Thursday, January 10, 2013

Strong animals know when your hearts are weak.

OSCAR NOMINATION DAY! AKA my favorite "hit refresh" day at work. They started this morning at 8:30am, and I usually get to work between 8:30 and 9am. Until last year, the CBS Early Show studios were on my walk into work and I was able to stand in front of their window monitors and see the nominees live--unfortunately, they moved! Work doesn't have livestream capabilities (it hardly lets me use the blogger site) but soon enough I was refreshing a news site to get the full list. There were definitely a few surprises, but overall I was happy. Sure, it's just another awards show, but I've been watching the Academy Awards since I was a kid, and now I even have an annual party with corresponding appetizers to movies. It's fun!

Here are my thoughts -- what do you think about this year's nominees?

Best Motion Picture

Beasts of the Southern Wild
Silver Linings Playbook
Zero Dark Thirty
Les Misérables
Life of Pi
Django Unchained

The only film I haven't seen on this list is Lincoln. I am most excited to see Amour and Beasts of the Southern Wild appear, and while I shouldn't be making guesses just yet, my first instinct is that Best Picture will go to Lincoln.

Achievement in Directing

David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook
Ang Lee, Life of Pi
Steven Spielberg, Lincoln
Michael Haneke, Amour
Benh Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern Wild

What a category! My rant from Tuesday has been dignified -- NO TOM HOOPER NOMINATION! All these directors are better than Hooper, and also better than Affleck. Everybody is calling Affleck's non-inclusion as a "snub," but I'd pick any of these films' directing over Argo. I would have to say I'm disappointed Katherine Bigelow was left off the list for Zero Dark Thirty. If it was me, Russell would be left off for her -- he made a nice film, but Bigelow's directing surpasses his. Again, I haven't seen Lincoln, but y'know, SPIELBERG. Which is why this award will probably go to him.

Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role

Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
Denzel Washington, Flight
Hugh Jackman, Les Misérables 
Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook
Joaquin Phoenix, The Master

Ho ho! Bradley Cooper! I think John Hawkes in The Sessions was better than Cooper and even Jackman (and I love Jackman), but I've also loved Cooper since he played Will Tippin on ALIAS. Daniel Day-Lewis has this on lock, PER USUAL, but, maybe, perhaps... a Phoenix upset? Nah, the voters may nominate him but then they're all like "remember when you were maybe crazy or not?" Having not seen Lincoln or Flight, I would give this to Phoenix, personally--what a performance. 

Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

Naomi Watts, The Impossible
Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty 
Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook 
Emmanuelle Riva, Amour
Quvenzhané Wallis, Beasts of the Southern Wild 

Hooray for some truly great performances this year... I HAVE seen all of these films and ALL of these performances are great and deserving. I think Jessica Chastain has my ultimate vote--and not because we share a name! Zero Dark Thirty hinges on her character, it's really a character study, and she's brilliant. But I can't overlook Emmanuelle Riva in Amour (the oldest nominee for Best Actress ever) OR Quvenzhané Wallis (the youngest nominee for Best Actress ever). They're both stunning performances!

Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role

Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained 
Phillip Seymour Hoffman, The Master 
Robert De Niro, Silver Linings Playbook 
Alan Arkin, Argo
Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln

Surprises! I am so glad to see Christoph Waltz nominated again (come to think of it, all of these guys have been nominated and won an Oscar in the past!), and I thought we might see Leonardo DiCaprio win a nomination over him. I think Waltz was truly the better of the two in the film, but I know Leo really wants that Oscar. I still can't believe he wasn't nominated for Revolutionary Road, or even The Departed. This will probably go to Jones. I know I'm the only person that was bored by Hoffman. Arkin was good, but not great. I was surprised by De Niro's performance--it was the best I've seen him in years.

Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role 

Sally Field, Lincoln
Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables
Jacki Weaver, Silver Linings Playbook
Helen Hunt, The Sessions
Amy Adams, The Master

I'm so glad Helen Hunt got nominated, and I'd give the Oscar to her. She's so great in The Sessions and I would think it was a lead role, but that's neither here nor there now. It's been so long since I'd seen her on screen and it reminded me what a great actress she truly is. I'm a bit perplexed by Jacki Weaver's nomination, and while I think she is a great actress (see Animal Kingdom), her role didn't merit much in the film as a whole.

Original Screenplay

Flight, John Gatins
Zero Dark Thirty, Mark Boal
Django Unchained, Quentin Tarantino
Amour, Michael Haneke
Moonrise Kingdom, Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola

Okay, now I really need to see Flight I guess! The four I have seen are all masterful works... Boal with his research, Tarantino with his dialogue, Haneke with his economy, and Anderson/Coppola with their nostalgic take on youth. I really liked all of these scripts... it's hard to choose! I won't choose. Until later.

Adapted Screenplay

Beasts of the Southern Wild, Lucy Alibar & Benh Zeitlin
Argo, Chris Terrio
Lincoln, Tony Kushner
Silver Linings Playbook, David O. Russell
Life of Pi, David Magee

Lincoln will most likely win, but all of these are great adaptations -- right now I want it to go to Beasts of the Southern Wild for giving us the force that is Hushpuppy.

Best Foreign-Language Film

Amour (Austria)
No (Chile)
War Witch (Canada)
A Royal Affair (Den)
Kontiki (Norway)

I haven't seen any of these except for Amour, but I'm not sure any of them can beat the foreign film that was nominated for overall best picture...

Original Score

Anna Karenina, Dario Marianelli
Argo, Alexandre Desplat
Life of Pi, Mychael Danna
Lincoln, John Williams
Skyfall, Thomas Newman

HURRAH! The soundtrack that I've been playing on repeat -- and which I mentioned in my Top Albums of 2012 post -- was Dario Marianelli's score for Anna Karenina. And while I would have loved for Jude Law and Keira Knightley to be nominated, I'm glad it wasn't completely shutout (lo siento, The Dark Knight Rises!). The music is a true component of the storytelling in this film...I vote for it! I suppose I will have to take another listen to the other scores, though. I will say none of them stuck with me after the movie like Marianelli's did. The only other soundtrack that stuck out was the music for Beasts of the Southern Wild by Dan Romer--listen to "Once There Was a Hushpuppy." So much still makes me all kinds of emotional.

Original Song

"Before My Time," J. Ralph; Chasing Ice
"Pi's Lullaby," Mychael Danna & Bombay Jayashri; Life of Pi
"Suddenly," Claude-Michel Schönberg, Herbert Kretzmer and Alain Boulil; Les Misérables 
"Everybody Needs a Best Friend," Walter Murphy & Seth McFarlane; Ted
"Skyfall," Adele Adkins & Paul Epworth; Skyfall

Ugh, Ted got nominated? On the real? Okay, I suppose this has to go to Adele and "Skyfall," because that song really is great. Here's what that Les Miserables song was like to me... I have never seen the broadway show, heard the music, nor seen another film. When the movie gets to "Suddenly" I definitely perked up because it was not that great of a song (that's how bored I was), took place in a carriage ride, and could have been cut from the film entirely and nobody would have noticed... then I was like, "OH, this is the Oscar bait." (Since only original songs, not songs that have been written for other productions can be nominated.) It's not a good song.

Achievement in Cinematography

Anna Karenina, Seamus McGarvey
Django Unchained, Robert Richardson
Life of Pi, Claudio Miranda
Lincoln, Janusz Kaminski
Skyfall, Roger Deakins

ANNA! ANNA! ANNA! But: all of these are great. Deakins is a legend without an Oscar yet despite ten nominations, perhaps this will be his year. Life of Pi is also worthy. I might have replaced Django, however -- with The Master, which was not even nominated. Though it is a flawed film, the cinematography was breathtaking. If it was in this category, I'd give it the win.

Achievement in Costume Design

Anna Karenina, Jacqueline Durran
Les Misérables, Paco Delgado
Lincoln, Joanna Johnston
Mirror Mirror, Eiko Ishioka
Snow White and the Huntsman, Colleen Atwood

I knew we'd see Colleen Atwood's name here, and that's because she made some truly awe-inspiring costumes for that film. They were WOW when you look at the details. I'm talking ravens skulls as part of the evil queen's dress above... gorgeous. Of course, I wanted every single dress that Anna wore. ALL OF THEM, GIVE THEM TO ME. Those are my votes.

Achievement in Visual Effects

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Life of Pi
Marvel's The Avengers
Snow White and the Huntsman

Ah, visual effects! The only place we see The Avengers and Prometheus. These all had stunning effects... I think Life of Pi will probably take it, but I can't stop thinking about those effects in Prometheus...

Again, I think it was such a great year in film that there were quite a few surprises, and I'm excited for the awards (minus the host). Good thing the Golden Globes are this week (after the Patriots take down the Texans!), and I'm looking forward to it mainly because Amy Poehler! Tina Fey! As the Oscars near I'll post my final predictions...until then, may the odds be ever in your favor!


  1. Flight was definitely one of my favorites from last year. But you can never go wrong with Denzel.

    I thought Leo was amazing in Django so I really hope Waltz gets the win there.

    1. I have to see Flight! Might try to in the next week...I do love Denzel. I hope Waltz wins, too!

  2. I love when you announce the Oscar nominations on your blog. I prefer to read it over any of the professional sites. Unfortunately, I haven't had the opportunity to see half of these movies yet, so I can't judge anything accurately.

  3. I just saw 'Beasts of a Southern Wild" two nights ago - the night before the Oscar noms came out. Who knew? Ha, anyway, I loved Hushpuppy so much!