The Road to Oscar: Nomination, Bookies and What Other Awards Told Us
Editor’s Note: Le Blog is happy to welcome a new contributor, Johnny 88 who has offered to cover the Awards Season for our site.
First presentation: I’m an italian guy who enjoys this wonderful blog since last year. I love movies and I love the award seasons the reason for my interest on the award season is because the vast majority of movie protagonists of the award season are released in my country lately than in the US. So I use the suggestions that comes from the most prestigious awards (Oscar; Golden Globe; BAFTA; Critics Choice etc.) to choose what movies deserve my money. Though sometimes I have to disagree with Academy; HFPA etc. I usually find their suggestions good. Since I’m italian i’m hoping you will forgive me in case of grammar mistakes
So the award season is started and 30 days from now we’ll see who the Academy will reward. My intention is to follow a “Road to Oscar” and have a weekly update to bookies quotas and to follow the leading Oscar predictors (BAFTA; SAG; DGA and WGA). I will also give my impression on it (take into consideration that I’m from Italy and many of these films will be released in my country between now and Oscar night, so I’ll leave my impressions as I see the movies).
Every Oscar edition has it’s “leit motiv”. Last year theme was homage to cinema history, with the two leading winner (“The Artist and “Hugo”) paying homage to the silent movie era. This year “Lincoln”, “Argo” and “Zero Dark Thirty” are the most discussed among the nominees.
The three leading pictures covers important parts of USA history: the “Civil War” and the debate on slavery (Lincoln); the Iranian hostage crisis and starts of tensions between the USA and the ayatollah regime (Argo); and the long road that led to the killing of Osama bin Laden (Zero Dark Thirty).
So what say about this year Academy Awards? Well, the leit motive of this year’s Oscars seems clearly to be patriotism, as evidenced by the three most discussed pictures. If we can have a slogan for the 85th Academy Awards it proabily would be “Right or wrong it’s my country”
Let’s start with a look at the most important nominees, cited by average bookies quotas. For the first post of the category I will also write a “The Snubbed” under certain categories when I feel someone or some movie has been unfairly snubbed. In directing and acting category numbers in brackets indicates the number of victories and nominations obtained since then by the director/actor in question.
Les Misérables 11.61
Life of Pi* 23.58
Silver Linings Playbook 25.43
Zero Dark Thirty 31.93
Django Unchained* 101.29
Beasts Of The Southern Wild 115.57
What Oscar predictors have told us
Golden Globe-Musical/Comedy: Les Miserables
Critics Choice Awards: Argo
As I think many of you know the numbers of movies eligible for the Best Picture award varies from a minimum of five to maximum of ten. This year there are nine nominees.
Last year the race was a no contest. Since the beginning, the French silent movie “The Artist” appeared as the heavy favourite for the Award and won easily. This year things look different. After nominations were announced Spielberg’s “Lincoln” appeared as a heavy favourite, but the results of Golden Globe and Critics Choice, who both rewarded Ben Affleck’s ”Argo” instead of “Lincoln”, have changed all intial predictions and now it’s looking as a tight race between the two.
In favour of a potential “Argo” upset also plays the fact that Ben Affleck has not even been nominated as Best Director, something that propelled polemics, and that might lead the Academy to think that there’s the need for a repair with a “Best Picture” award. We’ll see. Personally I think that among the four of the nine that I’ve yet seen “Argo” is by far the best, though I need to see other five to make a final judgement.
Something that need to be addressed is the fact that this year we see among the nominees much more box-office hits than last year. Last year “The Help” was the lone among the nominees to pass the 100 million $ threshold at domestic box office. This year five of the nine nominees have achieved at least 100 million $ at the domestic box office, and probably “Zero Dark Thirty” will be the sixth. So, despite the absence of box office smash hits like “Skyfall” and “The Dark Knight Rises”, this year the Academy seems to pay more attention to marketable titles.
50 years have passed since the James Bond franchise was born but the flame has never burned between the most enduring franchise in history and the Academy. No Bond movie has ever clinched a Best Picture nomination and to date all awards and nominations Bond franchise has ever received at the Oscar came from technical categories or for original song. Never a nomination for Best Picture, and no nomination in acting; directing and writing category. This year things looked differently. The widespread critical acclaimed of “Skyfall”, and the fact of the 50th anniversary, led some to think of a potential chance for “Skyfall” to be an outsider for a Best Picture nomination but in the end the Academy opted to exclude it.
Steven Spielberg (2/7)-Lincoln 1.19
Ang Lee (1/3)-Life of Pi* 6.87
Michael Haneke (0/1)-Amour* 11.34
David O. Russell (0/2)-Silver Linings Playbook 17.08
Benh Zeitlin (0/1)-Beasts of the Southern Wild 37.42
What Oscar predictors told us?
Golden Globe: Ben Affleck-Argo
Critics Choice: Ben Affleck-Argo
Don’t you see some high-profile snubs in this category? There’s not even the need for ”The Snubbed” box here since you can see above who are the two big snubs are this year. And while the Katrhyn Bigelow snub can be somewhat explained by political controversy surrounding “Zero Dark Thirty” (allegations of waterboarding appeasement and unauthorised access to reserved information), the Ben Affleck snub is really incredible.
So with the outrageous exclusion of his main rivals for the trophy Steven Spielberg seems to be heavy favourite for his third “Best Director” Oscar. Though, as I wrote before, the Academy may feel the need to make up for the Affleck snub, so chances of the first Best Picture/Best Director split since 2006 are very high.
Daniel Day Lewis (2/5)-Lincoln 1.07
Hugh Jackman (0/1)-Les Misérables 9.84
Joaquin Phoenix (0/3)-The Master* 26.00
Bradley Cooper (0/1)-Silver Linings Playbook 33.64
Denzel Washington (2/6)- The Flight 33.64
What Oscar predictors told us
Golden Globe Drama: Daniel Day-Lewis-Lincoln
Golden Globe Musical-Comedy: Hugh Jackman-Les Misérables
Critics Choice: Daniel Day Lewis-Lincoln
Despite the Academy’s unexplainable love of musicals, for Hugh Jackman the road to upset heavy favourite Daniel Day-Lewis seems very tough.
British star Day-Lewis seems to be a sure bet for winning his third Oscar for his performance as president Abraham Lincoln, a feature that will make him only the sixth actor able to win at least three Oscars.
Maybe an upset at the SAG or BAFTA could help Aussie star in his uphill battle, but Day-Lewis seems really unbeatable this year. So it seems that even Wolverine can’t defeat Lincoln. Last year we saw a tight head to head between Jean Dujardin and George Clooney, but this year there seems to be no contest.
To date, I’ve seen only one of the five performances nominated, the one by Joaquin Phoenix in “The Master”. Phoenix is great, but the movie is boring, ambiguous and vastly over-rated. The good performances of Phoenix and Seymour Hoffman can’t redeem such a boring hash.
A notable fact
-Denzel Washington with his sixth nominations marks the record for the most nominations by a black performer. Previously he held this feat tied with Morgan Freeman.
John Hawkes-The Sessions
The story of a man who tries to lose his virginity while living in an artificial lung, inspired by the true story of Mark O’ Brien, is so strange as to be worthy of a nomination, a nomination that has been given to co-star Helen Hunt, but not to the lead character played by John Hawkes. Hawkes has been nominated for Golden Globe; Critics Choice and SAG, but evidently this was not enough to convince the Academy
Jennifer Lawrence (0/2)-Silver Lingins Playbook 1.60
Jessica Chastain (0/2)-Zero Dark Thirty 2.69
Emmanuelle Riva (0/1)-Amour* 12.39
Naomi Watts (0/2)-The Impossible 21.14
Quvenzhanè Wallis (0/1)-Beasts of the Southern Wild 38.79
What Oscar predictors told us
Golden Globe Drama: Jessica Chastain-Zero Dark Thirty
Golden Globe Comedy/Musical: Jennifer Lawrence-Silver Linings Playbook
Critics Choice Awards: Jessica Chastain-Zero Dark Thirty
Like one year ago, with Meryl Streep and Viola Davis long alternate in the lead, the award for Best Actress seems a pure toss-up. Bookies predicts a tight race between the future queens of Hollywood, Jennifer Lawrence and Jessica Chastain. Jennifer Lawrence holds the lead, though a very tiny one on Chastain.
“Silver Linings Playbook” is one of a rare case of movie able to be nominated for all four acting awards, but Lawrence seems to be the only one who can compete for victory, though the Academy hasn’t given this award to a comedy performance since 1999 (Gwyneth Paltrow for “Shakespeare in Love”). Lawrence and Chastain are the most requested actresses of the moment and their star power is at an all time high.
The fact they’re in Oscar contention in this moment looks something like a “clash of the Titans”. To date this is a pure toss-up.
I have seen only one of the five nominees performance to date, the one by Emmanuelle Riva in “Amour”. French legend is really touching in her performance as an old woman who lives is agony with the beloved one, but I know that a movie like “Amour” can be somewhat difficult to digest.
Some notable facts about this year’s field:
-Quvenzhanè Wallis, 9 years old, is the youngest Academy nominee ever
-Emmanuelle Riva, 85 years old, is the oldest nominee ever in the Best Actress category and the second oldest overall behind Gloria Stuart who was 87 when she was nominated as supporting actress for Titanic
-No one of the nominees has ever won Oscar. This is the first time since 2003 that the field is entirely composed by actress that have never won an Academy Award before.
Marion Cotillard-Rust and Bone
Since “Rust and Bone” have been presented to Cannes film festival this spring everyone started talking about a second Oscar nomination for Cotillard.
France’s top movie star has followed almost the same path towards the snub that Tilda Swinton followed last year. Like Swinton one year ago, Cotillard has been nominated in every leading predictor (Golden Globe; BAFTA; SAG; Critics Choice) but then has been left out of the nomination.
Probably having two french actress nominated competing for the same award were a bit too much for the Academy. And since Emmanuelle Riva has never been nominated, and since she’s old and this is probably her last chance to get a nomination, Cotillard was seen as expendable.
Best Supporting Actor
Tommy Lee Jones (1/4)-Lincoln 2.30
Philip Seymour Hoffman (1/4)-The Master *2.71
Christoph Waltz (1/2)-Django Unchained* 4.69
Robert De Niro (2/7)-Silver Linings Playbook 12.41
Alan Arkin (1/4)-Argo* 16.73
What Oscar predictors told us
Golden Globe: Christoph Waltz-Django Unchaines
Critics Choice: Philip Seymour Hoffman-The Master
Before the stunning Golden Globe upset by Christoph Waltz predictors previewed a duel between Tommy Lee Jones and Philip Seymour Hoffman. But now the duo has become a trio and austrian Tarantino darling has officially become the unwanted third-party of the field.
I have seen three of the five performances: Philip Seymour Hoffman; Christoph Waltz and Alan Arkin. Among the three I have to say that the one that impressed me the least was the one by Christoph Waltz, but probably because acting performances are not the most important part of the movie.
Seymour Hoffman is great in “The Master” but, as I said above speaking about Joaquin Phoenix, “The Master” is a really boring and overrated movie that is not saved by great performances of Phoenix and Seymour Hoffman. Arkin is incredibly funny in “Argo” and with John Goodman makes an enjoyable comic duo. So, save for the fact that I still have to see both “Lincoln” and “Silver Linings Playbook”, I would vote for Alan Arkin if I could.
Some facts about the field
-All of five nominees have yet won at least an Oscar in their career
-Robert De Niro gained his seventh nominations more than twenty years after his last one
As I said above there were high expectations for “Skyfall” to have some top nominees. One of the most serious chances were seen in Javier Bardem, who plays the villain of the movie.
Spain movie industry top actor has been nominated for BAFTA; SAG and Critics Choice thus leading to high expectations to give James Bond franchise the first acting nomination ever. Though, as we know, the Academy have snubbed James Bond from top categories even this year. So, despite the fact that ”Silva” is destined to become a legendary villain of the big screen, it won’t have an Oscar nomination. Pity.
Best Supporting Actress
Anne Hathaway (0/2)-Les Misérables 1.06
Sally Field (2/3)-Lincoln 14.50
Helen Hunt (1/2)-The Sessions 15.75
Amy Adams (0/4)-The Master* 21.50
Jacki Weaver (0/2)-Silver Linings Playbook 49.00
What Oscar predictors told us
Golden Globe: Anne Hataway-Les Misérables
Critics Choice: Anne Hathaway-Les Misérables
Well, we saw in the recent past some notable surprises in this category (Tilda Swinton over Cate Blanchett; Marica Gay Harden over Kate Hudson; Judi Dench over Kathy Bates) but this year the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress to Anne Hathaway seems a safer bet than Germans Bund. But let’s face the truth, we’re all waiting to see the movie only to compare Anne’s performance to Susan Boyle’s one . Jokes aside, like last year with Octavia Spencer, there’s no contest in this category.
Among the performances the only one that I’ve been able to see to date is the one by Amy Adams in “The Master”. As I wrote before I found the movie vastly overrated and while I singled out Phoenix and Seymour Hoffman performances for praise, I cannot do the same thing with Amy Adams. Amy Adams role in the movie is simply useless. If her character is excised from the script nobody will notice the difference. So I really wonder why all these accolades to such an inconsistent performance.
To be noted: Sally Field and Helen Hunt (for Hunt see her WTHH) are finally back after years of anonymity. They have got no chance to beat Hathaway, but having an Oscar nomination, even a supporting one, after so many years of absence at high level is a good signal. I’m hoping both comebacks prove to be enduring.
Dame Judi Dench’s last performance as “M” in the Bond series franchise is a very solid one. Probably for the first time since she’s taken that role Dame Dench’s character is really deepened. I may be a little biased since I like very much Judi Dench, but I think that her performance in “Skyfall” is very powerful. Maybe not as powerful as Bardem, but certainly better than Amy Adams in “The Master”. Nominations for BAFTA and Critics Choice have not been enough to convince the Academy to give Judi Dench her seventh nomination.
Best Foreign Language Film
Amour* (Austria) 1.04
A Royal Affair (Denmark) 14.83
Kon Tiki (Norway) 19.58
No (Chile) 33.00
War Witch (Canada) 36.83
What predictors told us
Golden Globe: Amour
Critics Choice: Amour
Here we have another sure bet. Since winning the “Palme d’Or” at Cannes film festival Michael Haneke’s “Amour” has appeared to be the frontrunner for this category. Critics Choice and Golden Globe victories have only cemented the front-runner status of austrian candidate. Tough the movie is de iure the candidate for Austria, de facto “Amour” is a french movie. The movie is settled in France, played in french by two french legends, Emmanuelle Riva and Jean-Louis Trintignant. But it is the candidate for Austria.
I’ve seen the movie and it’s a tough movie. “Amour” talks about a couple of retired music teacher, Georges and Laurent, living in Paris. They seem to live a quiet and enjoyable life in retirement but then illnes came. Anne, played by Emmanuelle Riva, becomes ill. She goes under surgery, but something goes wrong and her condition get worse day by day. Georges has sworn to Anne he will never send her to nursing home or to the hospital. Georges maintain his promise and witness helpless the love of his life in a long and painful agony.
It’s a tough movie that not anyone can be able to digest. Leading actors are simply great, but the story leaves you somewhat hopeless. It’s a very emotional movie that needs to be seen at least twice to be completely understood. Critics tributed a universal acclaim to “Amour”, and I agree, though i understand someone can find the movie a bit pathetic and a movie about senile love is not exactly a wise choice if you’re looking just for entertainment,
The lone film that appeared able to menace “Amour” front-runner status was France smash hit ”The Intouchables”. The movie has grossed something like 400 million $ worldwide and has been a modest hit also in the US, where it has been the highest grossing foreign language movie of 2012.
Nominations for Golden Globe; Critics Choice and BAFTA and the inclusion in the final shortlist seemed to lead french dramamedy straight to the nomination but then “surprise!”.
France movie industry is living something like an “aurea aetas”, but the Foreign Language Oscar appears to be somewhat cursed for Europe current top movie industry. It sounds incredible but Europe’s top movie industry has not been able to win this award since 1993. If even a 400 million $ smash hit has not been able to break the curse, what France has to do to win its 13th Foreign Language Oscar?
Best Animated Feature
The Pirates! Band of Misfists 24.00
What predictors told us
Well, if it wasn’t for Tim Burton’s “Frankenweenie” (I’m hoping to see it this week) this would be a Disney derby between Disney/Pixar “Brave” and Disney “only” “Wreck it Ralph”.
I have to say, I enjoyed “Brave”, as I have with almost all “Pixar” movies, but seeing “Brave” is like correcting homeworks from the first of the class and giving him a “B+” instead of an “A”. I’ll explain myself, “Brave” is a nice movie and incredibly funny. Quality is really high like everytime with “Pixar”, though it’s not extraordinary like Pixar movies use to. It’s a very nice movie, but compared to “Up”; “Wall-E”; “Monsters Inc.”; “Toy Story” franchise “Brave” seems “banal”. If I had the right to vote, I would vote for “Wreck-it-Ralph” whose script seems to me more original than the one of “Brave”. But it’s not only a Disney derby, there’s the “unwanted third” and it’s Tim Burton’s “Frankenweenie”. I have to see it, I’m hoping this week. Since last Burton’s efforts have been really disappointing to me, I hope he can redeem himself with this one. Like the Best Supporting Actor award this is a three way toss-up.
Best Original Screenplay
Mark Boal- Zero Dark Thirty 1.95
Quentin Tarantino-Django Unchained* 3.05
Michael Haneke-Amour* 3.33
Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola-Moonrise Kingdom* 13.20
John Gatnis-Flight 23.17
What predictors told us
Golden Globe (1) : Django Unchained
Critics Choice: Django Unchained
This is another three way toss-up. Contenders are “Zero Dark Thirty”; “Django Unchained” and “Amour”.
I liked “Amour” but screenplay is not it’s strongest part in my opinion. I enjoyed with Django and Tarantino is really good in entertaining the viewers giving them irony and suspense. Though, even here, the strongest point is not screenplay but the directing of Tarantino. Taking in count I still have to see “Zero Dark Thirty”, if I could vote I would give my vote to “Moonrise Kingdom” a sweet comedy which I found original and entertaining.
Best Adapted Screenplay
Tony Kushner-Lincoln 1.42
Chris Terrio-Argo* 3.42
David O. Russell-Silver Linings Playbook 8.12
David Magee-Lif of Pi* 19.58
Lucy Alibar and Benh Zeitlin-Beasts of the Southern Wild 25.67
What predictors told us
Critics Choice Awards: Tony Kushner-Lincoln
Once again, as for the “Best Picture” award, a tight head to head between “Argo” and “Lincoln”.
I loved “Argo” and I loved also it’s screenplay. Despite leading you to an assumptive “happy ending” it do this alternating funny and ironic moments with dramatic and suspence. So, to me, it’s a vote for “Argo”.
And that’s all folks for the moment. We’ll see next week with updates of bookies and results of SAG and PGA Awards
Your Johnny 88
* Signs a movie I’ve yet seen
(1) TBN Golden Globe gives only one award for screenplay making no distinctions between original and adapted screenplay
Posted on January 22, 2013, in Awards, Movies and tagged Academy, Academy Award, Academy Award for Best Picture, Argo, Ben Affleck, Golden Globe Award, Lincoln, Oscar. Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.