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Hello and welcome to the movie blog of author John DeFrank - FilmZ and Guy Sobriquet Malone - Researcher

2013 Academy Awards


My Oscar Picks, in case anyone is interested in the correct answers:
BEST PICTURE: Does the Ben Affleck snub momentum keep going?
WILL WIN:
Argo - No one is going to catch Ben Affleck's political action thriller on the runway (apologies for the wretched reference!).
SHOULD WIN:
Silver Linings Playbook - A movie about regular people--flawed, some even unlikeable--just trying to get by. Then, through the alchemy of gifted storytelling, directing, and acting, this odd mix of black comedy, drama, Philadelphia Eagles football, and ballroom dancing had us pulling for them to find happiness and love. As a big plus, we see the emergence of one of the brightest stars in the Hollywood firmament.
DARK HORSE:
Life of Pi - Ang Lee created a gorgeous, and touching, work of motion picture art, as he did in 2000 with Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and in 2006 with Brokeback Mountain.
FADING:
Lincoln - After initial acclaim, and the most Oscar nominations of any film this year (12), interest--and momentum--has been on the wane. Spielberg's lack of campaigning for Oscars, however admirable, hurt his film.
Zero Dark Thirty - Critics adored it, audiences a little less so, Capitol Hill and the Pentagon, a lot less so. Well, what is it Kathryn, did we get the info through torture, or what?
WHY NOT:
Amour - It's in French. With subtitles. And it's about two people facing death. Are those reasons enough? Fittingly, it's going to win Best Foreign Film.
Beasts of the Southern Wild - Sundance darling and art-house favorite. All right, you're cute, now go stand in the corner while the adults talk business. (Is it too late to invite Moonrise Kingdom?)
Django Unchained - QT committed two major sins: 1) He had King Schultz--a major character--suddenly act completely out of character at around the two-hour mark, so 2) a movie that could have wrapped up the next ten minutes as perhaps his best film went on, anticlimactically, 30 bloody minutes longer.
Les Miserables - at the risk of antagonizing the "Les Miz" cult, the reason it didn't win is in the title. Who wants people singing at them about how miserable they are for two-and-a-half hours?
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ACTOR: A one horse race
WILL WIN and SHOULD WIN:
Daniel Day-Lewis - Lincoln. I mean, really, if Lincoln were alive today, he'd say, "Dang, that DD-L is more like me than I am."
DARK HORSES:
Hugh Jackman - Les Miserables. Man, that Wolverine can do anything!
Joaquin Phoenix - The Master. Amazing portrayal of an alcoholic psychopath. (Was he in that state when he insulted the Oscars?)
SORRY, BUT:
Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook, was a revelation, so the nomination is his Oscar.
Denzel Washington, Flight, was nominated out of respect for another impressive performance as an alcoholic airline pilot.
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ACTRESS: The nominees here and in the Supporting category prove conclusively that women dominate the list of top actors in Hollywood at this time
WILL WIN:
Emmanuelle Riva - Amour. Oscar awards the actress on her 86th birthday for an excellent performance in the Best Foreign Film, rationalizing that her competitors are young and will have other chances.
SHOULD WIN:
Jennifer Lawrence - Silver Linings Playbook. The second time that the most gifted actor of her generation loses to another actress whose "time has come." SLP, doesn't take off until she appears, and then you can't take your eyes off of her. (Fear not, J-Law will be back next year for her portrayal as Serena.)
SO WHAT ABOUT:
Jessica Chastain - Zero Dark Thirty. A marvelous portrayal that could suffer by the controversial role that torture plays in her movie.
Quvenzhane' Wallis - Beasts of the Southern Wild. A very good performance, but at her age, how much is the actor and how much is the director?
 Naomi Watts - The Impossible. Another amazing performance, but did enough voters get up the gumption to watch this grim and tragic performance?
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ACTOR in a Supporting Role: The most competitive category, with every nominee a former Oscar winner.
WILL WIN:
Robert DeNiro - Silver Linings Playbook is the first film in over 30 years to have representatives in all four acting categories, so voters have to choose someone from this movie, don't they? Coincidentally, DeNiro hasn't won in over 30 years, and his sensitive portrayal as a loving, but OCD, dad could do it.
SHOULD WIN:
Christoph Waltz - He was actually the star of Django Unchained and had the screen time of a lead role, but he won in 2010, too recently to be considered.
WHAT ABOUT:
Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln, and Phillip Seymour Hoffman, The Master. Yeah, either one could easily win. Don't bet big bucks on this category.
 The only one who doesn't stand a chance is Alan Arkin, Argo, a wonderful actor, but seriously, if someone from Argo had to be nominated in this category, it should have been Bryan Cranston or John Goodman.
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ACTRESS in a Supporting Role: Another one horse race, this time, though more appropriate for a Grammy than an Oscar.
WILL WIN:
Anne Hathaway - Les Miserables. Now you can bet big bucks.
SHOULD WIN:
Sally Field - Lincoln. As the borderline loon, er, eccentric, Mary Todd Lincoln. Wonderful performance that tiptoed up to, but never crossed the line of emoting.
ALSO RANS:
Amy Adams - The Master. As always, excellent, but she isn't given much to do in a movie that's about the two guys.
Helen Hunt - The Sessions. A gutsy performance in a nice comeback role that nobody saw.
Jackie Weaver - Silver Linings Playbook. She was the sweet glue that kept the family together.
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DIRECTOR: You might have heard that the Academy left a few pretty good directors off the list of nominees.
SHOULD WIN and WILL WIN:
Ang Lee - Life of Pi. It doesn't really matter who was omitted from the list of nominees, Lee took a book that many thought impossible to film and made a visual and aural work of art.
DARK HORSE:
David O. Russell - Silver Linings Playbook. Who would have imagined Bradley Cooper as an Oscar nominee? Robert DeNiro as Robert DeNiro again? Plus, Russell risked giving then 20-year old Jennifer Lawrence a role originally meant for a woman in her mid 30s, and she proceeded to knock it out of the park?
FADING:
Steven Spielberg - Lincoln. Spielberg suffers by the standard he set years ago and the aforementioned decision not to campaign months ago.
WHY NOT:
Michael Haneke - Amour. Not enough members have seen his work; he'll have to be satisfied with the Foreign Film Prize, for which they will feel no qualms voting on reputation alone.
Benh Zeitlin - Beasts of the Southern Wild. Good job directing a 6-year old to an Oscar nom, but you're taking the spot of some other very accomplished director.
OTHER AWARDS:
CINEMATOGRAPHY:
Claudio Miranda - Life of Pi. Seamless blending of live-action and CGI into a giddy feast for the eyes. If you didn't see this in the theater, go out and buy a 70" screen and a Blue-Ray of this film.
FILM EDITING:
William Goldenberg - Argo. Cutting from suspense to comedy, from historical footage to modern action. Masterful.
MUSIC - Original Score
Mychael Danna - Life of Pi. Complimenting the cinematography and the direction, Danna's fusion of Classical and traditional Indian music creates an indelible atmosphere that pulls your heart along with the film.
MUSIC - Original Song
Adele - Skyfall. Well, yeah!
WRITING - Adapted Screenplay
Tony Kushner - Lincoln. Excellent job transforming chapters from Doris Kearns Goodwin's Team of Rivals into a suspenseful historical drama. Now, if you can allow your ego to reinstate the facts you changed about the Connecticut delegation before those DVDs go out to schools across the country...
WRITING - Original Screenplay
Mark Boal - Zero Dark Thirty. A crumb for the critics' favorite, even though we're still not sure about the torture thing.

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