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The State of the Race: Out from the Grizzly Maze

“If you are losing a tug of war with a tiger, give him the rope before he gets to your arm. You can always buy a new rope.” – Max Gunther

A quick timeline:
January 10th
– Oscar nominations, Ben Affleck and Kathryn Bigelow left off
January 10th – Ben Affleck wins Best Picture and Director at the BFCA
January 13th – Ben Affleck wins Best Picture and Best Director at the Globes

January 24 – PGA ballot deadline
January 25 – SAG, DGA deadline

You build momentum one win at a time, but particularly so if it is an unexpected win. What Ben Affleck’s double wins did on the heels of his presumed “snub” threw fire on gasoline and set into motion a narrative that would turn what was once a wide open Oscar race into one of those years where one movie wins everything — like Slumdog Millionaire. In fact, that was the last time a movie won as many awards as Argo is winning. The drama continues every step of the way because everyone knows that the one award Argo can’t win is Best Director. It was a blessing in disguise.

That it is up against evil Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln makes it all the more juicy. I just saw a headline yesterday that read “will Argo steal Lincoln’s Best Picture Oscar?” Even when it was clear Argo was going to win that narrative kept chugging away and will continue up to Oscar night. People love that kind of thing.  It makes us all think justice is being done. The good guys are winning against the bad guys.  It’s the nature of humans, and the nature of the Oscar race.

For me, watching the Oscar race all of these years has been like Timothy Treadwell entering the Grizzly Maze. He starts out kind of observing them as photojournalists might – with healthy objectivity – observe them but keep a safe distance. Over time, he becomes too involved and eventually, falsely, believes he can influence the outcome of the cold, indifferent natural world. As we watch his narcissistic personality disorder take over his more gentle nature, he loses perspective and then gets eaten by one of the bears he sought to protect.

I have always envied people who can stumble into the Oscar race and not really care about the outcome.  They slip in and out of them easily, never taking them too seriously, showing up to do the job but never taking a particular side, loving being on the winning side but not really thinking any of it matters much. It’s just a dumb contest, after all, who cares.  I did that, or tried to, for the few years of Oscar watching. When I first started I wanted to know why some great films never won Oscars.  I set out to track them from the beginning of the year on through to Oscar night.  I thought if I could show people how it went down they would not forget the best ones and they would think about their vote more seriously.   Sometimes it seemed to make a difference, like when Adrien Brody surprised in the Best Actor category.  But it was impossible to think any of it meant something after Brokeback Mountain lost to Crash and then later, when The Social Network lost to The King’s Speech, and now when Lincoln, Zero Dark Thirty and Life of Pi are losing to Argo.  None of these winners are bad films. They are the consensus choice that said we liked this movie better than all of the others.

It is really not the problem of the race itself but those who become too invested in it.  If you keep track of the things that generally define greatness and see in the end that those things don’t matter it can become as frustrating and maddening as Timothy Treadwell watching the bears starve to death because there is no rain.  And if you care too much people start to wonder about you.

Even still, I applaud Ben Affleck, George Clooney, Gran Heslov and Chris Terrio for their marvelously entertaining Argo. And yes, it is all of those things. Who can’t be happy for Terrio, in particular, a nice guy and a talented writer who wrote something that a lot of people really love? Or Affleck, for that matter, smartly put front and center during the awards race. They’re on the winning side and they can’t be stopped. Might as well hop on their hay wagon, crack open a cold one and sing along. Or you can  sit on the sidelines being miserable about the outcome not being what you’d hoped, what you’d imagined or what, in your darkest moments, never thought possible. It’s a choice to make at the end of the slog.

And so I remember back to 2010 when at least the Social Network had won every critics award it went up for – and it was rejected by the industry — Best Picture was read by Steven Spielberg:

This year isn’t ending in a tragedy. Voters found a great movie that they liked. It has transformed the careers of Ben Affleck and Chris Terrio. I have not regretted one minute of this year. Who could not have been inspired by these great movies this year.   The endgame is, well, the celebration.

I think I’ve survived the grizzly maze for another year. And as Timothy Treadwell said moments before being eaten alive, “There is no, no, no other place in the world that is more dangerous, more exciting than the Grizzly Maze. Come here and camp here. Come here and try to do what I do. You will die. You will die here. You will frickin’ die here. They will get you. I found a way. I found a way to survive with them. Am I a great person? I don’t know. I don’t know. We’re all great people. Everyone has something in them that’s wonderful. I’m just different. And I love these bears enough to do it right. And I’m edgy enough and I’m tough enough.”

As we close down shop for this bizarre season which started in Telluride with Argo and ended in Los Angeles with Argo, it’s a good time remember once again that the films that get out there early often have the staying power to go the distance. This is the combination of being underestimated (Argo was seen as an also-ran heading into the race) and to have proven staying power to run the gauntlet. Argo stood back while the other films got trashed.  This has been true going back many years now: The Artist, The King’s Speech, The Hurt Locker, Slumdog Millionaire, No Country for Old Men, The Departed, Crash all came out early in the year or around the time of Toronto/Telluride.  You have to really go back to Million Dollar Baby to find a late-breaking Best Picture winner.  Remember that for next time.

Also remember that the least offensive really does win the day.  All of the most recent Best Picture winners had the least or nearly the least negative reviews.  To win these days you have to be a Teflon movie with Teflon filmmakers – meaning, you can’t hate them. Hating them is like kicking a puppy.  The more you hate on them, the more lovable they become.  Remember that too.

But there’s nothing wrong with celebrating the ones that won’t win.  They are beautiful losers that are made better because they don’t appeal to the consensus.  Great art, by definition, has trouble doing just that. Oh sure, sometimes you get lucky and the consensus manages to get behind great art.  But it doesn’t happen often. Usually Best Picture is Ms. Right Now.  The first flush of unbreakable love that has a shelf life.  Chocolate only stays sweet for so long.

But I have to also say that what made this year for me were the best readers and commenters on the web. The community of Oscar watchers drives this site — it did back in 1999 and it does now.  So I am not alone in the Grizzly Maze.

In one week we’ll watch George Clooney, Ben Affleck and Grant Heslov make Oscar history.  It will be a joyous occasion.  I keep remembering Ben Affleck and Matt Damon scrambling to the state on their surprise win for Good Will Hunting. They were so stunned to be there, so surprised by their win because they looked like kids who just got let out of high school for the summer. Now Affleck’s back to take the big prize.  He’s come a long way, baby.  We can be on his winning side on Sunday.  It’s either that or get eaten by one of the bears.

***

It’s worth mentioning that this is the fourth consecutive year where the major guilds will dictate how the Academy votes. That’s been so, really, since they changed up to ten. I don’t think it’s really possible now, with so many movies in the mix, for there to be any surprises on Oscar night.

Here are the categories I think are up for grabs — meaning, any name could be read because they have no official frontrunner.

Best Director (leaning Spielberg or Ang Lee or David O. Russell). 
Best Actress (leaning Emmanuelle Riva or Jennifer Lawrence)
. Best Supporting Actor (leaning Christoph Waltz, Tommy Lee Jones or De Niro). 
Best Original Screenplay (leaning Zero Dark, Amour or Django)
. Sound Editing (leaning Skyfall or Argo or Life of Pi). 
Animated Feature (leaning Wreck-it Ralph or Brave). 
Cinematography (leaning Life of Pi or Skyfall). 
Art Direction (leaning Anna Karenina or Life of Pi). 
Score (leaning Life of Pi)
. The shorts (leaning Curfew, Open Heart, Paperman).

Seem Locked: 
Picture-Argo
, Adapted Screenplay-Argo, 
Supporting Actress-Anne Hathaway
, Editing-Argo, 
Foreign Language Film-Amour, 
Best Actor (perhaps)-Daniel Day-Lewis
, Costumes-Anna Karenina
, Sound-Les Miserables
, Visual Effects-Life of Pi, 
Documentary–Searching for Sugar Man, 
Makeup-Les Miserables
, Song-Skyfall.

On these charts you can see how once Oscar changed up to more than five Best Picture nominees the guilds and Oscar have been uniform: one winner all of the time.

Producers Guild | Best Picture
Won Guild | Won Oscar

2011

PGA | SAG | DGA | Oscar Best Picture

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

2011

PGA | SAG | DGA | Oscar Best Picture

The Artist The Artist The Artist The Artist
The Descendants The Descendants The Descendants The Descendants
Midnight in Paris Midnight in Paris Midnight in Paris Midnight in Paris
Hugo Hugo Hugo
Dragon Tattoo Dragon Tattoo Extremely Loud
The Help The Help The Help
Moneyball Moneyball
Ides of March Tree of Life
War Horse War Horse
Bridesmaids Bridesmaids

2010

PGA | SAG | DGA | Oscar Best Picture

The King’s Speech The King’s Speech The King’s Speech The King’s Speech
The Social Network The Social Network The Social Network The Social Network
Black Swan Black Swan Black Swan Black Swan
The Fighter The Fighter The Fighter The Fighter
The Kids Are All Right The Kids Are All Right The Kids Are All Right
Inception Inception Inception
True Grit True Grit
Toy Story 3 Toy Story 3
127 Hours 127 Hours
The Town The Town

2009

PGA | SAG | DGA | Oscar Best Picture

The Hurt Locker The Hurt Locker The Hurt Locker The Hurt Locker
Inglourious Basterds Inglourious Basterds Inglourious Basterds Inglourious Basterds
Avatar Avatar Avatar
Precious Precious Precious Precious
Up in the Air Up in the Air Up in the Air
An Education An Education An Education
Invictus District 9
District 9 The Blind Side
Up Up
Star Trek Nine A Serious Man

2008

PGA | SAG | DGA | Oscar Best Picture

Slumdog Millionaire Slumdog Millionaire Slumdog Millionaire Slumdog Millionaire
Benjamin Button Benjamin Button Benjamin Button Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight Doubt The Dark Knight The Reader
Frost/Nixon Frost/Nixon Frost/Nixon Frost/Nixon
Milk Milk Milk Milk

2007

PGA | SAG | DGA | Oscar Best Picture

No Country for Old Men No Country for Old Men No Country for Old Men No Country for Old Men
There Will Be Blood There Will Be Blood There Will Be Blood There Will Be Blood
Diving Bell American Gangster Diving Bell Atonement
Juno Into the Wild Juno Juno
Michael Clayton 3:10 to Yuma Michael Clayton Michael Clayton

2006
PGA | SAG | DGA | Oscar Best Picture

The Departed The Departed The Departed The Departed
Babel Babel Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu Babel
Dreamgirls Dreamgirls Bill Condon Letters from Iwo Jima
Little Miss Sunshine Little Miss Sunshine Jonathan Dayton/Valeri Faris Little Miss Sunshine
The Queen Bobby Stephen Frears The Queen

2005

PGA | SAG | DGA | Oscar Best Picture

Brokeback Mountain Brokeback Mountain Brokeback Mountain Brokeback Mountain
Crash Crash Paul Haggis Crash
Capote Capote Bennett Miller Capote
Good Night, and Good Luck Good Night George Clooney Good Night
Walk the Line Hustle and Flow
Steven Spielberg Munich

2004

PGA | SAG | DGA | Oscar Best Picture

The Aviator The Aviator The Aviator The Aviator
Million $ Baby Million $ Baby Million $ Baby Million $ Baby
Finding Neverland Finding Neverland Finding Neverland Finding Neverland
Sideways Sideways Sideways Sideways
The Incredibles Ray Ray Ray
Hotel Rwanda

2003

PGA | SAG | DGA | Oscar Best Picture

The Last Samurai In America Sofia Coppola Lost in Translation
ROTK ROTK ROTK ROTK
Mystic River Mystic River Clint Eastwood Mystic River
Master and Commander The Station Agent Peter Weir Master and Commander
Seabiscuit Seabiscuit Gary Ross Seabiscuit
Cold Mountain

2002

PGA | SAG | DGA | Oscar Best Picture

Adaptation Adaptation The Pianist The Pianist
Chicago Chicago Chicago Chicago
Gangs of New York Gangs of New York Gangs of New York
Two Towers Two Towers Two Towers Two Towers
My Big Fat Greek Wedding Greek Wedding
Road to Perdition The Hours The Hours The Hours

2001

PGA | SAG | DGA | Oscar Best Picture

A Beautiful Mind A Beautiful Mind A Beautiful Mind A Beautiful Mind
The Lord of the Rings The Lord of the Rings The Lord of the Rings The Lord of the Rings
Harry Potter Gosford Park Memento Gosford Park
Moulin Rouge Moulin Rouge Moulin Rouge Moulin Rouge
Shrek In the Bedroom Black Hawk Down In the Bedroom

2000

PGA | SAG | DGA | Oscar Best Picture

Gladiator Gladiator Gladiator Gladiator
Traffic Traffic Traffic (won director)
Erin Brockovich Erin Brockovich Erin Brockovich
Billy Elliot Billy Elliot
Almost Famous Almost Famous Almost Famous
Crouching Tiger Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Chocolat Chocolat

1999

PGA | SAG | DGA | Oscar Best Picture

The Cider House Rules Cider House Rules The Cider House Rules
American Beauty American Beauty American Beauty American Beauty
The Insider Magnolia Michael Mann The Insider
The Green Mile Frank Darabont The Green Mile
The Hurricane M. Night Shyamalan The Sixth Sense
Being john Malkovich Being John Malkovich Being John Malkovich

1998

PGA | SAG | DGA | Oscar Best Picture

Waking Ned Divine Waking Ned Divine Peter Weir Elizabeth
Shakespeare In Love Shakespeare in Love John Madden Shakespeare in Love
Gods and Monsters Little Voice Terrence Malick The Thin Red Line
Life Is Beautiful Life is Beautiful Roberto Benigni Life Is Beautiful
Saving Private Ryan Saving Private Ryan Saving Private Ryan Saving Private Ryan (director winner)

1997

PGA | SAG | DGA | Oscar Best Picture

Titanic Boogie Nights Titanic Titanic
Amistad The Full Monty The Full Monty The Full Monty
L. A. Confidential LA Confidential L. A. Confidential L. A. Confidential
As Good As It Gets As Good as it Gets As Good as it Gets As Good as it Gets
Good Will Hunting Good Will Hunting Good Will Hunting Good Will Hunting

1996

PGA | SAG | DGA | Oscar Best Picture

Fargo Marvin’s Room Fargo Fargo
Shine Shine Shine Shine
Hamlet Sling Blade Secrets & Lies Secrets & Lies
The People vs. Larry Flynt The Birdcage Jerry Maguire Jerry Maguire
The English Patient The English Patient The English Patient The English Patient

1995

PGA | SAG | DGA | Oscar Best Picture

Leaving Las Vegas Leaving Las Vegas Babe
Dead Man Walking Get Shorty Mel Gibson Braveheart
Apollo 13 Apollo 13 Apollo 13 Apollo 13
Sense and Sensibility Sense and Sensibility Sense and Sensibility Sense and Sensibility
Il Postino Il Postino Il Postino
The Bridges of Madison County How to Make an American Quilt
The American President Nixon

PGA | DGA | Oscar Best Picture

1994

Mike Newell for Four Weddings and a Funeral* Four Weddings and A Funeral
Frank Darabont for The Shawshank Redemption* Shawkshank Redemption
Robert Redford for Quiz Show Quiz Show
Quentin Tarantino for Pulp Fiction Pulp Fiction
Robert Zemeckis for Forrest Gump Robert Zemeckis for Forrest Gump Forrest Gump+

1993

Andrew Davis for The Fugitive* The Fugitive
Jane Campion for The Piano The Piano
James Ivory for The Remains Of the Day The Remains of the Day
Martin Scorsese for The Age Of Innocence In the Name of the Father
Steven Spielberg for Schindler’s List Steven Spielberg for Schindler’s List Schindler’s List+

1992

Robert Altman for The Player Scent Of a Woman
Rob Reiner for A Few Good Men A Few Good Men
Clint Eastwood for Unforgiven Unforgiven+
James Ivory for Howards End Howards End
Neil Jordan for The Crying Game Neil Jordan for The Crying Game The Crying Game

1991

Barbra Streisand for The Prince Of Tides Prince of Tides
Oliver Stone for JFK JFK
Ridley Scott for Thelma & Louise Beauty and the Beast
Barry Levinson for Bugsy Bugsy
Jonathan Demme for The Silence Of the Lambs Jonathan Demme for The Silence Of the Lambs The Silence Of the Lambs+

1990

Francis Ford Coppola for The Godfather Part III The Godfather Part III
Kevin Costner for Dances With Wolves Kevin Costner for Dances With Wolves Dances With Wolves+
Barry Levinson for Avalon Awakenings
Martin Scorsese for GoodFellas GoodFellas
Giuseppe Tornatore for Cinema Paradiso Ghost

 

 

199 Comments on this Post

  1. “Hating them is to get tsk tsked by Jon Weisman, Anne Thompson and Kris Tapley on Twitter because you’re being “too mean” to Ben Affleck. ”

    Really? At the end of all that discussion, this is how you sum up my disagreement with your approach? Aside from totally mischaracterizing anything I’ve said to you – not once have I ever written or tweeted anything like that – I wasn’t remotely as dismissive of you as that sentence is. It gives the impression that the people who disagree with you are nothing but petty and childish. Another made-up, straw-man argument.

  2. In one week we’ll watch George Clooney, Ben Affleck and Grant Heslov make Oscar history. It will be a joyous occasion.

    Sorry. I have to disagree. In one week we’ll watch three guys who make decent to borderline mediocre movies win over one of the great producers, Kathleen Kennedy. And the boy’s club continues.

    Ok. That’s me out until next year. I just dont get it this year.

  3. Kevin Klawitter

    One thing that was working against “Lincoln” from before the start, and something people haven’t brought up that much, is the “baity” factor.

    The word “baity”, along with its father term “Oscar Bait” has permeated and corrupted Oscar coverage to such a point that many people flat-out WANT movies percieved as “baity” to fail. It has gone beyond high expectations.

    “Lincoln” is extremely easy to pigeonhole as “Oscar Bait”. Big historical event, famous real-life characters, noble intentions, etc. Movies like “Argo” and “Silver Linings Playbook”, not so much. “Argo”, while based on a true story, played mostly as a seriocomic thriller. “Silver Linings Playbook” is an interesting case, almost an inversion, in that while essentially a romantic comedy, it has had to be spun as “baity” in order to gain more ground. As such, they get it a lot easier and can be percieved as underdogs, while at the same time “Lincoln” gets cut off at the knees because people ASSUME it was leading the pack from the start.

    People love to say that Oscar films were made “just to win awards”. It’s obvious to anybody who has followed the film’s production that this is not the case with “Lincoln”. Why would Spielberg work for twelve years and go through three different screenwriters if his only intention was to win an Oscar? He was able to get a Best Picture nomination for “War Horse”, which he essentially made as an homage to John Ford and a way to get back in the groove of live action filmmaking after “The Adventures of Tintin”.

    But, no… “Lincoln” is seen as fitting the stereotype of “Oscar bait”, and for that it must be punished. It’s a paradox… the movies generally percieved as having most going for them in the Oscar race are also the ones met by those who follow the Oscars with the most resistance.

  4. Agree with Spacey.

    Kevin, the one flaw in your argument is that most Best Pictures still tend to be “Oscar bait.” Maybe not the baitiest, maybe not the most desperate for awards. But you don’t see movies like Inception, Hugo, Avatar, Tree of Life, Inglourious Basterds, Juno, Moulin Rouge, Mulholland Dr., Pulp Fiction, etc. win, and for a reason. The list goes on and on.

    Argo has reclassified what Oscar bait is, to an extent. Sure, it’s a politically relevant, Important film with a capital I and surprisingly intimate direction by Affleck. But political thrillers never win. Stories about controversial but niche historical events don’t win unless they are epics, war stories, biographies of great figures.

    The composition of the Academy has changed over the last decade, and I think that in the years since ROTK, and since Crash especially, the emphasis is less on great films and great stories even by traditional Oscar standards, and more on awarding who’s behind the camera, and rewarding films that aren’t Too Big to Fail.

    There are some mistakes in the chart it seems. 2010 and 2011 are repetitive, and The Help should be listed as winning SAG.

  5. Paul Gibbs

    I can’t even begin to wrap my head around a mindset that would think of Steven Spielberg as a bad guy.

  6. Christophe

    The King’s Speech was Oscar-bait, yet it won over edgy-cool TSN, and I’m mighty glad it did bc Oscar-bait is my favorite movie genre, so I sure hope they keep doing such films. Imo likability is much more important than whichever status a film has in the Oscar race, if the Acad likes a film, they’ll vote for it even if it’s a baity frontrunner, and bloggers can say whatever it’ll keep reinforcing the industry support, but if they like another film better and feeling tepid or defiant toward the baity one, then baity will be seen as an insult, otherwise it doesn’t matter that much.

  7. Jon, I didn’t mean it as a straw man argument. You guys are saying I am wrong to advocate for Lincoln, not realize that a lot of people don’t like Lincoln, not accept that fact (totally true) but then I get scolded by you three for then getting miffed when Argo wins everything. That’s the part of it I’m saying you guys seemed to think was wrong. But I actually thought I cut that part out of the column so I’m going to remove it now. But one point: you wrote a column about how I was feeling — which I think puts me in the position of having to defend that. I didn’t really do that here because why keep flogging a dead animal — so I was trying to just move beyond…

  8. Double check your grid for last year.

  9. Argo is, when you look at the core of the phenomenom, repeating the last-minute-stunt to win. Million Dollar Baby didn’t give people time to really think twice about the film obvious flaws and sins… Argo was a well received film that got “lucky” with people being bored by Lincoln – saying this with the most respect -, unimpressed by Les Miserables or scared by the torture trouble of Zero Dark Thirty. Maybe is the most logical way to go, but it is STILL a huge mistake.

  10. Argo will be one of the absolute rubbish best picture winners. I think consideration absolutely should be put into whether a film will be perceived as a great achievement years from now. On that count, Argo would place last of the nominees, its one of those flavor of the seasons that seems like a ridiculous win after some distance.

  11. richard Crawford

    supremely boring year.

  12. great piece Sasha.

    One minor point- Argo will not make history- driving miss daisy won without a director nomination

  13. Ugh. I can’t believe such a mediocre film swept up all the guilds like it was best movie of all time or something. But well at least I know better for next year when I can start voting in SAG awards. Watch out for the safe conventional mediocre film.

  14. Had Affleck gotten a nomination with say Zeitlin or Haneke being out of the race, would have there been an outcry about Kathryn Bigelow’s non-nomination? Would some of the energy on Affleck move toward her or is her still somewhat on the outside, on the fringes attitude toward Hollywood vs. Affleck as ‘raised on the red carpet’, prom king, nice-guy reputation have be in this exact same spot she and the film (in danger of being shut out) are in?

    Argo is a political thriller but takes no political point of view and unlike Zero Dark Thirty it is not to have this feeling or attempt of moral ambiguity as you are clearly supposed to identify with the premise of CIA as the good guys and Tony Mendez as the good-guy protagonist. It’s a film that prods what it does, Iranian relations (with the British intelligence officer being the guy who mentions how poorly the CIA dropped the ball on foreseeing Iran and that is about 2/3 into the film) and Hollywood. It’s a small story with a serious backdrop and scratches the surface on a lot of stuff that you wonder why they ever bothered to scratch when there is no follow through. Its purported political relevance in connection to the embassy/consulate attacks last September were held up by the studio and Affleck, somewhat desperately, yet nary on America’s current relationship with Iran. It’s really just about the industry really liking a movie about itself that also has some weight to it by being connected to a geo-political event. Not quite bait but irresistible, fallback substitute.

    I definitely agree with the bait comments going against Lincoln. The first trailer with the John Williams score just felt mawkish. Kushner’s script and the incredible strength of the ensemble (with the wise underplaying of Lincoln by DDL only helping this) made the film feel like an old-fashioned film in the best sense, a much more restrained connection to Ford and Griffith for Spielberg that felt way too on the nose with War Horse. Still, even if a lot of people saw it, there are some people who just remain stubborn about it the moment they saw the first moving images of it.

  15. Thomas Dolby

    What if Lincoln win? What if.

  16. One minor point- Argo will not make history- driving miss daisy won without a director nomination

    It makes history by winning the DGA, not having an Oscar nod, then winning. Only happened twice before with Color purple and Apollo 13, neither one BP. Argo will be the first. And essentially, in doing so, it wipes clean every known stat that I use. So with the critics stats gone after Social Network and DGA/Oscar stat gone this year well…no point in even tracking stats.

  17. At the end of the day I feel happy about this race. I’m not an Argo fan, neither a Lincoln fan, but I’m glad that this season had a lot more drama, discussions, surprises, speculation etc. The end of it is so close and there’re still a lot of categories open, something that didn’t happens that often. By sunday there will be a lot of suspense and I’m excited about it. I can’t wait to see who’s gonna take BD home. In the end, it’s all about put on a show, it’s all about entertainment and I’m sure I will remember this race as one of the most entertainers I’ve seen.

  18. When somebody releases a book about Oscar history in a couple of decades, he will write that three events shifted the course of the Academy Awards in the first decade of the 21st century.

    The first one is the change of date of the ceremony from March to February.
    The second one is Crash beating Brokeback Mountain.
    The third one is The Dark Knight and WALL-E snub.

    The first one made things tougher for films that get mid-late december release to gain momentum and win Best Picture and made the campaign strategy change, giving festivals like Cannes, Toronto and Telluride major roles in the awards process. The second one made the Academy take the critics and the general consensus of the other awards even more in consideration when choosing its BP. Since then, the scores of the BP winners have never been below the 80s in Metacritic and the 90s in Rotten Tomatoes. The third one transformed the way the voting process happens and later brought the preferential ballot back.

    (Argo), The Artist, The Hurt Locker, The King’s Speech, Slumdog Millionare, The Departed, No Country For Old Men… all of their triumphs are explained by those 3 changing aspects.

  19. Sasha, you’re obviously free to defend yourself, and frankly I expect no less. But to dissolve everything I wrote into “Sasha’s being too mean to Ben Affleck” just wasn’t right. I appreciate you making the change.

    I never said – nor would I ever say – that you are wrong to advocate for Lincoln. It was about volume, and I don’t think that’s such a difficult distinction to make. It’s a different point of view.

    Nor did I scold you for being miffed about Argo winning. I did say you seemed to be having trouble accepting Argo winning – I think that’s accurate. And again, different.

    Ultimately, my conclusion was that you and Wells are harsh toward those (i.e., the guilds, the Academy) who don’t agree with your views on your favorite films. You’ve basically been calling them shortsighted, if not stupid. I happen to think the repetition of this point got to be a bit much, to the point where it was my opinion that you were losing perspective about a medium and a process that I believe at is heart is emotional and idiosyncratic. But it is not about, nor was it ever about, denying you your right to advocate.

    Everything I write is fair game – but let’s make it about actual things that I wrote.

    And I’m happy to move on – an essential component of my piece was about wanting not to beat dead horses.

  20. Christophe

    “So with the critics stats gone and DGA/Oscar stat gone this year as well…no point in even tracking stats.”

    well, I’m no Argo fan but just for that I will cheer its victory! There’s no point in tracking Oscars stats anyway, bc it is a highly unscientific and irrational event of which we haven’t had enough occurences to come up with relevant stats.

  21. The J Viewer

    The Unforgiven year:

    I love Unforgiven.

    And I can’t believe the late Robert Altman’s great film The Player did lose a BP nom spot to at least one or two apparently lesser film(s).

    Random:

    Just watched Ghost again last week on cable. Apparently didn’t stand the test of time as an Oscars nominated Best Picture, but still entertaining a flick.

    Love The Silence of the Lambs, Prince of Tides, and Bugsy. I remember thinking Beatty doesn’t physically resemble Ben Siegel at all but also loving Annette Bening in it.

    Annette Bening, ZERO. Three 6 Mafia, ONE. Sigh….

  22. “…no point in even tracking stats.”

    Sasha,

    As a mathematician, let me say that one anomaly or outlier does not mean that the correlation is invalid. There are outliers everywhere in life. You have said that this a perfect storm that created this situation, and I agree. The fact that there was not a strong contender that everyone could get behind goes to show how aimless the voters were when selecting their choices. I don’t see that this storm happening too often.

    I would say that the DGA / Best Director / Best Picture relationship is an incredibly strong correlation, but it is not 100%, as you noted. It is a correlation to rely on but not one to hold 100% accurate.

    A statistician friend of mine says, “Statistics means never having to say you are certain.”

    Rob

    P.S., On a side note, I do believe that the guild’s have become flappers to the Academy:

    From Book 3 of Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels:

    “This flapper is likewise employed diligently to attend his master in his walks, and upon occasion to give him a soft flap on his eyes; because he is always so wrapped up in cogitation, that he is in manifest danger of falling down every precipice, and bouncing his head against every post…”

  23. Love the Gulliver” Travels analogy, Rob Y.

    You’ve got more class than I – I would have just called them “fluffers”, not “flappers”.

  24. Fair enough observation to make, Jon. But I won’t leave this season thinking/feeling any differently. When you’ve reported on it day in and day out for 14 years you do have a different much more frustrating perspective. You hope you can keep these large voting bodies from making the same kinds of mistakes over and over again. People continually complain about how the best movies never win. Well, so if you’re me you do everything you can do to prevent that from happening. It might bug you; perhaps you have greater respect for the industry than I do. To me, though, there aren’t enough people complaining and too many people just going with the status quo. I don’t really think it’s worth anyone’s time to cover the Oscars without the harsh judgment that they deserve. That’s my approach. I think most Oscar coverage is bland because there is too much of it and it all says the same thing. THough Jeff and I may be problematic, annoying, short-sighted at least we offer semi-original content. Nothing you wrote nor say here I haven’t heard fifty million times by readers over the years. You have a right, obviously, to comment on the coverage but mine is a fringe site, not the ultimate Oscar voice by any means. Back a few years ago people commented on the Oscar industry itself, saying the pundits know nothing, etc. The first hit piece I got was by Pete Hammond. Later, Patrick Goldstein. It has always been a fashionable thing to write about lame the Oscar blogs are. And now, 14 years later not a lot has changed except there are less people complaining about the Oscar race and more people making money off it, not writing critically about it.

    I’m sorry but I do think their decision to always jump on the bandwagon, as they’re doing this year, doesn’t serve anyone. It reminds me of choosing the high school prom king. There is no upside to this ugly race I have helped to build as is. I am the one who started tracking these awards like a contest and I am now the one disgusted by it. I can’t hide that fact. If I could find a better way to make a living I would be out of here so fast. My conclusion after all of these years is that it’s hopeless. The same shit will go on and on for the next 85 years. I don’t think I ever lost perspective, however, because my aim was never to do it your way.

  25. Here at the end I keep coming back to one thing: They LOVE films that pat them on the back. And this one came from one of their own. I walked out last fall saying ‘that’s a solid “B” and a solid BP winner.

    Sure, he ‘snub’ helped the momentum. If The Artist had been a silent b/w crime story I doubt it ever would have gotten anywhere near an Oscar.

  26. Pierre de Plume

    One thing that was working against “Lincoln” from before the start, and something people haven’t brought up that much, is the “baity” factor.

    Kevin Klawitter, I think your entire comment is insightful. I accept Zach’s criticism, as well, in that what we see as baity is attitudes based on the past.

    Early in the race, the Spielberg camp appeared to be making hay out of the fact that his direction was “restrained” this time around. This might be viewed as an overly calculated response to critics who’ve accused his works as being over the top with sentiment. In retrospect they might have handled this differently, but I think, in the end, it all seemed just a little too “perfect” to really work.

    Ultimately, though, the omission of Affleck snowballed into a phenomenon that just would stop — I think mostly because conveniently timed, relentless criticism of Kushner’s screenplay combined with that. There was a moment not that long ago when Lincoln had a chance of regaining momentum. But when media attention about the discrepancies in Kushner’s script turned into a free-for-all, there was no way the film could overcome that while also having to contend with the Affleck/underdog narrative.

  27. Can we talk about the fact that Naomi Watts lost the Goya Award? I know that Oscars and Goya don’t necessarily match up, but the last time a Best Actress nominee was up for Goya, Penelope Cruz won for Volver. For Best Actor, it was Javier Barden winning for Biutiful. Hasn’t happened in Best Supporting Actor, but for Best Supporting Actress, Cruz won both for Vicky Cristina Barcelona.

    I guess it means two things. Either your name has to be Javier Bardem to Cruz to win and be nominated for Oscar or Watts chances of winning has diminished even further than it has before.

    Of course Goya and Oscar very rarely correlate, so this probably means nothing.

  28. julian the emperor

    I like the Grizzly Man analogy. It’s very applicable.

    But what is it with your Lincoln-affiliated paranoia!?

    “The evil Steven Spielberg”…? Where do you get that vibe? Just because people seem to like it second-best? Is Ang Lee “very evil” (because his film will probably garner the third most votes)? Is Tarantino “supremely evil” for being at the bottom of the nine bp contenders?

    And then you write about the surefire winners. And the only place where you add a “perhaps” is in the case of the most surefire winner of them all, Daniel Day-Lewis. What’s that about? You think the voters hate Lincoln so much that they won’t vote for the obvious frontrunner after all because he stars in “evil Spielberg’s” movie? But that doesn’t make sense. No matter what kind of hate you feel is directed at Lincoln right now, it is still the second (maybe third) most popular movie at this years’ Oscars. It garnered 12 nominations, across the board. How is it possible to “punish” Day-Lewis by voting for less popular alternatives?

  29. Christophe

    “People continually complain about how the best movies never win.”

    People have different tastes in movies, so whatever wins there will always be a majority of naysayers who will complain their favorite film didn’t win. The main issue is how people often confuse “favorite” with “best”, but there’s simply no absolute best bc there are too many different opinions. Subjectivity cannot determine greatness, unfortunately we all measure film achievement based on our own personal preferences and then we get mad at the academy when they disagree with us and we applaud when they agree but in any case it doesn’t mean they were wrong or right.

  30. probably the word “evil” was used playfully? I think the rhetorical term is hyperbole.

    not convinced that Sasha is saying Hollywood literally wants to call in an exorcist.

  31. “The evil Steven Spielberg”…? Where do you get that vibe?

    There has always been a fear/hatred thing for Spielberg. They love him, they hate him. Even back when The Color Purple was snubbed there was suspicions that he’d masterminded some publicity ploy. I don’t know where it comes from and to be honest I didn’t really notice it much until this year.

  32. I didn’t really notice it much until this year.

    I’ve noticed it. I’ve seen the sneers and mockery every time he makes a movie that isn’t Schindler’s List.

  33. Is Ang Lee “very evil”

    Where were all the buckets of pig’s blood at the prom when Ang Lee made Lust Caution and Taking Woodstock?

    Is Tarantino “supremely evil” for being at the bottom of the nine bp contenders?

    ok you got me there. yes, Tarantino did something grotesquely supremely evil with Django. Django will screen on a loop round the clock at Hell’s Multiplex for all Eternity, That interminable dinner table scene at CandieLand is meant to simulate Purgatory.

  34. Pierre de Plume

    To me, though, there aren’t enough people complaining and too many people just going with the status quo. . . . It has always been a fashionable thing to write about how lame the Oscar blogs are.

    Sasha, as you may know I take a philosophical approach to Oscarwatching and enjoy it for what I see as kitsch. What I admire about you and your coverage, year in and year out, is that you have the energy and ability to make a strong case for what you believe in whether it’s based on feeling or on logic. You’re not afraid to say what you think and feel and are fearless in the face of your detractors, always able to back up what you’ve written whether it came from the emotion of the moment or from methodical analysis. I can’t thank you enough for showing us these strong leadership qualities.

  35. Bryce Forestieri

    FINAL OSCAR PREDICTIONS

    *Best Picture: LINCOLN
    Snubbed: MOONRISE KINGDOM, THE MASTER
    Mistakes: LES MIZ

    *Best Director: Steven Spielberg, LINCOLN
    Snubbed: Paul Thomas Anderson(THE MASTER), Quentin Tarantino(DJANGO UNCHAINED), Wes Anderson(MOONRISE KINGDOM)
    Mistakes: N/A

    *Best Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis, LINCOLN
    Snubbed: Jean-Louis Trintignant(AMOUR), Phillip Seymour Hoffman(THE MASTER), Matthias Schoenaerts(RUST AND BONE)
    Mistakes: Hugh Jackman(LES MIZ)

    *Best Actress: Emmanuelle Riva, AMOUR
    Snubbed: Ann Dowd(COMPLIANCE), Marion Cotillard(RUST AND BONE), Kiera Knightley(ANNA KARENINA)
    Mistakes: Jennifer Lawrence(SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK)

    *Best Supporting Actor: Tommy Lee Jones, LINCOLN
    Snubbed: Michael Fassbender(PROMETHEUS), Jason Clarke(ZERO DARK THIRTY), etc, etc, etc, etc…..
    Mistakes: Alan Arkin(ARGO)

    *Best Supporting Actress: Anne Hathaway, LES MIZ
    Snubbed: Jennifer Ehle(ZERO DARK THIRTY), Nicole Kidman(THE PAPERBOY)
    Mistakes: Anne Hathaway(LES MIZ)

    Best Original Screenplay: Quentin Tarantino, DJANGO UNCHAINED
    Could win: Michael Haneke, AMOUR
    Snubbed: Paul Thomas Anderson(THE MASTER), Rian Johnson(LOOPER)
    Mistakes: N/A

    *Best Adapted Screenplay: Tony Kushner, LINCOLN
    Snubbed: Lana & Andy Wachowski and Tom Tykwer(CLOUD ATLAS), Stephen Chbosky(THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOER)
    Mistakes: N/A

    *Best Cinematography: Claudio Miranda, LIFE OF PI
    Snubbed: Mihai Mălaimare, Jr.(THE MASTER), Dariusz Wolski(PROMETHEUS), Peter Suschitzky(COSMOPOLIS)
    Mistakes: Roger Deakins(SKYFALL)

    *Best Original Score: John Williams, LINCOLN
    Snubbed: Jonny Greenwood(THE MASTER), Alexandre Desplat(MOONRISE KINGDOM, ZERO DARK THIRTY); Dan Romer, Benh Zaitlin(BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD); Tom Tykwer, Johnny Klimek, Reinhold Heil(CLOUD ATLAS)

    *Best Editing: William Goldenberg, ARGO
    Snubbed: Andrew Weisblum(MOONRISE KINGDOM), Dody Dorn(END OF WATCH)
    Mistakes: N/A

    *Best Original Song: Skyfall, SKYFALL
    Sbubbed: Ancora Qui, Freedom, 100 Black Coffins(DJANGO UNCHAINED), When Can I See You Again?(WRECK-IT RALPH), Ladies of Tampa(MAGIC MIKE)
    Mistakes: Suddenly(LES MIZ)

    *Best Production Design: ANNA KARENINA
    Snubbed: PROMETHEUS, THE MASTER, MOONRISE KINGDOM, DJANGO UNCHAINED
    Mistakes: N/A

    *Best Visual Effects: LIFE OF PI
    Snubbed: CLOUD ATLAS, LOOPER, CHRONICLE
    Mistakes: SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN

    *Best Costume Design: ANNA KARENINA
    Could win: MIRROR MIRROR
    Snubbed: DJANGO UNCHAINED, THE MASTER, MOONRISE KINGDOM
    Mistakes: SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN

    *Best Makeup and Hair: THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY
    Snubbed: LINCOLN, DJANGO UNCHAINED, CLOUD ATLAS, ZERO DARK THIRTY

    Best Foreign Language Film: AMOUR
    Snubbed**: DESPUES DE LUCIA, RUST AND BONE, HOLY MOTORS, TABU, BARBARA; OSLO, 31 AUGUST
    Mistakes: KON-TIKI
    **(Just acquired LORE and BEYOND THE HILLS- so this might change)

    BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: SEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN
    Snubbed: THIS IS A FILM, THE IMPOSTER, SAMSARA, WEST OF MEMPHIS, QUEEN OF VERSAILLES, CENTRAL PARK 5
    Mistakes: THE INVISIBLE WAR

    *Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing: Don’t care/know enough

    *3 Short Film categories: Only seen a couple

  36. Hmm…. What is the story of The Color Purple and Spielberg’s publicity stunt? The only publicity backlash I read on that campaign was the nominated Margaret Avery pulling a Melissa Leo before Melissa Leo did by having her dressed in her character for a ‘For Your Consideration’ ad.

    With Spielberg, it’s sort of becoming the victim of what made you successful. People are tired of the Williams-scored prestige period pictures, even if it does something interesting or has something interesting to say about its subject (I would say the Kushner-Spielberg of Lincoln and Munich are both of these cases). Looking back at A.I., and critic Mark Kermode has a good video essay regarding this, you really have to feel bad for him. He got a rise from critics who accused him of desecrating a Kubrick story that only he and a few others have seen when the truth was he got Kubrick’s blessing and had actually made the film darker than it originally was. The fact it was a beautiful film that should rank among his better ones is still a touchy subject for him to talk about because of the initial negative reaction.

    War Horse seemed like bait. The play itself always had a mixed reaction from people too, admiring the technical feat but finding the story mawkish and not breaking any ground. All of his worst tendencies happened in that film. Tin Tin was at least a passion-project that was decades in the making, had Herge’s approval (albeit years ago), and did extremely well overseas. But Lincoln was still a passion project. Yes, there was sentimentality verging on hagiography of the subject but it also felt like a love letter to old Hollywood while also having a modern twist of showing the process and arm-twisting and bribery done for the greater good of things. It is not reinventing the wheel but the negative reaction to it seems a little more about the makers than the film.

  37. “That it is up against evil Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln makes it all the more juicy. I just saw a headline yesterday that read “will Argo steal Lincoln’s Best Picture Oscar?” Even when it was clear Argo was going to win that narrative kept chugging away and will continue up to Oscar night. People love that kind of thing. It makes us all think justice is being done. The good guys are winning against the bad guys. It’s the nature of humans, and the nature of the Oscar race.”

    – I never got that impression. I still don’t really see that, even in our final stretch toward the finish line. Sure, some want to turn it into a battle, but I don’t think this applies to the vast majority. I think the enthusiasm for ARGO is more about ARGO, not so much ARGO winning over LINCOLN or the other “masterpieces,” as people are now calling them. Many seem to look to Kushner’s (seemingly) inevitable loss as proof that everyone has it out for Lincoln, but, I think many who loved the screenplay (and the film) simply overestimated its chances from the beginning. As I’ve stated before, I never saw Lincoln winning Adapted Screenplay anyway. I mean, how many historical epics win for their scripts?

  38. If only I could perform hypnosis on you Bryce, to eliminate all those anti-LES MIZ thoughts, your work here would be perfect! Ha!

    I really admire you for staying the course with LINCOLN!

  39. I never got that impression. I still don’t really see that, even in our final stretch toward the finish line.

    Do you want to see the headlines?

  40. Here you go CMG — from Inside Oscar:

    God smiles on his little daughter Margaret Avery, but no on her director. The Los Angeles Herald-Examiner headlined:

    Africa, Purple 11, Spielberg 0
    Out of Africa and The Color Purple tied with eleven nominations each, but Spielberg, who had already won a Directors Guild nomination, was not in the Academy’s Director race. Sydney Pollack was there, as were the directors of the other three Best Picture nominees: Prizzi’s Honor’s John Huston, Witness’ Peter Weir, and Kiss of the Spiderwoman’s Hector Babenco. The fifth nominee was Akira Kurosawa for Ran, which pulled in a total of four nominations. Japan’s official entry for Best Foreign Film didn’t get nominated for anything. The Los Angeles Critics’ favorite, Brazil, it won two nominations for Art Direction and Original Screenplay.

    But it was the Spielberg snub, dubbed by the New York Post as “Omission Impossible,” that everybody wanted to talk about. Columnist Kirk Honeycutt chortles, “What wouldn’t you have given to be a fly on the wall over at Spielberg’s headquarters on Wednesday?” But the director knew better than to repeat his humiliation of ten years earlier when cameras caught him getting news the Academy had rejected him for Jaws in favor of Federico Fellini; this time the non-nominee was, as the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner put it, “vacationing on a yacht in some undisclosed waters.”

    With no Spielberg around for a response, Warner Bros. jumped into action with a trade paper ad that expressed “sincere appreciation” to the Academy for eleven nominations and then concluded, “At the same time, the company is shocked and dismayed that the movie’s primary creative force — Steven Spielberg — was not recognized.” Aljean Harmetz reported that “a number of people …made the assumption that Spielberg had masterminded the statement,” although Warners denied the accession. Columnist Martin Grove warned, “It would be best for all concerned that the balloting not take place under a “cloud” and recommended that the Academy “appoint a blue-ribbon panel” to investigate “any organized effort to dissuade voters rom nominating Spielberg.” Academy President Robert Wise said forget it, maintaining that the members of the Directors Branch “voted their artistic and creative feelings.” One member, Henry Jaglom, vented his feelings, telling the Los Angeles Times, “The nominations for Banenco and Kurasawa are great. The whole thing is a sign the Directors Branch is growing up.”

    Of the non-nominee, Jaglom said, “He took this wonderful material and turned it into zip-a-dee-da Song of the South.” The Los Angeles Gregg Kilday shot back, “Out of Africa isn’t a model of documentary realism, either, a fact purists seem willing to overlook.” The one unperturbed voice was John Huston’s, who told Army Archerd that Spielberg “has had so much success, he can afford to miss a beat.” Huston could afford to be so sanguine; with Spielberg out of the running, he now held the lead in the Best Director race.

    >>>

    The fifth and final standing ovation marked the entrances of the Best Picture presenters as the titles of their films flashed on large screens. John Huston came first, followed by Billy Wilder and Akira Kurosawa. The camera got a look at Steven Spielberg as he applauded the trio of titans. “Kurosawa doesn’t speak very good English,” noted a representative of ABC, explaining why the Japanese director received subtitles when he read the nomination of Out of Africa. He stared cautiously for a moment before blurting out his version of the name “Pollack” and the delighted nominee roared with laughter. Both Kurosawa and Huston begged off from reading the winner, so BillY Wilder made the announcement. The Los Angeles Herald Examiner reported, “Each of the four acting winners …. drew cheers when announced … but the biggest award — Best Picture for Out of Africa — was greeted with silence by the hundreds of reporters back stage.” In the auditorium, however, Sydney Pollack was a conquering hero. Mel Brooks slapped him on the back again, and he chatted with the three presenters before facing the microphone. “This is a wonderful evening of all of us,” Pollack began. “If I left out anybody before, I’ll hope you’ll understand it was just because of all of the pressure.” Then he chased after the three veterans, who had already ambled off.

    >>>

    With no one from The Color Purple backstage, Sydney Pollack had to answer the big question of the night: what about the complete shut-out of all eleven nominations for the Spielberg movie? “It’s a difficult spot you’ve put me in,” responded Pollack, “and I can’t win no matter how I answer that question. I don’t want to put a damper on the evening by trying to speculate on an undiplomatic question with an undiplomatic answer.” But the press did get out of him that “It was a strange night. I didn’t know what to expect. I thought Huston would get it.”

    >>>

    Also upset was Willis Edwards of the Beverly Hills/Hollywood chapter of the NAACP. Joe Morgenstern of the Los Angeles Herald Examiner wrote that Edwards executed “one of the more breathtaking pirouettes in Hollywood history” by turning around and accusing the Academy of a “slap in the face” to blacks by not giving any Oscars to The Color Purple after having accused the film of racism. Edwards explained his contradictory positions by saying, “I still feel it is a stereotypical portrayal of blacks but the acting was fabulous.” Meanwhile, the international press was buzzing around the Tel Aviv hotel where Spielberg was staying with his wife, who was making a movie for Cannon. Pressed for a statement, Spielberg the gaggle of reporters, “When I’m sixty, Hollywood will forgive me — I don’t know for what, but they’ll forgive me.”

    “In the end, it really wasn’t much of a contest after all,” summed up columnist Gregg Kilday, “Pollack’s detour to shake Spielberg’s hand as he made his way to the stage played like a laying of hands, a welcoming gesture suggesting that Spielberg, for enduring the controversy gracefully, had finally earned membership in the club.”

    Spielberg is now 66.

  41. Since I can’t get my head around predicting most categories this year (and will get a brain tumor if I think more about it), here are some scenarios I came up with:
    I have kept actor and support actress always the same because I think they are locks.

    Academy Scenario 1:
    The Argonaut!
    “Lets give Argo as much as we can without looking too silly or guilty. And fuck the directors! After all you can teach a recess monkey to be a director in a day.”

    Best Picture of the Year Argo
    Best Director Steven Spielberg, Lincoln
    Best Actor Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
    Best Actress Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook
    Best Supporting Actor Alan Arkin, Argo
    Supporting Actress Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables
    Original Screenplay Michael Haneke, Amour
    Adapted Screenplay Tony Kushner, Lincoln (just can’t make myself give it to anyone else*)
    Best Editing Argo
    Best Cinematography Life of Pi
    Best Costume Design Anna Karenina
    Best Makeup and Hair Les Miserables
    Best Original Score Argo
    Best Production Design Les Miserables
    Best Foreign Language Film Amour
    Best Sound mixing Les Miserables
    Best Sound Editing Argo
    Best Visual Effects Life of Pi
    Best Original Song Skyfall

    * Chicago got picture without screenplay and director.

    Academy Scenario 2:
    The Argo gets 3! And 3 others who also get a third! “Lets break the rules and fuck this thing up!”

    Best Picture of the Year Argo
    Best Director Steven Spielberg, Lincoln
    Best Actor Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
    Best Actress Emmanuelle Riva, Amour
    Best Supporting Actor Robert De Niro, Silver Linings Playbook
    Supporting Actress Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables
    Original Screenplay Quentin Tarantino, Django Unchained
    Adapted Screenplay Tony Kushner, Lincoln
    Best Editing Argo
    Best Cinematography Skyfall
    Best Costume Design Anna Karenina
    Best Makeup and Hair The Hobbit
    Best Original Score Life of Pi
    Best Production Design Life of Pi
    Best Foreign Language Film Amour
    Best Sound mixing Les Miserables
    Best Sound Editing Argo
    Best Visual Effects Life of Pi
    Best Original Song Skyfall

    Academy Scenario 3:
    The Argo fuck yourself!
    “Lets make it look as if we really didn’t like Argo, and to make it really believable we shall ignore Lincoln too and go all the way to the second most nominated movie so everyone should be surprised and happy because he is Ang, and we all love Ang Lee, even when he makes a cowboy gay movie, and this time it is not controversial at all, and we will stay away from controversy (No Django either). Also lets spread the wealth (except for fucking Argo)… And we are rambling now!”

    Best Picture of the Year Life of Pi
    Best Director Ang Lee, Life of Pi
    Best Actor Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
    Best Actress Emmanuelle Riva, Amour
    Best Supporting Actor Robert De Niro, Silver Linings Playbook
    Supporting Actress Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables
    Original Screenplay Michael Haneke, Amour
    Adapted Screenplay Benh Zeitlin, Lucy Alibar, Beasts of the Southern Wild (or Lincoln)
    Best Editing Life of Pi
    Best Cinematography Life of Pi
    Best Costume Design Anna Karenina
    Best Makeup and Hair The Hobbit
    Best Original Score Life of Pi
    Best Production Design Lincoln
    Best Foreign Language Film Amour
    Best Sound mixing Les Miserables
    Best Sound Editing Zero Dark Thirty
    Best Visual Effects Life of Pi
    Best Original Song Skyfall

    Academy Scenario 4:
    The Bipolar!
    “Let’s pretend it is not a rom-com and thank you Harvey! Again!”

    Best Picture of the Year Silver Linings Playbook
    Best Director David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook
    Best Actor Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
    Best Actress Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook
    Best Supporting Actor Robert De Niro, Silver Linings Playbook
    Supporting Actress Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables
    Original Screenplay Quentin Tarantino, Django Unchained
    Adapted Screenplay Tony Kushner, Lincoln
    Best Editing Zero Dark Thirty (or fucking Argo, whatever)
    Best Cinematography Life of Pi
    Best Costume Design Anna Karenina
    Best Makeup and Hair The Hobbit
    Best Original Score Life of Pi
    Best Production Design Lincoln
    Best Foreign Language Film Amour
    Best Sound mixing Les Miserables
    Best Sound Editing Zero Dark Thirty
    Best Visual Effects Life of Pi
    Best Original Song Skyfall

    Academy Scenario 5:
    They hear my pledge and pick my choices.
    “Lets follow this guy (it’s as good as any) so we won’t get a brain tumor this year!”

    Best Picture of the Year Lincoln (because is Kathleen’s time already)
    Best Director Ang Lee, Life of Pi (because I love Pi and Ang)
    Best Actor Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln (who else?!)
    Best Actress Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty (carries the film)
    Best Supporting Actor Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln (deserving)
    Supporting Actress Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables (love Anne)
    Original Screenplay Mark Boal, Zero Dark Thirty (best one and he is sexy)
    Adapted Screenplay Tony Kushner, Lincoln (best one & love Tony and Angels of…)
    Best Editing Zero Dark Thirty (alt: Argo)
    Best Cinematography Life of Pi (alt: Skyfall)
    Best Costume Design Anna Karenina
    Best Makeup and Hair The Hobbit
    Best Original Score Life of Pi
    Best Production Design Lincoln (not the best one but I wanted to give it more awards)
    Best Foreign Language Film Amour
    Best Sound mixing Les Miserables (didn’t like Les mIs but it was live singing)
    Best Sound Editing Zero Dark Thirty
    Best Visual Effects Life of Pi
    Best Original Song Skyfall (Adele!!!!!!!!!!)

    No guts, no glory:
    Best Director: Benh Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern Wild
    Best Supporting Actress: Amy Adams, The Master
    Best Original Screenplay: Moonrise Kingdom

    And that’s it for me folks! I had enough this year!
    THANK YOU SASHA. LOVE YOU.

  42. Bryce Forestieri

    @Sam Juliano

    Thanks! Glad we don’t agree about everything tho that’d be boring! I have to kick myself in the ass every Monday because I keep forgetting to vote in your website’s weekly poll! Everyone else should, it’s a neat fun exercise!

    ———————————————————

    I left off some fundamental shit from my predictions

    *Best Animated Feature: WRECK-IT RALPH
    Snubbed**: EVANGELION: 3.0 YOU CAN (NOT) REDO, THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS, UP FROM POPPY HILL, ERNEST & CELESTINE, THE SECRET WORLD OF ARRIETTY
    Mistakes: BRAVE

    Also, nominating Alexandre Desplat for ARGO in particular should have been my noted mistake in Best Original Score

  43. julian the emperor

    So Sasha says there is a real hatred for Spielberg and Ryan says that what Sasha says is just playful rhetoric. Ok. I will have to make my own conclusion, I guess.

    Agree with you, Ryan, on Django, though. “Supremely evil” being an instance of playful rhetoric, mind you.

  44. Bryce Forestieri

    **Probaly all the films I say were snubbed in Best Animated Feature weren’t even eligible but I could care less about that.

  45. When I was younger, I loved The Color Purple and I couldn’t fathom how Spielberg lost out on a Best Director nomination.

    However, rewatching it now, I find it be sort of sloppy. The pacing is sort off, a lot the characters are just caricatures (or told to be portrayed as such), a lot of the humor is almost slapstick, and the make-up was horrible in the last act.

    Although I’m no fan of Out of Africa, at least I felt that Out of Africa’s direction was clean. There’s something very sloppy about Spielberg’s work in The Color Purple.

    I guess I’m one of those people who scoff every time a new Spielberg movie comes out. I thought Munich was trying too hard and Spielberg was trying to prove he could do a “serious,” “cerebral” film that is absent of sentimentality or doesn’t have a clear moral message (unlike Saving Private Ryan which I felt was guilty of all sorts of sins in easy to digest character types, easy morality, action scenes, sentimentality, Tom Hanks playing a Oscar-baity role, etc.). When I saw Munich, I was like, he’s trying to do an important indie picture but doesn’t know how to go about it.

    I didn’t want to watch Lincoln because I was afraid that Spielberg would go back to his usual formula. Thank goodness I watched it because what I saw was a real gem of a film. Tony Kushner (who also wrote Munich) surprised me with the richness of the language, and I liked the way Spielberg just allowed the scenes and characters to simply play out. No big, obvious visual tricks (though the Congressional scenes were sort of borderline, but it’s ok because it helped create the tension), just simple storytelling.

    Lincoln isn’t perfect, but I have to say I prefer Spielberg in Lincoln over Spielberg is almost anything else he’s done in the past (with some exceptions).

  46. So Sasha says there is a real hatred for Spielberg and Ryan says that what Sasha says is just playful rhetoric.

    No, I said the use of the word “evil” was rhetoric, an exaggerated way to playfully express some genuine hatred for Spielberg that I’ve seen with my own eyes.

    It was your repeated harping on the word “evil” that caught my attention. Funny that you’re bothered by the word “evil” but you don’t seem at all concerned about the bears hungrily eying Sasha in the Grizzly Maze. Don’t you worry about those bears eating Sasha?

  47. What a fascinating article. Seems that WB learned their lesson and Affleck is winning by playing the “little old me”/”aw, shucks” routine. To his credit, Argo is not a polarizing film. But it’s amazing that when Spielberg was snubbed, many defended the choice by pointing to two-time Oscar winner John Huston as the likely champ anyway, though Pollack took it. Meanwhile, Spielberg is now in John Huston’s position, yet there doesn’t seem to be much sentiment in his direction. Instead of everyone being excited at the possibility of Spielberg winning an historic and well-deserved third Oscar, everyone is “poor Ben.” If anything, Spielberg might follow in Huston’s footsteps and lose the Oscar even without Affleck in the running.

    I’d like to know how Henry Jaglom was even a member of the Academy, particularly in 1985. Likening The Color Purple to Song of the South was incredibly narrow-minded and, frankly, racist.

    Prizzi’s Honor is a ridiculously overrated film. Too bad Dick Tracy didn’t come out until 1990, because there could have been some unfavorable comparisons made.

  48. Though I guess Spielberg gets the last laugh, or took the high road, because he has employed Huston’s daughter on Smash.

  49. julian the emperor

    It’s funny that people are being hard on Argo about that climactic airport scene when you consider the very obvious (and quite similar, but not nearly as well-executed) kind of tension Spielberg (or rather, Kushner) is trying to build up in the congressional scenes (the historical inaccuracies don’t bother me so much as the lazy choices on behalf of the film medium that they represent). Those scenes are too Spielberg to pass as subtle, but I admire the restraint and level-headedness that characterize a lot of the (writing as well as execution of the) dialogues that form much of the middle stretch of the movie.

    The film’s biggest flaw is the almost fatal opening scene with the four soldiers reciting the Gettysburg address. I found that to be one of the weakest scenes in all of Spielberg’s oeuvre. Just painfully inauthentic and artificial to an almost absurd degree.
    The Gettysburg address as seen through a flickering light near the end is lazy filmmaking as well. There is no nicer word for it, really.

    Still a good movie. I enjoyed it thoroughly, especially on a second viewing.

    The degree of reverence bestowed on Lincoln as a statesman (a fixture for modern day civil religion in America?) is not exactly the best ground for artistic representation, I would think. As a piece of writing, though, I cherish Kushner’s effort. But translating his script to the (in this case, unforgiving) medium of film comes at a price. It feels slightly too much like a history lesson rather than dynamic filmmaking in its own right.

  50. I think Argo is probably going to win because majority of voters believe it is the best movie of the year. And I agree with them. It’s not about any bandwagons and it’s not about hating anything instead … it’s a simple matter of “I think this movie is the best”. I do however think Lincoln and SLP are worthy best picture winners.

    But I don’t believe, and you cannot prove it, that Lincoln (possibly) losing is because of a smear campaign or anything evil minded … it’s a matter of taste. NO ONE! can say what would have happened in the race if Kathrn Bigelow and Ben Affleck had been in the Best Director category. Affleck winning the Critics award on the same day as the noms were announced must be some sort of proof of that.

    Not unless you believe there is a wizard of Oz behind this all who decides what and who wins… ?

    And even though critics are almost collectively choosing the same 2-3 pictures as the best ones of these particular year, it doesn’t mean that the industry and voting people in the movie business are agreeing. I often think that the critics are pretentious and afraid, but once in a while they pick a movie I like. And yes … I liked Crash better than Brokeback Mountain, so shoot me now…

  51. julian the emperor

    Ah…the Grizzly Man analogy…Should I feel worried about Sasha? I don’t think so. On the basis of that analogy, she is firing on all cylinders.

    Similarly, I think Spielberg is doing mighty fine without another Oscar. For all I’m concerned, he is still the favorite to win best director. But would denying him an Oscar really be a hateful gesture? Was nominating Lincoln in 12 categories a hateful gesture? Is the bp nomination last year for the lousy mess that was War Horse emblematic of the Academy’s hateful approach to Spielberg?

    I just don’t buy this fixation on why people seemingly prefer another movie than the Spielberg one.

    Argo is the definition of a well-executed consensus pick. That’s the reason for Lincoln’s loss. Is being runner up at the Oscars emblematic of persecution and spite? I would think that the answer is a resounding “no”.

    Could you, please, be specific, if you disagree?

  52. Re: Jon’s and Sasha’s comments about the volume of her advocacy, I want to say THANK YOU to Sasha for providing film reviews, awards coverage, AND critical commentary. She’s right to say that she has original content, which keeps me coming back, as opposed to the fifty sites/columns that just repeat each other with straight predictions.
    I love the passion, even during years when I don’t agree. Calling it like you see it and challenging the status quo when it comes to what types of films & artists Hollywood recognizes/promotes takes guts. Everyone who just sits around saying “Argo, obviously, it’s gonna be Argo” is not contributing anything intelligent to the world of film and those who love the medium.

  53. daveinprogress

    Tall poppy is the expression that comes to mind for me with Spielberg. Right from the time that the wunderkind made a shark movie that changed the box office and movie landscape for ever, he has been built up and then chopped down. Few directors have the sort of resume he has. Few filmakers if any have been able to straddle art and commerce so effectively. He seems to be damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t. As in, if he makes overly commercial or sentimental movies he is lambasted. If he makes too personal or traditional or peripheral movies he is criticised. His gargantuan contribution to cinema as either a director or executive producer has made him a target. He looms with a largesse over film culture for nearly 40 years, and with that comes constant evaluation. Should he be revered in the way that he is? Likewise should be derided as he often is? He needn’t worry – his place in history was cemented long ago. Many of his films haven’t interested me in the sightest. But when i do wade in and go and visit one of his creations, there is no doubt that I am watching a master craftsmen at work. He has few peers.

    If he had made Lincoln with more sentiment or bigger production values he would be criticised. Some see it as ‘boring’ ‘tedious’ ‘a history lesson’ or ‘stuffy’ and he is put down for being lazy or wooden. Spielberg did not become one of, if not the most well known populist film maker in history by making ‘little films’. Here with Lincoln as with Schindler he has made a movie of the heart and mind – not a concept film or pop corn fantasy. Not a boy’s own adventure, or genre piece. He has made a conventional narrative with the elegant writing of a true wordsmith, utilised a cast sublime and injected the very best of filmmaking elements – not excessively flashy, just really beautiful storytelling. And it has made a lot of money at the domestic box office. And still he is criticised. Because he is Steven Spielberg. Will he mind? I doubt it. He is Steven Spielberg.

  54. Sasha, that is a fascinating read. And an AMPAS member publicly pulling what David Clennon would love to take credit for now with Bigelow and Zero Dark Thirty. And to play off Zach’s overlap, Haneke is Kurosawa, Russell is Peter Weir, and Zeitlin is Babenco (except nominated for Pixote instead of Spider Woman).

    I feel bad for Sidney Pollack having to be asked those questions then but Out of Africa is among the worst Best Picture winners and that it happened with The Color Purple (say what you will but its performances still stand the test of time while Out of Africa has all but disappeared) getting shut out is one of the great ironies in Oscar memory.

    As for Lincoln’s congressional scenes appearing over-dramatic and over-choreographed, politics is choreography and over-dramatic and often the least subtle form of governing lies in the halls of congress. I have absolutely no issue with the script. Spielberg’s sentimental tendencies do seep through, however, and I admire the passion project aspects of Lincoln, I would not say it was the best directed film of the year. But I like about the Kushner-Spielberg collaborations is that Spielberg clearly respects Kushner’s script and let’s him have the stage.

  55. You’re right Sasha that the Oscars will not change. If you are not popular it’s really really hard to become homecoming king. Oscar may in part be about artistry but it’s also a big time popularity contest with a liberal dash of jealousy to really screw things up. With that many people voting how can it not be?

    Do you think Melanie Griffith and George Clooney consistently vote for the purest most artistic visions and performances? Human nature suggests they in part vote for their friends and or people they’ve worked with and the recognition of art suffers.

  56. julian the emperor

    You could argue that Lincoln is too “difficult” to convince a majority of voters. It is not too concerned with compromising its central vision (which is conveying the ideas and themes central to Kushner’s script). Lincoln aficionados should feel proud that their candidate is seemingly too “artful” and “un-compromising” for the Academy.

    I couldn’t help noticing how many of my fellow moviegoers in my native Denmark seemed utterly bored with the film. I think that would be an emblematic reaction from non-American audiences, since what they would expect from a film called “Lincoln” was a more traditional, character-encompassing biopic, which “Lincoln” is not (which, incidentally, is its biggest strength).

    If Americans (included among them, academy members) felt slightly bored as well by the procedural nature of the film they would surely opt for another movie when voting for bp.

    Again: Argo was the born winner from the onset. Many pundits have been oblivious to the fact, sure, but it should come as no surprise. The clarity of hindsight, indeed. But more pundits should have seen the Argo avalanche coming. Time for some soul-searching.

  57. Could you, please, be specific, if you disagree?

    I think the problem you’re having reconciling what some of us say we see and what you deny exists is a matter of degree.

    You surely can’t think we believe everybody in Hollywood hates Spielberg. But I can’t understand why it’s so hard for you to conceive that fewer people feel spite or resentment toward Affleck than toward Spielberg. You clearly don’t hang out on Twitter much. Or haven’t seen The New York Times coverage the past 2 months.

    The difference between 1st and 2nd place at the Oscars can come down to 50 or 60 ballots. If you don’t believe there are 50 Academy members with spiteful axes to grind, then your perception of the industry is a lot more starry-eyed than mine.

  58. Finally, sanity from the Huffintgon Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-hogan/silver-linings-playbook-best-picture_b_2712251.html?utm_hp_ref=entertainment …at least in breaking down best actress:


    Speaking of Streep, however, it was her victory at the BAFTA Awards last year that made the Oscar for Best Actress feel inevitable – and that’s the award Emmanuelle Riva just won. Riva also happens to be the category’s oldest nominee ever, giving voters a tempting chance to make history. So, Chris, with Ebert on Team Riva, do you think J-Law still has a chance?

    [b]Rosen: All due respect to Ebert, as well as Oscar pros Pete Hammond and Steve Pond, this shift to Riva is the stuff of 11th hour thumb-twiddling. Lawrence’s only major loss throughout awards season was at BAFTA, and while that’s where Streep turned the tide on her campaign last year, Riva is no Streep. The “Amour” star doesn’t do interviews in English, hasn’t really campaigned at all and is still relatively unknown in the grand scheme of things despite her age and stature. Lawrence, on the other hand, is ubiquitous, charming and Hollywood’s next great hope.[/b]

    Look at recent Oscar history: Natalie Portman over Annette Bening in 2011, Marion Cotillard over Julie Christie in 2008, Hilary Swank over Annette Bening in 2005, Halle Berry over Sissy Spacek in 2002, Julia Roberts over Ellen Burstyn in 2001, Hilary Swank over Annette Bening in 2000 (poor Annette), Gwyneth Paltrow over Fernanda Montenegro in 1999. Time and again, the young upstart has defeated the crafty veteran in the Best Actress category. There’s no reason to think this trend won’t continue. I’ve still got Lawrence written on my ballot in permanent marker.

  59. julian the emperor

    If the difference between winning and losing bp is a mere 50 or 60 votes (by the way, you don’t know that!), then why is this years’ race such a done deal? Why are all the Lincoln aficionados bemoaning the loss already? If the race is really that close, Lincoln cannot be ruled out in advance (as is the case for Life of Pi or SLP, I would assume).

    Argo have won all the major precursors (GG, CC, PGA, SAG, DGA, WGA, ACE, BAFTA). I doubt that streak will amount to a very narrow victory (50 votes) on Oscar night, especially when the opposition has won nada, zero, nil.

    I have been reading some of the NY Times coverage on Lincoln. I found it levelheaded and fair. Maureen Dowd specifically name checks Argo as the other candidate with a “historical inaccuracy” problem as far as I recall.

    But the presumed hate on Spielberg begs another question: Why is he a hated man?
    And why do the directors’ branch have a grudge on Affleck?

  60. julian the emperor

    Paul H: I was beginning to believe the Riva hype as well (as expounded by everyone from Tapley to Thompson), probably as a result of wishful thinking….but the Huffington Post arguments you put forth here are pretty convincing. I might just switch back to J Law after all. So consider me a convert (reality is a bitch…).

  61. If the difference between winning and losing bp is a mere 50 or 60 votes (by the way, you don’t know that!), then why is this years’ race such a done deal?

    You should know me well enough by now, Mads, I do not think it’s a done deal. but yes, my estimate of 50-60 spiteful academy members who harbor a smidgen of ill-will is silly. The number is likely closer to 1500.

    ah yes, Maureen Dowd, the Times’ preeminent liberal concern troll. Nobody takes that harpy very seriously.

    I mean the Times’ resident Oscar maestro emeritus, David Carr.

  62. I wonder why everyone seems to think that it looked like it was gonna be Lincoln’s year and that Argo suddenly took it all away.

    Lincoln won nothing, it was never the frontrunner, it didn’t lose momentum, it never had it.

    Yes, it had the most nominations, so did Benjamin Button, big deal. I agree with Kris Tapley, it was a fabricated frontrunner, never a real one.

  63. julian the emperor

    I am, obviously, not as ardent a follower of American media as many native Americans who comment here (even though by European standards I’m prone to thinking that I belong to a small minority who DOES actually care one bit), so I will gladly admit that I have not been following all aspects of this years’ race as closely as usual. If I’m being ignorant of some developments that might have to do with my “starry-eyed” perceptions on this years’ race.

    You might’ve noticed a conspicuous lack of comments on my behalf this season (or is that too solipsistic a notion?). Maybe something about the perpetual whining on two sides of a fence – season in and season out – is becoming a bore? I think Sasha feels the same way, if her Timothy Treadwell analogy is anything to go by.

    1500 votes split between Argo and Lincoln? That’s more like it:)

  64. Over time, he becomes too involved and eventually, falsely, believes he can influence the outcome of the cold, indifferent natural world. As we watch his narcissistic personality disorder take over his more gentle nature, he loses perspective and then gets eaten by one of the bears he sought to protect.

    So wait who’s a bear? The movies are bears? Or evil Steven Spielberg is a bear? I guess he looks a little hungry.

    I think the problem in trying to predict Oscar is that you try to use math and statistics to predict what people will do. There is a reason why C-3PO couldn’t understand human behavior. Humans don’t make no sense. And as long as Academy voters, and guild voters, and members of the Hollywood Foreign Press, etc., are humans you just have to see what happens. You can guess of course. But trying to comb the history books to come up with a winning combination is just going to drive you crazy.

    Honestly, I never thought ARGO would be the winner in the beginning. I kinda still don’t. lol I looked down the pike and saw too many films that were bound to, if not be better than it, at least be more in the Academy’s wheelhouse. I don’t think it’s really about campaigning either. I don’t think anyone campaigned the groundswell for Affleck. It just happened and happened at the right time. Had some other film grabbed the zeitgeist for whatever reason during Oscar nominations week, that’d probably be our winner.

    What I don’t understand is why it was able to hold on. I think this has been happening the last few years. People find out what’s supposed to win the Oscar and then everyone just gives up. As if it’s been decided long before Oscar ballots go out. Where did the fight go? I understand people calling it for a specific film at that time, but I don’t understand the rest of the people accepting it as fact. It’s like a certain character in PROMETHEUS running straight ahead when something is going to roll on top of them and kill them. Everyone watching thinks ‘Hey dumbass, go left or right!’ Well why did everyone keep running straight ahead? Did they not know they could go left or right?

    I still think it will be the Academy’s decision and it could go a number of ways. But I don’t understand why the Oscar buzzers kept running straight ahead.

  65. Bryce Forestieri

    Don’t all the Riva deniers sound a bit paranoid? Like someone’s stealing something from them…

  66. PaulH,

    Those are really strong arguments. However, remember, nothing is certain until the votes are tallied and the names are called.

    Remember, those are the same two people who picked Viola Davis to win (sort of easily, in their opinion).

    http://news.moviefone.com/2012/02/22/awards-night-pool-picker-episode-4_n_1293266.html?just_reloaded=1

    Experts can say what they want, but we really don’t know how they’re going to vote. There’s no polling data we can really get to predict the Oscars the way we can predict say the Presidential Election.

    We’re just going by what the guilds, critics, precursors, insiders, etc. say. They tend to be right but only in clear-cut, landslide cases. Using precursors and how the wave shifts in one nominee’s favor are not necessarily scientific, fool-proof methods.

  67. I can’t help but scoff at people who scoff at everything Spielberg makes. It’s as if he makes only one kind of film, in only one way.

    Spielberg has wroked since the early 70s. He has created films in many, many genres – thriller, war, sci-fi, adventure, romance, drama, fantasy, comedy, biopic. His filmography approaches 30 entries. His aeasthetic has changed (especially after pairing with Kaminski), his thematic range has been consistent but also deepened (mostly after creative contact with Kubrick).

    Yet, some people seem to be impossible to please. I find this hard to understand. Even fucking Jonathan Rosenbaum likes some of his pictures (1941, A.I., Indiana Jones 4).

  68. HuffPo’s Oscar predictors are full of it and not breaking new ground at all. At least Tom O’Neil acknowledges the predictors who are predicting Riva have had a track record at predicting the ‘surprise’ even if O’Neil is skeptical that Amour is widely seen. Cotillard being cited as ‘babe’ in a non-babe role (that actually won some indicators) against the still stunning Julie Christie is a pretty lousy example. And everybody knows two of those Bening nominations were built around, getting her due and that it was Paltrow vs. Blanchett that year more than anything else.

    And Maureen Dowd is the Oscar season at its nadir. Cannot wait for it to be over after reading that. The peice was a drive-by shooting that sprayed more bullets on ZD30 and Lincoln along with the false premise of starting with Argo and not even scratching the surface on its problems.

  69. 1500 votes split between Argo and Lincoln? That’s more like it:)

    ha, I know your command of English is better than the blunt hammer you’ve been using to crack open anything we say today.

    a 1500 vote lead for Argo is not realistic. it’s ridiculous. What are you visualizing? That the Academy’s #1 picks look something like this?

    Argo – 2500
    Lincoln – 1000
    Life of Pi – 500
    Zero dark Thirty – 500
    Silver Linings – 500
    Les Mis – 500
    Beats of Southern Wild – 300
    Amour – 300
    Django – 5 votes

    irrational

    (I’ve seen the preliminary results of AD’s in-house simulated ballot and there is less than a 2% difference between the top two films vying for BP in the first round — before elimination and ballot redistribution begins. Granted, AD voters think differently than the Academy. After all, nearly all of us went to college. )

  70. After reading that Ebert feels that SLP may upset in best picture, Im a little nervous. He is one of the guys who predicted Crash. Altough I like SLP more than Argo, it would be ridiculously shocking and one of the most surprising upsets in oscar history

  71. daveinprogress

    What we have on one hand is Affleck missing out on a Top 5 placing by 370 directors. As i'[ve postulated before, it could have been by a handful of votes. On the other hand Argo has (whether becuase of or irrespective of the AMPAS exclusion of its Director, not the movie itself) swept almost all of the recent guilds and prizes incl SAG,BAFTA,Globe,PGA,DGA etc etc.

    It has prompted an avalanche of theories as to why the race is as it is this year. I personally think it an anomaly that Affleck was overlooked. It is among the smallest of branches and possibly the smallest of numbers in a year with so many great directors and films. While I would love to see Pi or Lincoln swoop in and take BP.BD it seems unlikely from what has occurred up until now. And it only takes Editing and Screenplay for that BP for Argo to be on par with previous winners, and not end up as a Grand Hotel scenario.

    Best Director is going to be a doozy to wait for and the speech that follows.
    The whole night is going to be theatrical and like a thriller. The cutaways to various faces will be paramount. I hope the director and vision switcher are well rested the night prior. It’s gonna be HUGE.

  72. I haven’t had time to read Ebert’s predictions, but why does he think there may be a SLP upset for Best Picture but also thinks Riva will spoil and win Best Actress? You’d think that if the Academy liked SLP that much, it’d be a slam dunk for Lawrence.

  73. Skimming the comments and I may have to switch back to Lawrence! I turned after the BAFTA, but I also figured (like most of us who follow it closely) that Riva would take the BAFTA anyway. The babe factor is key. It’s also SLP’s only likely win!

    I just can’t get over the Kate Hudson factor. She’s so young and flippant. And to me Cooper is by far the highlight of SLP — not that I thought he was so great either, but, like Hathaway in Les Mis, it’s weird for me to envision anyone else from the film winning an acting Oscar in a competitive year. To me, Lawrence didn’t steal the film. Her character sucked minus a few outbursts. The babes usually win for character turns; no one wins an acting Oscar for a star turn, which is what I saw from Cooper, arguably Waltz, and especially Lawrence. Performances that ride on the celebrities’ personalities rather than unique character traits or quirky acting choices. Sticking with Riva! And crossing fingers for Watts!

  74. There’s no need for fighting. Argo is better than Silver Linings Playbook winning….the only flick this season that has honestly made me mad. If that won I’d give up on watching that program. I would literally think that no one can go toe to toe with Weinstein. If he were to go 3-3, I would be jaw dropped.

  75. Bryce Forestieri

    Don’t the gays hate Ebert for liking CRASH better than BROKEBACK or something?

  76. Let me check myself: Julia Roberts and Sandra Bullock totally won for mere star turns.

    But even there, both were real-life people. Brockovich was an excellently written character even if Julia played it like herself. Bullock’s character was pretty drably written, but you can’t say she didn’t play it differently from her usual comedy performances (Southern accent!).

    Winter’s Bone will be making its TV premiere on Lifetime Movie Network this week, and I’ll have to DVR it to remind myself what Lawrence is like when she has a real meaty role to play (as opposed to a histrionic mess who, yes, gets to scream a couple of times, dance, and glare, but none of that changes that her character is awfully weak on paper for someone to win an Oscar for).

  77. So when Argo wins best picture, Clooney and Affleck will have more Oscars than Ang Lee (unless he wins) and several other wonderful film artists. So it goes. Sadly.

  78. I agree with James in that ARGO winning, though lamentable is still better than SILVER LININGS coming away victorious.

  79. Pierre de Plume

    Time and again, the young upstart has defeated the crafty veteran in the Best Actress category.

    You’re right, PaulH, and that’s the problem I see in predicting (riskily) that Riva will be the surprise winner. The cases you cite — Portman, Cotillard, Swank, etc. — are examples of the Academy’s Babe Rule, and this is difficult but not impossible to overcome.

    However, of the younger actresses you mention who competed against an older nominee, the younger winners were notable for having been characterized as “bravura” or “stand-out.” Also, the films the younger winners were in weren’t really strong contenders (with the exception of Paltrow/Shakespeare in Love) nor were the older actresses in strong contenders.

    This year’s older nominee, Riva, gives a strong performance in a strongly competitive film while JLaw to many people’s way of thinking is the best thing about SLP. In addition, though Riva is largely an unknown quantity to Americans, her participation going back to prestige films of the French New Wave elicits strong, positive associations. In this case, her absence from and supposed aloofness toward the Hollywood scene can be viewed as an asset.

    If I were filling out a ballot for an office pool I’d probably go with Lawrence because, if I were wrong, a lot of others would be wrong as well. But my hunch of the moment, admittedly a bold choice, is that Riva can take this and that her victory would be thunderously received by those in the audience. That outcome alone might be enough to affect an Academy member’s vote.

  80. Ebert was always on Crash’s side because he actually liked Crash. Look it up. It was his #1 film of that year. He also liked Brokeback Mountain too, it was #5 on his top ten list. Ebert defended the film’s win but it was impossible to note acknowledge AMPAS voters never gave BM screener the time of day because of its subject matter.

    I think people took more of an issue with Gene Shalit describing Gyllenhaal’s Jack as a sexual predator.

  81. daveinprogress

    The rise and fall and rise and fall of the Weinstein Company. This could be the year that his ‘baby’ gets Zippo. Gornisht. Nada. 0 for 8. He backed the wrong horse. But using another more colloquial expression. He was looking for Mr Right Now, not Mr Right!

  82. As i’ve postulated before, it could have been by a handful of votes.

    That’s always my mantra, year after year. “My favorites might have lost by a handful of votes.” — I know that thousands of Academy members wanted The Social Network to win Best Picture, and I think Sasha and I continue to care about this pageant on behalf of voters like those.

    Just like I know Bush being elected President never meant that “America Chose Bush!” no, Almost exactly half of us have better sense than that. If I thought Congress was a reflection of America I woulda never come back here after leaving for 7 years. If I thought “The Academy Loved The Kings Speech!” then I would have less regard for the Oscars. I care about the half of the membership who have better taste and root for that faction to prevail more often.

  83. There really is no best picture. On this site I think the life of Pi is overrated and Slp is underrated. My guess my second choicezero dark thirty will be awards daily’s best picture winner. Regardless what the academy picks the best picture of 2012 for me is BEAST of the Southern WIld.

  84. Bball_Jake

    Fuck the Academy. A bunch of fake ass voters who just vote for what theyre told they are supposed to vote for.

    THE DARK KNIGHT RISES SHOULD BE THE FILM SWEEPING ALL OF THESE AWARDS, NOT ARGO. TDKR IS THE GREATEST FILM OF ALL TIME AND ITS A SHAME THAT NOLAN WONT BE UP ON THE STAGE ACCEPTING THE BEST PICTURE AND DIRECTOR OSCAR!

  85. I’ve rooted with this web site on the favored film (Brokeback, The Aviator, for instance) but when you’re on the other side (The King’s Speech) it can be hard here. I remember being called a moron for not agreeing with the chosen film one year. My favorite this year is Life of Pi, which isn’t going to win — I’m not overly invested in Lincoln or Argo, though I don’t really want Argo to win. I started getting fairly detached with this race when Affleck won those double awards at the Critics Choice and the Globes. And it went downhill ever since.

  86. Also, the problem is that Lawrence would have had an easier time had she won over a performance in a movie that wasn’t nominated for both Best Picture and Best Director (over Argo mind you). That means if Riva wins, it really wouldn’t be that much of an upset because at least as for as nominations go, the Academy liked Amour as much as SLP. We won’t know how much they preferred SLP over Amour or vice versa until Oscar night.

    Sure The Help and The Kids Are All Right were both nominated for Best Picture and the actresses lost (in Davis’ case it was to Streep for a movie that wasn’t nominated for any other top prize), but they weren’t also nominated for Best Director and happened during a time when we have more than five nominees for Best Picture.(which since they implemented the more than 5 rule, people have the misconception that Best Picture nominees with correlating Best Director nominations are the “true Best Picture nominees”).

    I think this is important because gaining a nomination for Best Picture truly helps an actor/actress because it shows that the Academy not only seen the movie (thus seen the performance) but actually was receptive to it. The best way to get votes is to have the Academy voters watch your performance (or maybe in some cases, not watch it and just trust the precursors, but that’s a discussion for another time).

  87. My guess my second choicezero dark thirty will be awards daily’s best picture winner.

    Whoa, Edkargir. I’m impressed. I don’t want to leak results — and I won’t. But you can be proud of your words right here today when you see how the rounds of ballot elimination played out in a couple of days. (Your conclusion is off, but you’re right in a major way that I did not expect.)

  88. Tero Heikkinen

    I think that Amour wins BP at AwardsDaily’s ballots.

  89. My concern with predicting Jennifer Lawrence is that she doesn’t apply to the babe rule. She’s something else. She would fit the very very babe rule. Reese Witherspoon and Charlize Theron won this with almost 30 years old, Julia Roberts and Zeta Jones with 33, Nicole Kidman with 35… Sandra Bullock with 45. All of them had to wait to get their statuettes…

    The curious fact is that both Lawrence and Riva are in films in which the main role is played by a man. One of them was nominated. The other, snubbed… sadly there are so few great main roles given to women.

    Harvey Weinstein is in a tough zone as we don’t see him in for years. He can win a couple of Oscars… but he can easily win ZERO. If they give Actress to Riva, Supporting Actor to Lee Jones and screenplay to the WGA winners or Michael Haneke/Tony Kushner (all the situations very possible). I learned that I should not underestimate him. Every nominations morning/ceremony there are proofs that we shouldn’t. But I also learned that I should not underestimate Amour. There were lots of people writing (I guess in the AD forum): “That thing Amour is not happening… give up!” (about the nominations).

  90. I would LOVE to see Harvey go home empty-handed….but I would then fear for the lives of everyone who works at the Weinstein Company.

  91. Ryan, I bet the life of pi came in first I picked it 9th and slp came on 9th and I picked it 3rd.

  92. Not sure if anyone responded to this, about the Margaret Avery “controversy” for The Color Purple. It wasn’t the fact she dressed like the character in the FYC ad, it was the writing of the ad, that created the “uproar.” It was written in broken English like the character spoke. It was considered “insensitive” at the time. It didn’t have an effect on the race, however, as Anjelica Huston was the clear favortie from the start.

    Sasha, you keep these missives coming, they are heartfelt, articulate and – right!!. We (Lincoln lovers) now have to accept that Argo will win, but WE know that Lincoln really is the best film of the year. What makes my blood boil, however, is that Tony Kushner – who wrote one of the most brilliant screenplays ever for an American film – will lose to a good, efficient but nevertheless unremarkable script for Argo.

    I also agree with some comments here that it is a Spielberg backlash (which I do not understand) and – more importantly – it’s just Hollywood patting itself on the back.

    It’s hard to believe there was a time the Academy gave awards for merit. Now, it’s politicking, schmoozing and a popularity contest. Oh, well, I’ll still follow it just as I always have. I got over Brokeback Mountain losing (that was a crushing defeat), and I hope I’ll get over an Argo win too.

  93. Bryce Forestieri

    “THE DARK KNIGHT RISES SHOULD BE THE FILM SWEEPING ALL OF THESE AWARDS, NOT ARGO. TDKR IS THE GREATEST FILM OF ALL TIME AND ITS A SHAME THAT NOLAN WONT BE UP ON THE STAGE ACCEPTING THE BEST PICTURE AND DIRECTOR OSCAR!”

    Yess! please comment more. I knew they didn’t beat off to pix of J-Law, it’s Nolan they wish to blow

  94. Please Academy give the Oscar to Emmanuelle Riva or Naomi Watts!

  95. I think The Avengers wins Best Picture from AD ballots.

    Then Argo wins all four acting categories (all for Ben Affleck), and JLaw wins Best Cinematography.

    Tell me I’m wrong, Ryan. Go on, I fucking dare you. You know you can’t.

  96. steandric

    No Oscar For Jennifer Lawrence! Nicole Kidman Backs Naomi Watts And Emmanuelle Riva As Joint Winners

    Star reveals to us her tips for Sunday’s ceremony

    Nicole Kidman, the best actress Oscar winner in 2002 has said that she doesn’t want Oscar favourite Jennifer Lawrence to win the award, instead plumping for pal Naomi Watts and Emmanuelle Riva as joint winners come the awards on Saturday.

    Speaking at the gala screening of her new movie the actress revealed that she wants to see the pair grab the joint honours, despite most Oscar watchers thinking that the battle will be between Silver Linings Playbook star Jen and Zero Dark Thirty’s Jessica Chastain.

    “Oh Naomi, I’d like it to be a double winner because I’d love to see Emmanuelle Riva [win] because I think it’s her 86th birthday but I’d like to see Nay win as well, but I’d like it to be the first time in history that it’s a complete tie,” Nicole said.

    Emmanuelle has had her odds slashed for a win after emerging victorious for her role as an elderly music teacher in her autumn years, while Naomi is regarded as an outsider for her role in tsunami based drama The Impossible.

    Nicole Kidman at the premiere of Stoker in London where she backed Naomi Watts and Emmanuelle Riva for an Oscar.

    Ever a student of film history though, the glamorous Nicole realised that she’d made an error in her Oscar predictions, and that if Emmanuelle and Naomi wouldn’t be the first to have to share their statuette.

    The actress quickly rushed back before entering the screening of the movie, in which she stars with Mia Wasikowska and Matthew Goode to correct herself, telling us that in 1968 Barbara Streisand and Katherine Hepburn were tied for the top female gong, for Funny Girl and The Lion In Winter respectively.

    Laughing about her brief mistake, the star carried on to enjoy her evening just as no doubt all those competing for that Academy Award will on Sunday.

    http://www.entertainmentwise.com/news/105585/No-Oscar-For-Jennifer-Lawrence-Nicole-Kidman-Backs-Naomi-Watts-And-Emmanuelle-Riva-As-Joint-Winners

  97. Regarding Kidman,

    I wonder if she thinks Riva gave the best performance, but would like Watts to be recognized for reasons other than merit.

    A part of me thinks that means she really voted for Riva. No doubt that she wants her pal Watts to win as well, and probably honestly loved her work in The Impossible. But the fact that she went out of her way to say that she wanted Riva and Watts to tie means that she really voted for Riva while giving her best friend a shout-out as to not piss her off later.

  98. steandric

    Marion Cotillard ne cache pas son admiration pour Naomi Watts et Jennifer Lawrence, nominées aux Oscars dans la catégorie “Meilleure Actrice”.

    (Marion Cotillard does not hide his admiration for Naomi Watts and Jennifer Lawrence, nominated for an Oscar in the “Best actress” category. Marion Cotillard is a good loser. Ousted from the 2013 Oscars, where she is not named, the favorite Frenchie of Hollywood is full of praise on two of those who stole the favors of the Board, Naomi Watts and Jennifer Lawrence.)

    http://people.premiere.fr/News-People/Marion-Cotillard-sa-declaration-a-Naomi-Watts-et-Jennifer-Lawrence-3671120

  99. Just watched Perks of being a Wallflower again. I still enjoy watching that one over any of the BPs.

  100. Ha!

    Cotillard is angry that Riva took her French Actress spot. Maybe she wants to keep her spot as the only woman to win an Oscar for a performance in French.

    I’ll just chalk up her limited English as being a reason why she liked JLaw. When she can see a showcase of screaming and looking sexy and dancing, Cotillard doesn’t have to concentrate of Lawrence’s horrific line-delivery.

    Cotillard is an excellent actress…when she speaks French. She was only passable in Inception, and horrible in The Dark Knight Rises.

  101. I am absolutely loving this year in terms of undecided races. When’s the last time only 2 of the top 8 are already decided (Actor and SActress). Even 1995 had both Leads, SActress and AScreen already decided. And then you have two free-for-alls- SActor and Directing. Actress is a 4-way with only Wallis unlikely. Both Screens are 3-ways, and while ev1 is predicting “Argo” to win Pic, it’s win would be so statistically improbable that it seems almost preposterous to not only be predicting it, but to be doing so so confidently. Hell even Animated is any of the 3 Disney movies; even 2002 and 2006 weren’t this undecided.

    In terms of just the sport of it this year is unprecedentedly exciting.

  102. @Scotty – Kidman and Watts have been friends since they worked so many years ago on Flirting. I would be kind of shocked if she didn’t vote for Watts, no matter how much she liked Riva’s performance.

  103. Is the narrative here that affleck won BFCA and The Globes because of the Oscar snub?

    The votes had already been turned in.

  104. A problem with these awards seasons is that they suck a lot of the joy out of movie-watching. I really liked Argo and Silver Linings Playbook when I watched them, but now they are getting on my nerves because I see them getting the awards that higher achievements (Beasts, Lincoln, Zero Dark Thirty) should have gotten. I really like Robert De Niro, but in a way I don’t want to see him win because I wonder if it would be due to a bunch of people voting for SLP in every single category.

    I am at a loss about the animated feature, supporting actor, sound editing, and director categories. It will be interesting when they’re finally resolved.

  105. Tero Heikkinen

    I think Kidman voted for Riva if she gave this much thought to it. I believe that many Academy members DO take the voting seriously and look at each category very well. Many also just vote for their friends.

    Why would she vote for Watts and therefore throw the vote away? You gotta use it for someone who actually has a chance to win.

  106. Is the narrative here that affleck won BFCA and The Globes because of the Oscar snub? The votes had already been turned in.

    Have you not been reading what I’ve been writing all along? It was the simultaneous announcement of the Globes and the BFCA w/ the snub that set this in motion (I think) and I think it won the BFCA and the Globes because of the Zero Dark Thirty beatdown. A perfect storm. My opinion.

  107. How can Nicole not just say Naomi? Not cool, honestly. As for Marion, yes, good sport. I wonder, did her less-than-critically-acclaimed performance in The Dark Knight Rises hurt her Oscar chances?

  108. Every year, usually in the last two weeks of this dance marathon, I always come back to the main premise which is, the Oscars is a promotional tool created by the industry to promote itself. If they simply put out a simple list of movies they think were the best or leave it at the nominations stage, there would be few arguments; but they don’t. They claim that THEY will select and announce, to us, what is “best”.

    Now, if this was a private club, like a critic’s group, that gained nothing but a pat on the back as a result of this little celebration, it would be one thing. We’d have no grounds to say anything. It’s not; instead, it’s a form of marketing aimed at promoting product, human and otherwise, to a world full of consumers. And as consumers, it is our right to be vocal about what’s on the buffet. That benefits both of us.

    Blogs like AD allow us to do that. Sasha is absolutely right about many of those who make a living “objectively” observing the death march from November to February. Most bloggers barely make a squeak along the way other than act the role of color commentator. Outside of AD, there’s little advocacy or “the case for” articles. What should be an expression of shock or disappointment is usually little more than an expression of surprise, like Monroe straddling the sidewalk grate. There are things that need work, but ew others make suggestions to improve of the process. Plus, I like that even the site editors not only predict, but admit to having favorites because it adds to the experience.

    It’s always in this last section of the race where things get all twisted up in personalties, politics, popularity and evening wear, and is no longer about films. Movies that have exhausted their marketing budgets fall to the side of the road. Pundits and bloggers play a final game of dodgeball before hopping into their bunkers, hoping they backed a winner so they’ll get more readers next time around.

    I know without AD, my 50+ years of interest would have withered away some time ago. The repartee here is lively, sometimes rough, but always passionate. People who are passionate sometimes say unfair things, but anyone with a public persona should expect that. If they aren’t talking about you….

    So, yes, it’s your award, AMPAS, but you’re selling it to us. That puts us at the top of the food chain. We are not the grazers – we are the bears.

    other notes:

    – I never bought into the “Riva surge” hype. She is a personal preference, which would probably be the case for almost anybody who has bothered to see Amour. I just don’t think there are enough of them/us. JLaw was and is the frontrunner and will probably win the Oscar. Not a big deal to Riva, I’m sure, or a surprise to anyone else.

    – PiersD – I’ll have an Academy scenario # 3 with a couple of small substitutions. To go, please.

    – “A problem with these awards seasons is that they suck a lot of the joy out of movie-watching.” Julie, the smoke always clears by March and the joy returns.

  109. @Tero Heikkinen, if Nicole were so smart and strategic, she wouldn’t be making films like The Paperboy. This from a Nicole fan.

    TBH, she probably did vote for Naomi, but they know the writing is on the wall, and they’d rather see Riva win than the new girls out to replace them.

  110. I am rooting for JLaw. She has by far the best boobs and ass among the nominees, let alone that her dancing sequences with Cooper were literally fucking on the screen. I can see all straight males and lesbians among AMPAS voters are drooling over her and vote for her.

  111. Tero Heikkinen

    Hmm… I’ve always seen Nicole as an exception in Hollywood, being someone who takes small parts with almost no money if it attracts her. Brave roles, she takes. The Paperboy may have looked better on paper, but I have not seen the film yet, so I can’t say how good or bad it is.

    I think that most voters are strategic, voting for something else so that THAT ONE at least won’t win and all that. Or maybe it’s just wishful thinking, because I would be smart if I had a vote.

  112. ‘The film’s biggest flaw is the almost fatal opening scene with the four soldiers reciting the Gettysburg address. I found that to be one of the weakest scenes in all of Spielberg’s oeuvre. Just painfully inauthentic and artificial to an almost absurd degree….’

    But why Julian? I’ve seen this complaint over and over and always with the ‘rings false’ argument.
    How do you make a film about Lincoln and not include the Gettysburg Address? And how would you incorporate it? They used those black and white soldiers, to me, to show how his words meant something the black soldier and the white soldier, maybe different reasons, but the words were being read back at Lincoln like a challenge.
    If Spielberg would have included scenes of African Americans at Lincoln’s feet, praising him with chants of ‘Father Abraham’ ….these same critics would have been crying ‘cornball’ and yet, it would have been based in historical facts.
    Spielberg can’t win.
    I keep reading about how there is ‘just no passion’ for Lincoln.
    The only passionate arguments I’ve read all season is for Lincoln and Zero Dark Thirty.
    Funny huh?
    This is a heartless season.

  113. I can see why The Paperboy attracted Kidman. It was an incredibly meaty role directed by Lee Daniels of Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire (I make my business to write out the whole pretentious title).

    I can see how Kidman thought that it was a risky role that allowed her to steal every scene she was in, and if someone wants to cast you as a steamy, sultry sexpot, well that’s just a huge ego boost.

  114. She was actually really good in it, and I would have nominated her AT LEAST over Weaver. But she doesn’t make many good choices, not that she’s likely getting the best offers anymore.

  115. Robert A.

    The BAFTA nominations came out before the Oscar nominations, and Argo did very well with BAFTA, including that surprise Best Actor nomination for Affleck. That’s another piece of evidence that suggests Argo was a strongly competitive film even before Affleck’s “snub.” (Remember also that there’s some overlap between BAFTA and AMPAS voters.)

    Now how much the taking down of ZD30 benefited Argo I can’t really say. It’s possible that added to Argo’s momentum, and Affleck’s “snub” probably threw some more logs onto Argo’s momentum fire. But with Argo doing so well with BFCA/Globe/BAFTA nominations, all which happened before the “snub,” suggests to me that Argo was positioning itself as the frontrunner even before the Oscar nominations were annnounced. In other words, even if Affleck hadn’t been “snubbed,” I don’t think the Oscar race would be that much different from what we’re seeing happening now.

  116. steve50 says: “Every year, usually in the last two weeks of this dance marathon, I always come back to the main premise which is, the Oscars is a promotional tool created by the industry to promote itself.”

    wikipedia says: “The AMPAS was originally conceived by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studio executive Louis B. Mayer as a professional honorary organization to help improve the film industry’s image and help mediate labor disputes. “

  117. I thought if I could show people how it went down they would not forget the best ones and they would think about their vote more seriously. Sometimes it seemed to make a difference, like when Adrien Brody surprised in the Best Actor category.

    You must have been pissed when Brody neglected to thank you for making that happen.

  118. Sasha, The way you laid the timeline out for this post, you make it look like: 1) The snub happened, 2) The victories followed.

    While this is true, the victories were decided before the snub. (As well as BAFTA’s enthusiasm for Argo in the nominations.)

    Again, yes, of course, the victories followed, but a context is necessary. The victories were going to happen with or without the snub.

    My opinion.

  119. Steve50 >

    “Outside of AD, there’s little advocacy or “the case for” articles.”

    With “the [AD} case for” Les Misérables, who needs enemies? It might as well have been written by Javert.

    Yvette >

    “The only passionate arguments I’ve read all season is for Lincoln and Zero Dark Thirty.”

    Well, then, you don’t read Hollywood Elsewhere, The Film Experience, Rope of Silicon, or In Contention.

  120. “even if Affleck hadn’t been “snubbed,” I don’t think the Oscar race would be that much different from what we’re seeing happening now.”

    Much agreed, Robert A.

  121. Bryce Forestieri

    ‘The film’s biggest flaw is the almost fatal opening scene with the four soldiers reciting the Gettysburg address. I found that to be one of the weakest scenes in all of Spielberg’s oeuvre. Just painfully inauthentic and artificial to an almost absurd degree….’

    Are you from Canada? Because that would make sense. Ya’ll don’t have patriots up there. And why would you anyways?

  122. eclipse22

    ryan adams
    “Just like I know Bush being elected President never meant that “America Chose Bush!” no, Almost exactly half of us have better sense than that. If I thought Congress was a reflection of America I woulda never come back here after leaving for 7 years. If I thought “The Academy Loved The Kings Speech!” then I would have less regard for the Oscars. I care about the half of the membership who have better taste and root for that faction to prevail more often.”

    ryan about your last sentence there wouldnt it be fair to say the half of the academmy who shares/agrees with your taste in what you qualify as best?
    surely you know all opinions/tastes are subjective and not fact!

    i’ll leave with its equivalent in french “les goûts et les couleurs ne se discutent pas”

  123. Thank you for this inspiring article. I think what boggles my mind the most is this is the guy who tucked animal crackers into Liv Tyler’s panties. And on Sunday he’ll be accepting an academy award for best picture. Surreal when you think about it. But Affleck has earned it and Argo has earned it. All of the best picture nominees deserve to be there (with the exception of Amour and Zero Dark Thirty which are terrible films but have very good performances from their lead actresses, and Emmanuelle deserves to win it)

  124. DDLOveracts

    Maybe if your tortured Spielberg hadn’t made a sloppy film, Lincoln might win.i was with you on Social Network and Brokeback but the usual genius Kushner wrote a moderately well researched but lacking script. Your support of the crappy Lincoln with several embarrassing performances like Lee Pace’s is a head catcher. Not since the half assed Aviator with the extrmely offensive tacked on bookends lazily “explaining” Hughes’ mental illness, have I disagreed so strongly with you over a film. Lincoln was a mess.

  125. Bob Burns

    If Argo was a TWC film, everyone would be saying Harvey is a genius about now…. giving him credit for the pro-Affleck buzz.

  126. Vince,
    I do. And those of us who love Lincoln are very passionate. That’s the point.

  127. Robert A.

    “Maybe if your tortured Spielberg hadn’t made a sloppy film, Lincoln might win.i was with you on Social Network and Brokeback but the usual genius Kushner wrote a moderately well researched but lacking script. Your support of the crappy Lincoln with several embarrassing performances like Lee Pace’s is a head catcher. Not since the half assed Aviator with the extrmely offensive tacked on bookends lazily “explaining” Hughes’ mental illness, have I disagreed so strongly with you over a film. Lincoln was a mess.”

    At first I read your moniker as DDLoverreacts, which we could also say about your post.

  128. – I care about the half of the membership who have better taste and root for that faction to prevail more often.”

    — ryan about your last sentence there wouldnt it be fair to say the half of the academmy who shares/agrees with your taste in what you qualify as best?

    I like my sentence just fine. I don’t care about those middlebrows in the Academy who sometimes tip the scales so that movies like Crash and actresses like Sandra Bullock win Oscars. I don’t follow the Oscars to see what Ed Asner will inflict on us next. I don’t respect that sort of taste.

    It’s silly to pretend that all the Academy members have sophisticated taste. There’s nothing wrong with me saying I don’t care about the voters who have crappy taste. If all the voters had great taste then The Blind Side wouldn’t being sticking out there like a rubber bulb nose on a circus clown.

  129. I’m just waiting to see if this is just pro-Ben/George or if it’s anti-Spielberg in addition. So when did Spielberg become “evil”? Oh. Wait. Goliath.

    If anyone is out of Prozac or Xanax or the like on Oscar night, watch the show. It might just cut it as a very effective surrogate for your meds.

  130. Great piece. Great writing. Great metaphor. I’m not worried about Sasha being eaten by the bears. I think Sasha will eat any bears that come her way.

    Sasha for some reason always reminds me of George Elliot, a great female writer and social critic of the 19th century, who wrote about society’s morals and mores, well, like Sasha does, except George Elliot had to write under a man’s name to be published in her time, but…. Like…what if George Elliot were alive today and she was stuck with writing about the Oscars?

    Voila, we’d have Sasha! And how lucky for the Oscars, Hollywood and those who appreciate great writing, in its’ most modern form.

    What I’m trying to say is that Sasha at heart is a social critic, and today’s world being what it is, Oscars or otherwise, there will ALWAYS be plenty to be critical about.

  131. wikipedia?! I’m shocked, Ryan (unless we’re voting on which one we believe?)

    (from AMPAS own nest, oscar.org)
    “In early 1927, during dinner at the home of M-G-M’s studio chief Louis B. Mayer, … began talking about creating an organized group to benefit the entire film industry.”

    Also this – can’t remember where I grabbed it – I’m not a lawyer:
    “Louis B. Mayer and three of his guests – actor Conrad Nagel, director Fred Niblo and producer Fred Beetson started talking about the need of an organization, which will work for the promotion and benefit of the entire film industry, at a dinner meeting.”

    Let’s see, what “benefits” industry? hmm. I have to research that more.

    Started with just a publicity dinner reported in the press. Awards added year #2. Sealed envelopes! Cool! Tension and excitement joined the party in 1941. and so on.

  132. aha, steve50 — I was only providing that reference as backup evidence to support your belief, not to refute it.

    You’re right. I agree. The primary usefulness of the Oscars to the industry is to feature their fanciest products in the window display of the company store — and the lure of trophy itself is still used to reward hirelings with Employee of the Year plaques.

  133. Bryce Forestieri

    Where’s rufuss?

    Just caught up with I AM CHARLOTTE SIMMONS

    Was anyone else who read it aroused the whole time? It’s quite hot trash. Would make a great movie too.

  134. Jason Travis

    I would have LOVED it if Sandra Bullock had been snubbed Oscar morning in favor of Tilda Swinton (Julia), and Mulligan, Sidibe, Mirren and Streep still remained. She, like Affleck, is a major celebrity, everyone’s “friend”, and was touted a frontrunner. What would the outcry have been like? I would have loved reading the comments saying “OMG Bullock was so robbed- how could the academy do this to her?” And then right after that, read the gazillion ones that followed saying “Actually Bullock was not that impressive in The Blind Side, I can see why the academy didn’t nominate her.” I would have been so much more pleased with an oversight like that. But of course that was never happening.

    I think it’s interesting all the people writing THESIS papers on why they feel Lincoln is”sloppy and inaccurate”, “boring and baity”, “So many errors.” Get some lives, please! Since when has a Historical Drama EVER been 100% praised by everyone? Never. Because history films NEVER are going to have everyone agree with what they’re seeing on screen. And that’s not what Lincoln was about. When was it supposed to be a biopic about Abraham Lincoln? It was just showing us a glimpse of how he helped pass the amendment to abolish slavery. And Kushner’s brilliant writing was just his perception of how this man might have handled the situation. It’s a film- and like all films there is a different perspective. Just like Argo. Yet people seem to take pleasure in knocking Lincoln down to the ground just because it’s not THEIR idea of what went down, because of course all you know-it-alls were around in 1865, of course we should adhere to your version. Give it a rest! It’s because Steven Spielberg crafted this wonderful movie that so many detractors are doing their best to shoot it down. Ditto for Katheryn Bigelow. The sexist critics refuse to acknowledge that a woman is behind helming such a prestigious project. Had ZDT been by Ridley Scott or heaven help us, Michael Bay, I’m sure the backlash wouldn’t have been nearly as strong.

    I think a lot of backlash from critics come from fear and insecurity that these directors were bold and strong enough to give truthful depictions of what occurred. Hollywood isn’t ready for too much reality, hence why Argo is the perfect Best Picture winner- it’s about terrorism and war but with the flashy Hollywood bow perked neatly on top, and Alan Arkin and John Goodman being the comic relief that allows us to forget what this movie really is showcasing.

    I hope for just a few things from Santa on Oscar Sunday. That Tony Kushner wins his rightful Screenplay award over Chris Terrior (and ugh, David O Russell)- and that Emmannuel Riva take Best Actress. I have accepted that Spielberg will most likely lose to Ang Lee (which is fine) and that Lincoln isn’t going to win Best Picture. But those two are a must in my book.

  135. Paul. Voorhies

    Well, shoot. I guess I’m just a heathen for thinking that Argo actually was the best film of the year. I don’t think it was the best acted, but it was the most effective.

    I for one will be glad when it wins. I’ll also be happy for Spielberg when he wins Director.

    I thought it was a stong year for films-/much more so than in most recent years. This win is far more deserved than the King’s Spoech, which for me was the definition of Oscar bait.

  136. Like the avatar, Bryce. The Devils?

  137. If I had been Sandra Bullock, I wouldn’t have conducted myself any other way during awards season. She’s a class act. How many movie stars do you know have single-handedly taken a family drama passed the $250M mark? The Blind Side made more money than Lincoln and it may well have taken home as many Oscars.

    Tilda Swinton was my pick that year, but she wasn’t nominated.

  138. Bryce Forestieri

    @Steve50

    Yess

    The magnificent Vanessa Redgrave as Sister Jeanne <3

  139. Paul Voorhies

    Emmanuelle Riva at #5. Sasha, are you on crack?? Did you actually see the movie? Buzz on Zero, Beasts, and, to a lesser extent, The Impossible are ice cold. She should be 3rd at the worst. Please address. P.S. I will be posting this in every comment until Game Time. Ryan Adams??????

  140. Remember: This is supposed to be a Driving Miss Daisy year.

    Jessica Tandy, 81, beat out the sublime Michelle Pfeifer, 31. Babe factor didn’t always hold.

    (Also: consider that year that Daniel Day-Lewis was a shoo-in win, beating out a Scientologist. Ponder that.)

  141. Rob Y., thanks for the fun facts.

    The Scientologist is Freddie Quell?

    Day-Lewis also took his supporting actress with him to a win. And a civil war figure took supporting actor.

  142. Robert A.

    Rob Y. makes a good point. Let’s compare this year to 1989 and see what we come up with.

    BEST PICTURE: The movie that crosses the finish line even without a director’s nomination.

    1989: Driving Miss Daisy
    2012: Argo

    BEST DIRECTOR: The earnest director of the also-ran movie (considered by some to be the front runner), and also a director who has won before.

    1989: Oliver Stone, Born on the 4th of July
    2012: Steven Spielberg, Lincoln (actually, Ang Lee would sort of fit this description, too).

    BEST ACTOR: Daniel Day Lewis Tour De Force
    1989: DDL, My Left Foot
    2012: DDL, Lincoln

    BEST ACTRESS: Oldest Best Actress Nominee Ever
    1989: Jessica Tandy, Driving Miss Daisy
    2012: Emmanuelle Riva, Amour

    SUPPORTING PERFORMANCE #1: A DDL co-star
    1989: Brenda Fricker, My Left Foot
    2012: TLJ, Lincoln

    SUPPORTING PERFORMANCE #2: Suffers cruel punishment, has no hair, dies
    1989: Denzel Washington, Glory
    2012: Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables

    There, the Top Six categories solved. Your welcome!

  143. Just sat down to watch the news and CBC (Canadian) announced a short documentary on the “true story” of the hostage escape.

    Fer-crissakes! Just hours before the ballots close, CBC? Didn’t want to effect the orbit of the earth, eh? You only had since October.

  144. “Why would she [Kidman] vote for Watts and therefore throw the vote away? You gotta use it for someone who actually has a chance to win.”

    Because she thought Watts gave a great performance. I think there are voters in the Academy who vote for who they think are the best, not those who think they going to win.

    There is no evidence right now that Riva has anymore chance to win than Lawrence or Chastain.

  145. Dave B., thanks for explaining the controversy. I saw the photo and the writing but the image available online is either too small or an expired link.

    And regarding Bullock, it was a terrible year for the category. I lost no sleep of her winning because, yeah she is nice and she was completely endearing during awards season (I had no idea she spoke German for one thing, some talented filmmaker needs to take advantage of this gift she has and give her a vehicle with more weight). Still it was a performance compared to Roberts in Brockovich except in lesser hands than Steven Soderbergh and it undeniably suffered. Michael Lewis sports books that are actually heavily analytical make for such by the numbers movies that make money, sure, but are nothing special. If I were to vote on that race I would have plugged my nose and pick Mulligan but that comes with the privilege of knowing she is becoming one of our finer young actresses. Tilda for I Am Love or Abby Cornish in Bright Star were picks I would have jumped at in the category but still, a much stronger year for the supporting actress category. Kruger and Laurent in Inglourious Basterds still made a stronger impression on me than any of the Best Actress nominees.

    And negatively comparing Lincoln to The Aviator, where the hagiography of Hughes in one of least interesting periods of his life story is actually much more irresponsible than anything can be thrown at Lincoln, is really just broadly painting brushes. So a prestige-y period pieces by two old masters are the same? The Aviator is a glorified Vanity Fair shoot with far more notable actors in roles everybody recognizes because they are mostly playing acting legends than anybody besides a few selected people in Lincoln and failing to disappear in those roles. I am not into as latter Scorsese as other people (though I admire the ambition of Hugo and Gangs of New York) but The Aviator just felt like a misfire. A nearly 3 hour run-time (and people think Lincoln was interminable) for again, a very specific and arguably not as interesting part of an eccentric figure’s life if just because it was old-fashioned Hollywood glamor and Hughes produced some films that Scorsese really liked. Imagine if Spielberg did a 3-hour film on what possibly made Lincoln depressed in his early life or his courtship of Mary Todd rather than him just doing a film that shows the process of the 13th amendment passage. Poor John Logan seemed to be in a fool’s errand and it is clear with non-Scorsese screenplays that the man knows film and Hollywood history but is just subsumed by Scorsese’s itch of old movies and old Hollywood. At least Spielberg and Kushner does feel like a partnership of equal respect. Just give me a Melvin & Howard over Leo’s furrowed brow Hughes.

  146. I need to give credit where its due. The Academy has gone the extra mile to make this Oscars special and must-see TV. it will pop a big rating, and ABC’s going about promoting it as well as they can. History will be made with the crowning of Argo. Three of the four acting categories are locked in, and the fourth should be as well. Goodwill abounds. But as in Spike TV’s gem of a faux-reality program, The Joe Schmo Show, all this goodwill leading up to Sunday is a house of cards. It’s entirely built, IMO on one specific envelope of the 23 which will be opened. And if the wrong name is in that envelope, the whole thing will come collapsing down around it. It will be a torrent of ‘who the fuck is she’ recrimination among rank and file moviegoers the following morning, along with ‘how can the Academy again pick somebody from a film that nobody in America has seen?’ The arthouse crowd and message boards like these and GoldDerby and HitFix will rejoice. And the ratings for the 2014 telecast will suffer, just like they did in 2011. Bank it.

  147. ‘The film’s biggest flaw is the almost fatal opening scene with the four soldiers reciting the Gettysburg address. I found that to be one of the weakest scenes in all of Spielberg’s oeuvre. Just painfully inauthentic and artificial to an almost absurd degree….’
    But why Julian? I’ve seen this complaint over and over and always with the ‘rings false’ argument.

    How do you make a film about Lincoln and not include the Gettysburg Address? And how would you incorporate it? They used those black and white soldiers, to me, to show how his words meant something the black soldier and the white soldier, maybe different reasons, but the words were being read back at Lincoln like a challenge.

    The answer is you don’t. As the Daily Beast wrote: “As for the Spielberg movie’s opening scene, in which a couple of Union soldiers—one white, one black—recite the words of the Gettysburg Address to the appreciative Lincoln, who is visiting the front toward the end of the war—it is almost inconceivable that any uniformed soldier of the day (or civilians, for that matter) would have memorized a speech that, however ingrained in modern memory, did not achieve any semblance of a national reputation until the 20th century.”

    So the answer is, you either open with him giving the address, or you let it go. You still have the face of the Penny starring in the movie.

    Opening the film with that speech in such a hackneyed, erroneous and historically and narratively false way immediately lost viewers like me. And probably members of the Academy as well.

  148. Tilda Swinton qualified for Julia in 2009, not I Am Love. I Am Love was 2010.

  149. Spielberg should get the Oscar for NOT showing Lincoln getting shot.

  150. “Suffers cruel punishment, has no hair, dies.”

    SPOILER ALERT! LOL. That’s okay. I’ve already had a quarter of a century to watch Glory. Very funny, though.

    You forgot that Denzel was up against a white guy in a film about black people. Oh, wait, that was Do the RIght Thing, not Django.

    PaulH > There are 24 envelopes, no? Or, does one of them have two awards that has to share an envelope?

  151. daveinprogress

    The opening of Lincoln didn’t worry me – it was a narrative, a construct and a device. So too the ending. And yes Rob, i’m with you, i’m glad he didn’t show the shooting.

  152. Fer-crissakes! Just hours before the ballots close, CBC? Didn’t want to effect the orbit of the earth, eh? You only had since October.

    This makes me realize how lucky we all are that Patrick Chan isn’t nominated for Best Picture.

  153. I would have given the movie a grade higher if the Campbell’s Soup Kid took the bullet.

    Sic Semper Tyrannis!

  154. Hahahaha at PaulH. You’re totally overstating Jennifer Lawrence’s importance to the viewership.

    Nobody will be as mad as you will be if Emmanuelle Riva’s name will be called out on Oscar night.

    If anything, it’ll just pique curiosity over the movie. You act like Silver Linings Playbook made half a billion dollars or something. You know what movie made a billion dollars? Titanic? It was incredibly loved by the Academy. Guess what? Kate Winslet lost the Oscar to Helen Hunt who people only knew as a sitcom actress, though I admit As Good As it Gets made more money than Amour. Well, people still watch the Oscars.

    People (including you) will be back next year even if Riva beats Lawrence.

    Also, what will your reaction be if Jessica Chastain wins the Oscar? You say you’re going to be ok with it, but I truly doubt it. You’ll find some way to demean her win.

    Don’t take my constant criticisms of you to mean I don’t like reading what you write. I think we can get too high-minded with our high-brow taste on these forums, and we need a populist, low-brow, simple-minded mainstream person such as yourself to give this blog some diversity.

  155. Anyone who uses Helen Hunt’s Oscar against Jennifer Lawrence ironically fails to see that both AGAIG and SLP are rom-com’s about men, who are changed by the women who enters their lives, that both grossed (or will) over $100M.

  156. daveinprogress

    ^ not forgetting they both played oppposite John Hawkes in their Oscar nominated turns.

  157. I was talking solely on the idea that the more popular and financially-successful choice should win since according to some people, people will be so turned off by a Riva win that they won’t be able to stop talking about it and forgive the Academy for doing such a thing. As successful as As Good as it Gets was in 1997, it did not compare to the box office of Titanic.

    Anyway, wasn’t Hunt’s Oscar one of the most maligned Oscar win for a while? That is until Hunt got a second Oscar nomination. If she gets a third, then maybe people will stop talking about her win for AGAIG the way people sort of stopped making fun of Marisa Tomei after she got her follow-up nominations for In the Bedroom and The Wrestler.

  158. Julian the emperor

    I appreciate Sasha Stone, don’t get me wrong. But to compare her with George Eliot because she runs an Oscar site, tells us more about the state of affairs in contemporary society than it does about the 19th century writers of an eminent stature.

  159. Pierre de Plume

    It’s hard to believe there was a time the Academy gave awards for merit.

    I’ve been watching the Oscars since West Side Story won and don’t remember “a time” like that — except once in a blue moon.

    Rob Y — the “Babe Rule” isn’t about older females not winning but, rather, older females having a hard time winning in successive years.

  160. When we look back at 2012 years from now, Argo will be remembered as the good yet unworthy Best Picture winner of an outstanding year in film. Movies that will probably be considered as masterpieces in the future: LINCOLN for its superb cast, DDL’s utter transformation into the 16th president, and a script that will be studied, analysed and revered in both film and history classes alike. THE MASTER for Joaquin’s mindblowing performance, the assured 70mm direction of Paul Thomas Anderson, its enigmatic character study that will be discussed decades from know, its Citizen Kane-esque ending, and how the Academy preposterous snubbed it for Picture, Director, Screenplay, Score and Cinematography. ZERO DARK THIRTY for Jessica Chastains unrelenting portrayal of a heroine who tracked down America’s Greatest Foe and Kathryn Bigelow having the balls(irony intended) to make and stand by a movie that isn’t “politically correct”. LIFE OF PI for the best use of 3D since the medium was first conceived, the creation of the technical marvel Richard Parker, and Ang Lee for being an unfilmable book to the big screen in such a breathtaking fashion. CLOUD ATLAS for its sprawling ambition, and for Tykwer and the Wachowskis for mortgaging their houses to produce a movie that they knew form the start would not sit well with most audiences, and how the HELL it failed to garner nominations for Score, Makeup, Visual Effects, Production Deisgn and Editing. Last but not least, THE DARK KNIGHT RISES for concluding one of the greatest trilogies of all time in the most spectacular way possible, and how it too did not land a single nomination.

    (I haven’t seen everything 2012 has had to offer, notably Django Unchained and Amour)

    I echo many people in saying 2012 was an embarassment of riches. It is really a shame that a movie like Argo is sweeping everything. Look, I don’t hate the movie. It’s well made enough for mutual liking, but Best Picture? It will go down in history as one of the weakest winners ever. Let me address a few issues I have with the film:

    1. The direction. I don’t really get why everyone is praising this particular aspect of the film. I mean really. The first ten minutes was just sloppy camerawork that made me dizzy.

    2. The bland acting of the hostages and the Iranians.

    3.The editing. Yes, the EDITING. I have no idea how this is the far-and-away frontrunner for Best Editing in the Oscars, and why so many people, including its detractors, aren’t complaining about it. Maybe its just me, but is all the cuts and various angles really necessary? Especially at the airport scene. IT just threw the whole film out of focus. It was just like a bunch of random scenes thrown together at first look. I much prefer the steady, assured editing of Lincoln and The Master that gives you time to savor and hold on to every meticulously constructed scene. Heck, even TDKR was much better edited. Then again, it may be JUST ME.

    4. The fake tension. I mean COME ON. The phone call. The engine not starting at first try. The airport scene again. It all just felt so deliberate. The characters just never seemed to be in any real danger. I was so disappointed, as many reviews I read prior to watching the film were talking about how pulse pounding the final 30 minutes was. I don’t think my heart skipped a beat.

    That’s not saying Argo was a BAD film. I enjoyed it okay. Just didn’t live up to its billing(86 on Metacritic? Ebert’s No 1 pick of the year? Did I watch the same film?). And I’ll admit to laughing everytime Arkin said Argofuckyourself. That said, his nomination was a joke.

    Chris Terrio’s script, though good, is no way in the same league as Kushner’s masterpiece. It’s not even in the same friggin’ ballpark, people! Wake up!

    Oh and Argo getting a Best Score nom over Cloud Atlas, BOTSW , The Hobbit amd TDKR? IT just shows how shallow the Academy’s choices really are. I don’t think I even noticed the film had a score.

    I’m not here to bash. I accept the fact the Argo is probably winning. I’m just really pissed that other films are not getting the attention they deserve.

  161. Other people have other opinions, deal with it.

  162. Vitamin168

    Dear Max;

    I fully agree with you that those movies you mentioned: Lincoln, ZD30, Life of Pi, Cloud Atlas, and The Dark Knight Rises are masterpieces of 2012. I have not seen the Master, so I cannot comment on that. Argo is no doubt a good movie as well as a good story but I really do not regard it to be great or a masterpieces. Just like “Crash”, it will only be mentioned whenever people discuss a lessen film (David?) beats masterpieces (Goalith??) in Oscar. But again this may just be the year of “Argo”(just like in 2000 and 2004, they are years of Bush). If Argo does win, I still congratulate Ben Affleck and Clooney. I believe no matter what the outcome will be. They surely gave best effort in making their movie.

  163. Vincent,
    So instead of providing your own argument, you provide someone else’s you read on the internet. That’s the problem with all these pseudo film critics! It’s like finding catch phrases and regurgitating them ad Nauseum.
    And to presume that people wouldn’t have been able to reference Lincoln’s speeches …
    Absurd. Words, Vincent, meant something to people then. Soldiers were fighting for causes and the president’s words were like sermons, or messages about where they stood. There was a reason Lincoln was a popular leader….. The people looked to his leadership and his every word. To suggest otherwise or make some asinine presumption otherwise is just ignorant of how things were then. Yes, I read that review and others like it. Thanks for regurgitating it.

  164. Well, sometimes even Oscar bait could fail.
    Though, I still don’t know what actually put Lincoln in this position?
    Was the campaign really too much? Like the introducing the film at the Globes by Clinton?
    Or what has happened? Seriously, I’m still baffled about this.
    Did the “downfall” began when Afflec and Argo started to win critic/guild awards?

    @PaulH

    I thought the only award Meryl definitely had in the bag for TIL was the BAFTA. She was playing a famous BRIT for god’s sake! I’ve always predicted Viola Davis to win the SAG. I’m surprised people had doubts she wouldn’t.
    The Drama Globe was the actual surprise. Meryl has not won that in 29 years. Maybe it was a “wink” to the Academy to finally end the loosing streak. Who knows?
    It’s now the third time of the last 11 years, that an actress who has won the Globe+BAFTA went on winning the Oscar and only one of them was in a BP nominee (Kidman)!

    I’m not sure if Riva really wins BA next sunday. I’m hoping it, but don’t underestimate Harvey at all. He seems “weak” this year, but still could take some major wins.

    Though, DDL will take Best Actor, that’s for sure.
    In the last 14 or 15 years there was not a single year without a winning biopic performance and I don’t think that will change this year.

  165. Ah, 1997…another howler of a bad decision in lead actress. You know why, yes? Purest nationalism back then; four Brits and one Yank. They went with the Yank who stank out the joint instead of Winslet. Reverse ageism reared its ugly face here, too, IMO.

  166. SallyinChicago

    It seems that ZD30 has dropped from the conversations, and after seeing it yesterday, I can understand why.

  167. Of course Kidman knows that Riva turns 86 on Sunday, so I believe many other voters know it, too. In the weeks after the Globes Lawrence was everywhere and most of the time she came off as a vulgar, spoiled woman (sorry, my impression).

    Now Riva is everywhere. In the last two weeks (in the weeks of voting) there have been at least some 10 articles I came across. The press will eat it up.

    I believe Riva wins. The Academy won’t resist that big moment.

  168. Those who are predicting Riva to win (such as myself), what are you predicting SLP to win? I don’t think De Niro will win, and I hope Russell doesn’t win, but I just don’t see SLP going home empty-handed!

    I won’t be surprised if Russell wins Director as a throwaway! The people who love the movie the most don’t seem to love it for Lawrence. Russell has made himself the face of the film almost as much as Affleck is the face of Argo.

  169. Can you imagine the firestorm, Zach, if Russell wins over Lee, Spielberg, or Haneke (even Zeitlan)? That would be a historic misstep.

    This’ll be Lawrence’s coming out party – the new Audrey Hepburn, I’m sure. DeNiro is a pretty safe bet, too, if they don’t want to send Harvey home emptyhanded.

  170. Tero Heikkinen

    Zach, I’m probably wrong, but I predict that SLP goes home empty-handed, showing Weinstein that there’s no room for him in a year like this. It’s very likely just wishful thinking, but IMO the film is 2nd worst of the nominated nine. I also think that Django Unchained and the relatively good film Zero Dark Thirty win nothing.

  171. Yvette,
    Then I suggest you watch The Master as soon as you can. I’m sure you will love it. It is the only film that can match Lincoln in terms of acting and writing and direction. Joaquin Phoenix’s is just as perfect and astounding as DDL’s in Lincoln, but more daring, original and unpredictable. Really, I won’t complain if Phoenix’s pulls of the greatest upset of the night over DDL. But I will be pissed if they fail to award Kushner.

    I fully expect The Master to be ranked the highest among 2012 films in future Sight and Sound polls.

  172. I think ZDT is going home empty-handed. I think Django’s only chance is in Screenplay. While I’m predicting that for lack of a better alternative (Amour doesn’t really deserve it for writing + they may feel like Tarantino is due for another win + the Weinsetein factor), I won’t hold my breath. It’s like a multiple choice test. I know Django’s probably the wrong answer, but I don’t know what else to pick.

    Regarding Director, I have no idea what effect the exclusion of Affleck will have. He was likely going to win had he been nominated (even if the film itself lost to Lincoln), but now that he’s gone, does that mean that the director who was next-most likely to win is now our winner, i.e. Spielberg? Or were Spielberg/Lee destined to be a bridesmaid either way?

    You know, I’d think the outraged Affleck fans would be inclined to vote for Spielberg. They can’t be mad at HIM. It’s like Hugh Jackman. He wants to win, but he’s genuinely happy to be losing to the best.

  173. @Jason Travis, the difference between Argo and The Blind Side is that Argo was critically raved. The Blind Side…not in the least. But I know Bullock’s performance was better than the movie itself, still no reason to reward her. But I fully believe Affleck deserved to be in the list of nominees (the opening and closing scenes alone did it for me). He has continuously grown as a filmmaker. Atlas must’ve been pushing the sky higher because obviously the sky isn’t high enough for him yet. People can prefer Gone Baby Gone over Argo, or even The Town as his best work but you can’t deny his technique is improving with each flick. Bullock had practically plateaued by the time Blind Side came out. It was neither an amazing performance or a bad one.

    @Max, I believe The Master was shot in 65mm but projected in 70mm. I know it’s a bit nitpicky but I know The Master would’ve struggled immensly if they shot with IMAX cameras. Otherwise spot-on assesment of Phoenix’s performance.

  174. Tero Heikkinen

    Yes, shot on 65mm, of course. Shown in 70mm.

  175. Antoinette

    You know what I wish? I wish there was a little badge or something that people had to walk around wearing that said how many Oscar nominated films they’d seen. I’ve spent so much time dealing with zealots for this film or that who haven’t even seen the films they’re fighting for or against. I can’t understand what people get out of arguing with other humans to the point of insults and negativity, and this has been the worst year I’ve seen for that, over films at all but films that they haven’t even seen. I get wanting to be right. But wanting to be right about something that you know you don’t know anything about? What a horrible year this has been for actually discussing the films, which stopped long before the Oscar nominations. This might as well just be a gambling site for all the commenters who are just rolling the dice.

    Sorry but I’m just noticing in the last couple weeks that incredibly vocal commenters are saying they just saw one of the major players. I can’t wait until this season is over. It should have been fun with all the great films but it’s been the exact opposite.

  176. Jason Travis

    I am always someone who defended Helen Hunt’s win in As Good As It Gets. Who cares if she was a sitcom actress, she’s still done a ton of films ranging back to the 1970s. And again, it’s about the performance- and Hunt was incredible, she showcased amazing range and delivered believable reflections about her life and son she was caring for. And her chemistry with Nicholson was spot on, something Lawrence and Cooper did not have- mainly because Lawrence, again, is too young to be playing her character. But sadly Hollywood now matches up older men with teenage girls- (even if Cooper is still relatively young) still, the woman is always played like a teen daughter almost, it’s repulsive. I was reminded of Thora Birch in American Beauty when watching Lawrence’s screen presence.

    Back to Hunt, not only was she great in the film- she was the frontrunner by Oscar night, securely taking the Globe and SAG for her performance and was also in a big Best Picture nominee that revamped Jack Nicholson’s career. And if anyone was a foil for Hunt, it was Judi Dench in Mrs. Brown and NOT Kate Winslet, who did not do that well in Titanic; I found her American accent to be distracting and she just seemed unbalanced in her role, as flat as it was anyways. Love the film, but Titanic was not going to win acting awards. Hunt deserved her award.

  177. Yvette,

    Call me when the shuttle lands.

    “So instead of providing your own argument, you provide someone else’s you read on the internet … to presume that people wouldn’t have been able to reference Lincoln’s speeches … To suggest otherwise or make some asinine presumption otherwise is just ignorant of how things were then. Yes, I read that review and others like it. Thanks for regurgitating it.” It sounds like someone is indeed 1) Making asinine presumptions, 2) Misattributing words, and 3) Allowing their passion to get the best of them.

    If you can specify what you’re talking about, Yvette, I can respond. I said no such thing about the Lincoln introduction. Your passion for Lincoln, m’deary, is clouding your view. You might want to check yourself before you step off a cliff. All I said was in regards to Lincoln on this thread is, “I would have given the movie a grade higher if the Campbell’s Soup Kid took the bullet.” And that’s an original thought from yours truly, not the internet.

    “Words used to mean something.” Yes, Yvette. And, people actually read them. And they address the people who said them.

  178. Someone said that Lincoln was never a frontrunner in this years annual cluster fest. I distinctly remember last year when the announcement was made regarding Sally Field securing the role of Mary Todd there was a great deal of discussion regarding Lincoln and that specific casting. Lincoln was already in the conversation. Then filming began and once again Lincoln was in the conversation.

    What made Lincoln a frontrunner this year wasn’t the beauty pagent award circuit it was the audiences. The critics weren’t as hard on Lincoln as they had been on other Spielberg films. In fact the reviews were a lot better than I expected because it was Spielberg. That in itself should say something about the perception of Spielberg in the industry. But what happened to Lincoln wasn’t the reviews. It was the audiences.

    Lincoln lacked the sentimentality trademarked by Spielberg films. Lincoln was a boring historical lesson compared to most Spielberg films. The film lacked a real resonance with The Civil War, there just wasn’t enough blood and guts for the average movie going audience. The dialogue was crafted to appeal more to a collegiate audience than it was a steel worker. It was lighted badly. Field’s portrayal was soundly identified as the weak link in the film and too many it was said she was miscast.

    And yet the public found it. The public kept finding it and continues to find it. The audiences made Lincoln a frontrunner because you simply couldn’t ignore the box office of a movie that in this day and age should not have succeeded. Everyone expected it to make back it’s budget and maybe a bit more. With the lack of sentimentality, with the lack of blood and gore, with a intelligent screenplay, with the flaws pointed out by so many regarding the design, the audiences found it, with the flawed performance by Field [rolling my eyes as I type that]it succeeded. And everyone knew Lincoln was gonna get shot. Yet even knowing the outcome people still went. People loved it.

    The audiences made Lincoln a frontrunner and thank god they had the good sense to see a damn good film. One of the things that redeemed The Social Network for me was the dailogue. I thought Network’s screenplay much better than the film I actually enjoyed more that year. Lincoln was a frontrunner and still is because here we all are still talking about it.

    The honest flaw in this whole process is paying attention to the multitude of critic fests. I suspect next year the so called critics fest will probably multiply by 20 percent based on how everyone now publicizes each and every one of those ridiculous coronations. Next year we will probably have the Buffalo Film Critics prizes right next to the Vermont Critics Prizes. Isn’t that just tantalizing.

  179. Paul Voorhies

    If I’m remembering it correctly, Kate Winslet was considered to have just squeaked into the Best Actress race in ’97. Dench, Christie, Bonham Carter, were likely ahead of her. And, yes, we all knew Helen Hunt was going to win. I thought Christie or Bonham or Dench would have all been better choices.

  180. Can someone honestly explain to me what was his/her problem with Sally Field’s performance? All I ever hear is “she was miscast” or she was “awful”? I’m sorry…what the fucking fuck…I think, along with Hathaway, she gave the best performance by a female this year. She should have been bumped to lead so they could give her another Oscar — not that she HAS to have another, so much as 2012’s Best Actress wouldn’t go to one of the weakest winning performances in the history of the category.

  181. Even Helen Hunt acknowledged that Judi Dench should have won that year and she was right.

  182. Pierre de Plume

    Those who are predicting Riva to win (such as myself), what are you predicting SLP to win?

    Ay, that’s the rub, Zach. I can’t see SLP going home empty handed, either. And that’s why my Riva talk is shaky as I hope – and don’t believe – that SLP wins nothing else, either. To me, it’s best shot is JLaw.

  183. Yikes!
    Vincent, I didn’t even see the Campbell Soup kid reference!
    My mistake…hey, I’m typing and reading an an iPhone…
    But’s what’s wrong with the Campbell Soup kid?

  184. it is almost inconceivable that any uniformed soldier of the day (or civilians, for that matter) would have memorized a speech

    That’s absurd. The speech was reprinted in dozens of newspapers and was famous nationwide within a week. The type of solider who would have been impressed enough to memorize the speech, is exactly the type of soldier who would have come to seek out Lincoln to meet him face to face.

    Great movie moments aren’t built around what 50 million people average people don’t do. Great movie moments are built around extraordinary situations and special individuals. Those soldiers aren’t supposed to represent the commonplace memory skills of every enlisted man. Those young men had a special admiration for Lincoln, and that’s why they have a scene devoted to their admiration.

    it’s no trick to memorize The Gettysburg Address. Couldn’t we all recite it in 2nd grade?

  185. Wow. Got my Tilda snubs mixed up. Does the Academy have some odd buyer’s remorse with her surprising win for Michael Clayton because I count 3 snubs that easily could have been nominated.

    And SallyinChicago, zD30’s fall had nil to do with quality. It was the controversy and critics abandoning it for safer, happier Argo that shared a CIA plot line not to mention an editor and composer. It was the best reviewed film of the year and at least should have gotten more nominations. Sony was unprepared for the controversy and did a terrible job campaigning for it, see: the no SAG screeners incident that hurt Chastain and the ensemble.

    Re: Hunt as a TV actress, it does seem like Academy snobbery to look down at TV actors. Huffman losing to Witherspoon likely was a factor with FH on Desperate Housewives and Shailene Woodley’s non-nomination. Character actors like John Hawkes and Melissa Leo can get away with TV work but being best known for TV work as a contender/nominee likely has some down sides.

  186. it is almost inconceivable that any uniformed soldier of the day (or civilians, for that matter) would have memorized a speech
    That’s absurd. The speech was reprinted in dozens of newspapers and was famous nationwide within a week. The type of solider who would have been impressed enough to memorize the speech, is exactly the type of soldier who would have come to seek out Lincoln to meet him face to face.

    Great movie moments aren’t built around what 50 million people average people don’t do. Great movie moments are built around extraordinary situations and special individuals. Those soldiers aren’t supposed to represent the commonplace memory skills of every enlisted man. Those young men had a special admiration for Lincoln, and that’s why they have a scene devoted to their admiration.

    it’s no trick to memorize The Gettysburg Address. Couldn’t we all recite it in 2nd grade?

    Ryan, the movie supposes that multiple soldiers memorized a speech that didn’t gain popularity until the turn of the century. http://quod.lib.umich.edu/j/jala/2629860.0029.206?rgn=main;view=fulltext Yes, it was published in newspapers, like all brief remarks by the president.

    But historical accuracy aside, the problem is what a weak, hackneyed set up to the movie. Getting us to love Honest Abe by having soldiers pay him respects by reciting his speech, even as he disappears into the night like Super-Lincoln. Very lame.

    http://quod.lib.umich.edu/j/jala/2629860.0029.206?rgn=main;view=fulltext

  187. @CB, I don’t think anyone can truly say when a speech can be memorized or when it would be printed and who would’ve read it. Of course it could’ve been memorized and in some sense I see where you’re coming from when you believe that opening was hackneyed. However my take, and I know I’m not alone, is that the white soldier stumbled slightly while reciting the speech and made it sound a tad more jovial whereas the black soldier never missed a beat and said it confidently without being starstruck. This shows that the speech meant more to one man than the other. The black soldier also treated Lincoln like a normal human being and not a celebrity, like the white soldier did. The thoughts I perceived running through his head were, “You gave a good speech, now what?” I felt that bookended perfectly with the hallway scene near the end where he walks with the tiny limp, showing that he is a man, a monument as a real person and not the actual stone monument we were led to beleive as children.

  188. Steven Spielberg is one of the greatest filmmakers of all time, and the anti-Spielberg factions are appalling. Who else could have made Jurassic Park and Schindler’s List in the same year? He has made brilliant family films, action adventure, fantasy, war films, sci-fi (AI is a masterpiece) and now one of the greatest historical films ever made with Lincoln, with Tony Kushner’s brilliant, brilliant script.

    I simply can’t believe, in an industry focused on money and profit, that even when a long, talky historical drama with no action/adventure scenes is a huge financial hit AND the highest-grossing best picture nominee and yet it probably won’t win. It will lose to the entertaining but minor Argo, which is really just a TV movie with a bigger budget and Ben Affleck. And the idea that Lincoln could be derailed by this pernicious campaign about historical inaccuracy for what is just a brief moment in the film is disgusting. About 40% of Argo is made up to make it more pro-American and entertaining, but where’s the outrage?? Where’s the member of Congress writing an Op-Ed demanding retakes?

    I was truly surprised in 1989 when Driving Miss Daisy won. But Driving Miss Daisy is a masterpiece compared to Argo.

  189. Ryan, the movie supposes that multiple soldiers memorized a speech

    So? How many soldiers do you think are incapable of memorizing a speech? Nobody could memorize a speech back then? Every 9-year-old can memorize it today, but grown men in 1963 didn’t have the mental capacity?

    that didn’t gain popularity until the turn of the century.

    False. FALSE. It was immensely popular and earned nationwide renown from the very first week it was reprinted in newspapers. It was instantly praised as “a perfect gem” … “deep in feeling, compact in thought and expression, and tasteful and elegant in every word and comma.” … a tribute that would “repay further study as the model speech“.

    Don’t believe everything you read in The Daily Beast.

    Im fact, if you’re smart, you shouldn’t believe anything at all that you read in The Daily Beast.

    Those SOLDIERS WERE THERE WHEN THE SPEECH WAS DELIVERED. They were physically present. They heard with their own EARS when “Lincoln’s speech was interrupted five times by applause and was followed by long continued applause.” (The New York Times, November 20, 1863)

    Why in hell would they have to wait for “the turn of the century” to realize its impact? THEY WERE THERE tp WITNESS the impact.

    dude, you make no sense. “Soldiers can’t memorize stuff” “Soldiers don’t have the good sense to know what applause means.” Lincoln’s words weren’t “popular” until 50 years after he died?

    Your gripes are ridiculous.

  190. Jason Travis

    Argo is winning in the same fashion of Sandra Bullock- because there is swarms of love coming towards the person, and not the film/performance. And a few months after it wins, that’s when I will get the phone calls- all consisting of the same thing: “So, I finally sat down and actually WATCHED The Blind Side- yeah, how did she win again???” The same will follow with Argo- except at least Argo holds some credibility and is a solid film. I’m not as big a fan of Zero Dark Thirty as some, but I do love Lincoln and think it is being treated like the ugly stepchild, complete with punishing the working mice that helped make it possible. I’d like to hope for some more love for Lincoln Sunday night, but it almost seems inevitable that the Director’s Branch has set itself up for major “Shame on You!” action when the envelopes are opened. And after Ben is done thanking everyone and saying how surprised he is, the grease will settle and suddenly- it will all seem so wrong. “Wait, Lincoln only won 1 Oscar? Out of 12 nominations? Huh?”

    Dare I say, I would give me smug pleasure to see any film beat Argo Oscar night, just so we can all get a big WTF and realize that just because the guilds say one way, doesn’t mean the Oscars will. Alas, this is only dreaming.

  191. So? How many soldiers do you think are incapable of memorizing a speech? Nobody could memorize a speech back then? Every 9-year-old can memorize it today, but grown men in 1963 didn’t have the mental capacity?

    I wasn’t saying that soldiers couldn’t memorize a speech – just that the speech after it was given was not considered a major address, and was actually overshadowed by Lincoln’s recent Thanksgiving address. This is fact.

    False. FALSE. It was immensely popular and earned nationwide renown from the very first week it was reprinted in newspapers. It was instantly praised as “a perfect gem” … “deep in feeling, compact in thought and expression, and tasteful and elegant in every word and comma.” … a tribute that would “repay further study as the model speech“.

    That was from the New York Times, at the time a very republican newspaper. To take one pro-Lincoln paper’s obviously biased perspective (which I agree with!!!!!!) as a historical marker is false. Also from the same Wikipedia page I’m sure you just referenced from, “[T]he Democratic-leaning Chicago Times observed, “The cheek of every American must tingle with shame as he reads the silly, flat and dishwatery utterances of the man who has to be pointed out to intelligent foreigners as the President of the United States.””

    Either way, I personally think opening the film with such blatant exposition – both having the speech and showing an extremely unlikely sentimental moment was a weak choice on behalf of Kushner.

  192. That was from the New York Times, at the time a very republican newspaper.

    I never claimed the Democrats in 1863 ran around reciting The Gettysburg Address. My guess is that only Lincoln’s admirers would have done so, don’t you think? I would also guess the soldiers in the scene that bugs you so much were Lincoln admirers.

  193. I never claimed the Democrats in 1863 ran around reciting The Gettysburg Address. My guess is that only Lincoln’s admirers would have done so, don’t you think? I would also guess the soldiers in the scene that bugs you so much were Lincoln admirers.

    Definitely – especially the African American soldiers must have loved him. My issue isn’t that republicans would’ve liked the speech – it’s that I don’t believe, and many historians say, that people *memorized* it. Enough so that they could recite it back to Lincoln. That never happened – which is fine – I understand that in historical docudramas some liberties need to be taken for necessary dramatic impact. It’s that this moment is *so* unlikely, and so ahistorical on several levels, and also that rather than showing people looking at Lincoln in an interesting way, or saying something interesting, they literally recite his speech back to him. And also when Mary tells him, “They love you so much.” I can’t stand stuff like that.

    I think an awesome Lincoln movie would’ve been his relationship with Douglas, or just his rise from early life to death, a la Malcolm X or Gandhi. Or even his decision to launch the Civil War. This movie felt very uneven, and its sentiment to Lincoln very unearned. I felt it coasted so easily on Lincoln the Figure, and unlike films like Malcolm X, Ali, or Capote, ever really captured more about Lincoln than lovability, infallibility, and dignity. That’s why I’ll pick a character like Hannibal Lecter, Daniel Plainview, or Ennis del Mar over Atticus Finch, Superman, or Erin Brokovich any day – the former are fascinating embodiments, the latter noble portraits.

  194. ‘But historical accuracy aside, the problem is what a weak, hackneyed set up to the movie. Getting us to love Honest Abe by having soldiers pay him respects by reciting his speech, even as he disappears into the night like Super-Lincoln. Very lame.’

    I think the film expects that you already have, at the very least, a passing familiarity with Lincoln and his mythology. Therefore, you would aleady know that Lincoln was a beloved president who frequently spoke to citizens, visited the troops and was very relateable to everyday people. I’m not sure if you’re just being devil’s advocate, a southern apologist, an idiot or if you’ve just been reading too snarky, hipsterish film commentary. Or all of the above.
    Super-Lincoln? Really? I mean…Really?
    You reveal yourself.

  195. CB,
    When you make the definitive film about Abraham Lincoln, let us know…
    Sometimes real life and emotions are enough. I guess someting can only mean something to you, or move you, when it has some heightened drama – drugs, women, serial killing….
    You seem disappointed Lincoln was just a flawed, but great man.
    Boring, I guess.
    Stick to movies CB and the Internet – because real life must be a real let down to you.

  196. I actually really like real life, Yvette, and I like movies that earn their dramatic moments in challenging (to filmmakers and audience) ways. It’s why I loved Cloud Atlas, Silver Linings Playbook, and Amour.

    You raise a great point in your response to me: I think the film expects that you already have, at the very least, a passing familiarity with Lincoln and his mythology. Therefore, you would aleady know that Lincoln was a beloved president who frequently spoke to citizens, visited the troops and was very relateable to everyday people.

    It is that very expectation that becomes a crutch. As I’ve said, it’s not the ahistorical recitation of the speech itself that gets to me, really, but the narrative weakness of it. It’s cheap – it’s the equivalent of if Gordon Gekko walks in the room and someone says, “Gordon, remember how you said ‘Greed is good’? I agree! I also love how you’re a total bastard!” I think when you already have a character everyone knows (and everyone likes) you can do something more inventive – Kushner did not.

    As for your question about who I am: I’m not sure if you’re just being devil’s advocate, a southern apologist, an idiot or if you’ve just been reading too snarky, hipsterish film commentary. Or all of the above.

    I am not being Devil’s Advocate. I am not a Southern apologist. I’m a dyed-in-the-wool Northeast Democrat, but regardless, I look at art as art. I am, however, an idiot – too many smart people think so that I’d be an idiot not to agree. I do not read snarky, hipsterish film commentaries – they tend to like movies like ‘The Future’, and movies like that make me want to vomit.

  197. Reichdome back with AVENGEANCE

    @ Antoinette with utmost respect and i encourage you to respond to my thoughts in response to your reaction to the more ‘vocal’ commenters here I find myself strongly disagreeing with you or your implication of you compaining bout vocal majority against certain films. Isn’t it obvious to you and others by now? MOST PEOPLE ARE PISSED THE HELL OFF WITH OSCARS DOUBLESTANDARDS AND HALF BAKED RECKLESS AND IRRESPONSIBLE deciswions. AND YET ME AS RATIONAL as one gets typos not withstanding have arrivbed at the point i had a GUTFUL of oscars bullshit. I sorry to say and i not trying to be destructive but in the context of the fine line betweren what is tolerable and what is not I like so many others have had it.

    What i like to think someone lovely and intelligent as yourself who comments i greatly respect is that there only so much true film fans in the global movie going public can take of oscar’s tripe that they server moldy and going off smelling like a absolute stink bomb of a swamp.

    If and i believe you are truly genuinely passionate about film you too surely? would be thrown by oscars illogical decision making 60% of the time against the wiashes of those who know what films are best during awards season the public…

    I support like i hope most do those who are vocal therefore for and especially against bad decisions oscar make. With the fools hope that one day oscar stand up and take note that they are GRAVELY TREMENDOUSLY betraying their core film base- you esp antoinette remind me of me as recent as literally a few mnths ago so forgive me for the following but i have to be honest on where oscar stands with not only me bt effectively represents the growing minority.

    For remember antoinette when in life something gets you down over and over and over again there only so much horseshit you can take and the same applies for oscar.

    They have dismally miserably failed the public trust test. They undermine innovative and popular and critically acclaimed films. for as long as i followed from 1998 right through to today…this is the first oscar season i sorry to say that i cannot bear to watch not just cos ‘my’ film is not gonna win this year it lincoln, last year or the year before it was ‘avatar’ and before that ‘the dark knight’ but the sheer volume of neglect of common sense decisions to advance oscar as a film institution it deserves to be not what it denigrates itself to be today is alarming in disturbing for not just any film devotee in myself and so many others bt they have ruined the public goodwill where the public once cared for oscar.

    And it their own damn fault they deserve to be condemened evebn mildly abused. for how would you react whensomething or someone pisses you off over and over you give chances and every year or every day you get less and less patient and more and more frustrated. in oscars case it measured in years.

    For me, the only high points since 1998 and i deeply suspect this represents many others in the movie going pblic who watch during awards season,

    the films that were justified in winning best pictyr for me were: Gladiator, Return of the King the Departed and i was torn when hurt locker won but i embraced it even though it was with a heavy heart for which i would have preferred avatar. But milliondollar baby Crash, Slumdog Millionaire no country for old men most in the public at best only half embraced such films and on balance oscar destroyed gradually year by year public good will.

    When a grand once pblicly revered artistic institution violates it core principle it was founded with that is innovation popularity and acclaim where the latter trumps the rest in today’s oscar more often than not.

    And when films that most supported like saving private ryan the dark knight- and rises- why the hell it was not a contender is beyond me this year!, aviator, munich, avatar all either lose or get unjustly snubbed – ther only so much passionate film fans will take antoinette and that why i say as follows: and why pple have a right to be vocal againt films or even for them you see now?

    So this is just shocking Kushner overlooked for a screenplay that was tenfold at least more accomplished, smarter and far and away innovative to the shit that the supposed most undeserved inevitable Oscar winner in Argo which is to answer u earlier question sasha already determined Argo will b a also ran a fuked up wasted opportunity to embrace the best of the best that film is Lincoln not Argo. What a truckload of shithouse waste . Oscar season denegrates itself to. They should start calling themselves the mediocre arts and motion picture sciences. This year marks a all time lowest ebb for Oscar and the guilds. They are arrogant, selfish and ruthless. Stop at nothing to get their way at the expense of us the little pple who oncce were considered as to who should win best picture. Now Oscar cast us aside. U watch in yrs to come the only thing memorable bout this year is Oscarw elitism on the rise and it public support base in rapid decline. Everyone will tlk of Lincoln in yrs to come and that includes the discredited some not on this site who arrogantly press awards season agenda. There something rotten in Hollywood awards. And that is the rise and rise of mediocruty

  198. steandric

    Added to the impressing long list of peer support, Eva Marie Saint praises Naomi Watts’ ‘Impossible’ performance.

    http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/naomi-watts-impossible-performance-praised-422541

    Angelina Jolie, Mark Ruffalo, Edward Norton, Ewan Mcgregor, Kate Hudson, Alicia Silverstone, Reese Witherspoon, Jack Black, Benicio Del Toro, Jennifer Connelly, Robert Downey Jr., Emmy Rossum, Nicole Kidman, Eva Marie Saint…

  199. Very nice post. I simply stumbled upon your blog and
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