Archive for December, 2012

Updated 2013 Oscar Predictions – 12/29

December 30, 2012 Leave a comment


It’s less than two weeks left until the big morning comes, but with everything that’s happened thus far, I thought it would be a good time to re-assess things. Obviously, “Zero Dark Thirty” has largely positioned itself at the head of the pack and Daniel Day Lewis is lined up for another coronation. However, many of the major categories still seem much more open then normal.

In the next two weeks, the guilds will really start to have their say. Throughout the last decade or so, these union groups nominations have very tight links to the eventual nominations. On the other hand, this year will be a unique one. For the first time, the DGA nominations won’t be announced until after Oscar ballots are due in. Therefore, this year, the DGA, which was always believed to have a large impact on not only Best Director, but the Best Picture category as well. Or perhaps this year will prove that theory wrong, in the event that we see the two organizations line-up without any connection proves that they really do think alike. We shall see.

Here’s my latest round of predictions for the 85th Academy Awards:


1. “Zero Dark Thirty”
2. “Lincoln”
3. “Argo”
4. “Les Miserables”
5. “Silver Linings Playbook”
6. “Moonrise Kingdom”
7. “Life of Pi”
8. “Amour”
9. “The Master”
10. “Beasts of the Southern Wild”

Alt 1: Django Unchained
Alt 2: “Skyfall”


1. Kathryn Bigelow – “Zero Dark Thirty”
2. Steven Spielberg – “Lincoln”
3. Ben Affleck – “Argo”
4. Tom Hooper – “Les Miserables”
5. David O’Russell – “Silver Linings Playbook”

Alt 1: Ang Lee – “Life of Pi”
Alt 2: Michael Haneke – “Amour”


1. Daniel Day-Lewis – “Lincoln”
2. Denzel Washington – “Flight”
3. Hugh Jackman – “Les Miserables”
4. John Hawkes – “The Sessions”
5. Joaquin Phoenix – “The Master”

Alt 1: Bradley Cooper – “Silver Linings Playbook”
Alt 2: Richard Gere – “Arbitrage”


1. Jennifer Lawrence – “Silver Linings Playbook”
2. Jessica Chastain – “Zero Dark Thirty”
3. Marion Cotillard – “Rust and Bone”
4. Naomi Watts – “The Impossible”
5. Emmanuelle Riva – “Amour”

Alt 1: Quevenzhane Wallis – “Beasts of the Southern Wild”
Alt 2: Rachel Weisz – “The Deep Blue Sea”


1. Tommy Lee Jones – “Lincoln”
2. Philip Seymour Hoffman – “The Master”
3. Robert De Niro – “Silver Linings Playbook”
4. Alan Arkin – “Argo”
5. Leonardo DiCaprio – “Django Unchained”

Alt 1: Matthew McConaughey – “Magic Mike”
Alt 2: Eddie Redmayne – “Les Miserables”


1. Anne Hathaway – “Les Miserables”
2. Sally Field – “Lincoln”
3. Helen Hunt – “The Sessions”
4. Amy Adams – “The Master”
5. Ann Dowd – “Compliance”

Alt 1: Nicole Kidman – “The Paperboy”
Alt 2: Judi Dench – “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”


1. “Lincoln”
2. “Argo”
3. “Silver Linings Playbook”
4. “Beasts of the Southern Wild”
5. “Life of Pi”

Alt 1: “The Sessions”
Alt 2: “The Perks of Being a Wallflower”


1. “Zero Dark Thirty”
2. “The Master”
3. “Moonrise Kingdom”
4. “Amour”
5. “Looper”

Alt 1: “Django Unchained”
Alt 2: “Seven Psychopaths”


1. “The Gatekeepers”
2. “The Invisible War”
3. “Searching for Sugar Man”
4. “The House I Live In”
5. “Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God”

Alt 1: “How to Survive a Plague”
Alt 2: “Bully”


1. “Brave”
2. “Frankenweenie”
3. “Wreck It Ralph”
4. “Paranorman”
5. “Rise of the Guardians”

Alt 1: “The Painting”
Alt 2: “Zarafa”


1. “Amour”
2. “The Intouchables”
3. “A Royal Affair”
4. “War Witch”
5. “Sister”

Alt 1: “No”
Alt 2: “Kon Tiki”


1. “Life of Pi”
2. “The Master”
3. “Skyfall”
4. “Lincoln”
5. “Zero Dark Thirty”

Alt 1: “Les Miserables”
Alt 2: “Django Unchained”


1. “Zero Dark Thirty”
2. “Argo”
3. “Lincoln”
4. “Skyfall”
5. “Les Miserables”

Alt 1: “Silver Linings Playbook”
Alt 2: “LIfe of Pi”


1. “Les Miserables”
2. “Lincoln”
3. “Anna Karenina”
4. “The Master”
5. “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”

Alt 1: “Cloud Atlas”
Alt 2: “Moonrise Kingdom”


1. “Lincoln”
2. “Les Miserables”
3. “Anna Karenina”
4. “Mirror Mirror”
5. “Django Unchained”

Alt 1: “A Royal Affair”
Alt 2: “Snow White and the Huntsman”


1. “Les Miserables”
2. “Skyfall”
3. “The Dark Knight Rises”
4. “The Avengers”
5. “Zero Dark Thirty”

Alt 1: “Django Unchained”
Alt 2: “Life of Pi”


1. “Skyfall”
2. “The Dark Knight Rises”
3. “The Avengers”
4. “Les Miserables”
5. “Django Unchained”

Alt 1: “Zero Dark Thirty”
Alt 2: “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”


1. “Life of Pi”
2. “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”
3. “The Avengers”
4. “Prometheus”
5. “The Dark Knight Rises”

Alt 1: “Cloud Atlas”
Alt 2: “John Carter”


1. “Lincoln”
2. “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”
3. “Les Miserables”

Alt 1: “Looper”
Alt 2: “Men in Black 3”


1. “Life of Pi”
2. “Lincoln”
3. “Argo”
4. “Anna Karenina”
5. “Beasts of the Southern Wild”

Alt 1: “The Master”
Alt 2: “Skyfall”


1. “Skyfall” – “Skyfall”
2. “Suddenly” – “Les Miserables”
3. “Learn Me Right” – “Brave”
4. “Still Alive” – “Paul Williams Still Alive”
5. “Ancora Qui” – “Django Unchained”

Alt 1: “From Here to the Moon and Back” – “Joyful Noise”
Alt 2: “Still Dream” – “Rise of the Guardians”



12 – “Lincoln”
11 – “Les Miserables”
7 – “The Master”
7 – “Zero Dark Thirty”
6 – “Argo”
5 – “Life of Pi”
5 – “Silver Linings Playbook”
5 – “Skyfall”
4 – “Amour”
4 – “Django Unchained”
3 – “Anna Karenina”
3 – “The Avengers”
3 – “Beasts of the Southern Wild”
3 – “The Dark Knight Rises”
3 – “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”
2 – “Brave”
2 – “Moonrise Kingdom”
2 – “The Sessions”

Boston and New York Online Close Out the Sweep

December 9, 2012 Leave a comment


While the LAFCA has helped spread the wealth in California, Boston and the rest of New York have continued their enduring love for “Zero Dark Thirty.” On behalf of all those on the outside looking in on this supposed gem, I must say that it has a lot to live up to at this point.

One thing that today has definitely told us is that Best Actress is going to me closer and any of us could have imagined. A month ago, people proclaimed it was signed, sealed and delivered for Jennifer Lawrence. Despite pulling out a tie on the west coast, she hasn’t been much of a factor on the critical front. Jessica Chastain has had much of the buzz, and today, Emmanuelle Riva pretty much ran the table for her work in Michael Hanecke’s “Amour” Previously, I wasn’t sure if the aging actress would have enough support to even gain a nomination, but as of this point, there’s certainly no question. If it wasn’t for the tendency of the male side of the Academy to vote from below the waste, she might have had a decent shot at winning.


A very surprising development that has continued today has been Christoph Waltz gaining momentum for his supporting role for “Django Unchained.” While DiCaprio’s performance is certainly the showier one that will generate much more support in the Academy, this certainly isn’t the course that many expected this category to take.

Now while I must applaud the originality and diversity of some of Boston’s choices, some of them, I’m not sure to take this “Perks of Being a Wallflower” love with a grain of salt. The film has an outside shot at a Best Adapted Screenplay nod. However, many of these young actors just haven’t paid their dues yet in the Academy’s eyes. Emma Watson has a lot of room to grow before she escapes from the “Harry Potter” shadow.

Here’s the full list of winners from both parties:


BEST PICTURE: “Zero Dark Thirty”
runner-up: “Moonrise Kingdom” and “Amour”

BEST DIRECTOR: Kathryn Bigelow – “Zero Dark Thirty”
runner-up: Paul Thomas Anderson – “The Master”

BEST LEADING ACTOR: Daniel Day-Lewis – “Lincoln”
runner-up: Denis Lavant – “Holy Motors”

BEST LEADING ACTRESS: Emmanuelle Riva – “Amour”
runner-up: Deanie Yip – “A Simple Life”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Ezra Miller – “The Perks of Being a Wallflower”
runner-up: Christoph Waltz – “Django Unchained”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Sally Field – “Lincoln”
runner-up: Emma Watson – “The Perks of Being a Wallflower”

BEST ENSEMBLE CAST: “Seven Psychopaths”
runner-up: “Moonrise Kingdom”

runner-up: “Moonrise Kingdom”

BEST BREAKTHROUGH FILMMAKER: David France – “How to Survive a Plague”
runner-up: Benh Zeitlin – “Beasts of the Southern Wild”

BEST ANIMATED FILM: “Frankenweenie”
runner-up: “ParaNorman”

BEST DOCUMENTARY: “How to Survive a Plague”
runner-up: “The Queen of Versailles”

runner-up: “Life of Pi” and “Moonrise Kingdom”

BEST EDITING: “Zero Dark Thirty”
runner-up: “Argo”

BEST USE OF MUSIC: “Moonrise Kingdom”
runner-up: “Django Unchained”


BEST PICTURE: “Zero Dark Thirty”

BEST DIRECTOR: Kathryn Bigelow – “Zero Dark Thirty”

BEST ACTOR: Daniel Day-Lewis – “Lincoln”

BEST LEADING ACTRESS: Emmanuelle Riva – “Amour”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Tommy Lee Jones – “Lincoln”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Anne Hathaway – “Les Miserables”

BEST SCREENPLAY: “Zero Dark Thirty”

BEST BREAKTHROUGH PERFORMANCE: Quvenzhane Wallis – “Beasts of the Southern Wild”

BEST DEBUT DIRECTOR: Benh Zeitlin – “Beasts of the Southern Wild”


BEST DOCUMENTARY: “The Central Park Five”


Los Angeles Film Critics Association Announces…

December 9, 2012 Leave a comment


Well, after a week of “Zero Dark Thirty” dominating the east coast critics hearts and minds, Los Angeles finally breaks up the party and shakes things up a bit. Without a doubt, the big winner of the night was “The Master.” Despite narrowly missing Best Picture to Cannes winner “Amour,” the Anderson’s controversial drama earned four awards, including a supremely deserving Best Actor prize for Joaquin Phoenix. I’ve still got a lot of performances yet to see this year, but so far, none has topped this actor’s brilliant comeback turn.

Anderson himself garnered Best Director over Kathryn Bigelow, while Amy Adams confirms her candidacy in Best Supporting Actress for her stellar performance. Dwight Henry pulls out a massive underdog victory for “Beasts of the Southern Wild” and Jennifer Lawrence tightens up the Best Actress race, tying with Emmanualle Riva, who had a hell of a day on the other side of the country.

(Quvenzhane? Wallis), (Dwight Henry)

Here’s the full list of winners, below, and stay tuned for an update from the Boston and New York Film Critics Online who announced simultaneously this afternoon:


runner-up: “The Master”

BEST DIRECTOR: Paul Thomas Anderson – “The Master”
runner-up: Kathryn Bigelow – “Zero Dark Thirty”

BEST LEADING ACTOR: Joaquin Phoenix – “The Master”
runner-up: Denis Lavant – “Holy Motors”

BEST LEADING ACTRESS: (TIE) Jennifer Lawrence – “Silver Linings Playbook” and Emmanuelle Riva – “Amour”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Amy Adams – “The Master”
runner-up: Anne Hathaway – “Les Miserables”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Dwight Henry – “Beasts of the Southern Wild”
runner-up: Christoph Waltz – “Django Unchained”

runner-up: “Silver Linings Playbook”

runner-up: “Footnote”

BEST DOCUMENTARY: “The Gatekeepers”
runner-up: “Searching for Sugar Man”

BEST ANIMATED FILM: “Frankenweenie”
runner-up: “It’s Such a Beautiful Day”

runner-up: “The Master”

BEST EDITING: “Zero Dark Thirty”
runner-up: “Argo”

runner-up: “Moonrise Kingdom”

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE: “Beasts of the Southern Wild”
runner-up: “The Master”

NEW GENERATION AWARD: Benh Zeitlin – “Beasts of the Southern Wild”

“Zero Dark Thirty” Takes the National Board of Review

December 5, 2012 Leave a comment


Two for two, and while the excitement is building, the tension is unfortunately fading fast. To be quite honest, I’m not sure if I can take another year of monogamous critical love for a single movie. Yes, it’s true, “The Social Network”‘s unstoppable sweep in 2010 was a memorable time in my life (though not every year does a film move and amaze me to the quite same extent), the same routine every year can make this whole thing we do a bit of a bore.

Nevertheless, it’d be unwise to start closing the book on this year’s Oscars. If you look at films like “Sideways,” “Brokeback Mountain” or “The Social Network,” every critics award in the book could prove useless come the big night. It ain’t over till it’s over.

Aside from the top honor, “Zero Dark Thirty” helmer Kathryn Bigelow grabbed her second Best Director award of the week. Jessica Chastain proved that she is a noticeable force in the film by taking down Best Actress. The rest of the awards actually displayed a nice sense of originality. Bradley Cooper managed to beat out the all-but-coronated Daniel Day Lewis in Best Actor. Meanwhile, Leonardo DiCaprio takes what will hopefully be his first of many Best Supporting Actor victories. Despite not yet seeing the film, I’m very much pulling for this to be his year. Rian Johnson took a surprise victory in Best Original Screenplay for “Looper,” while David O’Russell won for his adapted work in “Silver Linings Playbook.”


Without a doubt, the most interesting and inspired award of the night was Ann Dowd being named Best Supporting Actress for her brilliantly realistic portrayal in “Compliance.” Those that have seen the film (which isn’t many, admittedly) know that Ann absolutely owns the screen. You cannot take your eyes off of her and she’ll make you pay for it with plenty of memorable, yet absolutely cringe-inducing, scenes. I can only hope that awards like this might have chance of carrying her all the way, much like Jackie Weaver for “Animal Kingdom.”

The Top Ten List is much to be expected, with mentions for “Argo,” “Lincoln,” “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” “Silver Linings Playbook” and “Les Miserables.” Chalk up another unbearably depressing day for Paul Thomas Anderson’s “The Master.” The film that had supposedly championed critics has yet to win a single award on their behalf and missed out on even reaching the NBR’s top ten, while finding films like “Promised Land” and “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” in its place. It still has a chance to make a stand in Los Angeles this weekend, but if it fails to even show up there, it might be time to count it out of the Best Picture race, entirely. Disappointing, to say the least.

See the full list of winners after the jump and remember to keep checking back for further updates, opinions and analysis:

Read more…

2012 New York Film Critics Circle Awards

December 4, 2012 Leave a comment


Well, we’ve officially had our first shake-up of the season. While many of the main contenders remain at the top of the field without having to take a mention, several have confirmed their frontrunner status through victory. Moreover, one film that has largely been a mystery this awards season has instantly positioned itself as possibly the film to beat.

I am, of course, speaking of Karthryn Bigelow’s “Zero Dark Thirty.” The highly anticipated expose on the search for Osama Bin Laden had a big night at the first official critics awards of the year. With the first reviews coming in from early screenings (a not-too-shabby Metacritic score of 97 after 8 reviews), this may end up being not so much of a surprise. Whether this will turn out becoming the year’s proverbial critical darling is yet to be seen. Personally, I’m hoping for a bit more diversity in opinion coming from this year’s critics awards rather than the usual polarization. Yet, if Bigelow’s film is a as good as it appears, you can’t argue with who knows best.

Here’s the full list of winners:

BEST PICTURE: “Zero Dark Thirty”

BEST DIRECTOR: Kathryn Bigelow – “Zero Dark Thirty”

BEST ACTOR: Daniel Day Lewis – “Lincoln”

BEST ACTRESS: Rachel Weisz – “The Deep Blue Sea”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Matthew McConaughey – “Magic Mike” and “Bernie”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Sally Field – “Lincoln”

BEST SCREENPLAY: Tony Kushner – “Lincoln”

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: Greg Fraser – “Zero Dark Thirty”

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM: Michael Hanecke – “Amour”

BEST FIRST FILM: David France – “How to Survive a Plague”

BEST DOCUMENTARY: Ken Burns, Sarah Burns, David McMahon – “Central Park Five”

BEST ANIMATED FILM: “Frankenweenie”

Now to cite “Zero Dark Thirty” as the only big winner yesterday would be a mistake. Steven Spielberg’s epic biopic “Lincoln” also snagged three awards, including two for acting, confirming the idea, shared by myself, that it truly has one of the best ensemble casts in recent memory. Meanwhile, Rachel Weisz has skyrocketed herself back into contention for a film that has been largely forgotten about. And while some people may still refuse to accept it, Matthew McConaughey has now become a legitimate candidate for an Oscar nomination. Who would have thought, though credit must be paid to the stellar year his career has had.


Village Voice critic J. Hoberman gave some insight as to how some of the voting went down. Apparently, the female acting awards were incredibly tight. The decided winners barely beat out frontrunners Jennifer Lawrence from “Silver Linings Playbook” and Anne Hathaway from “Les Miserables” in their respective categories. Tommy Lee Jones’ performance in “Lincoln” came in a very close second for Supporting Actor. Though, as one would expect, Daniel Day Lewis met little resistance in his victory.

Without a doubt, the film that had the worst night was Paul Thomas Anderson’s latest work of genius, “The Master.” With very little box office support and a topic that’s not much of a crowd-pleaser, this film is definitely dependent on its critical success to attempt to revive itself. Despite showing up in late ballots for Picture, Director, Actor (Phoenix) and Cinematography, its failure to claim a single honor is not a good sign. It still has a chance for redemption with the Los Angeles Critics or NYFCO this weekend, but it’s chances of winning any major awards are fading fast.


Some pundits are already claiming the race down to “Zero Dark Thirty” and “Lincoln,” but I am nowhere near sold. Tomorrow brings about the National Board of Review which might just change the landscape all over again. Plus, the potential success that “Argo” and “Les Miserables” will find once guild nominations start rolling out may make all the difference in the world. No doubt about it, though, things are certainly getting interesting.