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The State of the Race: By Three

gurus

 

Oscar ballots are going out to 5,856 in the Academy.  Those ballots are then due back by January 3rd, the same day the Producers Guild announce their top ten for 2012.  We are down to the thick of it, and believe it or not, a general consensus is forming.  One line of thinking says all bets are off this year because of the date being pushed back, and the DGA not announcing until after ballots are in.  And another line of thinking is, forget that, the stats will hold, the precedents usually hold.  We still don’t know, though, if we’re up for a split year or not.  We don’t know if there will be one ring to rule them all or the awards will be split up.  The only guild the Academy voters will have heard from before their ballots have to be turned in are the SAGs.  They also have the Globes and the Critics Choice to go by if they so choose.  But for now, we have to let SAG mostly be our guide.

At Gold Derby, Lincoln is now up by 11 people who think it will win Best Picture.  The Gurus of Gold put out its predictions today. Only two of them are holding on to Les Miserables for the win. And they’re Kris Tapley and Dave Karger. Karger was known for hanging onto the King’s Speech when The Social Network was winning everything and then last year he held steady with The Artist. This year, he was a Silver Linings backer until he saw and was captivated by Les Miserables. Tapley is taking a different point of view. He is going by that elusive “what Academy members are saying,” which, in most of my years doing this has never reflected reality except once. Right before the final ballots were turned in and Crash was up against Brokeback Mountain, voters were talking about how much they loved Crash. Tapley is banking on Les Miserables being this year’s Crash: no Golden Globe nod, possibly winning the SAG ensemble and from thence towards Oscar. The others are split between Zero Dark Thirty and Lincoln.

This year, there are three stronger movies than Les Miserables heading into the race. Zero Dark Thirty, Lincoln and Argo. Only two have the requisite nominations so far — the Globe nod for director and the SAG ensemble nod. It is a far riskier bet to go with the movie that, at least on paper, has the most difficult chance to win but far be it from me to school my colleagues. They wouldn’t listen to me anyway.

What Lincoln and Argo have going for them right now is significant. But predicting split years are difficult. You have to prove two things. 1) voters want to pay tribute to a “grand achievement” that they didn’t “like.” And 2) that one movie is more popular and “likable” than the others, including the “grand achievement.” This was Spielberg and Shakespeare in Love. Roman Polanski and Chicago. Warren Beatty and Chariots of Fire. Ang Lee and Crash. But your “grand achievement” can’t also be a likable movie because then your split theory is blown. Conversely, your presumed “likable” movie has to be genuinely “likable.” Decent reviews, lots of happy audience members, strong box office. Right now, those presuming Lincoln or Zero Dark Thirty are the “grand achievements” and Les Miserables or Silver Linings Playbook are the more “likable.”

directors

Lincoln and Argo are already $100 million dollar earners. They are easy crowd-pleasers, neither of which (unless you’re Jeff Wells) inspires HATE. You don’t love it/hate it either of them. You think either “I liked it okay” or “I loved it.” People don’t huff and puff about how much they HATE Argo. How could they? Ditto Lincoln. Those are the kinds of films that traditionally win Best Picture. Add to that, all of the things that go along with those films — timely subject matter, important stories to tell, American heroes, and in Spielberg’s case, a beloved director with a thirty-year career behind him. Spielberg is one of the greatest American directors and that is not something you simply dismiss because of what you’ve heard a sample of Academy members might be saying. You’d have to talk to all 6,000 of them to know for sure.

Zero Dark Thirty continues to take a pummeling for its purported stance, and now the critics are being taken to task for looking at the film merely as art and not looking at what it says about what we may or may not have done in order to capture Bin Laden. To my mind, it’s ludicrous to imagine they didn’t use torture — maybe it worked, maybe it didn’t but they used it. The protests about this revolve around our assertion that torture did not lead to the capture of Bin Laden. Maybe not directly. And if you believe that anyway I have a plot of land in Bakersfield to sell you. Whether that will ultimately effect the film is hard to say. But it has two strikes against it off the bat for the win anyway: no SAG ensemble nod and Kathryn Bigelow’s relatively recent win. Still, it could overcome both of those things if voters like it enough.

Needless to say, I don’t think we’re headed into a split year. I think Director and Picture will align. The trick will be figuring out which one will. I think I know but I won’t say definitively until the DGA announces their winner. I will continue to predict Lincoln, as I’ve not seen any good reason yet why it can’t and won’t win.

But let’s look quickly at where each movie stands and how, going by stats and precursors, things lay out.

1. Lincoln
For it: Most SAG nods for a Spielberg film, most Globes nods for a Spielberg film, most Critics Choice noms for ANY film, a Chicago film critics nomination. Most likely headed for nominations from the DGA, WGA, PGA. If it’s going to be a split year, we’ll probably find out with those big guild wins. Should Lincoln get nominated by all of them (it seems like it will but you never know) it seems like it could handily win PGA and WGA. Zero Dark Thirty is an original screenplays so Lincoln has less competition in the adapted race.

WGA – Tony Kushner is a big fish. He has never won an Oscar. He wrote the brilliant Angels in America, wimning an Emmy and the WGA award — as well as the Pulitzer Prize a decade earlier. He’s best known as a playwright but also wrote the screenplay for Spielberg’s Munich. Kushner has written a dense, meaningful script with tiny flourishes you might not even get unless you really knew Lincoln’s story. For instance, one of saddest things about Lincoln’s untimely death was what it did to his son Tad. Afflicted with learning disabilities and mental problems (like Mary), only Lincoln could calm him down. And many nights, Tad would sit at the fire waiting for his dad to finish work and he’d fall asleep there. His tall father would hoist him up over his shoulder and carry him off to bed. When Lincoln died, Tad was destroyed and much of that was because now, no one could calm him down. This is so beautifully illustrated by Kushner, Spielberg and Day-Lewis is takes your breath away. He has outdone himself with Lincoln and if he doesn’t win Best Adapted Screenplay well, I might have to conclude I know less about the Oscar race than I think (always a possibility).

PGA – The producers, Kristie Macosko, Steven Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy. Kennedy is one of Hollywood’s most prolific and prominent producers who has yet to win an Oscar. Seven nominations for films like E.T., The Color Purple, Munich, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and yet, she was the Exec Producer on Schindler’s List and didn’t win an Oscar. Sure, the PGA maybe doesn’t vote like that. Maybe they vote for what they “like” best. Maybe we can count on them to “like” Lincoln, or maybe they’ll “like” something else. But right now, it’s hard for me imagine any other producer, or any other film for that matter, winning the PGA. Right behind Lincoln are the other big ones — Argo, Zero Dark Thirty and Silver Linings Playbook.

SAG – When you think about an ensemble you see the films of 2012, all of which are fantastic ensembles, even the ones that weren’t nominated for the SAG and even, yes, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. But Lincoln has such an enormous cast, even if they aren’t all going to win statues if it wins. When I think of the SAG ensemble for Lincoln I think about Sally Field, Tommy Lee Jones, James Spader, Jackie Earle Haley, Gloria Reuben, David Strathairn, Hal Holbrook, Tim Blake Nelson, John Hawkes, S. Epatha Merkerson, David Oyelowo — a HUGE cast of union actors, known and unknown. And now think of everyone each of those individual actors is connected to. Sure, it isn’t going to help them against a bona fide weepy — the heart wants what it wants — but simple math would make you think, huh, that’s a lot of goddamned actors in one movie. A lot of VETERAN actors in one movie, you get what I’m saying here? Most will immediately call Les Miserables or Silver Linings Playbook to win ensemble but watch out for Lincoln. You heard it here first.

DGA — To my mind, Lincoln is the best film of 2012. It is a film about doing the hard thing but the right thing. It’s a film about how difficult it is to change our culture, and how, despite our high opinions of ourselves and our cultural evolution, we have been perpetrators of some of the worst crimes against humanity imaginable. It is a film about our past that rushes back to our present and makes us contemplate our future. It is also a master work by a master filmmaker, one who has been making films for all of us for almost thirty years. It is a film about Spielberg’s evolution as an artist, storyteller and human being — a WWII enthusiast now a Lincoln enthusiast. His endless curiosity in the subject is infectious. But from there, a book that took a decade to write and six years to adapt made for rich soil. Spielberg has been nominated by the DGA 10 times. He’s won three times. That could mean they’re ready to give him another one or that they’re tired of giving him awards already. It tells you a lot, though, that they are so behind this man who is popular all over the place, TV, the art house, the multiplex, everywhere. It’s a no-brainer to me that he’s the favorite to win — and only if he doesn’t win I will rethink the race.

Most Oscar voters are of an age — born and lived and worked before the target demo/branded generation of sequels and remakes wrung all of the intelligence, or most of it, out of the multiplex. Similarly-minded people from all over the country are making special trips out to go the movies to see Lincoln. So much so that it is making money — lots of money. Maybe Lincoln isn’t the “sexy pick” inside our bubble, but it is fast becoming a most beloved film outside the bubble, “out there.”

Against it: Receiving the most critics awards at the BFCA or the Globes doesn’t guarantee a win. Whisper campaign in full effect now that it’s “homework” or a “history lesson.” People who love history will take offense to that. Spielberg has won big already with Schindler’s List and then Director for Private Ryan. It’s not “passionate” enough — meaning, it doesn’t make people weep hysterically in the theater or, conversely, send them out to their real lives with happy tears streaming down their faces. Yeah, sorry, too busy passing the 13th amendment to hand out thumbsucking lessons.

2. Argo

For it: It is the only other film besides Lincoln to hit every marker it needs to so far. Critics Choice, Globes nod for director, Chicago critics nomination, even a screenplay win from the LA Film critics (neither New York nor LA, though, are deal breakers either way). It made $100 without breaking a sweat and is Ben Affleck’s best film. Unlike Zero Dark Thirty, it is fairly lightweight by comparison. It tells a partly serious story mixed parallel to an absurd one, blending Affleck’s own humor with his ability to build suspense. In short, it’s a hell of a ride.

WGA – Chris Terrio’s tight-as-a-drum screenplay with quotable lines through and through, like “this is the best bad idea we have.” Another good one: “You’re an associate producer at best.” It is subtle in its message, ultimately, which I believe is partly to reevaluate President Carter’s enduring legacy as someone who did not succeed in getting hostages out of Iran, which cost him second term, among other things. But Argo is a story worth telling and Terrio’s script wouldn’t be all that if it didn’t dig a little deeper into the history. Like Lincoln, its messages are also about today as much as they are about the past. A WGA nod should be a walk in the park for Terrio, but they have to face down Kushner’s truly exceptional Lincoln. Needless to say, if Argo wins the WGA I think Argo could win Best Picture.

PGA – Indeed, Argo has George Clooney, Grant Heslov and Affleck on board as producer. The film is enormously successful at the box office. It is reasonable to assume it could win the PGA and from thence, take Oscar. It is too soon to tell but it’s not outside the realm of possibility.

SAG – sure, Argo could take ensemble. It isn’t the favorite but what a cast — John Goodman, Alan Arkin, Affleck, Bryan Cranston, just to name a few. Affleck is an actor’s director and that means they’re going to maybe favor his movie over a different one. You never know.

DGA – Affleck will be headed in for his first DGA nomination. The last four winners were first-timers. Either the pattern holds, or the pattern will be broken but the first-timer precedent bodes well for Affleck.

Against it: The only thing going against Argo are two other movies — Lincoln and Zero Dark Thirty — that have come around after Argo and stolen some of its thunder. Well, you could also say it isn’t weep-inducing enough, or passionately loved enough. It is, however, “liked.” A LOT.

Zero Dark Thirty

For it: Harvey Weinstein’s theory about movies is to make sure yours is the last one they see. Coming in at the last possible second has so far worked out well for Zero Dark Thirty, which is still going strong on buzz. Many pundits are, in fact, predicting it will topple Lincoln and Argo and take home the gold. And it might. It has several things going for it. The first thing it has going for it is that it is brilliantly directed and written. It is a slow burn, a methodical hunt and the story of one CIA agent’s dedication to her job. It is HER singular dedication, in fact, her confidence and faith in the task at hand that ultimately leads to the successful mission to catch and kill Osama Bin Laden. It was thought that Bigelow and Boal having so much success with The Hurt Locker would eventually hurt Zero Dark Thirty but the opposite turned out to be true: the films are handsome companions.

WGA-The final chapter for Best Original Screenplay is not yet writ. But it seems to me that it could be a repeat of 2009, with Zero Dark Thirty facing down Django Unchained. Also potentially causing trouble would be Michael Haneke’s Amour, since Amour isn’t eligible, what film could compete with Zero Dark Thirty? Moonrise Kingdom? The Master? The strength of Zero Dark Thirty as a Best Picture contender makes it automatically the favorite to win in this category.

SAG – if Jessica Chastain can win in Lead Actress that might help make up for not having an ensemble nomination. Rules are made to be broken — no silent film ever won, no film directed by a woman ever won. You can slice it up any way you choose but some rules are reliable for a reason. The dominating branch of the Academy are actors. They have to really really REALLY like your movie, like Slumdog Millionaire, to make up for them not knowing many of the film’s actors.

Zero Dark Thirty, though, is still in the running with Lincoln and Argo despite its lack of SAG ensemble nomination because it has won so many other awards already and is topping top ten lists and causing a stir everywhere. It needs strong box office (though the Hurt Locker famously didn’t) and Bigelow needs to win the DGA. To do that, she has to beat Spielberg — he’s Steven Fucking Spielberg — and Affleck, a first-timer. If David O. Russell is nominated or Tom Hooper and they win, then what? The race is thrown into flux.

Right now, I can’t envision a scenario where Les Miserables can compete with these three. But that might change. This is the state of the race as I see it today. And I think the film with the best chance right now is the one that also resonates outside our bubble.

The only possible spoiler I can envision right now — and it would be better if the director had gotten a Globe nod — is David O. Russell and Silver Linings Playbook. Both Les Mis and SLP have their best chance to stir up some split category action by winning the SAG ensemble award. If either of them can do that, either might win.

 

 

85 Comments on this Post

  1. So is there nothing against Zero Dark Thirty?????

    By the way, It has won some Critics awards but also lost a few too…

  2. I am pleasantly surprised, and very happy, that a movie with no movie star but with a cast of great actors; with no special effects but with a very well written story and smart dialogues already made 100 million dollars at the box office. So, still there is hope for American moviegoers!
    So far, for me Lincoln is the best of all. I yet to see Zero Dark Thirty, Les Miz and Django but I am not sure they will change my number 1.

  3. Kathleen Kennedy has never won an Oscar? It’s done. Wrap it up and gift-wrap it for an early Christmas delivery–or at least the PGA.

  4. Spielberg has been making films for almost forty years.

  5. OK, I tried to sum up what happened so far so Awards Chart; Nominations Chart; post-SAG/GG/BFCA amateur Analysis of Acting Categories; and a Chart of Acting Contenders including the Frontrunners (so-far unblemished track record/potential to win), On-Paper-Locks (on-paper guaranteed nomination, in reality MIGHT miss out), Major Threats (most likely to sneak in without SAG), Viable Surprises (nominated somewhere, but definitey not considered seriously for the top5), Viable Shockers (not-nominated-anywhere-yet-might-shock-in-the-end contenders) :

    http://awardscorner.blogspot.hu/2012/12/2012-acting-categories-post-sagggbfca.html

  6. Bob Burns

    all makes sense to me.

    bad year for the critics – the stupid is showing more than usual. you can keep your land in Bakersfield.

    totally mystified by Karger.

  7. Bad day for this, but one thought crossed my mind that violence today might be bad for any film featuring violence. Voting gets swayed by events. Zero Dark Thirty, Django Unchained? Lincoln, Les Mis, and Argo are in the end more hopeful, uplifting movies.

  8. Lincoln, Les Mis, and Argo are in the end more hopeful, uplifting movies.

    Hmm… ARGO yes. Not sure about LES MIS. And thinking about the way they chose to end LINCOLN? I’d have to say no on that one.

  9. Bob Burns

    Andrew Sullivan’s piece on ZD30 is very helpful to Bigelow:

    http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/2012/12/the-torture-narrative.html

    I haven’t seen ZD30 yet; Lincoln is my best so far. If ZD30 is better than Lincoln, I’m for it for BP, despite the torture. But Bigelow deserves grief, much more grief, if the film is seen as justifying torture.

  10. Comment

  11. Tero Heikkinen

    “keifer / December 14, 2012

    I know I’m in the minority, but I really found “Lincoln” boring, coldy, and not an accessible film. I also thought Spielberg’s direction was disappointing. If DDL wasn’t involved and gave such a good performance, this movie would have tanked. I got really sick of seeing phony light shaded through windows in every goddamn scene. What was this? ET: Part II? It infuriated me. And the movie really was more about the passage of the amendment than Lincoln himself (although he had a lot of opposition). The Congressional voting scene just went on and on and on.

    Just bad directing, I think.

    Case in point: at least Joe Wright infused “Anna Karenina” with some brilliant directorial touches. It was thrilling to watch, a different approach to epic film-making with stylistic touches throughout.

    I also thought the first five minutes of “Skyfall” had better directing than all of “Lincoln” put together.

    Just my opinion. I think history will prove that it is a film that will be barely watchable in repeated viewings (if at all).”

    We have a winner for the most idiotic post of 2012. This Lincoln hate must stop! No other film suffers from posts like this. Pure hate from racists.

  12. Can anyone tell me why The Hobbit’s soundtrack isn’t considered a serious contender for Best Score? IMO it is one of the best soundtracks of the year. Is it because it borrows too heavily form the LOTR films and therefore considered ineligible?

  13. Danemychal

    I believe it’s eligible. And it’s great. But they have awarded Shore for ROTK already. If he gets another, it might come in the final Hobbit movie. Seriously, we genre fans should consider ourselves lucky that the Academy even recognized the LOTR movies. That was one of my favorite Oscar years. But that’s over and done now. Saw The Hobbit today and really liked it but the Academy is mostly done awarding these I think. Would be really nice if they saw fit to at least nominate McKellen before all is said and done with these three hobbit movies.

  14. Question Mark

    I still think Django is being short-changed as the “last-minute surprise buzz” entry. It’s flown totally under the radar despite the presence of Tarantino and the cast full of Oscar winners and past nominees. Django is going to end up as a Best Picture nominee, probably both Waltz/DiCaprio are getting supporting noms and QT has a very solid chance at another director nomination and possibly winning original screenplay.

  15. Would be really nice if they saw fit to at least nominate McKellen before all is said and done with these three hobbit movies.

    I was thinking maybe Serkis could be the one to get the cumulative award.

  16. @Bob Burns: Andrew Sullivan says he hasn’t seen ZD30 yet so his article is void. Watch the movie first before critiquing it’s portrayal of torture. Common sense.

  17. I think Lincoln will probably win Best Picture. But for some reason I’m not comfortable with Spielberg and three Oscars.

  18. Wouldn’t it be great if There and Back Again swept the 2014 Oscars the same way ROTK did? Of course, the trilogy’s critical reception will have to improve. I think many critics have been unfair to The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. I mean, 66% on RT?Peter Jackson did a great job, IMO.

  19. Christophe

    @Jamie
    I guess you haven’t heard much about les Misérables, because it is also a bloodbath – dunno if they actually show blood but there are tons of people getting killed in it -and “spoiler alert” it might be the only movie among those you’ve quoted that actually features a kid getting shot to death (can barely write that, feels horrible) unless they’ve cut the story to make the film more christmasy. that could go either way with academy members: move them to tears or disgust them.

  20. I think Django’s late entry into the Oscar race has already disrupted certain things. It’s already disrupted Best Supporting Actor race. Time will tell if disrupts any more categories.

    I also think that Argo has more things working against it then just two other movies. First, it may not even get an actor nom, because of the movie I talked about above and just looking at my Gold Derby, I don’t see it winning anything. It is the also ran of all also rans. Even SLP is in a better spot.

    Zero Dark Thirty’s position has weakened because of missing SAG ensemble. Even Hurt locker got it with a much smaller cast. I think that is damage beyond repair.

    Lincoln seems to have it all but it’s strengths are also it’s weaknesses. Does the Academy want to award the principal player’s their 3rd Oscars, or give it to someone who hasn’t won yet? Meryl Streep had to wait forever for hers. Just thinking. They could just get it on merit alone.

  21. Like Zack said, Spielberg has been making films for forty years. The first film of his that had any sort of major theatrical release was ‘Duel’ in 1971 (overseas anyway…in the USA it was just a movie of the week). Then ‘Sugarland Express’ came three years later.

  22. i wouldn’t think they’d have a big problem giving spielberg a 3rd oscar. yes, he’d be joining a small club (wyler, capra and ford), but i think his filmography and legend status can justify him joining that list of names. he’s more than proven himself over 40 years now and his name is just as recognizable as any of those

  23. Here’s the thing about ZDT’s SAG snub… it isn’t really a snub for two reasons.

    1. As we know, screeners did not get to voters in time. I’m not a member of the nominating committee, but as voter, I received not a single invitation to a screening before the nominations. Just look at the showing Django got from the Globes vs. SAG. If you haven’t seen a movie, you can’t vote for it, and Inglourious Basterds proved that actors love the way Tarantino directs actors. I have no doubt that Django could have gotten in for Ensemble or at least ONE supporting actor if it had been seen.

    2. This is the most important part. Though SAG membership is huge and though many voters might not apply think this way, equivocating Best Picture and Best Ensemble is inaccurate. They are not the same award. Little Miss Sunshine won this award. Inglourious Basterds won this award. Zero Dark Thirty is almost certainly my favorite film of the year and I almost certainly wouldn’t have nominated it in Best Ensemble. I would pick it to win Best Picture, were I an Oscar voter. My appreciation of its achievements are not limited to simply generalizing all major wins as BEST PICTURE and I believe that many actors feel the same way.

  24. @ Ricky

    I don’t understand: if SAG voters didn’t see ZD30 in time to vote it for Best Ensemble, why Jessica Chastain has been nominated for Best Actress? It’s not the same voters? They voted her without watching the movie? Are you saying that? If so, do you think it was fair?

  25. I have no problem with Lincoln taking the lot, but I really want Hathaway to take Best Supporting Actress.

  26. It’s looking like Les Mis is the sort of film, though, which doesn’t need to hit all the same marks as the other contenders. Even if the reviews don’t end up as good as so many hope, even if the box office is tepid, even if it doesn’t have that Golden Globe directing nomination. We know the Academy will vote for what they want to vote for, precursors be damned, and I bet they’ve wanted to vote for Les Mis since they first heard of it. They’ll either like it or they’ll convince themselves that they like it.

    Perhaps the box office might be the only thing that could take it down once and for all, actually. If its earnings disappoint, it’ll have a tough time going up against big earners like Lincoln and Argo, and potentially Zero Dark Thirty.

  27. Paddy, while everything you say here could well come to pass I would take issue only with the box-office potential.

    I’d bet the house in that department it scores mightly for a number of reasons. This seems like a certainty.

    Sasha Stone has everything figured out perfectly here. At this moment LINCOLN (a very great film for sure), is leading the way. But a SAG ensemble win and increasingly favorable reviews -already generating at RT- could still tilt the way to LES MISERABLES.

    I cannot personally see ARGO or ZERO challenging LINCOLN as co-members of the political/historical brigade. LINCOLN will continue to hold the candle in that sub-genre. I am no fan of SILVER LININGS at all, but I still see that film as a genuine thread, especially if it does what I am predicting LES MIS will.

    And yes, unorthodix and all, Karger is uncanny. His perceptions are to be taken seriously.

  28. Christophe

    I still believe Lincoln is the consensus choice and thus most likely to win bp. For ex., I can easily imagine Les Mis voters ranking Lincoln at #2 or #3 on their ballots, I can just as easily imagine Zd30 voters doing the same. But I can absolutely not imagine Les Mis and Zd30 supporters voting for each other at #2 or 3. It is even highly likely that they would “forget” to mention the other film to hamper it from reaching a majority of votes.
    The only way Lincoln could lose the consensus vote is if it gets out of the race before the other two films, in which case the repartition of the Lincoln votes on Les Mis and Zd30 would decide the issue, but I don’t see that happening, Lincoln is meant to be among the last 2 contenders standing.

  29. I’m referring to Lincoln and Les Mis as “hopeful” in the sense that both serve higher ideals and ethics. Whether it is the end of slavery or the path of a man ultimately ennobled by love, both call on the better angels of our nature. As a result, whether or not either wins Best Picture, I think they will stand the test of time when more violent or darker themed movies will be more than vaguely remembered dust.

  30. Christophe

    @Jamie
    good, now I get it!

  31. Indiana Film Journalists Association reveal every single nomination received across all their categories lol

    http://screenonscreen.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/indiana-film-journalists-association.html

  32. I agree with Christophe’s logic on second and third choices in all camps which makes Lincoln pretty much unbeatable. I just don’t see many AMPAS members feeling the need to vote strategically to prevent this, either, because it’s not divisive and it’s a good film.

    Both Les Mis and ZDT will, for any number of reasons sane or bizarre, have serious detractors, so the volume of second and third place finishes will dwindle – to the benefit of Argo, SLP and Pi, likely.

    It’s also true that both (ZDT and Les Mis) have large fanbases who have not yet seen the films. In ZDT’s case, they are getting a huge payoff. Les Mis fans are in for a rougher ride and I doubt most will stay true.

    Overall, on one hand, we’re not going to see any surprises; on the other, we’re not going to see any really hard to live with choices either.

  33. Re: Indiana Film Journalist Assn nominations – I really like this method. It the only way you know what really impressed (other than combing ten best lists) and puts every critic’s choice on equal footing for the voting.

    Not cumbersome at all, non-restrictive, and informative. Well done Indiana (and special kudos for th visionary award)

  34. I have to address the lighting issue that Tero had with Lincoln. Imagine Tero that it’s 1860 and for many people candles were still the way people provided light in their homes after the sun set. Then imagine how the light from the sun filters into a house as the day progresses and then you might understand the lighting techniques used in Lincoln. Did you expect Lincoln to have lighting like Times Square? Gas lighting that was available was not light turning on a lamp in 2000 from a 100watt bulb. If Spielburg didn’t pay attention to the details of the time period then everyone would be criticising him for that. If you look at the dress that Field wears in the scene where they argue about their son going to war I swear I’ve seen Mary Todd Lincoln in a dress that was so similar to the one she’s wearing in that scene. That’s what directors do when they want to film an historical piece. They pay attention to the era and not dye the hair of their Vronsky to make him look metro sexual.

  35. Bob Burns

    @Jamie… quote from Sullivan….

    ‘I saw the movie last night at a screening. It is, before anything else, a brilliant piece of film-making. The direction, acting, and cinematography make it as good as The Hurt Locker. The attention to detail is stunning, and the raw, granular honesty of its dialogue manages to avoid the tired tropes of action movies. It’s entirely believable. Having studied this subject for years, I saw nothing obviously wrong.’

    I don’t think I’ve critiqued ZD30 yet, but I expect that I will admire it… I usually agree with Sasha’s take on movies, even if I disagree with her position re torture.

    IMO, there is some history that should not be dicked with. For example, I thought TKS crossed an unforgivable line…. Bertie was an appeaser for a very long time after the war broke out and worked hard to prevent Churchill’s rise to PM.

  36. rufussondheimj

    Let’s assume it comes down to three films, Lincoln, Les Miz and ZDT.

    Let’s assume that Les Miz has a large fan base, but lacks majority support and it now has 40% of the number one placements. This seems fair to me because I don’t think the film has strong enough critical notices to get the same support as The King’s Speech did.

    Now we have Lincoln and Zero Dark Thirty dividing up the rest. Now I think ZDT will have the majority of those votes since it has the slightly better critical notices. (I do think a portion of the academy thinks this way or something like The Departed never would have won)

    So let’s give 60% of the remaining votes to ZDT and 40% to Lincoln. And then let’s assume the vast majority of these people rank them both in the top 2.

    That means the final totals for #1 placements will be…

    1) Les Miz – 40%
    2) ZDT – 35%
    3) Lincoln – 25%

    So Lincoln gets the boot since it has the fewest number of #1 placements and it comes down to Les Miz v. ZDT. But the vast majority of Lincoln’s support goes to ZDT, let’s say 80%.

    That means the final tally is

    1) ZDT – 55%
    2) Les Miz – 45%

    So ZDT wins.

    Now of course these percentages could be off, but I think the general idea here is the correct one. It’s going to come down to Les Miz v. one of the other two so it doesn’t really matter what the Les Miz people rank as second because those votes will likely not come into play.

    For the record, I base these assumptions on the Social Network v. The King’s Speech year where we had one film (The Social Network) that was the clear choice by critics and another that, while critically successful, was the choice for people who, as Sasha likes to say, like to “feel” when they watch a film.

    A

  37. Christophe

    @rufus
    hmm, I would do the same demo with Lincoln and Les Mis trading places and Les Mis voters rallying behind Lincoln, but as a Les Mis supporter myself I sure wish you’re right… I don’t think so but I still wish so…

  38. “Now of course these percentages could be off…”

    whew! for a minute you had me worried

    ;-)

  39. rufussonndheim

    So Christophe, why do you think most voters will support Lincoln over Zero Dark Thirty? Most of the reasons I’ve heard for this don’t seem to have much validity for me. The only argument (and I think it pertains to a very small percentage) is that Lincoln will prevail just because of the prestige Spielberg brings to the mix.

    But I don’t think intellectual voters will think that way. That might be why Les Miz supporters put Lincoln as #2 of the 3, but like I said, I don’t think those votes will ever be counted.

    ————————-

    On a side note I have to throw some early support behind Adepero Oduye for Best Supporting Actress for 2013. Early in 12 Years a Slave she will have a scene that will rival Sophie’s Choice in that it’s so emotionally wrenching it could become synonymous with this film. Man, the way it plays out is going to be tough to watch.

  40. Robert A.

    “Whether it is the end of slavery or the path of a man ultimately ennobled by love, both call on the better angels of our nature. As a result, whether or not either wins Best Picture, I think they will stand the test of time when more violent or darker themed movies will be more than vaguely remembered dust.”

    Actually, I disagree with this. When you look at the Sight and Sound Best Film of All Time list, for example, you find many more darkly themed films having stood the test of time than movies that call on “the better angels of our nature.” Vertigo, for example, judged the best film of all time, hardly calls on the better angels of our nature, nor do Hitchcock’s other classics. Movies like The Godfather 1 and 2, Taxi Driver, Chinatown, Raging Bull, Blue Velvet, Pulp Fiction and so on, are very dark and often violent…and yet they have lived on by any standard of measure. Many foreign classics as well (The Conformist, Godard films) can hardly be viewed as showing mankind in an ennobling light.

    In fact, I tend to think the opposite is true. Movies that focus on the fight for worthy historical causes, or show historical figures leading the good fight for the better angels of our nature, tend NOT to age particularly well (Gandhi, Judgment at Nuremberg, Inherit the Wind), and they are the ones that people look at decades later and wonder, “Why were people so in love with this movie?”

  41. Danemychal

    The tone of this nation is about to change here in the coming weeks and months as the real debate over gun control laws finally happens. There’s just no denying that debates WILL happen now. There are a great many people (many of them left-leaning) in Hollywood (and even in large Academy voting areas like Britian) who will key in on the fact that Lincoln is a film about amending the same constitution whose second amendment is now being called into question. And because Lincoln was a promoter of change, the Academy could use the film as a political statement. It helps that the movie is excellent, both a favorite of the critics and of audiences. It seems like it has everything it needs to win, even politics. A film like Les Mis just doesn’t seem important, and ZDT may prove too divisive or insensitive to violence at the moment.

    Of course, there are times when Hollywood just wants to hide in its shell — if its one of those years, I could see an SLP or Les Mis winning. I will be ahamed of Hollywood if they choose this path. absolutely ashamed.

  42. rufussondheim

    I’ve made the comparison with Lincoln to Judgment at Nuremburg before. I think it’s extremely valid.

  43. @ Ricky No one is equivocating Best Picture and Best Ensemble. The point is that the best picture winner is usually popular enough with the actors to score an ensemble nomination, even in cases when the ensemble is not one of the film’s strong points. The only outlier is Braveheart in 1995, the very first year of SAG awards. Every best picture winner since then has been nominated. One thing I have learned from ten years of Oscar watching, people vote based on what they like. A lot of voters are not very technical with their choices. They vote with their hearts and what they enjoyed. I always take that fact into considerations when filling my oscar ballot. There is a strong bias with the technical oscars for the best picture nominees and popular films. It’s why so many best picture winners end up with the most wins. All voters are not like you, judging each award on it’s technical merits. The year Slumdog won, I was convinced they would go with Doubt since all four members of the ensemble scored individual nominations. People vote for what they like. As for Little Miss Sunshine, SAG has less bias against comedy than the oscars. That’s one of the reasons why SAG ensemble wins are not a good indicator of Best Picture. Comedic-dramas like LMS, sideways and Gosford Park do better with SAG than at the oscars.

    @ Paddy Mulholland
    “It’s looking like Les Mis is the sort of film, though, which doesn’t need to hit all the same marks as the other contenders.” I disagree. I think it needs to hit more. Les Mis is the type of movie that is right up HFPA’s ally. They should have eaten this movie up. In light of the less than stellar reviews, it’s safe to assume the film did not live up to expectations. They gave Tim Burton a nomination for Sweeney Todd so I don’t see why Tom Hopper wouldn’t get one. As for the mark it has hit so far, Nine has been comparable (save for hathaway and jackman) and we all know how turned out. Box office is the only thing that can validate it winning. The public needs to love this film. The best picture winner doesn’t need to be a critics’ darling but come on, the highest score so far on metacritic is an 80. I am struggling to find the love for this film. I looked back 10 years and all BP winners had some 100s.
    “We know the Academy will vote for what they want to vote for, precursors be damned, and I bet they’ve wanted to vote for Les Mis since they first heard of it.” That’s silly. A movie needs to live up to expectations. I bet they were also expecting to love Nine but how did that turn out? They did still squeeze in a nom for Penelope cruz though. Obviously, Les Mis will fare much better than Nine but all it has going for it was the initial raves from the first screening and that does not scream winner.

  44. Christophe

    @rufus
    prestige, overdue, easier to like,… but in fact I have no idea except the fact that so far Lincoln is seen as the tried and tested frontrunner while Les Mis seems to be lagging behind expectations (reviews and early noms).
    now i have absolutely no idea how academy members will vote, all I know is how I would rank the top 10 bp contenders at the moment (#1 Les Mis, #2 Moonrise Kingdom, #3 Lincoln, #4 Life of Pi, #5 Django Unchained,…) and that doesn’t mean a damn thing!

  45. ****For the record, I base these assumptions on the Social Network v. The King’s Speech year where we had one film (The Social Network) that was the clear choice by critics and another that, while critically successful, was the choice for people who, as Sasha likes to say, like to “feel” when they watch a film. ****

    Well here’s a statistic that should tell you that audiences must be feeling something when it comes to Lincoln. Of the top ten films being reported at Box Office Mojo Lincoln is on the least number of screens as the other nine.

    Skyfall ranked #1 is in 3400 screens. Lincoln ranked #2 is on 2000 screens. Life of Pi which is third as of the 13th was on 2900 screens. Twilight and Rise of the Guardians are both on at least 3600 screens. Playing for Keeps 2800, Flight 2400,Red Dawn and Wreck it Ralph 2700 and Killing them Softly 2400.

    With Twilight falling off Lincoln has moved into the second spot behind Skyfall. Seems to me audiences must be feeling something.

    On the 13th which was a Thursday Skyfall took in 951,744 and Lincoln took in 945,824 with a difference of almost 1400 screens between Skyfall and Lincoln. Life of Pi which was number 3 and on 2900 screens took in 771,984.

  46. Christophe

    @danemychal
    I totally agree and get your point, except the part where you say Les Mis seems unimportant, so just bc it’s based on French history and not American history, then it’s unimportant??? Thank you very much sir!
    Now all joking aside I do think the academy awards are a tremendous American institution and in pivotal times such as these rewarding an American film with such a strong political statement absolutely sounds like the best thing to do.

  47. Danemychal

    PS – Keeping Lincoln on fewer screens is lengthening its box office success too. Brilliant marketing strategy to always see it in the top 3 or 4 movies when you read the box office reports. It still has not come to many of the theaters that will eventually get it.

  48. Danemychal

    Christophe – unimportant in the grand scheme of things, especially to Americans. Not many of the Academy voters are French, and the characters in Les Mis are fictitious. Lincoln uses figures from history and draws very interesting parallels to issues that are of immediate concern to the US at the moment (gun control, gay rights issues, you name it).

  49. I do find the critical reviews of Las Mis off putting. So many seem to be written from a position of ignorance and prejudice and this is being done before a single member of the regular audience has seen the film A few have been raves, most have been mixed, but some have been so harsh that you start looking for a Weinstein pay stub. While it has to be judged as a film, it should first be judged as to whether it did what it was supposed to do: Translate a globally adored stage musical to the screen. Whether someone likes or dislikes musicals as a genre shouldn’t enter into that equation. I believe that performances (most notably Jackman and Hathaway) truly deserve awards even if the motion picture falls short of the top prizes.

  50. @ rufussonndheim

    The fatal flaw in your math, aside from the fact that you pulled those numbers out of your behind is that you fail to take into consideration how the rest of the nominees will factor in determining who wins. It is not going to come down to three films so your assumption is pointless. We know last year the were nine films that scored at least 5% of the number one votes on the nomination ballot. That’s 45% of the #1 votes shared equally among the nominees. Sure some voters would have changed their vote on the final ballot for their second or third choice that had a better chance of winning but the idea of one film taking up 40% of the vote in a year as competitive as this one is ridiculous. People are still going to vote for may be Argo, SLP, Django and others so you have to consider which of your perceived frontrunners are going to lose votes to other nominees.

  51. And yes, unorthodix and all, Karger is uncanny. His perceptions are to be taken seriously.

    True but most people only remember recent Karger. I’ve been following him and reading him since I started my website and believe me, he can be wrong.

  52. Bob, Sullivan kind of retracted his statements after seeing the film, but then this cropped up http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/newsdesk/2012/12/torture-in-kathryn-bigelows-zero-dark-thirty.html

  53. Spielberg has been making films for almost forty years.

    Good god, I guess you’re right!

  54. It’s hard to think neither The Master nor Moonrise would get in. Skyfall and Killing Them Softly, as well.

  55. “Zero Dark Thirty continues to take a pummeling for its purported stance, and now the critics are being taken to task for looking at the film merely as art and not looking at what it says about what we may or may not have done in order to capture Bin Laden.”

    Should we dismiss The Battle of Algiers, as well?

  56. @ Paddy Mulholland

    “We know the Academy will vote for what they want to vote for, precursors be damned, and I bet they’ve wanted to vote for Les Mis since they first heard of it. They’ll either like it or they’ll convince themselves that they like it.”

    I just want to dispel another myth. The Academy in recent years has not been crazy about musicals. Chicago won, but lost director. Moulin Rouge was nominated but missed out on the director nom. No director or Picture nomination for Dreamgirls, Nine and the slew of other musicals that come out since Chicago. So the ideal that the academy would be rolling over themselves to vote for les mis even if it does not live up to expectation is unfounded.

  57. Tero Heikkinen

    Nic, I had no issues with the lighting. I had an issue with this comment by another reader. I overshot a little, but that’s because I just heard about the school shooting and it pissed me off.

    I have not even seen Lincoln, but that will change on January 2nd.

  58. Tremendous point SJ (love those initials. Ha!)

    I have been arguing the same point for a long time with colleagues. The days of the 60’s when FOUR musicals won Best Picture are long gone. It’s almost as if the Academy became paranoid after that must-attacked infatuation, and since then they have over-scrutinized the prospects of musicals.

    Of course this may actually in a reverse kind of way help LES MIS, as some voters may feel that musicals have been getting short shrift in the past decades.

    But yes, in the end they will do what they want to do, and I’m getting a strong feeling that many will be very surprised when the nominations are announced. They we’ll be able to evaluate the full picture.

  59. My point, SJ, is that relying on the critics and the precursors to guide your predictions is not a failsafe method. The Globes may have snubbed Tom Hooper, and the critics may be panning it, but if they want to nominate it, they will.

    Also, Moulin Rouge, Chicago, Dreamgirls, Sweeney Todd, Nine all had plenty of baggage, mostly generated because they were actually good films. The Academy could be Les Mis’ saviour, if everybody else comes to ignore it.

    And Les Mis comes to the screen bolstered by the fervour of some major hardcore fans, which few other musicals can claim to have.

  60. Stephen Holden top 11

    1. LINCOLN
    2. AMOUR
    3. ZERO DARK THIRTY
    4. BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD
    5. ARGO
    6. ONCE UPON A TIME IN ANATOLIA
    7. ELENA
    8. HOW TO SURVIVE A PLAGUE
    9. THE INVISIBLE WAR
    10. THE SESSIONS
    11. RUST AND BONE

  61. Gotcha Tero. Newtown is unfathomable. I can’t say anymore about it cause it just pisses me off.

  62. Sasha:

    True but most people only remember recent Karger. I’ve been following him and reading him since I started my website and believe me, he can be wrong.

    Yep, that is an excellent point I must admit.

  63. @ Paddy Mulholland
    I’m sorry but the reviews for Les Mis is its baggage. I find it hard to believe that all the critics are biased against this movie. May be some, but not all. Where is the love? I agree the precursors are not a failsafe method, but they are usually in favor of musicals. Condon and Baz Luhrmann scored DGA noms, Rob Marshall DGA win. Nine had most votes with BFCA, Dreamgirls tied for most votes. They all got SAG and golden globes nominations but only Baz and Marshall got globe director nom. When it gets to the Oscars, they don’t live up to previous hype. So while precursors and critics are not always reliable, looking at them is a lot better than making random assumptions about the musical’s popularity within the academy and then expecting that to magically transform into votes if the musical doesn’t live up to expectation.

  64. SJ:
    So while precursors and critics are not always reliable, looking at them is a lot better than making random assumptions about the musical’s popularity within the academy and then expecting that to magically transform into votes if the musical doesn’t live up to expectation.
    My thoughts exactly.

    Also, note that Zero Dark Thirty and Lincoln are currently tied for the most top 2 placements on critics’ top 10 lists, according to Metacritic’s scorecard right now: http://www.metacritic.com/feature/top-ten-lists-best-movies-of-2012

  65. Why were my comments on Lincoln not approved? They weren’t at all inflammatory or unfair. Do you just not approve posts if they disagree with your point of view?

    I deleted all of your comments became they came from multiple IDs – try using your real name and I’ll think about posting your comments. –Sasha

  66. “Wouldn’t it be great if There and Back Again swept the 2014 Oscars the same way ROTK did?”

    I don’t think so… As a genre fan myslef, I don’t think The Hobbit deserves it… I don’t even get why Jackson has to make three films out of it? Aside from money issues… He could perfectly fit it in a 3-hour and half movie! The Hobbit is NO LOTR trilogy. And the first one wasn’t really good for me… Let’s just face it.

  67. @Bob Burns
    My bad. Andrew Sullivan’s original article-see below-was “Kathryn Bigelow: Torture apologist”  it was all over the Internet. He wrote it before seeing ZD30, I thought you were referring to it. Glad he changed his mind after actually seeing the film.

    “I have not seen the movie yet, so I have to rely on descriptions of its plot. But if it portrays torture as integral to the killing of Osama bin Laden, it is a lie. If Bigelow is calling torture “harsh tactics” she is complicit in its defense. And lies do have an agenda, whatever Bigelow says.”
    -Andrew Sullivan, December 10, 2012

    http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/2012/12/kathryn-bigelow-torture-apologist.html

  68. well, that’s him but on the other hand glenn greenwald and jane mayer now think the movie’s worse than they feared after seeing it.

    so this is probably going to go on. sully wrote a very interesting thing this morning though- he wonders if a movie would ever take a neutral stance on torture if it was shown being perpetrated by non-americans, like the nazis in WWII. he thinks the film adopted this approach because they were given such access to the cia agents who actually did this stuff

    my biggest issue is still the facts. torture did not lead to bin laden and there is ZERO evidence in reality that it works. if there was, bush and cheney would have, i don’t know, ANYTHING, to show for the program they illegally instituted. but they don’t.

  69. @lily: It is a tricky issue. I’m thinking back to the opening scene in Salt with Angelina Jolie’s character striped almost naked, waterboarded and beat up by the North Koreans. She continued to lie throughout the torture, denying that she is a spy. It wasn’t preachy but the director was obviously taking a stance against torture. Same thing happened in Casino Royale with Daniel Craig’s Bond striped completely naked and tortured without them getting the truth from him.

    <Bigelow is in a bind since this isn't fiction. She has to show what really happened with the CIA without picking sides because she will be accused of propaganda by the other side.

  70. @SJ

    The Les Miz reviews are not fully in. There are tonnes of reviews to yet appear. The reviews will begin in the USA probably Christmas Eve/Day and then in the UK mid January – so there are plenty of more reviews to come in. Please don’t state your case against Les Miz on what are in already! For me the ones’ that are out already could not wait to diss the movie. And again, Les Miz was never going to be a critics darling. The only thing which has hurt Les Miz to date is the Directing snub with the Globes but it feels kind of strange because all the Directing nods have gone with the dramatic films – for me it was the HFPA kissing big director ass and they probably don’t see Hooper as big director ass …… yet! We all know they love a star studded affair which actually surprises me that they never invited Streisand to their little event.

  71. So while precursors and critics are not always reliable, looking at them is a lot better than making random assumptions about the musical’s popularity within the academy and then expecting that to magically transform into votes if the musical doesn’t live up to expectation.

    It isn’t living up to expectation, so why is it at 3rd on the Gurus of Gold’s predictions? And sure, everyone looks at precursors (including me) and considers them reliable, until the Academy picks something almost completely out of the blue.

    Look at The Tree of Life last year. Best Picture and Director Oscar nominations. No PGA nom (out of ten), no DGA nom, no SAG noms, no WGA nom, no ACE nom. No Golden Globe noms. No BAFTA noms – only mentioned once on the BAFTA longlist (Cinematography).

    I’m not expecting anything to ‘magically transform into votes’. If the film is up their street, no amount of precursors can dissuade them from voting for it. Crash over Brokeback, anyone?

  72. ZDT was not nominated for SAG Ensemble because, look who’s in it. Chastain is the only one who’s going to be nominated and even her role may not be flashy enough to beat Jennifer Lawrence (justifiable or not). There aren’t a lot of big names in it, and it doesn’t seem as much of an actors’ movie as the others. While that might hurt it for the Oscars, I’m not convinced the SAG “snubbed” it.

  73. @Glenn UK

    I agree regarding Tom Hooper. I mean, look, it’s not looking as good for Les Miz as it did a week ago, but it will still probably be nominated for at least Picture, Actor, Supporting Actress, and the techs. It will still likely win the Globes for Musical, Jackman, and Hathaway, though SLP could steal one or two of those awards since it was nominated in Screenplay where Les Miz never would have been. But even though he’s an Oscar winner, Hooper doesn’t have the same clout as Spielberg, Affleck, and Tarantino. Bigelow is probably too big to be ignored, and maybe they feel guilty for giving James Cameron the Globe for Avatar. Ang Lee is a good possibility for the Oscar nods and his film is artsy and challenging. This isn’t great for Les Miz and Hooper, but you can explain it as the other five directors being too famous and popular for the HFPA to ignore.

    Now, the Oscars could go differently. Lee is no slam dunk, and I’m not convinced that Tarantino is automatically in just because the HFPA liked it (same goes for DiCaprio). Django looks closer to Kill Bill (which was terrific, actually) than Inglourious Basterds.

  74. Danemychal

    Oscars finalists for makeup posted by Dave Karger:

    hobbit
    Hitchcock
    Lincoln
    Les Mis
    Looper
    MIB3
    Snow white

  75. “For me the ones’ that are out already could not wait to diss the movie.”
    I’m sorry but I cannot agree with any rationalization that includes a vendetta by the critics against this movie. The reviews don’t meet your expectations so you come up with excuses to explain them away. Psychology 101, denial is a defense mechanism. When the rest of the reviews come in we can talk but for now I’ll stay grounded in reality, not conspiracy theories.

    @ Paddy Mulholland
    Clearly, I disagree with the Gurus on Les Mis chances of winning. Again, you have not said anything that supports your belief that this is so up their street they would abandon all reason to vote for it. I may be wrong but to me, you are overestimating how popular the musical is amongst academy members. It’s a period pieces yes, but in recent years they have branched out to more violent contemporary films like hurt locker, Departed and No country for old men. I have addressed the issue of musicals not being as popular as we may think they are. The brits would love this and it will do great at the baftas so it gets brownie points for that. Other than that I don’t see it as the front runner.Say what you want about Crash, but it was polarizing film. The movie got a lot of love from some critics *cough* Roger Ebert *cough*. That is what I want to see for les Mis. I don’t want to hear it’s great, BUT…. .

    @ Zach
    There were no big names in Slumdog millionaire either. If they like the film, they will vote.

  76. Again, you have not said anything that supports your belief that this is so up their street they would abandon all reason to vote for it.

    It wouldn’t be abandoning all reason. If they like it, they like it. You bring up The Hurt Locker, No Country for Old Men and The Departed. I bring up The King’s Speech over The Social Network, 127 Hours and Black Swan, The Artist over The Tree of Life, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and War Horse over The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Drive, Melancholia and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.

  77. “There were no big names in Slumdog millionaire either. If they like the film, they will vote.”

    Of course. But that was a sentimental, uplifting film and perhaps more of an actors’ film than ZDT. Certainly Slumdog was more character-driven than ZDT, which, apart from Chastain’s character, is driven more by the concept and narrative. Just speculating since I haven’t seen it yet. For the record, the 5 SAG nominees were what I was expecting. Marigold features too many strong British actors.

  78. I haven’t read everyone else’s comments because I’m tardy but I saw THE HOBBIT again today but in normal 3D. Now that I was able to pay better attention, I think it shouldn’t be completely dismissed. I think people’s reactions were probably to the 48fps because it really does something to you. It makes you have a real knee-jerk “Ick!” response. But for people watching it on normal 2D or 3D that should go away. So screeners should be seen more favorably. I’m not saying it will get a spot or that it’s even likely but I don’t think it should be counted out, especially because it’s still about those all important #1 votes. There are movies up there that are probably going to split their “bases”. Anything could sneak in if that were the case.

    Having said all that about the 48fps I don’t think it’s a total loss. Either I got used to it half way through or they got better at using it and adjusting for it as they went on. As much as I was initially put off by it, there were a few instances where it was noticeably better from a visual standpoint. Mainly the battle scenes and one scene when they’re going through the forest in the rain.

  79. unlikely hood

    Anyone else smelling whiffs of Les Miz desperation?

  80. Anyone else smelling whiffs of Les Miz desperation?

    They were whiffs a week ago; now they’re fumes.

  81. Karger is very good but you don’t have to go far to get a huge bomb of a prediction coming from him. In his last year BP prediction he stated only 5 films would make the cut for BP. Everyone was predicting 7 or 8. In the end, we had those 9.

  82. @ Paddy Mulholland

    Les Miserables is not King’s speech. Different genres. Same director, so what. Because they liked one of his films does not mean they are going to roll over backwards for this one. And king’s speech had raves from critics. It wasn’t the overall favorite but there was some passion for the film. We are yet to see solid reviews for Les Mis. Over 80% of the critics could hate the movie for all I care, but you can’t tell me there are not at least a handful of critics that are just crazy over the eventual best picture winner. Critics and the academy don’t have to match, but there is always some overlap. If we eventually get that and/or when it opens to and public response is great, I could accept Les Mis as a frontrunner. Until then, we are just running on empty hype and assumptions. Dreamgirls hit most of the marks Les Mis has and it still didn’t add up to much. Les Mis has some advantages over dreamgirls but all indications point to it being a very polarizing musical. I’m a musical junkie and I was turned off by the cast staring right into my face so close up. I can see the movie being first or second with the total nominations but nothing that says the academy is going to be so obsessed with this film they will give it a win regardless of its flaws. But you are right. If they like it, they like it. We just have to wait and see.

  83. If Ang Lee is snubbed for Best Director, it will be a travesty. Without his guts and unique vision, Life of Pi will never be brought to screen, at least not with such majesty and grace. The same could be said for Tom Tykwer and the Wachowskis, I guess, but for them it is more of a case of wishful thinking(I still can’t believe Cloud Atlas is snubbed for Best Makeup)

  84. Jack Traven II

    The stunning opening day at the box office lets me cement my assumption that The Hobbit will get a BP nod. Come what may – even lots of bad reviews. In that case it could be this year’s War Horse. Well, apart from being a (probable) mega blockbuster.

  85. Because they liked one of his films does not mean they are going to roll over backwards for this one.

    I get that you don’t agree with me, but I don’t get how you’ve managed to misconstrue my point so many times in so many ways. This is not what I’m implying.

    And I do hope the Les Mis desperation point isn’t directed at me. I think it looks like shite!

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