Screen Shot 2013-01-16 at 4.34.00 PM

The State of the Race – Heroes, Real and Imagined

silverlinings7

The Oscar race in 2012 has boiled down to heroic characters leading the charge towards best picture. Heroism takes the form of a man overcoming his bi-polar disorder, another man saving the child of a prostitute, a CIA op doing as instructed to get Bin Laden at all costs, a freed slave wreaking havoc on white racist America, a teenage survivor of a shipwreck who confronts his faith, another CIA op who utilizes the magic of the movies to fool the Iranians and rescue hostages yet never gets to take credit for it. A tiny girl upon whose shoulders rests nothing so much as preservation of identity, and a brave president who faced down a government that did not want to amend the constitution to make slavery forever free.

This wasn’t a year where darker antiheroes were welcome. The Master was too complicated and Zero Dark Thirty is just barely tolerable in the midst of such idealism. Both impulses inhabit us yet we reach for one or the other as the world around us changes. This year, we had not only one of the most contentious elections in recent US history, but we discovered a still-ugly side of America, one that was ready to secede from the union after the nation’ first black president was re-elected. We discovered citizens who took to twitter to call our newly elected president a monkey, with frequent, casual uses of the N word. That word would come to overtake Django Unchained almost entirely, and would be brought back in Spielberg’s Lincoln to show a part of ourselves we’d hoped we left behind. But 150 years isn’t as long as you’d think for minds to change.

We are a country at continual war. The war for gun control rages on, with President Obama, clothed in immense power, attempting to pass the most sweeping gun control legislation in history. It has no hope of passing. But this year the pulse of our democracy was clearly felt — the drumbeat pounded through social networking, through the Occupy movement and has now infused the Oscar race with what they like to call on Tumblr, social justice.

Politics suddenly matters. It has all but consumed Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty, a film that has the unfortunate luck of telling a story that is so controversial to even give an opinion on it forces you to take a side on torture. What Zero Dark Thirty really does is portray the high cost of capturing Bin Laden. We are asked whether we think it was worth it and, in that questioning, what we think about torture. Is there anything you wouldn’t do to get the guy who ordered the attacks on 9/11? Many people feel that way. But many in our government and around the world would like to see an end to what they consider crimes against humanity. Zero Dark Thirty falls square in the middle of that debate, the killing of Bin Laden is still so fresh and wet you can’t touch it without smearing the blood around.

Now, it’s nearly impossible to separate the greatness of the film from the enormity of the controversy that has surrounded it and yet the main character Maya, played by Jessica Chastain, is the hero of the story — a complex hero perhaps — but the only one unwilling to quit until she gets her man.

The blogosphere has been in a flutter this year with hearts divided all over the place. Those who shout the loudest seem to think that Lincoln is “too boring to win Best Picture.” No other movie had people at the New York Times actively advocating against it. I’ve never seen them do that, in fact, like the former Carpetbagger David Carr who faced off with A.O. Scott to argue about a film Carr hates. Moreover, there was yet another video where they interviewed reporters at the Times to find out just how much all of them hated Lincoln. Jeff Wells at Hollywood-Elsewhere has made no secret about launching an “anything but Lincoln” campaign. The film has become the frontrunner, the candidate about to win the presidency and the people, some of them, are trying to knock it out in hopes of helping a different film win. Yes, it’s silly, but welcome to the Oscar race in 2012.

The film that most seem to settle on as the least offensive of the bunch appears to be Ben Affleck’s Argo, which would have no problem taking the frontrunner’s spot right now if Affleck had gotten a director’s nomination. His entire fan base has lifted him up as a martyr for the cause, the only man who could BEAT LINCOLN! Once Zero Dark Thirty appeared to be zapped, first by controversy and next by the lack of a director’s nomination (I would argue that the lack of the SAG ensemble nod hurt it the most) Argo would have to be it. Suddenly it was the Mitt Romney — not the best candidate to take on Lincoln but the only one that CAN win. For some reason, those opinions has cooled to the other alternate choice, Silver Linings Playbook, and are now full throttle Argo.

Meanwhile, if you run the numbers you will find two things. The first, Lincoln still has it by a mile. The second, maybe the numbers are meaningless.

We already know that judging films isn’t like judging politicians. Where Americans only had two options, Obama or Romney, the Oscar race offers up nine Best Picture contenders — Beasts of the Southern Wild and Life of Pi are beautiful refuges from the others. Art is not politics. We are not electing leaders to help fix our country. The industry is supposedly choosing the best achievement of the year. In the end, though, human nature is human nature and there isn’t much of a way around that. Zuckerberg crystallized our thought process when he put a like button on Facebook. “Like.” That is really how people vote and there isn’t any way around that. High achievement doesn’t mean anything because, in the end, liking it matters so much more.

Lots of people like Argo but more importantly, lots of people like Ben Affleck. In the Oscar race the least offensive almost always wins, particularly once they expanded the field from five to ten, and from ten to an unspecified number. The more Best Picture contenders, the more spread out the vote, the more the least offensive, general consensus pick wins. That thinking favors Argo probably. It might also favor Silver Linings Playbook and it might favor Lincoln.

The Lincoln voters are a solid group and probably somewhat unwavering. The remaining voters who didn’t like Lincoln (the Jeff Wells and the David Carrs) will be split up between three films, I figure: Argo, Silver linings Playbook and Les Miserables. If any of the three of them didn’t have such strong support it might kick some power towards one specific one. Les Mis and Argo both won the Globe.

What Argo has going for it: The charm offensive of George Clooney (producer) and Affleck (writer, producer, actor). You can imagine the kind of sway they have at parties, for instance.

What Silver Linings has:  Do I need to say his name? He’s the dude who had Arianna Huffington host a party for the King’s Speech and had Charlie Chaplin’s granddaughter or daughter endorse The Artist. They don’t have the golden boys Affleck and Clooney but they have immense power and two back-to-back Best Picture wins on their side.

What Les Miserables has: An incredibly passionate fan base.

People who are currently predicting Argo really have the wrong opponent in mind when considering Lincoln; Argo isn’t going up against Lincoln, it’s going up against Silver Linings, Les Mis AND Lincoln. That’s not even considering the obvious love for Life of Pi, Beasts of the Southern Wild and Amour.

Lincoln has yet to win a single major award and yet the numbers back it up. The British liked Argo so much they nominated Affleck for Best Actor. They didn’t like Lincoln enough to give Spielberg his only snub.  If they hold hold sway over the Academy now, as many suspect, it’s possible this could be Lincoln’s only true ding — here in America we like our President Lincoln. Like a lot a lot. Doesn’t mean the Brits do.

Our Oscar wonk Marshall Flores built an exhaustive chart that I want to share with you. He traced Best Picture winners all the way back through Oscar history and ranked them in terms of most nominated per win.

It turns out that it breaks down like this:

1 time in Oscar history, the film with the 4th most nominations won: Chariots of Fire

10 times in Oscar history a film with the 3rd most nominations won Best Picture.

17 times in Oscar history a film with the 2nd most nominations won Best Picture.

57 times in Oscar history a film with the 1st most nominations won Best Picture.

How do our films rank this year?

1. Lincoln
2. Life of Pi
3. Silver Linings Playbook and Les Miserables
4. Argo
5. Amour, Zero Dark Thirty and Django Unchained
6. Beasts of the Southern Wild

Argo would have to make history twice — first by winning without a Best Director nomination (one time since the DGA first formed, 3 times in Oscar history) and second, by being the film with the 4th most nominations winning (which has happen only 1 other time in Oscar history).

What Flores said:

After doing some digging through the annals of Oscar history (thanks Filmsite.org), I built a simple chart listing the BP nominees from every year and the number of total nominations each film received. Then I ranked each BP nominee according to its total nominations, using a dense ranking system (which, unlike a typical competitive ranking system, does not insert ranking gaps as a result of ties. For example, if a BP lineup of three films, A, B, and C respectively garnered 5, 5, and 4 nominations, dense ranking would result in films A and B being tied for first and C in second place).

Some findings worth mentioning: in addition to 66% of BP winners having been the nomination leader in their respective years, I found that 87% of BP winners were either the nomination leader or the runner-up (the only two exceptions in the past 30 years were Silence of the Lambs and The Departed), and that nearly 99% (!!) of BP winners were at least ranked in the Top 3 of total nominations. In fact, the *only* film to have won BP and not be ranked in the Top 3 was Chariots of Fire, whose 7 nominations placed it 4th behind Reds (12), On Golden Pond (10), and Raiders of the Lost Ark (9).

 

Best Picture Winner Total nominations Total wins Nomination rank
Cimarron 7 3 1
Cavalcade 4 3 1
Mutiny on the Bounty 8 1 1
The Great Ziegfeld 7 3 1
The Life of Emile Zola 10 3 1
You Can’t Take It with You 7 2 1
Gone with the Wind 13 8 1
Rebecca 11 1 1
Mrs. Miniver 12 6 1
Going My Way 10 7 1
The Best Years of Our Lives 8 7 1
Gentleman’s Agreement 8 3 1
All About Eve 14 6 1
From Here to Eternity 13 8 1
On the Waterfront 12 8 1
Marty 8 4 1
Gigi 9 9 1
Ben-Hur 12 11 1
The Apartment 10 5 1
West Side Story 11 10 1
Lawrence of Arabia 10 7 1
Tom Jones 10 4 1
The Sound of Music 10 5 1
Oliver! 11 5 1
Patton 10 7 1
The French Connection 8 5 1
The Godfather 10 3 1
The Sting 10 7 1
The Godfather, Part II 11 6 1
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest 9 5 1
Rocky 10 3 1
The Deer Hunter 9 5 1
Kramer vs. Kramer 9 5 1
Gandhi 11 8 1
Terms of Endearment 11 5 1
Amadeus 11 8 1
Out of Africa 11 7 1
Platoon 8 4 1
The Last Emperor 9 9 1
Rain Man 8 4 1
Driving Miss Daisy 9 4 1
Dances with Wolves 12 7 1
Unforgiven 9 4 1
Schindler’s List 12 7 1
Forrest Gump 13 6 1
Braveheart 10 5 1
The English Patient 12 9 1
Titanic 14 11 1
Shakespeare in Love 13 7 1
American Beauty 11 5 1
Gladiator 12 5 1
Chicago 13 6 1
LOTR: The Return of the King 11 11 1
No Country for Old Men 8 4 1
The Hurt Locker 9 6 1
The King’s Speech 12 4 1
Wings 2 2 2
The Broadway Melody 3 1 2
All Quiet on the Western Front 4 2 2
It Happened One Night 5 5 2
How Green Was My Valley 10 5 2
The Lost Weekend 7 4 2
Hamlet 7 4 2
All the King’s Men 7 3 2
An American in Paris 8 6 2
My Fair Lady 12 8 2
A Man for All Seasons 8 6 2
Midnight Cowboy 7 3 2
A Beautiful Mind 8 4 2
Million Dollar Baby 7 4 2
Crash 6 3 2
Slumdog Millionaire 10 8 2
The Artist 10 5 2
Grand Hotel 1 1 3
Casablanca 8 3 3
The Greatest Show on Earth 5 2 3
Around the World in 80 Days 8 5 3
The Bridge On the River Kwai 8 7 3
In the Heat of the Night 7 5 3
Annie Hall 5 4 3
Ordinary People 6 4 3
The Silence of the Lambs 7 5 3
The Departed 5 4 3
Chariots of Fire 7 4 4
Total Nominations Total Wins Nomination Rank
% Nomination Leader -> BP Winner 65.48
% BP Winner in Top 2 85.71
% BP Winner in Top 3 97.62

Gold Derby’s Tom O’Neil told me that a producer friend of his, who is never wrong, says it’s Argo’s to lose. Argo is probably the film that appeals more broadly to international audiences, those who especially would not appreciate Lincoln. Or so it goes.

Whenever I think of Argo possibly overtaking Lincoln, though, I think about Silver Linings Playbook with its four acting nominations and a director nomination. Is love for Ben Affleck so strong it can overcome that? Does the Academy also love Affleck that much? Is the film’s inoffensiveness its greatest strength?

In the end it seems silly to turn judging works of arts into number crunching. And even worse to compare opposing films as teams or candidates.  In the end, this is all a matter of opinion — however many of those opinions align will define 2012′s Best Picture of the year.

The one thing that’s interesting about this year to Oscar statisticians is that the outcome will really put the precedent stats to the test. When it was Social Network versus The King’s Speech the critics’ stats were put to the test. The critics unanimously loved The Social Network but those stats failed.  It didn’t matter that 2010 made Oscar/critics history because the film that voters liked was the film that voters liked. It really is as simple as that.

The first test of the consensus will come from the Producers Guild then the Writers Guild, the SAG and finally, Oscar.

Like the other great films we’ve seen come and go in the Oscar race it is impossible to convince people to like a movie they just don’t like.  No matter how many times I write about how great Lincoln is, there those who are going to scratch their heads and say, it was just a bunch of people sitting around talking. I have learned my lesson by now.  Since it can’t really be about “best” it has to be about numbers, statistics and all of those things that won’t break your heart when you see how they turn out.

At the same time, we are living through a time when there is a danger of our Best Picture winners becoming so bland as to render the race meaningless. Just read a “Lincoln isn’t Jewish enough” piece in Jewish Journal and a “Lincoln wasn’t black enough” piece in Salon.  It is as though for a film to win Best Picture it must satisfy everyone or it becomes too divisive to win, opening the door for the most inoffensive, vanilla film to win.  It just so happens that nearly all of the nominees this year are wonderful films.  Who can complain about that?

Current Predictions:
Best Picture: Lincoln (alt. Silver Linings)
Best Director: Steven Spielberg (alt. David O. Russell)
Best Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis (alt. Hugh Jackman)
Best Actress: Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook (alt. Jessica Chastain or Emmanuelle Riva)
Best Supporting Actress: Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables (alt. Sally Field, Lincoln)
Best Supporting Actor: Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln (alt. Christoph Waltz, Django)
Original Screenplay: Amour (alt. Zero Dark Thirty)
Adapted Screenplay: Lincoln (alt. Beasts of the Southern Wild or Argo or Silver Linings)
Editing: Argo (alt. Zero Dark Thirty)
Cinematography: Life of Pi (alt. Lincoln)
Costumes: Anna Karenina (alt. Lincoln)
Sound: Les Miserables (alt. Skyfall)
Sound Editing: Django (alt. Zero Dark Thirty)
Production Design: Life of Pi (alt. Lincoln)
Makeup: Les Miserables (alt. Hitchcock)
Score: Life of Pi (alt. Argo)
Visual Effects: Life of Pi (alt. Avengers)
Song: Skyfall (alt. Suddenly)
Documentary Feature: the Gatekeepers (alt. 5 Broken Cameras)
Foreign Languge: Amour

Oscar Flashback – The Freak Years

Next Story »

Oscar Flashback – 12 Nominations

155 Comments

  1. Kai
    January 17, 2013

    I think SLP will explode at the box office this weekend. Then it will win the PGA and take Best Ensemble at the SAG Awards.

  2. deniz
    January 17, 2013

    Gosh, I hope to god, Tommy Lee Jones doesn’t win. He already has one undeserved Oscar, they shouldn’t give him a second undeserved one. Philip Seymour should take it. And I know it may sound crazy, but I think Haneke will take Director a la Polanski.

  3. Kai
    January 17, 2013

    ^ Leo deserved that Oscar.

  4. Daveylow
    January 17, 2013

    I think Lincoln or Les Miserables will win the SGA Ensemble.

  5. January 17, 2013

    A very interesting point of view.
    Phoenix’ s character in The Master is. Great antihero.
    And we have characters played by DDL, Chastain…
    My favorites are played by Affleck in Argo, Watts and Holland in The Impossible (and heroes in real life, let’s think about it).., and Garfield in The Amazing Spider-Man :)

  6. January 17, 2013

    Oh, sorry, I forgot my favorite 2012 hero… Lerman’ s Charlie in The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

  7. Scott
    January 17, 2013

    When I saw Django Unchained I thought Django was dressed like Little Joe from Bonanza. At first I could not find any mention of this anywhere and figured I was the only one to think it but I ran across an interview with Sharen Davis the costumer for Django who explains it was intentional. When Jamie Foxx trades out his blue dandy duds for cowboy gear the look is blatantly Little Joe Cartwright from the gambler hat right down to the big bulge in his pants. Michael Landon in the Bonanza series was notorious for his visible penis line and for being not so little. In fact he should have been the one with the moniker “Hoss”. That Quentin and his attention to detail. He’s my hero.

    “CoF: Did Quentin have his own ideas about costume?

    SD: Oh yes, he did. It’s kind of great but really hard at the same time. When we started on Django he would actually show me footage from Bonanza. He said “I need Django to look like Little Joe (played by Michael Landon) on Bonanza. I need him in that green corduroy jacket, those white pants and that hat” and I’d say “okaaaay!” But to get to make it look cool on Jamie I think I made 15 different versions of that jacket. It was really a hard look to sell for two thirds of the film and I had so many variations of it. Different greens, fabrics, leather, suede; it was so hard. The pattern cut was pretty much basic. It’s not as high as the one Michael wore but it looks close. I tried the whale, but it’s a different corduroy to make it look more rugged.”

  8. Bryce Forestieri
    January 17, 2013

    who the fuck is Ralph Fiennes?

  9. Aragorn
    January 17, 2013

    By the way, because of articles like this, ZDT’s BP chances are toast. Quite well written piece that even questions Maya’s so called heroism.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jonathan-kim/a-response-to-kathryn-big_b_2498087.html?utm_hp_ref=entertainment

  10. Robert A.
    January 17, 2013

    I don’t have my handy-dandy Oscar book handy beside me, but I think Marshall Flores is wrong that there’s only been one movie in history (Chariots of Fire) with the 4th most nominations that has won. I’m thinking about Annie Hall in 1977. I’m pretty sure that Julia and The Turning Point received something like 11 nominations, and Star Wars received 10(?). That would put Annie Hall in 4th place, with The Goodbye Girl bringing up the rear (or maybe The Goodbye Girl had the same number of nominations as Annie Hall–BP, actor, supporting actress, screenplay, and song?).

    I’m just going by memory on this, but…

    Sasha makes a good point, though, about the “alternate to Lincoln” vote perhaps splitting among several contenders. If an alternate is going to take out the frontrunner (and it’s still difficult not to think of Lincoln as the frontrunner, considering the nomination count), votes have to sort of coalesce around one movie, like Crash overtaking Brokeback Mountain.

  11. danny
    January 17, 2013

    I’m just really interested why everyone has a blind-spot with the life of pi. Why is it hardly ever mentioned, or a couple of times in passing. It’s got some extraordinary things going for it..

    - Ang lee is the ONLY director to have nominations for DGA, Globes, BAFTA and Oscars
    - it’s got the second most nominations of the oscar contenders Despite being 3d and having no actors
    - over 400m worldwide box office (which is insane)
    - nobody hates it

    So what’s the deal, what’s the blind-spot? I know it’s Sasha’s second favourite movie of the year, why does nobody think it can win?

    Watch what happens when Ang lee takes home the DGA! Last emperor anyone?

  12. January 17, 2013

    @ Robert A.

    For example, if a BP lineup of three films, A, B, and C respectively garnered 5, 5, and 4 nominations, dense ranking would result in films A and B being tied for first and C in second place

  13. Mattoc
    January 17, 2013

    For a film to win, it will be a choice that makes AMPAS feel good about themselves. Whether it’s the movie itself or the person behind it.

    Does Lincoln do any of those things? Sort of…

    Spielberg has won before so I don’t think he’s a big factor and the movie itself, whether you like it or not, it makes you feel good about someone else’s gumption and sacrifice and its comparison to today’s leaders. Feel good about someone else’s achievement.

    Argo, on the other hand, apart from being ” a great fucking movie” as you pointed out – is a movie about them, doing things beyond the call of duty.

  14. Thomas
    January 17, 2013

    I second Kai’s first post Silver Linings is only going to gain more ground as this race to the Oscar continues.

  15. January 17, 2013

    I touched on this myself yesterday. Not suggesting you need to change your methodology, but most people would say that “Argo” has the fifth-most nominations this year, with “Les Miserables” and “Silver Linings” sharing the third and fourth positions – which makes what it’s trying to do even more improbable. For example, if three films tied for first place, you wouldn’t normally say that the next film was in second place.

  16. Sasha Stone
    January 17, 2013

    Robert A here is how he broke down the Annie Hall year — annie hall and goodbye girl at #3, Julia and Turning Point at #1 and Star Wars at #2

    Annie Hall 5 4 3
    The Goodbye Girl 5 1 3
    Julia 11 3 1
    Star Wars 10 6 2
    Turning Point 11 0 1

  17. Sasha Stone
    January 17, 2013

    Jon, I wonder if you applied that logic to all nominees the results would be the same or not. I guess I can try that.

  18. mecid
    January 17, 2013

    Again Tom O’Neil’s friend? Remember he said one of Gold Derby users who is 100% predictor of all nominees predicts enormous sweep for Les Mis? Now Argo?

  19. Sasha Stone
    January 17, 2013

    Jon the problem is that let’s say two films are tied for number 1 with the most nominations. How do you decide which one is #2?

  20. January 17, 2013

    It would affect your chart some but not dramatically. The bottom line is, if you’re not in the top two, you’re an underdog.

  21. January 17, 2013

    You don’t decide. They’re both tied for first, and the next one is third. Unless you’re like my eighth-grade math teacher, who had six students tied for first place in that year’s math contest and only five prizes to give, and gave them out according to alphabetical order of last names. Still bitter.

  22. danny
    January 17, 2013

    By the way Rober A you’re spot on.

    Just looking at wikipedia the nominees that year were..

    julia – 11 nominations (picture, director, actress, supporting actor X 2, supporting actress screenplay, score, costume, cinematography, editing)
    turning point – 11 nominations (picture, director actress X 2, supporting actor and actress, screenplay, sound mixing, art direction cinematography, editing)
    starwars – 10 nominations (picture, director, sup actor, screenplay, score, costume, both sounds, art direction, visual effects)
    annie hall – 5 (picture, director, actor, actress, screenplay)
    goodbye girl – 5 (picture, actor, actress, supp actress, screenplay)

    So Annie hall, unless I’m counting it wrong, won while being JOINT FIFTH in terms of best picture noms with the most number of nominations).

    Remarkable really :)

  23. danny
    January 17, 2013

    Sorry I didn’t see your comment sasha.

    Standard practice is that position is the number of people above you, so if the first two tie, the next score is third.

    It makes sense because if you had 100 people tied at first it would be ridiculous to say the 101st is the second most popular :)

  24. Danemychal
    January 17, 2013

    SLP would be such a plain-Jane, bad choice. Lincoln or Argo, fine. Or ZDT but its campaign is dying. The snub of Bigelow is now being perceived as okay — even justice — and Affleck is the only martyr. Hollywood is nucking futs!

  25. Sasha Stone
    January 17, 2013

    Danny but by Marshall’s accounting, wouldn’t Annie Hall still be 3?

  26. Sasha Stone
    January 17, 2013

    Oh got it, Jon, thanks. DUH. Okay.

  27. January 17, 2013

    @jon
    that’s why the article specifically mentions it is using a dense ranking system instead of a competitive ranking system, which is what you’re describing. For ex. in the case of chariots of fire, it was exactly in the same position as argo, since 4 movies had more noms: Reds 12, On Golden Pond 10, Ragtime and Raiders of the lost ark tied with 8, Chariots of fire 7.

  28. January 17, 2013

    I get that’s why the article mentions it – I just think the choice isn’t optimal. But not a big deal.

  29. Robert A
    January 17, 2013

    I agree with Jon that the ranking would be even more telling if it used a competitive ranking system instead of a dense ranking system. It would be a little more accurate in showing how often BP nominees that are in #4 or #5 positions in the Best Picture race (in terms of nomination count) end up winning.

    When Sight and Sound, for example, ranks the Top 100 movies of all time, and if there are two movies that get the same number of votes at position #5, the next ranking after these two is #7, not #6. Not a big deal, of course, but I think that system would be more instructive.

    In 1980, for example, Ordinary People had the least number of nominations of all the other BP contenders (also had no editing nomination). But it still won Best Picture.

    @ Jon Weisman

    WORST MATH TEACHER EVER!

  30. moviemachine
    January 17, 2013

    Lincoln was the most overrated movie of the year, absolutely boring, all scenes were shot indoors, no street shots to show the effort spent on epic movie, that was lazy work to show periord movie…..
    Zero Dark Thirty was brilliant, stunning, very well crafted and directed, but it was murdered by haters and male power of Hollywood. Simply this was the best movie of the year.

  31. Robert A.
    January 17, 2013

    Oops. Ordinary People tied with Tess for least nominations of the five BP nominees in 1980.

  32. January 17, 2013

    all scenes were shot indoors, no street shots to show the effort spent on epic movie

    False. There are dozens of outdoor shots.

    Besides, you should count the epic street shots in Gone With the Wind. You might be surprised to see there are only about 2.

  33. Marshall Flores
    January 17, 2013

    Thanks for the comments, Jon. As I explain in the post where Sasha quotes me, I used a dense ranking system, a legit form of ranking (though uncommon) that treats ties like that (note to everyone, there are actually multiple forms of ranking stuff!) I did that because I felt it simplified the analysis and would make it easier to communicate the conclusions with a general audience.

    Obviously anyone can take the same data and use a more conventional ranking paradigm to rank the BP nominees, but the conclusions shouldn’t be affected very much. Really, the primary thing to take out of my historical survey is that BP winners are very likely to be either the nomination leader or the runner-up; it’s not impossible to win w/o being in the top 2, but it’s very rare.

  34. rufussondheim
    January 17, 2013

    In Lincoln, there is the classic outdoor shot with Oskar watching a bloody wheelbarrow filled with dead limbs. A bright red colored limb grabs his attention and that changes his entire perspective. It’s a great scene!

  35. James
    January 17, 2013

    Whatever minor gripes I had with solid efforts like The King’s Speech and The Artist will be nothing compared to Silver Linings Playbook winning. If Weinstein can make that flick a winner….than wow.

  36. Aragorn
    January 17, 2013

    Sasha,

    ugh!!!!!!!! I think they go extreme now.

    I am sooooo glad that I saw that movie on its limited release day at first screening at 10 am:). So I had a clear and open mind and I enjoyed the movie and had my own questions at the end. I think now one problem is that many people are primed/conditioned to think that ZDT is “bad” so they just think so and join the club. No good.

  37. Aragorn
    January 17, 2013

    Ryan,

    I stopped trying with those that only use “boring” to describe Lincoln. The final 30 minutes or so, during voting scenes were more exciting and fun for me than many other so called thrillers. I think some people are to used to watching a movie where almost every sentence and even word has a meaning to the story. When they cannot follow it they just call it boring. Oh well.

  38. Astarisborn
    January 17, 2013

    I agree with danny in all of his aspects why Life of Pi can win. In my opinion, many love this movie but it is sad that its lack of acting nominations give it the ” good film but ” reason that it will not or can not win best picture. What about Slumdog Millionaire? And I’m sure there are other films that have won with no acting nominations ? Ang Lee, with 11 nominations that include best adapted screenplay, deserves it more than Russell. Here’s hoping for a DGA win so people can open their eyes to this mesmerizing masterpiece of a film.

  39. rufussondheim
    January 17, 2013

    Aragorn says “I think some people are to used to watching a movie where almost every sentence and even word has a meaning to the story.”

    I think it’s the opposite. I think people are so used to watching movies where they don’t have to pay attention to every sentence and every word. With Lincoln, you do, and if you don’t, subsequent scenes are hard to follow. And eventually you have no clue what’s going on, and then you just have to throw up your hands and say “This is boring!”

    Lincoln’s not the most exciting film of the year. I wish it were more profound. But listening to the gorgeous dialogue of Tony Kushner is never boring.

  40. Aragorn
    January 17, 2013

    Rufus,
    Yes. It was my intention. But then again n this damn iPad some words and letters jjust disappear and again no edit option;)

  41. rufussondheim
    January 17, 2013

    This is the time of year where you can see who understands the perferential voting system and who does not.

    If you were an Academy member and in the “Anything but Lincoln” camp, you don’t have to discuss with other members what film you want to support instead. All you have to do is put it #9 on your ballot. The rest, if there are enough “Anything but Lincoln” voters, will take care of itself.

  42. jess4linc
    January 17, 2013

    Come on. Sasha. I am thinking you think, write and appear smarter than claiming some states were ready to secede from the Union because we re-elected a Black Man as President. Does it ever cross your mind that maybe the states thinking succession are doing so because of their belief that the policies of this President are destructive to the nation and as such has nothing to do with his color. Just saying…

  43. John
    January 17, 2013

    Honestly …. I can still find scenarios for either Lincoln, Argo, SLP, and even Life of Pi to win best picture at this point. I think that’s kinda crazy in a good way.
    ————–
    Same for actress with Chastain, Lawrence, Riva.
    ————–
    Same for supp. Actor with TLJ, Deniro, Waltz.
    ————–
    The list goes on. Sound could easily go to Les Miserables or Skyfall. Etc etc etc

  44. January 17, 2013

    This is the time of year where you can see who understands the preferential voting system and who does not.

    Maybe my own understanding of the system is off, but if I had a ballot I’d be leaving #’s 7,8,9 blank this year. I’d leave three BP nominees off my final ballot altogether.

    In the unlikely eventuality that none of my first 6 choices made it to the final rounds of elimination, I’ll be damned if I let my ballot fall by default into the stack of any movie I hate.

  45. jess4linc
    January 17, 2013

    @ryanadams…

    well, just what are your choices. What would you vote for. Or have you printed your choices already. BTW what is what you consider #7,8,9. Etc.

  46. January 17, 2013

    I am thinking you think, write and appear smarter than claiming some states were ready to secede from the Union

    No states were ever ready to secede to from the Union after the election. Just a small pathetic fraction of crazies scattered around the country in numbers too insignificant to take seriously. And a lot of those crazies are racists. Fact.

  47. steve50
    January 17, 2013

    “Beasts of the Southern Wild and Life of Pi are beautiful refuges from the others. Art is not politics.”

    Thank you, Sasha. (You are on a roll this week)

    That is precisely what these two apart, along with Amour, from the other nominees. There is no room for politics, inflicting oneself, beliefs or needs upon others for good or bad, or simple psycho-sexual game-playing.

    More than anything, these three films address what it means to be alive, what it takes, mentally and physically, to survive, what is required from our natural intellect to deal with the bigger picture of one’s place in the world, and what it means to face the end of our stay here. It’s during the exploration of those questions that each presents, in its own unique way, what a strange and glorious existence it is.

    The themes of all the other nominees are important, to varying degrees, but generally address specific social and political struggles – vengeance, determination, regret and manipulation within their closed “communities.”

    Amour, Beasts of the Southern Wild and Life of Pi take us way, way beyond that in very imaginative and visionary ways. That’s what sets them apart.

  48. January 17, 2013

    My BP ballot would look like this

    1. Lincoln
    2. Life of Pi
    3. Zero Dark Thirty
    4. Beasts of the Southern Wild
    5. Argo
    6. Amour
    7.
    8.
    9.

    I’ll be disappointed if my #1 pick doesn’t make it. But I’d be almost equally happy if any of my 2-6 choices win instead.

    It would bug me so much if any of the 3 absent titles won. And I’d feel sick if I thought I marked my ballot in a way that helped any one of them.

    Would leaving spots blank invalidate my ballot? Not sure, but I don’t see why it should.

  49. Robert A.
    January 17, 2013

    My guess for Ryan’s Bottom Three, in no particular order: SLP, Django Unchained, and Les Mis.

  50. Robert A.
    January 17, 2013

    I swear I posted my guesses before I saw Ryan’s rankings.

  51. Tony
    January 17, 2013

    “Zero Dark Thirty was brilliant, stunning, very well crafted and directed, but it was murdered by haters and male power of Hollywood. Simply this was the best movie of the year.”

    Absolutely true! Although i would say “eminent” journalists instead of haters cause that’s what they are advertised to be! You know i always wondered what kind of audience is the American??? Are they any different from audiences from other parts of the world??? Well, this is what i see now: In a year in which the audiences around the world were given intense and intellectually challenging works like The Master or ZDT, people decide to embrace Django. Being brought to tears of laugh by Tarantino’s sense of creating amusement and entertainment out suffering, people simply want pure and definite “per aspera ad astra” hero to stick with so they can have good nightmare-free sleep. And that’s what Django delivers. That’s what Lincoln or Beasts or SLP deliver. But not ZDT, not Maya, not Bigelow nor Boal. On contrary, they impose forbidden questions, they trigger brain functioning, they create fears or as in the case of the “eminent” journalists -obsessive nightmares! Not just the American, but audiences all around the world. They don’t want to think, they don’t want to draw their own conclusions on painful visions uncompromising works such as ZDT or The Master propose. Audiences around the world don’t want Maya’s tears. They want her chin and nose proudly uplifted as the motherfucker who killed bin Laden. Due to the law of large numbers, audiences around the world want to feel and if possible those feelings should be preferably good! That’s the state of the audiences relation towards cinema. That’s the way always has been. After all, movies are there to entertain us, not to disturb us! ZDT is film way ahead of its time.

  52. jess4linc
    January 17, 2013

    Well at least you admit there are racist on both side of the discussion. Right. Fact. Glad you think there are only a small pathetic fraction of crazies scattered about and I suppose none of these are liberals. BTW, there are a lot more racists in this country on both side of the discussion that a scattered few or just some crazies. At to secession, there were a few states there for awhile that actually were obtaining signatures to recede from the Union although much of it was just .political .theater.

  53. Antoinette
    January 17, 2013

    I’m tellin’ Ben Affleck you called ARGO Mitt Romney. lol

  54. January 17, 2013

    ha, Robert A. !
    I swear I almost wrote, “I’m sure it’s no mystery to many of you which movies I’d leave off.”

    pretty amazing that you got them in the right order too.

  55. Marshall Flores
    January 17, 2013

    “This is the time of year where you can see who understands the perferential voting system and who does not.

    If you were an Academy member and in the “Anything but Lincoln” camp, you don’t have to discuss with other members what film you want to support instead. All you have to do is put it #9 on your ballot. The rest, if there are enough “Anything but Lincoln” voters, will take care of itself.”

    Actually, rufus, although this is a very intuitive strategy, political science research has indicated that preferential balloting is resistant to the “burying” strategy you’re referring to. It’s not completely invulnerable to tactical voting shenanigans, but it is resistant.

  56. January 17, 2013

    It’s not completely invulnerable to tactical voting shenanigans, but it is resistant.

    the way I said I’d fill out my ballot in the example I showed wasn’t intended to be tactical. No shenanigans either. Just plain honest preference — and three empty beats at the bottom in silent protest.

  57. Karl
    January 17, 2013

    Lincoln is too boring to me. I hope Argo wins but if it doesn’t I vote for Life of Pi

  58. jess4Linc
    January 17, 2013

    Well, according to other sites the thinking is from Academy members they know or claim they know the feeling for “Argo” for best pic is huge amongst them. BTW, has there ever being a picture let say in the last thirty years that won with just ONE OSCAR WIN.

  59. Marshall Flores
    January 17, 2013

    “the way I said I’d fill out my ballot in the example I showed wasn’t intended to be tactical. No shenanigans either. Just plain honest preference — and three beats at the bottom of silent protest.”

    Well, by definition then, Ryan, you’re not voting tactically then. :-) Tactical voting is simply when someone doesn’t vote for their sincere preference in the attempt to prevent an undesirable outcome.

  60. steve50
    January 17, 2013

    Hey, Ryan – when did your #1 and #2 switch places?

    I’m with you on one thing – I would also leave 7, 8, and 9 blank, and it would be the same three films. Order would be different though: Life of Pi, Zero Dark Thirty, Amour, Lincoln, Beasts, and Argo.

  61. Bryce Forestieri
    January 17, 2013

    LOLOLOL Dick Cheney gave an A+ to ZERO DARK THIRTY, good one
    probably true tho…

  62. jess4Linc
    January 17, 2013

    Well, lets hope the Academy members get the voting procedures and learn the method of voting so they get this race done right. Who knows they just might screw up enough that “Django Unchained” get best pic. Wouldn’t that be a howl in the night.

  63. January 17, 2013

    Well, according to other sites the thinking is from Academy members they know or claim they know the feeling for “Argo” for best pic is huge amongst them.

    Even if that’s true (which I doubt) — all that tells me is that voters who favor Argo are the voters most likely to blab about who they’re voting for.

    If noisy cocksure support was sign of a winner, then Rick Santorum would be president.

  64. Jess4Linc
    January 17, 2013

    The Academy might just think that Spielberg has won enough and by giving Day-Lewis, Jones, and Williams the OSCAR that is enough.

  65. Marshall Flores
    January 17, 2013

    And FWIW, my Oscar ballot

    1. Lincoln
    2. Life of Pi
    3. Zero Dark Thirty
    4. Amour
    5. Argo
    6. Django Unchained
    7. Beasts of the Southern Wild

    8. Les Miserables
    9. Silver Linings Playbook

    Won’t leave the least two spots blank on principle.

  66. jess4linc
    January 17, 2013

    “If noisy cocksure support was sign of a winner, then Rick Santorum would be president.”

    OR HILLARY CLINTON..

  67. Marshall Flores
    January 17, 2013

    “Well, according to other sites the thinking is from Academy members they know or claim they know the feeling for “Argo” for best pic is huge amongst them.”

    *cough* “Selection bias!” *cough*

  68. January 17, 2013

    steve50, Life of Pi is still my personal “favorite” movie of the year (and maybe my favorite of the past 5 years). Life of Pis is the movie that means most to me this year.

    But I think one way I differ from the classic conception of Oscar voter is that I don’t just vote “for what I like.”

    I try to balance personal emotional reaction with what I think is the most universal achievement of the year.

    There’s no switch. I’ve said this several times on the Oscar Podcasts over the past 8 weeks .

    But, steve50, you make me want to adjust what I said above.

    I would actually be equally happy if Lincoln or Life of Pi won BP. And if neither of those 2 prevail, then I’ll be equally happy for any of the 4 in the next tier.

  69. Paul
    January 17, 2013

    I know I am in the minority (MAJOR MINORITY) in saying this, but I thought Daniel Day-Lewis’ performance in Lincoln was misguided and really bad. He sounded like a 1979 NYC nerd-wannabe actor. He played the part of an amateur actor playing Lincoln, and it that respect only, it worked. Otherwise, it was a travesty. Vile to watch and listen to. Sorry.

  70. Mattoc
    January 17, 2013

    If your choice for #1 is anything but Django, I think you’re in with a chance.

  71. steve50
    January 17, 2013

    “Gold Derby’s Tom O’Neil told me that a producer friend of his, who is never wrong, says it’s Argo’s to lose. Argo is probably the film that appeals more broadly to international audiences, those who especially would not appreciate Lincoln. ”

    Not buying this – at all. Argo has, to date, made $181M, foreign and domestic, while Pi has done $441M, over 3/4 of it international. Is this broad appeal? or a banana peel?

  72. d2
    January 17, 2013

    Instead of thinking that any film that wins over Lincoln will make that film an embarrassment, a loss for Lincoln could mean much more for the film. Just look at films like Network, Citizen Kane, A Streetcar Named Desire, The Graduate, Raging Bull, Jaws, Taxi Driver…all classics that didn’t win Best Picture and which did just fine.

  73. rufussondheim
    January 17, 2013

    Actually, rufus, although this is a very intuitive strategy, political science research has indicated that preferential balloting is resistant to the “burying” strategy you’re referring to. It’s not completely invulnerable to tactical voting shenanigans, but it is resistant.

    Well, if 51% of people put Lincoln as #9, it doesn’t matter if the other 49% put it #1, it won’t win (assuming all fill out all nine slots)

    It’s definitely resistant, you have to get majority support against a film, which is probably harder than getting majority support for a film. But the point remains the same, if you put Lincoln last it doesn’t matter what order you rank the other 8 as the vote for Lincoln will never come into play.

    I do wonder what happens to a ballot that’s incomplete and all of the options eliminated. They probably just throw it out and reduce the TOTAL ballot count. But wouldn’t it be fun if, like the Pulitzers, it’s possible that None of the Above could win? Imagine the shocked faces on the presenters!

  74. Robert A.
    January 17, 2013

    @ Ryan:

    Ha! Your Bottom Three is my Bottom Three too. Same order.

    “BTW, has there ever being a picture let say in the last thirty years that won with just ONE OSCAR WIN.”

    No. Crash came close with only two other wins (editing and o. screenplay) before it won BP. I think The Greatest Show on Earth might have won BP win only one other win under its belt (Best Story or something like that), but again, I’m saying this off memory so don’t quote me on it.

  75. rufussondheim
    January 17, 2013

    If Argo wins, it will likely win editing as well so I doubt it will be a one and done situation. And since none of the nominated scores really stand out, I suspect it would win that too. But for the life of me, I can’t recall any music from it.

    The only films I thought deserved Best Score nominations were left out, Zero and Beasts. I can understand why the Zero score was left off, it was pretty subdued, heck I can’t even recall a score until 2 hours in, but then it was great (as the helicopters approached the raid.)

    And the Beasts score, well, that’s a classic. It’s one of the rare scores I actually bought.

  76. Marshall Flores
    January 17, 2013

    “It’s definitely resistant, you have to get majority support against a film, which is probably harder than getting majority support for a film. But the point remains the same, if you put Lincoln last it doesn’t matter what order you rank the other 8 as the vote for Lincoln will never come into play.”

    This makes some really strong assumptions about voter behavior. Sure, maybe some voters will try to bury films they don’t want to see win, but enough to make a significant impact? Remember, these are the same AMPAS voters who had apparently so much trouble with voting online. I really doubt enough of them will make any extra effort in voting beyond simply voting for what they like best. I mean, they’re not all that different from the average voter in a presidential election.

  77. steve50
    January 17, 2013

    “they’re not all that different from the average voter in a presidential election”

    And that’s why they’ll vote for Lincoln. The title alone invites votes. Who wouldn’t? It could have been given any number of titles because, it isn’t, after all, a biopic. The title alone ensures success. Cagey business, that (and don’t tell me that wasn’t a consideration, much as I enjoyed the film).

  78. January 17, 2013

    Just read a “Lincoln isn’t Jewish enough” piece in Jewish Journal and a “Lincoln wasn’t black enough” piece in Salon.

    See that. My first choice for who should play Lincoln was Slash (Guns N’ Roses). He has years of big hat experience. But that’s what Spielberg gets for not asking me.

    I fixed the poster. :P

  79. Rodrigo jp
    January 17, 2013

    I think it’s Beasts to lose.

    It got Best Director, best actress nom, the Academy loves it!

  80. Astarisborn
    January 17, 2013

    I always know I love a film when I immediately want to see it again.
    I did with Lincoln, Life of Pi, 0dark30 and The Impossible. I almost did with Argo. Sorry, but I fell asleep for a while during the middle of Silver Linings.

  81. unlikely hood
    January 17, 2013

    Lucky for us Lincoln fans that there are so many quality films in the race. We can rely on Richard Parker, Jean Valjean, Tony Mendez, Maya, and PhillyEagles-boy to cancel each other out, to keep Lincoln from drawing too much fire.

    Too bad these guys weren’t around that night in Ford’s Theater.

  82. January 17, 2013

    “This year, we had not only one of the most contentious elections in recent US history, but we discovered a still-ugly side of America, one that was ready to secede from the union after the nation’ first black president was re-elected.”

    Indeed. Excellent lead-in!! I’ll add the despicable conspiracy claims going viral on the wrenching, unconscionable Newtown shootings at the time when the grieving remains unbearable in Sandy Hook and throughout the nation. Then we have the statements made by the NRA, which I won’t even dignify. Obama’s moving tribute to young Grace O’Donnell and all the other 19 angels lost yesterday was beyond tear-inducing.

  83. Bryce Forestieri
    January 17, 2013

    Is there gonna be a LES MIZ backlash?

  84. Mattoc
    January 17, 2013

    Only if it wins Bryce.

  85. rufussondheim
    January 17, 2013

    Just a quick sidenote – I need to promote a book I just read, The Long Walk by Brian Castner. For fans of The Hurt Locker, this book is the real deal, written by an actual soldier who worked on an EOD Unit. Highly recommended.

  86. PJ
    January 17, 2013

    Seems like Silver Linings Playbook made the right impression on the right people. Because Dreamworks just preemptively bought Matthew Quick’s next novel.

    “We immediately sparked to Matthew Quick’s book and the heart and humor which is infused in his storytelling,” said president of production Holly Bario. “All of us at DreamWorks are excited to begin developing this story and look to make it a priority at the studio.”

    http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/dreamworks-snaps-up-film-rights-413524

  87. January 17, 2013

    If we’re talking heroes. No one is more “heroic” in the classic sense than Django. I know. I know. You guys think DJANGO UNCHAINED has no hope. But ballots aren’t all in yet. They haven’t even gone out right?

    Django starts off as a slave. He’s downtrodden. Barely a man. He’s taken under the wing of Dr. King Shultz. His own Obi Wan Kenobi if you will. Shultz teaches him the ways of bounty hunting. As time goes on he becomes not only self-sufficient but a symbol. Think of the scene when he rides into town, tall in the saddle, a real cowboy, and all the townsfolk are agape at the man on the horse. They’d never seen anything like him. He rode into town as sure of himself as he could be. But he needed to be tested.

    As he goes on his quest to save his lady love, he becomes more confident, even redirecting his former teacher, now partner, when he loses control a bit. This happens during the scene with the dogs. He did what he had to do to get his woman back. And like all heroes he must eventually go it alone without his mentor and vanquish his enemies alone. And vanquish them he did! What an arc!

    I’m gonna keep rooting for DJANGO UNCHAINED, even if everyone else considers it an also-ran.

  88. david
    January 17, 2013

    fascinating… on EW’s column they asked 3 actors and 3 producers who are they gonna vote on BP and Best actress

    Actor 1 – SLP, Lawrence
    actor 2 – Life of Pi – Riva
    actor 3 – SLP – Lawrence
    Producer 1 – Lincoln, wATTS
    producer 2 – SLP , Lawrence
    Producer 2 – Argo, Riva

  89. Tony
    January 17, 2013

    First — Racism shouldn’t come in ANY colors, but unfortunately it comes in ALL colors.

    Second — The total number of nominations that a film receives gets it headlines, and ultimately votes. Small films or serious contemporary dramas are at a disadvantage. Some categories are almost totally unavailable to them; these may be “lower profile” categories, but they sure can jack up the totals.

  90. Zach
    January 17, 2013

    Charlie Chaplin’s daughter was in The Impossible, but that didn’t do much for the film’s chances. :(

  91. Patrick
    January 17, 2013

    Being the nomination leader is so crucial, especially in a year when they’re using preferential voting for Best Picture. Here are the 15 years they used preferential voting:

    1934: It Happened One Night – 5 (2nd most)
    1935: Mutiny On The Bounty – 7 (1st most)
    1936: The Great Ziegfeld – 7 (1st most)
    1937: The Life Of Emile Zola – 10 (1st most)
    1938: You Can’t Take It With You – 7 (1st most)
    1939: Gone With The Wind – 13 (1st most)
    1940: Rebecca – 11 (1st most)
    1941: How Green Was My Valley – 10 (2nd most)
    1942: Mrs. Miniver – 12 (1st most)
    1943: Casablanca – 8 (3rd most)
    1944: Going My Way – 10 (1st most)
    1945: The Lost Weekend – 7 (2nd most)
    2009: The Hurt Locker – 9 (1st most)
    2010: The King’s Speech – 12 (most)
    2011: The Artist – 10 (2nd most)

    BP Winner in Top 1: 66.67%
    BP Winner in Top 2: 93.33%
    BP Winner in Top 3: 100.00%

  92. Patrick
    January 17, 2013

    “fascinating… on EW’s column they asked 3 actors and 3 producers who are they gonna vote on BP and Best actress
    Actor 1 – SLP, Lawrence
    actor 2 – Life of Pi – Riva
    actor 3 – SLP – Lawrence
    Producer 1 – Lincoln, wATTS
    producer 2 – SLP , Lawrence
    Producer 2 – Argo, Riva”

    David, we don’t get much out of this without their #2 – #9 picks for BP.

  93. Edkargir
    January 17, 2013

    My ballot.
    1 beast of the southern wild
    2 zero dark thirty
    3 silver linings playbook
    4 amour
    5 Lincoln
    6 Argo
    7django unchained
    8 les miserable
    9 life of pi

  94. January 17, 2013

    Charlie Chaplin’s daughter was in The Impossible, but that didn’t do much for the film’s chances

    But when I saw it I was like “YAY! Tonya!” :) If it were me I’d trade that for one of the nominated movies. Same with MOONRISE KINGDOM. ZDT and LINCOLN can go.

  95. Zach
    January 17, 2013

    I’d trade The Impossible for just about any of the nominated movies except for Lincoln. And of course, Pi and Argo deserve to be there.

    Dumb question time: they’re using the preferential voting for Best Picture as long as there are possibly more than 5 nominees, but the rest of the categories like Acting are still up to a popular vote?

    And preferential voting: does that work the same way as the nominations work, with the winner being the film that ends up on top?

  96. The Dude
    January 17, 2013

    “Argo is probably the film that appeals more broadly to international audiences, those who especially would not appreciate Lincoln. Or so it goes.”

    More than Life of Pi? That’s ridiculous. Both considering the content and the actual box office results.

    Again, I think Life of Pi is being almost ignored in predictions, which makes no sense: it is the biggest box office hit, probably the most visually striking movie, and a more emotional material than most (certainly Lincoln and Argo).

    Also, I don’t believe that Lincoln will win Best Picture AND Best Director AND Best Actor AND Best Supporting Actor AND Best Screenplay- that would be an unprecedented sweep, in a year that’s very, very competitive.

  97. The Japanese Viewer
    January 17, 2013

    (LIFE OF PI)

    I may not have read much on the internet [I guess] but in any case I am hoping more and more of the online pundits/watchers are writing for Life of Pi, and even the Zen-like Ang Lee, nigh the Oscar (and recently). Somehow it feels Life of Pi has recently been underrated relatively given the current environs on the internet.

    Some of my predictions for now:

    Best Picture = Lincoln (alt. Argo or Life of Pi)
    Best Director = Ang Lee (alt. Steven Spielberg)
    Best Actor = Daniel Day-Lewis (Even in his younger days, DDL showcased his talent as Spielberg’s ET [remember the index finger he showed to Fey and Poehler? xD]…. Amazing…)
    Best Actress = Emmanuelle Riva (alt. Jennifer Lawrence)

    (The DDL’s ET role was a GG joke by the way.)

  98. Reno
    January 17, 2013

    Any of the 3 Ls for BP: Lincoln, Les Miz or Life of Pi.

    I’m fantasizing about the Academy atoning for the Crash fiasco by once again awarding Ang Lee the best director Oscar but this time out, his film also wins best picture.

  99. Mattoc
    January 17, 2013

    No one is mentioning the dark horse Amour. It’s as controversial as ZDT.

    What about the torturous piano music played throughout the first half that led to the demise of one of the lead characters? You could argue that it was incidental…however during one of these ‘torturous’ scenes, a certain someone asks that it stop, “turn it off” she says. Suffice to say she got a bit of “Pillow music” as a result.

  100. Ryan Adams
    January 17, 2013

    David, Thanks, but that EW “poll” is about as fascinating to me as Good Morning America stopping 6 people in the mall and asking them who’s getting their vote for president.

    Either this poll means SLP is the greatest movie of 2012 in the eyes of half the entire Academy (which, no, it does not mean that). Or else it means nothing (yes, that’s what it means).

    For all we know the three actors queried were Lawrence, Cooper, and Riva.

  101. January 17, 2013

    Wow, Bryce is still making anti-Les Mis jokes, weeks after it ceased to be a threat. I guess because the jokes are so hilarious, they keep coming.

    And, someone else likes to push the envelope on spoiling a movie for people who haven’t seen it.

    Lovely company.

  102. January 17, 2013

    Close Encounters of the Third Kind got 8 nominations. Wouldn’t that put Annie Hall in 4th?

  103. January 17, 2013

    I can´t believe when pepole say Tommy Lee Jones will win another Oscar.
    That one note and one face actor…

    John Malkovich and Ralph Fiennes both were robbed in 1993.

  104. January 17, 2013

    1. ZD30
    2. Les Mis
    3. Amour
    4. Argo
    5. Lincoln
    6. Life of Pi
    7. Beasts
    8. SLP
    9. Django

  105. January 17, 2013

    Leonardo DiCaprio might as well have won, because he hasn’t been anywhere near as great since.

  106. Juan
    January 18, 2013

    If Silver Linings Playbook wins it’s going to be one of the biggest disappointments in the Oscars History. The Adapted Screenplay could be its consolation prize but in my opinion it doesn’t deserve even that. Lincoln or Argo are first.

    It’s a nice comedy but nothing more.

  107. Sato
    January 18, 2013

    I don’t think the Academy will vote Argo (just in case) just because they “like” it… Of course, making up for Affleck snub will help but I think and hope they will vote for it same as how the Critics and Hollywood Foreign Press reason: Simply because it is the “best” film of 2012… (of course, this is subjective)

    Mine would be:

    Argo
    Django Unchained
    Life of Pi
    Les Misérables
    Silver Linings Playbook
    Lincoln
    Zero Dark Thirty
    Amour
    Beasts of the Southern Wild

  108. Deniz
    January 18, 2013

    I guess I’m the only one that’s happy with Affleck not getting in. Haneke, Lee, Spielberg, Russell all deserved it more. I would take Zeitlin out, and put Bigelow.

    I think everyone is underestimating Hoffman for winning. Waltz just won & Arkin is not good enough & they already are giving Lewis a third Oscar they might not do the same with DeNiro.
    It’s between Jones & Hoffman.

  109. Deniz
    January 18, 2013

    K

  110. Deniz
    January 18, 2013

    Mine would be

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

  111. KB
    January 18, 2013

    Predictions:

    Picture – “Argo” The first film to win BP without a Director nom since “Driving Miss Daisy”. It will pull it off with a close victory over “Lincoln”.

    Director – Steven Spielberg

    Actor – Daniel Day-Lewis (If he doesn’t win, it would be the biggest upset of all time, imo.)

    Actress – Naomi Watts (Add Gary Sinese to the list of actors praising her performance. This is a crazy prediction, but in the end, in a tight 4-way race, excluding Wallis, I think she wins in the shock of the night).

    Supporting Actor – Tommy Lee Jones (The most interesting category, but I think Jones will win. Now if he can only smiling if he wins).

    Supporting Actress – Anne Hathaway (Thanking Sally Field at the Globes was the smartest thing she could have done. She sealed it.)

    Adapted Screenplay – “Lincoln”

    Original Screenplay – “Django Unchained” wins in a close one over “Amour”.

  112. Andrew
    January 18, 2013

    this has to be the most open BP contest in years. I can see Lincoln, Argo or SLP winning, depending on how the preferences go.

    usually by this stage we know who is going to win. its good for it to be exciting for a change

  113. Bill
    January 18, 2013

    I love Lincoln, but it’s more important for me that it wins adapted screenplay and actor, I really hope it wind picture too. I honestly believe it has one of the best screenplays ever put to film, kushners a legend and rightfully so

  114. steve50
    January 18, 2013

    “If Silver Linings Playbook wins it’s going to be one of the biggest disappointments in the Oscars History.”

    The revelation hit me while watching a certain interview last night: if SLP wins Best Picture and HW gets his third consecutive BP, it’s enough proof that HW is the Lance Armstrong of the movie biz. There is no way this film is up to the standards of production or ambition of any of its competitors. And if I see a comparison to Annie Hall, the best comedy ever made, on a blog or Twitter one more time, I’ll lose it.

    I’m also in agreement with some posters (most recently The Dude and Japanese Viewer) that one nominee – the most financially successful of the bunch right behind Lincoln in nominations- is getting short shrift with regards to attention from the great predictors in comparison to Argo, ZDT and, of course, Lincoln.

    Maybe some “making of” featurettes/posts on the other noms would be fun since not much is happening in the next week or so. I’ve been rummaging through YouTube to find some good ones

  115. Astarisborn
    January 18, 2013

    Finally saw an add last night on TV for Life of Pi. First time since the week of its opening. Is Fox pushing this?

  116. Christophe
    January 18, 2013

    Mine would be

    1. Les Misérables
    2. Spielberg’s Film
    3. Life of Pi

    The other 6 don’t even deserve a BP nom.

  117. January 18, 2013

    OT

    MPSE nominations announced – the last of the guilds noms!

    http://screenonscreen.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/motion-picture-sound-editors-nominations.html#more

  118. Dan
    January 18, 2013

    I think Les Mis odds of winning Best Pic have been growing over the past few weeks. That being said I think Argo (a movie that is good but not great imo) is in the lead. Lincoln is making me nervous (I’m not convinced its widely loved enough to win). SLP is overrated and I don’t think it has any real shot to win. ZDT (sadly), DJANGO, AMOUR, BOSW get the “happy to be nominated” prize. Life of Pi may grab a few tech Oscars but no threat to win the big one although I do think Ang Lee has a decent shot at winning Director.

    Where it stands now for Best Pic:
    1. Argo
    2. Lincoln (Fading)
    3. Les Miz
    4. Silver Linings Playbook

    The others have no chance to take the top prize

    Director
    Spielberg (alt: Lee)

    Actor
    DDL

    Actress
    Chastain (Alt: Riva)

    S. Actor
    Toss up (edge to Hoffman)

    S. Actress
    Adams

  119. Bryce Forestieri
    January 18, 2013

    Alright a little late to the party but here’s my ballot:

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

  120. January 18, 2013

    Very interesting Dan I must say, but you probably have flubbed it with Adams at the end. Almost no one at this point is going against Hathaway who seems as close to a lock as anyone. Even in the unlikely event she would lose, it would almost definitely be Field coming up the rear.

  121. Patrick
    January 18, 2013

    PS. For my earlier post, the nomination rankings (for the 15 years with preferential voting) are the same with and without using dense ranking.

  122. Johnny
    January 18, 2013

    Here fox news reports that Ben Affleck didn’t make the cut for director because the Academy directors were jealous of his six pack… that’s it!!

    http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2013/01/17/did-ben-affleck-six-pack-deep-six-his-oscar-for-argo/?intcmp=features

  123. Bob Burns
    January 18, 2013

    Argo flatters Hollywood – they just updated Goodman’s wardrobe from The Artist. I’m guessing we will see it’s strength in the big guilds.

    ZD30 makes so many people feel slimy when they reflect on it. The implosion is just beginning, and what else is there to talk about the next few weeks?

    Argo is the antidote – clean and true. Personally, I’m kinda meh about it – and SLP. But it’s only Oscar.

    Pi would be very cool.

  124. January 18, 2013

    Almost no one at this point is going against Hathaway who seems as close to a lock as anyone.

    Its so cool when an Oscar category is locked down from the moment a role is cast, 17 months before Oscar night. Maybe “cool” isn’t the word I’m looking for.

  125. José R. Ortega
    January 18, 2013

    American Beauty had only 8 nominations, not 11 as indicated.

  126. January 18, 2013

    “Its so cool when an Oscar category is locked down from the moment a role is cast, 17 months before Oscar night. Maybe “cool” isn’t the word I’m looking for.”

    Indeed. And that appear to be precisely what happened in this case, though Hathaway did her damdest to infuse the situation with supreme artistry. It’s Oscar bait for sure, but it’s critics’ bait and audience bait too. A win win for everyone, even with noble Sally right there at the party.

  127. January 18, 2013

    I know this has been alluded to and updated at AD, as well it should be, but I just now looked at the Gold Derby Best Picture predictions of the 24 participants including Sasha.

    It’s 13 to 10 right now with LINCOLN edging out ARGO. Even without the Best Director nomination ARGO continues to sit in a prominent position when prospects are discussed.

    The sole vote that isn’t currently going for either has been cast by Jeff Wells, who continues to predict SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK.

    What I found quite telling is that Dave Karger (perhaps the biggest LES MIZ fan in the group) now has the musical as his “Number 5″ choice, after having it at No. 1 for quite some time.

  128. rufussondheim
    January 18, 2013

    To be fair Ryan, Daniel Day Lewis practically had his third Oscar “locked” when he was cast in Lincoln. Sure, it wasn’t always definite, but mostly because of the third-Oscar possibility, with a lot of people saying since it would be his third he doesn’t have as much of a shot as some others.

    But I’d say his situation is pretty much the same as Hathaway’s, Hathaway just didn’t have the fortune have having won two previous Oscars.

    ——–

    SO, Ryan, did you release your top 50 and I missed it?

    ———

    This is the phase when the race gets boring. Very little new info comes out, and with the exception of Amour, there are no more movies to see as they’ve all been available for a couple of weeks or more for the vast majority of us.

    The PGA win can’t come soon enough.

  129. Daveylow
    January 18, 2013

    This is based on nothing but I’m sensing Spielberg isn’t going to get best director on Oscar night. And I won’t be surprised if he loses the DGA either. Of course, he can’t get the BAFTA.

  130. Daveylow
    January 18, 2013

    I still would have loved to have seen Liam Neeson’s Lincoln.

  131. Odee
    January 18, 2013

    Silver Linings can win for the very same reasons that Shakespeare won. Good movie, safe and easy to relate to, but hardly the best picture. But, does it really matter? It’s going to come down to the vote and to some extent, the others are polarizing.

    There is no question that Lincoln is superior to SLP, but it’s a bit literal for some. It’s kind of a throwback, a la 1966 type movie, where it could and would have given A Man for All Seasons a run for its money and as good as that was, it probably could never win best picture in modern times.

    Beast is too unconventional to win, and I just don’t see a musical this year, so it’s looking like Argo, or Lincoln. I don’t think Harvey will get a hat trick.

  132. January 18, 2013

    Since it can’t really be about “best” it has to be about numbers, statistics and all of those things that won’t break your heart when you see how they turn out.

    An Oscar mantra I silently repeat to myself at least once a day during the thick of things. Couldn’t of wrote it better.

    My groggy early predictions:

    Best Picture: Lincoln (alt. Argo)
    Best Director: Michael Haneke (alt. David O. Russell)
    Best Actress: Jennifer Lawrence (alt. Jessica Chastain)
    Best Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis (alt. lol)
    Best Supporting Actor: Philip Seymour Hoffman (alt. Tommy Lee Jones)
    Best Supporting Actress: Anne Hathaway (alt. lol)
    Best Foreign Film: Amour (alt. War Witch)
    Best Documentary: How to Survive a Plaque (alt. 5 Broken Cameras)
    Best Animated Film: Brave (alt. ParaNorman)
    Best Cinematography: Life of Pi (alt. Django Unchained)
    Original Screenplay: Quentin Tarantino (alt. Michael Haneke)
    Adapted Screenplay: Tony Kushner (alt. David O’Russell)
    Best Editing: Zero Dark Thirty (alt. Argo)
    Best Production Design: Anna Karenina (alt. Lincoln)
    Best Costumes: Anna Karenina (alt. Mirror Mirror)
    Best Make-Up: Les Miserables (alt. Hitchcock)
    Best Sound Mixing: Les Miserables (alt. Life of Pi)
    Best Sound Editing: Life of Pi (alt. Skyfall)
    Best Score: Life of Pi (alt. Argo)
    Best Song: Skyfall (alt. Suddenly)
    Best Visual Effects: Life of Pi (alt. The Hobbit)

    Best Doc Short: no clue
    Best Live Action Short: no clue
    Best Animated Short: no clue

  133. January 18, 2013

    “I still would have loved to have seen Liam Neeson’s Lincoln.” Is that another euphemism for “Evian bottle”? LOL. Where’s my mind this morning?

  134. montfort
    January 18, 2013

    The leading contenders for Best Picture seem to have something else in common besides unabashed, single-minded heroes, and that is a rage at the status quo, a cold-blooded fury at how hard it is to change things for the better, and in this, they seem to have powerfully grabbed the zeitgeist in one way or another. Lincoln show a man determined to end slavery, even if it means thousands of more deaths in a war he feels will kill him; in Les Mis, a man searches to recreate himself under the crushing stress of the mindless law, and revolutionaries sacrifice their lives as they battle off the status quo; in Zero Dark Thirty, the protagonist struggles against the numbing bureaucracy of a massive intelligence agency to force it toward a target almost she alone believes is real; in Argo, a man risks his life to fulfill a mission against the wishes of two huge, bureaucratic intelligence agencies. Even Silver Linings Playbook, in its own way, is about a heroes impossible struggle to find something good about his intractable mental illness. Lincoln and Les Mis most deeply embody this theme, because they both detail the human sacrifice required for change, and the necessity, almost that blood be given to create a better world. I loved Argo, but I can’t believe it would win out over both Lincoln and Les Mis. Lincoln has more going for it, but Les Mis could still squeak through in a nine film universe. But people who say Argo doesn’t have real emotion are forgetting that the movie instantly transports a great many academy voters back to the period of their (relative) youth, and what has more emotional impact than a film that reminds you of…you? Still, I suppose it’s early days yet, and anything can happen. Still happy that all of the movies nominated for Best Picture were well worth seeing.

  135. January 18, 2013

    http://www.TheMovieFrog.com my in-depth reactions to and analysis of the most surprising set of Oscar nominations in years.http://fb.me/1PaAomdte

  136. Zach
    January 18, 2013

    “It’s enough proof that HW is the Lance Armstrong of the movie biz.”

    I spit out my drink at this one!

    And the Annie Hall comparisons…ugh. I haven’t seen that many. Most of the time I feel like I’m the one saying this movie and JLaw are NO Annie Hall.

    Annie Hall > Up in the Air > The Goodbye Girl >> Juno >> Sideways >> Little Miss Sunshine >> Silver Linings Playbook.

  137. Zach
    January 18, 2013

    *Lost in Translation should be in between Sideways and Sunshine.

  138. Zooey
    January 18, 2013

    Comment

  139. Zooey
    January 18, 2013

    @ Nik G,

    it may be a bit childish of me to point it out, but idea of an alternative winner in the best actor category isn’t laughable. While I don’t think that Cooper or Washington deserve it, a win for Jackman is quite possible and to me Phoenix was way more interesting than Day-Lewis. Day-Lewis is one of these actors people can’t write anything bad about because it would be like breaking a convention. Well, I’m into that. Yes, Day-Lewis delivered a solid performance. No, it wasn’t a master class in acting. I can think of numerous scenes where he went wrong (and the performance was way too sentimental to me!).

  140. January 18, 2013

    “I can´t believe when pepole say Tommy Lee Jones will win another Oscar.
    That one note and one face actor…”

    Ugh. It’s hard to read stuff like that and then try to be civil.

  141. Zooey
    January 18, 2013

    I’d love to see Haneke win directing and since it’s a crazy year, I’ll probably predict him. I love doing predictions like that and sometimes it pays off.

    But Haneke has too much going against him:
    - a foreign language film
    - while it’s a terrific film and it stays with you for a long time, it’s not an epic film or a showcase of flashy directorial choices and it won’t have the narrative Polanski had
    - and of course Polanski was in a crazy year politically and in terms of campaigning etc.
    - Haneke has no DGA nod and a win for somebody without a DGA nod has never happened, but if the DGA picks Argo, we could see anything happen

  142. Zooey
    January 18, 2013

    Tommy Lee Jones was my favorite actor in LINCOLN.

    I hope he wins.

  143. January 18, 2013

    Okay I’ve seen everything but AMOUR* which I probably won’t get to see until Oscar weekend if AMC does the Oscar nominees thing. If not, I don’t know when I’ll see it. So here’s my fake ballot…

    1. Django Unchained
    2. Silver Linings Playbook
    3. Beasts of the Southern Wild
    4. Life of Pi
    5. Argo
    6. Lincoln
    7. Amour*
    8. Zero Dark Thirty
    9. Les Miserables

  144. January 18, 2013

    Gustavo,
    Hard is wood into an ass.
    And see actors like Fiennes and Malkovich losing a Oscar for TLJ, an actor whit just one expression at his face. And uncapable to smile.
    Too hard is an genuine talent like Tom Holland being snubbed.
    Anyway, I’m civil above all this.
    I had a great education.
    Good night.

  145. Mark
    January 18, 2013

    Interesting to see that your alternative for Best Original Screenplay is Zero Dark Thirty. With the controversy surrounding it, I think it hurts its chances. Academy members, I guess, will shy away from the idea of endorsing torture. Look what happened to Brokeback Mountain. I believe it’s a two-way race between Amour and Django.

  146. January 18, 2013

    Wow, Antoinette, our ballots are almost completely reversed.

  147. January 19, 2013

    That table with the rankings has one mistake. It says Grand Hotel to rank 3 but according to Wikipedia there were films with four, three and two nominations. Grand Hotel only had one so it would rank fourth in its year making a tie with Chariots of Fire. I guess…

  148. Sammy
    January 19, 2013

    Haneke is the outstanding director of the year considering his work for Amour. A win is definitely possible.

  149. January 19, 2013

    When everyone is compromised, or at least if art if made by people who believe this, then the concept of hero is anathema. In other words, dismissing whole the concept of good or evil people is a comfort for in fact compromised souls. It seems to me the most praised filmmakers these days, aside from, say, Haneke -PTA and Chrisopher Nolan and Quentin Tarantino – bask in the vast cognitive dissonance of our time.

  150. Elton Almeida
    January 19, 2013

    1- Django Unchained
    2- Amour
    3- Silver Linings Playbook
    4- Les Miserábles
    5- Life of Pi
    6- Argo
    7- Zero Dark Thirty
    8- Beasts of Southern Wild
    9- Lincoln

  151. Jerry Grant
    January 19, 2013

    1. Lincoln
    2. Zero Dark Thirty — #2 “best” movie, but much lower on “favorites”
    3. Silver Linings Playbook
    4. Django Unchained
    5. Life of Pi
    6. Argo
    7. Les Miserables
    8. Beasts of the Southern Wild

    Haven’t seen “Amour”.

  152. Jasonml
    January 20, 2013

    I must say Sasha, I think this takes the cake for your best “State of the Race” piece. Very well done and informative. I think, all due respect to the amazing quality of each one of these films (every single one has moved me immensely, and proved themselves as valuable pieces of art amidst our culture as you discussed), I think Les Mis is the biggest dark horse in the entire race. It moved me more than any other film (which says a lot, again, because each one is incredibly powerful). Plus, it is MAJOR Oscar bait like Lincoln. Look at how Crash upset Brokeback Mtn and how Shakespeare in Love upset Saving Private Ryan. I agree that there is an obvious element of votes going towards the “safe choice”, but believe you have said before how emotion and movement of the soul is equally important. Frankly, the selections for Best Picture are so good this year I don’t “mind” who wins. ;)

  153. Robin Write
    January 21, 2013

    I remember the 79th Oscars being quite strange and yet ended up being rather normal. Babel won the Golden Globe, was second most nominated at the Oscars, but it never felt it could take the big prize. Dreamgirls won the Golden Globe, was the most nominated at the Oscars, and deservedly was never going to take the big prize because it failed to get nods for Picture, Director, Screenplay and Editing.

    Little Miss Sunshine won the PGA and SAG Ensemble, but only managed four Oscar nominations. Also making the Picture category were Letters From Iwo Jima which also landed four nominations, and The Queen which picked up six nominations. The eventual winner though was the five time nominated The Departed, which was obviously because of Scorsese’s previous snubs. Pan’s Labyrinth, Little Children, Children of Men, United 93, Blood Diamond, Volver were just a few films not to find a place in the big five, though Paul Greengrass deservedly landed a Director nomination.

  154. Houstonrufus
    January 21, 2013

    Sasha, I marvel at how you somehow put together these exhaustive State of the Race pieces every week. haha! You are a true obsessive and I love that.

    I do feel like this is going to be one of those freak years. And the numbers will be tested and fail. I’m not happy about that, as much as I also love Argo–it’s number 6 in my personal top 10. My heart is with Lincoln, but I’m steeling myself for the outcome.

    As your tagline up there says, “The trick is not minding.” I’m trying not to mind. Really, really trying.

Leave a comment

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