Feb 24, 2013

Oscar Thoughts

Tomorrow in Los Angeles will see the ceremony known as the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences take place. It will the 85th edition, commonly known as the Oscars. Generally speaking it's one of the more worthy award ceremonies. Normally many winners are worthy and praiseworthy. Having said that there are many decisions that have puzzled. Such as Ordinary People beating Raging Bull or The King's Speech beating The Social Network. Or worse, Paul Thomas Anderson never winning anything. Ever. This year he got totally shafted with The Master missing the boat all together in the Best Picture category. Although it did score a few acting nominations. Today I saw Lincoln, which I very much enjoyed. The best Spielberg film in years. So that means the only film nominated for Best Picture that I have not yet seen is Amour. Which I will remedy next week, that's for sure. I think this year is a very fine crop of nominations. The only one I didn't really enjoy was Les Miserables. But that was probably because I don't really like musicals.
Especially ones where Russell Crowe tries to sing.

As the film years in Australia and the USA are out of sync in film distribution I thought I would revise my best films of 2012 to take in the calendar year. These are my top ten, with Pitchfork type of scores.

1. The Master 9.1
2. Moonrise Kingdom 8.9
3. Life of Pi 8.8
4. Zero Dark Thirty 8.7
5. Silver Linings Playbook 8.7
6. Beasts of the Southern Wild 8.5
7. Lincoln 8.4
8. Django Unchained 8.3
9. The Sessions 8.1
10.Killing Them Softly 8.0

Looper and Argo would be next on the list and Amour is one that could potentially make a move.

Now to my Oscar thoughts on the major categories.
These are not predictions as most people can probably guess who the likely winners are going to be.

BEST PICTURE
Obviously The Master was my film of 2012. A masterpiece. But it's not there. So I would love to see Life of Pi win. It's a visual masterpiece, full of wonder and joy and huge heart. Zero Dark Thirty would be my next choice. A complex and superbly made film. A better film than Bigelow's previous winner in The Hurt Locker.

BEST ACTOR
I haven't seen Denzel Washington's performance, but all other nominees here are excellent. John Hawkes for his work in The Sessions was a glaring omission, but I have no problem with the hot favourite Daniel Day-Lewis winning. His portrayal of Lincoln is quite remarkable. But, but I really hope Joaquin Phoenix can win. He is breath taking as the broken drifter Freddie Quell in The Master. The role of a lifetime.

BEST ACTRESS
Jessica Chastain's performance is worthy of a winner. Strong and detailed, but I loved Jennifer Lawrence as the confused and broken young woman in Silver Linings Playbook. For her age she easily managed a complex and difficult role. What a talent!

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
A very strong field. All performances are great. Christoph Waltz should really have been nominated as a leading role. It's De Niro's best role in ages, but how can you go past the finest actor of this generation. Philip Seymour Hoffman is just sublime. Once again!

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
I really hope Sally Field does not win. She really over acts in any role she plays. I think Amy Adams is great in her role, but I would give it to Helen Hunt. A compassionate and lovely performance.

BEST DIRECTOR
Of course it's beyond a joke that Paul Thomas Anderson was not nominated. For that matter I'm stunned Kathryn Bigelow missed out too. So of the nominees I would give it to David O. Russell. His films are so steeped in humanity and humour. A great director.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
A hot field. All very good. Lincoln's screenplay is very lucid and Argo is extremely well constructed, but I'm on the Russell bandwagon again with Silver Linings Playbook.

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Again Paul Thomas Anderson misses out, but I really hope another Anderson wins. Moonrise Kingdom is a sheer delight and Wes Anderson is a cinematic genius. Tarantino's script is outrageously good but please give this Oscar to Wes Anderson.

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Claudio Miranda for Life of Pi just has to win this category.

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