The weeks of punditry and teary talk-show performances are over! Seth MacFarlane is about to take the stage and Movieline is about to liveblog the Oscars. Grab your favorite cocktail, enable your hand-held device and join me for Hollywood's most holy night. Let the pageantry and snarky comments begin!
“It just doesn't matter,” Bill Murray pep-talked to his misfit campers in Meatballs. You've got to think that Teams Lincoln and Silver Linings Playbook similarly rallied the troops in the wake of Argo’s surprise Best Picture and Best Director wins at the Golden Globes. Go home, they might have said, it’s the Golden Globes. It just doesn’t matter.
Except that it does, contends In Contention’s Kris Tapley: “Anyone who dismissively calls it a non-issue doesn't get it. With six weeks, every little nuance and acceptance speech will be grist for the mill. It matters.”
That means that Tommy Lee Jones better start smiling, Golden Globe-winner Anne Hathaway better keep all her acceptance speeches as gracious and humble, and Jennifer Lawrence better recover from her rivals-slamming turn hosting Saturday Night Live.
But what matters more are the major Guild award ceremonies in the offing: The Producers Guild Awards on Jan. 26, the Screen Actors Guild Awards on Jan. 27, and the Director’s Guild Awards on Feb. 2. These should give a clearer picture of the Oscar race. Or not. A DGA award, one of the most reliable Oscar indicators, will come to naught should either Ben Affleck or Kathryn Bigelow, neither nominated for an Oscar, win.
As Times-Picayune critic Mike Scott noted on NOLA.com, “Usually the Golden Globes at least do a little to clarify an Oscar race or two, but in what is shaping up to be a more difficult-than-usual year in which to predict the Oscar winners, Sunday's Globes only clouded things… many of the Oscar races would appear to be coin-flip races at this point.”
One thing is irrefutable after Sunday night: After Tina Fey and Amy Poehler’s hosting triumph at the Globes, Seth MacFarlane needs to have better jokes than his Hitler gag on nomination morning.
No Best Picture-nominee had a better week than Argo with its seven Oscar nominations and Critics Choice and Golden Globe wins for Best Picture and Best Director. No Oscar nomination for Best Director; no problem. Writes Tom O’Neil on GoldDerby.com:
“There is a clairvoyant member of the academy's producers' branch whose judgment I've learned to trust through the years. He's never been wrong about Best Picture as far as I know, not even when Crash pulled off an upset over Brokeback Mountain. Now he's backing Argo and feels very strongly about it. Right after Oscar noms were announced and before Argo pulled off those jaw-droppers at the Critics Choice Awards and Golden Globes, he roared at me, ‘Mark my words, Argo is going to win the Oscar. I don't give a damn that Affleck isn't nominated for Best Director. That only makes me more hellbent to vote for his movie!"
But despite Argo being “back in the mix,” wrote Steven Zeitchik and Glenn Whipp in The Los Angeles Times, Lincoln, leading the pack with 12 nominations, remains the frontrunner.
Or not. Silver Linings Playbook, like Lincoln, had a disappointing night at the Globes, but it is the first film since Reds at the 1982 ceremony to have received nominations for Best Picture, Director, all four acting categories, and screenplay. Plus: “People love Silver Linings Playbook; they respect Zero Dark Thirty,” write Michael Hogan and Christopher Hogan for their For Your Consideration blog on Huffington Post.
Silver Linings Playbook producer Harvey Weinstein catered an Italian lunch for members of the Hollywood Foreign Press, the New York Times reported. Lincoln director Steven Spielberg pulled off the coup of getting the services of “Hillary Clinton’s husband” to introduce his film at the Golden Globes. Advantage: Spielberg. Like Tapley said: It matters.
Meanwhile, Kathryn Bigelow, mired in the controversy surrounding her film’s depiction of “enhanced interrogation techniques,” gamely reiterated her “depiction is not endorsement” line of defense in a self-penned article in Wednesday’s The Los Angeles Times.
2. Silver Linings Playbook
4. Zero Dark Thirty
5. Life of Pi
6. Beasts of the Southern Wild
7. Les Miserables
9. Django Unchained
With Affleck and Bigelow out of the Best Director race, Spielberg's chances for a third Academy Award for Best Director are looking good, unless David O. Russell benefits from all that Academy love for Silver Linings Playbook. But don’t count out Ang Lee, noted Anne Thompson on her Thompson on Hollywood blog:
“Lee survived the brutal directors derby that left Kathyrn Bigelow, Ben Affleck and Tom Hooper hanging, and he commands serious respect inside the Academy, which gave him the Oscar for Brokeback Mountain. Remember, these 5700 voters are people who know what goes into making movies and this gorgeously executed heart-tugger with worldwide appeal ($400 million and counting) had a high degree of difficulty.”
1.Steven Spielberg (Lincoln)
2. David O. Russell (Silver Linings Playbook)
3. Ang Lee (Life of Pi)
4. Benh Zeitlin (Beasts of the Southern Wild)
5. Michael Haneke (Amour)
Since we can now utter the words "the Oscar-nominated Marvel's The Avengers," let's take a closer look at all that visual effects magic that went into making Joss Whedon's blockbuster superhero pic such a bombastic VFX achievement. More specifically, as is apparent in ILM's recently-released Oscar VFX reel, take a gander at the digital wizardry that bore Mark RuffaHulk and the maelstrom of Chitauri invaders and explosions and costumed superheroes that went into The Avengers' carefully orchestrated chaos of a final showdown.
Whatever your Oscar nomination predictions were, you were wrong: This morning's Academy Awards announcements by hosts, Seth MacFarlane and Emma Stone, jolted Oscar-watchers awake with surprises and snubs so shocking they made everyone forget, within minutes, that MacFarlane made a Hitler joke, live, before six in the morning — setting the tone for his upcoming hosting gig.
From all the Beasts of the Southern Wild love, to the freezing-out of shoo-ins, Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty), Ben Affleck (Argo), and Tom Hooper (Les Miserables) from the Best Director race, which were the biggest shocks of the morning?
According to THR's Scott Feinberg, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences' newfangled online voting system, implemented this year to make it easier for members to hand Anne Hathaway that statuette and such, is doing just the opposite. Voters can't remember their passwords, web security is questionable, and important papers are being mistakenly tossed in the trash like annoying credit card offers. "It’s probably more difficult for members to log on than it is for hackers," said one Oscars voter. Wait a second guys: This could be great. Who needs a Brett Ratner — this could be just what the Oscars need to finally jazz and youthen things up!
The Oscar Index’s head is spinning. What critics organization didn’t announce their nominees or award-winners this week? On Thursday it was the Golden Globes, on Wednesday the SAGs, and Monday the AFI and BFCA. The Boston, Detroit, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Diego, St. Louis and Washington critics associations also weighed in with their picks.
But critics don’t vote for the Academy Awards, so much of this will have little bearing on who will be nominated for an Academy Award; not Lincoln’s seven Golden Globe nominations, not Dwight Henry’s Best Supporting Actor win from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association for Beasts of the Southern Wild, and not the Washington D.C. Film Critics Association’s pick of Zero Dark Thirty as the year’s best film.
By now you know that the list of songs eligible to be nominated for Best Original Song at the 85th Academy Awards is kind of mind-blowing. Not so mind-blowing is the generally risk-averse bent of the average Academy voter, which is why we should probably just send congratulations now to Brave, Les Miserables, and Adele, resting easy one of them will actually be the right recipient.
You're done gorging on turkey, which means only one thing: 'Tis the season to be stuffed with Oscar punditry. Movieline's Institute For the Advanced Study of Kudos Forensics has awoken from its L-Tryptophan slumber to provide you with our latest Oscar Index, which evaluates the contenders for Best Director. The latest Index on Best Picture can be found here, and over the course of the next week, we'll be weighing in on the Best Actor, Actress and Support Actor and Actress races. more »
If you haven't noticed, there's a fierce battle being fought out there for the right to heft a gold statuette at the Dolby Theater on Feb. 24 and forget to thank some vital member of your family. And though more than a half dozen pictures and performances that the blogosphere is touting as Oscar-worthy have yet to be seen by the public (and, in some cases, the very bloggers who are touting them), the virtual home office at Movieline has decided it's time to throw open the doors to the Institute For the Advanced Study of Kudos Forensics and start up the Oscar Index. more »
A record 71 countries, including first-time entrant Kenya, have submitted films for consideration in the Foreign Language Film category for the 85th Academy Awards®. Not joining the list this year is Iran which is boycotting this year's Oscars because of fall out from the anti-Islam video Innocence of Muslims. Last year, Iranian director Asghar Farhadi won the Academy Award for Best Foreign-Language film for A Separation, a first for a filmmaker from that country. The list of contenders follows:
The Academy Awards could finally get the dynamic host they've been looking for in Family Guy's Seth MacFarlane, whom Deadline reports has been anointed emcee for the 2013 Oscars telecast. Given his solid SNL hosting debut (which began with an Oscars-appropriate song-and-dance monologue) the Ted creator is a well-rounded choice in a town that doesn't actually have many writer-actor-producer-singer-funny voice-doers, let alone any willing to regularly push the boundaries of good taste. [UPDATE: Watch Seth MacFarlane as he makes his official Oscar announcement via video.]
Clint Eastwood Adds More To That Chair Speech; Captain America Is The U.S. President In New Comic: Biz Break
Also in Tuesday afternoon's round-up of news briefs, Tribeca Film's War Witch has been selected to represent Canada in the Oscars race. CBS has set a date for the People's Choice Awards. And Gong Li will star as a Chinese Empress in a new U.S.-China co-production.
It's September, the unofficial start of the long road to the Academy Awards telecast on February 24, 2013. Already, awards campaigns are in the works and the end of last week's Toronto International Film Festival already has a number of titles in play for those oh-so-very-coveted golden statuettes. One big change this year, the Oscar nominations will come out earlier this year.
Richard Gere To Receive Honors At Upcoming Hamptons Film Festival; Twilight Tix To Go On Sale October 1st Online: Biz Break
Also in Thursday evening's round-up of news briefs, the Academy names a director for the 85th Oscars telecast. And a slew of Venice and Toronto titles find homes, leading them to U.S. theaters in the coming months.
Also in Thursday's round-up of news briefs, the Academy approves some new rules for the next Oscars. A crime thriller gets a North American home and is headed to theaters. And, Charlize Theron is teaming on a story about a recently slain war journalist.