First, an Oscars analysis in light of Thursday’s nominations: The Golden Globes seem to indicate that Argo still has an edge over Lincoln but that Daniel Day-Lewis and Jessica Chastain are still frontrunners in the acting category. In the Comedy/Musical category, the competition was solely between Silver Linings Playbook and Les Misérables. Anne Hathaway is closer to a lock for Best Supporting Actress, but I think the momentum for the film itself and for Hugh Jackman, ends here. The real battle seems to be developing between Jessica Chastain and Jennifer Lawrence…and I think Daniel Day-Lewis and Bradley Cooper.
Ben Affleck may win every directing nomination he’s received, and rightly so, which makes the Oscar snob all the more confusing. I get Oscar snubs are a necessary component of the process, and that this was a great year, but this is a head-scratcher. Nevertheless, he deserves the accolades. Go Ben! And Argo!
Not quite sure who was favored for Supporting Actor (perhaps Alan Arkin or Tommy Lee Jones?) but I adore Christoph Waltz, so *I* favored him. Then again, he has to contend with Robert De Niro for the Oscar, and that’s a tough race. Great performances in both. If Christoph Waltz was a surprise, Quentin Tarantino for Best Screenplay was shocking. I also think he was most deserving; I mean this is an original screenplay in a mixed category of both original and adapted. Weird category that makes much more sense separated, like at the Oscars.
Glad that pan over the audience showed I wasn’t the only one crying as her speech kept hitting different emotional beats (here’s the transcript). I was just so unprepared! Most of these achievement awards are, lets be honest, super boring. From the way she addressed her ailing mother and hints about “retirement”…it was like breaking the wall that glittery award shows put up. We like to see stars schmoozing with other stars and seeing them as “real” people. But it’s all so fake. Leave it to a notoriously private actor to shatter those expectations. We don’t know Jodie, but because of her celebrity…we do. And this swan song of sorts is affecting because of that familiarity. Fascinating, moving stuff.
The Competition for Most Distinguished Introduction to a Film
Bill Clinton for Lincoln, Jeremy Renner for Zero Dark Thirty, Christian Bale for Silver Linings Playbook, Catherine Zeta-Jones for Les Misérables, Tony Mendez and John Goodman for Argo, Jamie Foxx for Django Unchained…
Women on Television
Claire Danes: “very proud to be working in this medium, in this moment, in this company”
Lena Dunham: “This award is for every woman who felt like there wasn’t a space for her” and Girls “made me feel so much less alone in the world”
I don’t actively dislike Robert Pattinson, (he is Cedric Diggory after all) but I never give him much thought. However, I have to admit that this little GIF showing how momentarily shy and awkward he appeared to be meeting Quentin Tarantino has endeared him to me a bit:
SKYFALL and Adele win—she high-fives Daniel Craig (such delight!) and pisses off Taylor Swift
The Usual Favorites
How awesome is Jessica Chastain, seriously? So sincere. On the E! Red Carpet she stopped to tell Naomi Watts how great she is in The Impossible and how much she loved it (before being shooed away by Ryan Seacrest).
Can someone PLEASE mass publish the fact that Jennifer Lawrence was quoting The First Wives Club when she said “What does this say…I beat Meryl!” I love her more and more every time she speaks. I know how it feels to diffuse awkwardness with a movie quote only to have it sort of fall flat when no one realizes it’s a quote…
Benedict Cumberbatch (his second time at the Globes) lost to Kevin Costner. Kevin Costner winning also led to the most boring speech of the night. And Ben looked sad! Oh well…
Ewan McGregor not-so-shockingly did not win for Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, but did get to have a chat with George Clooney (that I spied) and plenty of others, probably. I just wish he was there to support The Impossible.
Eddie Redmayne looked quite dapper, of course.
If we are all being honest, a Golden Globe nomination is little more than a chance for the real Oscar contenders to continue their campaign, and for some of the kookier nominees to enjoy in the randomness of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. The SAG awards can be telling of Oscar contenders as well but it’s really all about “actors celebrating actors” and a really nice party, I’d imagine (and more campaigning). But things are looking good for some deserving folks, and I feel way more committed to this awards season than last year (ugh). Also, I can’t help but be excited for the Amy Poehler/Tina Fey power hour.
To recap, I LOVED Argo and despised The Master. Ben Affleck got a very deserving nod for a Golden Globe in the Best Director category. Alan Arkin was the only actor nominated, in a supporting role. The movie as a whole was nominated for both Best Drama and Best Screenplay, as well as Best Score. Argo is also nominated for Best Ensemble Cast at the SAGs, and I gotta say, it is tough to beat. On the other hand, while voters seem to be in agreement that The Master is not great, Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, and Philip Seymour Hoffman are still getting acting nominations. Which is okay, I guess. They did good work.
While I am championing Argo, I am full-on obsessed with Silver Linings Playbook (Golden Globe Best Comedy/Musical, SAG Best Ensemble). Bradley Cooper: best role I have ever seen him in (GG Best Actor Comedy/Musical, SAG Best Actor). Jennifer Lawrence is as fantastic as she is crazy and fragile (GG Best Actress Comedy/Musical, SAG Best Actress). And as the cleverest sort-of rom-com I’ve seen in years, it is very deserving of its GG Best Screenplay nod. However, it is shocking that the Golden Globes bypassed Robert De Niro, who gave his best performance in years; he was nominated for a SAG award, which hopefully keeps his Oscar nomination chances afloat.
The early praise for Django Unchained and Zero Dark Thirty is being supported by multiple nominations for both films. Where they fit in with Argo and Silver Linings Playbook, in my opinion, is yet to be determined but I am excited to check them out. Both are nominated in the Best Drama category for the Golden Globes and both directors, Kathryn Bigelow and Quentin Tarantino, are nominated. They also both received noms for Best Screenplay. For Django, one of my favorite people in the world, Christoph Waltz, is nominated alongside Leonardo DiCaprio. Meanwhile, another one of my favorite people, Jessica Chastain is nominated for Zero Dark Thirty, at the Golden Globes and the SAGs.
SURPRISE: For some reason, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association really felt the need to recognize Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, with a nod for Best Comedy/Musical, and acting nominations for Emily Blunt and Ewan McGregor. I don’t have anything against the film, I actually own it. (I am contractually obligated by myself to own every Ewan McGregor movie so this hardly counts either). It is just one of those bizarre instances when a little talked about film from months ago pops for a run at gold. But I would much rather have Ewan nominated for his work in The Impossible at the Oscars.
- I have not seen The Sessions but I will never not be ecstatic over recognizing John Hawkes, which the HFPA and SAG both do. People claim that The Sessions is pure Oscar bait and I see where they are coming from, but John Hawkes has so many more unrecognized performances that this makes sense to me.
- Not wholly unexpected, but still surprising: Rachel Weisz snags a Best Drama Actress nod for The Deep Blue Sea. It is always nice to see her recognized (I love her) and I did like the performance (and the presence of Tom Hiddleston, naturally).
- My poor beloved Cloud Atlas is nominated for Best Score. As well it should!
- The Hour is nominated for Best Miniseries (?), hooray!! Sherlock is not; but Benedict Cumberbatch is nominated for Best Actor in a miniseries. Weird.
And the Oscars felt no need to talk about Kevin, highlighting only one problem among a multitude of issues. The ceremony provided little respite from the doom and gloom I have felt since the nominations were announced. The Academy Awards do tend to give out at least one surprise, or upset, if you have been following awards season closely. But the “surprise” upset came in the Best Actress category. Where one would have expected Viola Davis or even Michelle Williams. Instead Oscar gives it to the one person you would expect them to favor: Meryl Streep.
I started watching red carpet coverage around 5:30 and watched the awards to their conclusion around 11:40. And although I attempted to live blog it, I mainly followed Twitter reactions; below represents the few moments before and during the ceremony that highlight the lens I watched the ceremony through—to avoid a massive pit of utter disappointment.
6:23 The red carpet provided its first truly interesting moment: Jessica Chastain’s delight at meeting Ryan Seacrest. You could see in her face how initially absurd the moment seemed as perhaps the idea of where she actually was started to sink in. (Although how did she miss him at the SAGs?) I definitely love her. Side note: for the second year in a row, the tie breaker question for Entertainment Weekly’s Oscar pool asked you to guess the color of Michell Williams’ dress. Last year I guessed correctly with white. This year I guessed the same but she showed up in coral. So curious to know if anyone got that.
7:15 Perhaps the most memorable moment of the night came before the telecast: Sacha Baron Cohen dumping Kim Jong Il’s “ashes” all over Ryan’s suit. While people are generally describing Ryan’s reaction as “peeved,” I thought he took the entire thing in stride (well as in stride as possible) and I can certainly imagine some people who would have had a major meltdown if the same occurred to them. But as harmless as it was, I do think it was two things 1) Cruel and unnecessary: Ryan was a good enough sport to interview him in character, the dumping (especially during such a formal event) was distasteful, even for him and 2) a cop-out: Ryan was an easy target: very visible yet removed from the main ceremony. He got the attention he wanted, but he went for the easiest and safest target in the area.
8:51 21 minutes into the broadcast I spot Bret McKenzie in the audience. Would have been nice to see him interviewed but then how could the world go without a Nick Nolte interview where he mumbles along confusedly until he realizes the hard hitting question was about his pet crow. Sigh. ABC makes E! look good, and this is the world we live in.
9:09 Christian Bale comes out to deliver Best Supporting Actress and his accent sounds incredibly thicker than usual. Is he going method as usual? I also remembered The Fighter…and how much better the nominees were last year. Couldn’t wait for all of last year’s winners to come out and taunt me.
9:40 Billy Crystal’s jokes start leaving a bad taste in my mouth. I semi-tolerated the one about driving outside of Beverly Hills in order to find a black woman but ageist attacks on Christopher Plummer and Max von Sydow? Celebrated actors? Especially with Plummer as the favorite? It definitely came across as disrespectful to me; hopefully as a newly minted Oscar winner (and yes, the oldest ever for actor) these shenanigans did not ruin his win.
9:41 Robert Downey Jr. comes out to present for documentary films with Gwyneth Paltrow. While this shtick wasn’t the best I have seen from RDJ he constantly proves to be an MVP of awards shows: well spoken, good with timing, and generally entertaining. He may be too “movie star” for a hosting gig but we can add him to the list anyway.
10:01 Melissa Leo arrives on the scene to hand out the Best Supporting Actor award to Christopher Plummer. Per usual, Christopher makes special mention of Ewan McGregor, that “superb artist” and even mentions he would share it with him if he had any decency (he doesn’t but that is understandable).
10:18 Bret McKenzie wins for Best Original Song and I rejoice. He didn’t really have stiff competition but the way this telecast was going, it felt like everything was going to lead to disappointment. Hopefully we will only hear more and more from Bret, either through songwriting or acting (preferably before The Hobbit in, gulp, December). Various tweets reported that Jason Segel was crying and/or looked awkward for not being thanked (I say it’s the camera’s fault for lingering on his face as the only other recognizable presence from The Muppets).
10:30 One of the toughest categories (for me) Best Original Screenplay is given out. I had my money on Midnight in Paris (it won) but was secretly hoping for a surprise win for either Bridesmaids or Margin Call. At least I was rewarded with my first glimpse of Zachary Quinto (I guess he was also too unimportant for an interview on the red carpet? And for that matter, I really wish JC Chandor went more recognized for Margin Call).
10:41 Someone shouts Scorsese while the Bridesmaids cast is on stage (they should have hosted jointly! Oscars solved) and surprise airplane bottles of booze appear like magic. Excellent callback.
10:52 Michael Sheen appears on screen during one of the categories where Midnight in Paris is nominated and attracts my attention for a few seconds. Meanwhile I am anxious about how long this will run into the 11 o’clock hour, since I really want to catch some of The Walking Dead. Because obviously I have to watch The Talking Dead or risk missing out on my Chris Hardwick fix for the week. (Don’t worry, I pieced together most of the episode before The Talking Dead came on. Also Michael Zegen from Rescue Me and now The Walking Dead as the new guy was on the show…anyone? So glad I got to watch it live.)
11:12 Patton Oswalt appears in one of the hundred million montages. If he appeared before that clip I totally missed him but he was a refreshing face nonetheless, and a sad reminder that no one even mentioned Young Adult.
11:16 Natalie Portman awkwardly introduces nominees for Best Actor and Gary Oldman’s clip is perhaps my favorite scene from Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. It also includes Benedict Cumberbatch prominently: the little things are keeping me going during this Oscars.
11:27 Colin Firth (ah, once again I am reminded how much I enjoyed last year’s winners) appears and, while all of his speeches are exquisite, you can tell his clear favorites: he waxes poetic with Meryl Streep about Mamma Mia and I love him for it. And he reminisces about working with Michelle Williams when she was 11.
11:34 I finally decide to notice that Tom Hiddleston was in TWO of the films nominated for Best Picture (Midnight in Paris and War Horse). And Benedict Cumberbatch was featured again in the War Horse clip! “Be Brave!!” Once again, the periphery presence of the likes of BC, Tom Hiddleston and Ewan McGregor help me pretend I am watching an awards show in an alternate universe where all the people I obsess over are being recognized.
11:36 The Artist wins. THE DOG?! (Yes, I know his name is Uggie) joins the producer on stage. I give up on the world. Thus endeth the 84th Academy Awards but not necessarily my Oscar streak: just because I didn’t see Best Picture doesn’t mean I didn’t predict it (like everyone else, seriously it wasn’t a shocker….unfortunately) and I learned that Hollywood loves Hollywood more than race relations. Although there will never be an acceptable explanation for how Crash won.
I have officially expanded my award season repertoire with rentals of 50/50, Margin Call, and Drive. One problem: it doesn’t give me much headway when it comes to the Academy Awards race.
But, taking a look at the nominees for the Independent Spirit Awards, airing the day before the Oscars, I feel much more on top of my game. Most movies I thought mattered this year are being honored at the ISA. (Of course The Artist and The Descendants are still nominated for Best Feature, sigh).
But what else do we have? 50/50, Beginners, Drive and Take Shelter. I can’t wait to check out Take Shelter and I am very pleased to see Best Feature nods for Beginners and Drive.
Under Best First Feature we have: Margin Call and Martha Marcy May Marlene.
The Best Supporting Male category mainly serves to give me a confidence boost because I have seen all of the films: Albert Brooks for Drive, John Hawkes for MMMM, Christopher Plummer for Beginners, John C. Reilly for Cedar Rapids, and Corey Stoll for Midnight in Paris.
It is a little odd to see Shame and Melancholia under Best International film but no complaints here.
And finally, Margin Call gets the Robert Altman Award (given to one film’s director, casting director and its ensemble cast) and oh yes, it deserves it. I could hardly peel my eyes from the screen as the movie unfolded and a big part of that has to do with the amazing cast. I always tend to believe Zachary Quinto is the MVP of anything he is involved in (Heroes, Star Trek, American Horror Story) but everyone else was up to the task of challenging him on that, even Penn Badgley (shockingly). And I have to say, watching this was far more entertaining than listening to a two hour podcast on the origins of the financial crisis for my International Finance class.
I finally worked up the motivation to watch The Help (with a little nudge nudge from Amazon since it was a weekend rental deal). Okay. OKAY. I liked it. I found myself extremely invested in many of the characters. And if I wasn’t particularly invested, I was still engaged.
After last night’s SAG awards (where The Help won for best ensemble and Viola Davis won for Best Female Actor in a Dramatic Role, not to mention the continued streak of Octavia Spencer) I am hoping that the momentum will shift towards The Help in the Oscar race. Although, let’s be honest, The Artist winning for best ensemble would have been a joke. Keep in mind that I am still operating under the assumption that I will not be as charmed by The Artist as the rest of Hollywood seems to be. Months from now there may come a post about how clearly Past Me was an idiot and The Artist is the best thing ever. (But Present Me is letting Future Me worry about that).
Some quick takeaways:
- I loved, loved, loved Jessica Chastain’s character. I hadn’t heard of her until maybe the beginning of 2011 when she got cast in every single new movie but she’s great! I hate all the Bridge Club women for looking down on her and I was SO HAPPY that Mike Vogel actually loved her (as opposed to marrying her solely because he knocked her up). I had a feeling it would turn out that he knew about Minny cleaning the home and cooking the entire time, but it was still a sweet reveal.
- I also didn’t know about Chris Lowell playing Emma Stone’s love interest. Now my criticism here may be one part I always fall for sappy love stories and one part I didn’t read the book so maybe something got lost in adaptation, but: Stuart quickly saw that our heroine Skeeter was different from the other women and loved her for the same reasons we did. He tells her to write about something that matters and all seems well. But when she reveals how radical her writing really is, he completely flips out, without any indication he would react in this fashion. Yes, I realize that Skeeter moving to NYC probably would have put the kibosh on the relationship anyway (she is moving into the world of Don Draper…) but that is a much more valid reason then his little hissy fit. I guess the writers wanted to resolve the storyline (in case people went out of the theater seriously fuming “well it was nice but what happened to Stuart, I just have to know!!”) but this is one of my biggest film pet peeves: a throwaway scene at the end of the movie that basically unravels an entire storyline. Oh well. My hope is that the storyline is a bit clearer in the novel?
- The clothes! Had to jump on eBay immediately after and cruise the vintage section.
- I see a lot of people comparing this to Crash and citing that as a reason it may win Best Picture. I disagree, mainly because I do not feel Crash was deserving of Best Picture. It was preachy and everything that The Help was not. The Help may win for the same reasons Crash won but it is definitely in a different league.
Hollywood is pretty full of itself this year: The Artist, Hugo, and My Week with Marilyn all harken back to the glory days of film. These choices are the epitome of conventional: no Shame, no Bridesmaids, no Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. I feel wholly uninspired by this year’s best picture nominations. In years past I was excited by races like The King’s Speech (vs. The Social Network) and The Hurt Locker (vs. Avatar). I have no such drive or interest to see The Artist or Hugo.
Best Picture Thoughts: This year I have seen precisely 2 of 9 nominated films—and I have no real desire to rush out and see any of the others. Why not just go ahead and have a 10th film if the voters are so divided? Hello, why not throw in Bridesmaids or Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy? Other than the two I have seen, the rest of the nominees are a pile-up of films that I had an excuse to pass on for one reason or another. The Artist: a celebration of old Hollywood that is notable for its nostalgia in this day and age but would be less of a sparkler in 1925. The Descendants: most comparisons likened it to a Lifetime movie. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close: simply, got mixed to negative reviews. The Help: did not pique my interest. Hugo: thought it was a kid’s movie? Moneyball: sports movies are my kryptonite. The Tree of Life: history of the cosmos, what? With all the other stunning films of this year overlooked, I might make an attempt to watch those films already out, namely: The Help, Moneyball and The Tree of Life. That would put my count at 5, and I usually push for at least a majority. Right now I am placing bets on The Artist (and I generally make an exception to see what I believe will be Best Picture) but I feel so unmoved in this race. So disappointing. I have been on a streak of seeing and predicting Best Pictures since 2007. And last year was a banner year: I saw every contender except Toy Story 3; can it please be last year again?
The snubbed: Too Polarizing? Young Adult, Shame, We Need to Talk About Kevin and Drive, the darker and more groundbreaking films, were all snubbed.
Andy Serkis, Patton Oswalt, and Albert Brooks were all expected to be nominated. But Michael Fassbender wins for most shocking snub. I am still very dismayed over his exclusion. Peter Travers throws in Michael Shannon and Tilda Swinton as well.
Other Category Thoughts:
Best Actor: Seems like George Clooney has the momentum right now; even if Michael Fassbender failed to combat the might of Clooney, he deserved a nod for Shame. I do think Tinker Tailor deserves some love, so go Gary Oldman (in his first nom!). I resolve to check out A Better Life as soon as possible.
Best Actress: So far I have only seen Girl with the Dragon Tattoo but Michelle Williams is the darling in this category. However, I have a feeling that when Albert Nobbs finally reaches my eyeballs I will be very impressed with Glenn Close. Hell, I already am…she is a fellow alum!
Best Supporting Actor: Christopher Plummer all the way. I love me some Beginners. And Patton Oswalt (hooray for another alum!) wasn’t nominated. Sad face. But at least he has a good sense of humor about the situation.
Best Supporting Actress: The GGs seem to indicate Octavia Spencer, but this has been quite the year for Melissa McCarthy.
I don’t really know my stuff well enough to pass judgment on the other categories (how great would it be if Bridesmaids won Best Original Screenplay!? Or Midnight in Paris.) But as someone else pointed out, no Art Direction nod for Tinker Tailor? If I hadn’t watched the HBO First Look on TTSS, I wouldn’t know about how many meticulous ideas came together to create that stunning 1970s atmosphere of dread.
(Not actually the nominated song, but ya know, wanted Bret)
Best Song: Apparently only two songs were up to snuff this year. The day Bret McKenzie wins an Oscar will make this girl very happy; and I haven’t even seen The Muppets. Here is a glimpse at how insane the voting rules are for the Oscars (and why only two songs made the cut): Songs are watched in the context of their films (during scenes or even the credits) and academy voters rate them on a scale of 1-10. Those with an 8.5 or higher are nominated. So apparently out of the 39 eligible songs, only these two scored higher than an 8.5. Thanks, Entertainment Weekly!
I have already reached a state of denial: how can we fix this year’s Academy Awards? Seems like I am going to have to ride out this storm of disappointment.