by D.W. Lundberg

Saturday, February 23, 2013


UPDATE: Another year, another Oscar celebration. And though it was still technically anyone's game, the results were pretty much as expected, with Argo, Les Misérables, Life Of Pi and Lincoln carrying their share of the winner's workload. (About Daniel Day-Lewis: of course he deserved to take home the Best Actor award, but if history's taught us anything, it's that actors rarely pull a same-category trifecta.) The night's biggest surprise? I'd call it a tie: First, the great Christoph Waltz scoring his second Best Supporting Actor nod (for his second starring role in a Quentin Tarantino movie, no less), and, of course, Jennifer Lawrence tripping (gracefully) onto the stage to accept her Best Actress award. The rest of the winners were respectably even across the board, with Life Of Pi winning four awards, Argo and Les Mis winning three, and Lincoln, Django Unchained, and Skyfall (yes!) each winning two. As always, the full list of winners follows below, bolded and marked with an asterisk (*).

Well, it's Oscar time again, folks! That time of year when Hollywood's best and brightest gather together at the world-renowned Dolby/Kodak/ Hollywood and Highland Center Theatre to celebrate 365 days' worth of movies and magic. That time of year when your favorite stars get dolled up in their fanciest duds to strut down that Red Carpet, put on a happy face, put their best foot forward, bask in each other's proverbial spotlight, and... and...

Oh, who am I kidding? If you're a fan at all of the blog, then you're already well aware of my general dislike for this annual Academy Award worshipping nonsense. (For those unaware, let's recap: The Oscars, more than anything, are a lot like high school, in which the Popular Kids command all the attention and respect. And yet we continue to watch, because we just can't get enough of it.) You think I'd be frothing at the mouth a bit, shouting from the rooftops to anyone and everyone who'll listen, but then a funny thing happened: Last month, when they announced the nominations for this year's telecast, my dislike turned to full-on complacency and acceptance, as if I'd finally gotten over myself long enough to see the light. The Oscars are all about the politics, always have been, always will. The fun part is seeing how those politics play out. (In other words: Just sit back and go with the flow. Resistance is futile.)

One needs only look at the list of nominees (which, for your reading pleasure, you view in its entirety below) to realize that it's anybody's game this year. Of the nine Best Picture contenders - Amour, Argo, Beasts Of The Southern Wild, Django Unchained, Les Misérables, Life Of Pi, Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook and Zero Dark Thirty - only one, pre-January, seemed like a lock for Oscar glory. But then Ben Affleck was passed over for Best Directing duties on Argo, which pretty much threw the whole contest out of whack. (Justice alert: Affleck won the prestigious Director's Guild of America Award on February 2nd, making him only the seventh person since 1948 to be honored by the DGA and not the Academy.) Oh, Argo will most likely still take home the top prize, though it'll be a hollow victory of sorts - the latest in a long line of Academy Award-Winning Films Which Apparently Directed Themselves. (For the record, Quentin Tarantino, Tom Hooper, and Kathryn Bigelow also failed to garner Best Director nods for Django, Les Misérables, and Zero Dark Thirty, respectively, but those are the dangers when ten total Best Picture nominees beget only five nods for directing.)

The entire roster, as a matter of fact, reads like a laundry list of Oscar clichés - i.e., nominations you'd expect to see on every ballot, year after year, as if Academy members had massive quotas to fill. So, in the spirit of all things complacency and acceptance, I thought I'd offer these alternative awards, both as a precursor to Sunday night and a manner of looking back at Oscar's humdrum illustrious past. Let the politics begin:


Best Picture Nominee Least Likely To Win This Year Since It's Pretty Much A Lock In A Similar Category: Amour (also nominated for Best Foreign Film)

See also: Toy Story 3 (2010); Up (2009); Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)

Actor Least Likely To Win This Year Because He's Already Won An Oscar More Than Once: Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln; Denzel Washington, Flight; Robert De Niro, Silver Linings Playbook

See also: Tom Hanks, nominated (but didn't win) for Cast Away or Saving Private Ryan, because he'd previously won for Forrest Gump and Philadelphia

Actress Least Likely To Have A "Senior Moment" Come Oscar Night: Nine-year-old Quvenzhané Wallis (Beasts Of The Southern Wild), currently the youngest actress to be nominated in her respective category

See also: Keisha Castle-Hughes (13, Best Actress for Whale Rider); Abigail Breslin (10, Best Supporting Actress for Little Miss Sunshine)

Actress Most Likely To Have A "Senior Moment": 85- year-old Emmanuelle Riva (Amour), currently the oldest actress to be nominated in her respective category

See also: Jessica Tandy (80, Best Actress for Driving Miss Daisy); Gloria Stuart (87, Best Supporting Actress for Titanic)

Best Actor/Actress Who Appears In Less Than 20% Of His/Her Own Movie: Anne Hathaway, Les Misérables

See also: Judi Dench, Shakespeare In Love (1998); Geoffrey Rush, Shine (1996); Anthony Hopkins, The Silence Of The Lambs (1991)

Best Original Song Composition Written Specifically For The Film Adaptation Of A Previously Established Broadway Musical (With An Eye Specifically Toward Winning An Oscar): "Suddenly," Les Misérables 

See also: The Phantom Of The Opera (2005); Evita (1996)

Most Likely To Win For Best Costume/Production Design Though It Recycles The Same Basic 18th- Century Patterns For The Zillionth Time: Anna Karenina, Les Misérables 

See also: The Young Victoria (2009); The Duchess (2008); Marie Antoinette (2006); Shakespeare In Love

Category You're Least Likely To Care About Come Oscar Night (So Go Make Some Popcorn): Best Documentary Feature; Documentary Short Subject; Short Film (Animated); Short Film (Live Action)

Runners-Up: Best Sound Editing; Sound Mixing

Well, There's A First Time For Everything, 007: Skyfall (which marks the first time a James Bond film has been nominated for Best Cinematography)

Oscar tidbit: Both Goldfinger (1964) and Thunderball (1965) previously won Oscars for Best Sound Effects and Visual Effects, respectively

Proof That You Don't Always Need To Sing On Key To Earn Yourself A Nod For Best Supporting Actress (But Those Long, Lingering Close-Ups Of Your Face Sure Help): Anne Hathaway, Les Misérables 

Oscar tidbit: Though, to be honest, it's an award for Best Supporting Actress, not Best Supporting Singing Voice

And finally...

What Is This, Like, Your 83rd Oscar Nomination?: Daniel Day-Lewis (Best Actor, Lincoln); Robert De Niro (Supporting Actor, Silver Linings Playbook); Philip Seymour Hoffman (Supporting Actor, The Master); Amy Adams (Supporting Actress, The Master); Sally Field (Supporting Actress, Lincoln); Steven Spielberg (Director, Lincoln); Quentin Tarantino (Original Screenplay, Django Unchained); Robert Richardson (Cinematography, Django Unchained); Janusz Kaminski (Cinematography, Lincoln); Roger Deakins (Cinematography, Skyfall); Michael Kahn (Editing, Lincoln); John Williams (Original Score, Lincoln)

Oscar tidbit: Williams currently holds the record with 48 nominations - the most for a living person in Academy Awards history (Walt Disney had 59)


The 85th Annual Academy Awards air this Sunday, February 24, 2013, on ABC. Seth MacFarlane hosts, which is either a hilarious idea or a horrific one, depending on your tolerance for Ted or Family Guy.

And the nominees are:

Beasts Of The Southern Wild
Django Unchained
Les Misérables
Life Of Pi
Silver Linings Playbook
Zero Dark Thirty

Michael Haneke, Amour
Benh Zeitlin, Beasts Of The Southern Wild
*Ang Lee, Life Of Pi
Steven Spielberg, Lincoln
David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook

Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook
*Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
Hugh Jackman, Les Misérables
Joaquin Phoenix, The Master
Denzel Washington, Flight

Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty
*Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook
Emmanuelle Riva, Amour
Quvenzhané Wallis, Beasts Of The Southern Wild
Naomi Watts, The Impossible

Alan Arkin, Argo
Robert De Niro, Silver Linings Playbook
Philip Seymour Hoffman, The Master
Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln
*Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained

Amy Adams, The Master
Sally Field, Lincoln
*Anne Hathaway, Les Misérables
Helen Hunt, The Sessions
Jacki Weaver, Silver Linings Playbook

Michael Haneke, Amour
*Quentin Tarantino, Django Unchained
John Gatins, Flight
Wes Anderson & Roman Coppola, Moonrise Kingdom
Mark Boal, Zero Dark Thirty

*Chris Terrio, Argo
Lucy Alibar & Benh Zeitlin, Beasts Of The Southern
David Magee, Life Of Pi
Tony Kushner, Lincoln
David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook

*Brave, Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman
Frankenweenie, Tim Burton
ParaNorman, Sam Fell and Chris Butler
The Pirates! Band Of Misfits, Peter Lord
Wreck-It Ralph, Rich Moore

*Amour (Austria)
Kon-Tiki (Norway)
No (Chile)
A Royal Affair (Denmark)
War Witch (Canada)

5 Broken Cameras, Emad Burnat and Guy Davidi
The Gatekeepers, Dror Moreh, Philippa Kowarsky and
   Estelle Fialon
How To Survive A Plague, David France and Howard
The Invisible War, Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering
*Searching For Sugar Man, Malik Bendjelloul and
   Simon Chinn

*Inocente, Sean Fine and Andrea Nix Fine
Kings Point, Sari Gilman and Jedd Wider
Mondays At Racine, Cynthia Wade and Robin Honan
Open Heart, Kief Davidson and Cori Shepherd Stern
Redemption, Jon Alpert and Matthew O’Neill

Adam And Dog, Minkyu Lee
Fresh Guacamole, PES
Head Over Heels, Timothy Reckart and Fodhla Cronin
The Longest Daycare, David Silverman
*Paperman, John Kahrs

Asad, Bryan Buckley and Mino Jarjoura
Buzkashi Boys, Sam French and Ariel Nasr
*Curfew, Shawn Christensen
Death Of A Shadow (Dood van een Schaduw), Tom Van
   Avermaet and Ellen De Waele
Henry, Yan England

Seamus McGarvey, Anna Karenina
Robert Richardson, Django Unchained
*Claudio Miranda, Life Of Pi
Janusz Kaminski, Lincoln
Roger Deakins, Skyfall

*William Goldenberg, Argo
Tim Squyres, Life Of Pi
Michael Kahn, Lincoln
Jay Cassidy and Crispin Struthers, Silver Linings
Dylan Tichenor and William Goldenberg, Zero Dark

Anna Karenina
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Les Misérables
Life Of Pi

*Anna Karenina
Les Misérables
Mirror Mirror
Snow White And The Huntsman

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
*Les Misérables

Dario Marianelli, Anna Karenina
Alexandre Desplat, Argo
*Mychael Danna, Life Of Pi
John Williams, Lincoln
Thomas Newman, Skyfall

"Before My Time," Chasing Ice
"Everybody Needs A Best Friend," Ted
"Pi's Lullaby," Life Of Pi
*"Skyfall," Skyfall
"Suddenly," Les Misérables

Django Unchained
Life Of Pi
*Skyfall (tie)
*Zero Dark Thirty (tie)

*Les Misérables
Life Of Pi

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
*Life Of Pi
Marvel's The Avengers
Snow White And The Huntsman

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