Gravity, 12 Years a Slave and Her dominate Best Picture in early critics awards

680x478

680x478

The Los Angeles film critics isn’t what it used to be, it must be said. Back in the day, LA print critics were in the group and they voted accordingly. Many of the members now do not write specifically from Los Angeles – they do all of their writing for a broader online community, as does New York. Thus, it is becoming harder and harder to distinguish between the two groups – their membership looks mostly the same. The LA Film critics is 45 males to 11 females. There is a similar, though nowhere near as dramatic, breakdown in New York. Let’s face it: film criticism, like the Oscar race and Hollywood overall, is dominated by the straight, white male opinion. And so it goes.

The one thing that makes awards bloggers and pundits look ridiculous is chasing after each and every critic award trying to find the consensus. That will emerge eventually but none of the critics groups we’ve seen so far indicate any sort of consensus. Not by a long shot. These early awards can help but they can’t hurt.

We enter Oscars 2013 knowing this yet having no real way to counter it – the women who make up the women’s journalist awards (the only group to which I am a member) tend to vote with the consensus – thus, we’d really have no idea how these awards would play out if the demographics by gender were equal.

I think it’s an important factor when looking at these awards although at the end of the day, buzz is buzz. 12 Years a Slave took the early lead, being proclaimed the film that will win Best Picture. It’s never a good idea to splooge so soon – it does nothing but beg the critics to chafe against that expectation. And indeed, given the fact that 12 Years a Slave has gotten the best reviews of the year so far of almost any film (Gravity a close second), it would seem likely that it would have dominated the critics awards.

It hasn’t dominated. The New York Film critics went for American Hustle. Today, Los Angeles tied their winner with Her and Gravity. New York Film Critics Online and Boston both went for 12 Years a Slave. The awards for Best Picture are, so far, all over the map, with no clear and strong consensus building. The only thing we really know so far is that 12 Years isn’t as big with critics groups than people presumed it would be.

Gold Derby is proclaiming that Gravity has taken the lead in the Best Picture race. Early predictors of this win include Kris Tapley and Anne Thompson – who have been saying for a long while that 12 Years a Slave won’t win, but Gravity will. Now it seems that others are latching onto this theory as well, which means that Gravity must now be considered the frontrunner, despite the wins by 12 Years a Slave today.

One film that is doing surprisingly well with critics is Spike Jonze Her, a beautifully lyric romantic modern love story. It’s easily one of the best films of the year and made a strong showing at the National Board of Review and with the LA Film Critics. That puts it in the Best Picture race, no doubt about it.

But because there are so many of them and because they are mostly indistinguishable from each other, it’s hard to assess the impact these groups can have. Cate Blanchett has firmed up her spot in the Best Actress race and many critics are fighting hard for recognition for Adele Exarchopoulos. She could burst into the top five but she’ll have to bump one of the astonishing veterans to do so. There was talk on Twitter of her bumping Meryl Streep which would be an embarrassment to all concerned if such a thing should occur. Anyone who has seen August: Osage County knows that no one is better than Meryl Streep this year, male or female. To discount her form the awards is simply say: we know she’s brilliant but we’re allowing for someone new this time. But if we’re talking about “best” you simply can’t ignore Streep.

She has and will always be taken for granted for being THAT GOOD. To my mind, Adele Exarchopoulos was wondrous and brave in Blue is the Warmest Colour but how much of that was acting and how much was the director picking an actress who is unselfconscious, pinning her with his camera then driving her to extremes? I’m not sure it’s acting. But it’s not my call, obviously.

The weird thing about Gravity is that it’s all about Alfonso Cuaron and not about Sandra Bullock. So far, she’s getting none of the acclaim for carrying this film, certainly not to the degree that, say, Chiwetel Ejiofor is getting for 12 Years a Slave, but she’s in for Best Actress. Same goes for Cate Blanchett. That leaves only Emma Thompson and Judi Dench. One guy on Twitter, a hard core advocate for Exarchopoulos, believes Dench and Streep are expendable. Thanks, ladies, for your stellar career of mastering the craft of acting but gosh, you’re just a wee bit what’s the word … not exciting enough of a choice?

Bruce Dern got a nice boost from both the National Board of Review and the Los Angeles Film Critics. This gives him the kind of push he needed to crack the top five. The SAG nominating committee are just about to start voting – so likely the buzz from right now will inform those choices.

Not showing up as much as expected has been Steve McQueen – but again, if most people have already decided how your awards are going to go, chances are, the critics will not follow suit. Remember that for next year.

The next big thing that’s about to happen will be the Golden Globe awards, which will be announced this Thursday, the 12th.

  • Jay

    Five films have won Best Picture awards from the main groups so far… and they were all among the DC Critics’ Best Picture nominees:

    American Hustle (NYFCC)
    Gravity (LAFCA)
    Inside Llewyn Davis (Gotham)
    Her (NBR/LAFCA)
    12 Years a Slave (BSoFC, NYFCO)

    This is easily the biggest race we’ve seen in years…

    A few notes…

    – The Wolf of Wall Street’s late screening seems to have screwed it out of awards in Boston and in other groups as well. It could well pull a late-race rally a la Django.

    – Dern / Squibb awards are helping their cause, but Nebraska’s general lack of love is an indicator, especially from LAFCA, who has given his last three films Best Picture.

    – Harvey’s films are floundering… From what we’ve seen Fruitvale Station seems like the most likely contender for Best Picture among the group. Several of them seem like contenders for SAG ensemble nominations, which could keep them in the conversation (August: Osage County, The Butler, Fruitvale Station).

    – Captain Phillips is on the ropes… no way around that. It will be interesting to see if anyone still considers it a Best Picture contender in a week or two.

    – No one expected films like Saving Mr. Banks, Philomena, Blue Jasmine, or Dallas Buyer’s Club to be contenders for these awards. I wouldn’t say they are harmed or helped in the Picture category.

  • http://film-actually.com Squasher88

    The next big thing is actually the SAG nominations on Wednesday!

  • Sasha Stone

    You can’t judge what is on the ropes from this. By this time last year Argo was a no-show anywhere. These awards, as I’ve said, can help but they can’t hurt.

  • http://wondersinthedark.wordpress.com Sam Juliano

    “There is a similar, though nowhere near as dramatic, breakdown in New York. Let’s face it: film criticism, like the Oscar race and Hollywood overall, is dominated by the straight, white male opinion. And so it goes.”

    Absolutely. Dead-on!

    I do still think that 12 YEARS is still narrowly ahead of GRAVITY for Best Picture prospects. I think it will win from some of the less celebrated groups to solidify that modest advantage in the upcoming days.

  • Jay

    Not really true… Captain Phillips is faring worse than Argo was at this point last year.

    Argo had won LAFCA’s Best Screenplay award, was on NBR’s top ten, had two special awards from NBR, came in 2nd and 3rd in the Film/Director races at NYFCC, came in 2nd for Editing with Boston, and had received 5 nominations from Washington’s critics.

    Captain Phillips has gotten a screenplay nomination from Washington DC and Abdi was a tied runner-up in Boston.

    While the guilds could reverse things, Captain Phillips’ support doesn’t seem to be especially passionate. I am sure it will get sound/editing noms as Greengrass’ films usually do, but Hanks and Abdi are starting to look unlikely as is a nomination for Greengrass himself.

  • Bryce Forestieri

    12 YEARS A SLAVE is still the frontrunner.

    I’m predicting both Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill will have SAG and Golden Globe nominations by Thursday morning.

  • Paddy Mulholland

    There was talk on Twitter of her bumping Meryl Streep which would be an embarrassment to all concerned if such a thing should occur. Anyone who has seen August: Osage County knows that no one is better than Meryl Streep this year, male or female.

    Cor, I didn’t realise you were that keen on Meryl’s performance, Sasha. Tho yuhuh, it is Meryl… I’d say she looks the least certain of the current consensus Top 5 to make it though.

  • Jay

    I’d agree that 12 Years a Slave is still the frontrunner. Anyone who saw how the NYFCC voting shook down would understand that. It only lost the Best Picture / Director awards there due to the logistics/length of the voting process. Had it won those awards, no one would be doubting it.

  • Jerry Grant

    12 Years the frontrunner, but only in a Zero Dark Thirty sort of way

  • Bryce Forestieri

    Anyone who has seen August: Osage County knows that no one is better than Meryl Streep this year, male or female.

    Really? I guess I’ll know once I see it. My mom is lobbying hard to us to see this on X-mas.

  • Jay

    12 Years does seem to be more respected than beloved, which is a problem when it comes to actually winning Oscars. In that sense it does seem to warrant comparison to Zero Dark Thirty.

    That being said, I think ZDT largely lost its momentum due to John McCain and the general questions about inaccuracy. I don’t think we have to worry about Congress condemning 12 Years a Slave, making it persona non grata at the Oscars.

  • GoOnNow

    Blanchett has 4 awards now

    She just added the NY Critics Online prize to the mantle.

  • Evan

    “Anyone who has seen August: Osage County knows that no one is better than Meryl Streep this year, male or female.”

    Actually, there’s a rather large contingent of people who’ve seen the film who think Julia Roberts is better.

    As for Adele, I find it tiresome that people keep reducing discussion of her performance to the nude scenes. Her best moments are not when she’s been “pushed to the extremes,” but rather simple moments– her discomfort with a woman’s advance in a gay bar, her dealing with a turncoat friend in the schoolyard, her malaise when her career and life stagnates… One doesn’t have to agree with the director’s focus on the female body to find some redeeming qualities in the film.

    But moreover, one doesn’t have to agree with another’s opinion to accept them as valid viewpoints. I don’t understand why we constantly have to explain away those who don’t agree with us.

  • Robert A.

    I also think that 12 Years a Slave is still the frontrunner. Out of the six groups that have awarded so far (NYFCC and NYFCO, Boston and Boston Online, LAFCC, and NBR), 12 Years has been the most consistent, winning three (although none of the three most high profile) and coming close to winning NYFCC, perhaps losing on a technicality, as Jay pointed out. Gravity co-won LAFCC, but was pretty much a non-factor with NYFCC and NBR, for example. AH won NYFCC but then hasn’t made much of an impression with the subsequent awards groups.

    Since the Oscar race is a marathon, not a sprint, consistency is key. Add on the fact that 12 Years is probably going to lead in nominations from most groups, with broad support from actors/directors/writers and tech awards (not a guarantee for a win, of course, but often shows in which direction the wind is blowing)… and that it has the “importance” factor… and that it’s historical… I don’t know. 12 Years still feels in a strong position to me.

    But then I’m not Tapley or Thompson, so what do I know? And the race has only just begun, so it’s hard to say anything with a great deal of confidence.

  • http://wondersinthedark.wordpress.com Sam Juliano

    Excellent presentation here Robert A. Brilliant in fact the way I see it.

    Jay, 12 YEARS is just as beloved as it is respected. This will be confirmed as this process plays out.

  • unlikely hood

    Jay: nice fact checking re: Capt Phil v Argo, two eminently comparable films (seriously)

  • Tony

    While “The Hurt Locker” proved that you don’t have to have big box office to win BP, it certainly doesn’t hurt to have it. I am amazed that “12YAS” is struggling to reach $40M, while the much less worthy “The Butler” is at $115M.

  • chasgoose

    To me this suggests that 12 Years a Slave is not going to be ranked #1 on many people’s ballots (yes critics aren’t voters, but voters who felt obligated to vote for it may feel that 12 Years a Slave not killing it in the precursor awards gets them off the hook a bit). That said, it still seems pretty strong in the absence of a clear #1 favorite film. I think right now 12 Years will be more consistently ranked 2 or 3 on ballots than any other movie and will still get a decent number of 1 votes. The other films are going to be more polarizing so they might get more 1’s but then not get ranked very high if they aren’t #1. I think its still going to come down to Gravity vs. 12 Years and it will just be a matter of which one gets ranked higher after people pick their real favorites.

  • Tony

    The Oscar ceremony gets boring most years, because the Golden Globe, SAG and BFCA winners largely match up. It’ll be fun if that doesn’t happen this year.

  • Robertito

    AwardsDaily is such a great site. I think that Sasha and Ryan are the best writers on the internet. I would never go to any other Oscar site but this one. Thanks guys for yet another fantastic year covering the race. So glad you split with the forums. Those assholes really need to get a life!

  • http://wondersinthedark.wordpress.com Sam Juliano

    Of the lead female performances I have seen this year, it would be Brie Larsen of SHORT TERM 12, Blanchett, Judi Dench and the young girl from BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR.

    I would think that Blanchett is the one to beat.

  • Tony

    Besides being the site’s senior resident conservative (thanks, Ryan :-) ) , I’m also known for being very pro-Italian. (You don’t jump through the hoops required for that second citizenship if you’re not.)
    Question: “The Great Beauty” — It’s been playing for 10 days, but I can’t bring myself to go see it. Its main character doesn’t seem like someone I want to get to know. My current plan is to see it only if it wins the Oscar for foreign language film. Is it ABSOLUTELY worth seeing now?

  • http://wondersinthedark.wordpress.com Sam Juliano

    Sasha hates the Oscars? Really? Is that why she runs and moderates an awards site that focuses on the run up to the ceremony?

    Your vitrol tells us more about you than about anything you say here.

  • manrico1967

    “There was talk on Twitter of her bumping Meryl Streep which would be an embarrassment to all concerned if such a thing should occur. Anyone who has seen August: Osage County knows that no one is better than Meryl Streep this year, male or female.”

    Richard Corliss has seen it:

    “In this pedestrian filming of Tracy Letts’s every-prize-winning play about a raucous Oklahoma family, Meryl Streep plays the matriarch Vi at a pitch so high it can be appreciated only by bats. Most of the other actors go for subtlety over showboating, especially the trio cast as Vi’s daughters: Roberts, Nicholson and Lewis. As youngest daughter Karen, Lewis sails on the flighty charm of a practiced saleswoman. Nicholson, as the dutiful middle-child Ivy, is the ignored heroine of the brood, and gives full emotional value through glances and silences — up to and including her big blow-up scene. (Practically every character gets one.) Roberts is the eldest, Barbara, a victim who uncomfortably returns to the scene of the crime and tries not to acknowledge how much she may have in common with her hated mother. It’s Roberts’ deepest, strongest, liveliest film work; and in the battle of Best Actress Oscar laureates, Streep’s showboating loses to Roberts’ sharp stares and remembered pain.”

    Kris Tapley from IN CONTENTION said Streep’s performance made him cringe.

    So, no Sasha, not everyone who has seen AUGUST shares your opinion.

  • jorge

    i dont mind to see blanchett winning awards, we all know that sweep with the critics doesnt guarantee to win the oscar, usually the one who is winning the critics awards fails to get the oscar…

    sandra will win a couple to back up her possibly win…

    im all for adele and lea getting an oscar nominations, i think both will have to make the cut…

    it is dench or streep, not both, and maybe neither one….

    glad to see leto winning, he is a very great actor and very underestimated

    i dont see lupita winning supporting actress even if she is the best one in the category but we will see, i would love to see jennifer garner making it she was so likeable

  • JP

    When I think about the Oscars on March, there are two scenes I really can’t imagine not happening: Cate Blanchett and Steve McQueen winning. And McQueen winning means 12YAS wins Best Picture… and please it’s no ZDT. ZDT came late and criticism exploded in the exact wrong part of awards season. Fox Searchlight did everything fine to make this a true winner. Released it earlier, put the film in the festival circuit… It’s not a film people felt emotionally connected about. 12 Years a Slave is obviously no King’s Speech in those terms, but I think people feel connected sentimentally to it in a way they didn’t about Lincoln last year.

    For me, 8 films will be Best Picture nominees:
    – 12 Years a Slave
    – Gravity
    – American Hustle
    – The Wolf of Wall Street
    – Captain Phillips
    – Saving Mr. Banks
    – Nebraska
    – Inside Llewyn Davis

    And the 9th one (I don’t believe there will be 10):
    – Her
    – August: Osage County
    – The Butler

    Those ones are in a tougher position:
    – Blue Jasmine
    – Philomena
    – Fruitvale Station
    – All Is Lost
    – Dallas Buyers Club

    The Weinstein Company will push hard for Osage County and The Butler… and when the nominees from SAG and Globes come out this week, we’ll know which will get the biggest push. Right now, one of the two will have to bump Her out.

  • JP

    “It’s not a film people felt emotionally connected about” This statement is about ZDT.

  • http://wondersinthedark.wordpress.com Sam Juliano

    Nice and believable sizing up of the situation JP.

  • Chris

    “To my mind, Adele Exarchopoulos was wondrous and brave in Blue is the Warmest Colour but how much of that was acting and how much was the director picking an actress who is unselfconscious, pinning her with his camera then driving her to extremes? I’m not sure it’s acting. But it’s not my call, obviously.”

    Couldn’t we easily say that Quvenzhane Wallis and Beasts of the Southern Wild suffers from the same issue? She was barely six years old when the film was shot. And I adored her Oscar-nominated performance. So at least Exarchopoulos is old enough to really get what acting is and have been making conscious choices…

  • Bryan

    Sasha, if you had a vote (LAFCA) at this point in the race how would you have awarded ! Curious to know your selections at this time.

  • Aaron

    The tone of this article is slightly sombre and morose, as it seems to be lamenting the fact that there isn’t a clear frontrunner. Frankly, I find it exciting that the critics awards so far have been widespread and diverse. In a year full of such rich, varied movies, I’m all for spreading the wealth!

    As for the best actress race, I’m still not confident about Adele Exarchopoulos. The subject matter is tricky, and I actually think it hurts her that the film is not in the running for best foreign language film and that the whole film’s awards prospects depend on her. Amour had the advantage that it was Austria’s foreign film selection and Michael Haneke’s direction was always in the mix. I don’t understand the criticism about her performance not necessarily being “acting”, however…provoking actors is nothing new, and I don’t think anyone would discredit Emily Watson in Breaking the Waves and Bjork in Dancer in the Dark just because of the notoriety surrounding Lars von Trier’s method in getting these performances out of these women. You still must have talent, dedication, and vulnerability and Adele is aces in Blue is the Warmest Color.

    As far as Meryl Streep, I think she’s in, although let’s not pretend that she hasn’t received her fair share of criticism for this performance. It’s easily her most divisive performance since Doubt, but I’m curious to know how her recent Oscar will factor into this season. Will Academy members feel compelled to vote for someone else since she JUST won her long-overdue third Oscar? I don’t think that’s a fair assessment of how to judge a performance and its awards prospects, but I think it may come into play this season.

  • Pepper

    ” One guy on Twitter, a hard core advocate for Exarchopoulos, believes Dench and Streep are expendable. Thanks, ladies, for your stellar career of mastering the craft of acting but gosh, you’re just a wee bit what’s the word … not exciting enough of a choice?”

    Sasha, I feel your pain, but there is a lot of this going around where Dern and Redford (especially) are concerned, too, and they haven’t even been nominated in recent years to the extent Streep and Dench have. I don’t think this is primarily a gender issue, I think it’s an age issue. People always want the newest, most exciting thing. (Not to mention many of the people offering these critiques haven’t even seen the films in question….)

  • unlikely hood

    Robertito, feisty!

    I wonder, would your thesis change if you knew how much the studios were paying to advertise around here, compared to the time before her “King’s Speech meltdown”? I mean, I have no idea, I’m just a commenter here, but just wondering if your pure conjecture about her “march toward irrelevance” would change with countervailing data?

    Sasha and I have had plenty of loud disagreements – that’s easy to substantiate if you doubt it. But for me, the big problem with your critique is that Sasha has never promised to be as sycophantic or as *sporadic* as the people you mention. Compared to them, she writes about 4x as much (not including Twitter). When you follow the race this closely, when you hug the films this close, you are going to notice some odors and warts. When you produce this much content, it’s not all gonna be hearts and flowers.

    What you say about Sasha, people used to say that about Pauline Kael. Your type of critique never seems to understand that a cynic is a disillusioned romantic – that Sasha, and Pauline, having an almost sensual relation to the films, can take us, the audience of the films and them, to flights of ecstacy or valleys of disillusionment.

    In my book from this year (published by Palgrave), I examined (among many other things) Pauline Kael’s review of Sam Peckinpah’s Straw Dogs. It went over 3000 words – leading cultural critics had less to say about the moon landing or Vietnam. She wrote with more urgency than she might have ever about those things. Also, Kael didn’t bother with such verbiage on say, The Love Bug – she just didn’t care about fluff. In a way, her intense reaction to Straw Dogs was its own kind of compliment. (She also called it the first American fascist work of art, for which Peckinpah wrote her a long letter demanding an apology which never came.) In a similar way, Sasha’s fans understand her love for the Scorseses and Coens and Woody Allen and some other people – and thus we understand her outrage when things go awry, either onscreen or off.

    You’re seeing Liz Taylor yell at Dick Burton in WAOVW? and assuming she never loved him. We understand that the power of the writing and the performance comes from how much she did.

    “Sheer amount of crap”? Nah. Just constant punches from both of Robert Mitchum’s hands – one that says LOVE and the other that says HATE. And though I grouse sometimes, I wouldn’t want either the love or the hate to go ANYwhere.

  • Jason

    What happen to the Oscarcast here?

  • Jason

    I mean *Oscar Podcast

  • m1

    12 Years a Slave is not struggling at the box office. In 8 weekends, it has amassed almost the same amount of money as Silver Linings Playbook, The Descendants, The King’s Speech, and Slumdog Millionaire. Three of those films surpassed $100 million and one of them surpassed $80 million. It is doing incredibly well, actually. And when it actually starts getting the major award nominations, it will do even better.

    @JP: Pretty good list, although I would switch Her and Saving Mr. Banks. I’m not sure about Captain Phillips, either.

  • m1

    @Jason: I was wondering the same thing. Every time I click on the Podcast link all I get is a blank screen. What happened?

  • Al Robinson

    unlikely hood,

    Bravo, Bravo!!

  • Al Robinson

    Yeah, I get the same thing with the Podcast, AND AD Community

  • DCKE

    @jorge: your comment is true sometimes (although I think less often for BActress), but I think Cate Blanchett this year will sweep most of the awards including Oscar.

    not @jorge: it would be a real shame if Sandra Bullock won Best Actress this year (or any year really). Gravity only deserves tech awards – it was boring with a horrible story. Sasha often notes that “Sandra carries the movie”…I would word it that “the entire movie rides on Sandra’s back”, and this is a bad thing because I found her to be totally ineffective.

    I wish Sarah Paulson could get in for Best Support Actress but if 12YAS can only get one, it simply must be Lupita.

  • Bryce Forestieri

    Robertito,

    Who the fuck cares how polite Nathaniel Rogers is. He’s got worse and more insipid taste in cinema than Anne Thompson. That’s what I’d call irrelevant and unforgivably boring. He talks proper though, I’ll give you that. Sasha called THE COUNSELOR faux NO COUNTRY FOL OLD MEN. She couldn’t be more wrong, but I’d never change AD for those desolate websites. They do predictions, we care.

  • Mobyz

    What is up with the doom and gloom regarding 12YAS? The film is doing quite well, thank you. It narrowly lost NYFCC best film to Hustle, and Steve McQueen won best director. People are acting as if 12YAS has been shut out from any critics award. We knew it was never going to win LAFCA because the LA critics were not that crazy about the film based on their reviews. The film did win two awards for best picture today (Boston Society of Film Critic and NY Film Critic online). And McQueen has won 3 best director so far, which is more than any other directors. Both Chiwetel and Lupita have won multiples awards and were close in others. In Chiwetel’s case, he lost by won vote in LAFCA, and Lupita lost by one vote in NYFCC.

  • Keegon Schuett

    Seriously. What happened to the podcasts?

  • josh

    Can someone/everyone break the contenders into where they will fall for the Golden Globes? I know AH is in Comedy/Musical. Where do others fall? The following is where I assume things will fall but can’t remember. Trying to figure out what the Globes will do in terms of noms but need confirmation. Thanks!

    Drama:

    12 Years a Slave
    Gravity
    Inside Llewyn Davis
    Captain Phillips
    Dallas Buyers Club
    Nebraska
    Fruitvale Station
    All Is Lost
    The Butler
    August: Osage County

    Comedy:

    American Hustle
    Wolf of Wall Street
    Her?
    Saving Mr. Banks?
    Blue Jasmine?
    Philomena?
    Secret Life of Walter Mitty?

  • Pepper

    Nebraska and August are comedies. I’m pretty sure Blue Jasmine and Philomena are dramas. The categories are ridiculous this year.

  • Tony

    m1,
    The trouble is that “12YAS” is already shedding some screens. I’m amazed that less than 5 million people bought tickets.

    hood,
    Another thing Sasha and Kael have in common: both uber liberals (not that there’s anything wrong with…oh, who am I kidding :-) ).

  • Jay

    I think the GG breakdown is:

    Drama:
    12 Years a Slave
    Gravity
    Captain Phillips
    Dallas Buyers Club
    Saving Mr. Banks
    Fruitvale Station
    All Is Lost
    The Butler
    Blue Jasmine
    Philomena

    Comedy:
    Inside Llewyn Davis
    American Hustle
    Wolf of Wall Street
    Her
    Nebraska
    Before Midnight
    Secret Life of Walter Mitty
    August: Osage County

  • m1

    @Tony: And this week, when the Golden Globe and SAG nods come out, it will be gaining screens, or at least have an increase in box office.

  • Sasha Stone

    Yeah, I get the same thing with the Podcast, AND AD Community

    Both fixed, thanks for the heads up…

  • Sasha Stone

    Sasha, if you had a vote (LAFCA) at this point in the race how would you have awarded ! Curious to know your selections at this time.

    Not really sure. I’m glad I don’t have to vote….:(

  • Sasha Stone

    Kris Tapley from IN CONTENTION said Streep’s performance made him cringe.

    That’s embarrassing. But beyond that, ask me if I care?

    p.s. Richard Corliss is the worst critic TIME has. Mary Pols and Richard Schickel (who is no longer there) are far preferable. Trust me as someone who has been following him a long time. His comments are just plain off base.

  • Sasha Stone

    Actually, there’s a rather large contingent of people who’ve seen the film who think Julia Roberts is better.

    Julia Roberts is also great. Both are good. People pile on Streep because, by now, she’s TOO good. They can’t wrap their minds around someone that good. Moreover, many of the critics are likely basing Streep’s performance compared to the play – since I never saw it, I only have Streep’s to go on.

  • Sasha Stone

    Really? I guess I’ll know once I see it. My mom is lobbying hard to us to see this on X-mas.

    I should have not been so certain – who knew there so many people piling on …

  • Mike

    Adele Exarchopoulos’s performance in BLUE is the best I’ve seen this year. It will be a real travesty if she’s not nominated. I hope enough have her at the top to get her into the top 5.

  • Al Robinson

    This is pretty damn cool:

    Some upcoming Oscar (possible) movies that will be coming to blu-ray

    Prisoners – Dec 17, 2013
    Fruitvale Station – Jan 14, 2014
    Blue Jasmine – Jan 21, 2014
    Captain Phillips – Jan 21, 2014
    Rush – Jan 28, 2014
    All Is Lost – Feb 11, 2014

  • Al Robinson

    And according to Amazon.com

    The Butler – Jan 14, 2014

  • Josh

    Will be interested in seeing what the Globes do with Inside Llewyn Davis. As much as the Academy loves them, the Globes haven’t shown them the same love. Maybe that’s because some movies they haven’t seen, but I remember just a couple of years ago True Grit got zero noms at the Globes while getting 10 at the Oscars. I also know True Grit came out very late so maybe they didn’t see it. They have had time to see ILD.

    If the assumptions by Jay are correct, my guesses for the Globes will be:

    Drama:

    12 Years a Slave
    Gravity
    All Is Lost
    Captain Phillips
    Saving Mr. Banks

    Comedy:

    Wolf of Wall Street
    American Hustle
    Nebraska
    Inside Llewyn Davis
    Secret Life of Walter Mitty
    Before Midnight

    Yes six

  • frankofile

    Adele Exarchopoulos has been acting for ten years, and it’s a real disservice to her to imply she was a director’s puppet. There was amazing skill and bravery in her performance.

  • Sasha Stone

    Frank, not saying there wasn’t. She’s great. But I just don’t think you can compare the two performances. But that is only my opinion. I don’t know if Oscar will be able to resist Adele, truth be told.

  • Ricky

    @Sasha – I’m glad you’re giving yourself a little wiggle room on the Adele thing. I don’t know a single actor on the planet that would not consider her performance to be acting and chalk it up to the director. This happened a lot with Quevenzhane Wallis because she was a child. Adele is no child. I was more profoundly moved by her than I have been by any other actress this year. Nyong’o and Johansson would be right there with her I suppose.

  • http://StephenHoltShow.Wordpress.com Stephen Holt

    I think it’s racism pure and simple that explains why what has just happened to “12 Years A Slave”, one of the greatest films of all time IMHO.

    Whoever said they didn’t want to award a film that was REALLY, TRULY from a Black man’s P.O.V. is absolutely right.

    They were all looking for the Nice White Guy to come along and save the picture. And he doesn’t arrive til Brad Pitt shows up as a Canadian right at the end.

    Winning the Audience Award for Best Picture at the Toronto Film Festival is no small accolade…

    My opinion right now. Lupita Nyong’O is the one with the strongest shot. Best Supporting Actress, and the L.A. Film Critics agreed with this. And she ALMOST one New York. By something like ONE VOTE.

    Against Jennifer Lawrence who, if there’s anybody getting a backlash right now, it JLaw. She’ll be nominated AGAIN. But she won’t win.

    More out of the race from these awards are Oprah, “Capt. Phillips” and Tom Hanks. Also Sandra Bullock is not turning up anywhere. And it’s Cate Blanchett all the way. All of these MIA Awards-losers are OK in my book.

    “12 Years a Slave” is still in the fight in my book. But boy does Fox Searchlight have a lot of work to do. You should’ve seen the looks on their faces at the Gothams. Shock. I tell you. I”M SHOCKED!

    I thought America, esp. the supposedly enlightened intelligentisia, the National Film Critics had all moved beyond racism.

    In the Supporting Actress category, they seem to have, but not it looks like in Best Picture or Actor. Which makes me so sad and also angry.

    If you ask me they have to get Obama and Michelle involved.Maybe I’m wrong, but to me it’s an important national issue.

  • Bryce Forestieri

    I think it’s racism pure and simple that explains why what has just happened to “12 Years A Slave”, one of the greatest films of all time IMHO.

    Jesus Christ!

  • manrico1967

    “Kris Tapley from IN CONTENTION said Streep’s performance made him cringe.

    That’s embarrassing. But beyond that, ask me if I care?

    p.s. Richard Corliss is the worst critic TIME has. Mary Pols and Richard Schickel (who is no longer there) are far preferable. Trust me as someone who has been following him a long time. His comments are just plain off base.”

    Sasha, I don’t have to trust you. I have been reading Corliss since the 70’s. He is one the most thoughtful and insightful critics ever.

    The idea that someone should be embarrassed for not liking a performance or movie is not worthy of you.

    You made a statement of fact. Not about Streep’s performance, but that everyone (who have seen the movie) agrees with you about it.

    That’s is simply not the case.

    I haven’t seen AUGUST. Maybe when I do, I’ll agree with you. Maybe not. Regardless, I won’t be wrong. Because it is a matter of opinion.

    After all, Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

  • Tony

    I gotta go with Sasha on this one: Richard Corliss, feh.

    At this point, the only person who might want to get started on an Oscar speech (and not have it be a total waste of time) is Cate.

  • KT

    Of course, the critics are going to come at Meryl now that she’s won her third Oscar. Back for both Julie and Julia and Iron Lady, when she won the NYFCC’s award for best actress, no one was criticizing what she was doing, or calling her out for hamming up roles and choosing caricatures over performances. If there were dissenters, they were very negligible…I personally think Meryl was embarrassed by the Iron Lady final product. But isn’t it funny how people can suddenly turn on her, now that she has the third Oscar and she’s seen as having gotten her due? Just as they will turn on Lawrence soon enough when she becomes “old news.” And once David O. Russell finally wins an Oscar, they’ll be dismissing his work too, the same New York critics that used his film to cock block 12 Years a Slave.

  • manrico1967

    The subject of what is a good critic is interesting.

    Some people rate a critic on how often they are in agreement.

    I always see critics as writers, so my favorite critics are the ones whose writing style I like the best.

    My all time favorite critic is Pauline Kael (of course). I think she was the best film critic of all time simply because she was the best writer of them all.

    However, of my ten favorite movies ever, she must have hated 6. Films like LAWRENCE OF ARABIA or 2001. She could be infuriating, but her writing was always interesting. Even if you disagree, she made movies criticism worth reading and talked about.

    Another favorite was Roger Ebert, even though his review of David Lynch’s THE ELEPHANT MAN is the single most wrongheaded review I have read in my life.

    Everyone mourned the passing of Ebert this year, but I also lost another of my all time favorites, just a few weeks after.

    His name was Rene Jordan. He wrote in Spanish for the EL NUEVO HERALD in Miami. I read his reviews since I was 13. His use of the Spanish language was funny and witty. A pleasure to read. He was 85 and, I found out by reading his obituary, gay. Reading his reviews over the years I suspected as much. A spanish speaking Noel Coward.

    Also this year we lost Stanley Kauffman of THE NEW REPUBLIC. He was still writing reviews before he died. He was 97!

    His review of BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN was specially gratifying to read. He compared to a Beethoven piece.

    And he didn’t like THE GODFATHER. (Before you’re start calling him names, remember that Ebert gave THE GODFATHER PART II only 3 stars).

    Of the living and active critics, the best writer in my opinion (I feel this blog should be like a judge in THE GOOD WIFE, she demands that lawyers always start any statement with “IN MY OPINION”), is Andrew O’Hehir from SALON.COM. Even his very negative review of CAPTAIN PHILLIPS, was well written and interesting. I could not disagree with him more in this case, but I do enjoy his writing.

    Probably the most hateful of all critics is John Simon. I even hated his reviews when I agreed with him. Another asshole is Rex Reed.

    Once Billy Wilder said that he would preferred a negative review from Pauline Kael to a rave review from Reed.

  • http://starshine-3.livejournal.com/ Antoinette

    I told you guys from the beginning I thought of the two THE BUTLER probably had a better chance in the race than 12 YEARS A SLAVE just based on the fact that it was happier. Now that was before I saw both. Once I did I thought 12 YEARS A SLAVE should also get in just based on quality. I didn’t expect people to be so wimpy about the subject but maybe they are.

    I still expect 12 YEARS A SLAVE and Steve McQueen to get Oscar nominations. What’s changed imo is that it’s not the obvious frontrunner we thought it would be at this point. THE BUTLER seems to have faded but it was rereleased here this weekend. Did that happen where everyone else lives? It could catch a second wind because of it.

    Now what we have is an actual race. With so many films still not in wide release there’s no telling what could happen. Unfortunately the death knell for some might be coming this week. The GGs have in recent years seemed like the end of the road to me. If you can’t make it there, you can’t make it anywhere. So I really wish some of these films had been released sooner or that the smaller ones had scheduled themselves to be available on DVD by now. I say that every year but it never happens. This year it could be a problem because most of the films and performances are big ones in big films. The little guys may not have given themselves a chance. I feel like this could be the race some of us have wanted to see for years, but then again it might be over by this weekend.

    One more thing. Am I the only one that feels like HER is actually the frontrunner right now? It seems like the one that made the big splash.

  • Eric

    ANTOINETTE:
    Her is one of those movies that jives with critics but I bet won’t connect with industry folks. A nomination or two, but largely shut out.

    Kind of like The Master last year.

  • http://awardsdaily.com Ryan Adams

    ANTOINETTE:
    Her is one of those movies that jives with critics but I bet won’t connect with industry folks

    Let’s remember The Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind was a critics darling and barely got a glance at the Oscars.

    Has the Academy matured or become more sophisticated since then? We’ll find out in a month.

  • http://awardsdaily.com Ryan Adams

    Question: “The Great Beauty” — It’s been playing for 10 days, but I can’t bring myself to go see it. Its main character doesn’t seem like someone I want to get to know.

    Tony, did you like La Dolce Vita? La Grande Bellezza shows us the La Dolce Vita never ended, never ends.

    Luca Bigazzi’s camerawork is as weightless as Lubezki’s. Aside from the protagonist, if you don’t find anyone you want to get to know in this movie then you’re a very unsociable guy (and I know that’s not true).

    La Grande Bellezza is the first movie of 2013 that I know I’ll rewatch 15 times.

  • Sammy

    We need to wait the SAG + Globes nominations to judge on “Her”.

    I think 12YAS is the frontrunner right now.

  • Koleś

    Had there been 10 BP slots back in 2005, Eternal Sunshine would get nominated, I’m sure. Anyway, a lot of weird shit happened that year, so the screenplay win for Kaufman and Gondry was one of the few bright spots of that evening. Just by looking at who won for acting that year makes me angry. HER might be more of a critic’s darling, and comparisons to ESOSM are rather obvious, but still I have a good feeling about it. NBR winner usually gets at least one Oscar and is nominated for a bunch. In the last 30 years the NBR winner was not nominated for BP only 3 times, and didn’t win any awards only 5 times.

  • http://www.youtube.com/jasonmovieguy Jason Travis

    Sasha- I’m glad you are saying Streep is amazing in A:OC- can’t wait to see it Christmas Day! I take your word she is that great.

    For the naysayers claiming Kris Tapley hated her performance- please remember that Mr. Tapley has always been anti-Streep since Ive been following him in 2003. He was the same guy who balked at me when I said I thought she had momentum for “The Iron Lady” (2011). He rudely responded: “She never had momentum, and she won’t win.” When she DID- he ignored all my post-award commentary about the situation. He has always been a hater in that regard. So his commentary about her is pretty much to be taken with a LARGE grain of salt.

  • Tony

    Ryan,
    It’s probably heresy around these parts, but I generally like DeSica more than Fellini, although it is Anita Ekberg in the Trevi Fountain that hangs over the fireplace.
    If you want to watch “The Great Beauty” fiftteen times, I suppose that I should go see it once. Maybe Tuesday. (If it’s no good and I die before you, I WILL haunt you.)

  • Tero Heikkinen

    Finally saw 12 Years a Slave. It’s every bit as great as people have said, BUT two things:

    -It’s way too violent. If I want to see a gore picture, I see one. I know this kind of story has to be violent, but do I have to look at it in close-ups and for that long? I ask from you, Steve McQueen, Mr. Long Take, you? I would’ve cut out a minute of it or shown reactions on bystanders faces. Might have made it even more effective.

    -Hans Zimmer’s score was one of his laziest. Apart from one piece (a steamboat sequence), it was just the same thing he has repeated in the last few years. And in this one he repeats it – and repeats it. He’ll probably get an undeserved nomination.

    I don’t mind if it wins BP (it’s worthy), but it’s not my favourite of the year – even now when I’m still about to see most of the hopefuls.

  • Claus

    Dear Sasha,

    as much as I love your site and your spot-on predictions I have to disagree with you as to say that Excharpoulous did not deliver a stunning performance. She did. She is only 20 years old and she does not act true-she is and that is something a Cate Blanchett can not deliver.

    Maybe american audiences are annoyed of truthful performances because they like the image or the figure meaning the object much more as the subject and that is fine with me.

    But by all standards she belongs in the Top 5 Performances.

    Claus

  • julian the emperor

    Sasha, your dismissal of Adele E. is beyond me. I guess you have a problem with the “male gaze” of the direction (in the sex scenes in particular)? Well, for me Adele’s the single outstanding performance in a movie this year. What’s your definition of acting anyway? For me, what Adele achieves is acting on as pure a level as imaginable. I have only seen Blanchett, Dench and Bullock of this season’s PREORDAINED top 5 and it’s safe to say that Adele towers above them. She’s in a league of her own, really.

    Streep? I trust Tapley, Lodge and Corliss when they dismiss her work in A:OC, but I will have to see for myself eventually. But it’s a fact that many critics and pundits seem to single out Julia Roberts and/or Chris Cooper rather than Streep. Whether that is embarrassing or not, I will leave up to you. What’s embarrassing to me, is a pundit trying to explain away the magnificence of Adele’s performance in BitWC.

  • http://awardsdaily.com Ryan Adams

    Tero making us ask what movie is Tero’s favorite of the year.

  • http://awardsdaily.com Ryan Adams

    I would rank some DeSica over some Fellini, Tony. Talk about heresy, there was once a time in college when The Garden of the Finzi-Continis was my favorite Italian film. (But then I saw The Conformist a few weeks later). The Great Beauty just had me smiling like I was blissed out on Ecstasy all the way through though. I do hope you enjoy it. (If you don’t, and you come around to haunt me, how would that be any different than how would that be any different from the way we get along now?)

  • http://awardsdaily.com Ryan Adams

    Remember when 25 times a day Sasha was accused of being a Streep-hater. It’s heartwarming to see all those people who eere screaming insults then come forward now and say how much they regret their vicious mistake that year.

  • Tony

    Haha! (Note to self: If/when haunting Ryan, hide his copy of “The Conformist,” as well as any water bottles or pacifiers.) I don’t know what my favorite Italian film is. My parents probably would have chosen “Cinema Paradiso.”

  • steve50

    Has the Academy matured or become more sophisticated since then?

    I think we all know the answer to that one – not unless the pods in the basement hatched.

    I thought America, esp. the supposedly enlightened intelligentisia, the National Film Critics had all moved beyond racism.

    Don’t agree that it’s outright racism, although it could play a small part. I think that film criticism, at least end-of-the-year awards, has moved from analysis to entertainment. Bergman would not be a darling these days with regards to film awards. (HER must be really special – can’t wait)

    I have been reading Corliss since the 70′s. He is one the most thoughtful and insightful critics ever.

    hmm, me, too. “Critic-lite” who can be a bit of a wad at times.

  • steve50

    The Conformist > Finzi-Continis, but I’ll give you that DeSica was an overall more consistent filmmaker than Bertolucci (even if I prefer the latter’s politics)

  • Tony

    From heresy to travesty: The Janus Films VHS of DeSica’s “Two Women” is better than any of the crappy DVD versions. Why the hell is Criterion snoozing on this one?

  • Tony

    Bertolucci is the only person (as far as I know) to say the word “teat” in an Oscar acceptance speech. IIRC, it came out sounding more like “tit.”

  • http://awardsdaily.com Ryan Adams

    I think I discovered once that DiSica was the only director whose films won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film in 3 consecutive decade (? or one of the few, anyway. Anyone else?)

    He was quite the hottie too.

  • http://awardsdaily.com Ryan Adams

    From heresy to travesty to… blasphemy?
    I’ve never seen DeSica’s Two Woman :-/

    There is a really nice Italian DVD edition — but no Eng subtitles!

  • Kane

    @Stephen Holt, “I think it’s racism pure and simple that explains why what has just happened to “12 Years A Slave”, one of the greatest films of all time IMHO.”

    You’re more level headed than this. Racism? What the hell ever happened to, oh I don’t know, personal preference? In the end I’ll say 12 Years a Slave is the greatest movie of the year but it came in #3 on my most anticipated of the year behind Her (#2) and Gravity (#1). But that’s just my opinion as to what’s the best. It’s not racism if a movie like 12 Years doesn’t win, if anything it makes it seem like 12 Years MUST win because of it’s subject matter. It lessens the great impact of Lupita winning and Ejiofor being a runner up. Back when the LAFCA awarded Do the Right Thing with their best honors nobody cried racism, how could they? I’d hate to think people are ready to cry racism simply because a movie didn’t win.

  • Kane

    @Ryan, Her stands a better chance because there are more slots for BP :) However if Eternal Sunshine were released today with greater social media exposure (that could help a film get more nominations…maybe) I think you could tack on best picture and even best editing nominations. It was an editing favorite if I remember correctly.

  • Tony

    His films won 4 times, but he missed out on the 50s (unless the ceremony for the second win held in early 1950 counts).

    I look just like him . . . in my mind.

    That is blasphemy! (Here’s a quirk of mine: I won’t buy a DVD without English, even in one of the two other languages that I’m semi-fluent in. I did make an exception once for “The Smiling Mme. Beudet.” It has so few title cards that even my non-French speaking friends could follow it, though no one has chosen to do so yet. Quelle surprise — not.)

  • Tony

    Agreed, Kane. Extra BP slots would’ve gotten “Eternal Sunshine” in.

  • Sammy

    As I said before Adele & Lea duo gave the best performance of the year. In normal conditions I would nominate Adele as the favorite to win the Oscar but do not forget here is America and an Anglo Actress always has the edge over the foreign competition especially in a foreign language film (Riva, Montenegro lost against weaker competition).

  • Tony

    If you’re young and in a foreign language film, you have to really wow them like Marion did in “Piaf.” Audrey got zilch for “Amelie.

  • http://awardsdaily.com Ryan Adams

    I guess I’m counting DeSica’s special Oscar for The Bicycle Thief in 1950 — which led to the establishment of Best Foreign Language category in 1955 or 56.

    I think I’ve found a really good Italian/Spanish edition of Two Women — with English subs. I measured a screenshot and it’s 1:1.66… not quite the proper 1:1.78 ratio but a lot better than all 1.33 versions I see for sale. Looks like nice crisp transfer, good contrast with inky blacks.

    So now I have a date tonight!

    Fun Fact:
    Alberto Moravia wrote both novels The Conformist and La Ciociara (Two Women)

  • Tero Heikkinen

    Ryan, my favourite would be Gravity, for now, but ask me again on Wednesday if Blue Is the Warmest Colour has passed it… or a week after that (also Wednesday) if The Wolf of Wall Street has passed it. I expect at least 2 or 3 films to be better than Gravity – I just don’t know which ones yet. I’m a little late with these, but a month from now, I’m good.

  • Koleś

    @Ryan
    “Foreign Language Film in 3 consecutive decade (? or one of the few, anyway. Anyone else?)”

    Depends how you count. He won in 1948, 1950 (for a movie made in 1949), 1965 and 1972. So he either won in 4 consecutive decades or only 2.

  • Bryce Forestieri

    Two was on Netflix just recently. Might still be there.

    THE CONFORMIST, one of my top 5 films of all time. Bertolucci probably wouldn’t rank in my top 50 directors.

    What Criterion needs is ROCCO AND HIS BROTHERS!!

  • http://awardsdaily.com Ryan Adams

    Koleś ..YES! I like your answer even better. I should not have worded it so specifically about “Foreign Language Film Oscar” since such a thing did not exist when DeSica won his first 2 special Oscars.

  • Jake Bart

    Eh, I’ll wait until I see the performance myself to truly judge Streep’s worth in the role, especially if the alternative is trusting Tapley or Corliss. Recall that many critics were making these same sort of pronouncements when DOUBT was released and that won Streep a SAG award (and I thought she was magnificent).

  • unlikely hood

    Not saying the whole podcast page should be down, but perhaps they stopped doing podcasts because we’re now up to the year when OscarWatch started?

  • http://awardsdaily.com Ryan Adams

    um, we just took a podcast break because an offline glitch called Life kept us from connecting for a couple of weeks. We’re planning on recording another episode tonight if we can temporarily disable the Life thing for 2 hours.

  • Bryce Forestieri

    Let’s get an Oscar Podcast Preview thread going then! I even updated my 2001 list weeks ago! (but whenever you’re all ready)

  • http://awardsdaily.com Ryan Adams

    the plan for tonight is to repair/restore a damaged chat about 2000

  • Tero Heikkinen

    I have no idea when I’ll see Her, but all the other major candidates will be in the bag within a few weeks.

    I can’t wait to say “I love Her”. Could be the first 😉

  • Bryce Forestieri

    True. Gotcha

  • Tony

    Ryan,
    Is the version you found NTSC? Region(s)? Another quirk of mine: I won’t buy a version that I can play only in one room.

  • http://awardsdaily.com Ryan Adams

    It’s PAL, Tony. Requires a Libertarian multi-region player.

  • Jerry Grant

    “Eternal Sunshine” and “Being John Malkovich” would have been nominated had there been 9 nominees. (I would like to hope “Adaptation” would have, too, but not terribly confident on that.)

    Just re-read this line from Sasha: “Let’s face it: film criticism, like the Oscar race and Hollywood overall, is dominated by the straight, white male opinion.” I get what she’s trying to say and it’s important to clarify the demographic limits here. But I would politely suggest staying away from a phrase like “the straight, white male opinion.” What is that exactly? Substitute any adjective in there for its opposite, and you get an extremely offensive and reductive statement. Now, the statement isn’t _offensive_ as it stands, because straight white males don’t really need to be offended; but it is deceiving and poorly-written and definitely reductive. Preferred: “opinions of straight white males.” <– True, and doesn't suggest that straight white males actually all think alike.

    Small rhetorical changes like that can minimize the vitriolic backlash Sasha often gets, largely from men (though of course not entirely do away with it).

Sign In

Register

Reset Your Password