Two Critics Groups Announce, One Stages Stages a Coup

It was a very good day for Bret Easton Ellis in Los Angeles yesterday – although he hates Michael Haneke and Amour almost as much as he thinks Kathryn Bigelow is overrated and praised only because she’s a woman, he got some backing by the LA Film Critics yesterday when they shut out Zero Dark Thirty for the top two prizes.

As the awards watchers hunched over their Tweetdecks, and publicists watched hoping for a win, and contenders waited it out to see who won, the Los Angeles Film Critics, one of the oldest critics groups in the country, waged war against the general consensus. At the same time, the Boston Film Critics Society, formed back in the 1980s, quietly announced their winners without fanfare. The New York Film Critics Online, like LA, were tweeting their reactions to the voting, to the winners, and to those who didn’t win.  This happened in one day, over a span of a few hours, the drama unfolded on Twitter echoing the good, the bad and the ugly of the human nature we’re all stuck with.

The Los Angeles Film Critics tried so hard to come out from among them and be ye separate and it almost worked. They were almost able to pull off the claim that they  just liked these other films better. They would have gotten away with it, too, if it hadn’t been for a few pesky tweeters who betrayed (some of their) true motivations from behind closed doors. Was it the champagne they were drinking? Is it Twitter’s freeform style that allows us to admit much more than we otherwise would? Or was their desire to strike back stronger than their need for credibility? Does the awards race not matter to them until it suddenly does matter?  It’s hard to say. But when you start reading tweets like “at least it wasn’t Zero Dark Thirty” or “anything but “Daniel Day-Lewis”  the clouds begin to part and the angels sing.  It wasn’t really a vote for anything, was it. It was a vote AGAINST something else.

The LA Film Critics probably isn’t the only voting group that does this. I have always believed that the Academy do this as well. They do just what LA did yesterday: they dig their heels in and they wage an “anything but Zero Dark Thirty” campaign. Actually, that film fared far better than Lincoln, winning the group’s first time award for editing. Somehow that has now become the object d’scorn among film critics. Either they expect a particular film to win the Oscar and they want to run far, far away or they’re hoping to dislodge its chances from winning the Oscar in hopes that something else wins. Anything but Lincoln. Anything but Zero Dark Thirty.  Last year it was anything but The Artist. They shut out the film that would eventually win Best Picture though I don’t recall reading many gleeful tweets about its demise.  Perhaps there were but I’ve since blocked it out. You do this job long enough and sooner or later you remember nothing.

Okay so LA did their thing, they effectively selected themselves out of the awards race they pretend to hate before taking a nice hot bubbly bath in it.  Boston gave a clearer picture of what the general consensus might be, if there is one.  And New York Film Critics Online was somewhere in between. LA appears to be leading the charge, hoping other critics groups do what they did – wage a war, fight the power, announce their presence with the authority. The only problem was – they couldn’t align behind either The Master or Amour completely. If Michael Haneke and Amour had won, or if Paul Thomas Anderson and The Master had won, they would have been a bigger influencer, probably. Split up like this they do what they hoped to do, probably, find their own private island.

That said, they made some great choices. Amour for Best Picture, wow.   Joaquin Phoenix for Best Actor, Emmanuelle Riva and Jennifer Lawrence tying for Best Actress, Argo for screenplay, and so on. It would have been far more delightful had those wins not been followed by a chorus of tweets proclaiming victory at having stopped the two presumed frontrunners but you can’t have everything.  I’ll take these wins in the spirit I will imagine they were intended, to celebrate unsung greatness.

Much has changed in the community of film critics in the 14 years I’ve been watching this race. You could count them on one hand when I started.  There was only print back then, no online, and film critics were reliable not because they read the Oscar race and reacted to it but because they were the tastemakers. The critics announced first, then the guilds (only the DGA and WGA back then), then the Academy – and somewhere in there, the public had a say in ticket sales. There was always a healthy love/hate relationship between those worlds. The Academy were industry people – actors nominating actors, composers nominating composers – the critics and the industry saying what they thought was the best of the year. The industry resented the critics for shitting on their product every year while simultaneously appreciating them when they didn’t.  Oscar watching became an industry and critics awards sprouted up from every corner of the universe so that now, not only do Oscar bloggers call themselves critics but they are often in more than just one group. The whole community has consumed itself and is now engorged to the size of an anaconda’s belly after eating a goat. Not a pretty picture.

So where does that leave us? Essentially where we were before. Because they were voting against, rather than for, films and actors it is hard to gauge what, if any, influence the Los Angeles Film critics will have other than to perpetuate a backlash which may or may not take hold.  They seemed to want to shake people out of their Zero Dark Thirty spell and say, look, there were other great movies this year – don’t just glom onto this one.  Will that matter in the long run?  Does anyone care what the Los Angeles Film Critics think? I know Bret Easton Ellis will be one person who does, vindicated at last.

Does Amour get in? I don’t know. David Poland and Kris Tapley have been saying all along that it will, even predicting Michael Haneke to take one of the Best Director slots.  I’d say it is one of the best films I’ve ever seen and absolutely deserves a place. That Oscar voters must choose five Best Picture contenders but their top three likely matter more than their bottom two seems to bode well for passionate choices like Amour. But beyond that?

In two days the SAG and Golden Globe nominations will come out. SAG will matter more, of course.  But that’s pretty much it for Oscar voters to decide when ballots are sent out so early on the 17th. What has all of the buzz right now is likely to do much better on Oscar ballots than it would if a few more weeks of this nonsense played out. Usually the Globes and the Critics Choice nominations represent an early take on the race but this year, that will likely be Oscar’s take, at least that’s how it seems to me right now.

And we wait. We wait.



  1. phantom 3 years ago

    When will they announce the BFCA nominations today ? Also, here, I made a chart of the awards so far, I will update it regularly :

    Sasha, are you expecting any surprises on Wednesday (SAG) ?

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  2. Chung 3 years ago

    LA film critics did not wage a war against others. Maybe you have politicized too much about the award season. They happened to agree that ZDT is not the besr film, they should be allowed to think so without being labled or analyzed as a rebel rouser to cause some kind of anti ZDT sentiment.

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  3. Chung 3 years ago

    But Shasa, I don’t think you have to be overly concerned because I think Bigelow will probably walk away everything eventually on Oscar night.

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  4. Sasha Stone 3 years ago

    Were you following them on Twitter Chung? I am only going by what I read — had they quietly announced their awards without the subsequent beat down I would not have written about them at all.

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  5. Chung 3 years ago

    I didn’t follow them on twitter, but I just don’t think that they would just purposely voting against a particular film to make a point, even if they do, I really don’t think it is going to matter that much. We don’t have The King Speech this year, I think Bigelow and ZDT are unstoppable at this point.

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  6. Akumax 3 years ago

    Critics should be true to their reading of a film and the analysis they make of the season when they vote. It’s clear that LA film critics were all over the place and pointing nowhere in particular with their awards yesterday. I think Amour is a Great Masterpiece but if it wins best picture in my ballot it wins best foreign film too. They wanted to be different, appear different and make some noise. Unfortunately behaving this way it’s just a credibility killer.

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  7. Wooden Lens 3 years ago

    Amour is a fantastic choice!

    I agree with Sasha that it is a shame they felt the need to be so vocal about Politicizing the event via Twitter.

    BUT, they chose one of the best films of the year. My second favorite next to Zero Dark Thirty.

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  8. Film Fatale 3 years ago

    Regardless of Amour’s win from LAFC it is safe to say it is not winning the Best Picture Oscar. As Lincoln and Les Miserables were not the LAFC winner yesterday, I think it is safe to say that Zero Dark Thirty is still way out in front as both of those pictures are considered chief competition at this point.

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  9. Film Fatale 3 years ago

    The real story here is not that LAFC chose not to award Zero Dark Thirty, but rather that they chose the same fate for Lincoln and Les Miserables. Not looking good for either of those two.

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  10. Christophe 3 years ago

    “Usually the Globes and the Critics Choice nominations represent an early take on the race but this year, that will likely be Oscar’s take, at least that’s how it seems to me right now.”

    Agreed! I looked up the Critics Choice nominations from last year’s and they had the exact same BP contenders (plus Drive).

    Again last year, all Oscar winners were nominated in their respective categories at the Critics Choice Awards. That’s a pretty impressive track record. If it repeats this year, that would mean every Oscar winner will be among tomorrow’s nominees, and all the contenders left out from the Critics Choice noms can pretty much kiss the Oscars good bye and try again next year.

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  11. tre styles 3 years ago

    “But when you start reading tweets like “at least it wasn’t…“anything but “Daniel Day-Lewis” the clouds begin to part and the angels sing.”

    Oh for Christ’s sake. The man already has 2 Oscars. Does he need a third? Not really…his first win should have been for supporting in 1986 for My Beautiful Laundrette, thus making TWBB his 3rd win. Playing Lincoln is easy for such a versatile actor as DDL. He gets to grand stand, even if subtly. Creating a wholly original character, as Joaquin Phoenix did, on the other hand, is much more difficult. You can go in without any preconceived ideas about the character and be blown away!

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  12. Koleś 3 years ago

    @ Akumax

    “I think Amour is a Great Masterpiece but if it wins best picture in my ballot it wins best foreign film too.”

    Nothing weird about that. A movie named the Best Picture of the year does not need further validation as a whole movie. If a foreign language film is named best film, than there is no reason to give it an additional award just because it fits that category and is clearly the best. Rather than that they decided to spread the wealth and that’s fine. I’ve never seen such a thing as an inconsistency.

    Same thing happened a couple of years back when “Wall-E” won Best Picture but didn’t win Best Animation (that one went to “Waltz with Bashir”)

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  13. Sasha Stone 3 years ago

    Their tweets indicated otherwise, Chung.

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  14. Koleś 3 years ago

    Where can we see these tweets?

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  15. Daveylow 3 years ago

    Until the Guilds speak and we get more Academy feedback, do we really know who is the favorite this year?

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  16. Harmonica 3 years ago

    The LA Critics weren’t on a “conspiracy” against DDL or Zero Dark Thirty. Don’t let your love for these films cloud your judgement, Sasha. They were always expected to rally for The Master and Amour.

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  17. Harmonica 3 years ago

    And one has to remember that DDL ALMOST won in LA. It was between him, Lavant and Phoenix. I find it incredibly easy to believe they just liked Lavant and Phoenix better, after all they were two FANTASTIC performances, maybe even all-time best material.

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  18. Nic V 3 years ago

    Then if they loved Lavant and Phoenix so much there wouldn’t have been any tweets that revealed othewise. There wouldn’t have been “anything but Lewis…”. The tweets would have been in praise of Phoenix not attempting to rally anyone against Lewis. The tweets speak for themselves.

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  19. Nic V 3 years ago

    I also have to agree that I expected LA to go for the Master and was not surprised by their choice of Amour. But only because LA likes to mix it up. They’ve always gone in a some categories in a different direction than anyone else. The tweets in my opinion only underscore the way I feel about critics in general kinda like used car salesman.

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  20. Unlikely hood 3 years ago

    As I said on the other thread, LA critics = spackle. Filling in the holes. Hard to believe their list would have been the same a week ago.

    Uh, correction: the SAG awards existed when you started the site. You’re thinking of when you began following the race, years earlier. But as you said, do this long enough and you forget everything.

    Today I am very excited about a potential BP lineup that includes Amour and Beasts. I’ll trade them for TDKR and Hobbit any day.

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  21. Sasha Stone 3 years ago

    Uh, correction: the SAG awards existed when you started the site. You’re thinking of when you began following the race, years earlier. But as you said, do this long enough and you forget everything.

    Right, true, but they’re still pretty young. They only had started four years before I started so no one took them that seriously. As I said, the only guilds that mattered back then were the DGA and the WGA. But really only the DGA.

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  22. Sasha Stone 3 years ago

    The LA Critics weren’t on a “conspiracy” against DDL or Zero Dark Thirty. Don’t let your love for these films cloud your judgement, Sasha. They were always expected to rally for The Master and Amour.

    They actually were, though. This was one time when it is really true.

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  23. Sasha Stone 3 years ago

    Until the Guilds speak and we get more Academy feedback, do we really know who is the favorite this year?

    No. As I am seeing right now, the critics are fairly unreliable, ever since 2010, because they appear to be gaming the system. Which is fine, you know, the more the merrier but as Oscar precursors go – it’s too soon to know if they’ll have any impact at all.

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  24. Sasha Stone 3 years ago

    Oh for Christ’s sake. The man already has 2 Oscars. Does he need a third?

    Hey, I didn’t write the tweet. I didn’t create hostility towards Day-Lewis – his acclaim did. Imagine that. He’s too praised. He’s too successful. He’s too good. Will he win his third and make Oscar history? Probably not. Does he deserve to? Yes, in my opinion, knowing what I know about Lincoln and what he did with that part. Is there a backlash? Oh yeah. Will that manifest? Probably. If not Day-Lewis, though, who wins? Maybe Hugh Jackman.

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  25. Sasha Stone 3 years ago

    The real story here is not that LAFC chose not to award Zero Dark Thirty, but rather that they chose the same fate for Lincoln and Les Miserables. Not looking good for either of those two.

    The LAFCA is irrelevant where Oscar is concerned.

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  26. Evelyn Garver 3 years ago

    There may be a backlash against DDL among some critics, but I find it hard to believe it extends to SAG or the Academy. Who else wins, indeed? I adore Jackman, but the reviews are just not strong enough. Phoenix can overcome any remarks he’s made, but does the academy really like his film? Denzel, for what may not even be his best role? Wonderful character actor J. Hawkes? The film has been curiously absent from the current conversation? B. Cooper? If the Academy squints hard enough and imagines he’s Jack Lemmon? Anything is possible.

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  27. Akumax 3 years ago

    @ Koleś,
    In my opinion “spread the wealth” is the worst way to approach a vote that is supposed to express a professional opinion about what is the best in one category of filmmaking. If I vote for the best film in a non-english language I vote for the best, not the best according to a deal with the rest of the group to award the film another more important award. That is my personal point of view.

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  28. Sugar 3 years ago

    I think critics groups do play games and play favorites. Anyone who thinks awards are not political is naive. I think yesterday, critics groups both went with their favorites or tried to sabotage the campaigns of others. The critics groups were out to stop the ZD30 express (and did so), as well as “Lincoln.” I mean, look at the S.D. critics noms. No DDL or TLJ? Are you kidding me? Matthew McC in for “Killer Joe”? Either they are trying to play it cool or trying to kick the frontrunners. Then there’s this Christoph Waltz crap. (I wonder how many of them have actually seen DJ.) All year it’s been about DiCaprio (who won the NBR the other day) and now suddently Waltz keeps being runner up. (Waltz isn’t even in a supporting role — it’s lead, along with Foxx.) Personally, I think the critics don’t want to see Leo get an Oscar; he’s not esoteric enough for these fools and they don’t want DDL, Field, TLJ, Speilberg, Bigelow to repeat (but would be okay with Waltz repeating, who’s English speaking resume is slim, at best).

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  29. Kane 3 years ago

    I didn’t read the tweets but I doubt they were going against the grain purposefully. For one thing anybody could have foreseen back in September that the LAFCA would go for The Master. Even though Bigelow and Hurt Locker won with LA before, there was just something that told you tey would go for PTA when everyone else probably wouldn’t, however with Boston giving him runner-up I think he’s back in the conversation. LAFCA could have done the “anything but” Hurt Locker, Social Network, Forrest Whitaker, Mo’Nique, Heath Ledger, Christoph Waltz, and so on. Yes, they’ll go for more oddball, non-contending work (Brazil, foreign actresses) and maybe they’re the ones who’ll give them boosts. But I hardly doubt they would go against Day-Lewis purposefully when he was sweeping with Gangs, Blood and My Left Foot. But I would like to read their tweets when I get the chance. Maybe my mind will change.

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  30. Ryan Adams 3 years ago

    Okay so LA did their thing, they effectively selected themselves out of the awards race they pretend to hate before taking a nice hot bubbly bath in it.

    The colloquial term, I think, is “peeing in the hot tub.”

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  31. Joseph 3 years ago

    I actually really like the LA winners. Yes, they spread the wealth – but it’s been such a rich year. They stood up for some movies and performances that needed some steam. I didn’t see the tweets but the year doesn’t need to have a steamroller in any category with such strong variety of work – even when the best picture and the best foreign language film are different.

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  32. Chung 3 years ago

    I guess the bottom line is any group who doesn’t go for ZDT has some kind of conspiracy theory against Bigelow. Guys, why can’t we just accept the fact that those critics just have different tastes. It is almost as ridiculous as Romney supporters doubting the accuracy of unemployment report. It is all about protecting Bigelow and her film. No one is against anything, please.

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  33. Chung 3 years ago

    I meant secret agenda against ZDT. I am sorry, Sasha, the conspiracy theory is just kind of unbelievable. Forgive me for disagreeing with you.

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  34. Jeremy 3 years ago

    OBVIOUSLY they’re just trying to be different. God forbid somebody didn’t bow at the altar of Bigelow. God forbid there be more then one movie to praise and make this whole conversation/race interesting.

    The Guild noms will happen sooner rather than later. The anoniting of the queen(along with all her supposed dissenters) will have to be postponed ’til then.

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  35. Chung 3 years ago

    Where are the tweets? If they really politicized the awards, then I would agree with Sasha, but it is not going to matter anyway, ZDT will win everything leading up to the Oscars, but I just don’t think LA film critics would pretend to hate a film, it is not as though their choices are outrageous or anything. The race is already over.

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  36. Ryan Adams 3 years ago

    Where are the tweets?

    wtf, Chung. The tweets are on Twitter. Sasha quoted them. This post serves as sworn testimony. If you want to play defense attorney for the LA critics then go find the evidence yourself, Perry Mason.

    I just don’t think LA film critics would pretend to hate a film.

    You’re right about that. They’re not pretending. They’re opening blatantly upfront about hating a film. They appear to be proud about hating it. That’s why yesterday’s twitter-bullying looks so childish.

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  37. Pierre de Plume 3 years ago

    It seems to happen every year — we’re so hungry for clues about how the Oscar race will turn out that early precursors, such as the divergent LA critics, take on more relevance than they actually have. Until I see Zero Dark Thirty, I still consider Lincoln to be the frontrunner. What remains to be seen is how Academy voters will react to the presumably harsh general tone and subject of Bigelow’s picture. Likewise, I consider DDL to be the frontrunner for best actor until I see Les Mis.

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  38. Chung 3 years ago

    Ryan, not playing the DA for anything. I am just tired of all this political crap derived from personal tastes. So if L.A film critics play politics, so what? Let them, it is silly already to make this whole thing into a race and bash those who dare to pick a winner other than Bigelow and ZDT. They didn’t pick ZDT, it was their choice. Since when they had to agree with the mass and consensus? But no, it is more of protecting Bigelow and being supportive of her, and being critical of those who did not pick ZDT. It is exactly the same sentiment as defending Bigelow, but, please, they picked AMOURS, the problem is not they picked AMOURS, the real problem is they didn’t pick Bigelow. It doesn’t really matter to me if they really were political or not, they might have refused to jump on the ZDT wagon, and that refusal should be allowed, and now, LA film critics has just been criticized for that. Like I said, it won’t make any difference, ZDT is winnng and unstoppable anyway.

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  39. Chung 3 years ago

    But I do agree if LA film crictics are blatantly hating a film and are proud of it, that’s stupid and unnecessary, and very wrong.

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  40. Koleś 3 years ago

    “If you want to play defense attorney for the LA critics then go find the evidence yourself”

    Innocent until proven guilty much? And if you quote someone, Twitter or whatever, it would be a good idea to provide a source of that quote. Putting it in quotation marks doesn’t exacly cut it.

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  41. Ryan Adams 3 years ago

    I already stated plainly: Sasha is telling us what she saw.
    You and Chung want to maintain Sasha is lying, you’re on your own.

    Exhibit A. Pretty much verbatim what Sasha already said:

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  42. Koleś 3 years ago

    I’m not calling anyone a liar, never did and I can’t say I like that implication that you’re making. You are the one saying “The tweets are on Twitter.” All I’m asking is where? You are the ones quoting it, so as the authors of this article I would expect you to provide at least a link (what you allways do anyway).

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  43. Koleś 3 years ago


    “Exhibit A. Pretty much verbatim what Sasha already said”

    Thank you, Ryan. That’s all I ever asked for. All I wanted was to see these tweets out of the context of this article. All I see here is one critic (out of 57 if I’m not mistaken) talking stupid stuff about ZDT. If that’s the only reason for Sasha to write this type of article (or maybe you have some more tweets stowed away?), then I’ll have to agree with some other people over here – you are exaggerating and being a crybaby about your fav movie not winning. Based on these tweets alone I see no hidden agenda. They simply liked other movies better, deal with it.

    Oh, one more thing. You’ve got a tweet saying “anything but “Daniel Day-Lewis”? Because that’s also what Sasha quoted.

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  44. Matt O'Callaghan 3 years ago

    Her tweets are quite funny. She seemed to be gunning for Django and Denis Lavant so he could eat the flowers at the winners’ banquet.

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  45. Koleś 3 years ago

    Exacly. These tweets are so stupid and childish I can’t imagine how can you take them seriously, let alone draw these kind of conclusions.

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  46. Chung 3 years ago

    Ryan, I have never called Sasha a liar, that is a pretty harsh accusation. My response is exactly the same as Koles’. I was just voicing what I thought, I even agree with some of what you said. This is just way too intense.

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  47. Ryan Adams 3 years ago

    Chung, what are we supposed to think of you asking Sasha to show you the tweets. Sasha told us what she read. Do you need to see the tweets with your own eyes before you will believe it? Why do you need proof?

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  48. Ryan Adams 3 years ago

    “All I see here is one critic…”

    Koleś — Sorry, I’m not going to waste more time today scouring twitter looking for enough examples to suit you. There were many other remarks from other critics. Believe it or don’t.

    What’s up with you and Chung that you think Sasha is making up stories about bad things critics say?

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  49. Ryan Adams 3 years ago

    These tweets are so stupid and childish

    That’s the whole point: Critics who act stupid and childish.

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  50. Ryan Adams 3 years ago

    Oh, one more thing. You’ve got a tweet saying “anything but “Daniel Day-Lewis”?

    how about you go figure out how to use twitter.

    “anyone but Sally Field”

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  51. Koleś 3 years ago

    Sasha vaguely quoted some tweets without even saying who actually tweeted them. Sasha also made these tweets the foundation of this article and drew some serious conclusions that weren’t exacly mild and positive. Don’t tell me that just out of curiosity you wouldn’t like to know what and who made Sasha go where she went?

    Don’t try to twist this and make your curious readers look like people who are calling everyone liers. Just provide the sources, that’s what journalists and reporters do. You want to be treated seriously, then treat your readers the same way.

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  52. Ryan Adams 3 years ago

    Don’t tell me that just out of curiosity you wouldn’t like to know what and who made Sasha go where she went?

    I already know.
    Maybe it doesn’t occur to you guys that we don’t want to begin Monday morning naming half a dozen critics we want as enemies.

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  53. Koleś 3 years ago

    “I already know.”

    Well I didn’t. So there.

    “anyone but Sally Field”

    So not Daniel Day Lewis. I’m not even going to drill this anymore. Not worth the skin of my fingertips.

    “That’s the whole point: Critics who act stupid and childish.”

    And somehow the LAFCA managed to rise abouve the stupidity of this particular individual and chose a masterpiece that “Amour” is for best picture. Why the hell is that? You are making the LAFCA look like a bunch of idiots just because one of them is? Do you honestly think that’s the woman who voted for “Amour”? Give me a break.

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  54. Koleś 3 years ago

    Oh and one more thing. Don’t you think you could actually make a stronger point with this article, if you just flooded the text with links to these twitter rants about ZDT and Lincoln so the readers could actually see who is the asshole? Don’t you think that would play better?

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  55. Ryan Adams 3 years ago

    You are making the LAFCA look like a bunch of idiots

    really, Koleś ? If I called you an idiot* would you think I meant this whole discussion has been infiltrated by a bunch of idiots?

    Or maybe when we point to specific examples could it mean we’re bothered by specific individuals?

    *(I said “if”)

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  56. Koleś 3 years ago

    If you called me an idiot, I think I’d loose my cool, call you an asshole*, storm out of my apartment, buy two six-packs and drink myself to sleep and have nightmares with you as Abe Lincoln.

    (I said “if”)

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  57. Koleś 3 years ago

    All right Ryan. Please erase this bullshit of ours. No point in having everyone else tortured by this quarrel. I said what I had to say about the integrity of this article.

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  58. Ryan Adams 3 years ago

    I said what I had to say about the integrity of this article.

    If there are questions about the integrity of this article, it’s important to me that the supporting evidence remains here to be examined.

    it’s ok, Koleś. People can scroll past us. We’ve come to an amiable conclusion. I wish more disputes could end with jokes about Heineken-induced nightmares.

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  59. Koleś 3 years ago
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  60. Yvette 3 years ago

    I always suspected critics groups vote against, rather for things based on merit or even genuine personal likes.
    Sasha, is it cynicism that creeps in when critics have been doing so long they become jaded. That’s when the snark comes in – it becomes purely academic. Not all, but when these groups get together – it becomes a bully pulpit: ‘We’ll show Spielberg’, or ‘Let’s throw everybody off here…hehe’
    That sounds so paranoid and silly, but they’re human. And in groups, they become adolescents again.

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  61. Yvette 3 years ago

    Harmonica: ‘I find it incredibly easy to believe they just liked Lavant and Phoenix better, after all they were two FANTASTIC performances, maybe even all-time best material.’

    Maybe a few, but not a majority. DDL was an ‘all-time best’ kind of role.
    You have to be a diehard PTA fan or a deliberate contrarian to not acknowledge that.
    Haven’t seen Lavant, but I did see Phoenix. If you think he did something no actor has ever done – you need to watch more film.
    DDL is working at another level than other actors and in Lincoln – he is at his peak of artistic achievement. Every actor alive today will tell you that: from Sean Penn to Javier Bardem…..
    DDL in Lincoln is not simply ‘the best’ in a politicized contest – its sublime.
    I know how that works – because we all do it: I think Brad Pitt is overrated, and no matter how good he is, I’ll never really give him props because my mind is made up. I get that same vibe from those arguing for Phoenix or ‘anybody but DDL’.
    It’s a human thing to do.
    But it won’t change the fact that DDL raised the bar for other actors this year….once again. And to go against that grain is willfully playing the devil’s advocate or simply deluded.

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  62. Yvette 3 years ago

    I meant that every actor alive will tell you that DDL is working on another level….

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  63. Robert A. 3 years ago

    “I meant that every actor alive will tell you that DDL is working on another level….”

    Oh, come on, now! I thought Daniel Day Lewis was great in Lincoln (although I’m not a diehard fan of the movie itself) and I think he’ll win the Oscar. But to try to argue that every living actor is of the same hive-mind and views DDL as working on another level from all other actors is so extreme as to be a little silly. I know that a lot of actors admire the hell out of DDL, and rightly so. But a lot is not all. And to argue that anyone who doesn’t bow down and worship at the altar of DDL’s greatness is playing devil’s advocate or is simply deluded sounds a little…um, fanatical?

    Like most things, people have different ideas of what makes something great, including acting. If someone prefers Phoenix’s performance to DDL’s, it doesn’t make that person willfully ignorant or blind or deluded. It means they have their own subjective opinion of which performance they prefer. (I thought both DDL and Phoenix were amazingly good, frankly). Delusion rears it’s ugly head when someone’s viewpoint becomes so extreme that he/she can’t see how alternative viewpoints might be equally valid.

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  64. John Flake 3 years ago

    There are quite a few who are anti-ZD30. Only one film can win Best Picture. Many great films have not won the award. Life will go on. It is because of fans that movies last generations.

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  65. Yvette 3 years ago

    Robert A.,
    Of course people have differing ideas on what great acting is. But there’s ‘great’ and there’s something else….
    I know what you’re saying. But give me an argument for ‘anybody but DDL’ this year….
    Look, I’ve liked Phoenix since Parenthood….so Im not a ‘hater’.
    But you cant deny that critics do not play politics…

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  66. Chung 3 years ago

    Ryan, thanks for posting the tweets. However, what Amy Nicholson tweeted is no different from voicing her own opinions. She obviously doesn’t like ZDT or Sally Field, and she just obviously doesn’t think ZDT is an award winning material, but I am just wondering if it really was such a crime for her to make a statement like that? I don’t know how many tweets like hers there are, but they are just voicing their opinions and their “relief” to see ZDT failed to win best picture. I guess you can say it is not profession journalism, they might have been extreme to you, and I would agree with you and Sasha about this unprofessionalism, but Nicholson said was no different from disliking ZDT, they just explained it more explicitly and it ultimately annoyed Sasha or you, but I still don’t think LA Film Critics was rallying against ZDT. Anyway, I agree with you, it is unprofessional to do what Nicholson did, but I have not seen anyone or Deadline Hollywood or Hollywood Reporter talking about LA Film Critics waging a war against Biglow/ZDT. Deadline Hollywood reported as the LA film critics’ choices as having halted the ZDT momentum, but I really doubt it has. No one is against Bigelow and her film, there might be some critics who do not like ZDT sweeping everything, just like Rex Reed’s scathing review of Inception which I find extremely scathing and unprofessional even though I am not a fan of Inception and Nolan, but that’s it, I just don’t think there are people are out there and purposely trying to bring down ZDT and Bigelow. Sorry if I annoy you or offend you and Sasha, I will never doubt her and call her a liar.

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  67. Matt O'Callaghan 3 years ago

    ^ I think that’s a fair enough assessment Chung. Haven’t read any other tweets, or sought them out. But they are, after the fact and reacting to the outcome rather than collusion.

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  68. Yvette 3 years ago

    I don’t get your absolute faith in critics’ credibility Lol…

    Its political just like the Oscars often are.
    That isn’t a wildly absurd suggestion. Jaded, snarky ‘critics’ have their likes and dislikes. Just like the public does. But critics have a forum in which to exercise it: like ‘critics groups’
    This hack, Amy Whoever, simply voices her ‘opinion’, you say. Well, so do we. What makes her different than some bozo on a message board who doesn’t like so-and-so? ‘OMG! At least it wasn’t Anne …’
    You sound like a tool.

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  69. Yvette 3 years ago

    To clarify…I did not call you a tool…Don’t know you….
    But your defense of the critics makes you sound a bit like one.

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  70. Matt O'Callaghan 3 years ago

    Yvette, c’mon…

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  71. Chung 3 years ago

    Yvette, I am not defending the critics, I was merely talking about how film buffs who cares about the Oscars take sides and attack people who don’t go with the consenses. It is as if no one should dare doubt ZDT and Bigelow as the best of the year. If one group does not select ZDT, then either there is something wrong with the group. ZDT will sweep big anyway, it should be ok if Bigelow miss one award from a group like LA film critics.

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  72. Chung 3 years ago

    Hard to type through the smart phone, sorry for the misspells. I can not wait to see ZDT.

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  73. Chung 3 years ago

    Yvette, this is a free country, you can say whatever you want, and yes, you did call me a tool even though you don’t know me. The point is not with Ann Nicholson, the point is you do not want anyone to go against the consensus. It is a general mentality of Oscar watchers here. This whole “If you are not with Bigelow, you are against us” mentality is not even subtle here. Yeah, you can go ahead and bash this Ann girl or criticize me for defending here(trust me, I am not).Like how dare she say that against Bigelow’s superior masterpiece, Right? Let me tell you what I think, It has nothing to do with AMOUR or Paul Thomas Anderson, it has a lot to do with LA Film Critics’ NOT going with the flow and selecting ZDT and Bigelow, I don’t know you, but that is the impression you gave me. “Oh it’s political”, it might be, but it might be even more political if you make it be. It is that either you are with us or against us mentality I find it reprehensible. It is obviously not enough that I display extreme interests in wanting to see ZDT, I probably have to also think LA Film Critics was plotting something, waging a war against the public about ZDT in order to be considered “normal” here. It is all unnecessary and a bit over the top.

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  74. Koleś 3 years ago

    Might I just say that I agree with Chung all the way.

    Getting back to the topic. I also don’t see ZDT loosing momentum over this. The only way ZDT can loose momentum is getting a big slap from the guilds, and I don’t think there’s anybody over here who actually believes that. ZDT seems to be a lock for the PGA, DGA and WGA nods (not sure about the last one because of their weird eligibility rules). Chastain will get nominated for the SAG Award, but if the movie is nominated for Best Ensemble (and that’s not a very big “if”) I say game Over.

    Still there are a lot of other races this year that are interesting. Supp. actor is still wide open at this point and I don’t see the rest of the critic grups reach a consensus. Rather than that their verdicts are going to be all over the place. So it’s going to be up to the big three (BAFTA/SAG/Globe) to shave of the lesser candidates. At this point there are so many actors that are likely to get nominated, that no matter what the final five for the SAG Award are going to be, there will be snubs that may prove to be crutial for some. I myself hope that the Globes will pick a totally different five than SAG. I don’t know if that ever happened, but this is the year that it sure as hell can.

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  75. Matt O'Callaghan 3 years ago

    I agree also…

    Blow this thread away.

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  76. Robin 3 years ago

    Um, wake up call time, voting against stuff is basically how these awards work, the NYFCC notorious for it. Just this year they admitted Weisz was basically a compromise pick because the Lawrence and Chastain camps couldn’t reconcile their differences. I say hats off the the LA critics once again for not lazily rubber stamping what the critical concensus says and actually putting some thought into their awards and recognizing that this year, like every year, has a number of excellent, worthy films that deserve critical kudos. The LAFCA list is pretty much always the high point of the season if you ask me.

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  77. Yvette 3 years ago

    It’s fun to go against the grain. No, I did not call you a ‘tool’, only that you’re unwavering defense of the LA critics makes you come off as one FOR THEM.
    Anyway, I was curious, and so as I was reading through Amy Whatever’s Tweets, it just puts things in perspective.
    I don’t know how old this woman is, but she sounds like a college kid tweeting everything that pops into her head.
    She tweets/jokes a lot about getting drunk, drinking, says ‘dude’ a lot…and gems like this:
    ‘Rust and Bone would have been a better film if the dude had gotten crippled by Shamu instead’
    And when you discover that she ‘took and nice nap’ during Lincoln, suddenly her ‘At least it wasn’t Sally..’ or ‘Sally again, you can bet that won’t happen here’ makes sense. Well, she was napping.
    Oh, and she also posts lots of photos of her when she was 16 years old with cute comments.
    She personifies that “age of Snark’ Sasha referred to in her post about Lincoln.
    Not once do I read anything in her Tweets that resembles professional film commentary.
    It’s not about not liking something everybody else likes, its about arrogance and that thing called backlash. I mean, DDL, Lincoln not even in the mix……
    So then every other critic was wrong?
    You love critics so much, explain how it can receive rapturous raves from most of the respected critics, and nothing from the LA critics – whomever they are.
    It happens Chung. Critics are just like people – they get tired of hearing about how great something is, and respond accordingly. I mean, that’s cool – but don’t pretend that they’re somehow infallible.

    And if Amy Whatever is an example of who they are, she comes across as a freaking moron, and yes adolescent and shallow. I haven’t read her reviews or whatever she does, but her tweets speak for themselves. She is nothing but snark.

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  78. Chung 3 years ago

    Yvette, you just put words in my mouth. I don’t love critics so much, the reason you jumped to the conclusion and said I love them so much probably came to one thing, you are defending Bigelow and ZDT. As a matter of fact, I agree and disagree with critics, period. I don’t view them as the master of the universe when it comes to movie critiquing. If you listen to yourself, you have used “defense” a lot, your whole mentality is derived from criticizing people who do not like ZDT. Does Ann Nicholson represent the whole mentality of LA film critics? That’s one critic who tweeted some stupid thing, and it might have not been to your liking, but you obviously are offended what this “one” and immature critic(I assume she is one of the members of LA film critics}. It doesn’t matter how immature this critic and her “online” behavior are, it matters to you because she didn’t jump on the bandwagon of ZDT hype. What do you want to do? Bring down and sue the LA film critics? Why do you love Bigelow so much that you have to defend her and attack everyone who dislikes this film? I don’t love critics, as a matter of fact, I dislike them so much that sometimes I think they are a whole bunch of pretentious individuals. Let’s be honest, to you, it is all about protecting Bigelow and attacking or criticizing anyone who disliked the film or anyone who does not think this film is the best of the year. If anyone says “Anyone but Bigelow”, or “Anything but ZDT”, you are out there to bite their heads off. You did call me a tool, that is a fact, it is silly to try to justify what you did aftermath, so I don’t know why you keep trying to re-write history.
    What difference does it make to you? It is ok, some movies are bound to be disliked, and ZDT is one of them, you should allow people to dislike this film. You really love Bigelow so much that whoever dares to think it is not the best film is a criminal.

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  79. Chung 3 years ago

    “only that you’re unwavering defense of the LA critics makes you come off as one FOR THEM.”
    Not really, it doesn’t make you come off anything. I was just saying that Oscar watchers take this whole thing too seriously and take unnecessary side. Amy is one critic, she doesn’t represent the whole mentality of LA Film Critics, you want to protest against her. Write an op ed about that conspiracy theory. Ooooo, “LA Film Critics’ secret agenda against Bigelow and the masterpiece Zero Dark Thirty” might be a good headline. You’re unwavering defense of Bigelow and her film makes you come off as one who politicizes this whole unnecessary drama. It is unnecessary and silly.

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  80. Chung 3 years ago

    “I say hats off the the LA critics once again for not lazily rubber stamping what the critical concensus says and actually putting some thought into their awards and recognizing that this year”
    That is a pretty ballsy statement you got here.

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  81. Zooey 3 years ago

    The LA critics are the only organization I have respect for. First things first, why should they actually follow consensus? I can tell you for sure that many critics from Boston or Washington DC consider DDL extremely overrated and his performance as Lincoln not even close to Phoenix or Trintignant (how could they ignore this terrific performance?), but they vote for him because they want to be part of the conversation so badly.

    I recently looked back at what NY has chosen in the past and I can’t really recognize them now. This is the group that picked Mulholland Drive and that’s the group that gave Far From Heaven lots of awards. And now they’re simply trying to be relevant in the Oscar game. I don’t want that. I don’t care about that. I want them to go their own way and maybe – just maybe! – hope to impact the Academy. By following the unwritten rules of awards bait they simply make the season even more boring. Of course, it’s not about how boring it is, but take a look – is Zero Dark Thirty really the only film out there that merits awards? No, but since everybody’s already assuming it has the Oscar, people can’t stop giving it awards. There is THE MASTER! BEASTS, ARGO, AMOUR, MOONRISE KINGDOM! Come on!

    And then AMOUR – a terrific film with two superb performances – comes along and wins LA and you call it a coup and you are criticizing them for not going with the consensus? There’s no such thing as consensus. There is never a consensus. Consensus to me means that some people are louder than others and some people give up.

    I congratulate LA for their fresh choices. I congratulate them for going their own way!!!

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  82. Chung 3 years ago

    Great point, Zooey!

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  83. Yvette 3 years ago

    Actually, I think anyone who doesn’t think ZD30 and Lincoln are the most balsy American film in years are nuts….
    So I’m the ‘defender’ of those two films and thos performances.
    I’m noticing that those who love the LA choices, love PTA and Phoenix. Fine, and I love the New York and Boston contingent because I agreed with them..(the real ones, not the ‘online’ ones)
    We’re all biased to an extent. I don’t think The Master was good at all. It looked good, but it was cold and had a feeling of ‘all dressed up and nowhere to go’. Phoenix had no control of his performance – he was just flailing around and gesticulating. Tics galore and not a whole lot else.
    Someone )a Phoenix and/or PTA fanboy/girl, dismissed DDL’s performance by suggesting that playing a real person is ‘easier’.
    The history of bad, overdone, prosthetic-enhanced bio-dramas can attest to the fallacy of that statement. Its a fine line between mimicry, caricature and performance. DDL went beyond both. Jamie Foxx was fantastic in Ray, but it was essentially an impersonation by a charismatic actor. Helen Mirren managed to create a persona and there are other great ones, but many more bad ones (Dennis Quaid’s mugging over-the-top Jerry Lee Lewis!)
    DDL didn’t just have the physical characterization down to the point that they seemed like natural, innate movement, he captured, suggested the depth and character of Lincoln.
    Try that one on.
    I could argue/debate the merits of these two performances all day, but the point is that what Amy Whatever does on Twitter does represent the body she belongs to. If the LA critics expect credibility, they need to put a muzzle (figuratively speaking) on her fingertips. She’s absurd.
    And whether right or wrong, that kind of unprofessional behavior make them look stupid and shallow.

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  84. Chung 3 years ago

    So one person represents the whole LA film critics,uh? So I guess AMPAS as an organization is all screwed and have zero credibility because Tony Curtis and Earnest Borgnine even made more outrageous statements about homosexuality, so with you theory, AMPAS has lost its credibility? I know you are going to say I am defending LA film critics, but I am not. It is not that LA film Critics have no credibility, it is you used Amy as a scapegoat or excuse to display your resentment over LA Film Critics’ not selecting ZDT. You have a problem with any organizations that do not pick ZDT. Ballsiness has nothing to do with what you are talking about. People, critics, should be allowed to go against the flow. In your world, LA film critics would have so much credibility if they selected ZDT, it has nothing to do with Amy, come on, don’t give me that.

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  85. Chung 3 years ago

    LA Film Critics have lost all its credibility for not siding with Bigelow and ZDT, that is the whole problem with ZDT defenders and it has absolutely nothing, nothing to do with Amy’s behavior. I think the best way is to sue her, to get rid of her from LA film Critics and force them to recount and give the top prize to ZDT and Bigelow, that will probably settle it. Give me a break.

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  86. Yvette 3 years ago

    You’re fixated on zd30…,
    Don’t forget Lincoln- that’s my personal film of the year…
    You’re missing the point in your adamant, unquestioning belief in the integrity of critics. Yeah, it has alot to do with Amy Whatever….
    Tony Curtis and Borgnine were goofy-ass. They probably voted for their buddies …
    Critics are supposed to not have an agenda. If you don’t think sometimes do..,
    I can’t convince. Backlash to acclaim is the most common thing in the world…the Brits and Aussies call ‘tall poppy syndrome’ ..,,
    If something is too acclaimed, it needs to be brought down.
    Like people brag about hating the Beatles.
    Why do think critics are above that. Amy Whatever seems proud of it.

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  87. Chung 3 years ago

    “If something is too acclaimed, it needs to be brought down.”
    You are just all over the place. Amy is one critic, and she might have acted immaturely or unprofessionally, but she is a scapegoat, a scapegoat for you to display your resentment of other groups of not selecting ZDT. Yeah, it is still the same mentality of “either you are with Bigelow or you are are the terrorist”. It is not film passion, it is radicalism. You simply can not believe nor you can not accept the fact that some groups might not like ZDT.
    “Critics are not supposed to have an agenda”
    Whether critics have an agenda is subjective. Your definition of “agenda” comes from your dislike of critics’ not agreeing with the consensus that ZDT has gathered. It is simple, it has a lot to do with Amy because in your world, she represents anti ZDT sentiment, she could have acted rationally and said she didn’t think ZDT deserved all the attention and still got bashed and criticized by you. That is just the way it is, it has nothing to do with professionalism, or Amy’s behavior, it has to do with your inability to accept the notion of “matter of opinion”. You want everyone and every group to hail ZDT, if not, they are awful, low lives, and a disgrace to this world.

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  88. Yvette 3 years ago


    I admire ZD30, but it’s Lincoln that has my heart…lol
    And Amy Whatever needs to learn to express her ‘opinions’ more professionally in a public forum if she is to be taken seriously.

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  89. Chung 3 years ago

    I like Lincoln too, Yvette, and I agree Amy could have behaved more professionally, then again, the way you want her to behave “professionally” is probably full endorsement of ZDT without any negative criticisms to it, but at least I agree with you about Amny’s behavior, but come on, she is one critics, just forget about her already.

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  90. Chung 3 years ago

    I meant she is one critic, it is hard to fucking type on the smartphone.
    Anyhow, I think maybe it is time to move on and forget about Amy.

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