lincoln3

The State of the Oscar Race – And of These, Hope

With two weeks before the US Presidential election, nerves are frayed. The horses are kicking in their stalls. Cumulonimbus clouds on the horizon and a country sharply divided. Oscar season had no choice but to start early this year. With ballots being turned in very early in January, there are just two months left to lay it all out. At the end of November and early December we’ll get our critics top ten lists. After that, the critics awards. Then the guild awards followed by the Oscars. That means that a consensus will be forming soon. Usually by the beginning of December the race seems to be about a handful of films that have run the gauntlet and come out the other side with a consensus vote. Some of these movies have been preordained, their places in line held firm. They only have to meet or surpass expectations to fortify their position.

Oscar pundits are busily making their lists, putting certain names at the top of the list because they deserve to be there, or because they hope they will be there. Oscar voters are preparing for the all-out assault of ads and screeners, parties and interviews. Through the noise they’ll lift their fingers and point, “that one. I like that one.” It’s enough to drive any sane person off the cliff, that is, if the election hasn’t done that already. But at this stage of the game, there isn’t a lot more we can know because four of the biggest movies of the year have yet to be seen: Les Miserables, Django Unchained, Zero Dark Thirty and The Hobbit. Any one or all or none could shift the race from where it stands right now.

There is one thing we do know, however. A surprise awards nomination or win can make all of the difference to any struggling film. Making strides this week — Middle of Nowhere, which showed up at the Gothams, and Beasts of the Southern Wild continuing its winning streak at the London Film Festival, along with Rust and Bone, which took their top prize. Both films have been chugging along powerfully since Cannes. You would have expected they would have been supplanted by other titles but they haven’t. Beasts of the Southern Wild, despite the hype, despite the lowered box office numbers, remains a one of a kind tiny masterpiece. Whether Oscar voters will be able to make room for it or not amid the bigger storms headed their way is a different question. Be that as it may, both Rust and Bone, Beasts of the Southern Wild and Middle of Nowhere are female-driven narratives, a quality vastly lacking in the major Best Picture contenders here.

Despite somewhat downbeat forecasts for Lincoln by a few of my fellow Oscar pundits, like Steve Pond who just wrote a perfectly Pond “not so fast” piece,  saying Lincoln’s reception has been muted on the left coast, Lincoln is Argo’s most formidable challenger. Even the likewise cautious Kris Tapley  had to admit as much in his column. Since the film has yet to be reviewed by the major critics, caution is appropriate.

Argo has passed the test of critics and audiences — Phil Contrino of Box Office says that Argo will sail to $100 million without breaking a sweat. Lincoln is a tougher sell; as one of Spielberg’s very best films it doesn’t have the double punch applause moments that Argo has. It is quieter, deeper. But unless it is savaged by the critics, Lincoln is Argo’s biggest challenger at the moment. You can go by what people are saying after screenings, you can go with the rumblings from bloggers and critics, you can go with Jeff Wells’ ongoing objection to Spielberg and Lincoln, or you can go with the way the wind blows. The wind is most definitely blowing Spielberg’s way, as it would with any directorial icon who has reached past his comfort zone. Can Lincoln beat Argo– that’s really the question. It’s hard to imagine a scenario where Lincoln won’t do serious awards damage in the tech categories — cinematography, costume, art direction, score, editing, sound. In the beating heart categories — writing, directing and acting. That, my friends, adds up to a major Oscar contender. Can it win? Sure. Will it win? Who knows.

It’s hard not to see the pattern developing. Lincoln and Argo are both about pronounced American heroes — Abraham Lincoln and Tony Mendez. One saved the union, freed the slaves and set the country on the right path, even if it was the more difficult one. The other concocted a plan to rescue American hostages, took no credit for many years to come and is only now able to take some of that credit. The last two years, the Best Picture winner has harkened back to a more comfortable era. Nostalgia has been an ongoing theme lately in the awards race and to that end, Lincoln and Argo fit right in. Both films, though, are earlier echoes of present day America. Many of the conflicts then are still conflicts today. Racism is an ongoing problem in white dominated America, and Iran is at the forefront of our fears.

We don’t yet know the fate of our first black president. We don’t yet know what our relationship with Iran will be, either in the coming weeks, or after the election — another war in our future? Is it Iraq all over again? Ben Affleck subtly inserted a moment in Argo when one of the characters makes the switch to Iraq because back then it was the safer country. You see, these two films feel like electrical outlets that plug in to the same fears, passions, lightning rods of today. Is it any wonder, then, that they are heading straight to the core of this year’s Best Picture race?

Lincoln and Argo aren’t the only films that look back on who we once were and how that defines who we have become today. Fitting oddly into the mix is Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master, which disassembles our notions of religion, insert’s our animal nature and leaves us with a question mark about what it all means. The Master, Life of Pi and Cloud Atlas are all films that grapple with the bigger meanings of our existence, which could come into play with baby-boomers who are nearing the age where it all starts to bob back up to the surface. But The Master is the antithesis of the other two — it does not seek to explain nor fill the void. The Master is ferocious art, abstract expressionism, pure vision. It sharply divides audiences, which is what makes it a tough sell for Oscar, who appears to be tired of making the bold moves and feels more comfortable sticking with the conventional form of movie making — as the strict and traditional King’s Speech, and the tried and true throwback, The Artist, both fulfilled. If the Academy was in the business of rewarding bold artistic visions it would have given Stanley Kubrick an Oscar.

The Master has made an indelible footprint on the art of cinema, and alongside it stand films like Holy Motors and Amour. But there have been enormous genre and sci-fi movies that have broken through this year. Christopher Nolan rewrote the rules of Hollywood by showing you could make blockbusters that were also uncompromising works of art, as he did with Inception and finally, closing out the Batman series with the Dark Knight Rises. Nolan and Warner Bros. faced down some pretty tough odds this year, having to endure the first ever mass shooting on the opening night of the Dark Knight Rises. Logic would assume that Academy voters therefore wouldn’t touch it. The collateral carnage was too great. The question of violence in films, the Joker, all of it too much to fit on their plate, especially when there are so many films to choose from this year. But one should never take lightly Nolan’s contribution to American film. His mutation has opened the door to other studio projects to perhaps feel more comfortable taking risks. Nolan, like Paul Thomas Anderson and Spielberg, shot on film. That all three made the best looking films of the year without 3-D is all the more impressive.

The Dark Knight Rises is so much about the turmoil of 2012 only most people aren’t feeling its zeitgeist so strongly. The politics, the economic changes in our country, what it represents in terms of how Hollywood is changing, and the overall accomplishment of the Dark Knight movies is worth rewarding. I write that knowing that the next thing people will say is “no way.” Okay, fine. No way. Because it won’t get rewarded doesn’t mean it shouldn’t.

The same would go for Looper, a film so surprising there doesn’t seem to be a place to put it — it falls out of categorization this year because it too breaks the rules. You aren’t supposed to have a movie be about what it’s not advertised as being about. And yet, 3/4 of the way into Looper, the movie becomes something wholly different. It is just one of the many great films of 2012 that will likely never get anywhere near the Kodak.

Beware the underdog, which could be laying in wait. Might that be Silver Linings Playbook? A scrappy, feelgood love story revolving every so slightly around mental illness? Might that be Life of Pi? A movie that has the power to alter perception? Might it be Zero Dark Thirty, the movie that is about American finally getting the bad guy, or the one that really isn’t like the others, the grand experiment, the epic musical directed by Tom Hooper, Les Miserables? Much potential remains unknown this year but there are two things we mostly know for sure: Argo and Lincoln.

As is always the case with Oscar, our identity rests on the shoulders of men. In all of these stories, we are turning to the central male figure to delineate our collective identity. There is nothing new in our Best Picture contenders revolving around a central figure. The only thing that’s new about it are the people who finally notice it.

There is also a pulse of innocence working through this year’s slate, a more universal world view of seeing our adult world through the eyes of the young’uns. Moonrise Kingdom, Beasts of the Southern Wild and The Impossible offer an alternate, less jaded point of view. While The Impossible is based on a true story, it renders itself as magical realism because it really does seem like an impossible story only a child could imagine. Moonrise Kingdom and Beasts of the Southern Wild really do take us away from reality completely, into the realm of the sublime and surreal.

But let’s take a moment and look at the contenders in Best Picture, what are their strengths and what are there weaknesses? I’m going to start with the most likely and work down from there.

1. Argo – Going for it: it’s a film that is deceptively entertaining. Dig beneath its layers and you will find a more intriguing glimpse into American intelligence. A frontrunner for editing, Argo moves along at a smooth velocity, smoothly oscillating from funny, insightful, suspenseful to satisfying. It should have no trouble hitting the number one spot on ballots, even with the potential for older voters not to take Affleck seriously. He’s delivered the goods this time around in a language they are all very familiar with.
Against it – if anything, Argo is lacking that ol’ song “gravitas.” It is more The Artist than The King’s Speech.
Predicted nominations: Picture, Director, Screenplay, Supporting Actor, Editing, Sound, Art Direction, Costume

2. Lincoln – Going for it: Spielberg’s best film in twenty years. A quality show from the ground up, with a killer opening shot and an unforgettable ending, Lincoln pays tribute at once to a great leader, a great writer and historian (Doris Kearns Goodwin) realized by one of the best writers in Hollywood (Tony Kushner), with a lead performance that will end the year heads and shoulders above the rest. It is about a pivotal moment in our nation’s history handled with the least amount of sentimentalism Spielberg could restrain. So dense and filled with memorable dialogue and ideas you can’t catch it all at once. It’s political and historical wonkery at its best — with every minute detail attended to. Spielberg famously asked Doris Kearns Goodwin about each of the characters, whether he was getting their physical bodies right. And then there are the performances. The three main ones are exceptional, but particularly Daniel Day-Lewis as Lincoln. Tommy Lee Jones as Thaddeus Stevens and Sally Field as Mary Lincoln are equally magnificent. Can all three win? It’s certainly possible. But we’ve a ways to go yet. We’ve the critics to address yet. The fanboy-led demographic that will likely feel restless and bored during a movie that isn’t about blowing things up.
Against it: Lincoln asks that you sit up and pay attention. You can’t let it wash over you as you would a different kind of Spielberg film. Something tells me the critics will give it a hard time too. We’ll have to wait and see on that but my instincts are telling me they will, which is why I have Argo in the number one spot. It is currently the best reviewed mainstream movie of the year.
Predicted nominations: Picture, Director, Screenplay, Actor, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Art Direction, Cinematography, Costume, Editing, Score, Hair and Makeup

3. Life of Pi – Going for it: it’s a sweeping, mesmerizing spectacle that takes you on an unforgettable journey through a writer’s wild imagination. Ang Lee has said that technology needed to catch up before Life of Pi could be made. To that end, it is like Avatar (although Avatar can’t be beat on the visuals) its story is far superior. David Magee’s script is sublime. By the time the rough and tumble of all the challenges life throws at you — literally and figuratively — Life of Pi leaves you with a conclusion about life, religion and our place in the world.
Against it: It’s one of those movies like so many in 2012, you’re either with it or you’re against it. Divisive films don’t often win the consensus vote. It doesn’t have any stars and Oscar likes him some stars. Will it earn any acting nominations and can it win without any?
Predicted nominations: Picture, Director, Screenplay, Art Direction, Cinematography, Visual Effects, Sound, Sound Editing, Score.

4. Silver Linings Playbook – Going for it – the ensemble somehow ends up working well together in the most beautiful of ways. It’s a love story that’s about letting go of the past and recognizing what is right in front you. It’s about accepting the weaknesses of others and learning to live together. Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence are much of the reason the film works. It leaves you with a jolt of feelgoodism that can really make your day.
Against it: romantic comedies don’t always fare so well with Oscar, especially in a really competitive year. But Silver Linings has already won two awards, the audience award in Toronto and the audience award at the Hamptons Film Fest. That is more than enough cred to keep it in the race. Never underestimate the Weinstein Co.

5. Les Mis – unknown, but if it hits the right notes, predicted nominations: Picture, Director, Actor, Supporting Actress, Sound, Sound Editing, Cinematography, Art Direction, Costumes, Hair and Makeup

6. Zero Dark Thirty – unknown but if it strikes the target, Picture, Director, Screenplay, Lead Actress, Editing, Sound, Sound Editing

If the Oscar story goes as planned, choosing a fifth slot best director is going to be tricky. Someone is going to get left off the list. Right now, it feels like the last two spots are: David O. Russell vs. Tom Hooper vs. Kathryn Bigelow. Or Ang Lee could be left off of Life of Pi, leaving a spot for Benh Zeitlin or Paul Thomas Anderson. I feel that only Affleck and Spielberg are mostly locked in at the moment.

7. Flight – Going for it – it’s a vivid picture of a man running away from the truth. He is buried behind a mountain of denial, and when he finally comes crashing down (like the plane he maneuvers to the ground so successfully) it’s quite something to watch.
Possible nominations: Picture, Actor, Director (possibly), Supporting Actor (possibly), Screenplay (possibly), Visual Effects

8. The Master – sorry I left this off earlier – if it goes, if voters are into it in the least, it will get picked for Picture, Screenplay, Actor, Supporting Actress (and Supporting Actor?), Cinematography, Art Direction, Score. I could also see them snubbing The Master completely. You just never know how it will go.

9. Moonrise Kingdom – Going for it – it’s a very well reviewed money maker that really struck a chord with audiences.  A love story of two tweens who carve out an escape plan is delightful.
Possible nominations – Picture, original screenplay, costume, score

10. Beasts of the Southern Wild – Going for it – Benh Zeitlin rewrote the rules of cinema this year, even if it meant he did it within the realms of his own ouvre. A film told entirely through poetry – heartstoppingly beautifully written.
Potential nominations: Picture, adapted screenplay, actress, supporting actor, possibly cinematography, possibly score

11. Django Unchained – it is too soon to know. This could be a big fish or a small fish. It’s hard to imagine original screenplay without Tarantino, though, so at the very least you have to save a spot for him there until the movie is seen. But if it goes: Picture Director (he would have to bump someone else), Screenplay, Actor, Costumes, Art Direction, Editing, Sound, etc.

12. The Hobbit – another competing title for the tech nods. We’ll have to wait and see but it will give Life of Pi a run for its money in the visual effects department, at the very least.

The longer odds:

The Dark Knight Rises – something about this movie makes me not want to give up on it. I feel like history will remember Christopher Nolan’s trilogy more than it will remember many of the other films in the race so far.

The Sessions – it seems to be actor-driven but could get a surprise Best Picture nomination if it gets enough number 1 votes.

The Impossible – a true story that could end up becoming a sentimental favorite.
Amour – still hanging in there, though it is potentially going toe to toe with The Intouchables, a genuine crowd-pleaser and money maker.

A Look Back at Spielberg’s Themes from Press Play

Next Story »

New Django Unchained International Trailer

84 Comments

  1. October 22, 2012

    I’m sad you don’t think Moonrise Kingdom has a big chance in Production Design. It’ll be robbed if it’s not nominated.

  2. October 22, 2012

    This list of contenders is about as diverse as it gets. Unless something really POPS, landing acclaim for critics and audiences on a Million Dollar Baby level, I’d pick whatever film makes people FEEL the most. Les Mis would be my pick in that case, provided it reaches the promise its trailer suggests.

    And great piece, Sasha. Love these.

  3. Josh
    October 22, 2012

    Nice article yet again. What do you see for the predicted noms for Silver Linings Playbook?

    I know it happens almost every year where a movie goes from frontrunner to backburner, but I am really surprised The Master has really gone pretty quiet except for Phoenix and Hoffman. Two months ago it was the ‘it’ movie, now I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s not nominated for anything but screenplay, actor, supporting actor. I actually think Adams will be left out.

    I also think Django is the biggest question mark. It LOOKS to be a great one but with so many other great movies in the running, who knows. I don’t think it will be a force to actually win best picture.

  4. rufussondheim
    October 22, 2012

    Curious if you’ve left off The Master on purpose or if it was by accident?

  5. steve50
    October 22, 2012

    “The Master, Life of Pi and Cloud Atlas are all films that grapple with the bigger meanings of our existence, which could come into play with baby-boomers who are nearing the age where it all starts to bob back up to the surface.”

    You are scarily Perceptive – with a capital P – Sasha. While waiting to see the other two of the three, I was imagining how great it would be to like all three equally. Then, there was a moment of panic – which set of ideas and approach would I finally prefer when picking a horse in the race, ultimately lessening the other two? Sounds silly and it’s actually a good position to be in because there is usually only one film a year that has everything I personally look for. This hasn’t happened in decades.

    Excellent analysis of where things stand, btw. This year is like nothing I’ve seen since the early 70s, and it looks like Argo could consolidate votes like The French Connection did against the artier Last Picture Show (Pi?) and Clockwork Orange (Master?). Or is Lincoln going to pull off a Godfather against Les Mis’s Cabaret?

  6. Maxim
    October 22, 2012

    1. Lincoln.
    2. Life of Pi.
    3. Les Mis.
    4. Argo.
    5. Silver Linings.
    6. Zero Dark Thirty.

  7. Beau
    October 22, 2012

    You don’t think Hitchcock could make a play for it? Hollywood loves celebrating itself.

  8. Unlikely hood
    October 22, 2012

    I wouldn’t say a “more universal worldview of seeing our adult world through the eyes of the young uns” – not *more* than last year, where 6 of 9 BP nominees were centered around a minor. (ok I’m counting The Help because her name was Skeeter. Make it 5 of 9.) making the one-trick terrier The Artist an adult choice. No wonder our Ryan Adams considers the whole year a lost weekend.

    I love this piece but I don’t see any shattering news here. We’re where we were a month ago – heck, we’re where we were before we knew Hitchcock would be released in 2012. The biggest bloodbath on the horizon is still the Best Director nominations. And we’re still at Spielberg, affleck, almost-certain-hooper, probable Russell and then for #5, studios shall release the Kraken.

  9. Radich
    October 22, 2012

    Oh boy, so many movies. So little time…

    Gosh, this is a great year for film! I don’t even think I’ll be able to see everything before the ballots are returned or even before the Oscar night, but so far I’ve seen Lincoln, Argo and Flight. And I have to say that Lincoln is my favorite so far. I completely agree with you, Sasha, about Lincoln and the possibility of a shot down by the critics because of the immersion needed for it to be appreciated. Loved Argo and the power is on Affleck’s direction for sure. Flight is a very good drama but I can’t help but say, and I am in the minority, it didn’t surprise me that much. So I agree with The Wrap’s take on it. Washington is great in it though, and he will probably be nominated.

    Great piece, Sasha.

  10. moviewatcher
    October 22, 2012

    Sasha, what do you think cloud atlas’s chances are at the oscars? Could the 5% rule help it?

    Also: beware of hitchcock, especially in 2012 with the S&S poll thingy.

  11. October 22, 2012

    Very nice post… very very nice… Will say that I will put Flight in there over a few, especially Django Unchained. Sure, both are relatively untested (Flight with little exposure and Django unseen), but my sense is that Django is just a bit, I don’t know, for the fans. I really think Inglorious was always a bit favored simply for being a WWII movie, but who knows. I just think Flight has the capacity to really (i’ll just say it) take off. Zemeckis can really just play a crowd and people will love it. It looks like critics just might too and therefore, led by Denzel, this could find a place out there in the more populist minded voters.

    But I appreciate your “where the winds are blowing” sentiment. I don’t know if you are a Sense thinker or Intuitive (N vs. S, meyers briggs), but intution has a lot to do with Oscar predicting, even seeping into those you haven’t seen, which for those out in Middle America, has to be a lot of where your predicting lies. But yes intuition on where things go, because somehow I believe there is a bit of an “invisible hand” at work at times in these races. I mean, how do all those voting categories ended congealing over time into what ends up being like 80% of the nominees? It’s pretty intersting…

    Anyways, the more I sit with Argo, the more I like it. It’s timliness helps it. But I would argue (and over at my site) that we’re experiencing an unusually fluid Oscar race right now. Argo, with all of those great reviews and the excitement of it coming out is feeling a bit of a rush right now. But a lot of it is in the moment, spiking up to the top on gold derby right after opening. I think we’ll see that with Lincoln, silver Linings, Pi, and eventually Les Mis, which may make Les Mis win simply by being last in line. Anyways, maybe you might even be a little reserved in your expectations of Lincoln. Maybe it could just really really go places, meaning specifically amongst audiences. Remarking on the tone of the moment, the dread and anxiety the elections (though as a Millenial, I kind of like all of the craziness of the moment, concerning the election hoopla). But then Lincoln comes along, and whoever wins, if it’s your guy or not your guy, you may be a bit disappointed (ha, an understatement!?!?) in it not being YOUR guy, and maybe even a little disappointd if it IS your guy?! so then here comes Lincoln, and it’s just what people might need, and maybe that’s not a bad thing.

    anyways, if that happens it could take off, even like a Titanic or a Lord of the Rings.

    anyways, i’m still a bit on the prediction/rooting for Silver Linings. Maybe because I’ve read the book and just was kinda blown away by it’s page turning, deceptively breezy comedy. Just loved it. And also I kinda get how David Russell can really make it work. Some of that magic he showed in Flirting with Disaster, with just more weight to it. And I just looooove The Figher. I didn’t just think it was one of the best of the year, but it’s a top 100 American film for me, because it’s just so damn watchable. That scene at the end with the two on the couch, the opening to the “how do you like me now” and all, gosh, how thrilling. Anyways. I’m still gonna sit with Silver Linings and i’m hoping it cools off in time to not get that whole, sets itself up so high that it doesn’t surprise you. I think there are still people left who will know nothing about it who will have the same TIFF experience. I mean, including the Master, I have not read reviews from even unlikely sources, that have been as just fall over yourself positive as ones for Silver Linings.

    Anyways, I run on. But yeah. Life of Pi. We’ll see. I haven’t liked the previews personally, mainly for the visual stuff, which is what most people like it so much for. But i’m open to it. Yeah, les mis, I think that will be pretty great. And you could put it on any list from pre-production.

    But it’s an interesting year. Perhaps just on an intuitive level, but I think the Artist was starting to get inevitable this time last year and many people are saying a lot of different things so far as who is the frontrunner right now. Same goes for the election… gosh it’s all just so exciting!

  12. d2
    October 22, 2012

    “It is more The Artist than The King’s Speech.” — At this Argo, unlike The Artist, isn’t built on a gimmick.

    1. Argo
    2. Les Miserables
    3. Lincoln
    4. Life of Pi
    5. The Master
    6. Silver Linings Playbook
    7. Zero Dark Thirty
    8. Moonrise Kingdom

  13. Jake
    October 22, 2012

    Perfect line up:
    1)The Dark Knight Rises
    2)The Hobbit
    3)Argo
    4)Les Miserables
    5)Lincoln
    6)Life of Pi
    7)Zero Dark Thirty
    8)Django Unchained
    9)The Master
    10)Sinister or The Innkeepers
    Even tho i havent seen half of these haha

  14. g
    October 22, 2012

    It’s so exciting! I love this time of year..so many movies so little time. But it seems like this year is the best in a long time. I am so happy Argo is still number 1 on your list Sasha! My list features only the films I have seen.

    1. Argo
    2. Rust and Bone
    3. Moonrise Kingdom
    4. The Dark Knight Rises
    5. Beasts of the Southern Wild
    6. The Master

  15. cinejab
    October 22, 2012

    I saw Argo this weekend, and I did really enjoy it. But if that is our Best Picture winner, it would truly mark this as the weakest year of cinema in recent memory.

  16. d2
    October 22, 2012

    Even worse than The King’s Speech beating TSN or Crash beating Brokeback Mountain? How so? Wouldn’t Lincoln be worse? I mean, it’s such an OBVIOUS choice.

    What’s your preferred winner?

  17. Filipe
    October 22, 2012

    I’m assuming you forgot Supporting Actor in the Django Unchained part. There are three very real contenders (Leo, Waltz, Nick Fury) for a nod and DiCaprio maybe even looking for the win.

  18. October 22, 2012

    “I saw Argo this weekend, and I did really enjoy it. But if that is our Best Picture winner, it would truly mark this as the weakest year of cinema in recent memory.”

    Not at all. Even if you think Argo falls short, whether the Academy picks it to win or not has minimal bearing on the overall quality of 2012 flicks. 1995 was a killer year for movies but Braveheart won. Lotta people think 1999 was a phenomenal year even though American Beauty’s stock has plunged in the last decade (though I think it deserved the win). Argo winning takes nothing away from the already diverse bunch of quality movies released and regardless, it’s a very good movie that would hardly mark an embarrassment were it to win.

  19. Chris138
    October 22, 2012

    I wouldn’t vote Argo to win Best Picture either (I did like the movie a lot though) but I think it’s a bit of a stretch to call it the weakest year for film in recent memory if it were to win. As mentioned above I think Crash or The King’s Speech winning reflect the lesser choices of what the Academy thought was the best picture of the year.

    And I can totally see why the Academy would vote for it. The cynic in me knows that they love it because it makes Hollywood look good, but the movie itself is the definition of a crowd pleaser. It’s tense, well made and is a real throwback to 1970s film making.

  20. McGregor
    October 22, 2012

    This year is just awesome. Such a variety of films. I can’t wait to see as many as I can. But just off a feeling:…

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

  21. Alfredo
    October 22, 2012

    CommentCould someone please tell me why Kiling Them Softly it’s not part of the conversation? The reviews have been great so far and has the pedigree.

  22. October 22, 2012

    @Alfredo: It’s a Weinstein Company movie with a moving release date and a general lack of push from its backers. Since it’s more of a down-and-dirty genre piece, it doesn’t carry the immediate awards potential of other Weinstein thoroughbreds like Silver Linings and Django. If the reviews come out fawning, things could change but for now, it’s probably in that Looper-range of cool genre films we’ll talk about for years that got missed for no real reason. Maybe like Glengarry, too, another great guy flick that didn’t get a BP nod.

  23. m1
    October 22, 2012

    even though American Beauty’s stock has plunged in the last decade

    And its “decline” in popularity is due to the fact that people keep praising that overrated Fight Club. But yes, American Beauty is a great, great movie.

    The King’s Speech and The Social Network are in the same league to me, so I don’t understand people’s complaints.

    And I have not seen Crash, but there were better movies than Brokeback Mountain that year.

  24. Josh
    October 22, 2012

    I do think 1999 was a great year for movies. But it all depends on tastes for each viewer. Personally, I loved American Beauty then and thought it should have won. Since then, I think The Insider is far and away the best movie of that year, and one of the very top movies of the last 15 years.

  25. rufussondheim
    October 22, 2012

    American Beauty was a zeitgeist film for sure but then so were other top films from that year like Being John Malkovich, Magnolia and Three Kings that did not get the Academy’s attention. The Academy backed the wrong horse.

    I looked over the films from ’99 and had forgotten how many great films there were. I could probably list 20 movies that would be good enough for the top 5 of any other year. (just for fun, let me see.)

    In no order.

    1) American Beauty
    2) All About My Mother.
    3) The Insider
    4) Three Kings
    5) being John Malkovich
    6) Audition
    7) the Straight Story
    8) Blair Witch Project
    9) Magnolia
    10) Election
    11) Boys Don’t Cry
    12) Eyes Wide Shut
    13) Twin Falls Idaho
    14) South Park Bigger…
    15) Office Space
    16) Dick
    17) The End of the Affair.

    OK, that’s 17, and 5 of which were comedies, a genre that’s hard for me to find good examples.

    And 9 of these would be better or as good as my #1 in most years.

  26. Rg
    October 22, 2012

    1. Argo f*ck yourself
    2. Lincoln
    3. Les Miserables
    4. Life of pi
    5. Django unchained
    6. Cloud Atlas I really really liked it.
    7. Zero Dark Thirty
    8. The Hobbit I hope so.

  27. red_wine
    October 22, 2012

    TDKR is so bad that even a solitary Sound nomination would be one nomination too many. Nolan is in contention with TDKR this year, not with BB, TDK & TDKR. And going only by TDKR, he should not be in the Top 50 contenders.

  28. Josh
    October 22, 2012

    Yep, agreed on all the great movies of 1999. Two of my top five movies ever are in that year (The Insider and Magnolia).

  29. October 22, 2012

    I agree with Josh’s first comment, waaaay aaaabove in this thread.

    “The Master” is really fading. THAT’S the big change I see from earlier in this season.

    And yes, Amy Adams might get left out. ESPECIALLY, when there are THREE count’em THREE BSAs in “Les Miz” potentially. Anne Hathaway, Samantha Barks and the twice-nominated HELENA BONHAM CARTER!!!

    Everybody keeps leaving herHBC out of the Oscar conversation because Universal hasn’t let any images of her and Sasha Baron Cohen, as the THERNADIERS, the. comic villain and villainess of the piece, out yet. They are saving them for the delicious desserts they are assured to be.

    And there’s Russell Crowe, too, in as the mega-villain Javert, a part that also wins awards for people.

    And, completely not mentioned is “Anna Karenina” and the magnificent performance of Keira Knightley. Talk about not having any female centric movies this year of cinema years, Anna Karenina is certainly one. And she’s not all romantic innocence. She’s conflicted, complex. She’s a heroine and an anti-heroine AT THE SAME TIME. And the MOVIE! So, far not having seen the other year end films, “Anna Karenina” is my Number One. LOVED IT!

    Not enough great roles for women??? THIS is one of the great ones! And Knightley nails it. As you’ll soon see. The other great performance is an unrecognizable Jude Law, as her stodgy, unattractive, hide-bound husband. You won’t believe it’s Jude Law! No Golden Boy or Ripley’s Dickie Greenleaf here! Just wait til you see him!

    I don’t think we’ve seen even 50% of the films we’ll be talking about a month from now! It’s a very wide open year, with no clear favorite.

  30. Radich
    October 22, 2012

    Oops, I forgot to include The Master, actually the first I saw during this Fall Season – Not counting the Summer Season because, although The Dark Knight Rises is a great film and box office success, I still don’t think the genre is artistically respected by the Academy. Maybe a BP nominee, but if I remember correctly they changed the number of nominees because of TDK snub, to save face. But a BP winner won’t be a reality just yet, IMO.

    Back to The Master…Brilliant film and performances. I think for the performances alone it deserves mention. I don’t understand the criticism about not having meaning, a defined conclusion. I actually think if that was the case, it would diminish its philosophical approach. To me it would in fact implement dogma. I don’t think the eternal human conflict between reason vs instinct, freedom vs control can easily be explained. However, it will be always worth the try, being a believer or not. And to me The Master is an example of this tryout. But I still can see the Academy having a tough time trying this one out.

    Thinking again, forgetting to include the film in my other post exemplifies the race’s momentum and its fluidity to me. And boy it is crowded this year! What is on my mind NOW counts more. I’ll see if the rest of the films, those ones I might end up seeing in the end, will do the trick.

  31. Sasha Stone
    October 22, 2012

    Sasha, what do you think cloud atlas’s chances are at the oscars? Could the 5% rule help it?

    Sadly, I don’t think it’s a movie that will either get Oscar love or love from critics. The sci fi elements aren’t really Academy fare. With so many more solid choices I don’t think it will go. But I still really love it.

  32. Sasha Stone
    October 22, 2012

    You don’t think Hitchcock could make a play for it? Hollywood loves celebrating itself.

    Haven’t seen it yet but I can’t wait to! Maybe it will shake up the race.

  33. October 22, 2012

    Joe Wright’s the shit. Pride, Atonement, and Hanna were all A-minus level, annual top 10 flicks and I wonder why he doesn’t get more acclaim. The Eric Bana tracking shot in Hanna was one of the coolest sequences in the last decade and he’s an integral reason for why Saiorse Ronan looks like the 21st century Jodie Foster. I hope Anna Karenina rocks it despite critics’ reservations when it first premiered because he’s someone who should be able to pump out an art pic whenever he feels like.

  34. Sasha Stone
    October 22, 2012

    Thanks Jesse, thanks you guys for the kind words! Apologies for not adding in The Master in the ranking. I do believe it has a 50/50 shot of getting in. Right now, I feel like Best Picture will look like this:

    Argo
    Lincoln
    Life of Pi
    Silver Linings Playbook
    Les Miserables
    Zero Dark Thirty
    The Master
    Beasts of the Southern Wild
    Moonrise Kingdom

    Total unknowns:
    Django Unchained
    The Hobbit

    Long shots/dark horses:
    The Dark Knight Rises
    Looper

    Etc. In a couple of weeks or so we will have a much clearer picture. It feels all over the place, like Mitt Romney’s foreign policy.

  35. Branko Burcksen
    October 22, 2012

    There is one movie, or I should say two movies, a double feature, that has made more of an impression on me this year than any other film. It’s starts off on an ordinary day, in an ideal home. Then, however, it runs into what can best be described as a superhero story except it travels down such sinister paths that it makes “The Dark Knight” look tame. Hopes are raised. Souls are crushed. Friendships get torn apart. The story reaches to say some profound things, tying together the past, present and future of human history before descending into a cynical nightmare from which there seems no escape. It evolves from a story of heroism into a cosmic destiny where the most sacred values of humanity come up right against the cold hard realities of the universe.

    This double feature playing at the Downtown Independent in Los Angeles until Thursday, October 25 is called “Madoka Magica,” an anime about a girl given the chance to become a type of superhero called a Magical Girl. Walking into it is a lot like seeing a Bollywood movie for the first time. You get caught up in the strangeness, surprised that such movies even exist, but then you get rapped up in the story about a girl struggling to make a choice with so many strings tied to it it fathoms the very depths of what it means to be human in a world where our values feel insignificant.

    I bring these movies up here because such films get very little attention, but most of all because it is so rare to see a movie that mixes equal parts “The Dark Knight” and “2001: A Space Odyssey” with a cast of young girls as its central characters. If you wish to see a movie that truly attempts a near insurmountable cinematic feet, see “Madoka Magica”:

    http://www.downtownindependent.com/events/puella-magi-madoka-magica-the-movie

    This promotional video for “Madoka” gives a good indication of what the double feature is like:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fJ8JRfsurt4

  36. rufussondheim
    October 22, 2012

    ha ha on the Romney joke

    I forgot to include the Talented Mr Ripley in my 1999 movies. Easily the best year for film since I’ve been going to the movies.

    I have a sneaking suspicion that Zero Dark Thirty is going to be my fave movie of the year, at least among the major movies in Oscar contention. There is so much beauty in that last trailer, and there’s heart and sweat and anguish and tension and triumph. And Bigelow has a no-nonsense way about her direction that should be perfect for this content. It just looks like gangbusters.

    I think Argo, as fine a picture as it is, is going to experience some major backlash for the tremendous liberties it takes with the facts. And it probably deserves it. Even though when I watched it, I knew that the film was playing fast and loose, but I still enjoyed it. But that conversation that’s already starting will grow simply because the teams behind other films will stoke it.

    And six weeks from now when that conversation will have done its damage, along will come Zero Dark Thirty to put the nail in that coffin. ZDT, it appears, will adhere to the facts. Everything I know about the topic suggests it won’t need to add any drama to the details. It’s going to be a major force to reckon with.

  37. unlikely hood
    October 22, 2012

    Chris138:

    The cynic in me knows that they love it because it makes Hollywood look good, but the movie itself is the definition of a crowd pleaser. It’s tense, well made and is a real throwback to 1970s film making.

    There’s a big contradiction there. 1970s filmmaking, particularly the kind that Argo echoes – Three Days of the Condor, The Parallax View, The French Connection – were the definition of NOT crowd pleasers. They were antiestablishment, and came from a deeply cynical, alienated place. I just don’t want any kids around here thinking that Argo is the new Chinatown or something. Ben Affleck has pulled off something outstanding – an edgy, cinema verite style on a feel-good film. I loved it. But let’s not let it revise history on American cinema’s most vital, terrific decade.

  38. October 22, 2012

    Glad you posted that, unlikely hood, because you’re right. The STYLE is rooted in the 70′s, especially with, as you said, that cinema verite intro and an overall visual style reminiscent of something like Marathon Man. But the inclusion of Hollywood in-jokes and the overall hopeful ending felt more in line with the present day ideals of redemption and hope Affleck explored in his last 2 flicks.

    I do think Argo’s as well-helmed as The Parallax View and Condor and features the best screenplay of the 3. You know what it felt like? The sort of flick that should qualify as smart summer entertainment, more in line with its style than an awards season prestige pic. But with capes and crusaders ruling the hot months, Argo looks so damn mature in comparison that we can’t help but anoint it as a special kind of movie. It had the good fortune to premiere early enough to stick out against more blockbustery-fare, but once Flight, Lincoln, and Zero Dark Thirty show up with the same heady attitude (I assume), it might look a little less unique and more like the very good thriller it is.

  39. unlikely hood
    October 22, 2012

    Rufus, 1999 gets a lot of love around here. Let me show a little love for 1993:

    (in no order)
    1 The Fugitive
    2 The Remains of the Day
    3 Schindler’s List
    4 In the Name of the Father
    5 Philadelphia
    6 Groundhog Day
    7 Six Degrees of Separation
    8 Searching for Bobby Fischer
    9 The Piano
    10 What’s Eating Gilbert Grape
    11 Short Cuts
    12 Farewell My Concubine
    13 The Wedding Banquet
    14 Jurassic Park
    15 In the Line of Fire
    16 Naked
    17 Menace II Society
    18 The Joy Luck Club

    Just saying, almost any of those would be at least Top 5 in any other year…

  40. rufussondheim
    October 22, 2012

    I think Argo is more than just a good thriller. That opening sequence of the takeover of the American embassy was spellbinding and allows the viewer to really understand what it must have been like. I would also argue that the character of Tony Mendez is extremely well defined and we get a sense of who this person is. These were the two strongest parts of the film for me and are not diminished by the factual errors of the film. They also put it heads and tails above any thriller I’ve seen released in my adulthood except for, perhaps, Silence of the Lambs.

  41. unlikely hood
    October 22, 2012

    Thanks Jesse – and excellent points yourself. I also wonder at ZD30′s (and maybe Flight’s) ability to make Argo look less exceptional. Even 20 years ago Argo might have just been a summer solid one like In the Line of Fire. Should be interesting. But I think Argo is in somehow…they almost always add a new director to the top five of the Oscar race, and Affleck is looking like their only slam-dunk. (I wish I had more faith in Zehtlin or Wes Anderson.)

  42. rufussondheim
    October 22, 2012

    Damn you, unlikelyhood! I was about to go to bed and then you had to trot out 1993. I know that’s a strong year. And in 1999, I recall thinking that 1993 used to be the strongest year. But, I’ve never done the math.

    Here are my great film choices from 1993. Again in no order…

    1) The Piano
    2) Short Cuts
    3) Remains of the Day
    4) The Wedding Banquet
    5) 32 Short Films about Glenn Gould
    6) Fearless
    7) Germinal
    8) Searching for Bobby Fischer
    9) The Joy Luck Club
    10) A Perfect World
    11) Map of the Human Heart
    12) The Boys of St. Vincent (which was actually made for Canadian TV, so not sure it counts)
    13) Six Degrees of Separation.

    Overall, only Short Cuts and The Joy Luck Club I consider very great.

  43. Tero Heikkinen
    October 22, 2012

    1993 is my favourite of all time.

  44. Terometer
    October 22, 2012

    Life of Pi is last year’s Hugo.
    Silver Linings Playbook is last year’s The Artist.
    The Master is last year’s Tree of Life.
    Argo is last year’s Monyball.

  45. Chris
    October 22, 2012

    I agree that Oscar never rewarded Stanley Kubrick’s vision, but they did give him a Special Effects oscar so not completely ignored, just pushed to the side.

    Also Leo for Django Unchained is my predicted winner. It looks deliciously evil (which supporting loves) and is due in a gigantic, improbable way.

  46. Ruth
    October 22, 2012

    Argo just has a default Best Picture feel about it. It will take a great film to displace it. I predict this will happen.

    Argo resembles The Artist & The Kings Speech, in that it is almost the perfect crowdpleaser. Argo will be popular with the masses.

  47. October 22, 2012

    I sort of feel a lot of this rides on how well Django is received. If Django does well I can see Harvey putting all power behind it, totally dropping Silver Linings, making Argo an easy win. If Django does poorly I feel like he’ll fully back Silver Linings and use his magic to make it win best pic.

  48. Mattoc
    October 23, 2012

    Amour
    Cabin in the Woods
    Moonrise Kingdom
    Wish you were Here
    Holy Motors
    Beasts of the Southern Wild
    The Hunt
    The Sapphires
    We are Legion
    Beyond the Hills
    Bernie
    The Grey

    films I have seen this year that I would consider ‘pretty fucking great’ that will be overlooked in the end.

  49. October 23, 2012

    The Academy’s response to the similarly divisive Tree of Life last year makes me think they’ll at least give The Master its due & give it a spot in Best Picture.

    Django & Hobbit are potential nominees. Probably on ZD30 & Les Mis could rival Argo & Lincoln for BP. But until they’ve all been seen & reviewed, we know nothing.

  50. mecid
    October 23, 2012

    @Sasha
    Something tells me the critics will give it (Lincoln) a hard time too. We’ll have to wait and see on that but my instincts are telling me they will, which is why I have Argo in the number one spot. It is currently the best reviewed mainstream movie of the year.

    ***

    Yeah Sasha. I am also afraid of that “cool” critics will undersestimate it like they did it with masterpiece A.I. Hope I am wrong. But as many reviews say AMPAS will love it. Thank God critics don’t choose Oscar winners (sometimes I think).
    And I really don’t understand one thinG. One critic writes review, praises it, says film has a little problem. You expect it to give at least A-, but he gives B- or C. That type of critics lose their creditibility. Or some “critics” criticize no film but Lincoln’s personality. Is this called film critic?

  51. Mattoc
    October 23, 2012

    ^ not following you at all Mecid.

    I would give Argo a B- and I didn’t have any real problems with the film. I thought it was extremely tight and pretty much achieved what it set out to do.

  52. Bob Burns
    October 23, 2012

    Warner is seriously good at the Oscar game – and has the film with fuzzy balls that Harvey’s old steak-eaters like (my mixed metaphor should be edited, but it makes me laugh). Argo’s an LA film, too, after British and French schmaltz last two years.

    ZD30 might be too good for em.

    I don’t see any upside for Warner mounting a BP campaign for The Hobbit…. sell it as adventure.

  53. John
    October 23, 2012

    ‘Argo’ is the type of undeniably good, but not quite superb film that comes out, gets Best Picture buzz, wins critic awards, and then – if it ultimately wins the Oscar for Best Picture – I’m not mad because it’s very good … but I’m not over-the-moon, either.

    It’s the kind of move that – if it wins – I’ll keep saying to myself “well, at least it’s a much better choice than other years”.

  54. Haggar
    October 23, 2012

    Comment My Best Picture line up (based on trailers. lol):

    1. Zero Dark Thirty
    2. Life of Pi
    3. Les Miserable
    4. Lincoln
    5. Cloud Atlas
    6. The Master
    7. That French film starring Marion Cotillard
    8. Django Unchained
    9. Silver Linings Playbook
    10. Argo

    I suspect the winner will be Life of Pi or Zero Dark Thirty.

  55. Tero Heikkinen
    October 23, 2012

    In order of probability, I believe (plus possible amount of total nominations):

    1. Lincoln (12)
    2. Argo (8)
    3. Les Misérables (9)
    4. Life of Pi (8)
    5. Silver Linings Playbook (5)
    6. The Master (7)
    7. Beasts of the Southern Wild (4)
    8. Zero Dark Thirty (4)
    9. The Dark Knight Rises (6)
    10. Hitchcock (3)

    The first five are in, almost certainly.

  56. mecid
    October 23, 2012

    What is Lincln’s chances in sound categories? If it gets both then it can have 14 nominations.

  57. K. Bowen
    October 23, 2012

    Moonrise Kingdom
    The Master
    Argo

    are the ones I care about at this point.

  58. Jon
    October 23, 2012

    I want to get in the argument about the class of 1999, 1995, and 1993. I personally feel that ’99 and ’95 were actually relatively weak years (though ’95 did have HEAT which got zilch in nominations). I agree with the poster that 1993 is an elite year for film. In my opinion both 1993 and 1994 were the elite class of films for that decade. In the 2000′s nothing comes close to 2007. But let me raise the case for 1994:

    - Pulp Fiction
    - The Shawshank Redemption
    - Hoop Dreams
    - Forrest Gump
    - Nobody’s Fool
    - The Lion King
    - Ed Wood
    - The Professional
    - Speed
    - Clerks
    - Heavenly Creatures
    - True Lies
    - Four Weddings and a Funeral
    - Red
    - Natural Born Killers
    - Once Were Warriors
    - Quiz Show
    - The Last Seduction (not even originally theatrically released!!!)
    - The Postman
    - Eat Drink Man Woman
    - The Madness of King George
    - Fresh

    The defense rests. I probably even missed some.

  59. rufussondheim
    October 23, 2012

    1994 was a good year, but many of those films you listed are merely very good, not great in my opinion.

    1) Hoope Dreams

    2) Wild Reeds

    3) To Live

    4) Heavenly Creatures

    5) Before the Rain

    6) Clerks

    7) Vanya on 42nd Street

    8) Exotica

    9) Once Were Warriors

    10) Priest

    11) Shallow Grave

    12) Oleanna

    (oops, Safe was 1995)

    So, it seems that 1994 was better than I recall. Some of these films really hold up better than I thought. Priest still affected me greatly when I saw it two years ago, and Shallow Grave gets better every time I see it, it’s just an extremely strong well made genre flick. And, well, Vanya on 42nd Street is just a flat out masterpiece in my opinion. And the mysteries of Exotica are just too alluring to ignore.

    What’s interesting, though, at least with my list, there is not one film that expanded into mainstream audiences during its theatrical run (although Clerks has become a mainstream favorite over the years)

  60. Jon
    October 23, 2012

    Rufuss, come on man, are you anti-mainstream films for 1994? I am sorry I can be an elite film snob with the best of them but in my opinion Pulp Fiction (which was an indie), Shawshank, The Lion King, Speed, Ed Wood, Hoop Dreams, and yes, even good old Forrest Gump are legitimate great films and all thought of as legitimate great films that are classics (maybe not Ed Wood). Those are not just “very good” films and most people would agree with that.

  61. Nik Grape
    October 23, 2012

    The Master is the most good looking film of the year thanks to the unsurpassable beauty of 70MM, but Life Of Pi put me under a spell with its visuals and 3D magic realism. It looked divine and if it doesn’t win Visual Effects (at the very least) I’ll choke on my baby carrots.

    Honestly though, it’s not my favorite of the year and I haven’t even seen enough to say it will end up in my year’s end top ten but I will have no problem what so ever if Life of Pi ends up winning Best Picture. It was fantastic.

  62. steve50
    October 23, 2012

    The only thing “great” about 94 was Ed Wood and Hoop Dreams. Pulp Fiction, Shallow Grave, Safe and Quiz Show were borderline. The rest, good-to-OK; we’ll see in 20 years.

  63. rufussondheim
    October 23, 2012

    Pulp Fiction is a perfectly fine film but I have some issues with it. Mostly I think the narrative tricks are just that, tricks. I don’t think it adds anything to the story except that it requires the viewer to pay more attention. I thought a pretty obscure film from the same year, Before the Rain, played with narrative in a much more suprising, subtle and satisfying way. If you’ve not seen it, I recommend you do becuase it’s just great. (SPOILER – In Before the Rain the story makes a sudden break about halfway into the film with all new characters, new settings and a new plotline. As the film ends it’s suddenly revealed that as the plotline to the second half ends it’s actually the first half of the story that begins the film.) So when I saw Pulp Fiction the playing with narrative seemed more gimmicky than substantive to me.

    I liked Shawshank in the theater when I saw it, but I’ve never revisited it. And now it has this larger than life reputation that doesn’t match up with my memory. So I probably retroactively dislike the film more than I probably would if I watched it again.

    Speed was really good, but I hate the ending. Hate, hate, hate. The let’s-hope-we-don’t-die-look-at-that-we-lived! ending is a horrible, horrible choice that ruins so many movies. I always bring up the ending of the Poseiden Adventure and how Gene Hackman had to sacrifice himself so the others could live. Now that’s a bold choice that mainstream filmmakers never use. In Speed, I think it would have been a bold choice for the two of them to choose to cut off Sandra Bullock’s hand in order to save her. Now that would have been a great ending.

    Lion King is terrible. Forrest Gump is beyond terrible. That’s a film I actually despise a great deal. I couldn’t stand watching it.

    And Hoop Dreams was on my list.

  64. Nik Grape
    October 23, 2012

    Argh..Pulp Fiction was a mini revolution, all this talk of “fine” and “borderline” makes little sense to me. It introduced a fresh non-linear narrative to mainstream, changed the landscape of film dialogue, influenced a whole generation (many of whom just made cheap knock offs, yes, but a few are pretty good) and probably has some of the best ensemble acting of any American film.

    I thought Forrest Gump was universally revealed as being a joke. Never liked it.

    1994 had Chungking Express, Burnt by the Sun, Ed Wood, Three Colors: Red and White and Pulp Fiction. Solid.

  65. unlikely hood
    October 23, 2012

    I’d say between the two of you, there’s about 15-20 classics from 1994 there. So Jon is right, very strong year. Personally I think Speed is pablum and Lion King is an all-time classic (and yes, I was an adult when it came out); Clerks is a great radio show but mediocre film and Pulp Fiction deserves all the praise it usually gets. Forrest Gump and Four Weddings are no better than quite good, but Rufus is crazy to leave the awesome Heavenly Creatures off his list.

    Anyhoo, now that we’ve all established the bar, we should make a date to revisit things in a couple of months and see if 2012 really does produce a list of, say, 22 great films. Then it’ll really be the best year since, oh, maybe 1975 or so.

  66. Jeremy
    October 23, 2012

    “Spielberg’s best film in twenty years”

    Better than Munich, A.I., Catch Me If You Can, Saving Private Ryan, and Minority Report?

    That is quite a statement.

  67. joeyhegele
    October 23, 2012

    My predix:

    Very good chance
    1. Les Miserables
    2. Lincoln
    3. Argo
    4. Zero Dark Thirty
    5. Life Of Pi

    Also possible
    6. Silver Linings Playbook
    7. Beasts Of The Southern Wild
    8. Moonrise Kingdom
    9. The Master
    10. The Hobbit

    Longshots
    11. Flight
    12. The Sessions
    13. Django Unchained
    14. Amour
    15. Anna Karinina

  68. rufussondheim
    October 23, 2012

    heavenly Creatures is on my list.

  69. Chris138
    October 23, 2012

    unlikely hood:

    I was more referring to the visual aesthetics of 1970s film making rather than the tone, but you’re right that movies back then were a lot more cynical.

  70. Bennett
    October 23, 2012

    Comment
    My list of ten, no order.

    Zero Dark Thirty (my prediction to win)
    Les Miserables (my favourite subject)
    Argo
    Lincoln
    Django Unchained (a lot of QT supporters)
    Silver Linings Playbook (TWC)
    Life of Pi
    The Hobbit
    The Master
    Beasts of the Southern Wild

  71. unlikely hood
    October 23, 2012

    oops, pardon rufus

  72. LaQuifa Wadley
    October 23, 2012

    Twilight will sweep the acting categories. It deserves at least 17 nominations. The academy cannot ignore the impact these movies have had on society. The academy needs to stay relevant and this is the only way. It will also gain some credibility.

  73. Jerm
    October 23, 2012

    @Mattoc really Cabin in the Woods? Probably one of the worst and laughable movies I have seen in a long time! LOL

    My problem with Pulp Fiction is Bruce Willis’ story line. I hated it and thought it was pointless. I wanted more John, Samuel, and Uma. That to me would have made it perfect.

    I think if Les Miserables hits, its gonna be an earthquake so big it will sweep everything. Dont count out Crowe for Supporting Actor. or Helena for Supporting Actress. The movie Im least looking forward to that is being discussed is Zero Dark Thirty, cause I just hate all things Katherine Bigelow after her undeserved Oscars for the sleep your way through it is boring Hurt Locker. But I will give it a try. Look out for the Hobbit not just for tech stuff but for picture and director!

    Loving this year! I LOVE that everything is up in the air, makes awards fun :)

  74. Mark F.
    October 23, 2012

    Honestly, how can people predict that a movie nobody has seen will win Best Picture? It’s just REALLY STUPID.

  75. Mattoc
    October 24, 2012

    Jerm, don’t fuck with me – not now!

    Just kidding. I like the horror genre and know it inside out. This film didn’t surprise me, but I was impressed at how relaxed and comfortable it was in its own skin. And I had a great audience to see it with.

  76. James
    October 24, 2012

    In preparation for Django Unchained, I watched Django (1966), it’s official sequel Django 2 (1987), several unofficial sequels and some spaghetti western ripoffs with Django in their titles but had absolutely nothing to do with Django. I still have to see Sukiyaki Western Django though. Spaghetti? Sukiyaki? I saw a Ratatouille western a few years ago starring recently crowned Oscar best actor Jean Dujardin.

  77. Mattoc
    October 24, 2012

    Check these out. QTs favourite spaghetti westerns

    1. The Good, The Bad and The Ugly (1966, Leone)
    2. For a Few Dollars more (1965, Leone)
    3. Django (1966, Corbucci)
    4. The Mercenary / A Professional Gun (1968, Corbucci)
    5. Once Upon a Time in the West (1968, Leone)
    6. A Fistful of Dollars (1964, Leone)
    7. Day of Anger (1967, Valerii)
    8. Death Rides a Horse (1967, Petroni)
    9. Navajo Joe (1966, Corbucci)
    10. The Return of Ringo (1965, Tessari)
    11. The Big Gundown (1966, Sollima)
    12. A Pistol for Ringo (1965, Tessari)
    13. The Dirty Outlaws (1967, Rossetti)
    14. The Great Silence (1968, Corbucci)
    15. The Grand Duel (1972, Santi)
    16. Shoot the Living, Pray for the Dead (1971, Vari)
    17. Tepepa (1968, Petroni)
    18. The Ugly Ones (1966, Martà­n)
    19. Django, Prepare a Coffin (1968, Baldi)
    20. Machine Gun Killers (1969, Bianchini)
    The runners up in not so strict order: Hellbenders(1967, Corbucci) ; If you meet Sartana, Pray for your Death (1968, Parolini) ; God forgives, I don’t (1968, Colizzi) ; Companeros (1970, Corbucci) ; Four of the Apocalypse (1975, Fulci) ; Ace High (1968, Colizzi) ; Boot Hill (1969, Colizzi) ; Duck, You Sucker; Minnesota Clay (1965, Corbucci) ; Arizona Colt (1966, Lupo) ; Ringo and his Golden Pistol (1966, Corbucci) ; Adios Gringo (1965, Stegani) ; and to quote Quentin “all the Calvin Jackson Padget films with Giuliano Gemma” (One Silver Dollar – 1965, Ferroni ; Fort Yuma Gold – 1967, Ferroni ; Wanted – 1967, Ferroni ); The Trinity movies (They Call Me Trinity; Trinity Is Still My Name); This man can’t die (1967, Baldanello) ; The Deserter (1971, Niksa Fulgosi, Burt Kennedy) ; Five Man Army (1969, Italo Zingarelli & Dario Argento) ; Chino (1973, John Sturges, Duilio Coletti) ; Requiescant (1967, Lizzani); Red Sun (1971, Terrence Young).

  78. Tero Heikkinen
    October 24, 2012

    Western is a funny genre. It’s all-American where some of the best ones were made in Italy :D

  79. SallyinChicago
    October 24, 2012

    Comment I saw Argo and Southern Beasts and prefer Southern Beasts. Leaves a lasting impression.

  80. rufussondheim
    October 24, 2012

    Mark F. raises a point that irks me. It’s easy to predict a picture nobody has seen to win Best Pic. I predict Les Miserables or Zero Dark Thirty! There, I did it. See how easy it is?

    It’s no more stupid than predicting Argo or Lincoln at this point. There are movies out there no one has seen so how can you be sure it’s going to win if you don’t know who the competition is going to be?

    People put too much importance on predictions. They take them seriously. They shouldn’t. It’s a game. It’s as trivial and as unimportant as a preseason game in baseball.

  81. steve50
    October 24, 2012

    When peons like us predict, it is definitely a game, but when the widely-read pundits do it, it becomes a guideline for voters and a marketing tool for the box office.

    Perfect example – I knew I would see Argo eventually, but when Ebert made his claim that this was the one to beat for the Oscar, that film went to the head of the line.

    I went back and read some posts from a year ago, then 2 years ago (done in the early fall), and some are pretty funny – so many “sure bets”. It’s fun, that’s for sure.

  82. rufussondheim
    October 24, 2012

    Oh, I’m pretty sure I’m highly influential, steve.

  83. Antoinette
    October 24, 2012

    ARGO might easily make $100M but will that be enough to make it the “popular” one this year? I don’t think so. And I believe it will share fans with at least one of the other big guns.

    This is gonna be fun. I feel like in a couple weeks we’ll be knee deep in the Oscar race. :) And it will be fast and furious after that.

  84. Robert Wills
    October 24, 2012

    Does anybody truly believe this is an impressive group of films? Anything to equal Casablanca, Citizen Kane, Sunset Boulevard, All About Eve, The Treasure Of The Sierra Madre, One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, The Godfather, Schindler’s List? What am I missing here? I am so disappointed in today’s movies. The more movie magic there is, the less magic there is in movies.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *