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The Curse of the Winner

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[disclaimer: this and everything posted on this website written by me is my opinion, my own thoughts on the matter, and should never be confused with absolutes.]

The truth about we crazy humans is that most of us like to be on the winning side.  It feels good to win. It sucks to lose. When you lose your testosterone drops if you’re a male and that probably feels like what post-partum depression feels like to women. Just a guess. I’m not a doctor. And I don’t even play one on TV. Hannibal does it to amuse himself!

But the problem with that is that the egg timer starts ticking on the winners and before long, they are hated.  With a passion.  Many of us fight this urge to hate on a winner we deem unworthy for the big prize.  Argo is in the hot seat right now for that one. The Oscars now more than ever feel like a political election more than they do a meditation on the year’s best.  Is it the team mentality we all contribute to every day? Is it the inevitable result of the global popularity of reality competitions? Is it the explosion of the awards watching industry? Or os it simply human nature, as old as time, impulses that drove the Romans to make a sport out of life or death? We are living through Paddy Chayefsky’s version of humanity in Network over and over again.

If they Oscar race (the industry race as we should now refer to it) is based on public opinion, sometimes winning an Oscar can really be a drag for one’s career, especially if that win is seen as “underserved.”  I think it sets up a winner for ultimate failure because just the win itself seems to generate bad feelings. Why this is, I don’t know. But it just is. Marisa Tomei, for instance, is a good example of someone who won supporting up against four other better performances. She wasn’t really forgiven for that, and didn’t remove herself from the butt of that joke, for many years. She did eventually “prove herself,” however, playing damaged characters. Gwyneth Paltrow was never really forgiven for beating Cate Blanchett and Hillary Swank (who deserved it the first time, maybe the second time) for beating Annette Bening. Twice.

The phenom seems to hit women more than men and I’m not exactly sure why.  Men get hit in the directing categories more often than the acting categories.  Robert Redford, Kevin Costner, Paul Haggis, Hugh Hudson, Bruce Beresford, Mel Gibson are just some of the Oscar casualties who’ve really had to live down what the public thinks is an underserved win, no matter whether people loved the film at the time or not (they clearly did if it won).

Watching the Oscars is always a bit like amateur psychology.  Right now, I’m ruminating on the “on the side that’s winning” philosophy that has swallowed up this year’s race.   But a few winners will have the curse of the undeserved tagged to them should they pull off a win.  I’m not trying to be a downer — okay, maybe I am a little. As the “loser” this year, as in, the film I fought for isn’t doing so well and probably won’t win many Oscars, I am supposed to accept this failure, regroup, change my way of thinking, congratulate the winners and move on.  I’m working on it.

In the meantime, what potential Oscar “mistakes” lie ahead?

1. Jennifer Lawrence beats Emmanuelle Riva. This might finally be the tipping point for the lucky gal with two Oscar nominations before she hit 22, two franchises, a whole shitload of money and the love object of many a grown male and young tween girl.  No one denies what a great actress she already is but once she beats the 85 year old Riva, Jessica Chastain, Naomi Watts, and even Quvenzhane Wallis something tells me the public might finally have had enough.  Am I right? Or wrong?

2. Argo beats Lincoln, Zero Dark Thirty, Amour, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Life of Pi. I’ve covered this territory so no need to beat a dead horse.  Affleck will have to deal with that in one way or another. He’ll keep making good films and maybe run for political office. Both of those will serve to disprove what many might consider this an underserved Best Picture win.  Most of America believes Lincoln is the deserved winner, not just a few of us rumblers here in tinseltown.

3. David O. Russell beats Steven Spielberg, Ang Lee, Michael Haneke, Benh Zeitlin — many people LOVE LOVE LOVE Silver Lingings Playbook now.  But that’s one that will either sit well over time or it won’t.   One thing in Russell’s favor is a body of work with no Oscar win. If he does win I will see him winning for the great movies Oscar ignored, like Flirting with Disaster. Of all five of these directors he wants it the most.  So I will fight the urge to hate on Russell should he pull off a win. Spielberg and Lee both already have Oscars though their films are better, but Russell might win for his whole career, which isn’t a bad thing at all.

4. Bradley Cooper beats Daniel Day-Lewis, Joaquin Phoenix, Denzel Washington, Hugh Jackman. Actors don’t usually suffer the same fate as actresses when they win undeserved Oscars. In Hollywood, white hot males like Cooper land on their feet. I suspect he will be celebrated, as men often are, thus the hate will be minimal.  Three actors in this category haven’t won Oscars and voters might want to give one out to someone who hasn’t won.  Cooper gives his finest performance to date. All will depend on how voters overall feel about Silver Linings Playbook. Working against Day-Lewis is having to make Academy history, with a third Best Actor win.

5. Silver Linings screenplay beats Argo, Lincoln and Life of Pi. Epic fail to the WGA for not honoring Pulitzer Prize winning Kushner. Some Oscar historians will want to pain it as the whole Connecticut October surprise bringing down Kushner but if accuracy were the point, Argo wouldn’t win either.  That stupid scandal will smooth out over time and Kushner will earn points for having been overlooked.  Maureen Dowd’s beatdown will look like overkill in a year or two.  It already does.   Argo will take this award but only one writer will be remembered as having not won and that’s Kushner.

6. Roger Deakins for Skyfall beats Claudio Miranda for Life of Pi in Cinematography. No one loves Deakins more than I do and he is more overdue for an Oscar than anyone.  But.  This will be controversial, probably, but I suspect there will be a bit of an outcry over this decision, should it come to pass.  Most of the time, the Oscar goes to the cute kitten in a cup — so no one should ever complain that anyone deserved or didn’t deserve one of those.  Deakins deserves any award people would like to give him for his exceptional body of work.

7. Claudio Miranda for Life of Pi beats Roger Deakings for Skyfall. What’s worse, seeing Deakins win for great work but nowhere near his best, or seeing Deakins lose AGAIN?  Life of Pi could end up being the recipient of some public scorn if Deakins loses but it would probably be minimal, considering the love for that film and especially its visual beauty.

7. Lincoln pulls of a surprise win over Argo. I am afraid what the mob would do in that scenario – Lincoln already has enough haters but it might reach epic levels should this rare event take place. It won’t happen but if it did Argo and Affleck would instantly gain major industry cred. My honest opinion is that a loss for Argo > win for Argo.

8. Any visual effects nominee except Life of Pi wins. It won’t happen but there would be public outcry if it did.

9. Beasts of the Southern Wild wins in any category. Despite how much I love that movie and believe it deserves to be there, many out there seem to blame it for squeezing out Ben Affleck and Kathryn Bigelow. Why, I have no idea why anyone would complain about a movie that cost 1.5 million about a young black girl written in near-poetry verse but they do complain.  A lot.  The Academy did the right thing, in my opinion, by honoring a movie like this one in the major categories. It opens doors that haven’t yet been opened.  It shows that you don’t need a lot of money just big brass creative balls and smarts.  Both Benh Zeitlin and Lena Dunham are two strong youthful artistic forces that should make everyone feel a little more positive about the future.  But I can just see it now – if Benh Zeitlin wins in directing or in screenplay.  I hope he continues to follow the beat of his own drummer and not listen to what Big Hollywood tells him to do.

10. Silver Linings Playbook beats Argo, Lincoln, Zero Dark Thirty, Life of Pi, Amour, Beasts of the Southern Wild. See, as an Oscar traditionalist I’d almost rather see this scenario play out simply because there is a director nomination as well.  But I’m not talking about my own personal feelings so much as the potential backlash. The Argo fans might burn down the Kodak for this one.  The film has four acting nominations – that means it will probably win one of those. You have to go back to 1950 to find a year when a film with four acting nominations didn’t win a single acting Oscar and that was for Sunset Boulevard.  But since then, each have won at least one Oscar.  From Here to Eternity was the last Best Picture winner to have four.  Without a DGA nomination for Russell it becomes an extreme long shot.  Who knows how it will play out and what the fallout from it will be.

Do people want to be on the winning side until the winner actually wins?  Do they then want to stand up for the underdog?

 

94 Comments on this Post

  1. Sasha,

    with due respect, I think you need to add “in my opinion” or “I think/believe” in front of “what potential Oscar “mistakes” lie ahead?”…It reads like some of those are universal/public opinions.

    I dont know why you keep saying that J. Lawrence would be “undeserved” winner as many critics groups, GGs, and SAG announced her as “the best”. So that backlash may not be as big as you think. You may think she doesnt deserve to win, but that would be your personal opinion as you are not the ultimate authority on acting or directing or writing or anything else.

  2. Aragorn, I ALSO do not think Jennifer Lawrence deserves to win (Riva or the un-nominated Rachel Weisz) would be far better choices, and frankly Watts and Chastain would get my vote before Lawrence as well. So I must say I agree with Sasha here, and I am no authority, just someone expressing an opinion like you.

  3. Gweneth Paltrow and Reese Witherspoon won those same awards too. People now see them as undeserving winners.

  4. The only actress’s career I see surviving after winning an Oscar is Jennifer Lawrence. She has the Hunger Games franchise, the X Men franchise, and 2 David O Russell films coming up. Lionsgate also bought the rights to The Glass Castle just for her which she is signed on to. She also has a Dior contract. There’s no way she’s “disappearing” or not going to be in demand after winning no matter what.

  5. Jessica Chastain’s performance in Zero Dark Thirty is so overrated. I have seen much better performances this year. That’s not to say Jessica is a bad actress. I think she’s one of the best out there but not in ZDT. She was much better in The Help and I hope she wins for something more deserving. Admit it or not, at least Jennifer Lawrence gave a more dramatic and challenging performance in Silver Linings.

  6. The only actresses I hope win are Emanuelle Riva or Jennifer Lawrence. I was really disappointed with Jessica Chastain in ZD30 and Naommi Watts didn’t impress me that much in The Impossible.

  7. I don’t even think Jennifer Lawrence wants to win. She keeps making jokes about it and isn’t taking this whole oscar thing seriously. Good for her. She’s too young. I doubt anyone is going to vote for her and her career is so so so on fire right now. She doesn’t need it. I want to see her win for something crazy, ridiculous, and suprising though her performance in Silver Linings was really good.

  8. I kind of hope Jennifer doesn’t win. She should just continue getting nominated every year and not win until she’s 25.

  9. Has anybody won for their directorial full-length feature debut? That seems like a potentially greater curse and burden than Best Actress. At first I thought Mike Nichols and then realized that was for The Graduate and not Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?. I think one of the actor-directors might have but in those cases they were already known in the industry, obviously.

    And on #7. Well that also guarantees ZD30 as another footnote if it gets shut-out, this seems entirely possible, at least until Affleck completely go for broke to get an Oscar in his next feature. ZD30, and Bigelow’s non-nomination, already was a footnote to Poor Ben in the aftermath of the nomination announcements. People who saw the entire race play out will probably still talk about ZD30’s rise and dramatic fall and the larger implications on that kind of film ever being made or considered by studios in the passing years. But an Argo loss of picture or even shut-out (Goldenberg, I think, will leave the ceremony with an Oscar for editing for Argo than him and Tichenor for ZD30) will put back the spotlight of Poor Ben with him being the new Ron Howard cause for the industry.

  10. You know what will make people pissed off? Jessica Chastain winning for a mediocre performance. She was given nothing to do. People try to defend her character in the film by saying it was a “quiet performance” but no, it was just a BORING and DULL and aimless role. Also this year the performances weren’t that challenging. I know Jennifer Lawrence will get backlash if she wins so early in her career, but her performance was the most interesting and dramatic. I think Emanuelle Riva will win anyways.

  11. I can’t wait for the Argo backlash if it wins. Everyone will know that the only reason Argo won is because Ben Affleck was snubbed. It was a good film but not that great. And there’s no chance in hell Bradley Cooper is winning over Daniel Day Lewis or Joaquin Pheonix. Jennifer Lawrence might start getting some serious backlash if she does win so I hope she doesn’t and this is coming from a fan of hers.

  12. Ryan Adams

    CMG, Sam Mendes, American Beauty, most recent.

  13. Lincoln winning best picture will be horrible. Such an overrated boring film. I couldn’t sit through that film. Daniel Day Lewis was magnificent. He was Lincoln but the film was just not good. Same for Argo. It was a better film in my opinion but not great enough to win best picture.

  14. Christophe

    oh my… the Cesars start in less than an hour and I’m getting ready to change the channel because it’s such a borefest of movies and people I’ve never heard of!!! I might watch the pre-show to see Emmanuelle Riva, will she survive the evening?

  15. Sasha and/or Ryan: In your opinion(s), do you see a backlash against Spielberg or Lincoln if Argo won BP but Spielberg won BD? Just curious.

  16. I object to the assertion that Chastain’s performance was not challenging or was a mediocre performance. She is playing a construct of what the CIA wants it operatives to be. An emotionally empty vessel who while being smart and assertive operates on obsession. If you compare her other performances (my personal favorites are Tree of Life and Take Shelter) there is a transformation being done but it is not outer but an inner transformation. She is closed off character who you have to buy is this smart but cold, obsessive who is processing a lot of information as well as saying a lot of data-points. I bought it. And reading the script of ZD30, I would say the denseness of the script is not exactly Shakespeare but it serves the film but it does spell out what Maya is supposed to think at this certain moments. Had Chastain been this emotional, even more brass-pair, ‘I am woman’ type of a character the film would really lose its footing (and there are people who think she already was too strong of a protagonist, defining thread for this procedural). You can easily assert that Maya back at the CIA HQ scenes have her as objectively a little crazy and that being removed from Pakistan after there was a hit on her shows just how screwed up she has become as a construct when she is in the ‘most normal’ setting of the film when she is away and less involved she is from the action, her obsession.

  17. “Has anybody won for their directorial full-length feature debut? That seems like a potentially greater curse “

    Delbert Mann, Marty (1955)
    Robert Redford, Ordinary People (1980)
    James L. Brooks, Terms of Endearment (1983)
    Kevin Costner, Dances with Wolves (1990)
    Sam Mendes, American Beauty (1999)

    Orson Welles won an Oscar for Citizen Kane but that was for co-writing the screenplay.

  18. Bob Burns

    ZD30 wins. Nightmares ensue.

  19. Christophe

    for whatever reason, kevin costner was just seen trolling the red carpet, looking drunk, and ignored the only reporter.

  20. Thanks, Ryan.

    I have to say that pick does seem like an anvil that hung over Mendes. American Beauty in 2013 is looked at a little more negatively and when Mendes ever tried to branch out be it with Jarhead, Away We Go, and Road to Perdition it got little notice (beyond RtP getting nods for Newman and Conrad Hall). When he tried to do the back to suburbia stuff, prestige, Oscar bait like Revolutionary Road it felt like untapped American Beauty criticism just spilled over into the reviews (not a fan of either though). Finally, he does Skyfall but I don’t think people are necessarily thinking about him when they think about who worked behind the camera though I thought he did a great job. If they are, they think about Roger Deakins.

  21. If Lincoln ends up winning best picture and director, I see regrets in the years to come in the same vein as most big biopics winning like The King’s Speech or Gandhi. Lincoln is an astounding stage play but just a good-to-great film. ZD30 has my vote.

  22. Christophe

    the cesars are so French! disheveled actors smoking on the red carpet and angry people demonstrating down the streets!

  23. I love jLaw. I want her to win. But Riva was amazing and should also. Either way ill be happy.

    However, if Jen wins it won’t hurt her career. It may help. And if she loses, she’s this generations Kate Winslet who will be snubbed for being young despite great performances, and win later on. Maybe with one of the next films with Russell. Or Glass Castle (I know nothing about it…yet).

  24. @Ryan, I almost want to say if you were to stay away from the curse you should stay away from a lot of Hollywood’s “rules”. Would you say Sam Mendes still did his own thing after American Beauty? He’s made a handful of films after his debut and while none were big hits (Skyfall excluded) he never lost credibility as a director.

  25. Question: Have there ever been boos when a winner is announced??? I would love to see Silver Linings called Best Picture only to get strong outcry from the audience, that would be hilarious. I can’t remember ever seeing something like that on the telecast.

  26. Kane, I completely agree with you. Whether or not he went on to earn further Oscar recognition doesn’t seem to be a concern for Mendes. He continues to get generous budgets for any movie that piques his interest, and as far as I’m concerned he’s never made a bad movie — I’d rate all Mendes’ films A-grade. Now after Skyfall he’s really recharged his cache. He can do anything he likes, and always has.

  27. I thought of something awful. I am visualizing Jennifer Garner announcing Best Picture and it goes to Silver Linings Playbook. It would be the most downer Oscar soundbite since Nicholson announced Crash. But I feel like by the end people have to know. I feel like Hanks knew when he had to rush to announce The Hurt Locker for Best Picture and made a quip about Casablanca winning once in the middle of the war while being about the war before even opening the envelope (I am not even sure he recited the nominees for how rushed it was). And don’t get me started on the song choice and presenter choice for Kathryn Bigelow’s win. I feel like Bigelow ‘s thought bubble was wanting to invite everybody in the Academy to a screening of Born in Flames after that happened.

  28. Christophe

    omg! emmanuelle rive has the coolest hairdo ever!!!! a bomb blew off in her hair! i gotta find you a picture…

  29. you’re right Sasha, people do hate women for winning Oscars more than man. and most of those women are americans (Tomei, Hunt, Paltrow, Berry, Roberts, Witherspoon…)who won over british or australian ladies. i guess accent gives them more class.

  30. Christophe

    Doesn’t she look adorable next to Omar Sy? (Emmanuelle Riva at the Cesar Awards in Paris tonight)

    https://twitter.com/GQ_France/status/305040267885568000/photo/1

    https://twitter.com/Cesars2013EMI/status/305040085487857664/photo/1

  31. Sasha – quick Q, will you do another podcast before Sunday?

    On the merits: I’ve always subscribed to and agreed with the “we hate the winners” theory. I think it’s totally true. A group of online movie watchers and I asked ourselves to ran the BP winners since 2000 and the unanimous first reactions were: “Ugh, they’re pretty mediocre as a group.”

    I think we idealize some of the 1980s, 1970s ones, but “love to hate” the recent ones, which were anointed at a time when we were adult. (We’re all born from 1975-1985).

    But, let’s take this theory a bit further.

    Could it be that what’s going on with the race nowadays, in a somewhat ironic corollary to the “the consensus” pick wins is that, at least subconsciously, those of us that love a certain movie argue for it passionately knowing that this will lead it to lose and therefore save it from the Best Picture hatred/curse?

    Not sure if I’m making myself clear but basically, for movies that engender passionate support like Lincoln/ZDT/SLP (or Social network or whatever) – the supporters rally loudly around it, in part because subconsciously we know that that is precisely the way to ensure that it won’t win, which is exactly what we want, in order to save our beloved movie from the curse.

    it’s convoluted, so I mean it only as a theory of subconscious thought.

  32. Lawrence has at least two more performances in Oscar friendly films to be released in the next few years. I really hope she doesn’t win for this one. Not because ‘she is young and will be back next year’. Riva is simply better. If she wins for this role, she won’t win for possibly much superior performances as a better actor in the next five years. And,

    There will be backlash.

  33. Jorge, we recorded an episode of Oscar Podcast late last night and as soon as Sasha has time edit out some the dumb stuff I said we’ll have a link up.

  34. Thanks Ryan

  35. yay for Oscar podcast. It’s actually the only thing that gets me through work.

  36. The Lawrence/Witherspoon comparison is a fair one. I really want that woman to win for something more deserving.

  37. The J Viewer

    Christophe,

    Merci bien!

    Madame really looks kick-ass and slick for a change, especially for a lady of a certain age. I barely remembered her at first…. Good for her. : )

    [All the best to her and Lawrence at Oscars.]

  38. I’m still baffled by the career choices made by Witherspoon post-Oscar. And poor Holly Hunter too.

  39. Jason Travis

    My opinions of the past Best Actress winners from 1989- present:

    1989- Jessica Tandy (DESERVED; liked Pfeiffer but the film was depressing and I found way more spice and gusto in Tandy’s character)

    1990- Kathy Bates (DESERVED; an iconic performance and role, one for the ages- Anjelica Huston was great, but Bates was on another level- it was HER show)

    1991- Jodie Foster (UNDESERVED; Geena Davis or Susan Sarandon should have won for Thelma & Louise)

    1992- Emma Thompson (DESERVED; A weak slate of best actress nominees, but the one golden egg deservedly wins)

    1993- Holly Hunter (DESERVED- though Angela Bassett in What’s Love Got to Do with It would have been my pick)

    1994- Jessica Lange (UNDESERVED- For starters, she was in a film that was shelved for 3 years, so 1994 didn’t really produce a best actress winner at all. Secondly I felt Winona Ryder in Little Women was more special, even though her nomination was a surprise in itself)

    1995- Susan Sarandon (DESERVED- Loved Sharon Stone in Casino and Elisabeth Shue in Leaving Las Vegas, but this was Sarandon’s hour and wow what a role)

    1996- Frances McDormand (DESERVED- One of the great best actress wins, everything about the character was a standout to me)

    1997- Helen Hunt (DESERVED- I am one of the few that defends her win; not only does she have many money moments, she has layers of different emotions, and she’s funny too; Judi Dench and Helena Bonham Carter were also outstanding)

    1998- Gwyneth Paltrow (UNDESERVED; Cate Blanchett was robbed, and Meryl Streep delivered one of her best roles in One True Thing- Paltrow was nothing but eye candy for voters to pant over while she got naked)

    1999- Hilary Swank (DESERVED; Annette Bening did nothing to validate a nomination let alone a win in American Beauty, she was just a big phony mess; Swank was incredible)

    2000- Julia Roberts (DESERVED; Sorry I LOVE LOVE LOVED Julia Roberts in this film ,it’s HER SHOW and she’s in every scene. She won National Board of Review and Los Angeles Film Critics in addition to accolades from the Globe, BFCA, SAG and BAFTA; Ellen Burstyn was amazing but a supporting role and had no chance Oscar night)

    2001- Halle Berry (DESERVED; I thought she was fantastic, subtle, raw and inhibited. I also loved Renee Zellweger, Nicole Kidman and Sissy Spacek; only Dench was meh to me)

    2002- Nicole Kidman (DESERVED; She nails every scene she’s in as Woolf, but again- ANY of the other women would have also been worthy, a great year for women- Salma Hayek, Julianne Moore, Diane Lane and Renee Zellweger)

    2003- Charlize Theron (DESERVED; a performance to top all female contemporary performances; also love Watts and Keaton)

    2004- Hilary Swank (UNDESERVED; a nice performance but not worthy over Kate Winslet or Catalina Sandino Moreno)

    2005- Reese Witherspoon (DESERVED; another critically acclaimed performance BEFORE the awards season- she won New York and National Society of Film Critics. She was fresh, smooth and just flowed beautifully. All the Desperate Housewives fans jumped on the Draq Queen Transamerica lovefest, but Huffman was not the same and she’s NOT considered a movie actor, another reason she wasn’t beating Witherspoon).

    2006- Helen Mirren (DESERVED; Quietly understated but wonderfully performed; my personal pick would have still been Streep in Prada or Dench in Notes on a Scandal)

    2007- Marion Cotillard (DESERVED; Glad she beat Christie, who was in a supporting role and whose husband delivers a better performance, forgot the actor’s name)

    2008- Kate Winslet (UNDESERVED; She should have been in supporting, this was clearly a pity award that Winslet milked for every cent worth; Anne Hathaway was far more worthy in Rachel Getting Married)

    2009- Sandra Bullock (UNDERSERVED TO THE ENDS OF THE EARTH; The worst best actress win of all time. She won purely because of who she was and because her movie made a buttload of cash. Every other best actress contender was far worthier, with Streep obviously being screwed the most and Sidibe and Mirren and Mulligan also being way stronger)

    2010- Natalie Portman (DESERVED; Though 2010 was also a great year for best actresses, so I would have picked Nicole Kidman in Rabbit Hole or Annette Bening in The Kids Are All Right)

    2011- Meryl Streep (DESERVED; She won for a meaty role and won everything she needed for the win- New York, Drama Globe, BAFTA- many wanted Davis, I just don’t think she was worthy over Streep)

    2012- Emmannuelle Riva will be the ONLY deserving candidate to me this year. Anyone else will be an undeserved winner, and yep- that includes Ms Lawrence. She’s charming but not better then Riva.

  40. Christophe

    Kate Winslet should have won EVERY AWARD for which she’s ever been nominated (and even those for which she hasn’t), but she should’ve especially won for Titanic, that was a surreal performance in a legendary film.

  41. I have to disagree with Natalie Portman’s win being deserved. That was just a good performance in a terrible movie. But if she could win, then certainly Lawrence can win.

  42. “Most of America believes Lincoln is the deserved winner, not just a few of us rumblers here in tinseltown.”

    This is an absurd statement. Certainly the Critics don’t. Certainly the movie industry doesn’t think so. In my social circle no one thinks Lincoln is the best movie of the year. With 9 Best pic nominees, you can’t just say majority of Americans view Lincoln as the best movie of the year, it’s a downright lie.

  43. Cléverton Bezerra

    Sasha, most in North America may find Lincoln to be the deserved winner, but that’s not the case in Latin America. I don’t think so. In Latin America, Life of Pi is the most loved and praised film.

  44. Sasha,
    with due respect, I think you need to add “in my opinion” or “I think/believe” in front of “what potential Oscar “mistakes” lie ahead?”…It reads like some of those are universal/public opinions.

    I object to the disclaimer. Aragorn, do you read everything as universal opinion? Are you not capable of interpreting the writing of one person as the opinions of that one person?

    Does Barack Obama have to add a disclaimer before his State of the Union addresses? Does the Queen have to add one before her Christmas speeches?

    The Academy ought to add one before each award…

    “This is not definitive. This is just the opinion of 6,000 irrelevant, out-of-touch, rich relics.”

  45. daveinprogress

    My crystal balls are in the shop this week – but it is tricky to speculate how any of these scenarios will play out over time. And if you sample a group of 100 movie goers (just movie goers, not critics, or journos or film writers), you would get so many different views on how a movie is perceived over time. A recent thread here with the montage of 84 BP winners showed that, as commenters argued over which BP winners were travesties and which were deserved.

    Among film afficianados, i’m sure that Crash has not survived well its victory, perhaps becuase the expected winner has such huge affection in the cultural landscape – and Heath Ledger’s death must add to that, as it was his leading role and his only lifetime Oscar nomination. Driving Miss Daisy, as a sentimental movie is perhaps regarded better, especially as Bruce Beresford was well liked, but not overly known outside industry circles (and a foreigner too).

    If Argo wins BP, which i think it will, the martyr factor will prevail. The Best Picture winner that did so without the acclaim for its director by the very Organisation that proclaimed it. I think it would be more maligned if Affleck HAD been nominated, and both he and the film won. ‘But you are in that chair Blanche!’. We will never know that scenario. A more level playing field would have been corresponding noms for BP/BD for ALL the leading contenders (incl Zero Dark and Les Mis and Django)

    The ‘poor overlooked’ director will probably reflect better on him and the film, because of his celebrity. Nobody knows or remembers Hugh Hudson or Paul Haggis and nobody much remembers Bruce Beresford and his snub. It is easier to dump on Chariots or Crash becuase they beat out arguably better films and the predicted film winners.

    This interminable period between noms and Oscar night, will serve, thanks to the machine and the 24/7 news saturation, to only magnify Argo. If anybody gets demonised in that process it will be the Academy itself not the movie or the moviemakers. AMPAS created the monster.

  46. “The Academy ought to add a disclaimer before each award…”

    I like that idea.

    “And — in the opinion of 6000 overwhelmingly white elderly male millionaires and/or whomever helped them fill out their ballots — the winner is … “

  47. @ Jason Travis
    I strongly disagree with you about Foster, Paltrow and Winslet. I think they all deserved their Oscars. none of those roles is as easy as it may look to you. what I like about their roles the most is that all of them played fictional characters that they made their own. I’m sick and tired of boring biopics made exclusively for their actors to win Oscars, so their wins are a breath of fresh air to me. though I do think that Winslet’s win would be more deserving if it was for Revolutionary Road.

  48. Jennifer Lawrence winning for such a role in such a movie would be a let-down. She’s way better than that. She wins now, she’ll have to lose when she’ll be more deserving of praise. SLP is the most overrated movie of the year.

  49. But most of america probably thought Passion of the Christ and Mel Gibson should have won in that year.

  50. Jorge,

    I’m not sure I agree that people idealize the 80’s BP winners. To me the majority of the winners from both the 80’s and 90’s are underwhelming with some notable exceptions (Amadeus, Schindler’s List, American Beauty) and the past decade actually produced some of the best winners since the 70’s (LOTR, Departed, No Country, Hurt Locker). The 70’s was clearly the best decade for BP winners, though.

  51. Among film afficianados, i’m sure that Crash has not survived well its victory… If Argo wins BP, which i think it will, the martyr factor will prevail.

    One thing Argo has over Crash — it’s a fun ride on first and second viewing. Crash was never any fun. Both movies play well on TV (and on screeners) but I really can’t imagine the type of person who would say, “Oh boy, Crash in on TNT again! Pop some popcorn and let’s cuddle up on the sofa!”

    Honestly cannot visualize anybody saying “oh boy, Argo is on again. Let’s watch it for the 3rd or 4th time!” — but, to be just as honest, I realize not many people can understand me watching Lincoln 5 times already. But I have.

  52. Regarding the hate directed toward winners: I see it here on AD as well as other sites every year. Just think, how many times has the AD BP winner matched up with the Oscar winner? Rarely, if ever. Not even with films like No Country for Old Men or The Departed, two really excellent choices by AMPAS. I think when a film starts winning precursors and becomes a front-runner, even if it was loved prior to it’s wins,it becomes a target for haters. This is just a trend I have noticed every year and think it is rather sad.

  53. Question Mark

    Backlash against a winner doesn’t necessarily make it an undeserving winner, however. Shakespeare In Love’s win over Saving Private Ryan, for instance — for some reason it’s held up as this big travesty amongst casual audiences, but most critics would give the edge to SIL. On the flip side, casual audiences think “Oh yeah, Rain Man, great movie, Hoffman is awesome!” whereas most critics and pundits agree that there were much better choices in 1988, most of which didn’t get nominated.

  54. I never thought I’d see “spice”, “gusto” and “Jessica Tandy” all in the same sentence together. Nice one, Travis – and it’s true.

    I have to agree with Question Mark, too. Shakepeare In Love was a worthy winner and has held up well. (Rain Man, not so much.) Paltrow got a serious case of winner’s curse, but that’s what happens when you beat La Blanchett.

  55. Jason re: Your Best Actress list, pre-op transsexual and drag queen are two very different communities, of which neither wants to be conflated with the other, and Felicity Huffman was the former.

  56. I’m glad you added the disclaimer.

    You cant call it a mistake when the Academy or Awards group chooses something you don’t like. You cant say box office is important (Lincoln) when its the film you want to win, and say it is not important (Hurt Locker) when the film you want to win hasn’t got it. You cant say the awards are rigged/shallow/about the campaign etc etc when the awards don’t go the way of your favourite (Lincoln), then stay silent when your favourite is sweeping, like No Country, Hurt Locker or Social Network (well, almost for Oscar). You can’t say it should be about quality when your choice is not winning (Lincoln), when we have known, since the beginning of Oscar, that AMPAS almost always opts for options of lesser quality.

    In other words, I don’t think its right to claim the system is broken when your favourite doesn’t win, when we know the system is what it is, and always will be.

    I think you owe it to your readers to be a little more objective. Passion is great, but I think it is important to show some balance.

  57. 1. Jennifer Lawrence beats Emmanuelle Riva.

    That would be awesome – she gave the best performance – the most varied, nuanced, and frightening.

    Affleck will have to deal with that in one way or another. He’ll keep making good films and maybe run for political office. Both of those will serve to disprove what many might consider this an underserved Best Picture win.

    Ben Affleck is not going to spend the rest of his life doing things in order to justify a win that he’s won. I think he’ll be happy and go home and keep his career moving.

    Most of America believes Lincoln is the deserved winner, not just a few of us rumblers here in tinseltown.

    Most of America seriously doesn’t care.

    3. David O. Russell beats Steven Spielberg, Ang Lee, Michael Haneke, Benh Zeitlin

    That would be awesome – he did a phenomenal job.

    4. Bradley Cooper beats Daniel Day-Lewis, Joaquin Phoenix, Denzel Washington, Hugh Jackman. Actors don’t usually suffer the same fate as actresses when they win undeserved Oscars. In Hollywood, white hot males like Cooper land on their feet.

    Many people won’t consider it undeserved – at least a majority or plurality of the Academy voters won’t.

    5. Silver Linings screenplay beats Argo, Lincoln and Life of Pi. Epic fail to the WGA for not honoring Pulitzer Prize winning Kushner. …Argo will take this award but only one writer will be remembered as having not won and that’s Kushner.

    People don’t really remember Arthur Miller losing as much as they do Billy Bob beating him. And enough people didn’t like the writing in Lincoln that it’ll prove to them (myself included) that the Academy can see past people’s credentials and look at their work. Who cares if he won a Pulitzer if you don’t like this work?

    7. Lincoln pulls of a surprise win over Argo. I am afraid what the mob would do in that scenario – Lincoln already has enough haters but it might reach epic levels should this rare event take place. It won’t happen but if it did Argo and Affleck would instantly gain major industry cred. My honest opinion is that a loss for Argo > win for Argo.

    I actually think that if Lincoln beat Argo people would either not care or be happy for it. It’s not like Crash which was to almost everyone objectively inferior to Brokeback and all the other nominees. If Lincoln wins, then most people will just shrug and have no problem with it.

  58. You could say the last 4 Best Picture winners were undeserved (2008-11), but the past will be left alone this time. Sasha, I guarantee you if the wrong name is in the second-to-last envelope on Sunday night, the one who’s going to get the word ‘undeserved’ flung their way by most of American mainstream moviegoers, and they would be right in their wrath, is Emmanuelle Riva.

    They will look upon Riva as someone who got by on a sympathy vote, a lifetime achievement award, a beneficiary of reverse ageism. Someone who was gift-wrapped Best Actress with a minimum of campaigning. And a growing consensus that the Oscars are a ponzi scheme if you’re a young talent who’s being made to take a timeout for being too good, too soon. Ellen Page had an enormous future ahead of her after Juno. Now, you hardly hear of her aside from her birthday.

    Lawrence has done more on her own to win over the hearts and minds of regular folks than Harvey could have ever done. That’s half the battle; the other half, her prodigious acting skills have taken care of the rest. Honor her now, and let the future decide for itself when the time comes.

    So all you people who want her to lose, and who say she’s going to win too soon, consider this. What if Serena is equal or beyond SLP? The hue and cry will begin again, give her front-row seats at the Oscar derby. Only thing is, she’ll be just a year older. If she’s perceived as not paying her dues now, what makes you think there’ll be a change of mind then? They will make her wait. A decade or two, perhaps. It still won’t be her turn.

    Think about that as you eagerly walk up to the Riva Special Kool-Aid Kiosk.

  59. I may be delusional, but I kind of wonder if Daniel Day Lewis may suffer from this winner’s curse. As I’m sure everyone around here knows, he’ll make Oscar history if he wins for “Lincoln.” He’ll be only one of three male performers (Jack Nicholson and Walter Brennan are the others) to win three Oscars, and he’ll surpass them both by winning each time in the lead category. According to IMDb, he’s only made one movie – remember “Nine”? – since winning for “There Must Be Blood” five years ago. I wonder if Bradley Cooper or maybe Joaquin Phoenix just might win in an example of letting someone else have a chance. I always felt that Phoenix should have won for playing Johnny Cash but didn’t because Jamie Foxx won a year earlier for playing Ray Charles.

  60. Robert A.

    “I may be delusional, but I kind of wonder if Daniel Day Lewis may suffer from this winner’s curse.”

    Nah! Daniel Day-Lewis is bigger than any stinkin’ curse!

  61. Astarisborn

    The only surprise unexpected unpredictable high anxiety opening of the envelope will be for Best Director.

  62. Robert Smithlee

    Most of America believes Lincoln is the deserved winner, not just a few of us rumblers here in tinseltown.

    That could not be farther from the truth – if most of America were as not ignorant, they would beautifully award Zero Dark Thirty. But controversial films never win the top prize. Do the Right Thing never was awarded for the craft it deserves, but that doesn’t mean Driving Miss Daisy was a better film than Spike Lee’s drama. Of course not.

  63. I had written a huge comment about the link I’m about to post, but my computer is crap, so I’ll just shorten it up.

    Sasha, it’s interesting that you chose the words “Actress Curse” for your post because yesterday a brazilian film site posted an interview with Jessica Chastain upon which she is asked just about that.

    now, I know the curse is more related to supporting actresses than leads, but it’s still a lovely interview. she says she does not believe in such a curse, btw =P

    http://omelete.uol.com.br/videos/mama-omelete-entrevista-jessica-chastain/

    (just remembered that posts with links have moderation, sorry if it’s a double post)

  64. Russell will CERTAINLY be a candidate to suffer with the curse if he wins. Specially considering that unless he’s in an Harvey Weinstein produced movie, his past behavior will re-surface, and might as well do anyway since an Oscar will draw more attention to him.

    Both Coopper and Jackman will suffer massive backlash if they beat DDL as well. Denzel might have a little, but his popularity and the fact it wouldn’t be unfair for him to have 3 (or 4) Oscars already will make sure it won’t be much. Phoenix probably won’t have much either, because his performance is just too good for that. Of course, this is all very hypothetical, since they are all going to lose.

    And most of the USA probably would vote for The Avengers (a better choice than some past BP winners, I suppose). If you mean among more serious movie watchers, then it would probably be an extremely polarized vote, which explains why Argo is the favorite- there is no consensus as to who should beat it.

    But anyway, this Lincoln consensus doesn’t exist, sorry to tell you that.

  65. It looks to me that your are just so intent on seeing Emanuel Riva win that you’ll do whatever you can to ruin Jennifer Lawrences chances of winning and make her look like she’s a bad actress. I personally felt that “Amour” was to depressing to watch and Riva was simply playing herself while pretending to have Alzheimer’s. Lawrence does deserve the award and she will go on to become a great actress. There is no point in predicting someone will win just because you really to see it happen.

  66. Someone who was gift-wrapped Best Actress with a minimum of campaigning.

    Good. It ought to be about the performance.

    I’ve become so certain that Emmanuelle Riva can’t lose that I’m now terrified that she might.

  67. “Lawrence does deserve the award and she will go on to become a great actress. ”

    Both of these statements would make sense if they were in reverse order.

    If Riva wins it will be a highlight of the night, but I’m not expecting it.

  68. Come on guys, SLP doesnt deserve its place – 8 nominations is huge for this kind of chick flick and it has nothing special in it – acting, directing, screenplay, cinematography – all of them mediocre to low quality. I hope it goes home empty handed.

  69. rufussondheim

    JLAw was good in SLP, I wouldn’t put her in the top 5 for the year, but she was good. She was even better in The Hunger Games.

    And as been said before, she’s very talented, although now that I’ve seen her lots off camera, and on SNL, I can see through the cracks of her performances, I see JLaw, the person in all of her work now.

    I’m not sure she creates characters as much as she puts herself into these situations and does what she thinks she would do in the same circumstance. She has the potential of burning out quick.

    With that said, I still expect her to do great things in Serena. It seems right up her alley. But the sad thing is, I can see her choices in my head quite readily. And I don’t think that’s a good thing.

    If I sound conflicted, it’s because I am.

  70. From where do you get that: “Most of America believes Lincoln is the deserved winner”?.
    In IMDB, Argo has a best average rating on US users, and in Rottentomatoes (I think, dominated by USA users also) it’s the same thing (4.3 v/s 4.1 with 100.000 votes also). Obviously that tell us that Argo is more loved and nothing more, but indirectly tell us also that people should be happier seeing Argo winning more than Lincoln. So, where do you get that data?

  71. rufussondheim

    She takes it from two things, the fact that it leads at the box office. And there was a Pew, I think, poll that asked Americans who deserved to win the Best director Oscar and Lincoln got the highest total.

    Obviously both are second-rate indicators. A ticket sold does not equate a movie loved (although the fact that it does have great staying power at the box office is a huge mark in its favor) and the poll might just be a reflection of familiarity with the names, not a reflection of the quality of their work.

    At this point, of the 7 films that have made over or close to 100 mill at the box office, I think it’s really hard to say which one America loves the most. While ZDT has the lowest box office of the seven, in my circle of friends who have seen it, it rates extremely high, much higher than Lincoln or Argo. Heck, even SLP seems to be more popular judging by my facebook friends.

  72. Ryan Adams

    “I personally felt that “Amour” was to depressing to watch and Riva was simply playing herself while pretending to have Alzheimer’s. ”

    I wish you felt it was too depressing to write about if you’re just going to get it all wrong. Riva’s character did not suffer from Alzheimer’s.

    If you didn’t watch the movie, or if you watched it and got the simplest facts screwed up, then it’s depressing for me to watch you pretend that your reasons for predicting Lawrence are any better than our reasons for predicting Riva.

  73. Do people still think DDL could loose?
    He has won nearly every award this season, so THAT would be a huge shocker.
    He has it all, the timing, the role, everything.
    No one is going to beat him on Sunday night.

    Of course winning an Oscar’s not the guarantee for a great career, in more than enough worst cases it can be a career killer. Ask Renée Zellweger or Adrian Brody.
    But it’s all a question of time. Even Meryl had somehow a “dry” period in the 90’s and look where she’s now.

    It’s true Lawrence is still very young and there could be greater chances the next years, but how many Oscar hopeful were told exactly that and most of them never won?
    If voters really think she gave the best performances this year, they should have voted for her and not because of the opportunity to be nominated next time.
    Since my golden lady won last year, I don’t have anyone this time to root for. I wish them all good luck.

  74. It will be the biggest of tragedies if Riva wins tomorrow for such an average performance (watching her on screen, i felt like she was playing herself- I guess because of her age); it will also be a slap in the face to America’s film goers to award such an obscure individual who perhaps had only one film of note in her career. Seen all the performances and Lawrence by far had the most sensational, provocative, sensitive, poignant, and engaging and heartfelt performance. It would be a real crime not to award this deserving individual with THE standout performance of the year.

  75. I disagree with Russell being cursed if he wins. Nobody in that category deserves grief if they win. The indicators and precursors are out the window on that one that I cannot really see anybody angry by who wins aside from the Poor Ben side of the Peanut Gallery who embarrassingly (and I just think this was disrespectful) tried to keep the idea of a write-in campaign alive.

    Project to project, Russell can not be put in a box. The only thing that is potentially harmful to him or any of the actors who could win is the Weinstein aftertaste that has reached some new levels of desperation. I mean, I feel like we found out way too much about his personal life this season with the film somehow being a “personal” film. Even though I was not too keen on SLP, I cannot wait for Russell’s ABSCAM film (though it has a lot to do with the cast and it being a Megan Ellison-backed film which you know means Russell will get to really spread his wings).

    And how is SLP a chick flick besides the dance competition element in the third act? Jennifer Lawrence is never shown without being connected to Bradley Cooper’s character. Even Zero Dark Thirty passed the Bechdel test (that is very faulty and often favors some of the worst rom-coms out there) and I cannot recall a scene where Lawrence did not talk to another woman that was not about the character Pat or her dead husband. That is not really the fault of Lawrence, the direction or the script, it lies in the source material and that the role is a glorified supporting role (and if she had been promoted in a supporting role, have her and Helen Hunt switch categories, nobody would really have that much of an issue with the character in my opinion).

    And Emmanuelle Riva being considered an ‘obscure individual’ is seriously somebody who never bothered to watch a film in subtitles because many cinephiles and even people who just took a film class has seen her before, albeit roles that were years ago.

    Also anybody see that that THR report on how the Best Picture nominees played on Twitter (SLP got the highest score). Zero Dark Thirty got the lowest scores based on twitter activity. REALLY? COULD HAVE FOOLED ME.//sarcasm

  76. to award such an obscure individual who perhaps had only one film of note in her career.

    “Obscure individual”? Emmanuelle Riva has appeared in several enormously important and influential films throughout her career. She’s been in films by Michael Haneke, Jean Pierre-Melville, Krzysztof Kieslowski, Georges Franju, Philippe Garrel, Alain Resnais. Two of Emmanuelle Riva’s previous movies are among Sight & Sound’s 100 greatest films of all time. One person’s ignorance doesn’t equal another person’s obscurity.

    it will also be a slap in the face to America’s film goers

    the faces of America’s film goers need to be slapped.

  77. Ryan, hate to break this to you, but outside of art house circles, Riva is not just unknown to U.S. moviegoing audiences, but *completely* unknown. So if she pulls off the upset of upsets tomorrow, I suspect the American moviegoing public will take a rather dim view of Ms. Riva. Blame that on Lawrence, who has been utterly charming and disarming during award season. Her appearances on talk shows in particular stand out. Refreshing, she is, to the point where I’ll give her a mulligan for not faking happiness toward the BAFTA winner. Truth to tell, someone from her inner circle should’ve taken her aside and told her there was no way she was going to win BAFTA. That whole exercise in London 2 weeks ago was solely to set up one final challenger/obstacle to getting to the Dolby Theatre stage tomorrow. Hopefully, AMPAS will have an attack of sanity and not make Lawrence wait a decade or more before THEY decide she’s good enough. Because that’s what it’s come down to.

  78. Ryan, I’m so tired of critics like yourself who think they know cinema. Riva is unknown by most of the English speaking world. Americans do not need a slap in the face just because we can’t see the so called beauty of Riva’s performance. You need to stop being so offensive just because there are people out there who appreciate Lawrence’s performance.

  79. Riva is unknown by most of the English speaking world.

    So is Kafka. But I wouldn’t call him ‘obscure.’

    You’re a nincompoop for saying Riva only made one notable movie in her entire life. Keep saying it. You’ll get tired of me pointing out your ignorance a long time before I tire of doing it.

  80. Thank you for proving my point Ryan. I won’t even scoop to your immature level of name calling. I hope you are not too devastated tomorrow when the presenter opens the envelope tomorrow and says Lawrence’s name.

  81. I find this back and forth between Manny, PaulH and Ryan amusing. It just sums up the Oscar race. Two people screaming how the public will find it tragic if one Actress wins just because she’s unknown, and didn’t spend the month charming everyone(although if that Hollywood Reporter article is true, she didn’t charm everyone apparently.) Popularity and working the system first, always, regardless if the performance is actually good.

    I do agree with Sasha in that if Jennifer wins it will hurt her in the long run, given the performance itself is a glorified Manic Pixie Dream Girl and Jennifer already has better performances behind her.

    Joaquin beating DDL would not be seen a horrible upset because IMO he is the only one who gave a performance as strong as Daniel’s. And it would be so funny given that his views on awards season. Though really, after seeing how this season went down, can’t say I blame him for his views.

  82. No seriously, can we all agree that Phoenix was right? I know we all don’t agree on what is the Best Picture and such but can we all agree on this sentiment?

  83. I step up to defend Emmanuelle Riva when somebody says she is just some “obscure individual who perhaps had only one film of note in her career.”

    then Manny says he’s “tired of people like you” who “think you know” stuff.

    then Jade Fox says I’m “screaming” (…because I use the word “ignorance”? Ignorance: the condition in which someone doesn’t know facts that are easy to learn. Ignorance.)

  84. daveinprogress

    Nobody knew who Geoffrey Rush was when he came out of nowhere to win for ‘Shine’ and i don’t recall anybody delcaring him unworthy becuase ‘nobody knew his name’. Marion Cotillard was hardly a household name either when she won nor Adrien Brody. The fact that this French actress delivers one of the most heartbreaking, detailed and devastating portrayals of a descent until death and that she is the remarkable age that she is provides the Academy all they require. I don’t buy the birthday schtick or a sentimental vote – she is not a Hollywood veteran, but she is a thesp of the highest caliber. For anyone who has seen the movie, knows what courage and craft the performance required.

    Jennifer Lawrence may be America’s sweetheart (although as i write that, it doesn’t feel congruent. She doesn’t come across as sweet- with spunk though – as Ed Asner’s Lou Grant said to Mary Tyler Moore “I hate spunk”) and she may win the Oscar, but as others have said, her performance is just not in the same zone, region or planet as Ms Riva’s is. The Academy has in my viewing lifetime given some obscure Oscars (unknowns or one off performances) to say the least.

    Linda Hunt(2nd film), Haing S Ngor (non actor), F Murray Abraham, (minor appearances in a handful of features) Marlee Matlin(debut), Olympia Dukakis (minor roles for 25 years!), Mira Sorvino, Brenda Fricker, Cuba Gooding, Roberto Benigni, Hilary Swank (virtually unknown at the time)These were not superstar Oscar winners. In this age of celebrity, people seem to expect that the Academy must recognise only ‘star’ performers. A great performance is still one of the ingredients that occasionally comes up a winner. Sometimes there is no denying an actor – Jeff Bridges, Kate WInslet, Helen Mirren, Sandra Bullock (gulp) whether it is a great performance or not. Al Pacino, Paul Newman, Henry Fonda arguably did not win for their best work.

    The Oscars that i remember best, are those given to a once in a lifetime performance – that brought a face and a name to the world that was previously less known – Geoffrey Rush, Marion Cotillard… and i hope Emmanuelle Riva.

  85. Jade, it’s just between Ryan and Manny for now. I’m not in the equation. I tried to be lucid and give reasons why people may/will be unhappy with a Riva win tomorrow. The time for talk is just about over and we’ll see whose school of thought prevails soon enough.

  86. It’s ok Ryan, no matter how hard you argue, they will always have their own bias. They will keep thinking who is this obscure French actress who is old, playing herself in a movie, and gawd, so old. What does she do to deserve the Oscar when we have this talented, young, bubbly, charming young lady here who plays a role who’s mentally disturbed but with so many layers (Personally, I don’t think Lawrence really plays her that well)? So I feel like it’s pointless to tell them, go watch Riva’s filmography because they won’t listen. I think if you say the Oscars is about celebrating film arts in general, then they will have nothing to say. But the Oscars is less about merit, but also other factors like campaigning, popularity, money, political messages etc. I don’t think we are putting Lawrence down, instead, it’s people like Manny who keeps putting Riva down by calling her obscure, playing herself etc. I think Lawrence is besides charming, very talented. We just wish she would win for something that is more substantial. (Theron’s performance in “Monster” type of substantial, that revelatory)

  87. When I said, “two people are screaming” I was mostly talking about PaulH and Manny, not you Ryan. In fact what I was trying to say in a few words was better said by Lars and truthfully, I’m on your side. The idea of not awarding an actress just because she’s old and not known is ridiculous to me. Just like that idiot who said he won’t vote for Jennifer because of her SNL sketch. Both are dumb and what exactly does that have to do with the actual performances again someone please remind me?

    Ideally the Oscars should be about the best Screenplay, the Best Acting Performance, the Best Direction, etc. but it’s not. And it’s rather sad that instead of crying “Bullshit!” to how the Oscars and awards seasons in general is about who campaigned the best and not about people awarding what they felt is truly the best performance or film, there are people who not only seem fine with that truth, but will fight to keep the status quo in place. Truly sad.

  88. Christopher

    Jennifer Lawrence’s win would not be undeserved. And if she loses, “SLP” will go down in history as the film she SHOULDA won for.

    I wouldn’t be upset if Emmanuelle wins. However I found nothing incomparable about her performance. Both Julie Christie and Judi Dench covered similar territory and were even more captivating. And both lost.

    Forget that Lawrence hasn’t made as many films, is young, and is the current “It” girl.” Based on performance alone she made this character come alive in a way few other actresses could. What she pulled off was neither comedy or drama, but simply an honest and emotionally skilled performance.

    The hypocrisy is that after seeing an actress like this in “Winter’s Bone,” we want them to break into the big leagues and be successful. Then once they do, we scream “Undeserved! Too soon!”

  89. Well, Christopher, I think this is the case of chicken/egg first. Lawrence’s fans will support her, and Riva’s fans will think she’s the best. What I struggle with Lawrence’s performance is, people keep talking about the depth of her performance, but I really don’t see/feel/hear it at all. Yes, she’s thorny, hurt, and she says blunt and unpleasant things. I don’t know what you mean by “she makes the character comes alive”. A lot of people keep saying that, and I scratch my head. Is it possible that the writing of her character is not up to par, so her performance elevated the character? In this case, Watts’ performance also did that in an uneven movie. With Riva, you see her deterioration step by step. Yes, it was done by Dench and Christie before, but you forgot that they are affected by different illnesses. Riva’s character was perfectly healthy, and suddenly she had a stroke. She loses her normal functions, and the more she worsens, the more prominent the physicality of her performance becomes. When she yells “Hurts/Mal”, I feel like I’ve been stabbed many times. It’s those goose-bump moments that I look for in a performance. In Cotillard’s case, it was when she was dancing to “Firework” and her scene again with the same whale. I think Lawrence still is not a complete actress, and she needs to work on her facial expression a little more. A lot of time we confuse blank unemotional face to interior acting. I’m not saying she should exaggerate like Moretz in “Hugo”.

    Of course, without Trintignant, I think Riva’s performance would be less effective. Christie in “Away from Her”, I would argue, is more of a poetic interpretation of the same theme. This is how I would give my top 5 performances by an actress this year:
    1) Riva
    2) Cotillard (and I never really like her acting haha)
    3) Streep for “Hope Springs” (heartbreakingly honest, except for the cop out ending)
    4) Rachel Weisz in “Deep Blue Sea”
    5) Michelle Williams in “Take This Waltz”
    I would put Helen Hunt in “The Sessions” here too since she’s really a lead, and a damn good one.
    6) Chastain

  90. Christopher

    I appreciate your comments, Lars. Thank you.

    Seasons like this one, when people are split on so many of the nominees, are by far my favorites.

  91. At least there’ll be no backlash against Riva hahaha
    Granted, Lawrence is NOT the least deserving winner

  92. roger k

    I don’t think Natalie Portman should have won the Oscar. Rather Aronofsky should have won for directing her so well. Portman’s only value is her beauty. She is boring as a thespian.

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