d say they never took a look at Peter O’Toole’s Oscar history.  But you never know – maybe this is Leo’s year, considering both The Great Gatsby and Wolf of Wall Street are coming out.  He’s such a wonderful actor and big star — he is the stuff Oscars are made on. So why wouldn’t they reward him?  After awarding the 22-year-old Lawrence for Actress this year they have no reasonable excuse for thus far not awarding DiCaprio.

Scriptshadow has a nicely written script review of the Black List screenplay — which basically heralds it as a “return to form” for Scorsese, meaning he’s back in his comfort zone with mobsters. Only this time the gangsters are banksters.  It sounds more like the Departed to me only without William Monahan’s flourishes.  The Departed remains among my favorites of Scorsese’s films because of Monahan’s script. So I hope this one lives up to that. Either way, who cares what Oscar voters (industry voters because there is no difference now) think — it looks like a good time ride into the darker places.

4.  Inside Llewyn Davis – Joel and Ethan Coen’s movie about the ’60s folk scene. Being that their only Oscar winning Best Picture was the one story that wasn’t an original screenplay I expect this one will be a sweet indulgence for Coen brothers fans — but it’s hard to imagine Academy voters being that cool. You never know, I guess.  They are like Woody Allen — beloved by the Academy so always must be considered for nominations no matter what.  They don’t make movies to win Oscars, which might explain why their movies are so consistently great.

5. Fruitvale – it hit big at Sundance, like Beasts of the Southern Wild did. I can’t wait to see it – here is what Whatculture says:

Fruitvale debuted at last month’s Sundance Film Festival to massive acclaim, scooping the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award for U.S. dramatic film, and will no doubt be hoping that it can repeat the indie success of Beasts of the Southern Wild, which in less than a year went from patent obscurity to being a Best Picture nominee.

Less fantastical and more focused on grit, Fruitvale depicts the final 24 hours in the life of Oscar Grant, a young man who was shot dead by a police officer at an Oakland, California police station.

Early Sundance reviews suggest that the film is an impassioned plea for victim’s rights, boosted by a stellar breakout portrayal from Michael B. Jordan (Chronicle) in the lead role, one critic even comparing him to a young Denzel Washington. Could the young actor scoop a Best Actor nomination? It will take considerable support to get an indie with only one prestige talent attached (Octavia Spencer) to make the big leagues, but I’ll be rooting for it all the way.

6. The Counselor is a screenplay by Cormac McCarthy (written directly for the screen; not adapted from a book), and directed by Ridley Scott, starring Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender, Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz and Cameron Diaz. O how I wish the Coens were directing it but Ridley Scott ain’t half bad.

Over at ScriptShadow there is a hilarious review of the screenplay:

This script made me want to commit suicide. It was so bleak, it made me want to overdose on heroin while skydiving into an avalanche of naked women.

Bordertown, sex, drugs, violence – of course, they still sort of owe Ridley Scott an Oscar. Something tells me he’ll never get one either but here’s to hoping.

7. Rush — I suppose we can go to Ron Howard town, if the screenwriter is Peter Morgan. They must have something to do with Oscar on their minds if they went that way.  It stars Chris Hemsworth, though, so that makes it seem like it can’t be Oscar-y enough.  I’m willing to keep an open mind.

8.12 Years a Slave — by one of the most prolific and distinguished Oscar-ignored filmmakers, Steve McQueen, stars Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch, Quvenzhané Wallis. The plot — based on the 1853 memoir of Solomon Northup — involves “A man living in New York during the mid-1800s who is kidnapped and sold into slavery in the deep south.” There are so many stories to be told about slaves before the end of the Civil War and it’s great to see someone is telling one of those.

9. Foxcatcher, directed by Bennett Miller, “The story of John du Pont, who suffered from paranoid schizophrenia and killed Olympic wrestler David Schultz.” Stars Channing Tatum, Steve Carell, Mark Ruffalo, Sienna Miller.

10. The Great Gatsby – Baz Luhrmann’s epic on the Great American Novel starring DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan. It’s tough to tell how this one will turn out. But we’ll hold its place until we hear otherwise.

11. August: Osage County is kept aloft because it will feature two performances by Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts. But its director, at least so far, doesn’t appear to be a big name enough to push it through into the Best Picture game — but you just never know, right? Remember The Blind Side.  John Wells directed The Company Men.  You know, Streep shoots to the top of the list with this performance and she might win yet another Oscar (which is why Viola Davis should have won last year).

12. Captain Phillips — directed by Paul Greegrass and starring Tom Hanks and Catherine Keener. Hanks has my undying admiration for starring balls-out in Cloud Atlas. I’m a fan for life. So I greatly look forward this one.   It’s “The true story of Captain Richard Phillips and the 2009 hijacking by Somali pirates of the US-flagged MV Maersk Alabama, the first American cargo ship to be hijacked in two hundred years. Screenwriter is Billy Ray (State of Play, Shattered Glass, etc.)

13. Before Midnight — the third installment of the wonderfully unprecedented series of Jesse and Celine. Directed by Richard Linklater and written by Linklater, Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy — it seems like this might be one that breaks through Oscar’s barrier. I don’t know how you can’t be impressed by the scope of it, the execution of it and what it has meant to many of us who have grown up alongside these wonderful characters.

14. Trance – it doesn’t look like it’s an “Oscar movie” but since it’s Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire and 127 Hours) it has to be considered.

15. Oldboy – a highly anticipated, sure to be love/hated film by Spike Lee. I’m not expecting the Academy to give Spike Lee his due. Ever. In my lifetime. But that doesn’t mean I won’t anticipate one of his movies.  The plot: “An advertising executive is kidnapped and held hostage for 20 years in solitary confinement. When he is inexplicably released, he embarks on an obsessive mission to discover who orchestrated his punishment, only to find he is still trapped in a web of conspiracy and torment.” OldBoy stars Josh Brolin and Samuel L. Jackson.

16. Stories We Tell — I still don’t know where they’ll put one of the best films I saw last year, Sarah Polley’s Stories we Tell.  But it should be considered, at least, for screenplay.  It’s too much to hope for anything beyond that but I suspect voters will love this film.

17. Untitled David O. Russell Abscam project that reteams Oscar winners Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper with Christian Bale. Russell appears to be barreling towards a big Oscar win. It seems only a matter of time. The plot, “An FBI sting operation in the 1970s called Abscam leads to the conviction of United States Congressmen.”

18. Her – written and directed by Spike Jonze, this is sort of a modern tale of a man who has a relationship with an electronic device.  If anything, it could be a contender for original screenplay but sounds too darkly funny for feelgoody Oscar voters.

19. The Butler – starring Forest Whitaker and directed by Lee Daniels. I hope it’s great. It’s about a black butler who served many presidents.

20. The Bling Ring – directed by Sofia Coppola and should be higher on the list. But the Academy appears to have Coppola-phobia after awarding her Original Screenplay for Lost in Translation. No more “Oscar story” means she is roundly ignored. But perhaps this one might go all the way.

With Cannes coming up in May, I’m sure this list will change a bit. We’ll keep checking in — but for now, this is what jumps out at me from the page.

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  • Filipe

    “You know, Streep shoots to the top of the list with this performance and she might win yet another Oscar (which is why Viola Davis should have won last year).”

    The same could be said about Jennifer Lawrence, who will certainly make a big fuss with Serena coming up too this year. Riva should have won.

  • CMG

    Maybe after The Artist and Argo winning back to back there is a backlash among the idea of another Hollywood tableaux like Saving Mr. Banks. I was not going to put Monuments Men in that group but that movie is just reading like Oscar bingo.

    I feel like The Butler has a shot in being a highly watchable trainwreck that could get Armond White to do a Scanners and for that, the world may become a better place.

    And as I said before, I am buying whatever Annapurna Pictures/Megan Ellison (Her/Russell’s Abscam film/Foxcatcher) is selling including the less likely Spring Breakers and The Grandmaster.

    I am having so much anxiety about August: Osage County. For my friends and I, it is one of our favorite plays in the last decade but the director choice (and I like Shameless) is not bold enough. Was Mike Nichols unavailable? Also the fact there are so many graduates of the Steppenwolf Theatre Company who could have easily slid into these roles (not even talking about the original cast, although Amy Morton deserves a second act in movies) like Joan Allen, Michael Shannon, Martha Plimpton, John Malkovich, and Laure Metcalf but are not in it is absurd.

  • Leocdc


  • Leocdc

    I think Gravity is going to be a dark horse in the race for BP.
    If Children of Men got nominations for Cinematography, Film Editing and Screenplay (how close it would have been to BP!), I believe Gravity will be near of getting that kind of love, if we’re expecting something as good as the first.

  • James

    If Before Midnight is nearly as good as good as Sunrise and Sunset, I can’t see how they ignore it. Some say it’s even better. If we yearn for realistic character and honest films then let’s freakin reward them. No more SLP nonsense. I want a movie that plays out like life.

    Some things I’m looking forward to
    Inside Llewyn Davis
    The Bling Ring
    Only God Forgives
    Wolf on Wall Street
    The Counselor
    The Place Beyond The Pines
    The Stoker
    Much Ado About Nothing
    Pacific Rim(Okay Guillermo Del Toro is mostly the reason why)
    Monuments Men

  • Marina

    What about Susanne Biers “Serena” starring Jennifer Lawrence and Cooper… Lawrence could get nominated since her role is supposed to be a juicy one, and since the academy loves her.

  • Glenn UK

    And of course there could be another musical in the running if Streisand gets Gypsy off the ground early in the year! Julian Fellowes script was handed in last September and everything has gone quiet since! She certainly looked the part last Sunday!!!!

  • Corvo

    One title: 12 YEARS A SLAVE

  • Abe

    I agree about Gravity. At least that is my hope.

    I also want to throw in Labor Day, Jason Reitman’s new movie starring Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin. Its a great book and cast and might send Jason Reitman back to his Up in the Air and Juno territory.

    Also Creed of Violence, Todd Field’s first since Little Children.

    Also anticipating PTA’sew one. Having a quicker turn-around than usual and adapting a screenplay which proved successful with There will be Blood. And he is Super overdue for an Oscar having never won.

    And Darren Aronofsky is deep into production on Noah which re-teams Jennifer Connelly and Russel Crowe. Lets just hope he doesn’t sing.

    The last few may be 2014 territory, but worth having on the radar for sure.

  • Alboone

    Damn when’s the podcast coming through? You guys still depressed?

  • The Dude

    Well, Monuments Men looks like it might be too Oscar-y and “important” and not “underdog” enough for the Academy. But those rules don’t seem to apply if you kiss many asses well enough, like Clooney does.

    No F1 movie will get close to an Oscar, unless they finally make the Ayrton Senna biopic that is announced every other year.

    I’m not really looking forward to Oldboy because what makes the original work, besides the execution, is that final twist, and I doubt an American movie will ever pull it off, even a Spike Lee one.

    The Abscam one looks like a serious contender, but will it be released this year?

    And Sofia Coppola didn’t deserve to be nominated after Lost in Translation. It’s hard to not lose some respect for her after she not only makes a movie like Marie Antoniette, but takes it to Cannes and is genuinely surprised most people there hate. Mind you, I don’t hate it myself, and I really like Somewhere, but sometimes she seems as alienated from the real world as her characters.

  • Kevin Klawitter

    I think it’s a little tougher to predict the Best Picture winner than you say, because it appears that making a Best Picture winner is a delicate balancing act. “Lincoln” seemed like a sure bet because it checked basically all of the “Oscar bait” requirements. But that was also its downfall: it was so perfectly Oscar-y that a backlash was inevitable, and possibliy inevitably harsh and nasty. “Argo” clicked a few of the Oscar switches (historical tale, happy ending, favorable view of movies) but was primarily a piece of seriocomic entertainment. In other words, Oscar-y, but not TOO Oscar-y.

    I’m probably wrong, but on this list movies like “The Monuments Men”, “August: Osage County”, and “The Great Gatsby” (along with maybe a couple others) seem more in the “Lincoln” category than the “Argo” category. Clooney’s picture has to deal with the weight of being a WWII movie that doesn’t (directly, at least) deal with the Holocaust, which might cause some backlash. “August: Osage County” has such a great cast and beloved source material that expectations could be unreasonably high, and “The Great Gatsby” has “Bait Hate” written all over it.

  • The J Viewer

    Thanks for the list and introductory comments in this article, Sasha.

    RUSH. When I first saw the title, I thought we were looking at the remake of the 1991 JJL & JP-costarring crime/drama flick – which is not the case. (I once was quite a big fan of the underrated, talented Jennifer Jason Leigh.)

    From this list what interests me for now includes the following – Wolf of Wall Street, The Counselor, August, Captain Phillips, Trance, Oldboy, Stories We Tell (thanks to Sasha’s brief comment), David O. Russell’s project, Her, and The Bling Ring.

    I am also interested in particular to see what Ridley Scott, Spike Lee, Spike Jonze, as well as David O. Russell.

    PS: With Jennifer Lawrence’s name on the list, I am also awaiting Serena to come my way. (To be honest, however, at least for the time being it doesn’t look like Oscar material to me.)

  • unlikely hood

    I refuse to look back on this year as just a triumph of publicity over substance. Come on. If Lincoln had won (an outcome I also wished for), you’d be much more magnanimous, and say that it was a great crop of films, one of the best in years. You don’t get to change that just because Argo won.

    Hey, these new films look kinda good too.

  • Talie

    There’s also the biopics with Naomi Watts as Diana (sure to be interesting)…Kidman as Grace Kelly (could go either way). And then Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper are reunited for Serena (great book + Susanne Bier directing). Gravity for Sandra Bullock will be one to watch as well.

  • steve50

    From your list, Sasha, I have highest hopes for something unique from:
    – 12 Years a Slave ( Honestly, don’t see how it can miss)
    – Nebraska (Payne is always worth looking forward to)
    – Captain Phillips (Greengrass sans automobiles for the first time since United 93)
    – Stories We Tell (based on your review last year)

    Down a rung or two, in the hopeful position:
    – Inside Llewyn Davis (Coens)
    – The Counselor (Ridley + subject matter + cast)
    – Fruitvale (buzz)
    – Her (because it’s Jonze writing and directing)
    – Foxcatcher (Miller’s under-the-radar style + a good story)

    Of the rest, I have no appetite for Gatsby, anything by Russell, Ron Howard, or Lee Daniels. Reviews will have to be through the roof.

    Spike Lee, Danny Boyle and Sophia C – toss-ups. They aren’t at the top of the list, but neither are they at the bottom.

  • The J Viewer

    My comment: “I am also interested in particular to see what Ridley Scott, Spike Lee, Spike Jonze, as well as David O. Russell.”

    Addition: I am also interested in particular to see what Ridley Scott, Spike Lee, Spike Jonze, as well as David O. Russell, will be bringing upon the table.

    (Sorry, it felt like living in the Dark City where Book stole your thoughts and you never saw light of day and in process forgot what you intended to write down in full. lol)

  • PS: With Jennifer Lawrence’s name on the list, I am also awaiting Serena to come my way. (To be honest, however, at least for the time being it doesn’t look like Oscar material to me.)

    I gently urge you to accept that it is. It’s Legends of the Fall meets There Will Be Blood. It’s opening a week after TIFF so they’re positioning it to be a player.

  • vejayes

    The Monuments Men for the BP win !

    If so, John Goodman will be starring in 3 BP winners in a row (2011-2013) to top Russell Crowe with two (2000-2001).

  • CMG

    I disagree about Oldboy. I think aside from Park Chan-Wook devotees like myself, nobody knows about the twist, and Spike cannot wait to shock people. He seemed very excited by the mere mention of it. I was at a RHS screening and people except a few knew little about the movie or that it was a remake but were immediate impressed when he dropped who was the cast.

    I keep on thinking that Abscam filming needs to hurry up but Russell at a director’s panel kept remarking at how easy with digital it is to work and do post even if he does miss film. Russell’s always been a little sloppy, so even if it looks like a rushed product the sloppiness was always going to be there, but I think it could make the cut.

    I only hope The Bling Ring gets Harris Savides a posthumous nomination for Cinematography- then again I need to see the images before getting that declarative.

    Inside Llewyn Davis is going to be the movie ignored by Oscar that we will bemoan the Academy for because the movie came out way too early in the year. Plus CBS Films is just not a player for prestige movies.

    Hoping Greenglass returns to form. I need my geo-politically-minded procedural fix and even if Captain Phillips appears to be an easier sell than the ones I have liked in the past (ZD30, Carlos, The Baader-Meinhof Complex, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) since there is a clear-cut hero but I like to see Hanks in a role where he has a real conflict. He is our Jack Lemmon and may this be his Missing.

  • The J Viewer


    They have all rights to set their hope so high – fair enough. : )

    However, I love Jennifer Lawrence. SO, for now I am going to play safe on my part for fear of being disappointed — by not expecting too much of it. (If she can pull a Tom Hank or Russell Crowe’s back-to-back Oscar-worthy effort, then it’s good for her though. Cheers.)

    PS: By the way, I don’t recall the […] title, but I am looking forward to Jody Foster’s upcoming film as well. Just saying.

  • Although a few films overlap, I did a top 50+ most anticipated films of 2013 piece on my website, which covers both domestic and international films. I hope it adds to the conversation:


  • Thomas

    I personally think Viola Davis lost to Meryl Streep when Streep lost to Kate Winslet in 2008. That year was the year Streep really should have won her long over due second Best Actress Oscar. If she had, Davis would have won.

  • steve50

    The Past (Farhadi) with Tahar Rahim (A Prophet) sits near the top of my list, as does The Disappearence of Eleanor Rigby (Chastain/McAvoy) and Two Faces of January (dir. by writer of Drive), both shiny new directors with unbeatable casts.

    (thanks for the reminders on your site, Marko)

  • Bryce Forestieri

    “John Wells directed The Company Men”

    Ohh that’s who?

  • Sasha Stone

    I refuse to look back on this year as just a triumph of publicity over substance.

    Not just this year: every year.

  • phantom

    Here, I was bored out of my mind last week post-lastprecursor / pre-Oscar, so I made lists in the 8 main categories, 100 films in BP/BD and around 50 each in the others : http://www.awardscorner.blogspot.hu/2013/02/2013.html

  • Kjartan Atli Óskarsson

    Will Reykjavík come out this year? Because that sounds like it could be Oscar material, a film about the 1986 summit between Ronald Reagan (played by two-time Academy Award winner Michael Douglas) and Mikhail Gorbachev (played by two-time Academy Award winner Cristoph Waltz).It will be directed by Mike Newell (Four Weddings and a Funeral, Donnie Brasco, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire)

  • Bryce Forestieri


    “The Past (Farhadi) with Tahar Rahim (A Prophet)”

    Damn, that almost made my pants wet^^

    Please ya’ll keep enlightening my ignorant ass about all these potentially awesome films I have no idea about.

  • brace

    this is what i find interesting about Oscars – anticipation, waiting for presumed Oscar contenders to premiere and see the first reactions. it stays interesting until the nominations are announced.
    about Payne being overdue for a big win – what’s wrong with winning for screenplay? that category is more interesting than best director. I don’t care in what category someone I respect wins as long as he/she wins. which is not to say that I care much about Payne (he’s fine, but not one of my favorites)- I say more general. the same for acting categories – why is best actor (actually best lead role)more important than best supporting? it doesn’t matter. obviously I don’t take Oscars much seriously. for me it’s just getting the title (academy award winner or nominee), and I only want people I like to get that title.

  • Bryce Forestieri

    “I think Gravity is going to be a dark horse in the race for BP”

    I doubt it. it’s The Oscars. Unless besides brilliant and innovative it’s also hugely entertaining I putting it down a long shot.

  • keifer

    Sasha and Ryan (and beloved AD readers),

    My most anticipated film to see this year is “The Zero Theorem”. “A computer hacker’s goal to discover the reason for human existence continually finds his work interrupted thanks to the Management; this time, they send a teenager and lusty love interest to distract him.”

    Director: [the brilliant] Terry Gilliam ! !
    Stars: [Oscar winner] Christoph Waltz, [Oscar winner] Matt Damon, Ben Whishaw, [Oscar winner] Tilda Swinton, and David Thewlis

    Great cast, eh? I just think this film has the possibility to be brilliant. AMPAS tends to shy away from Gilliam (which I don’t understand). He ain’t no slouch.

    Consider taht somne of his films do receive Oscar nods in some categories:

    “Brazil”, “The Adventures of Baron Munchausen”, “The Fisher King”, “The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnasus”, and one of my personal favorites “Time Bandits” which was totally ignored by AMPAS.

    I think his films hold up very well, and they are always at the very least interesting to watch.

  • steve50

    Phantom – you constantly amaze.

    Bryce – I know, eh? Plus, it’s a romance. I’m there.

  • Bryce Forestieri

    Given the material, talent involved and antecedents(THE IDES OF MARCH, THE DESCENDANTS) I have very very low expectations for MONUMENTS MEN and NEBRASKA, and they seem to be the de facto sight unseen front-runners for everyone. FML.

    In any case. Go Zac go!!


  • @steve50 – Anytime, glad it was of use!

  • Patrick

    Stories We Tell was one of my favorites from Telluride last year and I can’t wait for US distribution. The Sapphires may get a sniff for O’Dowd if it builds box office through the spring like I think it can and he’s pitched for a supporting slot.

    I’ll add a couple of foreign entries that nabbed a couple of Bears in Berlin – “Gloria” from Chile and “Parde” from Iran. Now there is no way that Parde is going to be a submission from Iran given Jafar Panahi’s standing in that country but he may get some recognition in direction or screenplay (Foreign language films have nabbed a screenwriting nomination in each of the last two years – Amour and A Separation).

  • phantom

    Thanks, Steve !

  • The J Viewer

    Apologies for multiple comments here but I need to add this one for your consideration.

    I love Woody Allen for his directing and writing (for his films). So, I am also looking forward to ++Blue Jasmine++, starring Cate Blanchett, Sally Hawkins et al.

    By the way, to honor some of the directors whose films I love, Woody Allen, Steven Spielberg, Cameron Crowe, Ridley Scott, (et al) to name only a few or so, are ones whose films I will watch unconditionally. [*In some cases where applicable, more for their writing skills at times, though.] *signed out*

  • Brian

    I look forward to Blanchett rejoining the Oscar season and am ecstatic about Before Midnight. I refuse to look back, for me the grief is still too near. Onwards and (by god I hope) upwards.

  • Bryce Forestieri


    This is good shit!

    At first glance: THE ROVER by David Michod (ANIMAL KINGDOM) starring Guy Pearce, Robert Pattinson & Scoot McNairy (KILLING THEM SOFTLY)

    Co-sign me for that one too

  • Bryce Forestieri

    SNOWPIERCER: That director! that cast(fucking Tilda, wet dreams Chris Evans and Jamie Bell, that guy Ed Harris)! That concept art!

    Looks promising!!

  • @BryceForestieri

    Thank you! I’m glad you’re enjoying it. So much amazing stuff to look forward to next year. On paper, 2013’s already looking better than 2012.

  • Bryce Forestieri

    A new film by Alejandro Jodorowsky?!?!?!

    Boy, I’m so over 2012 already.

    Thanks for the lists Marko and Phantom.

  • ladiesnight

    Sasha, you write a lot on this site in ire of the white male mainstream consciousness of the Academy and you do a lot to support the cause of filmmakers, small and large, whose efforts advance the voices of minority groups.

    So, what gives with this obvious list of white guys flicks? Is this article just going for what has “Academy written all over it,” or were you actually trying to get us amped up? Jeez, the list of Best Picture nominees this year was surely more diverse and interesting than the one you foretell for the coming year.

    And even some of the write-ups here are unfair. First off, “8.12 Years a Slave – by one of the most prolific and distinguished Oscar-ignored filmmakers, Steve McQueen, stars Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch, Quvenzhané Wallis.” — you mention minor supporting actors as the “stars,” but ignore mention of Chiwetel Ejiofor?! Second, your discussion of “August: Osage County” completely ignores the rarity of the script at hand, its abundance of female opportunity, and instead plots it on some “just because of Meryl (oh and Julia)” case study.

    This piece looks rushed and unthoughtful. Why not jump out first this year, Sasha, with a list that shows us the opportunities to look forward to??

  • Diego

    “You know, Streep shoots to the top of the list with this performance and she might win yet another Oscar (which is why Viola Davis should have won last year).”

    As you said “she might win.”

    But there is no guarantee that she might even get nominated.

  • Bennett

    To The Wonder
    Knight of Cups
    Blue Jasmine
    Only God Forgives
    The Place Beyond the Pines
    12 Years a Slave
    The Great Gatsby
    The Monuments Men

    Sasha, please, for god sakes, forget about Meryl vs. Viola.

  • Bryce kills me.

  • Jason B

    GRAVITY might be too hard to miss.

    Also, I doubt this will make any splash, but I like to try to keep it in discussion, is Terrence Malick’s TO THE WONDER, that is considered a minor Malick film. But aside from cinematography (it’s going to be Chivo’s year) and his follow-up to the nominated Tree of Life, it comes out in April and will have time for people to reassess… and then still overlook.

  • Terometer

    None of the top 10 has a leading female character. Have some faith in films about women!

  • rufussondheim

    I really, really hope that Sasha and Ryan take a few minutes every day for about two weeks to read 12 Years a Slave. This movie will most likely be very difficult to watch and completely grasp for many in the Academy (and definitely for many Oscar Bloggers as well) and it will need your help. Yes, it’s on people’s radar because the cast has Brad Pitt and some other baity actors, but when it comes out, even if it’s a masterpiece, people will dismiss it because it’s too depressing, too honest, or too cruel. People want sanitized versions of history, they don’t want the real thing.

    My hope, Sasha and Ryan, is that the two of you make a serious effort to promote this film before it comes out so it stays on people’s radar and there is anticipation for it. I want people to read the book before they see the movie, I think it will help viewers to know the material before McQueen undoubtedly gives us a film that will be dense, ambiguous and not readily accessible, all the while being powerful and impactful. That’s what he does, he doesn’t make it easy, he just makes it good.

    So do, please read the book. I can link it here (it’s long past copyright) but if you don’t want to read it in this format, it’s really cheap for the E-book (Last I checked, there wasn’t a free version available, but it can be had for less than three bucks) But for those who want it to be free…


    Now what follows will contain spoilers, and much of it will be stuff I’ve covered before, but I want to post at length with new details on the book that should translate will to the screen (should MCQueen include them) I’ve no idea what McQueen will include them, but here are more descriptive events of two of the most effective sequences in the book. I do this because I want people to know the excellent source material. I want people to see this movie, and if it’s as good as I suspect it will be, I want it to be awarded properly. I want this movie to be seen for generations, and the best way for that to happen is that it wins awards.

    Scene 1. Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor) has been kidnapped in Washington DC in 1843 and is transported down to New Orleans by Theophilus Freeman (Paul Giamatti) along with other slaves, one of which is Eliza (Adepero Oduye) who has small children (one of which will likely be played by Quvenzhane Wallis). One of the slave buyers is William Ford (Benedict Cumberbatch).

    Ford quickly purchases Northup and decides to purchase Eliza as well. When Eliza learns she is about to be separated from her children she breaks down. She urges Ford to purchase her children as well, at which point Ford agrees to the purchase. But then Freeman says the children are no longer for sale because he’s decided to keep them and let them age for a bit whereupon he will be able to make more money off of them. Eliza falls apart at this point.

    I can see how a traditional director would shoot this scene, heck, the “action” is so effective that it should be about the performances. And this recalls the scenes of torture and abuse in Hunger, where McQueen filmed it all in one take, really letting the horror of the situation sink in the viewer with the long take, rather than editing it to death to capture every small detail. I can’t imagine this scene not becoming a powerhouse.

    Scene 2.

    Northup has been sold to the cruel, alcoholic Edwin Epps (Michael Fassbender) who is married to a jealous woman (who I think will be played by Sarah Paulson). Epps is a sadistic, morally bankrupt slaveowner who truly does not see his slaves as human, he treats them as playthings in his own sordid Tennesse Williams nightmare of a life. He will, for instance, decide he wants to be merry so he drinks and wants to dance and attend a party, so he forces all of his slaves to dance and be merry with him, all the while whipping them if they don’t dance merrily and cheerfully enough. He then will turn sour because of the alcohol and just start whipping them randomly as they all run away in fear.

    Epps is captivated by the charismatic Patsy (Lupita Nyong’o), an extremely talented worker and also quite beautiful. And Epps starts a sexual relationship with her. This makes his wife jealous and Epps punishes Patsy for this. It’s a complicated relationship.

    Things come to a head, and at one point Epps decideds to punish Patsy severely. So he has Patsy stripped naked and tied to the ground face down. He then makes Northup whip her. He does so reluctantly for 15 or so hits (Epps threatens to whip Northup if he doesn’t do this) but then Epps decides Northup isn’t hitting her hard again so he whips her himself. The book describes how there was so much blood that it started to pool on the ground and that eventually Patsey just laid there unconcious.

    Northup then goes on to how this incident affects Patsy on a permanent basis.

    When Northup learns he will be freedom and Henry Northup (Brad Pitt) comes to the plantation to take Solomon away, there is a beautiful scene where Patsey bids Solomon farewell. It is this scene that will win Nyong’O the Oscar if she is up to the challenge (since we have nothing to go on, it’s a big if.) because it is filled with so much complex emotion.

    I think this film will belong to these two women. It is through there experiences that we see the horrors of slavery. It should be noted that Northup himself finds himself the victim of immense cruelty at the hands of John Tibeats (Paul Dano) that will likely make it into the film. These scenes also have the potential of being made into lengthier sequences in the film, but I think the two I described would be more effective. But I would happily be proved wrong! I think both actresses will be awards contenders, their stories are just too compelling to ignore.

    In conclusion, please read the book. Even the film is terrible, the book is a unique look into an aspect of American History that rarely gets discussed beyond the surface. It’s a brief but philosophical take on one man’s experience of being kidnapped and sold into slavery and he undergoes a journey that’s simultaneously heartbreaking and beautiful.

  • Gentle Benj

    We’ve had nine BP nominees both years since the new method was introduced, so here are my early, early predicted nine:

    The Butler
    Captain Phillips
    Mandela: A Long Walk to Freedom
    The Monuments Men
    Saving Mr. Banks
    The Wolf of Wall Street

    That would be three from The Weinstein Company. Sounds about right, actually.

    If The Butler is really good, I think it has the potential to be a huge sweeper. It’s the one I would bet on at this early stage.

    In fact, if I had to bet on just one film in each category at this point, I would go with:

    Picture: The Butler
    Directing: Lee Daniels, The Butler
    Lead Actor: Forest Whitaker, The Butler
    Lead Actress: Zoe Saldana, Nina
    Supporting Actor: Bill Murray, Monuments Men
    Supporting Actress: Oprah Winfrey, The Butler
    Original Screenplay: Kelly Marcel, Saving Mr. Banks
    Adapted Screenplay: Daniels/Strong, The Butler
    Cinematography: Andrew Dunn, The Butler
    Editing: Joe Klotz, The Butler
    Art Direction: Catherine Martin, The Great Gatsby
    Costume Design: Ruth E. Carter, The Butler
    Makeup and Hairstyling: Debra Denson, The Butler
    Visual Effects: Star Trek into Darkness
    Original Score: Quincy Jones, The Butler
    Animated Feature: Frozen
    Sound Mixing: Rush
    Sound Editing: Rush

    That would be 10 wins for The Butler. I really think the potential is there for something like 10 wins on 12 or 13 nominations. It just has to live up to that potential. No small task. We’ll see.

  • So do, please read the book. I can link it here (it’s long past copyright) but if you don’t want to read it in this format, it’s really cheap for the E-book

    rufussondheim, I have a Kindle edition on my Nexus right now that I got Dec 21 after reading one of your comments before Christmas. There are 3 or 4 different e-book editions but anybody can get a sample of any one of them. and that’s how I chose which one I wanted — based on typeface, illustrations and slightly different introduction pages. I got it for $3.99

    I read the first 6 chapters — one chapter per day — which I think is how you said you read it. But then got busy (can you guess why?) and pretty much stopped reading for pleasure for the past few weeks.

    But yes, I heard you in December and have kept what you’ve been saying in mind. I don’t see how this can miss being one of the most important movies of 2013.

  • Christophe

    rufus, and the other good thing is m. fassbender could finally get an oscar nom in the now famous “white man in a black movie” best supproting actor spot. seth mcfarlane could totally include him in his “we saw your penis” retaliation song and i’m sure he’d be pleased about it, wouldn’t bitch around that it was sexist and stuff.

    gentle benj, as eager as i am to see the butler, methinks you’re getting a little too optimistic. it seems to be shaping up to be another strong and competitive year, unless most of the aforementioned projects turn out to be total duds, plus there will be many other recent history biopics (saving mr. banks, diana, grace of monaco…), the butler might turn out to be the most accomplished one, but i guess if it goes all the way to bp its awards trajectory would be similar to argo: fewer noms and wins but in the most crucial categories.

  • Bryce Forestieri


    You know it.


    Goddamn it. Now I’m gonna have to read 12 YEARS A SLAVE, and I wanted to take it easy for now and get some erotica. This is gonna be bad. If the movie is even less accessible than HUNGER and SHAME I don’t see how it gonna makes it into Oscar. Maybe if the critics rally behind it; and by this I mean winning at least 2 of the big 3.


    What do ya’ll think?


    threesome with them two behind that door right?

  • Gentle Benj

    You’re probably right, Christophe. It’s just the scope of this project that makes me think it could be a Titanic-style sweeper. All those decades, all those familiar actors playing familiar Presidents and First Ladies, the famous, rarefied environment of the White House–it gives everybody a lot of chances to show off. Plus it will carry an aura of importance–my understanding from script reviews is that one of the main conflict lines centers around disagreements between the main character and his son about how to pursue the advancement of civil rights and equality. It just seems like it has a really high hand–provided Daniels can play it just right, which I think he can. Sight unseen, though.

    Saving Mr. Banks is definitely not to be dismissed, though. What I’ve heard about the script is not just good, it’s breathless.

    IMDb lists Grace of Monaco as a 2014 release, even though it’s in post-production. Anyone know why? Also, any ideas on what will drive its story? I’m not that familiar with her life, but it just seems like a progression from successful actress to Oscar-winning icon to no-foolin’ princess. A great life to have lived, but for a story, I’m not seeing the drama.

  • Gentle benj, may I also suggest you rethink The Butler? And August is in my top ten predictions if not at the very top. That movie is going to clean up on nomination morning. No doubt here. I’m as clear about it as I was Hathaway’s Oscar a year ago.

  • Eric P.

    Beware of “August: Osage County”. Lest we forget “Doubt”, “Good”, “Carnage”, “War Horse”, “Proof”, “The History Boys” “Love! Valour! Compassion!”, “Closer”, “Rabbit Hole” and countless other movie adaptations of plays that did not live up to expectations.

  • Gentle Benj

    August: OC is my tenth pick for BP, and it will do fine in the acting categories, no doubt (I’m saying Streep in lead, Martindale in Supporting). But it’s based on a play, adapted by the playwright, and helmed by a director of mostly TV, so I get the feeling it might not feel very movie-like. Kinda small and stagy, along the lines of, say, Carnage or Doubt, but maybe more so. So that’s why I don’t have it higher. Again, at this insanely early stage.

  • I got to see a rough cut of Gravity, and whether or not it gets nominated for anything (aside from the very obvious tech noms it WILL get) doesn’t matter a lick to me. Its awesome. But it does happen to feature the best work Sandra Bullock has ever done. So while it may not be a BP player, I’d expect to see Bullock feature prominently in the Actress race.

    Here’s my list of stuff I’m looking forward to this year. Most of it has ZERO shot at the Oscars:

    The Wolf Of Wall Street
    Pacific Rim
    The World’s End
    Before Midnight
    Only God Forgives
    Inside Llewyn Davis
    To The Wonder
    Anchorman 2
    Star Trek Into Darkness
    The Hobbit 2
    Captain Phillips
    Labor Day
    The Way, Way Back
    Kick Ass 2
    Machete Kills
    Upstream Color
    The Monuments Men
    Blue Jasmine
    The Spectacular Now
    The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty
    At Any Price
    The Heat
    Escape From Tomorrow
    I’m So Excited
    August: Osage County
    The Counselor
    Mad Max: Fury Road
    Twelve Years A Slave
    Prince Avalanche
    Crystal Fairy
    Now You See Me
    Monsters University
    Aint Them Bodies Saints
    Frances Ha
    Stories We Tell
    The Wolverine
    Catching Fire
    The To Do List
    The Bling Ring
    Last Vegas
    The Internship
    Closed Circuit
    The East
    Devil’s Knot
    In A World…
    Out Of The Furnace
    Blood Ties
    Twenty Feet From Stardom
    The Place Beyond The Pines
    Girl Most Likely
    Wish You Were Here
    The Third Person
    Magic Magic
    Runner Runner
    After Tiller
    The Look Of Love
    Don Jon’s Addiction
    Better Living Through Chemistry
    Arthur Newman, Golf Pro
    The Company You Keep
    Much Ado About Nothing
    47 Ronin
    I, Frankenstein
    Journey To The West
    The Railway Man

  • Gentle Benj

    Jinx on the references to Doubt and Carnage, Eric P!

  • Christophe

    gentle benj, lol you sure sell it very eloquently! very excited abt mr banks too, but i read the palace of monaco was very cross after reading the script for the grace kelly biopic, they called it “purely fictional” and “needlessly glamorized”. Prince Albert II being friendly with several hollywood moguls and probably with many academy members, this might not go down too well when award season comes. The synopsis on imdb says all we know so far, it will tell the story of the crisis between the principality and the french government over tax issues. monaco has no income tax so many rich French taxpayers moved there while working and making money in France so eventually the issue was resolved by having French citizens residing in monaco pay income tax to France. i guess the script twists the story and might show grace as using her charms and wits to solve the situation or smth of the stort.

    bryce, i dunno they look like teenagers, this might not be legal…

  • Eric P.


    Sorry, didn’t know you listed them before. I’m just wary about play adaptations nowadays, since none of them seem to succeed the way their original productions did (with the MASSIVE EXCEPTION of “Wit” and “Angels in America”)

  • Gentle Benj

    Nah you beat me to it by a few seconds, Eric P. I just thought it was funny that while I was posting, you were saying the exact same thing (but with more examples).

  • Eric P.

    It’s sad how many examples there are. Somebody bring Elia Kazan back from the dead, please.

  • Quick question, Sasha: Has this year’s Oscar race soured you on George Clooney? I definitely detect a bit of negativity in your refusal to comment on Monuments Men. I hope I’m wrong.

  • Jason B

    @ Bennett –

    I doubt Knight of Cups will be released this year. Maybe if To the Wonder gains zero attention (neither hate or praise). TTW is released in April (USA), so for Cannes is in May is too soon for Knight of Cups. It would take away attention from TTW. Of course I could either be wrong or they might hold back until TIFF or something, but that seems too modest of a festival.

  • Gentle Benj

    I’ve been sour on Clooney since 2005, but maybe that’s just me.

  • Yvette

    Dude said:

    ‘Well, Monuments Men looks like it might be too Oscar-y and “important” and not “underdog” enough for the Academy. But those rules don’t seem to apply if you kiss many asses well enough, like Clooney does….’

    Ain’t that the truth. It will be a Clooney-dominated season and I dread it.
    I like the guy, like and respect his politics and political engagement. But this season has left a bad taste in my mouth. I knew he was a schmooze of the highest order, but this year was the pinnacle of how much of a politician he is within the industry. Anyone who believes Argo’s dominance this year had nothing to do with Clooney is just naive.
    I’m predicting he will win director, BP etc…regardless of who else is in contention. MM might be a masterpiece, I don’t know – but that doesn’t even matter….it will do what Spielberg and even Scorsese cannot do….SWEEP.
    *rant over until December*

    Looking forward to Spike Lee’s return to the Oscar talk fold, but doubt he will be in contention. He doesn’t kiss ass. Can’t wait for Wolf of Wall Street, and speaking of Mcconaughey…I didn’t see anyone mention Dallas Buyers Club – don’t know enough about the director to judge this yet. It looks great on paper, but its going to come down to a director that can mine that subject matter and do it justice as well as get MM do get down and gritty, like SS, Friedkin. Although it’s my favorite classic novel, I’m actually not looking forward to Gatsby because of Baz Luhrmann…his tendency is for schlock.

  • Yvette do you need a hug?

  • Geremy

    Monument Men reads more like an Oceans movie set in a WWII backdrop than anything else. Not saying it won’t be great (I’m a big fan of the Oceans movies) but not an Oscar movie.

    I’m looking at 12 Years a Slave (McQueen’s last 2 movies were fantastic and draining in the best way, guessing this is going to be his best yet), The Counselor, Wolf of Wall Street as big contenders. And keep an eye on Lowlife and Woody’s Blue Jasmin.

  • CMG

    I am really looking forward to The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: His & Hers but the movie seems a little too experimental for the academy to take notice unless there is something groundbreaking happening. I am just in it for the fact the director Ned Benson basically answered my wish of Isabelle Huppert and Jessica Chastain playing a mother and a daughter in a movie.

    Good to here that Bullock is great in Gravity. I felt like there was a lot of consternation of her doing a Cuaron film and I feel like if anything that Oscar can open her to doing these kinds of roles rather than going through what other Best Actresses did. Yes, she is still in dumb comedies, but there is a good actress there somewhere.

    Eric P., okay we disagree about Carnage (one of Jodie Foster’s best performances and Waltz can do solid work without a Tarantino script though it is a pretty minor work that really could have never taken off as anything but a well-acted adaptation) and Closer (again good performances had, even if Julia Roberts vs. Clive Owen makes me embarrassed for her) but yes, this is why I am so skeptical of the film working. That said, even a film as helplessly directed and misfired as Doubt got nominations (the most important scene of the film is outdoors for no reason whatsoever, we see the kid, and Sister Aloysius comes off as more Sister Mary Ignatius when the stage dynamic between her and Father Flynn completely the opposite of what the film did) still got nominations. That and hearing Cumberbatch and McGregor do specific regional dialect American accents could be pretty painful. Only castings that I am excited about are Margo Martindale, Abigail Breslin, Chris Cooper, and Juliette Lewis getting to do good work.

    Already sold on The Past.

    McConaughey will get a nomination this year.

    And re: 12 Years a Slave, a little more Hunger and a lot less Shame, please, Mr. McQueen. Fassbender and Mulligan do good work but the only was something as sex-negative as Shame can work is if you read the subtext of the Brandon-Sissy relationship darker than it already is. John Ridley co-adapting the script with McQueen should help regarding the American history of race.

  • Robert A.

    I’ve never quite understood the insistence that Argo’s win traces back so much to Clooney and his ability to schmooze/charm AMPAS into voting his way. If his charm is so overpowering and makes voters fall to their knees and mark their ballots according to his dictation, how come he wasn’t able to get them to vote Michael Clayton BP and himself for Best Actor in 2007? How come he lost Best Actor in 2009? Didn’t he just tell voters to vote for him? And what about last year? Why didn’t he use his mad politicking skillz to get voters to award him for The Descendants?

  • Jake

    Clooney and Heslov are also listed as producers on :August: Osage County” so their Oscar chances are doubled. Payne is a master, hasn’t disappointed me yet. Scorsese is always in the mix (“Hugo” is a masterpiece and to this day, I defend “Shutter Island,” not his best film, but it only narrowly missed my top 10 in 2009). The Coens have yet to make an outwardly BAD film and their newest trailer looks excellent. I wasn’t sold on “The Monuments Men,” but when I saw Bill Murray in the cast, that all changed. I enjoyed “Prometheus,” but it’s been so long since he’s made something great. Cormac McCarthy is the really drawing me in for “The Counselor.” I’m just about convinced “Gatsby” will be a disaster, but that’s not going to keep me out of the theater. It’ll be quite the spectacle.

    Also eagerly awaiting “The Bling Ring,” “To the Wonder,” “The Barber,” “Her,” and “Mud” but something tells me none will gain real traction in the Oscar race.

    All I know for sure: 2013 us going to have one Hell of a time following up a year as wonderful and varied as 2012.

  • Bryce Forestieri

    @Chris Price

    Aye on
    -MAD MAX: FURY ROAD(Tom Hardy, Nicholas Hoult, Charlize Theron, *the director*)
    -R.I.P.D. (The casting is perrrfect: Bridges and Reynolds plus Ryan Reynolds deserves another chance)
    -MACHETE KILLS (As always give me anything by Rodriguez)
    -ESCAPE FROM TOMORROW (everything about it sounds insane)
    -THE WORLD’S END (Edgar Wright enough said, but the cast is terrific)
    -both ELYSIUM and PACIFIC RIM because of the directors’ pedigrees and what I’ve seen so far of both projects
    -KICK-ASS 2 (Anything with babe Aaron Taylor-Johnson but I’m very disappointed Matthew Vaughn isn’t directing)
    -CRYSTAL FERRY (Pablo Larrain is involved so automatically I’m interested except I loathe Michael Cera. He shouldn’t be in movies. But I did like SCOTT PILGRIM in spite of him so we’ll see)
    -MALAVITA (I expect/hope Luc Besson brings his A game. The cast has the potential to explode on screen: De Niro, Pfeiffer, the beloved Tommy Lee Jones. I’m not naive tho I realize this could go either way)

    Since I mostly focused on genre fare; personally I’d add

    -SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR (Robert Rodriguez, Frank Miller, Joseph Gordon-Levitt ==> Take my money!)
    -MAN OF STEEL (One of my 10 most anticipated films of 2013)

  • CMG

    I’m a little nervous for Kick-Ass 2. If they do follow the plot of the graphic novel people who were outraged by the first are going to lose their minds over the sequel. Vaughn actually made the first movie more cheeky and palatable than it originally was in the first place, all things considering.

  • Jules

    Clooney again? He’s like the anti-DiCaprio. He farts and he gets an Oscar nomination. I wish the Oscars would nominate/award others. Of the top winners this year, only two were first time winners and both were ingenues.

  • Bryce Forestieri

    “I enjoyed ‘Prometheus,’ but it’s been so long since he’s made something great. Cormac McCarthy is the really drawing me in for ‘he Counselor.'”

    The direction on PROMETHEUS was immaculate and impressive to the last detail. The Screenplay was the problem, just dreadful. I blame Damon Lindelof. Ridley can still bring his A-game when he cares about something, he’s still one of the sharpest and most spectacular visual directors. With a great script he’ll be alright. I’m assume/hope McCarthy will be involved in very step of the process ala Aaron Sorkin. Another one of my 10 most anticipated ones.

  • Patrick

    @Robert – You raise some very good points, if Clooney’s so good at schmoozing and that’s all it takes,he should have been able to get a better conversion rate that just Argo as a producer and a supporting actor Oscar in Syriana.

    Michael Clayton, Up in the Air, The Descendants, Good Night and Good Luck, Ides of March…

  • Gail Withers

    Even though Lincoln lost the Golden Globe, SAG, PGA, WGA, DGA, BAFTA, BFCA and now the Oscar- I have an inkling feeling it will still win the MTV Movie award for Best Film over Argo. I think voters will finally understand Affleck can’t win everything.

    Also I’m seeing everyone’s ridiculous Best Actress predictions- Zoe who???? Yeah Naomi Watts is a LOCK for Best Actress next year for Diana. No one else is coming close.

  • Free

    “A Slumdog would have beaten a Schindler’s List, I figure.”

    – Maybe, but if we’re going FULL hypothetical, and Spielberg hadn’t won yet, I think it still goes to List (director, anyway).

    “After awarding the 22-year-old Lawrence for Actress this year they have no reasonable excuse for thus far not awarding DiCaprio.”

    – 22. 9. 86. I don’t care how old you are. If you played your part well enough, you deserve the trophy. And as happy as I’d be to see DiCaprio with an Oscar already, I wouldn’t give it to him for any of the roles he was nominated for.

    “. . .which is why Viola Davis should have won last year.”

    – More than any other reason, Davis should have won in 2011 because she gave the best leading performance. Period.

    “I personally think Viola Davis lost to Meryl Streep when Streep lost to Kate Winslet in 2008. That year was the year Streep really should have won her long over due second Best Actress Oscar.”

    – For Doubt? I disagree. Streep was fine but could have done that in her sleep. I don’t understand how she lost to Helen Mirren in 2006. In 2008, Melissa Leo impressed me the most with Frozen River.

    I’m not sure how far it will go (Oscars-wise), but I’m hearing great things about The Spectacular Now. Unlike most, I’m not as confident about The Great Gatsby. Luhrmann’s only made one film I thought was exceptional, and, if the trailers are any indication, Mulligan seems kind of awkward in her role.

  • CMG

    The Michael Clayton example is not really good. Nobody thought that film would get that many nominations (7!!!!) much less win with Tilda’s award surprising nearly everybody. Plus Good and Good Luck was clustered with Syriana that year and he was nominated three times that year, so he had to win just one.

    The Descendants could not hold to the groundswell of The Artist. And Ides of March was just a derivative misfire in which Clooney and Heslov were part of the problem as that script had too many cooks in the kitchen.

    Up in the Air, supposedly, suffered from Jason Reitman campaign fatigue and people were rallying around Jeff Bridges not to mention much more support for Colin Firth and Jeremy Renner than Clooney.

    I think Clooney charms but not on desperate levels. I think he was much more battle-tested by Argo and unlike other times he was not trying to balance being both producer/actor but just producer. Plus he was still the Academy’s telecast ‘guy’ after Jack Nicholson did not attend the ceremony. They do still want him to be there but I am sure he did not want to just be there without any awards, especially after his one Oscar speech was largely him defending the Academy as this bizarre place of equality and progress.

  • JP

    Slumdog might have the story but undeniably had the best reviews. We know that RT is not always a trustworthy source but when you have a film that scores 64 negative reviews it must mean something. Ben Button = Les Mis.

    P.S.: I liked both Ben Button and Les Mis but they were not deserving BP.

  • The Dude

    Can Leonardo Di Caprio fanboys please stop treating him like he’s the most hated and persecuted artist in the history of film? He’s got three Oscar nominations, while Donald Sutherland + John Goodman + John Turturro + Jean Louis Trintignant have a combined ZERO. So give me a fucking break.

  • Bryce Forestieri

    TWELVE YEARS A SLAVE. Free Copy thank you very much. I’m not giving a penny to Northup’s granddaughters or whoever was supposed to receive it. On page 30 already, the language is pretty accessible. I think I’ll manage this by Monday.

  • JP

    Apparently, Inside Llewyn Davis is Harvey Weinstein + Scott Rudin.

    A first list of must sees:
    1. The Monuments Men
    2. Inside Llewyn Davis
    3. August: Osage County
    4. Saving Mr. Banks
    5. Nebraska
    6. Labor Day
    7. Foxcatcher
    8. Fruitvale
    9. The Wolf of Wall Street
    10. Gravity
    11. Captain Philips
    12. 12 Years a Slave
    13. Rush
    14. The Butler

    First prediction:
    Best Actor: Tom Hanks, Saving Mr. Banks
    Best Actress: Naomi Watts, Diana
    Best Supporting Actor: Matt Damon, The Monuments Men
    Best Supporting Actress: Margo Martindale, August: Osage County

    Funny to make this first prediction. Last year, the two most obvious contenders since the beginning of the year ended up winning Actor and Supporting Actress.

  • Niles

    I am hoping Guillermo Del Toro’s word is right spot on when it comes to him saying that Gravity will be “revolutionary”. I am hoping it’s not going to be a disappointment. I have that as one of the best picture nominees for next year.

  • Gail Withers

    TIME FOR THE DECADE OSCARS – 2000 to 2012 BEST OF (six nominees per category; all nominees must have won their designated year)

    The Artist (2011)
    Gladiator (2000)
    The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (2003)
    Million Dollar Baby (2004)
    The Departed (2006)
    The Hurt Locker (2009)

    Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker)
    Peter Jackson (The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King)
    Ang Lee (Brokeback Mountain)
    Roman Polanski (The Pianist)
    Martin Scorsese (The Departed)
    Steven Sodebergh (Traffic)

    Russell Crowe (Gladiator)
    Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln)
    Daniel Day-Lewis (There Will Be Blood)
    Jamie Foxx (Ray)
    Sean Penn (Milk)
    Denzel Washington (Training Day)

    Marion Cotillard (La Vie En Rose)
    Nicole Kidman (The Hours)
    Helen Mirren (The Queen)
    Natalie Portman (Black Swan)
    Meryl Streep (The Iron Lady)
    Charlize Theron (Monster)

    Javier Bardem (No Country for Old Men)
    Chris Cooper (Adaptation)
    Morgan Freeman (Million Dollar Baby)
    Heath Ledger (The Dark Knight)
    Christopher Plummer (Beginners)
    Christoph Waltz (Inglorious Basterds)

    Jennifer Connelly (A Beautiful Mind)
    Marcia Gay Harden (Pollock)
    MoNique (Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire)
    Octavia Spencer (The Help)
    Tilda Swinton (Michael Clayton)
    Catherine Zeta-Jones (Chicago)

    Brokeback Mountain
    The Departed
    The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King
    Slumdog Millionaire
    The Social Network

    Django Unchained
    Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
    The Hurt Locker
    The King’s Speech
    Midnight in Paris

  • rufussondheim

    Gail, you seem to suffer from the same disease the academy does! Nominating Gladiator over No Country for Old Men? That’s crazy!

  • Edkargir

    August Osage county was the first great play of the 21th century. It ran for 3 hr 20 minutes with 2 intermissions but was not a second too long. If the movie version is much shorter it will be awful. There is no way to tell this story in 2hours. Eat your fish bitch.

  • Jenny B

    Gail don’t listen to rufuss aka Doofus – he’s always negative and never finds one decent thing to say about anyone unless it’s thanking them for stroking his commentary on his favorite films of the year- Argo and SLP.

  • jim

    Poor, poor George Clooney. Can he overcome adversary after only ever winning two Oscars and, like Affleck, have a second act after being such a downtrodden 1 percenter? Poor, poor George.

  • Not Harrison Ford
  • CMG

    August: Osage County would be a mini-series that HBO would be throwing money at 10 years ago. They seem to have gotten spooked by Mildred Pierce not doing nearly as well as it did. They are going for movies based on historical figures or election films.

  • Bryce Forestieri


    I vote for LES MIZ

  • EL

    Fruitvale, Monuments Men, August: Osage County, Untitled David O. Russell film, the Wolf of Wall Street, Gravity as a wildcard, 12 Years a Slave, Nebraska, The Counselor, and Serena all seem like contenders. I’m most interested in Fruitvale, 12 Years a Slave, and The Counselor.

    I think it’s pretty fantastic that we have two potential African-American Best Actor nominees next year. Michael B. Jordan (Fruitvale) stands a chance because of his strong performance + Harvey. I believe that Chiwetel Ejiofor will knock it out of the park.

    I agree that Naomi Watts is a virtual lock for the Princess Diana biopic, unless it’s absolutely terrible. Nicole Kidman, Rooney Mara, Marion Cotillard, Kate Winslet, Meryl Streep, and Amy Adams are also going to be big players. Perhaps one of the roles in Monuments Men will be big enough for one of the actresses, like Cate Blanchett, to be nominated. I doubt Jennifer Lawerence will get nominated for Serena, based on the fact that she just won and that the field is going to be rife with top tier actresses in award bait films.

  • azahar1610

    The Homesman dir. Tommy Lee Jones starring (Meryl Streep and Hilary Swank) seems pretty anticipating.

  • Gail Withers

    @Bryce: LES MIZ isn’t nominated- as you can clearly see. The fools we have on here.

  • steve50

    @CMG – Oh, I don’t know that HBO has retreated at all.

    Here are some of their projects:
    – Wikileaks/Julian Assange project
    – VICE (news magazine show – Bill Maher one of the exec. producers)
    – a flock of documentaries (incl. one about Tim Hetherington dir bt Sebastian Junger)
    – Spielberg/Hanks team up again for a third installment on WWII, this time from the skies
    – and of course, film version of the play The Normal Heart, with Julia Roberts, Mark Ruffalo and Matt Bomer.

    Sounds pretty brave and unflinching to me. Any of these projects would give mainstream Hollywood and network TV a case of the heebie-jeebies.

    OH -and Bryce, don’t listen to Gail. Not everyone shares or even understands your sense of whimsy.

  • daveinprogress

    I am often led into a movie by an actor rather than a writer or director, but there are some great filmmakers whose art i have reconnected with in recent years. Scorsese and Coens always enticing. Payne? I was really not overly enamored by the Descendants, but Sideways was so wonderful. Paul Greengrass is a fab film maker so anything new by him is anticipatory, so too Sarah Polley – what a great career she continues ro carve for herself. Clooney? I’d rather not…The Lee Daniels/Forest Whitaker film sounds good too.

    I’ll watch this space. (this is one time, that cliche is apt)

  • Gail, allow me to help fix that nominations list:

    Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King
    Million Dollar Baby
    The Departed
    No Country For Old Men
    Slumdog Millionaire
    The Hurt Locker

    Ang Lee (Brokeback Mountain)
    Joel And Ethan Coen (No Country For Old Men)
    Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker)
    Peter Jackson (Lord Of The Rings)
    Roman Polanski (The Pianist)
    Martin Scorsese (The Departed)

    Daniel Day Lewis (There Will Be Blood)
    Daniel Day Lewis (Lincoln)
    Phillip Seymour Hoffman (Capote)
    Adrien Brody (The Pianist)
    Sean Penn (Milk)
    Jamie Foxx (Ray)

    Marion Cotillard (La Vie En Rose)
    Nicole Kidman (The Hours)
    Helen Mirren (The Queen)
    Natalie Portman (Black Swan)
    Halle Berry (Monster’s Ball)
    Charlize Theron (Monster)

    Javier Bardem (No Country for Old Men)
    Chris Cooper (Adaptation)
    Benicio Del Toro (Traffic)
    Heath Ledger (The Dark Knight)
    Christopher Plummer (Beginners)
    Christoph Waltz (Inglorious Basterds)

    Rachel Weisz (The Constant Gardener)
    Marcia Gay Harden (Pollock)
    MoNique (Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire)
    Octavia Spencer (The Help)
    Tilda Swinton (Michael Clayton)
    Jennifer Hudson (Dreamgirls)

    Brokeback Mountain
    The Departed
    The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King
    The Social Network

    Talk To Her
    Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
    The Hurt Locker
    Lost In Translation
    Almost Famous
    Midnight in Paris

  • CMG


    The Soderbergh project and The Normal Heart were all in the stages of trying to be movies shown in theaters than on TV. HBO picked up the pieces.

    Documentaries and shows are an entirely different matter. I am talking about scripted original content in the vein of Angels in America or John Adams. I want something not safe but incredibly ambitious and prestige. Nothing about the Roach TV movies on US elections have done anything except remind us how awesome Laura Dern is when they needn’t had to. I also just want August: Osage County’s script to be able to breathe than be compartmentalized for a movie. I know Letts is doing the script but I have to say in his Friedkin collaborations, the strength of those films did not lie in the script and in fact, a lot of them had the exoskeleton of their play origins.

    I am curious about the Hanks/Spielberg stuff but I was a little bored with The Pacific and I am sort of tired about yet another WWII series. ZD30 has only wanted me for them to revisit another Generation Kill story. And yes, somebody like David Simon (or hell, get Bigelow and Boal to do a mini-series on the specific failed attempts to get UBL, such as the Tora Bora incident) telling the story would be most helpful.

  • Gail Withers

    @Chris: That’s MY Opinion dick- just like your list is yours.

  • Bryce Forestieri


    Thanks! I was about to email Ryan about this aggravation 😛


    Yess. And proven by THE THREE BURIALS OF MELQUIADES ESTRADA and THE SUNSET LIMITED the great Tommy Lee Jones knows his shit. He’s assembled a great team which includes Cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto (BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN, THE WOLF OF WALLSTREET), Production Designer Meredith Boswell (APOLLO 13), Composer Marco Beltrami (THE HURT LOCKER, 3:10 TO YUMA)

  • miguel

    I predict that this year will be the first time since Thelma and Louise that we see two actresses from the same film get nominated for Best Actress- Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts for August: Osage County.

  • Gail Withers, I don’t think Chris meant that you actually need to fix your opinion. I think he was just using a turn of phrase to take what you listed as an inspiration to make his own list.

    likewise, please try not take everything so literally that Bryce or anybody else writes? there’s a lot of irony and playful teasing around here every day. no need to take it so seriously, ok?

    I like your idea of looking at this year’s winners in context of the decade.

  • Miguel, that would be two actors of any gender.

  • Gail Withers

    Lol okay sorry Ryan- didn’t mean to- sorry everyone else, and I laughed at you Russ about the Gladiator comment!

  • @Gail. If you have been on “here” for any length of time, you’d know that Bryce is not serious. One of the most vocal, if not the most (I’m sure there are others vying for that title), opponents of Les Misérables.

    Do you like scary movies, Sydney?

  • Bryce Forestieri

    @The Dude

    Nice exercise on perspective. But you mean to tell me that Jean-Louis Trintignant was not nominated for Z, A MAN AND A WOMAN, THE GREAT SILENCE or MY NIGHT AT MAUD’S?! Not even for fucking THE CONFORMIST?? Nahhh, well I’m just glad they fixed that when THREE COLORS: RED came out. Say what? I…can’t…no, people must have been confused like me because then there was AMOUR.

  • Bball_Jake

    George Clooney knows what hes doing-he’s goin for that Best Picture oscar like his dear friend Ben Affleck and the Oscars will probably be happy to give it to him.

  • The Dude

    Bryce- Honestly, until this year, I thought he had been nominated already; maybe the Oscar voters thought that as well?

  • Tufas

    wow. you just cant stop bashing Argo, can you.

    “always figured no one could beat Lincoln’s “Oscar story,” which was actually real but no one cared”

    yes, because Argo’s story wasnt actually real. and by the way people did care for Lincoln. 12 nominations. for most of these people it was one of the best achievements out of 5 in all major and tech categories. you keep pushing for Argo to join Crash and other nonsense from years past but you’ll fail.

    in the meantime, The Hurt Locker, another movie you campaigned furiously for, is now appearing on most overrated films lists.



  • The Hurt Locker, another movie you campaigned furiously for, is now appearing on most overrated films lists.

    yeah, like where?

    and what difference does an obscure list make? The Hurt Locker got its Oscars already so as far as our efforts to advocate for The Hurt Locker… Mission fucking Accomplished.

    thanks in part to the way admirers ‘furiously campaigned,’ The Hurt Locker is a permanent part of Oscar History. And so is Daniel Day-Lewis as Lincoln.

  • Christophe

    OMG! Spielberg will head the next Cannes Film Festival Jury! x)

  • ooph, I read that 2 hrs ago, Christophe but was almost in bed without posting it. Thanks for the reminder!

  • Gail, Ryan is spot on. I meant no malice. It was just me playing along with your idea (which I like a lot)!

  • SeattleMoviegoer

    i find the comments odd about the prospect of August: Osage County (which i saw on tour with Estelle Parsons and it was marvelous) being too “stagey” or probably difficult to adapt to film…that it won’t be “movie-like.” it all depends on the ability of the filmmaker. a movie that stars the dialogue over the action doesn’t make it less of a movie (see 12 ANGRY MEN). and the person listing all the disappointing adaptations of plays over the years could easily list successful adaptations as well. case in point…i consider the film of Arthur Miller’s THE CRUCIBLE to be one of the best movies i’ve seen. any adaptation from another medium is tough…be it a play or book or TV show or whatever. too many people freak out about those properties that transfer from the legit theatre to the movie screen–as though they have no purpose or place in a world where comic book heroes and Jennifer Anniston comedies rule the domain. i personally long for more plays, musicals and books to become movies.
    and in regard to those upcoming projects on HBO…they sound terrific. i am still looking forward to their miniseries of UNDAUNTED COURAGE that has been in the works for years…with Brad Pitt producing.

  • Will Mavity

    I think Gravity could be our Life of Pi/Hugo film this year, even though it isn’t the type of film that wins BP

  • Sonja

    Yeah, let’s not forget August:Osage County has WEINSTEIN behind it. Neither Doubt nor Carnage had.

    And I’m sure Viola Davis will win for either the Babara Jordan Biopic or the adaption of “Fences” which Denzel Washington is actually planning.

  • steve50

    “I also just want August: Osage County’s script to be able to breathe than be compartmentalized for a movie.”

    I hear you, CMG. Few, if any plays, fit into the 2 hr alotted attention-span of movies audiences or the number of showings per night wishes of cinema chains. It’s frustrating.

    Back in the 70s, there was a noble attempt to present classic plays in their full form – American Film Theatre. It was a financial failure, but it gave us the last great performances of Robert Ryan and Fredric March (The Iceman Cometh), a wonderfully bitchy Alan Bates (Butley), Hepburn and Scofield (A Delicate Balance) and many more. Not all were great cinema, but I’m glad we have them on film.

    Plays are stagey and don’t often adapt well for screen audiences, but one has to accept that going in. To see them trimmed down to fit movie audience expectations is not a pleasant experience. Streetcar, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf and Branaugh’s Hamlet proved that they can be successfully adapted and I wish that more producers would take the risk.

    I have high hopes for August:Osage County, but you are absolutely right – it has to breathe. To do that, they can’t have three showings per night.

  • rufussondheim

    I think the problem with most film adaptations of plays is that the director fears the play will be too stagey, so they overdirect, usually too much editing or too much rewriting to shorten scenes or give them different settings. One of the bad tricks is when a character has a sudden realization, there’s always a close-up of their face. Such crap is not needed, all of those tricks are utter malarkey.

    The best adaptations allow the play to be the play. Let there be longer takes on the action, you can move the camera around to give different perspectives. The strengt of every play is the writing and the dialogue, so why change it. Just let it be, let the actors perform the scene, and just put the cameras somewhere and capture it.

    When you watch well done adaptations like Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf or Vanya on 42nd Street, they don’t feel like they’ve been directed at all, you really get to enjoy the rhythms of flow of the source material.

    And then there are plays that should just not be adapted, like War Horse or Equus where it’s impossible to capture the theatricality of the play or some like Love! Valor! Compassion! which was doomed from the start just because there are too many scenes that aren’t “natural”

    Even Angels in America suffers at points because the source material is too theatrical. In the show, there’s a great scene with Lewis and Pryor and Joe and Harper all on stage at once, each couple is having an arguement which overlap, but in the TV adaptation, that magic is lost because you can’t see them all in the same room.

    August Osage County should be a good adaptation as long as the director stays out of the way.

  • Nic V

    There are a few titles that jump out at you based on the information regarding the project. The Terence Malik film is of great interest and god please let it be better than his last effort. That’s a personal opinion and not a belief that everyone else should find that effort lacking in artistry. The David O Russell pic is interesting simply because of the casting at this point. The Counselor jumped out at me as well as Steve McQueens project. I still have great reservations about Gatsby but fascinated that Scorese and Di Caprio are doing it again. Hope that works. I’m also waiting for the Sin City project because I loved that black and white film noir escapade. The only other project that looks remotely interesting to me at this point is the Diana project because I suppose I want to see how they deal with such an Icon.

    I notice that Jackie Weaver is all over the place playing Americans. I guess we don’t have any older actresses in America who need work.

  • Back in the 70s, there was a noble attempt to present classic plays in their full form – American Film Theatre.

    Long Days Journey Into Night – 1962

    Ralph Richardson
    Katherine Hepburn
    Jason Robards
    Dean Stockwell

    3 hours of the most riveting theater ever recorded onscreen

  • Jason B

    @Nic V –

    Malick’s last effort being The Tree of Life that one the Palme D’or and was Best Picture nominated? And if you feel that way, you’ll hate To the Wonder. Just to be honest. Although, some found it more accessible than most of his other work (partly due to the conventional natural of a “love story” or its short run-time), so perhaps you might like it… you’ll see.

  • Prakshid Meshram

    Best Motion Picture
    “August Osage County”
    “The Counselor”
    “Dallas Buyer’s Club”
    “Labor Day”
    “Monuments Men”
    “Saving Mr. Banks”
    “Twelve Years a Slave”
    “Untitled David O Russell ABSCAM Project “- American Bullshit
    “The Wolf Of Wall Street”

    Best Director
    Martin Scorsese – “The Wolf Of Wall Street”
    Ridley Scott – The Counselor
    Jason Reitman – Labor Day
    Bennett Miller – Foxcatcher
    George Clooney – The Monument Mens

    Best Actor In A Leading Role
    Tom Hanks – “Saving Mr. Banks”
    Leonardo Di Caprio – “The Wolf Of Wall Street”
    Matthew McConaughey – “Dallas Buyers Club”
    Christian Bale – “Untitled David O. Russell Project”
    Steve Carell – “Foxcatcher”

    Best Actress In A Leading Role
    Kate Winslet – Labor Day
    Naomi Watts – Diana
    Jennifer Lawrence – Serena
    Meryl Streep – August: Osage County
    Emma Thompson – Saving Mr. Banks

  • steve50

    Ryan – a big yes! to the outstanding 1962 Long Day’s Journey Into Night. Arguably the ONLY time Kate deserved the Oscar – but didn’t get it. Glad you mentioned it because 1962 is remembered for Lawrence and Mockingbird and this gem gets forgotten.

    Rufus, I enjoyed the film version of Equus (probably the only person I know who did), mostly for Burton’s performance. I don’t remember it that well, but remember being moved by it.

    Directors who convert plays to film have to work with the cinematographer (and the actors) to preserve the immediacy of the experience. Nichols and Haskell Wexler on WAOVW are a perfect example of successful transition, as are Lumet and Kaufman. Somehow, I think the B&W helps, too.

  • Kevin Klawitter


    The best adaptations allow the play to be the play. Let there be longer takes on the action, you can move the camera around to give different perspectives. The strengt of every play is the writing and the dialogue, so why change it. Just let it be, let the actors perform the scene, and just put the cameras somewhere and capture it.

    Not necessarily. What works on stage doesn’t necessarily work on screen. Some adaptation is always necessary.

    One of my favorite books about the screenwriting process the annotated screenplay to Ian McKellen’s 1995 film adaptation of “Richard III”. In it, he gives background on the play, his involvement in it, the benefits and drawbacks of various strategies of adapting theatre for the screen, and blow-by-blow annotations and explanations of the changes he made to Shakespeare in order to fit the film format and why he did what he did. It’s fascinating to read, and can be read for free on his website:


  • rufussondheim

    Yeah, adapting Shakespeare is a bit different, though, than adapting a typical play. Because his plays have been around forever, an idea gets to germinate and it blossoms into an idea for a film, at which point you consider its growth and then decide whether you want to produce it.

    Most adaptations are quite the opposite. “Let’s do this for the screen” “OK” “Where do we begin?” is what most adaptations are when you come down to it. Some plays should best be left alone.

  • steve50

    Thanks for the link, Kevin!

  • Free

    “I think the problem with most film adaptations of plays is that the director fears the play will be too stagey, so they overdirect”

    – I agree, and it’s hard to suggest what they should do.

    You say they should just let the play be a play, but this doesn’t always work either. I’ve tried watching CARNAGE five times now. Can’t. There’s not a lot of flashy direction there, but it feels so stagey (4 actors, minimal set), I can’t shake the feeling that I’m watching a play. And I typically don’t like that. I also think that, while the dialogue in a play is usually good as is, sometimes that doesn’t translate well on screen either (chiefly, with the monologues).

    There are a few times when a film actually feels it was made for the stage, and it doesn’t bother me (Closer, Doubt, the opening of Social Network, Dogville <– which I REALLY cannot explain, but I loved it). In general, though, I like for the films to feel like films, and the plays to feel like plays, but I usually can't get into films that feel like plays. Just be my personal preference.

  • keifer

    Ryan and Steve50:

    Agree with you about Hepburn not winning the Oscar that year for “Long Days Journey Into Night”. Her Mary Tyrone is an amazing feat of acting. She was never better (not even in The Lion in Winter – which I loved).

    I read a Hepburn interview once where whe conceded that the very best actor she ever worked with (including Tracy) was Ralph Richardson in that film. It’s a shame that year that Richardson couldn’t make the cut along with Gregory Peck, Jack Lemmon, and Peter O’Toole. I think Richardson was equally as good as these three (and I would have left out Burt Lancaster and Marcello Mastroianni that year in Richardson’s place).

    I also feel that Jason Robards should have been awarded Best Supporting Actor for his role in that film as well.

    Ferocious acting. Top calibre. Interesting to watch. And ultimately heartbreaking.

    It goes into the history books taht all four of the actors were cited and given accolades at the Cannes Film Festival that year for acting. That feat has NEVER happened again.

    Aside from being a great play, it was a great film as well.

    Another play that translated very well to film? 1985’s “The Trip to Bountiful” with the great Geraldine Page.

  • rufussondheim

    Well, Horton Foote is just a god.

  • Nic V


    Yes I was trying to avoid an entire Tree of Life conversation because I didn’t want to derail this thread. This thread is important because there are films that I might not be clued into at this point that might peak my interest because of something I read here.

    I love Malik’s early work. So I’m hoping.

    I really was a little interested in The Butler but I’m not a big fan of Forest Whitakers. I like him enough but I think he’s not found any really good work. I didn’t care for his work in King of Scotland and that could actually be attributed to the fact that there is nothing forgivable or redeemable about Idi Amin. Loved him in the Crying Game. But with all that said my perception of Forest Whitaker is that this role could actually suit his ability to come across as passionate and humble. Whitaker really strikes me as a nice down to earth guy. I didn’t add it to my list because I don’t want to get into “he deserves this cause he’s a black man” I want to get into this because “he’s just that damn good.” So it’s on my radar.

    I too agree with the postitive comments about Long Day’s Journey and happen to agree with that is the performance of Katharine Hepburn’s career, along with Ralph Richardson and Jason Robards. Brilliant film.

  • Danny

    Looking over the potential films for next year’s Oscars, I can’t help but notice films/people that I can’t stand. First there’s George “Can’t Act” Clooney in two MORE films not worth the time and place to view, and then there is “The Butler” with a Hollywood mix of miscasts from John Cusack as Richard Nixon to Hanoi Jane as Nancy Reagan. If the Oscars recognize one or more of these films then they are more delusional then I thought.

  • JP

    I just discovered George Clooney and Grant Heslov are the producers of BOTH The Monuments Men and August: Osage County.

    That means, we already have three teams:

    TEAM 1: Clooney+Clooney+Clooney+Heslov+WWII = The Monuments Men

    TEAM 2: Clooney+Heslov+Harvey+Streep+Roberts = August: Osage County

    TEAM 3: Harvey + Rudin + Coens = Inside Llewyn Davis

  • steve50

    I’ll take door #3, JP.
    Is it Harvey backing it?

    No matter – Rudin and the Coens, 60s folk scene NYC, Oscar Isaac turned loose to act and sing, plus Carey Mulligan, JT, and music by Mumford and T Bone Burnett. Sounds refreshing to me.

  • Aaron

    Reading these comments makes me so excited for the upcoming year.

    My most anticipated is easily Gravity. Feels like I have been waiting fourteen years to see it. Also excited about 12 Years a Slave, Her, The Fifth Estate (I believe Benedict Cumberbatch will receive a best actor nomination for this), Blue Jasmine (Woody + Cate. Holla!), Before Midnight, The Great Gatsby (I know it will be a disaster, but I can’t help myself…), The Counselor, The Bling Ring, The Grandmasters, A Most Wanted Man…looks to be a great year.

    If ANYTHING is certain this year…Meryl Streep will be nominated for Best Actress for August: Osage County. For those of us who have seen the stage performance…it’s a given. This is Oscar-bait at its finest. Violet Weston is one of the most fascinating roles ever written for a woman and I have no doubt Streep will nail it. She’s in, and she may win. (And regardless of how the film as a whole will be…does it really matter for Streep?)

    I’m also secretly hoping that this is Naomi Watts’s year, too. I’m not particularly anticipating Diana (so OVER biopics), but I am rooting for her.

    Very curious to see Bennett Miller’s Foxcatcher as well. We could see a very different role from Steve Carell, which is exciting.

    OVER Alexander Payne. I thought The Descendants was dreadfully dull and he’s just gone downhill for me personally since his excellent Election.

    Getting a very “Bobby-esque” vibe from The Butler. When films have that starry of a cast, they usually disappoint. And how substantial are all these historical figure roles? Seems a bit excessive.

    I am a huge question mark on Saving Mr. Banks and The Monuments Men…I’m getting a very Finding Neverland-vibe from the former, and the thought of Tom Hanks clutching a third Oscar makes me want to scream. But at least Emma Thompson is actually getting employed in leading roles again, so I will see it for her. The subject matter of The Monuments Men seems quite interesting (and it has a great cast)…the book looks terrific (will have to read it), but it seems like the type of film that is simply made to win Oscars.

  • Jason Travis

    Hepburn was probably close for Long Day’s Journey Into Night (1962)-

    Anne Bancroft- The Miracle Worker (WINNER)
    Bette Davis – What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?
    Katharine Hepburn – Long Day’s Journey Into Night
    Geraldine Page – Sweet Bird of Youth
    Lee Remick – Days of Wine and Roses

    I actually think Bette Davis was also very close; her supreme comeback role after All About Eve, and if it hadn’t been for the Joan Crawford bickering, she might have squeaked in. Tough year over all.

  • What did Harvey have to do with Inside Llewyn Davis? Inside CBS Films distributing?

  • keifer

    Jason Travis:

    Thanks for listing the 1962 Oscar nominees for Best Actress above. For me, that is one of the most fascinating of Best Actress races ever. Really, any one of them could have won. It would be so interesting to see how each fared all these years later.

    I don’t want to take anything away from Bancroft (who was undeniably wonderful in the Annie Sullivan role), but my God Bette Davis and Katharine Hepburn never gave better performances (well, maybe “The Lion in Winter” for Hepburn). And even Bette Davis herself said Baby Jane was the one Oscar she “was robbed of”. Kind of hard to disagree with her there, too. But what a year for actresses in great roles.

    Makes you wish for better roles for women now, doesn’t it?

  • Telperion

    Here you can see a really great list of interesting films coming out in 2013:


  • CMG

    Okay here is my list of stuff that I really want to like and do not care about their awards chances:

    Stoker- Yeah, this is totally in my wheelhouse and none of the mixed reception is bringing me down. Park Chan-Wook had me at Nicole.

    Prince Avalanche- David Gordon Green comeback, boi!!!!!!!!!

    Snowpiercer- Jae-woo Kim clearly got the short-end of the stick in the Korean invasion happening this year. Between Park Chan-Wook, who got Nicole, Mia, and Jacki Weaver, and Joon-Ho Bong, who gets Tilda there are so many awesome ham-fisted brilliance there. Kim on the other hand gets Arnold and Johnny Knoxville.

    Before Midnight- I will follow Richard Linklater anywhere, let alone with Celine and Jesse.

    A Most Wanted Man- Corbjn doing LeCarre??????? In!!!!!!!

    Spring Breakers- Harmony Korine and James Franco unholy alliance might actually be entertaining if my twitter feed is telling me correctly.

    Mood Indigo- The trailer….. wowsers.

    Gravity- Cuaron + Lubezki = My heart

    Inside Llewyn Davis- No explanation necessary. Okay fine, John Goodman’s bowl haircut.

    Man of Steel- I so feel like I will have buyer’s remorse on this (because I geeked out at Prometheus and I am still reeling) but dammit, may Amy Adams have an Anne Hathaway year, superhero movie and all.

    The World’s End- Edgar Wright is another director I will follow with anything (ANT MAN!!!!!) but he reunites with Frost and Pegg so there.

    Pacific Rim- I need no explanation.

    Spike Lee’s Oldboy- I really hope for Spike’s sake he pulls it off.

    The Fast and the Furious 6- This is my b-movie pulp.

    The Counselor- Because Cormac McCarthy HAS to be a better script-writer than Damon Lindelof for Ridley Scott.

    I’m So Excited- Now I loved the disturbing Bride of Frankenstein-ness of The Skin I Live In, but this looks like fun Almodovar making a comeback.

    Her- Spike Jonze!!!!!!!

    Nebraska- Payne is back to the Midwest and he brought the underrated Will Forte and Bruce Dern.

    Only God Forgives/The Place Beyond the Pines- Gosling is going into full Nicolas Cage mode and that nobody is noticing this is crazy.

    Mud- Nichols’ third and the McConaughnassance.

    To the Wonder/Like Someone in Love/The Grandmaster- Three great directors with so-called lesser works. Do.not.care.

    Lowlife- James Gray’s 2 Lovers is severely under-appreciated.

    The Hunt- Vinterburg and Mads!!!!!!!

    Something in the Air

    Under the Skin- Jonathan Glazer, where have you been??????? He deserves a David O. Russell renaissance.

    Zero Theorem- Gilliam.

    You Are Here- Mad Men creator directing a feature film. Hey, I dug David Chase’s efforts.

    The Look of Love- Coogan and Winterbottom is always winning.

    The Double- Richard Ayoade’s Submarine impressed me even if it felt like Limey posing Wes Anderson at time.

    The Spectacular Now- Shailene Woodley deserves a real break-out role now that she has fully graduated from that awful TV show.

  • tr

    Gosling going into Nic Cage mode?

    He’s reuniting with Cianfrance and Refn, two great filmmakers. How is that “Nic Cage mode”?

  • Name *

    I dunno if we’ve mentioned it already, but there’s also Nymphomaniac coming up, the new Lars Von Trier movie starring Charlotte Gainsbourg and Shia LaBeouf. Since the Academy has finally awarded Haneke, it might be time to acknowledge another kooky European. It’s most likely going to be the kind of vanilla fare voters will swoon over, plus it could play well with middle America and ratings could spike up.

  • CMG

    I wouldn’t make that comparison or put either film in my most anticipated had I not think Nic Cage mode was kind of an awesome, great feat that actors should feel so lucky to explore. I’m talking Cage in Vampire’s Kiss and Wild at Heart mode to be more specific.

  • Jack Traven II

    Just read the article.

    From the films listed above the ones that sound most interesting to me so far are Wolf of Wall Street, Fruitvale, August: Osage County and Captain Phillips.

    The ones that look most interesting (due to the latest trailers) are Inside Llewyn Davis and The Great Gatsby. Most of all the latter, since I read the book.

    But the one film that really sticks out is Before Midnight. Only yesterday I found out about that one. I knew about the rumours but …, wow, just wow. I never thought that a third film would be made become reality. And right now I’m dying to see it. I just love the first two Before-films. Too bad I only saw the second one in the movie theatre. Before Sunrise is one of a few films that were released in 1995 over here that I regret most not having seen back then.

    Beyond that list, the only other film I’m eagerly awaiting this year is Star Trek Into Darkness. I grew up with The Next Generation and I love their films. And yet, funnily enough, I really really liked the first JJ Abrams flick, too. And the trailer for the 2nd one looks just awesome, IMO.

    Happy New (hopefully great Oscar-y) Film Year!

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