Thursday, February 7, 2013

My 2013 Oscar Nominations

I love cooking up this list every year. The game is simple: if I was the sole member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, here’s who I would nominate in each of the major Oscar categories. Winners are in bold, and although it’s a bit of a Rust and Bone lovefest, if gives you a good idea of who’d I’d love to see win come Oscar night. Enjoy!

Django Unchained
Rust and Bone
I had the chance to see Rust and Bone in the theater again recently and everything I felt about it before – my ceaseless admiration, my profound love of its pain – was only amplified  It knocked the wind out of me all over again.

Jacques Audiard – Rust and Bone
Michael Haneke – Amour
Ang Lee – Life of Pi
Quentin Tarantino – Django Unchained
Joachim Trier – Oslo, August 31st
Everyone involved in Rust and Bone seemed shocked that Audiard would even consider making a film about love. And upon seeing the movie, it’s so obvious that only a man as refined and unique as Audiard could craft a love story like this one.

Anders Danielsen Lie – Oslo, August 31st
Denis Lavant – Holy Motors
Joaquin Phoenix – The Master
Matthias Schoenaerts – Rust and Bone
Denzel Washington – Flight
I really wish Denzel had a fighting chance for the Oscar this year, but it’s Daniel Day’s show. No argument from me.

Jessica Chastain – Zero Dark Thirty
Marion Cotillard – Rust and Bone
Emmanuelle Riva – Amour
Quvenzhané Wallis – Beasts of the Southern Wild
Naomi Watts – The Impossible
Strong year for women (it almost seems cruel to not include Jennifer Lawrence here), but Cotillard’s got my vote. Always and forever.

Robert De Niro – Silver Linings Playbook
Leonardo DiCaprio – Django Unchained
Philip Seymour Hoffman – The Master
Matthew McConaughey – Magic Mike
Christoph Waltz – Django Unchained
Here’s a great example of Want vs. Should. Of all the Best Supporting Actors this year (and there were so many great ones), Waltz was my favorite. I’d love it if he won, but my heart is with De Niro. He made me laugh, he made me cry, and, above all, he proved that he’s still got it.

Amy Adams – The Master
Ann Dowd – Compliance
Isabelle Huppert – Amour
Dreama Walker – Compliance
Kerry Washington – Django Unchained
Easily the category in which I venture from the Academy’s picks the most. And although no Best Supporting Actress this year can stop the Hathaway train, it’s Dowd’s confused, antagonistic demeanor I’ll remember for years to come.

Compliance – Craig Zobel
Django Unchained – Quentin Tarantino
Holy Motors – Leos Carax
The Master – Paul Thomas Anderson
Zero Dark Thirty – Mark Boal
This is probably the Oscar I’m gunning for most this year, and, given the immense controversy surrounding Zero Dark Thirty, I don’t think a QT win is too much of a long shot, right?

Beasts of the Southern Wild – Lucy Alibar & Benh Zeitlin
Killer Joe – Tracy Letts
Oslo, August 31st – Joachim Trier & Eskil Vogt
Rust and Bone – Jacques Audiard, Thomas Bidegain & Craig Davidson
Silver Linings Playbook – David O. Russell
There’s a scene late in this film in which Marion Cotillard’s character tells Matthias Schoenaerts that in order for them to continue their relationship, there needs to be a level of decency involved. “We can’t go around behaving like animals,” she tells him.

It’s a brief but telling moment concerning a love unlike any I’ve ever seen.

The Central Park Five – Ken Burns, Sarah Burns & David McMahon
The House I Live In – Eugene Jarecki
How To Survive a Plague – David France
The Imposter – Bart Layton
Searching for Sugar Man – Malik Bendjelloul
I’m still shocked that The Central Park Five didn’t get nominated. Don’t get me wrong, of the four current Best Documentary films I’ve seen, all are great. But damn, Burns and Co. killed it here.

Holy Motors
Once Upon a Time in Anatolia
Rust and Bone
If I gave Best Picture to Rust and Bone, I suppose it’d be nice to spread the love around a tad, huh?

Life of Pi – Claudio Miranda
The Master – Mihai Malaimare Jr.
Rust and Bone – Stéphane Fontaine
Skyfall – Roger Deakins
Zero Dark Thirty – Greig Fraser
I don’t know how much Fontaine rehearsed with Audiard and the actors involved, but Fontaine’s camera was always just… there. And in focus. When it never seemed like it would be. (Also, I love how this film proved a subject does not need to be fully lit and shot head on in order for a story to be told.)

Django Unchained – Fred Raskin
Holy Motors – Nelly Quettier
The Master – Leslie Jones & Peter McNulty
Rust and Bone – Juliette Welfling
Zero Dark Thirty – Willian Goldenberg & Dylan Tichenor
Paul Thomas Anderson has a great instinct for knowing precisely when to cut, and how long to hold a shot, and what narrative to tell at any given time. An instinct Jones and McNulty seamlessly brought to life.

The Dark Knight Rises – Hans Zimmer
The Master – Jonny Greenwood
Rust and Bone – Alexandre Desplat
Skyfall – Thomas Newman
Zero Dark Thirty – Alexandre Desplat
Greenwood did it again. And while his work here isn’t as iconic as his There Will Be Blood score, it’s quiet, gentle tones were perfect for The Master’s world.


  1. This was the most diverse lineup I've seen, and there's a lot I agree with. The supporting actress category needed to be seriously tweaked. The Academy is just dying to give it to Hathaway, and I'm not enthusiastic about it.

    But you chose Washington for Flight? I wasn't a fan. The last 15 minutes though were tremendous in acting and direction though (at the court).

    1. Nice! So cool that you dig my picks.

      I've tried to be nice by exercising silence concerning the Supporting Actress category, but let me just say that, yes, I'm not enthusiastic about it either. But, you know... oh well.

      I loved (loved, loved) Denzel in Flight. Whip Whitaker broke my heart. That testifying scene was just devastating. When he said "God, help me" under his breath, I was so very moved. And I guess I'm one of the few people who thought that film ended perfectly. Perfectly. Really moved me.

  2. The whole alcoholic/drug addict subplot didn't move me as anything original or unique. But the testifying scene made it worth sitting through.

    I still think Jennifer Lawrence should be on that list!

    1. I drafted this list a few days ago, but rewatched SLP last night. (sigh) You might be right. Toss up between her and Quvenzhané. But either way, Marion takes it :)

  3. My Best Picture pick would be Holy Motors w/ Leos Carax as best director, and Denis Lavant as best actor.

    For Rust and Bone, best actress to Marion Cotillard and best adapted screenplay.

    For Best Supporting Actor, Philip Seymour Hoffman for The Master and Anne Hathaway for Best Supporting Actress... in The Dark Knight Rises. For best original screenplay, it goes to Amour.

    Best Cinematography: Rust and Bone
    Best Editing: The Master
    Best Production Design: The Master
    Best Sound/Sound Editing: The Master
    Best Score: Jonny Greenwood-The Master

    1. I love how on point we are this year. Even if our picks aren't the same, I can't argue with your choices at all. I loved them all.

      Holy Motors deserved at least SOME love from Oscar. Real shame.

      Supporting Actress: glad you went with TDKR. She was so good in that.

      Technically, I thought The Master was flawless. Surprised it didn't get more Oscar credit there.

  4. No TDKR for the score? :( I actually have Dowd in leading, since I kinda thought she carried that movie, but it's really hard to figure out categories these days. Great to see Washington and De Niro are your wins too!

    1. I usually make it a point to not amend a post once I've posted it, but ah, what the hell... The Beasts are out and The Bat is in (but The Master still reigns supreme). Basically, I completely forgot about TDKR score. Stupid.

      I really hope De Niro pulls an upset over Cranky Lee Jones.

  5. Terrific picks! Love seeing Trier in Best Director. And your acting categories are brilliant. Dig the Kerry Washington nod. Thought I was alone on that performance. Also, Dowd was THIS close to a nomination for me.

    Hate that I left out Django in Director/Screenplay, but there were a lot of contenders for those categories.

    Haha. I love what you did with Foreign Film, even if your #1 loses. Alps! Love it.

    Glad Jonny Greenwood got some love. I nominated him for Norwegian Wood instead.

    1. Thanks! I loved Washington in Django. That scene when she was being whipped... I mean, I could feel it, you know? I think she is a wildly underrated actress. I still haven't seen her show Scandal, but I heard it's pretty good.

      Do you think Amour will win foreign film? That category and Best Doc have been such a toss up in recent years. I honestly do not know.

      Norwegian Wood... never heard of it. IMDb says it was released in 2010, but it came out in '12? I need to check out this score.

    2. Washington: My thoughts exactly. Not seen Scandal either.

      I think Amour wins foreign film, and it has a good chance of winning original screenplay. Actually, I could see it winning everything but Best Picture.

      Norwegian Wood had a limited US theatrical release in January 2012, so I count it as a 2012 film. The soundtrack is on Spotify, or you can find it on Youtube.

    3. Wait, so you think Amour for Actress... and Director? Whoa. I'm cool with that. I hadn't even considered it for Original Screenplay, was thinking that was a Boal/QT fight.

      Looking up Norwegian Wood now.

  6. Nice to see Once Upon a Time in Anatolia get a mention here. The pacing is slow, yet the crime story is fascinating, so much is only hinted at. Plus the atmosphere and photography is amazing, especially at night. I'm looking forward to giving it a rewatch in future.

    I second Sati regarding the TDKR score.

    1. I definitely need to rewatch Anatolia soon. I feel like so much more could be gained from a second viewing.

      I too agree with Sati's TDKR score recommendation. An amendment has been made!

  7. Nice post! I'd love to see DeNiro win best supporting actor. Especially since this was the first good role in which I've seen him in WAY too long.

    I like what you said about Ann Dowd’s "confused, antagonistic demeanor" -- that's a great way of putting it. She artfully walked the line between hostile and bullying, because she was jealous of the younger woman, and innocently confused and uncomfortable (albeit inexcusably stupid) -- I thought that was a tremendous accomplishment. I suspect hers is a grossly under-rated performance.

    Hoping to review Compliance this weekend.

    1. Thanks! Yep, I agree with everything you said about Dowd's work. I watched the movie again recently, I was so struck with what she was doing. Her final scene, during that interview, is just devastating. So innocent, yet so guilty.

      Look forward to your review!

  8. I still need to check out a lot of these movies, but it's great to see such a cool selection of movies. I still can't wait to see Holy Motors, Compliance, and Rust and Bone, and seeing these movies all over your list just solidifies the need for me to see them. Nice job!

    1. Thanks Dan! I can't wait until Rust and Bone comes out on DVD. Probably be watching it on repeat. Ha. I found it so oddly inspiring and moving. It really rocked me.

  9. Great work here, man. Nice to see Oslo, August 31st and Compliance get some love, though I'm surprised Oslo didn't get a nod for Best Foreign Language Film.

    1. Thanks dude. Man, I honestly get so damn confused about the eligibility for foreign films. I heard that Oslo was eligible for the foreign film category in 2011, but eligible for every other category in 2012. So I was kind of going off that, which is frustrating. Either way, great great movie there.

  10. I love your list! My Best Supporting Actress line-up looks almost entirely identical since I have everybody except for Dreama Walker. Instead, I have Anne Hathaway for The Dark Knight Rises. But, I do have Compliance on my own Best Picture list. I have actually yet to see Rust And Bone, but when I do, I'll let you know what I think.

    1. Thanks man! Hathaway is a great swap for Supporting Actress. I really liked her in that film. Man, Rust and Bone is my kind of love story. Powerful and unflinching. I'm so taken with that film. Hope you like it!