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A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

If you click this photo you can see the Oscar audience.  Some of these faces are so telling. Some are smiling. Some are not. Like, who’s Joseph Gordon-Levitt looking at? It doesn’t look like much fun to me but probably for Ms. Lawrence, the moment of a lifetime, what with the standing ovation and all.

83 Comments on this Post

  1. Sasha, we get it. You wanted Riva to win bad and that’s fine. But these constant shots at Lawrence are getting tiresome and it’s only been a few days. You’re saying that some people weren’t standing or such and implying that’s proof people didn’t want her to win and are almost ashamed to see her up there? That’s what it seems to me at least. The fact is, she deserved it for a wonderful performance, she has the Oscar, it’s time to let it go and try to really support a woman at the top of her game and with a very promising career ahead of her.

    And slightly off topic but touching on what’s been on other threads here, can we get off the “Field was robbed in her last try” complaints already? The woman is 2 for 3 when it comes to Oscars, not exactly feeling too sorry for her considering the slews of great actresses with multiple nods who never won the prize. Not to mention Hathaway deserved it for a fantastic turn, rather see a fresher talent winning than someone getting a third Oscar when so many more are deserving as well. My own opinon on that, sure others disagree but seems a tad hypocritical to slam the Academy on sexism and then have them just going to older women simply because “it’s their last shot.”

  2. Love Naomi in this. She seems so happy, even though she just lost. This also shows the largest smile that I have ever seen come across Kristen Stewart’s face.

  3. Anne Hathaway never got a standing ovation but Jennifer Lawrence did? She must be pissed!

  4. “Some are smiling. Some are not.”
    And ? It’s important?
    Tommy Lee Jones is happy :D

  5. Christophe

    lol at george clooney’s squirrel smile. stacey kleiber’d better watch out!

  6. Usually the leading actor/actress winners get standing ovations, but this one seems like an odd one. Maybe they just did it to make her feel better when she fell down.

    Maybe Levitt who hasn’t caught up on the films of 2012 has a frowny face because someone told him that Lawrence didn’t play the CIA role that most women would crave from Zero Dark Thirty.

    Levitt: What role did she play?
    Stewart(right in front of him): She played the girl with confused sexuality between sexual confidence or just lonely depression. I’m not really sure which. She also has low self-esteem and is needy, lying, and manipulative. She gets a man at the end.
    Levitt: Sounds like a weak female character along the lines of Bella
    Stewart: Yea well…..hey!

  7. I know you want to capture some controversy with these pics, but everyone looks happy for Lawrence. I’m sure after time passes from the announcement through her speech, some stop smiling just because they did their share of it.

  8. The J Viewer

    I am with James well, as to standing ovation and the reason behind it. I honestly believe — always so since the incident — they *the leaders only, not the followers* stood up for her to cheer her up on this beautiful moment of hers, implying the fall was nothing (to be embarrassed for). Most people would do the same; I would do that as well.

    PS: Side note though: it sounds silly for what I am about to say, but for the last few days or so, I had always wondered what that red thing on top of her statuette in particular was. Needless to say, truth revealed through the larger image, I feel like a fool of sort as it turns out to be the EXIT sign lol….

  9. That first photo is iconic.

    Sorry for the camel toe comments last night, it was 3 AM and I just lost a couple of hundred bucks at the casino. Not the best way to bid farewell.

    I just have to say, thrilled that there was a tie, loved that I finally witnessed a film fill out noms in the top 8 categories (pic, director, ‘actings’, writing, editing), ecstatic over Ang Lee’s 3rd Oscar, joyous over the acting winners save for Waltz, pleased with Lincoln’s & Les Mis’ wins, frowning over Argo’s wins, shaking my head over Tarantino’s win, and then glad the ratings are up for my most anticipated event of the year.

    Thanks and see you all again in November.

  10. Not sure where you’re getting at this time, Sasha.

    Most look very happy for Lawrence. KStew is really smiling (!), Naomi (who just lost) is too, some are still clapping. Spielberg and Gordon-Levitt are momentarily looking somewhere else, but so what?

  11. Tero Heikkinen

    Most of them look pretty happy, actually. Happier than I was, for sure. Some just look like they’re happy to get to stretch their legs, and that the show will soon be over.

  12. Where can I find similar audience reaction shots for the other winners?

  13. Sasha, I think the camera just happened to catch Gordon-Levitt blinking. But the ones who are smiling are the classier bunch, like everybody there. Who cares if the actress who won wasn’t the actress we wanted to win? This is a 22 year old girl who is living her dream and defeated many odds by winning the most coveted award in film at such a young age. Politics, old white, perverted academy members aside she is living in such a high moment of life. Who in that audience wouldn’t be happy to see a kid on the stage? When I was a teenager I always wanted to win an Oscar. Well, time passed by me and a lot of other people who just never broke into the business. She worked hard in indie films (The Burning Plain, Winter’s Bone, Like Crazy) went to some studio work (X-Men 1st Class and Hunger Games) and went back to the indie world with Silver Linings Playbook. I call that somebody who knows what she’s doing with her career. It means that 1st Oscar nomination was no fluke and I’m happy to see someone generally shocked to be on that stage and seeing her dream in front of the world.

  14. Everyone was laughing and smiling because she fell, not because she won the oscar.

  15. Everyone looks happy here for Lawrence?

    I dont get it.

  16. @Liam, so if she didn’t fall then what? They’d be frowning?

  17. can we move on to some of the movies and the greatness to expect for 2013 now?

  18. @kane If she had not fallen, indeed, nobody would have cared for her.

  19. I’m in agreement here with the people who say the photo caught a few at an off-guard moment…..how can expect everyone in a crowd that large to uniformly be looking forward and smiling at the same time and then at a particular moment when the camera does its thing…..that everything is perfectly aligned? Maybe Gordon-Levitt didn’t get enough sleep? I’ve also gathered the whole affair is long and tedious, regardless of the highlights. So maybe we just caught a few people after that yawn or that stretch or during a moment of self-reflection.

  20. In spite of all the trashing she got from this site she won. She got the most votes out of everyone in her category. Many of those people on their feet voted for her. Sour grapes isn’t going to change those basic facts:D

  21. Almost everyone shown looks genuinely happy for her. I wish everyone could be, regardless of whether they thought she was the best of the bunch of not.

  22. daveinprogress

    In a room full of people who are so good at putting on a front for others, it is not surprising that, as with this site, the reactions to her win are mixed. Obviously there is a lot of love for her, her performance and her film. Likewise there are folk who considered the choice’ho hum’ or ‘whatever’.
    And then there were some who thought WTF! I recall the audience reaction to Marion Cotillard and her genuine emotion upon winning. There is never going to be consensus on the worth of an individual’s victory. I wouldn’t have gotten up for her either.

  23. “stop picking on a defenseless 23-year-old”

    Poor defenseless unarmed 23-yr-old multimillionaire with hardly any agents, managers, lawyers or hoards of fans to stick up for her — a poor girl who probably lacks the capacity to speak up in her own defense like people older than 25 can do. Put your ninja knives and sledge-hammers and rusty dental drills away, Sasha Stone!

  24. I wanted Chastain to win and i would have been happy for Riva a lot. Even i am not that cool with Lawrence winning but you guys need to stop with the SLP trashing already. You hate the movie and everything about it, got it. The Oscar season is over….. let the bygones be bygones. Lincoln got the love from you, you guys respect it, that is all it needs. Not some trophies to prove its worth. There is awards analysis, blogging about movies, promoting good talent……. and then there is trashing something to an extent that it seems childish and immature coming from someone like you guys. Again, point proven, now plz enough with this.

  25. Not sure where you’re getting at this time, Sasha.

    Not trying to “get at” anything — just showing the people — why do you all automatically assume I’m trying to shame Jennifer Lawrence? It’s a great picture – It’s not meant to say “even the Academy was horrified she won.” I thought you would like to see the faces up close because it’s *interesting.* You know, it’s interesting to look at? Free thinking and all of that? If I wanted to be mean I would have said, jeez, you don’t have to do anything to get a standing ovation now – look at how long it took Kate Winslet to get one.”

  26. Love Naomi in this. She seems so happy, even though she just lost. This also shows the largest smile that I have ever seen come across Kristen Stewart’s face.

    I know, amazed at Naomi Watts in the photo. Also, look all the way to the right and you’ll see Phil Sey Hoff and I think his son. Cute.

  27. Sasha, we get it. You wanted Riva to win bad and that’s fine. But these constant shots at Lawrence are getting tiresome and it’s only been a few days.

    It’s all in your head, pal. You are the ones overly defensive — I guess this is … what … you’re JL fans and you think she’s a victim? Um. Okay.

  28. And the standing ovation was not for her achievement… it was to cheer her up because she fell!

    No one thinks it was a lifetime moment. The moment of a lifetime was for DDL, i got tears in my eyes when i saw him receiving his 3rd Oscar and for Ang Lee as well :'(

  29. Sorry for spamming but look at Spielberg’s expression, Hilarious. Also everyone seems to be okay, i don’t see how anyone is shocked, sad or horrified by a 23 years old “undeserving” actress winning.

    P.S: Is Chris Evans checking out George Clooney or Stacey Keibler??

  30. Sasha come on! we love you we admire your work, we come here daily to read your articles but I mean come on.. she won. It’s done.. let go..

    PS: in that exact moment Naomi was thinking about this time next year, and how she will be the one getting the standing ovation! Now that’s a good thing to smile about no?

  31. Naomi Watts is smiling because she knows she’ll win it next year for Diana.

  32. The audience looks so small – I always imagine this massive room filled wall-to-wall with big stars. I had a hard time making out the ones here.
    I love the reactions shots. I’d love to see a shot of just Joaquin Phoenix throughout the entire telecast.

  33. knee play

    Great picture. The crowd looks so small! Thanks for posting.

    I have to admit though that I automatically assumed you were trying to trash her as well. And I say that as a huge believer that Riva should’ve won. I think we’ve just come to expect that you’re not always the kindest to winners you disagree with.

    Oh, and Naomi Watts is so fuckin’ classy.

  34. Not sure, but Sandra Bullock and Kevin Huvane (right next to her) don’t seem that thrilled. What a weird category, Best Actress (though not surprising, of course). Some people turn in great performance after performance and have to wait many many years before they are finally recognized—and some greats never get that recognition—while others win while still largely unproven with few screen credits. I’ve always wondered how actresses look at the award, if they take it seriously and understand the multitude of factors and coincidences needed to win other than the performance. Someone should write about how different the age groups and career trajectories are for the leading actor vs. leading actress categories, how for males it’s near impossible to break into as a relatively young and unknown actor.

  35. Surprised at Kstew’s huge smile! Say what you will about her, I think she’s a sweet girl.

  36. When you’re as old as I am you remember when a standing ovation meant something. Today it means nothing. So I wouldn’t blink an eye at a standing ovation unless the individual was truly worthy. Example. Shirley Bassey. Deserved a standing ovation. Jennifer Lawrence. Unwarranted standing ovation.

  37. I’m happy for her. I think she is a very talented actress, who deserves accolades. My first exposure to her was for Winter’s Bone, which I thought she should have won for (OK, Portman’s performance deserved it, but Lawrence’s was a close second). She carried Hunger Games; and seemed to carry SLP. So I am glad she got the recognition she did. It is unfortunate that all the other actresses were also phenomenal.

  38. I’m more shocked by Kristen Stewart showing genuine happiness.

  39. William Shatner looks like I did Sunday night … sauced!

    And, OMG … Tommy Lee Jones … too funny!

    And, is it me, or do the facial bears of George Clooney and Ben Affleck make their heads look huge?!

  40. Goldfinger is nearly 50 years old. Shirley Bassey was incredible—one of my favorite moments of the night. Completely in awe that her voice could still carry the song, so much that it caught me off guard when she began singing. If they didn’t stand for her…

  41. John Travolta prefers to watch it on TV than look at what’s happening immediately in front of him. I’m amazed at Kristen Stewart’s huge beam and so admire Naomi Watts sheer delight despite losing.

    And look how big of a clap Bradley Cooper is giving her in the second picture.

  42. “They’re all going to laugh at you! They’re all going to laugh at you!!”

    wait… are we playing Caption This?

  43. I watched the award show and when her name was called alot of people began to stand up; however, when she fell it made basically everyone stand up. As she said it in her acceptance speech: “you guys are all standing up because I fell and it was really embarrasing, but I appreciate it.” Is very true as more people definately sttod up for her following the fall she had on the steps. As for what are people looking at as she is giving her acceptance speech? There is clear evidence of how small minded and shallow alot of people in Hollywood are as you can many of them looking at how is all standing up for her, before they decide to stand up themselves. As Michael Douglas and his wife are clearly looking at Bradley Cooper who is standing and applauding his co-star gleefully without worrying what everyone else is thinking. This shows he is someone that definately thinks for himself and makes me have a higher respect for him than other people in that audience that are either standing up because everyone else is or looking at others before they to stand up for her too.

  44. Some are smiling. Some are not.

    Some are standing. Some are not.

    Michael Douglas can’t be arsed to stand so nobody around him stands either?

  45. Ryan,
    You have to admit that shout-out to Harvey at the Globes about ‘whoever you had to kill to get me up here’ was funny.

  46. That was great, Yvette. Too many people think I don’t like Jennifer Lawrence just because I don’t like every single thing she ever does the best of all.

  47. how do they decide which VIPs get seated in the balcony boxes?

  48. I think many people have jumped the gun here Sasha (looking more into the pictures than just being harmless snap shots) because there have been a lot of “sour grape” negativity coming from you lately. During this awards season, this site has basically become the anti-Oscar site (anti WGA, anti PGA, anti SAG ect… to a point). I think, as some have said, we’re ready for 2013. Our hopes are regenerated! We wanna hear more about 2013 potential crops. From Cannes on thru the summer is when I especially love this site. And the holiday season is great too!

  49. Women are never happy for other women.

  50. Men are never happy for other men either. That’s gotta be why so many of them have problems with Affleck, Spielberg, Clooney, Tom Hooper, etc., right?

  51. So if you aren’t trying to prove anything/shame anyone/make another remark about who deserved the award then why the headline “a picture is worth a thousand words” followed by the statement that “Some of these faces are telling”? What exactly are they telling us? Why is it worth a thousand words?

  52. ^
    what are you telling us with those 50 words?
    whatever it is, I’d hate to see a picture of it.

  53. some human beings are never happy for other human beings.

  54. Now if only we can get Affleck speaking reaction shots, particularly when he talks about his wife and sorta referring to either his ‘snub’ or just his ‘hard life’ and comeback or his actually moving reference to first winning.

    Do people in the Academy love him THAT much or was everybody sucking it up and just letting him have his moment?

    I can’t find Chastain (or Bigelow, who sat behind her) anywhere in either photo. Chastain, upon hearing the envelope read, held it together at first but left off a little, subtle bits of expressions of disappointment then back to holding it together while Bigelow (who must have had a million thoughts going on in her head that a little part of her film may have cost the most prominent female lead she ever had an Oscar in addition to the movie just winning one that night) was completely stone-faced as she was taped behind Chastain in her box. Did they just put on their best face after that moment?

  55. Bigelow and Chastain were sitting on the same side as Jennifer Lawrence (at the far end of the row), so you couldn’t see them as she went toward the stage. Ang Lee was behind them and his win marked only the second time the whole night Bigelow looked happy to be there, and she extended her hand in tribute to Lee. Yes, she in particular was stone faced when Lawrence was announced, and when the box with Lawrence’s reaction expanded, so did Bigelow in Chastain’s. She did not look happy, and with good reason. It’s ridiculous that the best female lead role, and a film wholly dependent on its lead character, couldn’t win this award, one that should’ve been positioned by Sony Pictures, the distribution company behind the ZDT’s campaign, as the Academy’s chance to honor the real life character Chastain portrayed as well as the film and its snubbed director. But the Zero Dark Thirty smear campaigns spooked the Academy, plain and simple and sad. I do think that Sony really fucked up, as I’ve said here before. Chastain should’ve been a sure thing and they couldn’t even keep up her momentum once the film was screwed. In fact, she was probably doomed the second they decided not to send out screeners to the SAG membership, and Harvey knew it (see his reaction at SAG). To think that Amy Pascal toasted to Oscar wins for Best Actress AND Best Picture in her office back in September/October, is just pathetic. Well, if you have a great film, like Fincher did and now Bigelow, and want Oscar recognition, better go someplace else.

  56. Were Chastain and Bigelow honestly expecting Chastain to win Best Actress? I mean c’mon now, despite her great performance, she probably wasn’t even second in the voting.

    And that blame goes squarely and fully on Sony who responded lamely to the smear jobs and refused to stand up for Bigelow, Boal, Chastain, and anyone else involved with the film.

    If Bigelow and Chastain are disappointed and/or angry at anyone, it is Sony and Sony only who deserves the lion’s share of the blame. Instead of fighting back, they meekly accepted the smear jobs and crossed their fingers that the Academy would reward them anyway.

  57. Chastain definitely wasn’t expecting to win. She said something on the red carpet about how it wasn’t her night. But the reaction shots are fun since they catch the last glimmer of hope fade away, as the person recognizes the finality of the outcome, that it’s all over–the subtle disappointment CMG mentioned.

  58. The infectious smile on Naomi’s face explains why she’s so popular among her peers. She seems selflessly happy for Lawrence, inspite of knowing that her acting career spans longer than Lawrence’s age. No hard feelings at all.

    Anyways, she herself is going to get rewarded sooner than later. Let’s wait when Naomi Watts will receive a genuine standing ovation and then that Oscar will feel much better than what it would have felt, had it came at an early age.

  59. murtaza

    i saw SLP again just to notice something i might’ve missed the first time in JL performance and what do you know, i was even more bothered this time knowing she had actually won for this overrated performance, a performance of this sort doesn’t even get nominated a lot of times.

    Sasha is pissed at the right thing, it’s just infuriating how JL won over Riva and Chastain. And that standing ovation was completely unnecessary, i mean they decided to stand up when she fell down not when JL left her seat and headed towards the stage.

  60. Cameron

    Lol I guess it’s just easier to whine about things than find a “silver lining”

  61. Dennis

    Oooooooooookay.

  62. This was a controversial win against some better competition and this win has been realized entirely by Weinstein campaign. People just know the fact. I think this best actress award will be remembered as one of the lowest points in Oscars history.

  63. “I think this best actress award will be remembered as one of the lowest points in Oscars history.”

    People will only think that if Jennifer’s career becomes a train wreck after this. With her slate of films coming up–particularly an interesting one in Serena as well as two more David O. Russell films–I think she will be just fine and this win will probably age well.

  64. Naomi Watts freaking rules. As a friend of mine said, Watts had “the best performance, the best dress and the best husband” on that ceremony. ;)

  65. Pierre de Plume

    how do they decide which VIPs get seated in the balcony boxes?

    :)

  66. Guess John Lasseter wasn’t a fan of SLP

  67. Halle Berry has a smirk. Ben Affleck doesn’t look that thrilled. Steven Spielberg’s looks confused why people are standing up. And check out Sandra Bullock and Kevin Huvane to her left (one of the top CAA agents), who both look rather indifferent.

  68. I did see that Chastain red carpet interview where she admitted it was ‘not her year’ and frankly that is a real shame. As KT said, her reaction (not unlike her response to Riva winning at the BAFTAs, where there was still a chance for her) was a very human response even if she was resigned to that result hours before. But even without the whole controversy of the film, I really do not think that performance, a performance by a female lead rarely ever portrayed or seen before, ever got its due or proper perspective from people. And speaking of Sony, even in their mainstream marketing of the film, Chastain got undersold badly by them. All SEAL Team 6 in those ads. SLP from square one had Lawrence everywhere in the film’s marketing. Sony seemed to forget the character even existed (and decided against tapping into the female market).

    I actually do think she was still second the whole time in the voting and if anything, Riva’s rise hurt her shot. By the end, most people who followed the race did not think Riva was really that threatening and knew way more voters in Chastain’s corner. But the damage had already been done to the film at that point and Chastain, despite working over-time and juggling commitments with her play and the movie, probably was at a disadvantage to begin with. That and the fact, unlike the other nominees, had to also defend her movie from an onslaught of criticism not really done before against a Best Picture nominee.

    As far as Bigelow, I definitely think she is mad at Sony but is also just still processing what her film went through. That it was just Boal being super reflective in that LA Times piece (and many other media corners) on the Sony strategy of the film and not her, speaks volumes. I am eagerly awaiting when it becomes safe for the likes of Bigelow, Boal, Chastain, the rest of the cast, and Ellison to just unload on their experience (the Senate investigation, dealing with AMPAS members who protested the film, dealing with a press that accepted the narrative that the film was pro-torture, etc.). Maybe in a year or so. I find what was done to the movie to be endlessly fascinating.

  69. Bigelow isn’t the type to speak out against anyone; Boal meanwhile is—I’d watch for him to say more in the future. Funny thing is Harvey wanted the Weinstein Co to distribute the movie, but Bigelow was not in favor, thinking he’d interfere with her decision-making and final cut. I honestly think that had the Weinstein Co been behind the film, it would’ve been in a stronger position to combat the controversy, if it even would have happened with Harvey on the film’s side. It likely would’ve garnered more nominations, and certainly could’ve maintained its position as frontrunner and won. I agree—I find what happened to the film endlessly fascinating too, and I wonder who exactly were running the smear campaigns (who was behind that awful Bigelow-Boal Hollywood Reporter piece), if it was a combination of the Argo, Harvey, and even Spielberg camps, or if it was predominantly one studio.

  70. Lincoln running a much better negative campaign against others than campaigning for their own movie just would make me think they deserved to lose this whole time. That said, only one competitor to Zero Dark Thirty who openly supported and defended them and that was Tony Kushner (while when Affleck was directly asked about ZD30’s controversy avoided the question if actually indirectly passing on that he never made his film out to be a documentary which critics of ZD30 were most mad about the film being portrayed as). I really do not think it was Team Lincoln.

    Heard/read the Harvey stuff (That THR was not only awful but shockingly sexist to Bigelow, Chastain, and Ellison simultaneously, especially when you consider it was written by Kim Masters) and it would not surprise me but it seems almost way too transparent (that UBL Manhunt doc he did that was co-produced with a former producer of The Hurt Locker who had issues with Bigelow and Boal and seemed aimed to use the doc to consciously under-cut them). He had it out for both Bigelow and to a certain extent Ellison but it is easily understood why- he did not get distribution rights (and yes, I can now easily envision ZD30’s nominations in the double-digits in addition to winning major categories had TWC backed the film). Also, Harvey mounting a better negative campaign than campaign for SLP also strikes me as out of character- only because of how over the top he took the SLP campaign. Did he really want another movie to go down that badly more than he wanted his own movie to succeed?

    Meanwhile, I have heard/read stuff about Team Argo being up to those tactics against the film as they are just as well connected to DC as Harvey. That is a little more shocking when you think of these three industry darlings that are not seen as men getting their hands dirty, but even Sasha observed Warner Bros. and Cynthia Swartz doing dirty campaigning (I can easily picture Clooney smirking about Lincoln being a ‘boring history lesson’ to AMPAS members but supposedly with ZD30 it got much dirtier than that). There are people who followed the race that do believe that Senate letter of condemnation was not done by the good conscience of Feinstein, Levin, and McCain independently.

  71. Yeah, I think the ZDT crap was just sad, and I feel most for Kathryn Bigelow, who wasn’t nearly as aggressive or vain or obnoxious as most of her competition was during the awards season. She has always carried herself well, coming off as humble and wanting the movie to speak for itself (as she did for The Hurt Locker three years ago); only Ang Lee campaigned as politely and unobtrusively. And can you imagine that these people were seeing each other so often, that they had to play phony and pretend they wanted to be in each other’s company? Of course, they all knew that behind the scenes the same directors at the DGA luncheon or BAFTA breakfat were talking smack about their work, encouraging and yes in some instances (Harvey’s reputation) bullying weak-minded voters (a pretty tame example: “Well, you’re not going to vote for the boring history lesson? Come on Spielberg doesn’t need another Oscar”), all to win a golden statue. Within just a few year’s time, the Argo win is going to look awful, beating films that surpassed it not only in their critical, comprehensive, and astute approach toward history, but also in their craftsmanship and singular style. Yes, definitely: had a more aggressive studio been behind ZDT, it would not have missed Director, Sound Mixing, Cinematography, Score, and could’ve put a hell of a lot more attention on Jason Clarke’s performance.

  72. Not to mention production design, that they actually put in an effort in promoting that the UBL compound was rebuilt in great detail. Clarke deserved a nod but I knew when McConaughey’s chances were shrinking among the winner’s circle that there would be no first time nominees. Jennifer Ehle also deserved a nod but she seemed very comfortable not campaigning at all and I think she was allowed to do that by Ellison/Boal/Bigelow.

    I feel like Ang Lee gets rewarded partially because he plays so nice, above all of the crap. Bigelow managed to play down everything the media was throwing at her during THL period (the Cameron marriage, the glass ceiling, the disbelief a woman could do a war film, etc.) especially when James Cameron was always found in a piece on her but not the other way around. She never pitied herself this whole period but I think she loathed how many people who worked on the film went down and were not nominated/won due to its controversy. So you see the whole ZDT team in such relief that it won **something** when it tied for Sound Editing and everybody wanted to hug Ottosson in that moment. You could see a ray of hope over them. But when it lost Editing and Screenplay, I am sure the mood shifted and Kathryn’s stone face just embodied the weight finally collapsing on her because with Chastain in particular it hurt much more that she did not win.

    I actually think there were people with buyer’s remorse with Argo winning (that was sort of obvious by that point) in the last couple of weeks while people were kind of realizing just how awful the industry treated ZDT. Not mutually exclusive but I think the charm offensive and woe is Ben burned people out. People also just realized how much backbone they did not have w/ZDT and how much bad precedent it will cause any future projects dealing with similar subjects, especially when the academy portends to reward **brave** films.

  73. Yeah, I didn’t think production design was that likely, as a contemporary drama. I wanted it to be recognized there, but that’s the Oscars for you. I kind of wish Ottosson, or Goldenberg for that matter (he could have gave a shout out to the other editing job he was nominated for), called out the Academy for not defending the film. Right there, in front of everyone, paid tribute to Bigelow, her uncompromising vision, and staying strong amid the controversy. That’s why my fingers were crossed that Boal would get the chance to speak in front of the Academy (though unfortunately there was no way he was beating Tarantino this time). The result for Best Actress definitely hurt, especially after hearing Chastain’s remarks at the Globes and the Critics Choice Awards, saying that this was a truly great female role that nobody writes anymore, a role that would pay tribute to the CIA and to the real Maya and to Kathryn Bigelow’s personal journey. I also have huge respect for her talent as an actor, and in just a few years she has proven that she certainly has it. Two of her films—Zero Dark Thirty and The Tree of Life—will be seen and studied and considered as masterpieces for years to come, something that cannot be said for any of Meryl Streep’s movies except for maybe The Deer Hunter.

    Regarding Academy precedent, what matters most I think is the lineup of Best Picture nominees. The stories of the nominees (as you said, The Hurt Locker year Bigelow had it) and whether or not typical Academy fodder is there or not will ultimately determine how brave or not brave the Academy is perceived: Silence of the Lambs, No Country for Old Men, The Hurt Locker–all good examples, all great choices. The remarkable thing with Kathryn Bigelow is that the acclaim from the industry came when she was least expecting it; she never produced something to appeal to that voting group, and will never have the need to, as many many many other directors have done (yes Spielberg, yes Scorsese).

  74. The Dude

    Yeah, while a lot of people did stand up, it seemed clear to me watching the broadcast that it wasn’t a near-unanimous one, like Ang Lee and DDL got.

  75. rufussondheim

    Great conversation.

    I’ll never forget the feeling I had when I saw ZDT for the first time as we rode in the helicopter to the compound that night. It was a cinematic high unlike anything I’ve experienced in the theater at least since 2006, and probably longer.

    How the movie transitioned so smoothly at that point, and the score was insistent without being pushy, the casualness of the Seals as they approached the compound did nothing to alleviate the pressure my fingernails were putting on the armrests.

    It’s just perfect.

    I don’t know people can overlook the greatness in the film. Yeah, I know, different strokes for different folks but I simply can’t fathom someone not being swept away at the moment.

    My only wish for ZDT is that there’s an alternate cut somewhere that includes more horror from 9/11 at the beginning. Something tells me that forty/fifty years from now, the details will be largely forgotten and that more horriffic beginning will be necessary for the younger generations to fully grasp the mindset of the people in Maya’s and other CIA agents’ positions.

    But otherwise, I agree, this a film for the ages and come 2022 if it ain’t in the Sight and Sound poll, I’ll be shocked.

  76. I was just hoping Goldenberg just acknowledged Dylan Tichenor in his speech (because there was this bizarre conversation about the editing in Argo and ZDT with people outright deriding Tichenor’s contribution to the ZDT) and he did not even do that. Ottosson did not seem too prepared to win but hey, he is a sound editor. Boal definitely would have made a speech and maybe too many people knew that would have exactly happened (but also, credit to him on the data points in the script, but it is an incredibly dense, exhausting script while Tarantino’s script reads a lot better than how it was executed on screen).

    I kinda love that Chastain went go big or go home in her Golden Globes speech. She tied it back to Kathryn which was not only appropriate but true. Who knows if voters loved that or were just reminded that this performance is tied to **that** movie and **that** director. It certainly did not feel as shoe-horned as Jennifer Lawrence bringing up David O. Russell’s son in her SAG speech. I mean seriously, Jessica Chastain dropped 2 movies that were guaranteed to make bank for this role that she also completely admits it was the most exhausting, least fun she has ever had and she still loved the character, the film, the writer, and director in the end. I was a fan after Take Shelter (it showed me contrast to Tree of Life that I loved too) but just hearing/watching the long-form interviews she had about this role, her complete understanding of the character (that really cannot be edited down to a soundbite which is also why it was a tough sell) and her honesty in her views of female leads in Hollywood movies basically made me a fan for life.

    I have thought of Jonathan Demme regarding Kathryn Bigelow before even if they are very different filmmakers. Both are way smarter and much better technicians of their films, especially in the 80s, that were good movies yet had this weird energy of being much better than they ever had right on being. Demme’s Silence of the Lambs was in no way Oscar bait, its release and subject matter was so anti-Oscars and it still seems almost like an accident that all of its accolades and popularity ever really happened. Like you said, Bigelow was not seeking Oscars with The Hurt Locker but a return to form on her own terms that just happened to also be this artsy, melding of American Western myth and poetic realism, war film that was a hit at festivals but distributors were scared. I think even the Academy is still largely confused and confounded by the Coen Brothers and them winning in 2007 almost seemed to be the result of the fact it was a very good year for feel-bad movies (Zodiac, There Will Be Blood, Atonement, Sweeney Todd, Into the Wild, The Kite Runner, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford) and the Academy finally cried ‘Uncle!’ with them.

    But in terms of precedent I am talking more about how the Academy shunning ZDT will likely have this negative effect of studios being even more timid to produce films of those similar themes and subjects. I still read pieces of saying ZDT was too soon and I still do not get that point. Somebody has to break the ice. That is why I respect United 93 for what it did. Nobody is saying these are the overall defining movies of a historical moment, in fact, I am sure both Greengrass and Bigelow just want those movies to be the first of several but they cannot carry the burden of making ALL of them. Like Sasha said, if that is the future of movies, with a work of art held up to intense political standards, then it is just not good for the entire industry as a whole at all.

  77. But in terms of precedent I am talking more about how the Academy shunning ZDT will likely have this negative effect of studios being even more timid to produce films of those similar themes and subjects.

    I know what you’re saying, CMG, and I agree 100%. But let’s be clear, every studio in Hollywood was too timid to produce Zero Dark Thirty too.

    Megan Ellison’s Annapurna Pictures produced Zero Dark Thirty. Sony/Columbia was just the distributor.

    My top 20 films of 2012 would’ve shriveled to a top 16 if Megan Ellison and Annapurna Pictures hadn’t fronted the money for Zero Dark Thirty, Killing Them Softly, Lawless, and The Master.

    The 4 riskiest grown-up movies of 2012 were made without the help of any studio. Thank you, Megan Ellison, and thank you this year for Spike Jonze’ Her, Wong Kar Wai’s The Grandmaster, Bennett Miller’s Foxcatcher, and Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice (2014?).

    No surprise Academy would barely acknowledging Annapura Pictures this year because the establishment can’t stand admitting that a woman working outside the system has bigger balls that any exec in a studio corner office.

  78. Can I just say this was a great conversation? And how did the ZDT talk begin, think it was with Chastain and Bigelow not being in the picture. I wondered if they even stood up (gasp), definitely not a unanimous ovation. Harvey was probably loving every second of it. CMG, I appreciated what you said about Jonathan Demme. I love those stories, when Oscar comes upon people who aren’t seeking him. You’re absolutely right: everything about Silence of the Lambs is anti-Oscar, and it was released in February BEFORE 1991’s ceremony for the previous year. Chastain is wonderful, I saw her play in NYC and then grabbed a photo with her afterward. I think that night or perhaps the next day Kathryn and Mark were said to be there…I guess those two are still doing everything together, hopefully the collaboration lives on! I do agree with what you mean about the studio precedents. Let’s hope that the few Kathryn Bigelows there are still challenge the system and there are people like Megan Ellison there to support them.

  79. The Dude

    @rufussondheim- Watching how Bigelow filmed the raid, I couldn’t help but wonder how some of the other directors would make that scene:

    Tarantino would have turned it into something lighter, but more cathartic and fun, although obviously very violent;

    Spielberg would probably make it extremely cinematic and suspenseful, but in a more classical way than Tarantino, but probably less violent as well;

    Affleck would use every known thriller cliche out there and a more heavy handed editing, although I don’t think it would be too violent.

    And none of them probably would leave things in a relative ambiguous way, regarding the morality of the assault and the consequences.

    Now compare this to Bigelow’s sober, quiet, low-key, and open for interpretation approach to the whole execution and you have why the movie was never going to be a big hit inside the Academy.

    Of course I’m not saying the way any of the other 3 would approach the scene would be wrong or worse, but it certainly be different.

    And I also imagined how Michael Haneke would film the whole operation and that would certainly be even less Academy friendly than the Bigelow one LOL!

    @cmg “But in terms of precedent I am talking more about how the Academy shunning ZDT will likely have this negative effect of studios being even more timid to produce films of those similar themes and subjects.”

    On the other hand, it made money, so there’s hope.

  80. @The Dude & @Ryan Adams I agree and more power to Megan Ellison, who Hollywood still doesn’t know who to make of. It’s pretty amazing it made the money it did but I am speaking about how even Bigelow has opined this should be the first of many films telling the history than just hers alone. Otherwise, you become The Battle of Algiers, still decades later not a lot of other films have focused on that complex event, and a brilliant work of art gets overly scrutinized because It is that one big movie on the event. That this was a movie that did good business and had every cent of its budget on screen should make ZDT a model political movie but Hollywood seems scared about any post-9/11 subject matter still.

  81. rufussondheim

    I prefer to be positive about the viability of films such as ZDT getting made in the future, as has been said, it’s made a lot of money. And I think it made a lot of money outside of the torture debate. All of my friends who have seen it, wanted to see it before the torture debate, and most were completely unaware of the torture debate.

    With that said, i think it’s a completely unique concept that’s hard to replicate, a realistic ripped from the headlines semi-action war movie isn’t a genre that has too many entries.

    But when you combine ZDT with Argo and Lincoln and you see three films that have made a ton of money and won a ton of awards catering to literate adults with a sense of history. Hopefully the studios will see that this is a market that’s willing to pay to see the movies rather than wait until a torrent is available or until it gets to home video.

    One thing I hope that’s true that we’re not privy to. I’m willing to believe that most studio heads have more inside info on the ZDT hit job. I think studios had data that ZDT was going to be financial success and combined with the emphatic critical response, so other studios took aim because it was going to be too big to ignore and they had to cut it down to size quickly.

    I think other studios are thinking to themselves, “I want that movie next time it comes around.”

    The two biggest critical successes of the last three years are The Social Network and Zero Dark Thirty. Both made great money.

    I think we’re heading towards a great time to be a moviegoer. And looking at the upcoming releases, I think that’s a fair assessment.

  82. steandric

    Indeed.

    http://tinypic.com/r/2vvryxg/6

    JL thanks you all for the Oscar!

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