Thursday, January 10, 2013

2013 Oscar Nominations

It’s funny, as years go by (which is a nice way of saying, “As I get older…”) my movie tastes align less and less with those of Oscar voters. Noting this, I admit with full admiration and glee that I get more excited than a kid at Christmas the morning of the Oscar nominations. And this morning’s list of nominees is a perfect reason why. Here’s a breakdown of the major categories: who’s in, who’s out, and what it’s all about.

Best Picture
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Django Unchained
Les Misérables
Life of Pi
Silver Linings Playbook
Zero Dark Thirty
Zero Dark Thirty
Nothing surprising here at all. I thought Moonrise Kingdom might sneak in, but I’m not at all surprised that it didn’t. The biggest winner of the day has to be Beasts of the Southern Wild, which we’ll get to…

Best Director
Ang Lee – Life of Pi
Michael Haneke – Amour
David O. Russell – Silver Linings Playbook
Steven Spielberg – Lincoln
Benh Zeitlin – Beasts of the Southern Wild
Benh Zeitlin and Quvenzhané Wallis
By far the biggest shock of this year’s Oscar nominations is the exclusion of Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty) in this category. If you asked me yesterday, I would’ve said this race was going to be between Spielberg and Bigelow, no question. But with 30-year-old Zeitlin, and veteran Haneke stealing two spots, you can be damn sure things have been shaken up. Ask me now and I’ll tell you this is a Silver Linings Playbook vs. Lincoln kind of year.

Best Actor
Bradley Cooper – Silver Linings Playbook
Daniel Day-Lewis – Lincoln
Hugh Jackman – Les Misérables
Joaquin Phoenix – The Master
Denzel Washington – Flight
Denzel Washington
Again, no real surprises. If Day-Lewis emerges as the front-runner, he has bullshit Oscar politics working against him: no male has ever won three Best Actor Oscar trophies.

Best Actress
Jessica Chastain – Zero Dark Thirty
Jennifer Lawrence – Silver Linings Playbook
Emmanuelle Riva – Amour
Quvenzhané Wallis – Beasts of the Southern Wild
Naomi Watts – The Impossible
Jennifer Lawrence
Ah, my dear, sweet Marion Cotillard (Rust and Bone). Much like Michael Fassbender last year, my favorite performance of the year was once again snubbed for Oscar consideration. But either way, I’m happy with these nominees. We have an 85-year-old against a 9-year-old, I mean, hells bells, what’s not to like?

Best Supporting Actor
Alan Arkin – Argo
Robert De Niro – Silver Linings Playbook
Philip Seymour Hoffman – The Master
Tommy Lee Jones – Lincoln
Christoph Waltz – Django Unchained
Philip Seymour Hoffman
I can live with these, but there are a handful of excellent performances left out. Leonardo DiCaprio (Django Unchained) and Matthew McConaughey (Magic Mike) are two I would’ve loved to have seen. But so it goes.

Best Supporting Actress
Amy Adams – The Master
Sally Field – Lincoln
Anne Hathaway – Les Misérables
Helen Hunt – The Sessions
Jacki Weaver – Silver Linings Playbook
Jacki Weaver
Weaver is a huge surprise, but one I am happy to see. Silver Linings Playbook nabbing nominations in every acting category puts it in a very elite class of films including, A Streetcar Named Desire, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Network, and most recently Reds, which pulled the feat 31 years ago.

Best Original Screenplay
Wes Anderson & Roman Coppola – Moonrise Kingdom
Mark Boal – Zero Dark Thirty
John Gatins – Flight
Michael Haneke – Amour
Quentin Tarantino – Django Unchained
You know what, this may just be my favorite category this year. Gatins’ nomination is a huge surprise, but one I am extremely pleased with. I know many of my dear readers didn’t care for Flight, but I loved it then, and I love it more now.

Best Adapted Screenplay
Lucy Alibar & Benh Zeitlin – Beasts of the Southern Wild
Tony Kushner – Lincoln
David Magee – Life of Pi
David O. Russell – Silver Linings Playbook
Chris Terrio – Argo
Tony Kushner
If Beasts of the Southern Wild has a shot at winning anything, it’ll be Best Adapted Screenplay. But goddamn does it have some stiff competition.

Best Foreign Language Film
A Royal Affiar
War Witch
If Rust and Bone, my favorite film of the year, had a shot at any nomination, it was here. Time to let that one go.

The Intouchables has been a critical and commercial sensation both here and abroad, and its absence is baffling to me (but one I’m rather excited by). Why? Because it paves way for Michael Haneke to finally win.

Best Documentary
5 Broken Cameras
The Gatekeepers
How to Survive a Plague
The Invisible War
Searching for Sugar Man
How to Survive a Plague
The Imposter and The Central Park Five were my two favorite documentaries of the year. Bummed to see them missing, but there are some great flicks here nonetheless.

Now to you: Biggest shocks, letdowns, appreciations. Have at it!


  1. Best Shock/Letdown: Ben Affleck not getting in for Argo. I was personally less surprised about Bigelow, but I guess I just really wanted Argo to win all the awards and thought for sure Affleck, Spielburg and Bigelow were the for sure 3. Pretty upset Affleck didn't make the cut!

    1. I'm really surprised he didn't get in there either. Zeitlin and Haneke really messed things up for Affleck, Bigelow and QT. Crazy to think how many noted vets Zeitlin beat out!

  2. Well, since unlike most movie enthusiasts, I rarely make it to the theater, I won't see any of these movies until 2013. So to quote Marvin in a movie we both know and love, "Man, I don't even have an opinion." This definitely piques my interest, though: "We have an 85-year-old against a 9-year-old, I mean, hells bells, what’s not to like?"

    1. "Well you GOTTA have an opinion! I mean do you think--" BOOM!

      Ha, anyway, yeah Riva is the oldest Best Actress Oscar nominee in history, and Wallis is the youngest. That's a great juxtaposition right there!

    2. "Why did you shoot Marvin in the face?" ... "I dunno, we must've gone over a bump."

      I think it's magnificent. I love it when people defy expectations like that. Great talent doesn't begin at age 18 and end at 60. :-)

    3. No ma'am, it certainly does not!

      "Well just take it to a friendly place!"

  3. Thank you for the run-down and analysis, Alex! Shedding a tear for Rust and Bone, but glad to see Amour up there. And what about QT for Best Director?

    1. QT and Rust and Bone ate the shit a little bit. Bummer. But at least we have an interesting mix! Glad you like the run-down!

  4. I was really hoping for Rian Johnson getting an Orig Screenplay nom for Looper. *sigh* I'm still over the moon for Quvenzhane though, how cool is that for a 9 year old? I got 2/5 for Best Director. That category really surprised me.

    1. I think Director surprised everyone. I'd really be stunned if anyone predicted that correctly. I honestly thought Looper would nab a Screenplay nom as well. Looks like my man Gatins bumped him out. Sorry!

  5. I was surprised to see so many great directors left out of the race, like Anderson, Tarantino and even Affleck.
    I was very sad to see Beyond the hills didn't make the Foreign Film list.
    I was happy to see SLP getting nods for all 4 actors.
    My biggest want-to-win-but-probably-won't are Bradley Cooper for Actor and ParaNorman for Animation.

    1. Given what you (and many others) said about Beyond the Hills, that surprises me as well.

      The Weinstein's are going to push HARD for SLP to nab the Big 5, so your boy Cooper has a chance, I think!

  6. "my movie tastes align less and less with those of Oscar voters"...tell me about it.
    Although this awards season, glancing over my ranking of 2012, I actually prefer the mainstream ones over the Cannes arthouse films. A good film is a good film, isn't that what you usually say yourself :)

    What is the point of Amour in both best picture and foreign language category? Surely the more mainstream Intouchables should have got that space.

    1. Oh man, I completely agree - a good film is a good film, despite its budget, country, stars, whatever. I don't have nearly as much issue with these nominees as I did last year. I'm cool with these.

      I'm surprised Amour nabbed a Best Pic nom. I just hope it wins SOMETHING. Really loved that one.

  7. Should be seeing Amour and Zero Dark Thirty in the next few days, but I'm thrilled for Haneke!

    Shocks/Letdowns: Affleck missing for Best Director, Bardem (my fave supporting male performance) and/or DiCaprio left out, MacFarlane's nod (not that surprising though), SLP's 4 acting noms, Snow White and the Huntsman's 2 noms, and the absence of Cloud Atlas, TDKR, and Rust and Bone

    Appreciations: Really happy for Beasts (even if it won't make my top 10), Phoenix, Cooper, Skyfall, Les Mis, and Django

    1. Loved both Amour and ZD30 (review up later today), but yeah #TeamHaneke all the way!

      Misery loves company. Glad we can be sad together about the Cloud Atlas/Rust and Bone shut outs.

      I'm really happy for Beasts as well. It won't crack my Top 10 as well either, but that's a little film that could if there ever was one.

  8. man you really gotta just give up the oscars. they're garbage.

    it's the same as the grammys, it just doesn't account for so so much of film, and the choices are so blatantly obvious and boring. it's bullshit man, just move on.

    1. I agree with you and I disagree. It's a shame much of the noms are exactly what we think they're going to be, and a goddamn shame that by the time the winners are announced, it's fairly obvious who's going to win. Last year was a perfect case in point of that. All the winners were just so clear, so there's virtually no excitement.

      On the other end, this is my Super Bowl. You may not give two shits about the teams, but you feel compelled to watch because its the culmination. For me, anyway.

    2. i don't watch the superbowl if the teams are shitty/the packers aren't in it. you're clinging on to a dead dream man, let it fly away

    3. Reality is wrong. Dreams are for real.

  9. I really hope SLP wins screenplay and BP. I hope "Zero dark thirty" is out of the frontrunner seat with the Bigelow not getting in.

    I did not see SLP yet but I really don't think that the movie can be worse than ZD30 and the ending more screwed up than the one in Lincoln. I liked Lincoln, but it's Best Picture we are talking about - the film with such messed up last 10 minutes where they had a shot at perfect ending and blew it royally has no business winning the most important Oscar.

    I think it would be awesome if Bradley Cooper won. He is very underrated. I don't want DDL to win, I think he can do better for 3rd Oscar that this.

    1. I saw your tweets regarding your distaste for ZD30, which I absolutely loved, but oh well.

      I was not, however, a fan of Lincoln, but I do think Best Pic is between it and SLP. The big guy and the little guy, hell, it's an Oscar tradition. Cooper has some damn tough competition, but I could get behind him winning. Still though, I'm team Denzel.

  10. I'm happy that Amour got recognition as it's my #3 film of the year. I'm happy that Moonrise Kingdom got a nod for Best Original Screenplay.

    I'm not surprised though saddened that Marion Cotillard, Leonardo diCaprio, The Dark Knight Rises, and Holy Motors didn't get anything.

    1. I agree on both fronts - Amour's nominations are fantastic, and the inclusions you mentioned, while expected, are a serious bummer.

  11. A lot of talk about Affleck missing out for Best Director, but I feel somewhat vindicated. While still a great film, I thought it was (only slightly) overrated, and ultimately inferior to GBG and The Town. That said, how many directors would love their weakest work to be the quality of Argo!! Wasn't in my top five for the year, but somewhere between 7th-10th I suppose (and in Aus we haven't got Django, SLP, Flight, Lincoln or ZD30 yet) .

    We've mentioned Arkin here before, and it's a shame he got a nod over McConaughey or Bardem. And while he does it well, and is always great to watch, Arkin is basically playing the same character since Little Miss Sunshine (the irascible but kind-hearted dad/grandfather/elder statesman).

    TDKR was never less than compelling because of the world Nolan created, but ultimaately, was technically sloppy.

    I'm glad Tom Hooper missed out, Les Miserable was a mess. Hathaway is a lock for best supporting actress though, and deservedly so. Great year for her after being arguably the best thing about TDKR despite some reservations about her casting going in.

    I'm still gutted over DiCaprio missing out on any Oscar love for The Departed, it remains hands down one of the best performances I've ever seen. Hopefully he gets his due recognition soon, perhaps Gatsby will deliver it next year.

    1. I’m in agreement with you about Affleck. I am surprised that he didn’t get nominated, but if I picked the nominees, I wouldn’t have chosen him. A great achievement, but not in my Top 5 of the year.

      Also agree that Arkin’s Argo character is essentially the same as his LMS. I still don’t get that one.

      I’m seeing Les Mis tonight and I’m not happy about it. It isn’t my kind of movie, and comments like yours make me even less enthused to see it. (sigh) Oh well. I haven’t seen it but I’m happy Hooper was left out as well.

      DiCaprio getting some (any!) love for The Departed would’ve rocked. As it would have this year, but, again, oh well!

  12. I don't know what's more surprising the Director snubs, Affleck, Bigelow, P.T Anderson, or that Beasts got so much notice. My personal opinion is this is Lincoln's Show to lose, I really loved it but it is nearly tailored made for the oscar voters. I was also very underwhelmed by SLP to be honest. If only for that towards the end revelation scene that so poorly handled that it nearly sinks the whole picture. For it to have all four acting categories is another surprise, the only stand-outs for me were Lawrence and De Niro. Like you, would've really liked to have seen Rust and Bone get more, or any, acclaim. I feel that handles the issues of breaking down social interaction barriers a hundred times better than SLP. In any case, yes the Oscars are getting more and more predictable and biased. At the same time what other awards show honors sound editors, composers, cinematographers, set designers and writers all at the ame time. I feel the awards do a large part to represent how many people go into getting something onto the silver screen. So can I really fault the academy for not nominating another big-name, like DiCaprio, Bigelow or Cotillard, when they give names like Deakins, Kaminski, Boal, Kushner, Newman, and Desplat a leg-up in the public eye?

    1. I know you liked Lincoln a lot more than I did, but I definitely agree that it is tailored to Oscar voters' taste. I'm just not convinced that Spielberg will nab director. I can definitely see picture, but I dunno.

      Either way, I think it's a Lincoln vs. SLP race. Obviously would've loved to have seen any Rust and Bone attention, but I wasn't holding out much hope there.

      Also agree that while some "big names" didn't make the cut, many of the very talented people behind the scenes did, and that's damn fine by me.

  13. My thoughts on this years Oscar are pretty divided. On one hand, I love the acting nominations (Except Dicaprio who should have won Best Supporting). Love seeing De Niro nominated. On the other hand, I abhor the writing and best picture nominations. If I had any say in the best director nominations then Tarantino and P.T. Anderson would've taken Sielberg and Zeitlin's spots. As for best picture the lack of The Master (my peronal favorite of the year) and the continued trend of having more than five films really puts me off. There's no need to have more than 5. For me ideally it'd be Zero Dark Thirty, The Master, Django, Silver Linings Playbook, and Les Miserables (Keeping in mind that I have yet to see Amour). But that's all just a dream and I'll never fully agree with the Oscars. Great write up.

    1. I definitely agree that some categories are stronger than others. Director, in my opinion, is seriously lacking, but I will say that I'm a fan of surprises. It's nice that they didn't choose what everyone expected, I suppose.

      Best Picture really does need to go back to just 5. Someday, the Academy will look back and go: "Gee, what the hell were we thinking with this 5 to 10 nonsense?" It's just damn silly.

      Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting! Good to hear from you again!

  14. Shocks - Beasts and Silver Linings getting nominated as much as they did. I wasn't sure Beasts will make through much and SLP will get nominated but not as much as it did.

    Appreciation - Haneke and Riva making it, Letdowns - Intouchables, Bigelow and Ben Affleck.

    But despite that, I think overall, I am much happier than last year. Hopefully, we can say that after the ceremony as well. :)

    1. I figured SLP would pull out the stops and rake in the noms, but Beasts is definitely a surprise for me. Amour getting some big ones was awesome, easily the best part of the nominations for me.

      I too and MUCH happier than last year. I'm all for surprises, good or bad.

  15. I think you're starting to get the vibe of what I like and care about in film. I don't care much about the Oscars, and I certainly don't care about the main categories, but I was pretty surprised to not see The House I Live In show up in the Best Documentary category (Indy Spirit didn't pick it either). I haven't seen all the nominees, so I don't know that one of them in particular should have been left off the list, but it was still surprising.

    Every few years, Eugene Jarecki makes a documentary about an enormous problem, explores it so well that he manages to simultaneously blow your mind and crush your heart, screens at Sundance and wins the Grand Jury Prize (he's 2 for 2), and then, seemingly is ignored. I don't get it. I went out of my way (seriously, a day trip was involved) to see this the day it opened vaguely in my area.

    For documentaries, maybe more than anything else, internet distribution makes seeing these after their two week runs in NYC and LA possible. That's a little disconnected, but I was in the mood to end on a positive note.

    1. The House I Live In may biggest miss of 2012. Meaning, I have searched high and low to track that film down, and have never been able to find it. Which is such a shame, because I love Eugene Jarecki, am fasciated by the war on drugs, and think David Simon is one of the best, most articulate men alive. Really wanted to see this film. Soon I hope!

    2. Listings are constantly updated at but I think it's going to be available on demand imminently. This one won't gain anything by a theatre experience.

      David Simon delivers the most crushing comments in an already intense film. I'm definitely interested to see what you think once you've checked this one out.

    3. Just rented it on iTunes! Gonna start it in a matter of minutes. So excited.

  16. I'll side with the popular demand that is surprised by Affleck and Bygelow missing in the Best Director category.
    As usual, The Oscars baffle me when it comes to the documentary picks. They always leave out my absolute favorite(s).
    At least we can all rejoice on the fact Merryl Streep won't be winning this year.

    1. Oh god, I could dedicate an entire post to the bafflement that is the Oscar for Best Documentary. So much is excluded due to restrictive rules. The nominating committee is too small. Awards politics are too heavy. Blah blah blah. Real shame that yes, so man great docs get overlooked.