You’d think the ensemble cast for Argo could not be challenged, but that would be a mistake. At every location, meeting, and level of government, Zero Dark Thirty is populated by familiar faces. And interestingly, many (not all) of these actors are prominently known for their television roles.
Jessica Chastain: She’s amazing. And while she is starring in basically every film that comes out these days, some people (like me!) might remember her role as Veronica Mars’s disappeared pregnant neighbor in the season one episode “The Girl Next Door.”
Jason Clarke: I associated Jason Clarke with his starring role on the defunct show, The Chicago Code. I championed that show until the bitter end, so I hope Jason Clarke at least gets a big film career as a consolation prize. Bonus!: I remember where I saw him most recently: in Texas Killing Fields being hunted by…Jessica Chastain.
Kyle Chandler: He really wins this year because he is also in Argo. Of course, his prominent television role is Friday Night Lights (I know, I know, I need to watch) but I can’t help but constantly think of his stint on Grey’s Anatomy. Remember how that one time there was a bomb and Kyle Chandler needed to diffuse it?
Jennifer Ehle: I honestly can’t look at her without thinking about her role opposite Colin Firth in Pride and Prejudice.
Harold Perrineau: Lost. Oz. Sons of Anarchy. The Unusuals. (And Wedding Band? Sorry, Wedding Band fans — it’s a goner.)
Mark Strong: You might know him from every film ever, but his role in Kick-Ass sticks out to me.
Jessica Collins: One of those, “don’t I know her from something?” The answer must be I know her from Rubicon. Yet another show I watched to the bitter end. It really just served to prove that AMC can and will ax shows.
Fredric Lehne: You may know him from every television show ever: American Horror Story: Asylum, Lost, Supernatural, etc. Seriously, he is the epitome of the character actor.
Mark Duplass: How can you not love him?? He’s making his mark on TV (The League, The Mindy Project) and in film (Safety Not Guaranteed, Your Sister’s Sister).
James Gandolfini: Tony Soprano himself!
Stephen Dillane: You may also know him from everything in the world but these days I tend to shout out (mentally) “Stannis!” whenever I see him. So, Game of Thrones but also Hunted, John Adams, etc.
John Barrowman: a.k.a. Captain Jack Harkness from Doctor Who and Torchwood, as well as his recent gig on CW’s Arrow. Singer, actor, host and all-around constant personality…in Zero Dark Thirty. Randomly great.
Joel Edgerton: Discussion of all other roles must be preempted because I just discovered (remembered/had a flashback to) the fact he is “young” Uncle Owen in the Star Wars prequels. I instantly seized upon a mental image of the trading card I have (yes, I collected Star Wars cards but I was waaay more into my Lord of the Rings collection…) and knew this to be true. And then my mind exploded. I guess I should quit wondering where this Joel Edgerton guy came from if he has actually been on the fringes all these years.
Chris Pratt: Parks and Recreation! But before Parks and Rec, my thought would have been Everwood! Wow, that really takes me back…
Taylor Kinney: This guy pops up on The Vampire Diaries, then starts dating Lady GaGa, and now has a starring role in Chicago Fire. So I imagine he made some kind of deal with the devil.
Christopher Stanley: Honorable mention since whenever I see him I can only think of Mad Men; “Henry Francis.”
Mark Valley: Human Target, Fringe, Boston Legal, and Body of Proof apparently, etc. All I can think about for some reason when I see him is that he was married to Anna Torv. But not any longer…
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.