Thursday, January 10, 2013

LET'S GO TO THE MOVIES:Your Oscar nominees have arrived--a few preliminary thoughts:
  • The nine nominees for best picture were pretty much what you would have expected, though Beasts of the Southern Wild and Amour are mild surprises.  No big huge blockbuster made it in--no Dark Knight Rises, Skyfall, or Avengers.
  • Not that it matters, since Daniel Day-Lewis is going to win, but John Hawkes lost his slot to Joaquin Phoenix in the Best Actor race.
  • Actress is the most competitive race, right?  The only one that would shock me as a winner there is Wallis, more because of youth than anything else.
  • Much better day for Silver Linings Playbook than many had anticipated, with nominations in all acting categories (Jacki Weaver is the surprise there), as well as picture, director, and screenplay nominations.
  • Not so good a day for Les Mis, which gets an Actor/Supporting Actress/Picture/Song nod, as well as several technical nods, but no Director or Screenplay nod.
  • Director is the big surprise--no love for Affleck, Hooper, Tarantino, or Kathryn Bigelow, which makes it look like Spielberg's shot at another Oscar is pretty clear.
  • Favorite weird pairing?  Costume design, where the year's two Snow White films will face off.  (Both had serious problems, but the costume design was not among them.)
  • Based on the overall nominations, sure looks like Lincoln is in for a big night.
Talk amongst yourself below.


  1. Adam B.9:05 AM

    It's about time Lincoln had a successful night at the theater. That neither Kathryn Bigelow nor Ben Affleck were nominated for Best Director (nor did Affleck receive an acting nod) tells me it's a done deal barring Beasts becoming the feel-good small alternative.

    The Master also did slightly better than expected with acting nominations for all three leads (but not Best Picture, Director, or anything else); Christoph Waltz won the Django Unchained three-for-all for a Supporting slot; all nine Best Picture noms have screenplay nominations except for Les Mis; Flight and Moonrise Kingdom take the two extra slots.

    Best animated features: Brave, Frankenweenie, ParaNorman, The Pirates! Band of Misfits, and Wreck-It Ralph.

  2. Watts9:06 AM

    I never thought I'd care about the sound categories but I'm really glad to see Argo get nods there.

  3. As I noted to Adam on Twitter, I think Silver Linings Playbook is the potential upset--nominations in all top categories, hasn't gone terribly wide yet, is a substantial crowd-pleaser, As Carrie Rickey noted on Twitter, there could be a little parallel with Shakespeare in Love/Saving Private Ryan here, especially since Harvey Weinstein knows how to campaign and has two good-looking leads who can play the campaign game.

    (Day-Lewis is a lock, though.)

    1. That comparison of this year's race to Shakespeare in Love/Saving Private Ryan is something the critics were talking about after SLP debuted to such amazing word of mouth at Toronto, but I think Adam is right here...this is Lincoln's year.

  4. The Pathetic Earthling9:24 AM

    There are no holocaust documentaries nominated in either category which leads me to believe that there were no holocaust documentaries made.

  5. I think Matt covered the big surprises but I am just so amazed that Bigelow didn't get a directing nomination I'm mentioning it again. I feel like that's a big sign of the Academy playing it safe given the ZDT controversies and also figuring she got the award recently so they could skip over her. Hooper not being included is not a shock as the direction of Les Mis has been where most of the negative comments on that film have been aimed. Affleck not getting a directing nomination is a shame. I really liked Argo and while I would give the actual award to others this year, he deserved a slot. I'm very glad, and a little shocked, that Beasts fared as well as It seemed to have fallen off the radar.

    Haven't seen the other documentaries, but I LOVED Searching for Sugar Man so glad to see it got a nomination.

    Overall this was a really good year for a lot of films and I think the nominations reflect that....they shared the wealth quite a bit.

  6. KCosmo's Neighbor9:43 AM

    I am thrilled that Mirror Mirror was nominated for best costume design. The costumes were spectacular--true art--and I said it to my girls as I was watching the movie, "I hope this movie wins for best costumes." Snow White and the Huntsmen definitely deserves recognition, but if anyone else saw Mirror Mirror...well...unbelievable. So creative. I even looked the guy up--he designed some of (all?) the costumes for the opening ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics, but he has since passed away (which sometimes works in your favor when being nominated for an Oscar).

    As much as I loved Les Mis...costume design? Were they not wearing dirty rags for most of the movie? I'm just kidding; I get it, but I like to see some pretty things now and then.

    The Best Actress race in interesting. No Meryl, no Julia, no Gwyneth, no Nicole, no Penelope... it's a real changing of the guard.

    Note to self: Go see Silver Linings Playbook!

    Oh, Rise of the Guardians was a beautiful animated film to watch. I guess no one else thought so. It actually warranted the 3-D glasses, and trust me, I NEVER say that.

  7. Interesting stat I just saw: Sikver Linings Playbook is the first movie to get noms for picture, director, writing and all four acting categories since Reds in 1981.

  8. I still don't understand the difference between the sound categories, so I'm glad Argo got nominated for both. As I came out of the theater I immediately thought how well Affleck used both sound and silence to create tension.

    I'm more surprised by the Best Picture nod for Amour than I am for Beasts, for several reasons. (Disclaimer - I haven't yet seen Amour.) Amour is about old people, but then again, I guess the Academy has a lot of old people. But it's about old people DYING and who likes to face their mortality when it's statistically likely to matter soon? And Beasts, while having some brutal moments, is ultimately hopeful and uplifting. Also, Amour is primarily in a foreign language. (Although I suppose some Yankees might want subtitles for the Cajuns in Beasts.)

    I'm not at all saying Amour shouldn't be in the list, just that it's more surprising to have made the cut than Beasts of the Southern Wild.

  9. It's a pleasant year when the only major quibble I can think of (besides the weird, weird Directing category) it is that Cabin in the Woods didn't even get a screenplay nod.

    That said, my only horse I'm betting on for Oscar! Night! is Roger Deakins finally getting his Cinematography Oscar for Skyfall. How he doesn't have one for work on things like Fargo and No Country For Old Men is starting to look more and more puzzling. This is his 10th nomination and it's certainly more than due.

  10. Hee heee - someone on the Academy web team must not be a Bradley Cooper fan - this is the picture they used to feature him:

  11. Someone at on the Oscar web team must not be a huge Bradley Cooper fan:

  12. Nothing music-wise from The Hunger Games? That strikes me as a bit of a surprise. My guess is that they could have gotten a nomination for Safe and Sound if they'd put it first in the closing credits, but I still would have thought that Abraham's Daughter or the score would have had a good shot.

    On a different note: the husband and I are way behind on watching movies. Let's say that we have time for five movies between now and the Oscars. What five should they be, y'all?

  13. Beasts of the Southern Wild should be one, definitely. After that, Argo.

  14. Jenn C10:42 AM

    Of the Best Picture nominees, I've only seen Les Miz and Argo, and I would heartily recommend Argo.

  15. lisased10:58 AM

    I agree about "Guardians." It was a seriously beautiful movie. I was very disappointed it didn't make it.

  16. I'm bummed that Bigelow and Affleck weren't nominated. Theirs were my two favorite films of the year, and I thought both were brilliantly directed.

    Am I the only one who thinks that "Silver Linings Playbook" took its basic plot from "Better Off Dead?" I wanted to love it, and it ended up feeling formulaic to me, with an overlay of quirky/dark.

    I guess I really do need to see Amour. Despite all the raves, I just can't seem to get interested.

    Also sad that John Hawkes wasn't nominated. I thought he gave a brilliant performance in The Sessions - it so easily could have devolved into the typical "noble disabled" character, but he made him human and complex.

  17. So, I understand WHY this is the case, but I find it interesting that Lincoln gets Best Adapted Screenplay while Zero Dark 30 gets Best Screenplay. Both purport to be based on actual events. I know that Lincoln purports to be based in part on Team of Rivals, but in some sense all "based on truth" stories are based on the underlying facts rather than on specific source materials. (I also know it depends in part on how they choose to submit.) (Experts: Was Charlie Wilson's War nominated for writing? I suspect that if so, it was also for "Adapted," right?)

  18. If something is expressly based on a particular piece of pre-existing material, it's "adapted," even if there's substantial original material. For instance, "Social Network" was adapted because it was nominally based on "Accidental Billionaires," even though Sorkin did substantial original research/writing, and "This Is 40" was adapted this year because it was based on the preexisting characters from "Knocked Up," even though there's no other source material. Charlie Wilson's War was not nominated, I believe, but was based on a book of the same title.

    The Lincoln one is odd because the movie and Team of Rivals really don't cover the same time period--the book is much more focused on the first term.

  19. sconstant11:28 AM

    Loved the books The Pirates! was based on, love Aardman. With all that potential, the movie was meh-to-middling. Either Brave or Wreck-It would be ok with me.

  20. Adam B.11:40 AM

    The film takes place almost exclusively in the first term -- the House passed the 13th Amendment (SPOILER!) on 1-31-1865; Lincoln's second inaugural wasn't until 3-4-1865.

  21. Valid--what I meant to say was that Team of Rivals really focuses on the initial assembly of the Cabinet in 1861. Indeed, many of the characters in Team of Rivals are gone by 1865.

  22. Hmmmm....left a few comments via ipad this morning which I could see there but not on my actual computer so summing up here:

    Blown away by the fact that neither Bigelow nor Affleck got a directing nomination. I haven't seen all the films that got directing noms but I have seen those and it just seems totally off base, especially given the various critics guild picks. It will be interesting to see if the differentiation in what the Academy picks vs. critics/guilds continues after this year.

    Really happy to see Searching for Sugar Man nominated for documentary. That movie is awesome.

    Trivia: Silver Linings Playbook is the first film since Reds to receive noms for Picture, Director, Screenplay and all four acting categories. Wallis is the youngest Best Actress nominee ever, and Rivas is the oldest. The Oscar ceremony will take place on Rivas' birthday.

    I really loved Silver Linings Playbook but don't think even a wide release will have it topple Lincoln.

    Overall, 2012 was an excellent year for movies, and that shows in the nominations. Even with the Affleck/Bigelow snubs, based on what I've heard, Haeneke and Zeitlin are also very deserving. Nice to have a year when even if some of my preferred choices didn't get noms it's not due to someone else that isn't deserving getting chosen instead.

  23. It's also quite possible that Life of Pi ties the record held by Turning Point and Color Purple of 11 nominations without a win. (It's also a record, I think, for most nominations without an acting nomination in any category.)

  24. Other trivia -- everyone nominated in the Best Supporting Actor category is already an Oscar winner.

  25. Oh! Forgot to note that Naomi Watts was nominated for The Impossible, which I wasn't even sure had opened in NY or LA yet. I was a HUGE fan of the director's movie "The Orphanage" and am looking forward to seeing that (also, Watts was robbed of a win for Mulholland Drive and I will maintain that forever).

  26. The Pathetic Earthling12:12 PM

    Lord of the Rings: Return of the King had 11 nominations without an acting nomination and went 11 for 11. Fellowship had 13 nominations without an acting nomination and went 4 for 13.

  27. The Pathetic Earthling12:16 PM

    And why isn't there an award for Casting? It would, I suppose, be determined by a sort of Best Ensemble Cast, but getting the right mix of actors for a movie ought to be worth its own recognition. (I think of LOTR but probably this year for Les Mis)

  28. Fellowship had an acting nomination for McKellen. Had forgotten ROTK racked up that many nominations.

  29. The Pathetic Earthling12:19 PM

    Goodness, so he did! My bad.

  30. Adam B.12:23 PM

    The award I'd most like to see them add is Best First Film, which is a nice way to recognize the Beasts team.

    I've been saying this for a decade now, apparently.

  31. victoria12:46 PM

    Man, (almost) no love for Moonrise Kingdom.

  32. The Pathetic Earthling12:50 PM

    Do other EGOTs have anything like that? There are a lot of fields that do -- science fiction/fantasy has the John W Campbell Award for best new author (eligibility is based on first professional publication occurring within the prior two cycles).

  33. Watts1:00 PM

    Related: I'm glad Marion Cotillard DIDN'T get a nom for Rust & Bone, as people kept comparing it unfavorably to The Sessions.

  34. Adam B.1:01 PM

    Grammys have Best New Artist; I think that's it.

  35. Which is good, from a cinematic perspective, because there were no actors left to play them in the movie.

  36. Watts1:02 PM

    I think the BAFTAs have some sort of newbie award.

  37. andrewraff1:05 PM

    Not a good day for Les Miserables, because it was not a great film, and certainly not a well-directed film. It had some great elements, but, that did not come together into a coherent whole.

    I still haven't seen most of the best picture nominees (3 so far, and I'm probably just going to skip out on LIfe of Pi completely), but my favorite film that I've seen this year was the doc "Searching for Sugarman", which I am thrilled to see was nominated.

  38. InertiaGirl1:18 PM

    I'll echo the recommendation for Argo. (Watch the movie and then go read the book to see how it really happened).

  39. bellawilfer1:23 PM

    I'm the only one thinking Hugh Jackman's charisma and class on the Oscar party circuit could push Day-Lewis (who is not a campaigner) out of the way?

    Also: to those who haven't seen Silver Linings yet, get to the theatre immediately! Fantastic.

  40. andrewraff2:10 PM

    This FILM CRIT HULK piece explains in excruciating detail why I felt that Les Mis felt so flat and wrong -- that it was simultaneously claustrophic and distant. The trailer was so good at making it both epic and personal, and it failed to be both.

  41. I think Jackman probably has the best shot of pushing Day-Lewis out, but Day-Lewis is going to have Spielberg and Field campaigning, which will help him. That said, I think the wins for Hathaway and likely for original song will be seen as "enough" for Les Mis.

  42. Adam B.2:50 PM

    What are our significant opportunities to boost EGOT chances this year -- Adele and Tony Kushner and Hugh Jackman, I suppose. Jackman would only need the G, which I imagine he could get with the soundtrack.

  43. And Kushner would have EPOT, where the P is for Pulitzer.

  44. Dave S3:04 PM

    Does it count for Rich Moore is Wreck-It Ralph wins Best Animated Picture? He has Emmys from the Simpsons. (Not that I see how he'd get a Grammy or a Tony.)

  45. Watts4:33 PM

    I tried to go see The Impossible last weekend in Atlanta. It was SOLD OUT for a 2 p.m. matinee on a Sunday. I really want to see it on a big screen.

  46. J. Bowman6:48 PM

    I've seen four: I liked Argo, didn't care for Silver Linings, would just as soon forget I saw Les Miz, and was So. Bored. by Beasts. So, Argo, and then I guess pick one of the other five to skip. Life of Pi, perhaps, you know you've already read the book.

  47. bill.8:06 PM

    Don't know which of these works best for you, but it's in eleven theaters this weekend

  48. That article is one of the best film pieces I have read in a long time, and explained so much about my reaction to Les Mis (which I liked, but...just liked). Amazing article -- made my head hurt in a great way.

  49. Emily2:05 AM

    How to Survive a Plague isn't a must see before Oscar night, but it is on Netflix Streaming and is a fascinating film not only about Act Up and AIDS but about healthcare, the pharmaceutical industry, and patient advocacy.

  50. Slate has posted two related pieces on the "adapted from what" question: