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The State of the Race: The Land of Hope and Dreams

“This train carries saints and sinners. This train, carries losers and winners.”Springsteen

So much of the Oscar race is built on the precarious ledge of hope. Audiences hope the movies are good. Publicists hope for many nominations and a big payday. Film fans hope for their tastes to be validated. Filmmakers hope people will love and respond to the project they’ve just devoted years of their time to creating, actors hope their emotional investment won’t have been fruitless, and Oscar voters hope the movies are good.  Finally, the year’s strongest Oscar contenders also depend heavily on hope.

Silver Linings Playbook is about the hope for a better life despite the many difficulties we are sometimes born with, Les Miserables is about the hope for the future of the impoverished underclass in France, that their suffering and bloodshed won’t have been in vain.  Zero Dark Thirty is the hope that all of our efforts to kill Bin Laden and cripple Al Qaeda will keep us safer. Argo is about the iffy hope that a half-cooked bad idea could free the hostages.  And Lincoln is about the hope for equality for all Americans, the hope that humanity will prevail even at a time when many people couldn’t see the forest for the trees.

While those films are probably the ones that would be nominated if there were still only five Best Picture nominees, the theme of hope extends past them to the other films that are pushing their way in — Life of Pi, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Flight and Moonrise Kingdom. 

In each of these films the characters strive to do what they fear can never be done. They risk humiliation, or they risk their lives all to keep hope alive.   They are all about hope, sacrifice and endurance.

Are there other movies that might squeeze in for Best Picture, like AmourAnna KareninaThe Promised Land, Django Unchained or The Hobbit?  A consensus will be forming slowly this week and next and by the time Oscar voters have their ballots on the 17th (!) there should be a good working knowledge of which films are the strongest heading into the race.

The Oscar race is usually decided by a combination of buzz, critics awards, guild awards, and public reception.  We are still mostly in the critics phase of the awards race so it’s a good time to look at whether they will have any impact this year.

It’s been said that critics don’t vote for the Oscars, and indeed, that’s true.  But not all critics write with equal insight  and not all critics groups are measured alike. The Critics Choice awards are filled with many people who aren’t mainstream film critics but  awards bloggers or  TV personalities. I don’t know how they can all be called critics but we’ll accept the title they give themselves.  There are many significant self-made critics in self-made groups so the best writers are usually found flocking together in sophisticated clusters around Los Angeles, New York, Boston, Chicago, Denver, and Phoenix.  Along with the Southeastern and National Society, there’s enough crossover to cover the map.

Other groups like the Hollywood Foreign Press, the Golden Satellites, and the Broadcast Film Critics are often seen to be more populist. All the same, 2010 proved you could win all of those, from snooty exclusive film critics to general audience populist and still lose the larger industry votes.

Bob Dylan said “you just want to be on the side that’s winning.” A winner is covered in  shimmer, whether they deserve it or not. If one win feels good voters might go in for a double dose, and so on, as long as the high lasts.

Kathryn Bigelow already made history when The Hurt Locker won the New York Film critics before going on to win the Oscar, thus becoming the first woman to ever win Best Picture and Best Director. Back then, the whispered narratives about her were that she only won because she was a woman, and that she could only win because her films were about men.   That was another myth Bigelow shattered yesterday when her Zero Dark Thirty won the New York Film Critics for Picture, Director and Cinematography.

The success of this film should dispel any notion that The Hurt Locker only won because it was directed by a woman. Despite the Sound & Sound critics turning their back on it, the film was universally well reviewed — and not because of Bigelow’s gender.  It won worldwide acclaim because the collaboration between Bigelow and Mark Boal resulted in an exceptional film about America’s involvement in Iraq.  Zero Dark Thirty is the next chapter, with the same crackling heat of the first Bigelow/Boal collaboration. You can’t give Bigelow credit, I don’t think, without also crediting Boal. His writing shines even brighter in Zero Dark Thirty than The Hurt Locker, much of which is bare bones dialogue and tense altercations.

If Bigelow wins this year she will only be the second person to win Best Picture and Best Director back to back for consecutive  films.  The only other director to do it was David Lean, who made Bridge on the River Kwai and Lawrence of Arabia with a five year span between them. Bigelow would do it with a three year span between.

Bigelow also seems poised for a potential split.  Oliver Stone and Steven Spielberg both won Best Director but then lost best Picture to Driving Miss Daisy and Shakespeare in Love, respectively.  Many will likely, and smartly, predict Bigelow to win Director and then something that squeezes the heartstrings for Best Picture, probably they will go for Les Miserables or Silver Linings Playbook in that instance.

Splits, though, are treacherous to predict. Had Driving Miss Daisy director Bruce Beresford been nominated,  it’s possible he would have taken director too. In the case of Saving Private Ryan, the film itself was seen as such an enormous achievement but it didn’t make voters FEEL good.  They wanted to honor Spielberg but liked another movie more.  You could make this argument each and every time there is a split: Warren Beatty for Reds and Chariots of Fire, Ang Lee for Brokeback Mountain and Crash, Roman Polanski and The Pianist and Chicago.

We would then have to guess if Zero Dark Thirty or Lincoln fits into that pattern, or if there is another movie that captures the hearts of voters.  While I don’t think splits can be predicted and I am sort of opposed to them in every regard, this is one year that might happen because of the strength of Lincoln and Zero Dark Thirty heading into the race.  Only one can win the top prize.  Each of them has a screenplay in different categories so theoretically it could be a nail-biter for the final two big categories.  If it comes down Bigelow vs. Spielberg, will be easier for voters to choose Bigelow? Or Spielberg? Will Les Miserables come along and be that sentimental weepy whose director won’t win? Is that movie Silver Linings Playbook instead?

That rasies the question of whether any film has been shut out of the New York Film Critics and still gone on to win Best Picture. The answer is, yes. Crash and Chicago both did, and both times it resulted in a split vote.  The truth is that the NYFCC had less of an impact before Oscar rules moved the awards back a month. That switched everyone up and suddenly critics groups became more influential, as did the awards bloggers.

This year, Oscar voters will ONLY have the critics awards to help them form their opinion. The SAG nominations will be the only guild awards announced before Oscar voters have to turn in their ballots. The DGA and PGA will come after, so any surprise winner that turns up on either of their list of nominees will get no Oscar bounce from them.  This has never happened since the time these guilds formed.

Oscar hopefuls nominated in a vacuum? Perish the thought. Sometimes you don’t want to know what the voters think, as was evidenced by this week’s documentary shortlist that effectively shut out many of the year’s best documentaries. It’s still a broken system, even after Michael Moore’s efforts  to fix it.

Because there is still a review embargo on Les Miserables, it’s impossible to put that film in context of the awards race. There are enthusiastic crowd responses in screenings in New York, and a lot of pundits predicting it to win but that’s it. Most of the time there needs to be more than critic’s enthusiasm to push that movie through to a win. Probably the strategy is to wait it out, hope for a lot of nominations and then strong box office to push it through to a win, with or without the reviews.  It’s a gamble that may or may not pay off.

Silver Linings Playbook is not following the pattern of The King’s Speech or The Artist so far — nothing from the New York Film critics. But that doesn’t necessarily tell the whole story. There are many more critics awards yet to come and a big win from any of them could give it a bump.   Unlike Les Miserables, Silver Linings has run the gauntlet and emerged with good to great reviews. Its box office is increasing and it still has the Toronto audience award.

That Argo came so close to winning the NYFCC is fairly significant.  It also could benefit from a big win from a critics group, though it is, so far, the only $100 million dollar baby in the bunch, with Lincoln on the verge of closing the gap.

To accurately see the Oscar race, though, you sometimes have to abandon hope. Like Red says, it’s a dangerous thing, and it can lull you into wanting something you can’t have, whether it’s to see the Oscars validate your favorite film, or to see them break a stereotype or make history; most of the time, they will break your heart.

In the Shawshank Redemption, one of the best films never to win the Oscar, the word hope is debated by two of the film’s leads. Red says “Let me tell you something my friend. Hope is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane.” To which his friend Andy replies, “Remember, Red, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.” But Red isn’t convinced until the end of the film. The last lines echo his change of heart, “I find I’m so excited, I can barely sit still or hold a thought in my head. I think it’s the excitement only a free man can feel, a free man at the start of a long journey whose conclusion is uncertain. I hope I can make it across the border. I hope to see my friend and shake his hand. I hope the Pacific is as blue as it has been in my dreams. I hope.”

But that shouldn’t keep us from hoping. I hope that voters recognize the height of achievement of Spielberg/Kushner/Day-Lewis reached. I hope I can decide which movie I liked better, Lincoln, Life of Pi or Zero Dark Thirty.  I hope that someone will give Emanuelle Riva some awards love. I hope that Cloud Atlas will be recognized for its unforgettable score — and even Jim Broadbent and Doona Bae for their versatile turns.  I hope that it will be a good year for Oscar.  I hope I live through this year. I hope.

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Up

Zero Dark Thirty
Winning the New York Film critics, early rave reviews and a current topic at hand, not to mention maybe the only film in the race that centers on the arc of a female.

Lincoln.
Lincoln’s box office continues to surprise everyone — it just keeps climbing. It made $82 million in four weeks of release. Additionally, Lincoln just wracked up three New York Film Critics prizes, including two for acting, and Tommy Lee Jones was named one of the best performances of the year by TIME.  SAG ensemble is looking promising.

Life of Pi
Doing well at the box office, the film likely start to show up on top ten lists.  While it might not win any critics awards, it is one of the few nourishing film experiences of the year and the word of mouth has been great.

Les Miserables:  Now is when you feel the full force of a big studio that knows how to sell a movie. Whatever Les Miserables is, their marketing team is top notch.  Even though I’ve seen the movie twice (it got better for me the second time), the marketing is so good it makes me want to see it again.  It continues to be at the top of the predictions over at Gold Derby.  Lincoln still number one at Movie City News.

Argo: while the buzz might have dampened a wee bit, that it was so close to winning the New York Film Critics for Best Picture is significant enough to keep it high in the conversation.

Amour: Being named number one film of the year by TIME is a big deal. That means people will be seeking it out. Drenched with emotion, Amour is unforgettable.  I’m starting to think Kris Tapley might be onto something with his prediction of it in Best Picture.

The Dark Knight Rises: It’s looking up for the superhero caper, now that it was included on TIME’s Best Of list.

Strongest Contenders so far:
Lincoln
Zero Dark Thirty
Argo
Silver Linings Playbook
Les Miserables
Life of Pi
Flight
Beasts of the Southern Wild
The Dark Knight Rises
Amour

Will need passionate support:
The Master
Django Unchained
Anna Karenina
Cloud Atlas
The Promised Land

Best Actress

Up

Rachel Weisz for Deep Blue Sea – while other actresses were expected to win Best Actress from the New York Film Critics – Weisz ended up taking it in the final round of voting (don’t ask).  She has a strong advocacy group behind her in the critics community and there’s a good chance she will start to dominate in that category. The reason I never had her as a contender is that I couldn’t make it through Deep Blue Sea. I am giving it another go this afternoon, however, and hopefully I can see what all of the fuss was about. But mea culpa for not having realized it sooner.

Emmanuelle Riva – Amour – being named the best performance of the year by TIME mag has finally boosted Riva into the forefront. But if voters are given the choice between Riva and Weisz, if you’ve been reading this blog a long time, whom do you think they’ll choose?

The Strongest Contenders:
Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook
Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty
Rachel Weisz, Deep Blue Sea
Marion Cotillard, Rust & Bone
Quvenzhané Wallis, Beasts of the Southern Wild
Keira Knightley, Anna Karenina
Emmanuelle Riva, Amour

Needs passionate support:
Emayatzy Corinealdi, Middle of Nowhere
Leslie Mann, This is Forty
Meryl Streep, Hope Springs

Best Actor

Up

Richard Gere – It’s starting to look like there’s a strong possibility Gere can actually pull out his first Best Actor win for Arbitrage.  The parties, the tributes, the support from the Hollywood community has been surprising. His performance is certainly worthy of a nomination, but if it wasn’t he would certainly deserve it for his long, brilliant career.

Daniel Day-Lewis, though TIME’s strange list didn’t include Day-Lewis, he did just win the New York Film Critics.

Strongest Contenders:
Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
Denzel Washington, Flight
Joaquin Phoenix in The Master
John Hawkes in The Sessions
Richard Gere, Arbitrage
Hugh Jackman, Les Miserables
Will need passionate support:
Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook
Anthony Hopkins in Hitchcock

Still to come:
Jamie Foxx in Django Unchained

Best Supporting Actor

Up

Matthew McConoughey, for his stellar work this year. He’ll probably get in for Magic Mike, but there has been praise for his work in Bernie and Killer Joe. He also just won the New York Film Critics. I am currently predicting the actor not just to get nominated but to win the category.

Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln – named on TIME’s best performances list so he gets a shout out here.

Strongest Contenders:

Matthew McConoughey, Magic Mike
Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln
Robert De Niro, Silver Linings Playbook
Philip Seymour Hoffman, The Master
Dwight Henry in Beasts of the Southern Wild
Alan Arkin, Argo
John Goodman, Flight
John Goodman, Argo

Best Supporting Actress

Up

Sally Field – If it turns out that Lincoln wins three acting prizes and not picture, Field will be one of the winners. Anne Hathaway was pretty close  during the voting, which keeps her very much in the game. If Les Miserables enters the race with a whole slew of nominations, Hathaway can’t lose.

Strongest contenders:

Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables
Sally Field, Lincoln
Helen Hunt, The Sessions
Amy Adams, The Master
Maggie Smith, Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Will need passionate support:
Kelly Reilly, Flight
Lorraine Toussaint in Middle of Nowhere
Doona Bae in Cloud Atlas
Ann Dowd, Compliance

  Best Director

Up

Kathryn Bigelow – A big win at the New York Film Critics makes history again.

Strongest Contenders:
Steven Spielberg, Lincoln
Kathryn Bigelow, Zero Dark Thirty
Ben Affleck, Argo
Ang Lee, Life of Pi
David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook
Tom Hooper, Les Mis
Paul Thomas Anderson, The Master
Wes Anderson, Moonrise Kingdom

Will need passionate support:
Benh Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern Wild
Michael Haneke, Amour
Joe Wright, Anna Karenina
Robert Zemeckis, Flight

Original Screenplay

Strongest contenders:
Marc Boal, Zero Dark Thirty
Michael Haneke, Amour
Wes Anderson, Roman Coppola, Moonrise Kingdom
John Gatins, Flight
Paul Thomas Anderson, The Master
Ava DuVernay’s Middle of Nowhere
Nicholas Jarecki, Arbitrage
Rian Johnson, Looper

Adapted Screenplay

Strongest contenders:
Tony Kushner, Lincoln
Chris Terrio, Argo
David Magee, Life of Pi
David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook
Benh Zeitlin, Lucy Alibar, Beasts of the Southern Wild
William Nicholson, Les Miserables

Dark horse possibilities:

Christopher Nolan, Jonathan Nolan, The Dark Knight Rises
Fran Walsh, Philipa Boyens, Peter Jackson, The Hobbit

39 Comments on this Post

  1. Chris138

    The Hobbit seems to be getting good but not great reviews, with some even disappointing ones. It’s currently in the high 70s on Rotten Tomatoes. Perhaps if the critical consensus continues that way then it’ll be between Skyfall and The Dark Knight Rises if the Academy decides to throw in a blockbuster slot.

  2. I think best actress is stronger than many people give the category for. There’s just no clear front runner, which makes the race more exciting.

    Also Sasha I think Naomi Watts is a strong lead actress contender. So far my rank is:

    1) Chastain
    2) Lawrence
    3) Riva
    4) Cotillard
    5) Watts

    6) Wallis
    7) Dench
    8) Weisz
    9) Knigtley

  3. Also add Kidman to the mix if actresses. She’s getting louder.

  4. ZDarkJess

    I just don’t see why critics liked “Flight” so much. I didn’t care for it at all and I definitely think that Jack Black in “Bernie” was much much better than anything Washington does in “Flight”. Until I see “Django”, “Les”, “Impossible”, and “ZD30″ I am giving my UP to “Lincoln”, “Argo”, “”The Dark Knight Rises”, “Pi”, and “Moonrise Kingdom”.

  5. Christophe

    “Even though I’ve seen the movie twice (it got better for me the second time), the marketing is so good it makes me want to see it again.”

    Lol, Sasha is becoming a musical geek, this world is full of wonders indeed!

  6. Very keen insight here Sasha regarding the split. Though these circumstances are rare, they do happen in very close years (Gladiator/Traffic being another example). This is could be one of those years. I can definitely see the possibility of Kathryn Bigelow winning director, while Lincoln or Les Miz (waiting for the critics…) take best picture. Not that I want to take anything away from Steven Spielberg’s accomplishment in Lincoln…it might be more realistic that he doesn’t win his third for director over the other nominees but rather best picture with Kathy Kennedy (her first!). Regarding Bigelow, I don’t care if she won three years ago…if Zero Dark Thirty is the best directed movie of the five nominees (which is looking very likely unless Haneke gets in), she should be acknowledged and deserves to win again.

    Sasha, did you see Django or The Hobbit yet?

  7. Where is Watts ? Yes her film has yet to open but once the big award nominations are revealed she’ll be seen as a real contender

  8. Agreed on MM winning best supporting actor. If he wins NBR and GG, then there oould be a storm coming. I am also looking out for Michael Pena.End of Watch returns to theaters this week and Open Road is pushing him and Gyllenhal.

  9. Jack Traven II

    Love the citation of The Shawshenk Redemption, Sasha. It’s one of my absolute favorite films. Its final scene always brings tears to my eyes. And hope is indeed a good thing. To hope for something, whatever sort of, revitalizes. It gives the endurance to get through the struggles of life.

  10. dinasztie

    Great, thought-provoking writing as usual. Personally, predicting McConaughey to win is a bit far-fetched at this point, but it might happen, considering he’s up against mostly previous winners in the category. A mediocre actor’s unexpected outstanding work can often do the trick. :)

  11. unlikely hood

    Nice piece.

    In future years, I hope we’ll remember to say “Back in 2012, how many people had predicted nominations for Rachel Weisz or Matthew McConaughey before December?”

  12. rufussondheim

    I still think Barks and Redmayne are likely nominees for Les Miz and you don’t list them. If people love the film enough to put it number one, these two actors (and their parts) will be a part of the reason. And each will be threats to win as they have some of the more emotional songs in the film.

    It’s not surprising that Sasha likes Les Miz more on second viewing. As one gets to know the songs, they do attach to your memory and it’s hard to shake them. I’ve not seen the versions in the film, but that’s the way of the cast recordings. Plus, the overall plot is easier to follow on repeated viewings. If you do watch it a third time, be careful. You might have to pick it to win!

    —-

    I’m confused about The Impossible. It sits with some strong reviews on Metacritic, extremely strong, but the number of included reviews is not increasing and I’ve heard nothing about screenings.

    I’m wondering if the company behind the film isn’t particularly concerned about awards attention. Or just has no clue. Or maybe they are bhind another film. Either way it was looking good for the film (early mentions in EW for example) but now it’s just, well, forgotten.

  13. Did you mean win for Gere…or nomination? I assume you mean nomination. I don’t think he can win over DDL or some others for that matter.

  14. Chris Price

    Comment

  15. And no Django for original screenplay on your list? Not even in needs support? Hmm.

    As for MM and Magic Mike. I will puke if he is not only nominated but wins?! Puh-leese. That movie is a joke and I thought he was annoying as hell. Now, he DID do great in Killer Joe. Go ahead and nominate him for that and if he wins, I can see it.

  16. Very good article.

    Quick though:

    Best Actress is strong. Winston provided 9 stellar contenders and a 10th would be La Streep in Hope Springs (which got great reviews).

    Yay for McConaughey. That said, he’s so icky and sleazy in Magic Mike that a potential nom makes my skin crawl a bit haha.

    The Hobbit looks done for BP. But I keep hearing amaaaaaazinig things about its visual effects.

    Hoping that Redmayne is as good as the early reactions and gets a potential nom because I’ve always found him impressive. Quiet, but intriguing and impressive in whatever role he’s had.

  17. danemychal

    I really think Amour will be nominated for Best Picture (though not a favorite), and I think Haneke will be nominated for Director and Screenplay. Foreign film directors occasionally sneak in (Schnabel, for example), and I have a feeling Haneke will get there. Here’s what I see happening:

    Spielberg, Lincoln
    Affleck, Argo
    Haneke, Amour
    Hooper, Les Miserables
    Bigelow, Zero Dark Thirty

    I think Affleck/Spielberg as favorites with Bigelow possibly spoiling. So many things have to happen first though. I think Weinstein spread himself “thin” this year (which is difficult to do for Harvey!) with The Master, SLP and Django. He won’t be able to get any of his directors nominated. I think he’ll have to focus on Lawrence and some other minor awards. And it’s just not going to be Life of Pi’s year (nor Lee’s). Sure, it will be nominated for several awards but might only win Cinematography and/or VFX.

  18. Something that’s driving me up the wall with reviews of Zero Dark Thirty is that people are saying it’s the first Bigelow film with a female protagonist. Did people just forget about Blue Steel?

    It’s criminal that Bigelow is getting the “it’s because she’s a woman” BS pushed on to her (again).

  19. “Thoughts”, not “though”.

  20. Rodrigo jp

    Sasha, youforgot tonadd Moonrise Kingdom to the UP list in best picture..

  21. Danemychal, I agree with most that you’re saying

  22. ‘A mediocre actor’s unexpected outstanding work can often do the trick…’

    More like an underrated-actor-who-get-derailed-by-his-own-crap-choices finally clicking on all cylinders.
    MM went from film to film in the last year and a half and each performance was charismatic, original and visceral.
    His best performance this year was Killer Joe, but the BA category is too full right now. I don’t know if the more conventional Academy voters are ready to officially annoint him right now.
    I’m predicting next year – with Scorsese’s Wolf of Wall Street and Dallas Buyers Club – will be his years of official acceptance.
    I’m still rooting for Lincoln to rule this year’s Critic’s list and Oscars….it was that special to me.
    But I suspect that Les Mis will get the mainstream votes.
    On the other hand, Lincoln could have the actors branch – DDL, Jones and Field are respected by their peers and they just might want to reward them.
    Here’s hoping.

  23. Tero Heikkinen

    Schnabel is so foreign :)

    But I know what you meant, danemychal.

  24. Just saw Hobbit – wonder why the embargo when no one else seems to be embargoed. Embargoed in Seattle.

  25. The Diving-Bell and the Butterfly is maybe a good touchstone for Amour, though. That was another strong year, although Diving-Bell was a much more uplifting story of a long, slow march towards death than Amour. But I don’t feel that Amour is yet a big enough part of the conversation to be as big a contender as Diving-Bell was five years ago, nor do I think it’s going to have the same level of support – Diving-Bell had fans across a number of branches and guilds, and even still missed out on a Best Picture Oscar nomination (in a year of five).

  26. Ascaris born

    @danemychal. Lee will be nominated for best director. He did the impossible with Life of Pi. turning the book into an amazing,stunning,emotional,and intriguing film.

  27. I don’t think there is any way they split another Spielberg movie so I think it will either be both for Lincoln or both for ZD30. I am leaning towards Lincoln though. I watched The Dark Knight Rises for the second time today and I really do believe that the respect for the trilogy plus the scope of DKR will propel it to a surprise nomination for Best Picture. There is seemingly one every year now and it’s about time it’s for a well reviewed film and not drivel like Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. Okay rant over sorry. Great article!!

  28. There is no way Matthew McConoughey will win Supporting Actor on Oscar Night, not with so many big guns in the play

  29. Sasha, Oscar Prediction is a game where you can’t let your emotion make the choices. And some your choices like including Knightley, excluding Watts, still clinging on Dark Knight show exactly that.

    But I must say, and also must commend that your support for some of the unknown films do help them come to the forefront. I remember that you were the first to voice support for Middle of Nowhere and now that film is definitely on radar of voters. Well done.

  30. THE DARK KNIGHT RISES was all about hope. Bane even meant to use it as a weapon.

  31. Mcconoughey may just pull it off. We all remember tommy lee jones strange win over Ralph finnes and jack palances win for city slickers.

  32. “Zero Dark Thirty is the hope that all of our efforts to kill Bin Laden and cripple Al Qaeda will keep us safer”

    Am I the only person who thinks this is an absurd? I mean, ok Bin Laden was a terrorist and the attack of September 11t was really terrible but Bin Laden was also a target created by the United States as an excuse to its imperialist military campaign in the Middle East. What about the thousands of people that USA killed in wars like Korea and Vietnam, only only due capitalist interests? Should we hunt the american presidents and kill them so we can feel more save?

    Bin Laden should have been caught alive, judged – by UN, for example – and jailed maybe, but NOTHING JUSTIFIES the ocupations on Afghanistan and Iraque and the hunting for a man like if he was an animal that needed to be exterminated.

    I fear most the american imperialism than Al Qaeda. It has caused more damages to the world than Al Qhaeda or Taleban.

  33. Bball_Jake

    I still wouldnt count out The Hobbit! They really love Lotr, almost as much as i do!
    Best Actress is changing up! Im going to predict Knightley/Chastain/Lawrence/Riva/Weisz with Watts and Hathaway for TDKR coming close too. I saw Life of Pi, and its a good movie, but Im not sure it should get any higher then a ten slot on the bp nods. I think TDKR is moving on up also! The Academy will be smart and nominate it. I Hope!

  34. Lincoln Fanboy

    “Lincoln’s box office continues to surprise everyone — it just keeps climbing. It made $82 million in four weeks of release.”

    Not to be too much of a Lincoln fanboy but a more accurate statement would be “Lincoln made nearly 85m dollars in less than 3 weeks of wide release” seeing as it spent its first 7 days in just 11 theatres.

    Lincoln should pass 100m just as its named a SAG Best Ensemble nominee (or the next day with Golden Globe nominations).

  35. The Actress category is so interesting right now:

    – Lawrence & Chastain feel like locks. But who knows yet?.
    – Weisz entered the race the other day. She’s campaigning fairly hard.
    – Word is that Riva is impressing Academy members. But she’s not campaigning.
    – Cotillard is working it hard, but no one seems to love her film.
    – Watts’ movie is making a killing overseas. And she’s campaigning (Hollywood roundtable, a tribute to her, Academy mebers are holding personal screenings of her movie for other members).
    – Knightley has good reviews. The movie is doing better than expected stateside. She’s campaigning, which she doesnt normally do. And GG/BAFTA may bite.
    – Wallis is adorable and may become a strong critics frontrunner throughout the course of the race.
    – Never count out Streep. She’s been nommed for lesser performances in lesser films. But she just won and isnt campaigning.
    – Dench may have sympathy for her eye illness. She was good in 2 popular films this year. And as Sasha and co. said in their podcast … chances are that the Academy could look at Dench vs. Riva and fall for Dench for varying reasons.
    – Kidman. Is the studio going Lead or Supporting for her?

    So there you go. Fascinating race.

  36. And an 11th would be Mirren, who is still on lots of people’s lists (allegedly poor film and all). People love their Mirren. :)

  37. Beautifully written as always, and I love the theme of “Hope”. One small quibble about Les Mis. Don’t leave it in the past as part of this theme. The central message is that the human being can grow from their past experiences and failings to become the heros of their own lives. It is very current and filled with the hope that comes from change.

  38. This is the kind of posts that make me follow you year after year! Bravo.

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