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Oscar Campaigning – Two Ways

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So maybe, in the end, it has come down to Argo and Lincoln, as it began, two stories about two different American heroes. One a CIA agent and the other a US president. Two different filmmakers – one, an actor turned director and the other a kid who picked up a super-8 camera. Their approaches are very different, so are their audiences, so are their fans.  This LA Times story digs in to the different styles of each campaign.

In addition to that stat named below, it’s been 61 years since a film with 12 nominations and the highest box office lost to one with less of both.  The last time it happened was when An American in Paris beat A Streetcar Named Desire.

At Affleck’s Friday night post-awards reception, the 40-year-old actor made the rounds of the Arlington Tavern, urging awards bloggers to keep “Argo” at the top of their lists while good-naturedly upbraiding those who noted that Oscar history isn’t on his movie’s side. (No film since 1989’s “Driving Miss Daisy” has won the best picture without being nominated for a director award.)

In contrast Day-Lewis, costar Sally Field and other select well-wishers retreated to the second floor of upscale restaurant the Pan on Saturday evening, where access was barred to reporters.

“Energy is finite. There is only so much you can do,” said DreamWorks’ Snider. “These filmmakers gave it all to the film.” Snider added that she is confident that Oscar voters ultimately judge films on their merits, not the quantity of gladhanding done by its makers.

Though “Lincoln,” which has a leading 12 nominations, scarcely has been eliminated from the best picture Oscar race, the chances look slimmer for several of the other serious contenders, including “Life of Pi,” “Silver Linings Playbook,” “Zero Dark Thirty” and “Les Misérables.”

Affleck, who won the original screenplay Oscar in 1998 with Matt Damon for “Good Will Hunting,” said he doesn’t see all of his “Argo” promotions — countless screenings for awards voters, personal appearances, interviews — as work. At many stops he has been accompanied and counseled by George Clooney, one of Hollywood’s savviest political minds, who produced “Argo” along with Grant Heslov.

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85 Comments on this Post

  1. This Oscars could be decided by one thing: Weinstein is not going to give up but he won’t win this year… but which is going to rank higher on the SLP#1 ballots: Argo or Lincoln?

    My fear is that the Argo team is campaigning as hell (Clooney always campaigns a lot but people don’t talk about it that much… if it’s Kate Winslet or Meryl Streep or Viola Davis or jen Lawrence or Anne Hathaway is “Oh! How hard she wants that Oscar! But nothing is said about Clooney, a person I really admire but that despite hard campaign still lost deservingly lost to Jean Dujardin last year) but Lincoln team is more quiet. This could make a difference.

    If only the Academy cared, Lincoln campaign could look only like this:

    K. Kennedy (E.T. (vs. Gandhi), Back to The Future, Jurassic Park, The Sixth Sense, exec. prod. of Schindler’s List); 0/8.
    Ben Affleck (Good Will Hunting, The Town, Gone Baby Gone) 1/1
    WHO’S THE SNUBBED?

  2. christiannnw

    Sasha, I must say that I appreciate your ability to write so many engrossing articles despite this week’s lagging awards activity. And it’s only tuesday; bravo!

    “Argo” seem’s to be coasting on popularity at this point, but once this momentary fervor wears down I don’t think it’s capable of winning Best Picture; the DGA will most likely go to Ben Affleck, but if Chris Terrio loses the WGA, things should spice up.

    And on your women in film article (since I’m too lazy to post in two articles per day), I’ve prepared a defense mechanism for when/if Jennifer Lawrence wins the Oscar: repeatedly tell myself “she was so incredible in ‘Winter’s Bone'”.

  3. I really hope Lincoln does not lose to Argo. That will be a travesty.

    On the other hand, it just suggests it was the McDonald’s film of the list.

    Lincoln will win writing and acting – and those two categories indicate the true best movie in my opinion. I like good acting and I like good writing.

  4. Sasha, are you saying that awards go to the people who aggressively campaign the most? I thought the Academy voted based on actual achievement in film making, not achievement in socializing and campaigning. Do you think the Academy really pays attention to Hollywood outsiders?

  5. Pierre de Plume

    Yes, I know what the pundits are saying. Yes, I see the handwriting on the wall. Yes, Argo Argo Argo. I simply feel the race is too close, too early, and too volatile to call at this point. I think it’s entirely possible, for example, that people may be reading too much into Argo’s SAG win – Golden Globes and BFCA notwithstanding.

    As Sasha has pointed out many times, this has been a weird year awards-wise. I see no reason for things to suddenly stabilize 4 weeks before the big night.

    I think back to last year, when Violas Davis won the SAG. I’m pretty sure nearly everyone thought she had the Oscar sewn up. Well, she didn’t. Some may point to Harvey Weinstein as the deciding factor (and I’m sure he was instrumental) to Streep’s ultimate victory. But there was more at work here. Streep had friends in the Academy — people she’d worked with over the years — just as those associated with Lincoln have, most notably Spielberg himself. What I’m saying is, SAG demographics are a lot different than those of AMPAS in that there’s a higher concentration of people in the Academy who may be more likely to vote for Spielberg’s films simply because of past associations with him over the years, not to mention the many established actors and others who worked on that film.

    To my way of thinking, Argo is more of a SAG film while Lincoln seems quite competitive at the AMPAS level. True, if I were forced to make a prediction today I’d go for Argo on the basis of the existing data. But there’s this nagging feeling. . . .

    I should add I have nothing against Argo or Affleck. It’s a well-made, highly entertaining film that’s more tightly paced than Lincoln. I’m just sayin’ . . . .

  6. IF Argo wins both the DGA award for Best Director and the BAFTA for Best Film, I wonder if people will still think it’s not going to win the Oscar for best picture?

  7. Profile photo of Sasha Stone

    Sasha, are you saying that awards go to the people who aggressively campaign the most? I thought the Academy voted based on actual achievement in film making, not achievement in socializing and campaigning. Do you think the Academy really pays attention to Hollywood outsiders?

    I did not write that article – I think I have helped to build a beast that can’t be satisfied. I think if you WANT an Oscar THAT BADLY you have to campaign for it. I think it’s sad that you have to but I guess you do. But Lincoln losing because of campaigning would be, to me, like Obama losing from that first debate – the team that wins shouldn’t win because they trick people into voting for them with charm and sleight of hand. I have always chafed against the way Oscars are won these days: people vote for what they “like” in the moment without taking the time to really think about which film “deserves” to win. I hope that they pick rightly this year – to me it is the most obvious Best Picture winner I’ve seen since No Country for Old Men. But clearly the industry disagrees with me. What can I do except then belittle the race.

  8. Pierre de Plume

    Mel, some people might. I myself would be at “maybe.” And there’s also the WGA to consider.

  9. I’ve said this once and I’ll say it again : count your blessings and be careful what you wish for, people ! The Argo-lovefest could end any minute now, but what if then Silver Linings Playbook takes over ? If Lincoln will lose, at least it should lose to a decent film. My two cents.

  10. “But there was more at work here. Streep had friends in the Academy — people she’d worked with over the years — just as those associated with Lincoln have, most notably Spielberg himself. What I’m saying is, SAG demographics are a lot different than those of AMPAS in that there’s a higher concentration of people in the Academy who may be more likely to vote for Spielberg’s films simply because of past associations with him over the years, not to mention the many established actors and others who worked on that film.”

    I actually sorta thought about this too just because of Munich and War Horse. True, neither won anything at the oscars, but they both overperformed at the nomination stage relative to their Guild strength. I wonder now that Spielberg has a top 3 contender — if more of that hidden love comes into play.

  11. He campaigned the first round but didn’t get a BD nom. I think the “poor Ben” pity party will work better than an active campaign. An active in your face campaign will remind voters that he is a very handsome guy with a beautiful wife, beautiful children, lots of money, successful actor and successful director. People hate that guy. They prefer “poor Ben”.

  12. ugh. i HATE when it comes down to this stuff. so argo wins because he campaigns the hardest? lincoln should have it, it’s got the box office, the prestige, the reviews, everything oscar traditionally likes. if there was no lincoln this year, i’d be fine with argo, but there is a PERFECT oscar friendly alternative for them here that’s a better movie and they’re not going to take it? because of ben affleck’s campaigning. ew.

  13. Bball_Jake

    I respect and appreciate Sasha’s campaign for Lincoln and how she never gives up on her favorite film until the seasons over! If I had a website, I would do the same. She doesn’t give in to the Oscar game, or base her favorite film on what the Oscars favorite film is, and that’s why she’s one of the best awards coverage writer. She has her own opinion, and lets it be know, which is good.

  14. Profile photo of Sasha Stone

    Phantom, I would love to see Lincoln win. But I am resigned to it not winning. Believe it or not, as much as I love Argo, I don’t want to see the director/picture stat broken. It’s not a good precedent to set, it will make Argo instantly hated, and Affleck will have a hard time living that down. As it is, if he doesn’t win, he has a bright future ahead of him and he’ll come back with an unequivocal film that gets a director nom and wins everything, like Ron Howard with A Beautiful Mind. He is campaigning for the film for the sake of the film, as the producer. I get that. He’s a good man. But this isn’t how I’d like to see the Oscars go down. Keep tradition. To that end, I’d rather see Life of Pi or Silver Linings or even Beasts win because they have director’s nominations. Call me old fashioned but that’s how I see it.

  15. Profile photo of Sasha Stone

    IF Argo wins both the DGA award for Best Director and the BAFTA for Best Film, I wonder if people will still think it’s not going to win the Oscar for best picture?

    It WILL win the DGA and it WILL win the BAFTA. That changes nothing. Agree with Pierre – it’s the WGA I am most worried about.

  16. It is still too early to call. We have 21 days that will include the DGA, Art Directors, VES, Scripters and WGA, ASC, Ace Eddies, the BAFTAs, and some I’m forgetting. This is when the anointed one will begin to appear and, by Oscar night, there won’t be many surprises left, except for the usual shockeroo in one or two categories. Even those have been few and far between the past couple of years.

    I’ll go out on a limb and say I’ll be surprised if Affleck wins the DGA a race that is probably between Spielberg and Ang Lee. I don’t think the DGA sees itself in the supporting role of handing out consolation prizes. If they award anybody other than Spielberg or Lee, it will indicate more than strong support for their film that should be taken very seriously.

    Unless BAFTA goes for Lincoln, I don’t think its choice will impact the AMPAS race. A nod to Lincoln is a desperately needed headline bump for the film at ths stage of the race. Life of Pi could benefit to a lesser degree, and a highly possible win by Les Miserables (it’s up for both Best Brit Film and Best Film) will have no impact on AMPAS BP whatsoever because that ship has sunk. It is now a man-made reef somewhere in the North Atlantic.

    WGA: Zero Dark Thirty will take this (Original) and, if it doesn’t, it will only mark the end for the ZDT train and have no impact on the BP race. We can erect a little white cross next to the track and wait for the next Bigelow/Boal venture.

    (biggie alert) For Adapted (WGA), Kushner had better take this because if it’s Terrio, Russell or Magee, he’s in big trouble and so is Lincoln.

    Cinematography should go to Life of Pi, with Lincoln salivating right behind, knife and fork in hand. Roger Deakins has both hands gripping the edge of the carpet, so put grab your drinks.

    ACE Eddies: Lincoln? Argo? Which will be the biggest indicator yet of general support? Don’t forget that Comedy/Musical is separate. SLP? Les Mis? If SLP beats Les Mis, the water starts to get muddy again.

    If the costumers and set decorators go for ANYTHING other than Anna Karenina, that will put the cap on it and you can call your winner. They have 3 categories (Contemporary, Period and Fantasy), but contemporary is meaningless other than a wee hurrah for SLP (which should qualify for Fantasy if examined closely). If they don’t jump on somebody’s bandwagon and actually go with the best (AK) you still have to flip a coin.

    But you won’t have to do that until day 18 or so.

  17. Sasha Stone

    I’m rooting for ‘Lincoln’, I would have no trouble with ‘Pi’ or ‘Amour’…but I would have HUGE trouble with ‘Playbook’, mainly because even if it did receive that crucial BD-nod, I honestly don’t think it was deserved. I do get your point about Argo, though, and I agree, a win now might prevent Affleck from a greater victory in the future. What do you think about an Amour-shocker ? I can see it win 3 (Foreign Language Film, Actress, Original Screenplay), could BP or BD be so far from there ?

    Having said that, I think it will be clean Lincoln-sweep in the end, it has EVERYTHING, the other contenders lack at least one crucial factor.

  18. You opted not to include the part about how “superior” it was to have Bill Clinton introduce Lincoln at the Golden globes, didn’t you?

    Read the article folks. If Spielberg and company are going to act above it and “let the film speak for itself” then you have too many Oscars and you’re just not really considerate of Kathleen Kennedy, who has none, and will probably end up with an honorary recognition one day.

    The dignity of the source material does not dictate the awards recognition, ie Saving Private Ryan vs Shakespeare in Love. We all know Spielberg and Day Lewis will win their THIRD Oscars. Now it’s time to share the love with equally deserving fine folks.

    (And sure, it doesn’t hurt that Affleck himself was SNUBBED, if that still passes for news at the LA Times.)

  19. The J Viewer

    Thanks for the link, Sasha.

    I still have Spielberg, Lee and Affleck on my DGA final (prediction) list. And I still couldn’t find strong enough points to get rid of the first two’s names off the list; after all, to quote Sasha in case of Spielberg in her elegant French-language* style, he’s “Steven Fvcking Spielberg”, and in my opinion, that Ang Lee is too good still to ignore too conveniently. [*Just joking.] (If I need to say it now, I’d pick Ang Lee for the DGA win.)

    At this point only, still seeing Lincoln on the top spot for Oscar BP prediction, and Argo the first runner-up; and still Lee on the top spot for Oscar BD, Spielberg the first runner-up. Just saying.

    Looking forward to more of your thoughts, for my (DGA) prediction, if any before the DGA event.

  20. Fabinho Flapp

    I think Terrio will win WGA over Kushner for Adapted Screenplay.
    Everybory think Kushner has it in the bag, and I say Terrio will surprise everyone.

  21. Very shortly ago, whenever I read Demian Bona’s brilliant Inside Oscar, I told myself: “What I crazy year this one (1995). Something like this will never repeat.” But history is Always proving us that even the easiest predictions can fail.

    Comparisons are awards-saying and just a little bit of storytelling-saying.

    Let’s pretend Argo is Apollo 13 (this one the similarities are enormous to deny). Lincoln is Braveheart with brain. Sense and Sensibility is Les Mis with brain and dialogues. Babe is Life of Pi. Il Postino is Amour. Leaving Las Vegas is Silver Linings Playbook without comedy. The Usual Suspects is Django Unchained. Nixon is Zero Dark Thirty without Bigelow’s guts. Toy Story is Beasts of the Southern Wild in the sense both are total outsiders. Dead Man Walking could even be The Master… a controversial talented star playing a controversial role.

    Why can’t it happen again?

  22. Terrio may win WGA. The Oscars are most definitely Kushner’s. The Academy can’t create a special category to award Kushner.

    Affleck will win DGA. Argo will win BAFTA. And so what? Braveheart won only Cinematographers and WGA (The Usual Suspects, who won the Oscars, was ineligible). And a GG Directing. Lincoln has 2 major Oscars in the bag (DDL and Directing… yes haters… number 3… I may see Lincoln beaten by Argo but you’ll have to watch old Steve become the most awarded Academy Award director alive). Weinstein will use all of his forces to champion DeNiro but Jones is also so much respected… remember In the Valley of Ellah out of nowhere nom… and he’s definitely the frontrunner.

  23. Spielberg now has 11 DGA noms but 3 wins. It is time to give 4th.

  24. I have always chafed against the way Oscars are won these days: people vote for what they “like” in the moment without taking the time to really think about which film “deserves” to win. I hope that they pick rightly this year – to me it is the most obvious Best Picture winner I’ve seen since No Country for Old Men. But clearly the industry disagrees with me. What can I do except then belittle the race.

    Which brings us exactly to the point: What if they really try to give it to the film who deserves it? And just because you think “Lincoln” is the film who deserves it, it doesn’t mean, that “Lincoln” is this film for everyone. For me it is not – neither is “No Country For Old Men”, which just was the #2 movie this year after a little masterpiece called “There Will Be Blood”.

    If it goes down to a well-considered winner I would pick “Zero Dark Thirty” or “Amour”. But my heart tells me, that also “Silver Linings Playbook” should be included in this consideration. I have now seen the film two times (as well as “ZD30″, “Amour”, “Lincoln”, “Django Unchained” and “Les Miserables”) and it really is a amazing film. “Lincoln” should not win – but neither should “Argo”.

  25. I’m rooting for Argo because shockingly I think it’s the better film (Life of Pi remains my favourite BP nominee). I’m getting a sniff of an upset at the BAFTAs with a Les Mis win though.

  26. Christophe

    Wow! Ben Affleck takes being desperate to win an Oscar, or should I say a second Oscar, to a whole new level… Hathaway’s got nothing on him!

  27. Mohammed

    For the sake of the health of those who love Lincoln I hope the DGA, WGA and the Academy give their prizes to Lincoln. First the complaint was that Argo wasn’t good enough(HA!). Now it’s that the people behind the film are too good at campaigning!

    1) Box office doesn’t matter or Avatar would’ve won.

    2) Acclaim and idea movies doesn’t matter as A SEPARATION wasn’t even nominated last year (99% on RT and 95% on Metacritic)

    3) Spielberg should go the Haneke school of adressing a nations historic nightmare. This effort was subpar compared to THE WHITE RIBBON.

  28. “In addition to that stat named below, it’s been 61 years since a film with 12 nominations and the highest box office lost to one with less of both. The last time it happened was when An American in Paris beat A Streetcar Named Desire.”

    In 2001 The Lord of the Rings : The Fellowship of the Ring had 13 nominations and made over 300M in the US against A Beautiful Mind which received 8 nominations and made around 170M.

    In 2008 The Curious Case of Benjamin Button also had 13 nominations and 124M on Oscar night, Slumdog Millionaire received 10 nominations and was barely under 100M on Oscar-weekend (though enjoyed a lucrative post-Oscar bump).

    And though not 12 or more, there were 2 elevensies that had better Box Office and more nominations than the Best Pictures, ironically enough, both Scorsese-films (IMO) more worthy than their victorious competition : Hugo (vs. The Artist) and The Aviator (vs. Million Dollar Baby).

  29. Jack Traven II

    “They don’t want Spielberg to be rewarded a third time because deep down in places they talk themselves out of it at parties, but they want the record to be broken, they need the record to be broken. They use words like headlines, money, stardom. They use these words as the backbone of a life spent entertaining everyone.” Oscar A. Jessup

    ;-)

  30. Jack Traven II

    As a side note: With record I meant the one held by Ben Hur, Titanic and The Return of the King.

  31. Christophe

    @jacktravenII
    I don’t think they’d want that record to be broken by Lincoln. It’s not massive enough. The other 3 were grand spectacles that reached HUGE (not just big) box office success appealing to the 4 quadrant.

  32. phantom, the point is that it’s 12 nominations, not 12 or more. But yeah, the fact that it’s specifically 12 and not 13 or 14 is of little consequence.

    I think Argo will probably win both DGA and ACE, but WGA is a toss-up. I sure hope Lincoln wins that, if only to keep this race a little more interesting. But I’m with Pierre – it’s way too early to be calling the race now. Heck, I might even wait until after the Academy have handed out their Best Director award to call it! We know that’s not going to Argo, so (as I’ve stated before), if Lincoln wins there, that’ll keep its Best Picture hopes alive. And Spielberg is totally still the favourite for that one.

  33. The act of campaigning for a metal award is ridiculous in of itself, but I understand why it’s done. The Argo campaign is aggressive and smart. I loved the movie, and I also quite enjoyed Lincoln. Had Lincoln been campaigning just like the Affleck team, and had Spielberg been snubbed for best director, I wonder if the staunch Lincoln supporters would be assessing the hypothetical Lincoln campaign with such scrutiny as they are with the current Argo campaign?

  34. Christophe

    “We know that’s not going to Argo” (oscar for best director)
    Ballsy statement here Paddy, as usual you’renot afraid to take some risks with your predictions ;)

  35. Out on a limb. Living on the wild side. Y’all can’t stop me.

  36. I hate the campaigning but I’m not foolish enough to say that I realize that a film or performance or technical achievements do not get acknowledged unless someone begins to point them out. That usually starts with the critics. Then we have the plethora of “talk show” performances by casts and the singular occassionally the interviews with directors. Rarely do we see Production companies trot out the crews or even the screenwriters.

    One of the things that I noticed early on in this year was that the Lincoln cast was missing from most of the “talk show pony show” and wondered why. Even the advertising was not at the same level as other films. It was as if Lincoln were completely relying on word of mouth. Not word of mouth by the critics but by word of mouth from the audiences. The critics did not drive the success of Lincoln. The film going public drove the success of Lincoln. The audiences deteremined the value of Lincoln just as much as many of them determined the status of Pi. Les Miserables and Silver Linings have relied heavily on the dog and pony show. Les Miserables however has an even different battle cry than Silver Linings because of it’s origins. Not the Victor Hugo novel because I’d bet 80 per cent of the audiences don’t even know that Victor Hugo wrote it. But it’s theatrical birth. We’ve seen a number of Les Mis adaptions over the years and none of them have really been all that successful. If Silver Linings didn’t have Weinstein behind it would it have turned out to be just another Parental Guidance making back it’s investment and the public forgetting all about it six months later? Ok well Parental Guidance is a stretch but you get the concept. The thing Silver had going for it was Lawrence. Let’s face facts Lawrence starred in one of the biggest successes of 2012 and has already received Academy attention.

    I think that Speilberg made a conscious decision to not turn Lincoln into a side show and in the end might have hampered his chances but he protected the integrity of the film. He let the audiences do the work. Lee let the audiences do the work.

    I get that Ben wants this Oscar badly. I can understand that completely. In some way it’s validation but like I said the other day about the curse of the Supporting Actress award going to Anne for Les Mis Ben winning for Argo could really make it difficult for him to win down the road. How many times have we seen here “they already have an Oscar why give them a second or a third?”. Sometimes you gotta be careful what you wish for unless you think that what you have is the best you’re going to achieve. Affleck has a long career ahead of him. Would be a shame to see that potential all summed up in Argo. Even though Argo is good and it is good it is not Lincoln. It is not Pi. It is not Zero. It is not Amour.

  37. BTW if anyone should be in politics it should be George Clooney. He’s about as big a wheeler dealer as any congressman or senator. I’ve always admired Clooney and his work but after this year I’m looking at him a little differently and see something I’m not particularly fond of and I suppose that’s the ghost of Harvey standing behind him whispering in his ear.

  38. Profile photo of Sasha Stone

    “They don’t want Spielberg to be rewarded a third time because deep down in places they talk themselves out of it at parties, but they want the record to be broken, they need the record to be broken. They use words like headlines, money, stardom. They use these words as the backbone of a life spent entertaining everyone.” Oscar A. Jessup

    So great. Thanks for that. I also keep thinking about the directors nomination: You want it on that wall. You need it on that wall.

  39. Profile photo of Sasha Stone

    @Phantom – yeah, I was looking at specifically films with 12. 13 noms and 14 noms are two different groups entire, imo. The main reason being they are usually effects-driven films which traditionally have a harder time winning the Oscar anyway. It’s funny but 13 is the unlucky number I suspect for that reason. 14 means it can’t be beat. 12 means they really really liked it. Think about it – to get 13 Lincoln would have needed a visual effects, sound effects and makeup. I guess it could have gotten makeup and not been effects-driven. But thanks for those stats anyway – they’re helpful. Box office is a tricky stat to measure because usually they do get a post-oscar bump. I have no way of really knowing where those movies in the past with 12 had accumulated before the Oscars so my stat is for after the Oscars – so if you measure it that way my stat would probably still hold (although ultimately irrelevant since the film that wins usually makes more money)…

  40. Profile photo of Sasha Stone

    For the sake of the health of those who love Lincoln I hope the DGA, WGA and the Academy give their prizes to Lincoln. First the complaint was that Argo wasn’t good enough(HA!). Now it’s that the people behind the film are too good at campaigning!

    Get over yourself. Some of us just want the best film to win. It isn’t that Lincoln made Avatar money – it’s that a movie like THAT made that kind of money. Why is this concept so hard to fathom? I hope in a way Lincoln doesn’t win because you think it’s bad now, wait until Affleck wins without a director nom against Lincoln, Zero Dark Thirty, Amour and Beasts. That shit ain’t going to be pretty. You can’t go back in time and “fix” the Driving Miss Daisy win. It just hangs out there like a black mark on Academy history. Does Argo really want to be THAT movie? I don’t think so.

  41. to get 13 Lincoln would have needed a visual effects, sound effects and makeup

    Not sound effects but sound editing. Sound Effects Editing, as the category used to be, would have been out of Lincoln’s reach, but Sound Editing is a process which all films have in common. It was a realistic contender for that.

  42. Profile photo of Sasha Stone

    I’m rooting for Argo because shockingly I think it’s the better film (Life of Pi remains my favourite BP nominee). I’m getting a sniff of an upset at the BAFTAs with a Les Mis win though.

    Not a chance in hell. Why don’t you want Life of Pi to win then?

  43. Profile photo of Sasha Stone

    For me it is not – neither is “No Country For Old Men”,

    Okay so. I stopped reading after that. :-)

  44. Profile photo of Sasha Stone

    Terrio may win WGA. The Oscars are most definitely Kushner’s. The Academy can’t create a special category to award Kushner.

    OUCH!

  45. Profile photo of Sasha Stone

    Everybory think Kushner has it in the bag, and I say Terrio will surprise everyone.

    Won’t be surprising anyone who’s paying attention. The second they announced that Kushner was receiving the Paul Selvin award we all pretty much figured Terrio has it. Argo’s is a good screenplay that does what writers want it to do: keeps the pace tight, has memorable lines throughout. It is very good and the typical kind of script that gets awards. Lincoln’s is on a whole different level. But as I said, nobody likes the smart kid who sits in front of the class. They give him due respect but he’ll never be popular or liked. They’ll secretly resent him because it’s too good, he tried too hard to achieve something great. Argo’s win won’t be undeserved but it will be the final nail in the coffin of Lincoln. Tapley has already been predicting Argo to win WGA — fyi. I am hoping that the votes went in before the Affleck snub meme went viral – perhaps writers really are smart enough to recognize what Kushner did. If not, fuck ‘em.

  46. Argo needs to upset in Adapted Screenplay or Supporting Actor. It’s been since 1940 that a film has won BP without a win in directing, writing, or acting.

  47. Profile photo of Sasha Stone

    You opted not to include the part about how “superior” it was to have Bill Clinton introduce Lincoln at the Golden globes, didn’t you?

    I didn’t “opt” not – for one thing I can’t really talk about that story but it was a set-up. No one ever got the real story about Clinton that night because it was hand-delivered to Deadline the morning after as a way to stop any momentum gained from that. No one questioned the story but just figured it was “truth.” It isn’t the whole truth — it’s negative Oscar campaigning and dirty pool — and I have been sworn to secrecy about what I know. I saw what it was then and I see what it is now. If I put it on my site, as I was originally planning to do, I had three paragraphs that believe me no one wants to see me write. I decided to just quote that part of the article and leave it at that. Probably the most repulsive part of this season was how the Clinton story was twisted in order to do more harm to the Lincoln campaign which was already struggling – but god forbid it would have been seen as anything like the truth that Clinton CHOSE to intro Lincoln. I’ll just say this: he had other options. No one tells Bill Clinton what to do no matter who they are. But the story got twisted into “powerful mean old mogul Spielberg called in a favor and forced Bill Clinton to pimp for the movie.” Could not have been farther from the truth.

    Unfortunately, Dreamworks did not go on the counter-attack so now it’s out there. But I’m certainly not going to help give it any traction – it’s exactly the kind of thing that makes the Oscar race completely useless.

  48. “Why don’t you want Life of Pi to win then?”

    Thank you for calling that – I was going to, but have given up.

    So many have called Life of Pi their favorite, yet seem inclined to limit their BP choice to Argo, Lincoln and SLP. Is this because they want to be on the winning side and a lack of confidence in Pi’s chances? Pi’s not in the conversation because it hasn’t generated any controversy and, as a result, has no buzz pro or con. Pi is barely mentioned on podcasts as an option.

    Maybe we just want to take sides, forgetting the bigger picture.

  49. Bryce Forestieri

    Can anyone argue at this point that the changes in dates didn’t affect the outcome of nominations and shit? I just wonder if this extra-long “phase-II” window might surprise everyone again come Oscar night. Everyone has, and rightly so, switched to ARGO winning BEST PIC; the ARGO hype is at its highest at the moment, but final voting doesn’t begin for another 9 days. I just wonder if it’s indeed too late for LINCOLN or even LIFE OR PI and SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK to make a final surge. Every year things get more hectic and people forget stuff and change moods rapidly. Could everything still change unlikely as it may be? I think so. You can rest assured that by this point Affleck ha lobbied near every single academy member. He just said so that he doesn’t mind. He wants it bad. There is tho plenty of time for backslashes, and a couple of major moves by Harvey and the other campaigns. This is far from “the results are in”. Still I can’t argue ARGO’s chances. If the race for Best Picture is as CLOSE as nearly everyone thinks, the numbers just need to be a tad different, even with preferential balloting, for the outcome to be different. LINCOLN might not be as generally agreeable as ARGO but I’m sure it can still make plenty #2s and #3s in ballots of members who only liked it but didn’t love it. I’m, of course, counting on AMPAS membership’s slightly more high-minded nature than let’s say PGA’s. Anyways so much for theorizing. My point is there is time and more than usually for things to play out different from what the general consensus expects, as they have already with nominations.

  50. Profile photo of Ryan Adams

    Is this because they want to be on the winning side and a lack of confidence in Pi’s chances?

    Anyone who’s watched me stand beside doomed BP contenders and loyally predict them to win right up to Oscar night knows I don’t care about being on the winning side. I hated The Artist while everybody swooned or were charmed to various degrees.

    There’s just no precedent for a film as transcendent as Life of Pi every winning. But beyond that, although Life of Pi is my favorite movie of the year, I sincerely think Lincoln is near flawless.

    I’m content that my favorite films of the year rarely win Best Picture. I would not like to see my favorite get perpetually beat up and shit upon throughout history. In the end, I’d rather Life of Pi stand alongside Citizen Kane, Reds, The Social Network , instead of being thrown in with A Beautiful Mind, Crash, The King’s Speech.

    That’s the bigger picture I see. In the widest all-embracing view of movie history, the Oscars are often a strangely shriveled trinket.

    If Life of Pi wins Best Picture I’ll be as happy as I was when No Country for Old Men won. I just don’t think it’s a realistic dream. Was I supposed to “predict” The Tree of Life to win just because it was my favorite of all the nominees? That would have been foolish. I predicted my next favorite film that had a more realistic shot: Hugo.

    Clearly I don’t care about being on the winning team.

  51. Profile photo of Ryan Adams

    Pi is barely mentioned on podcasts as an option.

    One of our podcast was wall-to-wall praise and admiration for Life of Pi. We devoted nearly the entire episode to Life of Pi. We’ve never done that for any other movie this year.

  52. I’m with you on the usual fate of winners, Ryan. It was just an observation. Pi doesn’t deserve that treatment, esp for the aptly named “shriveled trinket.”

    It does seem, though, that Pi fans step aside far more easily than the Lincoln/Argo/SLP fans. Maybe that says a lot more about the personalities that attach themselves to the film. The battle just doesn’t have the same meaning (of any) for them/us. No validation is required, certainly not at the cost.

    While it can be a rush when the envelope is opened and the name of your favorite film is read, it’s over almost immediately. There are a lot of bandwagon jumpers who enjoy this (and I know that you are NOT one of them).

  53. I must’ve missed that one. I don’t usualy get into them until the race has made that frantic third turn.

    Now to go and find it. Thanks!

  54. Profile photo of Ryan Adams

    steve50,

    I know you’ve been disappointed ever since you saw that even though I named Life of Pi as my #1 favorite film you asked why I “swapped” Lincoln into the top spot for my predictions.

    There’s also this: 20th Century Fox isn’t aggressively pushing Life of Pi. If they’re not going to match the FYC efforts of other studios then a Best Picture Oscar is not going to happen. They’re happy with their $525 million, as well they should be. A shame they can’t see clear to spend a little more of that bounty in thanks to the filmmakers who made their profits possible. It’s crazy for somebody like me to think I can influence anyone who holds a ballot if the studio isn’t going to help.

  55. Well I’ll say it. I’m a die hard Lincoln fan but if Lincoln isn’t going to win then I hope to god it’s Pi. I like Argo. And I also wasn’t a big fan of the Artist. What really surprised me is that I loved Midnight in Paris and I really think it deserved the attention it received. But I tried sitting through it a second time and I have to say that the charm wore off. It seemed dated and plodding and that was only after a year. I don’t think Argo will fall into that category just because of the nature of the story but I don’t see it holding up as well as others will.

  56. Profile photo of Ryan Adams

    the name of your favorite film is read, it’s over almost immediately.

    Worse than that, Steve. The rush is over in an instant, and then the endless bickering and defense begins. On Oscar night somebody I’ll probably never meet gets to take home a trophy that I’ll never touch. But for years afterward I’ll have to defend The Hurt Locker against dimwit attacks. Nobody ever argues with me about The Tree of Life, but had it won BP we’d have seen a 1000 bitter battles fought in the comments.

  57. Profile photo of Ryan Adams

    I’m a die hard Lincoln fan but if Lincoln isn’t going to win then I hope to god it’s Pi.

    That’s how I feel. But I could just as honestly say:
    I’m a die hard Life of Pi fan but if Life of Pi isn’t going to win then I hope to god it’s Lincoln.

  58. I think Lincoln is a great movie but there are so great movies I can´t understand why you focus so much in this movie, you have to understand something Lincoln is a very good movie and very intellectual but tell me when the academy has voted for this kind of film, a film without emotions and a very lineal history , believe me is not going to win.

    What happened with Zero Dark Thirty and Life of Pi they are great movies why are you so interested in Lincoln? I can´t believe it.

    Quentin Tarantino is a great fucking director and nobody says anything.Ang Lee too

  59. Profile photo of Ryan Adams

    a film without emotions

    I think you saw the Lincoln film with the vampires.

  60. “The rush is over in an instant, and then the endless bickering and defense begins. ”

    That’s what I hear, but I never experienced it firsthand. No blogs when Annie Hall won, and that was the last time my favorite of the year took BP.

    Imagine if it that race was now – Star Wars geeks, early-Spielbergian (Close Encounters), and 70s feminists (Julia vs The Turning Point). The fight would make the Civil War seem like a picnic.

    I wouldn’t want to go through it (not that there will ever be a chance of hat happening).

  61. Profile photo of Ryan Adams

    ^
    not to say we shouldn’t anticipate months of arguments about this year’s BP winner, whatever it turns out to be. But I’d rather go to war with Lincoln that drag Pi into that hell.

  62. Sasha, are you saying Harvey called in Mr. Clinton, to make Steven look bad?

    In other words, Dreamworks has nothing to do with it?

    Finally, did Argo win the Golden Tomato because of the famous snub?

  63. Profile photo of Ryan Adams

    Sasha, are you saying Harvey called in Mr. Clinton, to make Steven look bad?

    Don’t be an idiot. Clinton wasn’t going to intro Silver Linings. Use your head. What films would Clinton have intro’d and what did he choose?

    Dreamworks has nothing to do with it?

    Please proceed, Governor.

    Think it through.

  64. He introduced Lincoln but she says the mogul had nothing to do with it?

  65. Profile photo of Sasha Stone

    Finally, did Argo win the Golden Tomato because of the famous snub?

    Zero Dark Thirty would have been the film that won there but of course the critics cowardly backed away once the controversy hit and it was not longer a sexy pick. But for the record, Golden Tomato, lol. LOL.

  66. Profile photo of Ryan Adams

    He introduced Lincoln but she says the mogul had nothing to do with it?

    Does it occur to that more than one studio might have wanted Clinton to introduce its film? And maybe Clinton chose the film that meant most to him.

    If you think Bill Clinton needs to kiss up to a “mogul,” I feel sorry for you.

  67. Profile photo of Ryan Adams

    but she says the mogul had nothing to do with it?

    I think I’m wrong in asking Ben Fan not to be an idiot. Maybe he can’t help it.

    Spielberg can’t tell Clinton what to do. Lots of people asked Clinton to lots of things on the night of the Golden Globes, and Bill Clinton exactly what he wanted to do.

  68. the name of your favorite film is read, it’s over almost immediately.
    Worse than that, Steve. The rush is over in an instant, and then the endless bickering and defense begins. On Oscar night somebody I’ll probably never meet gets to take home a trophy that I’ll never touch. But for years afterward I’ll have to defend The Hurt Locker against dimwit attacks. Nobody ever argues with me about The Tree of Life, but had it won BP we’d have seen a 1000 bitter battles fought in the comments.

    If Tree of Life had won and then been attacked for it, it would have simultaneously affirmed and destroyed my faith in humanity.

  69. Profile photo of Ryan Adams

    But for the record, Golden Tomato, lol. LOL.

    I don’t knoooow, sounds pretty classy if you call it the Golden Tomah’to.

  70. Harvey should have backed Amour this year. Threepeat could have been possible for him.

  71. I know it’s a longshot for Pi to win Best Picture at the Oscars, do you think it has a good chance at the BAFTAs? Its global box-office seems it would have more of an impact over there, coupled with its international/transnational appeal of the movie.

  72. Whether Argo wins BP or not, Chris Terrio will win the adapted screenplay. It’s a done deal.

  73. @kasper – BAFTA is deeply in love with Ben Affleck. Look at the Best Actor nod. Argo will win BP there. No other option.

  74. @Ryan

    http://www.deadline.com/2013/01/bill-clinton-golden-globes-surprise-steven-spielberg-lincoln/

    I’m a big Clintonite…but Bill and Hill will do what benefits them the most. It’s not as if Speilberg/Dreamworks had not given gobs of money to their campaigns- Speilberg called in his chips. Having the president introduce your film would set it apart from the other films. “The film is respectable! It’s about a very important figure! Vote for it!” Most people already agree that it’s respectable and, for the most part, well made. It’s just not their best pic of the year. Argo in a way makes Lincoln look like an establishment film- whereas Argo has become the populist choice. Establishment: i.e. remember when Hillary lost Iowa and when she gave her concession speech- up on the stage with her were all of the old Clintonites? The candidate who had more gravitas, experience and history lost to the one that made voters…feel good. Spielberg and Affleck both wants it (maybe moreso after Affleck got snubbed and everyone started voting for him). I think Spielberg thought he could coast through the gravitas campaign while Affleck (the everyday, hardworking man of the lot) has found that voters like him. They really like him.

    My personal preference in all of this is Pi. But I would still put Argo above Lincoln. Lee and Hanecke above Spielberg.

  75. Last year BAFTA had nominated The Artist for best sound!!! When they love something they overreact. This year’s The Artist is Argo for them.

  76. Thanks for the feedback Sasha. I’ve read that you really admire Lincoln this year. As for me, I admire Life of Pi. However, I wouldn’t mind if either were to win on Oscar night. I do feel like Ang Lee was the best director this year. Then theres Lincoln with best adapted screenplay and an all-star cast that did exceptionally good. THEN there’s Life of Pi again with exceptional technical achievements. Just justifying why I wouldn’t mind each to win… they are overall very good films. I’m really disappointed with all if this Argo stuff. Although I do believe it was a good film… it sure as hell isn’t going to be revisited as much as Life of Pi and Lincoln will in the future (IMO). I was just sick to see it win SAG ensemble. That was totally for Lincoln. PGA was an upset, too. If it is to win on Oscar night, I believe it would be looked back upon as a joke (a good film… but a joke). What I’m really hoping for is that Academy members don’t vote Argo in other categories to justify a BP win. For example, Terrio beating Kushner in adapted screenplay. That would be a bigger mess. But the way awards season as been going… it wouldn’t surprise me.

  77. I really wish Lincoln wins and I was predicting Argo will not because I have not seen a film winning best picture with only one addional oscar won which, for the case of Argo, will be editing; however, it might end being like 2005 (not what I would like):

    Argo (3 wins): picture, adapted screenplay, editing.
    Lincoln (3 wins): director, actor, score.
    Life of Pi (3 wins): art direction, cinematography, visual effects
    Les Miserables (2 wins): supportinng actress, sound mixing
    Silver Linings Playbook (2 wins): actress, supporting actor
    Skyfall (2 wins): song, sound editing
    Amour (2 wins): foreign language film, original screenplay
    Anna Karenina (1 win): costue design
    The Hobbit (1 win): makeup

  78. I really think Terrio can win both WGA and Oscar.
    Kushner is the frontrunner, more for WHO HE IS.
    We acn´t forget Great Tennessee Williams was nominates 2 times and lost!
    By the way, I was the smart kid who sits in front of the class…
    … and some people love me! ;)

  79. Sasha Stone

    Fair enough, I just thought it might be useful to check all those ‘manynominationsbetterboxoffice’ films, even if not 12 but 11 or 13.

  80. …oh, and Lincoln should have gotten the makeup nod in a walk, as a simple moviegoer I found the makeup in Hitchcock horrible…but I guess I should have known they won’t have the right 3 after they released their long list and Cloud Atlas wasn’t even on that.

    …and I would have had no trouble if Gloria Reuben had been nominated instead of Jackie Weaver…and I LIKED Jackie Weaver in Silver Linings Playbook (even though the film was a mess IMO), but I think Reuben was brilliant and delivered a textbook SUPORTING performance worthy of all the accolades, the subtlety and nuances she brought to her character were wonderful to watch. Too bad the studio opted to campaign for only Day-Lewis, Field and Jones, Reuben (or anyone else from the cast for that matter) hadn’t been mentioned on any FYC ads.

  81. For me it is not – neither is “No Country For Old Men”,
    Okay so. I stopped reading after that.

    Maybe you should continue reading, because one sentence later I said, that it was my number 2 that year after There Will Be Blood. However I love both films and both were in my Top 20 of the decade list. There Will Be Blood on #2, No Country For Old Men on #11. Both are masterpieces, I just wanted to add this to your statement that this was such a clear decission.

    And of course: Lincoln is nowhere near those two masterpieces. It isn’t even in my Top 10 this year. But to be fair: None of the nominated films is on There Will Be Blood and No Country For Old Men level.

  82. Astarisborn

    I just have this gut feeling:
    DGA – Ben Affleck
    BAFTA Best Film – Life of Pi
    BAFTA Best Director – Ben Affleck
    Oscar Best Director – Ang Lee
    Oscar Best Picture – Lincoln

  83. Astarisborn – I could live with that. Spreads the wealth to the best possible benefit any of us can expect. Compliments to your “gut”

  84. @Filmering – Those two films are really on another planet compared with the films of last five years. I doubt anything can be done at their level in the future. There Will Be Blood could win BP easily if nominated another time.

  85. “But for the record, Golden Tomato, lol. LOL.
    I don’t knoooow, sounds pretty classy if you call it the Golden Tomah’to.”

    What about Roger Ebert, despite giving Lincoln four stars out of four, calling Argo the best film of 2012?

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