Oscars 2013

“That time of year again. The worst part of my movie obsession comes to a thrilling conclusion as Hollywood honors the best films of the past year. Gives me something to talk about for a while. Alrighty, the game today is that I’ll go thru the categories, ranking my picks and talking about them. By picks, I mean what I’d vote for, not necessarily what I think will win. Well, that’s part of the discussion, but the ranks are based on my preference. I’ll go as long as I can stand, meaning once my wrists hurt or my headache comes back or I stop caring about the rest of the categories, I’ll stop. And here we go!

Best Picture
Argo
– I have been team Argo from the first time I saw it. What impresses me most about this movie is the balance between suspense and comedy. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a mix like that before, and I can’t even pick which side of the film I prefer. Its truly original, and incredible overall.

Silver Linings Playbook – I’m picking this as my second choice mostly thinking of it in terms of being a “”best picture””, not necessarily my next favorite. I dont know, something just told me to put this movie next. I guess it just left me with some rather warm fuzzies. It’s also one of the best ensembles put together in recent years. The first film in over 30 years to score nods in all four acting categories. That’s gotta count for something

Django Unchained – My Tarantino obsession is no secret. I would love to see any film of his get this major recognition, although I really am more than happy with just the nomination. It may not be his best work, but even then it’s much better than the majority of what Hollywood throws out there.

Les Miserables – This movie was truly beautiful. A few years ago, I may have gone with this as my top pick, but now it feels a little too obvious a choice. I like some quirk. But it’s a brilliant adaptation of a fantastic story, backed up by a phenomenal cast.

Zero Dark Thirty – I love dark thrillers, and few have the weight that this one carries. Usually the genre is closer to guilty pleasure territory, but a film like this has real street cred. It’s such an intense and intriguing ride. In a less competitive year, I’d have been more than happy to see it win. Well, I guess that’s why we have The Hurt Locker, yeah?

Life of Pi – Another truly beuatiful film that would have been a shoo-in in another year. This film dazzled me and got me thinking. What seems like such a simple premise turns out to be such a wonderfully moving story. Wow, I can’t believe I wrote something so sappy.

Lincoln – Yes, I know this is one of the top contenders this year. So why did I rank it so far down? Frankly, the movie is too perfect. Everything is top notch, but yet I don’t find it particularly memorable or remarkable. Maybe it’s because the expectations were so high, there was nothing to be surprised by. Or maybe there’s something to be said for appreciating the flaws in a film.

Amour – This movie getting a nomination is a win in and of itself. I can see why it’s struck such a strong chord with some members of the Academy. The fact that I didn’t feel as strongly doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate it.

Beasts of the Southern Wild – This may be at a disadvantage for me because it’s the only one I saw at home instead of in the theater. That does tend to diminish the experience for me a bit. I’m all in favor of a quirky indie getting some big recognition, but this just didn’t resonate with me.

What’s missing? – Of course, right after the nominations are announced, I have a really long list that now I can’t recall. I had gotten excited about the possibility of Skyfall, so I was a lil sad that it didn’t make the cut. Perks of Being a Wallflower was a big longshot that would have made me very happy. I wasn’t as into Moonrise Kingdom as some others were, but I still sighed a lil when I noticed it didn’t get in either.

Best Actor
Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln)
– There’s just no fighting this one. Had the nominations gone slightly different, I’d have voted elsewhere (we’ll get there). But as much as I like the other actors in general, none of the other nominated performances come close to this one.

Hugh Jackman (Les Miserables) – Just taking on this role is worthy of a nomination. He carried a very difficult role with such ease. It’s not an easy role to play, and certainly even more difficult to sing. This man had been long overdue for this sort of thing.

Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook) – The nomination is enough to make me happy to recognize this actor who’s getting bigger and bigger with each film. Here we see so much more range and depth than we’ve gotten from Cooper before, and I’m excited to see what he does next.

Denzel Washington (Flight) – Such a truly incredible performance that no one’s really talking about. There’s such an intensity about it that’s just heartbreaking to watch.

Joquin Phoenix (The Master) – I’m kinda upset with Phoenix for stealing this slot, especially given his ranting against awards. Sure, it was a good performance, but there are others I liked better who would have been more appreciative of the recognition.

Who’s missing? – John Hawkes. John Hawkes. John Hawkes. That was the first glaring omission that truly upset me. I would have voted for him over DDL for his work in The Sessions. The physicality, the humor, the vulnerability, all of it just floored me. He provided such charm for the film, made it something truly special. I also would have _loved_ to see Jack Black for Bernie, but that was a long shot. Even longer would have been Jake Gyllenhaal for End of Watch. Tom Holland for The Impossible would have also been rather well deserved, as would Richard Gere for Arbitrage or Ben Affleck for Argo.

Best Actress
Jessica Chastain (zero Dark Thirty)
– I was torn about how to rank these first two, but I hafta give it to Ms Chastain. The single moment that wins it for me is when she delivers this one line that should have been in a Tarantino film (I dont wanna spoil it). We see all sides of the emotional spectrum from her, and a fierce tenacity that’s rare for a female role.

Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook) – The moment I realized I was actually torn about who I wanted to win was when I got excited at Lawrence’s name being called for the Golden Globe. My first thought was “”Wow, she is going to give an amazing acceptance speech”” and she did, and for the few she’s picked up since. I love this girl, and her spastic and clumsy humor is refreshing. She too has an intense role, making herself the strongest character in a movie full of A-listers.

Emmanuelle Riva (Amour) – I’m also torn on the ranking of these next two. But Riva had this realism that really hit me. I started reliving moments from my grandparents’ final years. There was also this physicality to her role that was rather impressive.

Naomi Watts (The Impossible) – Also a breathtaking performance. Part of what lowers it on the list for me is that she does spend a lot of the film incapacitated and out of focus. But for the first half of the film, wow.

Quvenzhané Wallis(Beasts of the Southern Wild) – Impressive when you realize how young this girl was. She certainly proved she’s a force to be reckoned with, but the nomination is plenty for this little one.

Who’s Missing – I really wish more people would have seen Smashed because seeing Mary Elizabeth Winstead on this list would have made me so giddy. Sadly the film never got enough traction. I also thought Helen Mirren could have earned a spot for Hitchcock, but that film wasn’t too well received. There was talk of Marion Cotillard for Rust and Bone, but personally, I wasn’t that impressed with it.

Best Supporting Actor

Okay breaking the format a bit for this one. I dont feel as invested in this category because I have a list that’s twice as long of actors I would have liked to have seen here. Part of what leaves me unimpressed by this lot is that all of them have won before. I know you technically should only vote for the nominated performance, but of course, there’s far more factors at play. I guess I’d have to vote for Tommy Lee Jones in Lincoln, or Alan Arkin for Argo. Actually yeah, Arkin’s more likeable. Him first. Next would be Robert DeNiro for Silver Linings Playbook, even though I dont think he should be rewarded simply for finally making a good movie this century. Then Christoph Waltz. I adore the man, but I would have preferred to see his costar Leonardo Dicaprio take his place. Last we’ve got Philip Seymour Hoffman. He’s a favorite of mine, but I wasn’t as big a fan of this movie.

And as for who’s missing. My God, let’s just list them, in no particular order: Leonardo Dicaprio (Django Unchained), Ewan McGregor (The Impossible), Matthew McConaughey (Magic Mike), Ezra Miller (Perks of Being a Wallflower), John Goodman (Argo). There were more, but that’s all I can remember at the moment.

Best Supporting Actress
Anne Hathaway – Les Miserables
– I know everyone’s raving about her “”I Dreamed a Dream”” performance, but seriously, I had chills. I’ve loved this girl for a long time, and really wanted her to win for Rachel Getting Married (I’ll spare you that long rant because it’s pretty detailed). She’s been so sweet and gracious every time she takes the stage to accept an award for this role, so she’s gotta be able to do it one more time.

Helen Hunt (The Sessions) – Maybe not as strong a performance as her costar, John Hawkes, but still a wonderful and unique performance. Brave and corageous are the words that are being thrown around to describe it, and I have to concur.

Amy Adams (The Master) – I’m just biased and think that Amy Adams deserves an Oscar

Sally Field (Lincoln) – I have mixed feelings on this one. Yes it was a fantastic performance, and the bit where she puts down Tommy Lee Jones is worth her mention on this list. However, I still think she was miscast. She certainly was capable of delivering the performance, but she looked out of place. I’d hate to blame it on her age, but that’s what I keep coming back to.

Jacki Weaver (Silver Linings Playbook) – She was just the most adorable thing ever in this movie, but she didn’t have too much to do. Seems odd that she scored the nod. Didn’t mean to rhyme. Apologies.

Who’s Missing – Samantha Barks (Les Miserables), Ann Dowd (Compliance), and Emma Watson (Perks of Being a Wallflower). I dont think I’d have complained if any of them took any spot on this list (except for Hathaway’s, of course)

Best Director

Ang Lee (Life of Pi) – This movie could have easily crashed and burned, and that’s all anyone would have talked about. But it didn’t. Yet it’s not getting much love for that acheivement. Water, animals, CGI, all very difficult elements to master on their own, and combining them is madness. Lee pulled it off masterfully.

Michael Haneke (Amour) – Really, I’d just love for the guy behind Funny Games to have Best Director on his resume.

David O Russell (Silver Linings Playbook) – Comedies (even if this one barely counts) don’t often find themselves on this list. But Russell’s nomination is very well deserved.

Steven Spielberg (Lincoln) – Okay, before I make my statement, I just want to say that I have nothing but respect for Spielberg, and he is one of the greatest filmmakers of all time. However, I feel like most of what he did for Lincoln was just be Spielberg. People want to work with him, so he brought in the best actors and writers and crew. Everyone is already so perfect, that it’s hard to see his contributions to the film.

Ben Zeitlin (Beasts of the Southern Wild) – Oh that’s nice.

Who’s Missing – BEN AFFLECK! My gut reaction after the nominations was to first be incredibly upset over John Hawkes for actor, but as time went on, I got more and more upset over Affleck for Argo. What likely happened is that people thought he was a sure thing and gave their votes elsewhere. But if that’s what guarantees Argo the win, then I’m fine with that. Also missing, well I’m never gonna pass up a chance to recognize Tarantino. Even if it was a tough year, he always has my support. Katheryn Bigelow was another glaring omission as was Tom Hooper.

Original Screenplay

Format’s out the window for the rest of the post. All of this year’s nominees are incredibly deserving: Django Unchained, Zero Dark Thirty, Flight, Moonrise Kingdom. Edge for me goes to Tarantino by default. I’m really sad that Looper didn’t get on there. It’s not easy to do time travel well, but that film was beyond impressive.

Adapted Screenplay

I’m still on team Argo, but I wouldn’t mind letting this one go to Silver Linings Playbook. I’m mostly just upset that Perks of Being a Wallflower got snubbed. It had longshot potential in many categories, but this was it’s best chance. Alas, it was shut out completely.

Misc

Not too much worth going into detail left. I love Wreck it Ralph for animated, and Anna Karenina for both creatives it’s up for (costumes and production design). I’m kinda psyched that a Bond theme is poised to win song, even though it makes me ridiculously happy to say that Ted is an Academy Award nominated film. Sadly, I won’t be able to watch the show on Sunday, but not too sad because I’ll be arriving in Vegas to go to Eli Roth’s Goretorium for my bday the next day. But this was a really strong year, and I’m excited to see the results”

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