85th Academy Awards

An Alternative Look At The 85th Annual Academy Awards

The photos, the stories, the whole night written from a unique perspective of a well connected person and one you’ll want to read:

We kissed elegantly composed Anne Hathaway and asked, “Who are you wearing?” “Prada,” she said. I suggested to her father Jerry that he buy her that Tiffany diamond necklace after she wins, imitating the late Bruce Paltrow’s generosity to his daughter Gwyneth after her own big night. Not sure I was kidding, her mother Kate sweetly assured me, “We have something for her.”

We stepped on Amy Adams’ Oscar de la Renta silver-ruffled train. We stared deeply into Halle Berry’s dress to see if she was real. We touched Jennifer Lawrence’s amazing Dior skirt when she was not looking, and we embraced every studio head in hopes of a job next week. Usher number 85 now screamed at us, and we finally ran away.

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I feel like I need to put this exchange here on the main page because frankly I’m sick of having to discuss this repeatedly. First, a reader named Andrew wrote:

I’m not sure what my not posting on other threads has to with anything, but I will make one point- I have been posting here for years, and have never had my posts deleted or moderated until this year. And it has been about one thing: my pointing out of the skewed Lincoln-loving and Argo-hating, from a site whose editor called Argo perfect.

Your comments were moderated and deleted because of their nasty, relentless tone – you don’t “post” here, you comment here. There is a difference.  We were pretty up front about our Lincoln loving – and there was never “Argo hating.” Not once. Oh, maybe on Twitter when it kept winning everything – we are allowed to show our irritation.

We knew Lincoln was a tough sell, as was Life of Pi. That’s why we invested heavily in those movies – and in Beasts of the Southern Wild and Middle of Nowhere and many of the other seeming “lost causes.” Lincoln bothered people more because there was a uniform hate of it that started over at the New York Times where they made not one but two “why Lincoln is such a bad movie” videos. It didn’t stop there. It was savaged for all of the wrong reasons. If it was so bad why were the reviews so great? Why was it number 5 on the top ten lists of all of the critics and why did it eventually make $180 million? You see the dynamic we’re up against? You don’t think I saw this outcome from a mile away? I did but there wasn’t much to do but write about a movie I (we) felt deserved much better than it was getting.  Probably the worst thing that happened to Lincoln, though, was when President Clinton intro’d the film at the Globes and the following morning the story was expertly spun into the David and Goliath narrative that would take permanent hold.

I think we will eventually be on the right side of movie history but you never really know about these things.

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A story at the HuffPo on Geena Davis’ reaction to the Oscars is a good reminder that we still have a long way to go (I think). It’s one thing to simply “be offended” by MacFarlane’s humor. But it’s another thing to set about enacting change. Complaints about MacFarlane won’t change how women are treated overall by Hollywood and the awards industry – in short, women are mostly ignored. From the HuffPo:

“It’s a shame that that triumph was enveloped in an awards ceremony containing disrespect for women,” Davis told members of the California Assembly during a ceremony in Sacramento. “But it helps illustrate how tone-deaf we can still be regarding the status of women.”

She commended “Brave,” which won best animated picture, as setting a positive example for girls.

There was a lot of woman hating going on directly after the Oscars with a dumb joke on Quvanzhane Wallis — welcome to the world, kid. People suck. Anne Hathaway was dumped on for no good reason. To me, it’s mostly the same shit, different day and I don’t know if a PC Oscar host would help matters. You don’t hire Seth MacFarlane, or Ricky Gervais or Tina Fey and Amy Poehler and expect them to not to be brutally funny.



Fox has launched a brand new site for the DVD/Blu-Ray launch of Life of Pi, available for digital download and purchase March 12.

The site does a nice job capturing the fluid beauty of Pi, which caught the tinyest whiff of controversy  after winning the Oscar for Director, Visual Effects, Cinematography and Score — since Ang Lee didn’t thank the visual effects team on the movie. But you know, maybe it’s ignorance on my part but what enthralled me most about Pi wasn’t the visual effects. Yes, I know as audiences we are trained to stare in admiration at them but the reason Pi stands out, and Hugo stood out last year, was because the story was powerful in its own right. This, as opposed to Avatar where the visual effects really did make the movie. What Pi offered to me was enhanced by visual effects but truly it was the acting, writing and directing that stood out. Either which way, the visual effects team won a well-deserved Oscar.


Here is a photo of Ang Lee at 28 years old.


Ryan and others have pointed out that Ang Lee is the only director ever in the history of movie awards to have 2 DGA awards, 2 Oscars for directing, 2 BAFTAs and 2 Golden Globes for directing, 2 Golden Lions and 2 Golden Bears (as noted yesterday by reader KT, and mentioned on Oscar night by Joao Mattos).







“You fellas thanked God, right?”
“It was a Warner Bros film, not a Weinstein Co.”
“No, I mean GOD!”


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

85th Academy Awards, Backstage

85th Academy Awards, Backstage


Jennifer Lawrence, Best Actress winner, hugs Anne Hathaway, Best Supporting Actress winner after the 85th Oscar ceremony.

After the cut, yet more.

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85th Academy Awards, Portraits

From the Academy’s Facebook page…gallery after the cut.



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22 great movies from 2012 that got no Oscar nominations at all.

  1. The Perks of Being a Wallflower
  2. Middle of Nowhere
  3. The Dark Knight Rises
  4. Cloud Atlas
  5. Wuthering Heights
  6. Looper
  7. Killing Them Softly
  8. End of Watch
  9. Magic Mike
  10. Lawless
  11. The Grey
  12. Killer Joe
  13. Not Fade Away
  14. Take this Waltz
  15. Arbitrage
  16. On the Road
  17. Safety Not Guaranteed
  18. Bernie
  19. Compliance
  20. Your Sister’s Sister
  21. Cosmopolis
  22. The Exotic Marigold Hotel





It appears that Seth MacFarlane was too offensive for Oscar audiences. I was too busy paying attention to the offensive awards being given out and the charade of the whole thing at all I barely noticed MacFarlane.  Sometimes forget that it’s not Hollywood watching. It’s the public and the public want the dream machine.

MacFarlane was apparently sexist, racist and unfunny.  Again, didn’t notice. Was too busy noticing how racist the Oscars themselves are.  With the option of nominating an emerging writer of color in the original screenplay category, Ava DuVernay, they went with five white male writers in that category and one of them won for writing a movie about slavery (Lincoln wasn’t “about slavery”), casting many black actors but only one, a white guy, gets noticed and awarded by the Academy.

Sexist? Yeah, the boob thing? Right. Well, I was too busy noticing how only one movie was actually about a woman and despite being the best reviewed film of the year, besides nearly making $100 million dollars and despite being directed BY a woman, the only award it got was half of a sound editing award. I was noticing how every woman on the red carpet was asked what she was wearing and dissected by how she looked while the men got to talk about their work.  I noticed that, once again, youth and beauty rule the Oscars where women are concerned and the role that was given the big prize was about a woman who wanted nothing but for the guy she likes to like her back.   All three of the other female parts offered more substance for women, even the one played by Quevenzhane Wallis. So are you sure you want to talk about sexism?

Homophobic? How many out gay actors, writers and directors have won Oscars?    Do we really want to talk about that? No? Didn’t think so.  Hollywood is not moving forward with the rest of society; it’s moving backwards. Just look at what movie was named Best Picture.

I would love it if all of these angry pieces about MacFarlane were directed where they matter more: the status quo that hasn’t really changed much in 85 years of Oscar history.  But hey, by all means chase after the thing you think you have more control over. I won’t stop you.



I dig Richard Rushfield’s rumination on Hollywood’s love/hate with the king of the them all, Steven Spielberg (“Once again, the Best Picture prize slips from his hands. What does Hollywood have against its most successful resident?”)

Two Oscars ain’t half bad for the king of them all so I figure, hey, he can go down in the record books with the greats. Most times, the greats don’t win.  I thought Ang Lee’s prize last night was a glorious moment and a well-deserved win – he is a man who REALLY knows what matters in life and what doesn’t and to Ang Lee the film itself is the reward. He is the zen master and his mere presence seems to always throw the Best Director race in flux. At the same time, the Academy just doesn’t have a strong enough pair to really go all the way with Lee.

Sense and Sensibility was not nominated for Director. The same year Ron Howard won the PGA/DGA/SAG and then lost the Oscar to Mel Gibson for Braveheart.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon nominated for DGA, won. The same year, Steven Soderbergh got Best Director for Traffic and Gladiator won Best Picture.
Brokeback Mountain was nominated for and won DGA.  Lee also won the Oscar but Best Picture went to Crash.
Life of Pi, nominated for DGA, lost to Ben Affleck. Won second directing Oscar, lost Best Picture to Argo.

Ang Lee and Steven Spielberg are anything but losers. They are carving and shaping cinema. Both of them made movies that changed the way I see the world. I can’t say that about any other films in the Best Picture race with the possible exception of Zero Dark Thirty and Beasts of the Southern Wild. Winning the Oscar doesn’t define success, nor does it define greatness. Far from it. It is to the benefit of Academy voters that they get to call Ang Lee and Spielberg among their two time Best Director winners. It doesn’t make them better. It doesn’t improve their body of work.  The Academy improves their own history by picking great films.

John Ford won Best Director twice without winning Best Picture, The Informer (Mutiny on the Bounty won) and The Grapes of Wrath (Rebecca won) until he finally won both for How Green was My Valley.  George Stevens won best Director twice and never won Best Picture for Giant (Around the World in 80 Days won) and a Place in the Sun (An American in Paris won).

Ang Lee is only the third director in history to do that.

Steven Spielberg is now the fifth director in Oscar history to enter the race with a film with 12 nominations not to win Director or Picture. Lincoln is the only film with 12+ nominations to win just 2 Oscars.




I know, sort of like saying green plants like sunlight. But nonetheless,  one of our readers, Phantom, lays out the (mostly) grim statistics. I remember Gold Derby’s Tom O’Neil telling me that “this Emmanuelle Riva” talk was crazy and that the actresses win are CTLF. Contenders they’d like to…you get the idea.  There was no way Jennifer Lawrence was losing — her main competitors, all save one, were older than she was.  So I guess next time I will listen to Tom O’Neil instead of thinking the best performance always wins (it hardly ever does, right?)

From Phantom:

1997 – Helen Hunt (34) vs. Judi Dench (63)
1998 – Gwyneth Paltrow (26) vs. Cate Blanchett (29) (twentysomething top2)
1999 – Hilary Swank (25) vs. Annette Bening (41)
2000 – Julia Roberts (33) vs. Ellen Burstyn (68)
2001 – Halle Berry (35) vs. Sissy Spacek (52) vs. Judi Dench (67)
2003 – Charlize Theron (28) vs. Diane Keaton (58)
2004 – Hilary Swank (30) vs. Annette Bening (46)
2005 – Reese Witherspoon (29) vs. Felicity Huffman (43)
2007 – Marion Cotillard (32) vs. Julie Christie (66)
2008 – Kate Winslet (33) vs. Meryl Streep (59)
2009 – Sandra Bullock (45) vs. Meryl Streep (60)
2010 – Natalie Portman (29) vs. Annette Bening (52)
2012 — Jennifer Lawrence (22) vs. Emmanuelle Riva (86), Naomi Watts (44), Jessica Chastain (35) and Lil’ Q (9)

Maybe we could give them voter viagra or something and that might help them vote for older women?  Helen Mirren is one recent exception because even at her age she’s still a CTLF.  Meryl Streep finally beat Viola Davis — I guess we don’t need to go over that one, right?

Some of these are a little WTF. But you know in Hollywood you have to show up. You have to truss up and be seen or you won’t get work so many of them are just there to be there. That’s the one side of Hollywood that when I think on it too hard it gives me a stomach ache. More after the cut. Thanks to ONTD.

2013 Vanity Fair Oscar Party Hosted By Graydon Carter - Inside


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I love this exchange for so many reasons. The first, Jennifer Lawrence telling Jack Nicholson “you’re being very rude.” And the second, her funny reaction after he leaves.  May she stay forever young. And here’s to hoping Nicholson doesn’t try to get him some of that.


You really have to love a voting body, and industry, and BAFTA, and Globe, that takes the only film in the Best Picture lineup with a mostly black cast and gives their shiny toy statue to a white dude.  The two films with black characters at the Oscars were completely shut out — Beasts of the Southern Wild and Flight. Hey Hollywood, you don’t have to shout so loud. We read you, we read you.  Am I angry? Well, doesn’t someone have to be?  There were four great performances in Django Unchained: Christoph Waltz (a lead), Jamie Foxx (a lead) and Samuel L. Jackson (supporting) and Leo DiCaprio (supporting).  Surely either Foxx or Jackson could have gotten, at the very least, a nomination. You know, just a thought.






“I was here 15 years ago or something, and I had no idea what I was doing. I was sitting out here in front of you all, really just a kid, and I went out and I never thought that I would be back here, and I am because of so many of you who are here tonight, because of this Academy, because of so many wonderful people who extended themselves to me when they had nothing to benefit from it…I want to thank them and I want to thank what they taught me which is that you have to work harder than you think you possibly can, you can’t hold grudges, it’s hard but you can’t hold grudges. And it doesn’t matter how you get knocked down in life, cause that’s gonna happen, all that matters is that you gotta get up.” -Ben Affleck.”


What a wild ride. I hope Oscar goes back to five. I don’t think my heart could take another year like this one.


My parting thoughts: Life of Pi should have won Adapted Screenplay and Picture. Lincoln should have won Adapted Screenplay, Director and Picture. One or the other. I would have a hard time choosing between them. Ang Lee has now won two Best Director Oscars without Picture. First to Crash and now to Argo. Argo has won three, without a director nomination. It is in on par with Crash and Rocky.  The awards were very much split up all over the place. Good luck making any sense of it.

Emmanuelle Riva should have beat Jennifer Lawrence.  Love Jennifer Lawrence completely but come on. Give me a break, people.


The BAFTAOSCARS were fairly similar except BAFTA went with Riva for actress and David O. Russell for screenplay.

I loved all of the singing and dancing and Seth MacFarlane is my favorite Oscar host, or one of them, right up there with Crystal, Martin and Letterman.

That the Oscar audience didn’t applaud Tony Kushner’s name makes me think either they are too stupid en masse to know what they weren’t clapping for or else the trickery in the media worked to turn them against him. Either way, shame on them.

The best wins of the night were Ang Lee for Director and Inocente for Doc Short.

And with that, it’s been fun, kind of. Let’s see what next year brings.

argo 333



Best motion picture

  • Argo, Grant Heslov, Ben Affleck and George Clooney, Producers

Achievement in directing

  • Life of Pi, Ang Lee

Performance by an actor in a leading role

  • Daniel Day-Lewis in Lincoln

Performance by an actress in a leading role

  • Jennifer Lawrence in Silver Linings Playbook

Performance by an actor in a supporting role

  • Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained

Performance by an actress in a supporting role

  • Anne Hathaway, in Les Misérables

Best animated feature film of the year

  • Brave, Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman

Best foreign language film of the year

  • Amour, Austria

Adapted screenplay

  • Argo, Screenplay by Chris Terrio

Original screenplay

  • Django Unchained, Written by Quentin Tarantino

Achievement in cinematography

  • Life of Pi, Claudio Miranda

Achievement in film editing

  • Argo, William Goldenberg

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score)

  • Life of Pi, Mychael Danna

Achievement in costume design

  • Anna Karenina, Jacqueline Durran

Best documentary feature

  • Searching for Sugar Man, Malik Benjelloul, Simon Chinn

Best documentary short subject

  • Inocente, Sean Fine and Andrea Nix Fine

Achievement in makeup and hairstyling

  • Les Misérables, Lisa Westcott and Julie Dartnell

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song)

  • Skyfall from Skyfall, Music and Lyric by Adele Adkins and Paul Epworth

Achievement in production design

  • Lincoln, Production Design: Rick Carter; Set Decoration: Jim Erickson

Best animated short film

  • Paperman, John Kahrs

Best live action short film

  • Curfew, Shawn Christensen

Achievement in sound editing (tie!)

  • Skyfall, Per Hallberg and Karen Baker Landers
  • Zero Dark Thirty, Paul N.J. Ottosson

Achievement in sound mixing

  • Les Misérables, Andy Nelson, Mark Paterson and Simon Hayes

Achievement in visual effects

  • Life of Pi, Bill Westenhofer, Guillaume Rocheron, Erik-Jan De Boer and Donald R. Elliott

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