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Oscarwatch: 15 of 2012’s Rising Stars

Each year, a handful of new faces, and occasionally old ones, revel in the celebratory season known as the Oscar race.  It’s either a celebration or a nightmare, depending on how badly you want it.  Many are unprepared to do what it takes — to Marion Cotillard and Jeff Bridges your way to a win. You can sometimes get away with Monique-ing, if you turned in that kind of performance — so thoroughly good that your non-campaign can be your campaign.

That said, there are several names being bandied about now and the difference between whether they win or not could end up boiling down to how many times they smiled and pressed the sweaty palms of would-be voters.

The Oscar race wasn’t front-loaded this year — in fact, it’s been profoundly back-loaded.  With all of the Big Oscar Movies yet to open it is a tough call to even predict anyone for anything.  However, to that end, here are the names so far that are going to have to step up and Jeff Bridges it in the coming months.

1. Jennifer Lawrence — On the heels of her $400 million dollar franchise, The Hunger Games, Lawrence, along with Kristen Stewart, is one of the women who owned the box office in 2012.  Lawrence has been smartly gathering cred with her first Oscar nomination already in Winter’s Bone, but always managing to turn in a performance of note in whatever movie she happens to star in.  She has navigated every terrain necessary — indie cred, blockbuster cred, red carpet cred. She is the girl of the moment, hard working, drug- and scandal-free.  Lawrence knocks it out of the park in the Silver Linings Playbook, and the one-two punch of that and The Hunger Games puts her at the top of the list. She’s more Helen Hunt in As Good as it Gets than Halle Berry in Monster’s Ball in Playbook. If she weren’t such a rising star she would be in the supporting category for her work here, as her function in the film is mainly to support Bradley Cooper’s character arc. What makes this an award-worthy performance is that Lawrence elevates it beyond what’s written on the page. She makes it deeper, richer, more compelling than it otherwise would be — it’s a male fantasy, yet Lawrence finds the truth in who the character is and that makes the difference.

2. Joaquin Phoenix — He’s been kicking around for a while now, usually turning in impressive work. He’s taken his confused teen in To Die For and amplified it to 11 in The Master and has delivered the best performance of the year thus far by any actor.  Phoenix didn’t come out of nowhere — he’s paid his dues and has managed to forge his own success out from underneath the shadow of his late brother River. If The Master has any Oscar clout walking in the door it’s Phoenix (though it should also do pretty well, despite its “difficult” subject matter, in the other categories).

3. Jessica Chastain — With an Oscar nomination under her belt already and two major parts this year, Chastain is one of the hardest working, most sought after actresses of her generation already. Like Lawrence, she seems to have a bright future mapped out. With Lawless and the upcoming Zero Dark Thirty, Chastain seems destined to come to the big show again this year. Probably she’ll get there for Zero Dark Thirty, although there is much we don’t know about the film.

4. Tom Hardy — Even if his star has been on the rise for over a decade, the past couple of years have seen a burst of energy from Tom Hardy fueled by prime roles and the respect he’s won from top tier directors.  Credit Ridley Scott for spotting his talent as long ago as Black Hawk Down. Now thanks to Inception, The Dark Knight Rises, Warrior, Lawless and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Hardy has become a household name whose films make bank — solid enough to step into Cicero as Al Capone next year.

5. Benh Zeitlin — If there is any breakout film director this year, it’s Zeitlin. Sure, there is a goodly chance that both Anne Thompson and Dave Karger are right, that the movie is “too rough” for Academy voters, not pretty enough, not safe enough, not conventional enough. I tend to think of them as still having some 1970s juice left in them, some untamed creative streak that would keep their minds open enough to know something this good when they see it. But you never know. Either way, Zeitlin’s career has been made this year.

6. Quvenzhané Wallis — It’s absolutely debatable whether Wallis was too young to be given credit for turning in a fully realized performance. Some have said that it’s the director who should get credit for her work. But I guess because I’ve worked around kids a lot throughout my life that I’ve noticed there are some who are gifted at a very young age and Wallis is one of those.

7. Amy Adams — Headed for the winning zone, Adams has two strong performances this year. First, a supporting turn in The Master where she plays against type as a rigid, loyal wife to the leader of the religion Phoenix’s Freddie Quell finds himself drawn into. She’s also the lead in The Trouble with the Curve. Like Lawrence, Adams always steals the show but has done more than that this year; she’s evolved as an actress. She is someone whose career really does seem unlimited because she’s more than a flavor of the month — as a young actress she’s already eked out a place playing character parts and leads, which is essential to having longevity in show biz.

8. Ben Affleck — With two solid efforts under his belt (The Town is greatly underrated in my view) he’s evolved to another level with Argo — pitch-perfect, funny, moving and surprisingly lean (he likes to go long, so going lean is unusual) and showed himself to be a director in full command of story and frame. The critics have yet to ring in on Argo and many of the other films headed for Best Picture, so one has to reserve its Oscar chances until that point. As of right now, it feels like the strongest contender so far. But it will depend on how the critics respond, how the public does and whether or not the Academy is ready to take Affleck seriously as a filmmaker.

9. Joseph Gordon-Levitt — What a year for Gordon-Levitt so far. He was one of the best things about The Dark Knight Rises, currently starring in the well-reviewed Looper, and will appear in Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln. Do any of these add up to an Oscar nomination? It’s hard to say but he has proved his versatility by taking on difficult roles in the past and continues to grow as an actor.

10. Jacki Weaver — She isn’t young, like most rising stars, but her star is on the rise nonetheless. Coming at a career in America later in life, Weaver is, to my mind, the great unsung performance of Silver Linings Playbook. Sure, everyone is talking about Lawrence and De Niro – and they’re great – but for me Weaver enlivened every scene she was in. After her creepy turn in Animal Kingdom and now this, Weaver is proving to be one of the most surprising characters actors of her generation.

11. Kristen Stewart — Coming off the heels of a “scandal” with Robert Pattinson, some might think Kristen Stewart is down for the count. But, despite the incident that upstaged her success, Stewart has now proved she can open a film and bring to $100 million even without the Twilight franchise — that makes her a force to be reckoned with. She is also willing to go deeper with smaller independent films. Despite this seeming like the worst year of her life, it is probably one of the best.

12. Nate Parker – Named as one of Variety’s 10 Actors to Watch, Parker is really something in Arbitrage. He leaps off the screen as an actor.  He’s able to hold his own up against Richard Gere, which is saying a lot. He also stars in Red Hook Summer and will be in Spike Lee’s remake of Old Boy. He’ll also be starring in Ain’t Them Bodies Saints alongside Rooney Mara, Ben Foster and Casey Affleck.

13. Greta Gerwig — It really took a project like Frances Ha to alert the world to the talent and beauty of Gerwig. Once destined to be the girl forever in the background, Gerwig is sensational in Frances Ha. It helps that her boyfriend directed the film because he lovingly showcases her many gifts. As a writer and potentially, director, the sky’s the limit for Gerwig and none of us would never have known were it not for Noah Baumbach.

14. Ann Dowd – Sometimes star power hides in plain sight for years, building confidence in strong ensemble work often taken for granted.  And then it explodes with single sensational role.  Ann Dowd grabs our attention in the first perplexing scenes of Compliance.  The depth of her unsettling presence immediately lets us know we’re invested in a movie that extends its twisted psychological tentacles way beyond anything we’d ever expect from such a tabloid source.  What might have been nothing more than a sad sordid story of prankster abuse is lifted to profound levels of monstrous power-tripping.  Thanks to the curt coiled performance of Ann Dowd, a small-town can of worms crawl out and grow quickly into the snake hair of a cruel matronly Medusa.

15. John Hawkes– After dozens of simmering back-burner supporting performances, Hawkes  catapulted onto the star charts with the back-to-back brilliance of Winter’s Bone and Martha Marcy May Marlene.  In The Sessions he’s received universal acclaim for portraying a paralyzed poet, turning all the physical and emotional challenges into rich dramatic assets.  Another tenacious talent whose rise has been so steady the arc he’s cut across the horizon feels almost predestined.

109 Comments on this Post

  1. Thank you Sasha, this is great! Acting has always been my favorite part of movies, especially when one or two performances can turn a so so movie into a great one. A lot of these are pretty obvious, but there are a few that I have to thank you for posting on here! Pretty excited to see all the actors and actresses in each movie you listed, so again thanks! I have some good movies to see.

  2. rufussondheim

    I saw The Master yesterday and the weak link for me was Joachim Phoenix’s too extreme performance. It’s too showy too scenery stealing and it distracts from a movie that would have benefitted from restraint.

    Now, of course, my opinion is one opinion that’s definitely not in the conventional wisdom (at least on this site) but I don’t think the Academy is going to go ga-ga for this because I think the film will leave many of them cold.

    But he benfits for being first out of the gate, the first major contender to be widely seen. And so many will put him tops on their lists just because of that.

    Now I know everyone seems to think it will be between he and DDL. But I think it’s going to come down to Bradley Cooper v. Hugh Jackman, the two male leads that I think will vie for Best Pic.

  3. rufussondheim

    #4 is missing by the way

  4. Amy Adams biggest problem when it comes to winning awards is herself, and by that I dont mean her acting. Adams just isnt a campaigner. She will do what she has to do for the movie but it just doesnt seem in her to sell herself, which we all know is needed. Watch her recent interview with Dave Poland he gives her every chance to high 5 herself and she just cant do it, instead she just compliments and raves about everyone but her. It is refreshing and frustrating at the same time. Adams doesnt have a “story” that the academy can hang on to, she is just a solid actress doing her work, something the academy doesnt seem to care or feel the need to award. Sadly.

  5. I heard about Frances Ha at TIFF and the people who saw it said it was amazing, can’t wait to see it.

    Seeing the Master tomorrow..finally!

  6. The Academy will respond to that, though, Amanda, if they like the person enough. It seems they like Amy Adams – three nominations in six years is a good haul, and she was no sure thing for either of her first two. And I don’t find her humility frustrating – Hollywood is far too full of egotistical doofuses. She rather charms me in interviews.

  7. For me Alicia Vikander and Mary Elizabeth Winstead were the big relevations of 2012, I also think Joel Edgerton could surprise us and pull a ‘Renner’ for Zero Dark Thirty, I could easily see comeback boy Matthew McConaughey scoring his first nomination this year, and wouldn’t be AT ALL surprised if Bradley Cooper, who had failed to show anything remotely impressive until ‘Playbook’, would make the cut with the Weinsteins in his corner, and as far as complete unknown breakthrough performers go, my money is on Samantha Barks. Also, Anne Hathaway delivered the loveliest surprise when she NAILED Catwoman. I didn’t think she had it in her.

    What I will be very curious to see, is whether a bunch of leading men who have been ignored by the Academy in recent years, could make Oscar-comebacks in the supporting category :

    Leonardo DiCaprio (Django Unchained) (no win, last nod 6 years ago, snubbed for The Departed, Revolutionary Road, Shutter Island, Inception, J. Edgar)
    Russel Crowe (Les Miserables) (1 win, last nod 11 years ago, snubbed for Master & Commander, Cinderella Man, 3:10 to Yuma, American Gangster)
    Robert De Niro (Silver Linings Playbook) (2 wins, last nod 20 years ago, several decent roles since then, unfortunately several remarkably disappointing ones, too)
    Ralph Fiennes (Great Expectations) (no win, last nod 15 years ago, snubbed for The End of the Affair, Onegin, Sunshine, Spider, The Constant Gardener, In Bruges, The Duchess, The Reader, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Coriolanus)
    Jude Law (Anna Karenina) (no win, last nod 9 years ago, snubbed for … damn … is it possible Jude Law hasn’t had a decent role since ‘Cold Mountain’ ? OK, maybe ‘Closer’)

  8. William Chase

    I think calling Joaquin Phoenix and Amy Adams “rising stars” is a little bit of a stretch, seeing as they both have come a long way since their breakout roles in Gladiator and Junebug. However, if they do in fact belong on this list than Anne Hathaway certainly deserves the missing #4 spot. Sight-unseen, she’s my frontrunner for winning best supporting actress in Les Mis by a landslide, and if by chance the movie is a gigantic dud I see no reason she won’t be at least nominated for The Dark Knight Rises.

    And if we are talking about “rising stars new to the Oscar race” Bradley Cooper should be here too. To me, Silver Linings is looking more and more like the year’s big winner and as of now I’m predicting him to walk away with the Best Actor trophy, unless Daniel Day Lewis’s performance is just too big to ignore (which I’m not expecting).

    Kudos though for putting Jennifer Lawrence in the #1 spot, rightfully so! And I appreciate any support for Joseph-Gordon Levitt. It’s by far his best year yet, and I have no doubt that within a few years he will be holding his own Oscar statue.

    Great piece Sasha!

  9. William Chase

    Also, the collective snubs of Leonardo DiCaprio, Ralph Fiennes and Russell Crowe is borderline unforgivable. Thank you for bringing that up Phantom.

  10. I also like how Amy Adams always comes off genuinely humble in interviews and the fact she puts her work first and not her ego, definitely worked out for her brilliantly. She could easily score her 4th Oscar nomination and all that in 7 years…that’s BlanchettStreepWinsletClose-territory. Add the fact that over the years she managed to find herself in relatively well-received Box Office hits, as well, and bang, you’ve just found THE most consistent actress of her generation.

  11. Paddy M: I dont think I explained myself very well when I said frustrating. It’s frustrating to me that she doesnt campaign for herself because I love her as an actor so much and I know that campaigning is a big part of winning awards. I want and think she is deserving of awards and I just want to shake her and say “play the game, I know it isnt you but play the game a little”. I love that she is so humble and really just seems to love the work and is probably one of the only people in Hollywood I would believe if she said she was “just happy to be nominated.”

  12. Great list. I’m a complete advocate for Beasts of the Southern Wild, Quvenzhané Wallis, Benh Zeitlin and even Dwight Henry. Considering Henry and Wallis had no acting experience prior to Beasts is incredible.

  13. William Chase

    I think Amy Adams will be nominated only if The Master becomes a Best Pic/Director frontrunner come closer to voting time. I’m most excited for her in next year’s race, when I think she has the best chance yet at finally winning an Oscar for David O. Russell’s next project about the ABSCAM sting operation in the 1970’s starring her, Jeremy Renner and Bradley Cooper.

  14. Speaking of rising stars, you heard it here first :

    REBEL WILSON (PITCH PERFECT)FOR BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS !

    from VARIETY
    “Still, in a real sense, the picture belongs to Wilson, rightfully receiving her strongest bigscreen showcase since “Bridesmaids.” Socking over most of the throwaway zingers in Cannon’s script, the rising Aussie comedian fearlessly steps into yet another part that pokes fun at her figure, and happily reveals an outsized singing voice and hilarious dance moves to match. “

    It’s time for the Academy to start recognizing fearless comedic performances AND young actresses who are simply different and not your typical ‘talentedhotbabes’, the only type voters usually go for.

  15. I like the list – looks like a reasonable start – and especially love the inclusion of Jackie Weaver. I expect her turn in Silver Linings Playbook will be everything I’m hoping for so AMPAS can compare with her venomous character in Animal Kingdom. She is amazing and deserves attention.

  16. Glad to see JGL on the list and of course Jennifer Lawrence, but I would’ve put Tom Hardy on this list as with The Dark Knight Rises and Lawless he’s had a great year.

  17. How are some of these people “rising stars”? Kristen Stewart, Amy Adams, Joaquin Phoenix, and Ben Affleck have been around forever!

  18. Rising stars? Ben Affleck has an Oscar. Jennifer Lawrence and Joaquin Phoenix already received Oscar nods as have Jessica Chastain, Jacki Weaver, and Amy Adams. It would have been smarter to only list people like Nate Parker, Zeitlin, and Wallis who are completely new to the entire process.

  19. Lawrence very well could win given everything that Sasha mentioned. There’s no overly-due vet that is in the race right now. On years like that, youngsters see GOLD.

  20. Anon, just because their star has already risen does not mean it can’t rise further. So Jacki Weaver is an Oscar nominee – does this mean she’s reached the peak of her stardom? Another nomination + a role in one of the year’s potential big hits could make her much better recognised amongst the general public.

    Melissa Leo was Oscar-nominated for Frozen River, but she wasn’t widely known until after she won for The Fighter. An Oscar nomination can mean very much or very little to an actor’s stardom. And surely there’s no limit on how far a star can rise.

  21. Note to any fledgling filmmakers on here: Sticking black aviators on an actress makes her look 100% more boss.

    @anon: Affleck’s a rising star in the critical sphere as a director. The Town and Gone Baby Gone drew praise, but not enough for Academy noms. He’s taken a big leap based solely on the festival reviews. Same deal with Jackie Weaver. Silver Linings Playbook will probably make 10 times what Animal Kingdom earned in the US. Huge visibility boost. K-Stew had a hit outside Twilight and might get some raves for On the Road that she hasn’t previously attracted. Good on her. Phoenix went off the rails and couldn’t get a nod for the excellent Two Lovers. He’s making more of a comeback than a rise, but he’s on the upswing regardless.

    Amy Adams is the only one on the list that feels dicey, but whatever. She’s having a big year.

  22. Sasha, can you name one performance from all film history better than the one Joaquin Phoenix gave in The Master??

    I can’t

    He doesn’t only deserve the Best Actor award at the Oscars…he deserves a new award…an award that highlights the revolutionary things he did in the film. He simply broke the CEILING for what WE (ACTORS) thought to be possible.

  23. rufussondheim

    Amy Adams has yet to peak. She’s considered a top actress, but I don’t think she’s in the same stratosphere as say Julianne Moore or Kate Winslet and definitely not seen as a Meryl Streep or Nicole Kidman. But she’s getting there, and, for that, she’s on the rise and deserves to be on a list such as this.

  24. and please get JGL the FUCK outta here already. He did nothing special in TDKR. This kid gets so overrated for looking good at doing an average job.

    Amy Adams in The Master is too basic, safe, and predictable for her to warrant a nomination.

  25. Just six words: JACK BLACK, JACK BLACK, JACK BLACK (in BERNIE, of course)

  26. Sasha, there are only 12 people in this list. It’s bugging me.

  27. Mea Culpa

    OT: The first official trailer for Park Chan-Wook’s ‘Stoker’ starring Nicole Kidman and Mia Wasikowska. Written by Prison Break star Wentworth Miller.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MXaanQkzrXU

    Looks interesting, I’m not quite sure what to make of it.

  28. therealmike

    Could you please swap Kristen Stewart with Anne Hathaway. Seriously, Stewart doesn´t belong to this list. She´s not the reason “Snow White” did so well at the box office. Above that she´s just a very limited actress. Her best role was in “Panic Room” and that´s it.From “Into the Wild” to “The Runways” and “Welcome to the Rileys” she´s been playing this weird, awkward and uncharismatic version of herself. I don´t follow gossip or at least I try to avoid it so my view on her work is as clean as it can be. Anne Hathaway on the other hand blew me and everyone else away this year. With “The Dark Knight Rises” and “Les Miserables” she´s gaining so much respect and no one including me would´ve expected this career from her. I didn´t actually take her Oscar nomination for “Rachel Getting Married” serious until now. I thought this was a one time thing for her and she would doing stuff like Julia Roberts soon. So I´m actually impressed by her.

    One thing about Jackie Weaver. Reading all those reviews about “Silver Linings” I wondered why she isn´t getting as much praise as the other actos because her part in the book just screams Oscar. The part of the mother is actually my favorite in the book and I´m sure an actress like Weaver would nail it. So I agree with putting her on the list and am glad I´m not the only one who was thinking she needs a little more attention.

  29. Jake G!!!

    Joaquin Phoenix a rising star? Amy Adams a rising star? Ben Affleck? How are they rising stars when they have already solidified themselves as some of the best already? And why leave Tom Hardy or Anne Hathaway off if you were gona do the list with already big stars?

  30. Seriously, How is Tom Hardy not on the list?

    He had 2 UNCONVENTIONAL performances this year. One in the form of a masked terrorist, and one as a motherly-bootlegging-gangster.

    The choices he made in both roles were exciting and unique.

    Yet you have actors like JGL listed? JGL does the same old predictable thing in every role he is.

    One could say Do you actually watch acting, or do you just follow the buzz these actors are given by other critics?

  31. @VVS: Tom Hardy’s performance was seen as a fine but lesser redux of Ledger’s Joker and Lawless was a huge disappointment. He’s big, he’ll get bigger, but his 2012 was a bit of a stagnation. JGL in Batman was like Hardy in Inception; a good surprise, like “Woah, he brought it.” Looper’s getting the raves that Lawless failed to earn plus Lincoln will draw critical and audience attention for a variety of its elements, JGL included. He had the better year. 2013 or 2014 will almost certainly feature Hardy on a list like this.

  32. Talking about Jacki Weaver, she’s also in Stoker. The trailer’s just arrived Sasha!

  33. Hardy flexed his muscles in 2012 and broadened fanbase. I don’t think Mad Max will get him on next year’s list, but Everest, if it comes about, just might.

  34. Kristen Stewart doesn’t belong to this list. I will say no more.

  35. charlotte

    Awesome list, Sasha. So very happy to see Jennifer Lawrence at #1!. I’m really looking forward to Silver Linings Playbook.

  36. looks like Tom Hardy made the list after all. He’s #4

  37. christiannnw

    As far as Quevenzhane Wallis and the whole “is she too young to give a real performance” issue goes, I always prescribe to this school of thinking: judge what is happening on the screen. Personally, I think she exuded an incredible amount of force and determination that lends her character likability and viewer engagement, but I’d be treading into ultra-critical-making-things-up territory if I commended her for imbuing Hushpuppy with the depth and nuance that the presumed best actress competitors (Marion Cotillard, Emmanuelle Riva, Laura Linney, etc.) are known for.

    If I were Sony Picture Classics, I’d push her in supporting actress. Shrewd, definitely, but it’s her best chance at a nomination and subsequent win.

  38. christiannnw

    Replace “her” with “the” in the penultimate sentence of that comment please! :/

  39. “looks like Tom Hardy made the list after all. He’s #4″

    Yeah, and what a photo! Somebody better warn Antoinette so she doesn’t have a stroke!

  40. @JesseCrall

    Hell no Bane wasn’t Joker redux. The choices Hardy made were even more inventive than Ledger’s in my opinion. The physicality and the completely contrasting voice. The choice to make the accent hard to decipher and to understand. The emotional vulnerability at the end.

    Hardy as Bane >> Ledger as Joker

    JGL in The Dark Knight Rises had some well rehearsed delivery and he nailed the moments for what they needed to be….but I’m sorry that is not exceptional acting, that is the minimum required of an actor. When Hardy played Eames, he completely changed the atmosphere around his cast because he brought so many contrasting qualities, and so much charisma and spontaneity…JGL did not do that. Let’s not compare a kid who can add 2+2 to a noble prize mathematician now.

  41. Well, since we seem to be talking Oscar here, and when are we not? I heard several choice quotes from an early protege of Sasha’s who was in college when he firs appeared here back in the Oscarwatch days…

    *sigh of nostaligia”

    Scott Feinberg now turned himself vertiably into an Oscar himself and though he’s still in his 20s(mid 20s is my guess) he’s now THL’s to go Oscar guy and he had this to say recently about The Race.

    He thinks Qu’venzhane could win Best Actress! He feels that that race is sooo all over the place “if the Academy gets behind her story, she could win.”

    And as for “Beasts” in BP he thinks that there are enough Indie-minded members of the Academy that they could muster enough votes to put it in the top ten.

    Of course, and this is my observation, not his, the Director’s Branch is another story ENTIRELY and with so many heavy-weights of Hwood vying for those five slots, Benh Zeitlin might not get in, though Qu’venzhane just might! Isn’t that ironic?

    Scott thought that vis a vis a Matthew McConnaghey Supp. nom for “Magic Mike” “NOT IN A MILLION YEARS!”

    He also claimed that Helen Mirren is just as formidable a contender for A Best Acting nomination as Alma Revill Hitchcock and Sir Anthony Hopkins is playing Sir Alfred! Evidently the film is as much about HER as it is about “Hitchcock” himself, which is refreshing. We’ve never heard HER story told. And it’s a big one. And Dame Helen is really good at going dowdy as she did with “The Queen.”

    Alma Hitchcock, Lady Hitchcock, if you want to be correct about it, was a much-liked figure in Hollywood to those who knew her. In the business. I think she’s fascinating,personally. Hitch gave her credit for EVERYTHING and the world never did. But now with Dame Helen’s rumored to be great performance, Lady H. is about to have her day.

    Scott also thought “The Master” might not get in to BP and that Amy Adams was not a lock by any means for “The Master.” Evidently the Academy isn’t digging it. Uh-oh.

    Scott basically gave “Hyde Park on the Hudson” no chance at all anywhere…

    And just to think a mere few years ago, he was an undergraduate at Brandeis! He’s come a long way fast. But his mature-r master-y is growing and he is dealing with the Academy AS the Academy and realizing them for what they really are…which is 90 year olds trying to act like teenagers.

  42. happy that joseph gordon levitt is on the list. He is great.

  43. this is why the Oscars are so off right now…it’s not about judging the categories for the talent those categories represent, they’re either judging them based on the film overall, or on the story of the person…fuck outta here…award people based on their work and thats it.

  44. Have to agree with VVS – Hardy was the standout in TDKR. The guy is so good that he disappears completely into the character he’s playing and consequently, almost goes unnoticed. The fact that it happens over and over with each role he plays speaks for the skill behind it.

    Soon (I hope) viewers will start to connect the dots of all those “that-must-be-the-way-he-is” performances and recognize the talent.

  45. Whoever made the decision to not have Tom Hardy campaign last year made a huge mistake. This year he was great in LAWLESS but honestly so was everyone else in that film. Guy Pearce is the standout and would be the nomination if it maintained any buzz. I don’t know what happened there or why it was left to die in August. But the film is great and everyone deserves any recognition it could receive.

    You know, as a relatively new Tom Hardy fan, just a couple years now, I was seriously disappointed in the lack of press he did last year. This year I thought there was no way he could get out of it with TDKR and LAWLESS but, no, he managed it. I don’t understand. He’s been around long enough to see other people do it and see what it takes. His idol Gary Oldman learned to campaign last year and pushed hard. Why he didn’t do that is beyond me. He’s really a great talk show guest too which is why I’m so stunned by it. Quite a shame if he just lets it go.

    Luckily Joseph Gordon-Levitt does know what he’s doing press-wise. He hosted SNL for the second time this past weekend and has shown himself to be a true entertainer. He’s building up a killer resume.

    Joaquin Phoenix and Ben Affleck are old hands at this. They know what to do and will do it. I’d just love it if Affleck would appear on Letterman finally.

    Jennifer Lawrence is the one having the “It” girl year I think. She’s the breakthrough star and will probably be nominated for the GG at least. I would assume they’ll ask her to present at the Oscars if she’s not nominated. Too big of a year for her not to be in demand at the ceremonies.

    The press circuit is going to be flooded with huge stars come holiday time so if new people wanted to use that time to get their name out there that might be too late with no room at the inn. Those smaller movies and their actors are going to have to blow the roof off the place to get noticed.

  46. Glad to see Hardy on the list now. His performance in TDKR was terrific, but Lawless was his real standout performance. He was incredible in that movie. Besides Denzel I don’t know an actor who has that certain screen prescence thr just takes over the movie. The rest of the list is great especially with those two beauties Jennifer L. And Chastain.

  47. Jacki Weaver FTW!

  48. happy to see jessica chastain and kristen stewart on the list. i just saw Arbitage and I gotta say Nate Parker is good in it.

  49. If AMPAS had any guts, they are compelled to nominate Lawrence for the movie that would’ve crumbled without her mad acting skillz. Hint: it’s not the Silver Linings Playbook.

  50. Wait – I’m sure there were less when I read this earlier today…terrific read – thanks. :)

  51. Its obvious you are a kristen stewart fan. any sane moviegoer thinks that this actress is one note and has limited acting capacity. the mediocre success of SWATh is not due to her, snow white is a well loved character and add the unbeatable action genre and visuals, voila! you can be assured with minimal success. it is quite insulting to the movie audience to include this cheater amongst some of the true and honest to goodness rising stars of 2012. Please take off your twilight badge for real.

  52. I would drop Kristen Stewart and add Sleepwalk With Me’s co-writer/co-director/star Mike Birbiglia.

  53. Be still my heart, that picture of Tom Hardy is simply delicious. :D Great list with the exception of Kristen Stewart who doesn’t belong at all. She has yet to get an ‘Oscar’ level rave for her performance in On The Road. All the critics keep mentioning is she did a great job in getting naked and not being Bella. Garrett Hedlund is the actor receiving praise for his outstanding performance in that film. The moderate level success of Snow White and the Huntsman ($387 Million on a budget of $170 Million) is due to the trailers/TV ads with Charlize Theron chewing the scenery as the evil Queen. Add box-office star Chris Hemsworth and it’s an ensemble piece. All three actors were required for the film to make any money. Very different from the Hunger Games which rested all on Jennifer Lawrence’s shoulder.

    Same with Tom Hardy, a great actor but the success of TDKR is a group effort including Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway and Joe Gordon-Levitt. Bane was no Joker. Lawless isn’t setting the box office on fire either, however unlike Kristen Stewart Tom Hardy has many Oscar level raves for his performance in Lawless. And his reviews from TDKR are far superior to Stewart’s in either Twilight or Snow White.

  54. Profile photo of Ryan Adams

    “Its obvious you are a kristen stewart fan.”

    What’s more obvious is that you’re a drive-by hater. We’ve never seen you comment before. You appear out of nowhere to attack one particular person who for whatever reason makes your butt itch.

    You know what’s “one-note”? The tiresome cliche dismissal of an actor as one-note.

    Do you troll around the internet looking for paragraphs praising Kristen Stewart so you can flop your big trump “cheater” card down?

    Pathetically sad hobby you have there.

    As far as I know, Sasha hasn’t seen any or all of the Twilight movies.

  55. Excellent list and I agree with the Ben Affleck inclusion. Even though he is an Oscar winner and has been a Hollywood leading man since the late ’90s, he’s really entering his prime as a well-regarded and grounded filmmaker. I think he may be the front-runner for best director this year.

    I have grown to love Amy Adams over the year for her consistency and her reliability to elevate even the slightest of parts. I was unconvinced post-Junebug that she had the versatility to have a Kidman/Blanchett type trajectory with the similar, bright-eyed, naive girls she played in succession (Enchanted/Miss Petigrew Lives for a Day/Leap Year/ and even to an extent her Oscar-nominated part in Doubt), but with The Fighter, On the Road, and The Master, she really is challenging herself and I admire her for that. I don’t think this is her year for Oscar, however…although she is great in The Master and really brings out her character’s subtle controlling nature, malevolence, and almost Lady Macbeth-like control over her husband, I don’t think her part is substantive enough to warrant a win. I believe there will be stronger contenders like Hathaway, Helen Hunt, Maggie Smith, Sally Field, etc. But you never know…

  56. Amy Adams is either on-the-ball or her people are because as soon as critics started knocking her for always playing sweet, she did The Fighter and nailed it. She’s kept it diverse ever since, especially impressive because she really DOES look sweet.

    “Frank…you’re not a Lutheran?”

  57. would love to see Dowd a nominee and Hawkes a winner (even though I haven’t seen his film – I just really like the guy).

  58. Kristen Stewart definitely deserves to be on the list–not for her Twilight Saga roles–but for her indie performances in: On The Road, The Runaways, The Cake Eaters, Adventureland, Speak, and Welcome to the Rileys. In my opinion, Kristen displays credible romantic chemistry with her onscreen love interest that other young actresses such as Jennifer Lawrence and Saoirse Ronan cannot hold a candle to.

  59. Sasha, your site is showing ads promoting Romney over Obama. You are getting paid for this. I don’t care how random and complex the ad system works, put your money where your mouth is and stop making money off ads unless it is just to support an average life. You can choose to be a socialist. Kind of. Except a true socialist uses force to force others to act as they do as well. But you can be a capitalistic philanthropist. Donate money to good causes or stop the hypocritical ads. D.C. econ grad student. I do like your forum site. Keep up the good work there. It’s very free and has good organization and attracts good users even if they can’t be perfect, but that’s impossible. So I thank you for that and your pure movie news. I don’t care about the Oscars. The trick is not minding…which is easy…unless you make money off running a site on the useless award. OUT. I will not read any bashing. Just FYI. Whether you care or not.

  60. Damn, Mike, right when I was about to bow you go off and knock Lawrence and Ronan. This doesn’t need to turn into Trouble With the Curve with either/or scenarios regarding actresses. It’s cool to dig a few ;)

  61. Reform the Academy

    I love Jennifer Lawrence as much as the next guy, but will the extremely poor reception of her latest film ‘House at the End of the Street’ have any effect on her chances?

  62. Don’t think so Scott. I tipped her before for two BA nom’s and I stand by it.
    I love horror movies, but I won’t tip her for a third.

  63. Each to their own, and while I liked Hardy very much in TDKR, it was not anything special in my eyes. People can talk about nuances all the like, but to me there wasn’t anything subtle. His voice wasn’t subtle, it was verging on the gimmicky. To my ears his voice was remixed to the point it became a distraction. I like Tom Hardy, and I got a kick out of his performance as Bane – the man has got talent to burn and this was not a stretch.

  64. charlotte

    Jennifer Lawrence’s Oscar chances will not be affected by HATES…..it’s not exactly like it was a 200 million dollar budget kind of film that bombed….and the people voting for the Oscars probably don’t even know it existed. It’s The Hunger Games, plus the incredible reviews for Silver Linings Playbook Lawrence is receiving, her talent and popularity…that’s what will get her nominated. I have a feeling Silver Linings Playbook is going to do extremely well at the Box Office…I think it will resonate with a lot of people. So, yeah, definetly a nomination and that would make 2 noms for BA in two years. Not bad for a 22 year old.

  65. I am baffled an award watch blog gives more more credits to Kristen Stewart than her co-star, Garrett Hedlund, who obviously received more praise.

    Stewart is obviously not a rising star. She has been around for a while and everybody knows her. It frustrates me when people like to give recognition to celebrity for doing even the smallest task, while leaving the unknown actor who does all the job with nothing.

  66. charlotte

    And that’s “effect” and not “affect”…after all these years I STILL mix those two words up.

  67. Profile photo of Ryan Adams

    oh, hey Caple, so now you’re a “D.C. econ grad student”?

    last month you were Handsen, “a Norwegian who invests in the NYSE”

    a few months before that, you were Theo, “non-criminal Colorado attorney here”

    Never come to talk about movies. Always complaining about the google ads. Every damn comment, crying about the ads: “I’m a Lurker, just put off by this.”

    Aside from the exotic names, don’t you realize you stick out like a sore thumb when you announce your occupation with every new fake persona? Dude, who does that? This isn’t Jeopardy. Nobody cares about your bogus biographical sketch.

    Just be Steve, Libertarian crank from small town Ohio. You hate Romney, you hate Obama. Anything involving making a nickle is some corrupt scheme to you unless it passes your purity test.

    Look, if Sheldon Adelson wants to blow $70 million bucks on lying Romney ads that nobody with a brain believes, and then a little bit of that nasty cash trickles into Awards Daily, rest assured Sasha will turn that money right around to good use. She knows how to Do The Right Thing with it. Including taking Adelson’s filthy lucre and churning it right back around into a donation to President Obama.

    If you hope that we read your comments, don’t you think we’re smart enough to see you’re always delivering the same sermon 7 different times wearing 7 different hats?

    Sorry to blow your elaborate cover stories, but this silliness gets tedious after the 5th or 6th repetitive lecture.

  68. Hahahahaha OWNED!!!

  69. Stephanie

    Would love to see Jessica Chastain get another Oscar nod this year and possibly a win. She is a fantastic actress who has shown great range in all the parts she’s taken thus far. What hurts her is that she doesn’t take many mainstream roles. . here’s hoping ZD30 will change that.

  70. rufussondheim

    Thanks, Ryan, for pointing out the disingenuity of that guy/gal’s posts. I wish you would do this more often since it distracts from the conversations many of us are trying to have. Hopefully he will be embarassed and will not return.

    But what he should alao be embarassed of is his inability to write a coherent, organized or effective arguement.

  71. JACKIE WEAVER!!!!!

  72. Nik Grape

    Random thoughts;

    I would think Bradley Cooper deserves a spot (say, over Stewart) because of Playbook, but I guess Lawrence and DeNiro are stealing his spotlight?

    I love Amy Adams, but she didn’t steal the show in the Master. She might in Trouble with the Curve.

    Agreed with those who say Hardy was the highlight in TDKR. His accent and tone of voice were pitch-perfect, and he conveyed much through his tweaks, twitches and expressions in that film. Nothing Oscar worthy (the mask doesn’t help him) but one of the best villains of 2012, easily.

    Jackie Weaver is awesome.

    And I recently saw Compliance…shocking true story and Ann Dowd would get a nomination in a perfect world.

  73. Rufus,

    dont think I didnt see your Off the Wall comment about Joaquin at the beginning of this thread.

    You really should do yourself and all of us a favor and remove yourself from any acting conversations because this is the 2nd time that you show a MAJOR hole in your perception of acting.

    Joaquin’s intensity is the whole LYNCHPIN of the The Master. Without it the film fails…you need to believe this man really is an animal. How exactly would “showing restraint” achieve to communicate that about the character. What rabid animal have you known to show restraint?

    Please Get THEE entire FUCK Out of here. Thanks! :)

  74. Kristen Stewart did nothing compared to Garrett Hedlund greatness in On The Road. She is praised more as a celebrity than an actress. She is just th next LiLo. Shame.

  75. So glad to see Tom Hardy and Jessica Chastain on this list, Sasha.
    It would be great if AMPAS recognized them this year with nominations.

    I’ll add my own “AMPAS RISING STAR” here as well: Michael Shannon. There seems to be a lot of Best Actor buzz for him in “The Iceman”. He was robbed of a Best Actor nomination last year for “Take Shelter”. I actually thought Jessica Chastain should have been nominated (BSA) in “Take Shelter” (rather than “The Help”) last year. She was terrific in that role.

  76. rufussondheim

    Are you trying to be antagonistic, WS?

    Please read my comments on The Master thread where I specify with great detail my opinions on his performance.

    To sum it up, I think Joaquin’s performance is too intense, to the point that it becomes unrealistic and distracting. I am of the opinion that Freddie is incapable of functioning in society and in the five years that transpired between the end of the war and the time he climbed on the ship something would have happened to him, whether that be killing himself by substituting poisons for alcohol, doing something that would get him in jail, or he would be held in a mental institution.

    Sorry if you don’t like my opinion, but I’m not going anywhere.

  77. I totally agree about Garrett Hedlund. He is THE ACTOR of On The Road, channeling Brando in a magnetic and unforgettable way. All reviews are praising him, not the Twilight celebrity. Kristen is just making headlines because she is a tabloid queen, not for her incredibly limited acting skills. Why this site is hyping this Kim Kardshian is beyond me. It’s ridiculous. You’re losing crediblity quickly I guess after this.

  78. OK, as long as the definition of “rising star” is so broad, can I nominate Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones in Hope Springs?

    Personally I don’t like the movie, especially the cop out ending, but Streep has never been more vulnerable, and Jones is (to me) even better, all bottled up disappointments and frustration but act as nothing is wrong.

  79. rest assured Sasha will turn that money right around to good use. She knows how to Do The Right Thing with it.

    She’s gonna buy a pizza shop and then not put pictures of black people in it? Oh…. lol j/k Not for nuthin’ but I thought the ads depended on you. Ads are always telling me to buy vitamins and play video games ’cause that’s what I do on the internet. *shrug* The only politics one I get here is the no-fun-Annette Benning lady’s and I assume that’s because I live in MA. People from other states don’t get those right?

    Please Get THEE entire FUCK Out of here.

    There are a number of people here who need to learn to disagree without being nasty. Rufus has every right to his opinions. And we can go after those opinions without going after him. There’s a difference. Be nice. :P

  80. Ted,

    I agree with you about Kristen’s limited acting skills.

    However, I will say in her defense that at least she did a credible job in “Snow White and the Huntsman” (and did not ruin the film for me, as I thought she just might do!) I guess the blow job worked its magic on the director, too.

  81. Rufus,

    the problem with your assessment is one little word. WOULD. That’s simply not true. The word is COULD…Freddy COULD wind up dead from the poison he drinks…Freddy COULD wind up institutionalized for his behavior….but none of those things are guaranteed in life….look at Lindsay Lohan for example. You can argue she is shielded by her fame, but fame cant shield her from the substance abuse she’s been through. Why isn’t she dead? Are there not people out there who should be institutionalized but are not? And we are talking about about MODERN DAY….this film takes place where it would be hard to capture somebody like Freddy because he is a true Drifter.

    But all of that simply speaks to the writing…what does that have to do with Phoenix’s Once in a Lifetime performance that has superceded every singled performance we have seen in film so far?

    Sorry…you have no legs here. Again, this is the 2nd time you say something bewildering about acting performances this year. Are you one of those contrarians who thinks he’s cool for disagreeing without any validity? Let us know so we stop wasting time with you.

  82. rufussondheim

    Movies need to be believable for me to like them, at least movies that traffic in a realistic tone. This is one that traffics in the realm of realism. Freddie didn’t strike me as real.

    I don’t blame Phoenix for this. I’m sure he gave the performance that PT Anderson wanted. It’s my opinion that PT Anderson wanted the wrong performance. That’s Anderson’s fault, not Phoenix’s.

    It’s a shame that this opinion troubles you so much. Maybe that’s why you can empathize with Freddie, you see yourself in him.

  83. Reform the Academy!

    Obviously after last year’s fiasco, all bets are off on the BFCA rule of thumb, but if Oscar hadn’t changed the rules these would be the only BP contenders who have pre-qualified for next year’s ceremony.

    Argo – 91
    The Dark Knight Rises – 91
    The Avengers – 90
    The Kid with a Bike – 90
    Looper – 86
    This Is Not a Film – 86
    Beasts of the Southern Wild – 85
    Declaration of War – 85
    End of Watch – 85
    Frankenweenie – 85
    The Perks of Being a Wallflower – 85
    Polisse – 85

  84. Reform the Academy!

    Pretty weak year so far aside from some smashing blockbusters…

  85. Reform the Academy

    Flight, Skyfall, Lincoln, Anna Karenina, Silver Linings Playbook, The Hobbit, Zero Dark Thirty, and Les Miserables…from the looks of it that’s about all that’s left worth watching. :/

  86. I don’t mean to reopen another wound here (but I’m going to anyway), but let us not forget last year’s fiasco and learn from it . . . when “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II” grabbed the critics like gangbusters, all of them giving the film deservedly high praise and top marks . . . only to discover come crictics awards season and AMPAS nomination time that nobody loved the film THAT much after all, garnering only a few tehnical nods. Even BAFTA ignored it, for God’s sake.

    So I don’t consider these early prognosticans very seriously (even though I participate in them and it is fun to theorize who may be nominated).

    The only films currently released which I think are bound for some Oscar love are “Argo” and “Moonrise Kingdom” . . . perhaps “The Hunger Games”, “Snow White and the Huntsman”, “The Dark Knight Rises” and “Prometheus” obtaining tehnical nods only in various categories.

  87. I also think, and I’m basing this only on AMPAS average age of 60+ and over white guys, that “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” will surprise many and win some nominations.

    It’s a BIG hit (released in the spring, it is still playing in my city and making oooodles of money). Don’t count out all those senior citizens who are members of AMPAS! !

  88. Movies need to be believable for me to like them, at least movies that traffic in a realistic tone.

    Rufus, I’d be curious to know what you thought about END OF WATCH if you’ve seen it. I thought it was crapola unlike most people, but then William Friedkin tweeted that he thought it was the best cop movie ever and I was like WTF? It just seemed like the TV show “COPS” to me, which is why I thought it was nothing special. But then it occurred to me that people who think the realness of a movie is the most important thing might love it. Did you see it?

  89. rufussondheim

    No, I haven’t, but I’m now intrigued.

    There is realism and there is realistic. I understand the concept of realism and while I appreciate it, it’s not the end all be all. But I do like movies to be realistic. That doesn’t mean I don’t like sci-fi, fantasy, or horror (The Paranormal Activity series are some of my fave movies of recent years) I just want the movies I watch to make sense. Or as Ebert once stated, a movie has to follow the rules it sets up for itself.

    And I don’t think The Master does that. I can accept the plague of frogs in Magnolia far more than I can accept Freddie in The Master. He’s a contrived character present only to make the story move along. Anderson needed Freddie to be as extreme as possible to make the rest of the film work. But he went to far. I didn’t find it believable.

  90. Tero Heikkinen

    “Ebert once stated, a movie has to follow the rules it sets up for itself.”

    This of course includes the films that are set up for not following any rules. Meaning that following certain rules is not necessary at all, because some films cry to break out (of rules).

  91. rufussondheim

    Which is kind of how Anderson gets away with the frogs in Magnolia. He sets a tone that’s somewhere on the edge of reality and when the frogs come it makes more sense than not for those that understood what he was doing.

  92. Tero Heikkinen

    Edge of reality. Agreed.

  93. That happens though because frogs get sucked up by water spouts (tornadoes), over a lake or something, and then get rained down miles away.

    fyi, “The Edge of Reality” is the song from my favorite scene of my favorite Elvis movie. :) http://youtu.be/fy4_FmqXlC4 They don’t make ‘em like that anymore. Sadly.

  94. Every time I read about Frances Ha here on AD, I get even more jittery excited for it. Gerwig has had such a great year, and this sounds like such a wonderful part for her. Can’t wait to see it.

  95. rufussondheim

    I just love Magnolia to no end. The night I first saw it was a Tuesday. I went again Wednesday. And Thursday. And was enraptured all three nights. It’s an amazing work. I wish more filmmakers pushed themselves in that way. (Crossing my fingers for Cloud Atlas)

  96. Other than Boogie Knights, I wouldnt say that any of PT’s films exist in reality based world. I wouldn’t say that a film shot with the style of The Master, or a film that depicts “time travel
    “” in the fashion that The Master did operate in our world as we know it. PT’s choices in pretty much all his film are too influenced by the supernatural and spiritual. But then again I can’t say that anything I saw in THe Master struck me as being unrealistic. If PT wrote that Freddie Quell cant drink paint thinner and live, then that’s good enough for me to believe that it can happen or imagine a reason why in this world somebody like him can endure that.

  97. rufussondheim

    There was nothing in The Master that led me to believe this was anything other than a reality-based world. Just because a movie is filled with a ton of beautiful shots doesn’t mean it’s not based on reality.

    Unlike in Magnolia which had some hints towards the beginning, like the prologue, the bible verse spray painted on the roof wall, among other things.

  98. Nik Grape

    Is it possible that you were watching the movie and thinking that Freddie was supposed to be mentally stable?

    For a mentally unstable war vet, he was completely believable to me.

    On another note, Magnolia is still my favorite PT.Anderson film. I love it to death.

  99. unlikely hood

    I know no one’s reading anymore, but hey, what the heck.

    Mattoc – someone should have called you on this – if you’re standing by your prediction of J-Law getting two BA noms, can we bet, say, a million dollars? Cause Academy rules forbid that. An actor can only have one nod per category.

    Having said that, I could easily see J-Law in both BA and BSA categories. Why is it so crazy for her to be nom’d for The Hunger Games? Comparisons will eventually abound to Weaver in Aliens (1986) and Depp in Pirates (2003). And the pros were surprised, on nomination day, at those nominations as well.

    I loved Phantom’s point about the decade’s glaring snubs. Well said.

    This business about Wallis is interesting, but I think she will go lead (and get nom’d) for very similar reasons as Kate Winslet and The Reader (2008). Four years ago they looked around and realized that, oddly, lead actress was more wide open than the supporting category. Same this year. Any year where two foreign-language-speakers are in Sasha’s Top 5 predictions means that the category is WIDE open. Go Greta Garwig!!

  100. @ unlikely hood

    Thanks for that, I am now a little wiser than I was yesterday.

    Also, can you add Denis Lavant to the list? If everyone sees his performance, he’s in.

  101. rufussondheim

    I get that he’s supposed to be unstable. He was more than unstable. There’s no way he could function independantly. He would either have been jailed, institutionalized or dead.

    I know that’s a fine distinction, but I think it’s an important distinction.

  102. I think a pretty solid addition to this list would be Ezra Miller. He turned in quite a performance last year in We Need to Talk About Kevin and I just had the pleasure of witnessing his wonderful performance in The Perks of Being a Wallflower, which was vibrant, heartfelt, and very poignant. He has really cemented his versatility as an actor, not to mention his ability to hold his own alongside an actress like Tilda Swinton. That being said, he should absolutely be in the discussion for this year’s supporting actor race.

  103. Letterman just went on a rant about Joaquin Phoenix. He says Joaquin won’t come on the show now that he’s probably gonna win the Oscar and Dave’s pissed because he went along with that 2 year “skit” Joaquin and Casey Affleck did when Joaquin was supposed to be quitting acting to become a rapper. You guys gotta watch it. It was during Dave’s interview with Regis Philbin.

  104. ChrisFlick

    Thanks for spotlighting Nate Parker and his interesting role in Arbitrage. That character has many more facets than what would at first appear to be an uncomfortatable dupe stereotype. The movie is smarter than that and his plotline added real surprises. Well played!

  105. @Rufus…PT wrote that the character like Freddie CAN survive those things…THEREFORE he can. It’s that simple. As a viewer, its your job to go with what the film is saying…use your imagination. If you’re trying to use a cold analytical mind when watching a film 100% of films fail immediately.

    PT himself talked about how the fact that Freddie can drink that shit and survive is not to be overlooked by the viewer as insignificant…it’s written that way on PURPOSE to signal something about the character’s strength and resiliency.

    Did you even bother to think that in the story, Freddie is the only one to sample Dodd’s “Potion” and not be poisoned by it like every other follower of The Cause….these things are there on purpose.

    PT writes his scripts like great theatre…and great theatre is never like real life. It’s only mean to feel like real life.

  106. Great list! You can do no wrong by putting Jennifer Lawrence at #1. I was lucky enough to see Silver Linings and was blown away by her performance. She is definitely getting that nomination. Also agree with Joseph Gordon Levitt. However, Kristen Stewart shouldn’t be on this list. Does box office matter at the Oscars? Nope. Her performance in On The Road was just alright. Nothing worth for an Oscar. Overall great list. I think Amy Adams might have the best supporting actress in the bag too.

  107. rufussondheim

    Now matter how you shake it, it’s still not going to be my cup of tea, WS. I see your points and it’s perfectly acceptable to follow that logic. But for me it just comes off as silly. Maybe there is a deeper meaning, but if it’s so obfuscated by other aspects of the film, then that’s poor filmmaking anyway.

    Maybe on second viewing things will clear up and I’ll love it. But right now I’m very in the middle.

  108. The Perks of Being a Wallflower is enjoying it’s week of pre-screenings and I think Logan Lerman and Ezra Miller would have been nice additions to this list.

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