Ben Affleck accepts Best Picture Oscar.
The Holograph did pretty well in predicting the winners of this year's Academy Awards -- we missed only one technical award (the tie in sound editing!) and only two of the top 8 awards (supporting actor and original screenplay). We totally blanked in all three short categories, even though we dutifully saw every one of the nominees. So, out of 24 categories, we correctly guessed 18 awards. Not bad, but we've done better in past years.
Argo completed a remarkable run with its best picture win, adding the Oscar to its Golden Globe, BAFTA, and Broadcast Film Critics Association awards for best picture, as well as 12 regional critics and association awards. It also took guild awards from the DGA, PGA, ACE, and WGA (the last three mirroring the three Oscars it won for picture, editing and screenplay). SAG awarded the film its best ensemble award, and the USC Libraries Scripter Award went to Chris Terrio and the authors of the original source material (Joshuah Bearman and Antonio Mendez).
Ang Lee's best director win over Steven Spielberg made sense in the end, since Life of Pi took the largest haul of Oscars for the evening. Winning a total of three technical Oscars--cinematography, musical score, visual effects--the visual and aural splendor of the film (not to mention the difficulty of getting what was considered an unadaptable source on screen) was nicely rewarded.
Although Lincoln had 12 nominations -- the most going into the ceremony of all nominated pictures -- it won Daniel Day-Lewis an unprecedented third best actor Oscar. And Rick Carter and Jim Erickson's very meticulous production design also won the prize in a hotly contested category. And who knows if the scuffle over the facts about the Connecticut vote, as represented in Tony Kushner's script, took the steam off its momentum -- we'll never know, but it represents one of Spielberg's finer efforts.
Christoph Waltz took his second Oscar in four years for Django Unchained for yet another Quentin Tarantino film -- preventing Robert DeNiro from getting a third Oscar. And Mr. Tarantino won his second screenplay award (having won for Pulp Fiction in 1994). All nominees in this category were former Oscar winners -- another first in Academy history.
Les Misérables managed to nab three Oscars, with Anne Hathaway's best supporting actress win the only slam dunk. Its makeup and sound mixing awards were not as assured going into the awards night.
Adele's title tune for Skyfall (written with Paul Epworth) became the first James Bond song to be awarded an Oscar. And it was great to see Shirley Bassey sing "Goldfinger," which wasn't even nominated back in 1964. Skyfall's tie with Zero Dark Thirty in the best sound editing category was the only the sixth tie in the Academy's history -- and totally unprecedented in the technical categories.
It would have been wonderful to see Amour's Emmanuelle Riva win the best actress Oscar on her 87th birthday, but Silver Lining Playbook's Jennifer Lawrence was clearly the one to beat here. Even though she tripped on her Dior gown as she ascended the steps to the microphone, she was still fresh and funny ... and deserving. Amour did win for best foreign-language film, and its director Michael Haneke was nominated in two other categories (director and screenplay).
Anna Karenina took a sole award for its gorgeous costumes, and Disney's Brave beat guild winner Wreck-It Ralph (another Disney toon). Brave becomes the seventh Pixar production to win in the best animated feature category. The only best picture nominee to come away empty-handed was Beasts of the Southern Wild. Beast's youngest best actress nominee, Quvenzhané Wallis, may have been consoled by Sunday's announcement that she has been cast as Annie in the film remake due during the 2014 holiday season.
But let's not get ahead of ourselves. Here's looking forward to a whole slew of films for 2013 that will be next year's Oscar nominees -- and ultimately winners.
Yesterday, the Holograph looked at the director, acting, and screenplay categories. Today, we'll look at all the rest.
RECAP OF YESTERDAY'S PREDICTIONS
- Best Director: Ang Lee, Life of Pi
- Best Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
- Best Actress: Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook
- Best Supporting Actor: Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln
- Best Supporting Actress: Anne Hathaway, Les Misérables
- Best Original Screenplay: Amour
- Best Adapted Screenplay: Argo
Best Picture. Let's just get this out of the way right at the top. Argo has mowed down nearly every contest it's competed in (see 2/17/13 blog entry) since award season began. Lincoln is respected and has the most nominations coming into tonight's award ceremony, and Silver Linings Playbook has been increasing in popularity all season with a well-strategized Oscar campaign. With seven of the nine nominees crossing the $100 million mark for the first time in the Academy's history, it's a splendid group of box office winners and good pictures. The omission of Ben Affleck from the Academy's directing nominees has either led to an enormous sympathy vote -- or, they really just like him (and of course his film, Argo).
Cinematography. For my money, Roger Deakins' lensing in Skyfall is superior. (I won't mention that he's been nominated 9 times before and has never won.) But the smart money is probably on beautiful, CGI-manipulated colors of the story about the tiger and the boy on the boat. I also really liked Janusz Kaminski's work in Lincoln. I thought Robert Richardson's camerawork in Django Unchained was on the overly bright side, and I wasn't as impressed by Seamus McGarvey's decent work in Anna Karenina.
DOCUMENTARY FEATURE AND SHORTS
2012 was filled with high quality films, and it seems likely that this year's Academy Awards will be spread around rather than going to a single film. In one of the most unpredictable years on record, Sunday's Oscar ceremonies may yield a number of surprise winners.
With Argo the presumed frontrunner for best picture, the best director category holds perhaps the most fascination since DGA winner, Ben Affleck, is not one of the five nominees. In fact, only two of the DGA nominees are among AMPAS nominees for best director: Steven Spielberg and Ang Lee. The other three -- Michael lHaneke (Amour), Benh Zeitlin (Beasts of the Southern Wild), and David O. Russell (Silver Linings Playbook) -- took the presumed spots of Affleck, Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty), and Tom Hooper (Les Misérables) on the Academy ballot.
This is young Zeitlin's first time at the rodeo, but Haneke's work has been nominated previously in the best foreign-language film category (2009's The White Ribbon). Spielberg's Lincoln was recognized as a contender in no less than 10 of the guilds and has the most nominations of all feature films (12), but it has failed to take any of the precursor craft awards (although it did cop two SAG awards for Daniel Day-Lewis and Tommy Lee Jones). Lee's Life of Pi is also well regarded by the guilds (9 of them), has 11 nominations, and took hardware from the ADG and MPSE. Russell's Playbook took the ACE award and one SAG award (Jennifer Lawrence).
Two of the acting categories, best actress and best supporting actor, hold the most suspense here.
Supporting Actor. Both Daniel Day-Lewis and Anne Hathaway's performances are considered slam dunks for Lincoln and Les Misérables, respectively. The supporting actor race pits five previous Oscar winners against each other for the first time in Academy Award history. If DeNiro wins for Silver Linings Playbook, he will be one of few actors to possess three acting Oscars. While I adore Christoph Waltz, he is essentially repeating himself in Django Unchained in a performance not unlike that in his Oscared role in Inglorious Basterds, and Alan Arkin isn't doing anything he hasn't done before -- although he does get the best line in Argo, which uses the title and a four-letter expletive. Philip Seymour Hoffman's performance in The Master is admired, but the film not so much.
Actress. An incredible category statistically this year, best actress contains the oldest and youngest actresses ever nominated: Emmanuelle Riva, 86, for Amour and Quvenzhané Wallis, 9, for Beasts of the Southern Wild. Naomi Watts is the sole nominee for The Impossible, so a win for her is unlikely. And then there are the two young leading ladies who have been winning most of the awards: Jessica Chastain from Zero Dark Thirty and Jennifer Lawrence in Silver Linings Playbook.
Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress. There really doesn't seem to be a contest here in either category -- unless the Academy wants to deny Mr. Day-Lewis his third best actor Oscar.
Original Screenplay. Two of the five nominees, Flight and Moonrise Kingdom, are not best picture nominees. That probably lessens their chances, so I think it's a tight race between the other three: Amour, Django Unchained, or Zero Dark Thirty. The latter has been under fire from Washington, DC, so let's rule that out and say it's a contest between a European classicist (Michael Haneke) and an American original (Quentin Tarentino).
Saturday: Part Two of close calls -- the technical categories.
Ben Affleck in "Argo" (Warner Bros.)
The Warner Brothers film seems to be using its most-quoted line to all its rivals: "Argo fuck yourself." Indeed.
Let's take a look at the quick ascension of Warner Bros. Argo. In spite of the fact that it didn't take any of the early critical precursor awards, e.g., New York Film Critics Circle, Los Angeles Film Critics Association, or the National Society of Film Critics, it did manage to win best picture laurels from nine of the regional critics organizations -- Denver, Florida, Houston, Nevada, Oklahoma, Phoenix, St. Louis, San Diego, and Southeastern.
Three other early regional awards were also captured by Argo for best picture: Internet Film Critic Society, Online Film Critics Society, and the Gay & Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association. It also won the ensemble prize from the Hollywood Film Awards early in the awards season and was included as one of the movies of the year on the American Film Institute's annual list. And then it took the Critics Choice award for best picture at the Broadcast Film Critics Association yearly event and the best drama Golden Globe at the Hollywood Foreign Press Association ceremony.
Last weekend, Argo was the best picture victor at the British Academy of Film & Television Arts, and it raised eyebrows even higher when it copped the USC Libraries Scripters Award for its screenplay by Chris Terrio. And its success in the ongoing guild awards continues to be impressive. Last night, it took the Eddie Award for best edited dramatic feature film from the American Cinema Editors. A couple of weeks ago, director Ben Affleck took the theatrical feature director prize from the Directors Guild of America (DGA) as well as the Producers Guild of America citation for outstanding producer of a theatrical motion picture (along with George Clooney and Grant Heslov).
What's left? Well, Argo is a contender for the period film award in the Costume Designers Guild contest (to be announced on Tuesday). It is a major contender in the adapted screenplay category in tonight's Writers Guild of America awards ceremony and has two nominations for the Motion Picture Sound Editors Golden Reel awards in this evening's ceremony.
Oscar waits. Can Argo take the biggest prize of all, even when its much-lauded director (and star) is missing among the best director nominees? It's happened before, most recently in 1989 when Bruce Beresford failed to be nominated for that year's best picture winner, Driving Miss Daisy. Curiously, Beresford was not nominated by the DGA that year either, which fact gives Affleck's Argo more than a passing chance at this year's Academy Awards.
Guild Awards Update: DGA Likes Affleck's "Argo"; "Wreck-It Ralph" 2 for 2; ADG Goes for "Anna," "Pi" and "Skyfall"
After his win Saturday night for Argo, Ben Affleck became the seventh director in history to win a Directors Guild of America (DGA) award who will not be able to win a best director Oscar. Affleck had already collected wins from the Broadcast Film Critics Associaton (BFCA), the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), Producers Guild of America (PGA), and the Screen Actors Guild (SAG). His snub by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences (AMPAS) in the director category last month, while still viewed as remarkable, has been mollified by the industry's recognition of Mr. Affleck from these various organizations. The Oscar race seemed to be wide open after nominations were announced in January, but Argo appears to be steamrolling its way as the laureled frontrunner thus far.
Wreck-It Ralph was lauded by the PGA last weekend, and this weekend was the recipient of the most Annie Awards at the ASIFA-Hollywood International Animated Film Society 40th annual award ceremony on Saturday, winning five awards: best animated feature, directing (Rich Moore), music, voice acting (Alan Tudyk), and writing (Phil Johnston and Jennifer Lee). Winning two Annie Awards apiece were ParaNorman, Brave, and Rise of the Guardians. While Ralph seems to have an edge in the Oscar competition, it doesn't appear to have the wave of love that last year's winner, Rango, had when it won.
The Art Directors Guild (ADG) bestowed its honors in three categories Saturday night, with Anna Karenina winning in the period division, Life of Pi winning for fantasy, and Skyfall taking the contemporary award.
Today, AMPAS hosts the Oscar nominees at its annual nominees luncheon. Tomorrow, the Visual Effects Society (VES) hands out its awards. This Saturday, the Internationale Cinephile Society and the USC Libraries Scripter Award will announce the recipients of their awards. And on Sunday, the British Academy of Film & Television Arts (BAFTA) and the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) reveal the winners in their contests.
Ben Affleck, director of "Argo"
Argo Affleck yourself!
Ben Affleck may not be in the running for an Oscar for his direction of Warner Brothers' hit Argo, but his film has taken the top four picture or ensemble awards this month. First, Argo was named best picture at the Broadcast Film Critics Association's "Critics Choice" awards on January 10. Then, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association handed it the best motion picture-drama trophy on January 13 at the Golden Globes ceremony.
And this weekend, Mr. Affleck took the outstanding producer of a theatrical motion picture honor from the Producers Guild of America (PGA) on Saturday night, along with co-producers George Clooney and Grant Heslov, and the cast of Argo won the best ensemble trophy from the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) tonight.
With the PGA and SAG awards under its belt, Argo is now positioned to go all the way and collect the best picture Academy Award. However, AMPAS voters don't start voting until February 8 -- anything could happen in the next three weeks before the voting period ends. Lincoln, with 12 Oscar nominations, is seen as its chief competitor. Argo has 7 nominations. The Oscar ceremony is February 24.
Leaving Zero Dark Thirty's Kathryn Bigelow and Argo's Ben Affleck off the best director contenders -- one of the more controversial omissions from the annual list of nominees in years -- the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) stunned Hollywood when their 85th annual nominations were revealed Thursday morning. For a complete list, go to the Holograph's Oscar Nominations page.
In the acting categories, John Hawkes' turn in The Sessions and (less so) Marion Cotillard's role in Rust and Bone were surprising omissions for lead performances. As for the nine best picture candidates, Fox Searchlight's Beasts of the Southern Wild was probably the least expected, although it is much admired in the critical ranks. Although Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master lacked citations for best picture, director, cinematography, and original screenplay, its three acting principals were all rewarded with nominations.
In the craft categories, the hair and makeup artists for Lincoln were egregiously left off the slate. And in the foreign-language film category, the global success from France, The Intouchables, didn't make the cut. Totally ignored in the Oscar race were The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Cloud Atlas, The Dark Knight Rises, and Looper.
Emmanuelle Riva in "Amour"
The 47th annual National Society of Film Critics (NSFC) year-end awards showed a lot of affection for director Michael Haneke's Amour -- it won best picture, best director, and best actress for its star, Emmanuelle Riva. Widely expected to be among the five foreign-language Oscar nominees on Thursday, Amour has been critically hailed around the world and 2012 film festivals. The NSFC is the last major critics' organization to announce its awards for 2012 films.
Two films were awarded two prizes each: Lincoln and The Master. Daniel Day-Lewis won best actor for his title role in the former and Tony Kushner's script took the best screenplay award. Amy Adams was named best supporting actress for her work in The Master, and Mihai Malaimare, Jr.'s lensing took the best cinematography award.
Matthew McConaughey's work in both Magic Mike and Bernie won him the best supporting actor accolade, and The Gatekeepers took the best nonfiction prize.
In its 46-year history, the NSFC's best picture winner has matched that of the Academy's only five times: Annie Hall in 1977, Unforgiven in 1992, Schindler's List in 1993, Million Dollar Baby in 2004, and The Hurt Locker in 2009.
The NSFC awards were dedicated to the late Andrew Sarris, one of its found
That's right -- we're almost there. Nominees for the 85th annual Academy Awards will be revealed this Thursday morning, January 10. A shortened period of voting, new online voting procedures, and voting snafus may contribute to some unexpected anomalies in the annual announcement. And with one of the most wide-open competitions in memory, surprises are expected. (And the British Academy of Film & Television Arts makes its announcement the day before!)
But there are also a number of other events happening in probably the biggest week of the award season, including critic awards ceremonies, regional critics award announcements, and several guild announcements. Here's a quick rundown:
Guild Award Nominees
Because the Writers Guild of America (WGA) restricts its nominees to scripts produced under its Minimum Basic Agreement, a number of Oscar-eligible films were left off its 65th annual announcement yesterday of nominees for original, adapted, and documentary screenplays. Prominent screenwriters omitted in the original screenplay group include Quentin Tarantino for his popular but controversial Django Unchained, Michael Haneke for his chilly but critically embraced Amour, and Martin McDonagh for his oddball collection of buddies in Seven Psychopaths. On the adapted side, Tom Stoppard's take on Anna Karenina missed the cut, as did Lucy Alibar and Benh Zeitlin's script for Beasts of the Southern Wild.
Expected eligible original screenplays that appear on the WGA nominee list include The Master, Moonrise Kingdom, and Zero Dark Thirty. They will vie for the WGA trophy with scripts for Flight and Looper. Anticipated adapted screenplay nominees for the WGA award were Argo, Lincoln, and Silver Linings Playbook. They will compete with Life of Pi and The Perks of Being a Wallflower.
Six documentary screenplays were nominated, including Searching for Sugarman, the International Documentary Association (IDA) winner. For a list of all screenplay nominees and credited screenwriters, go here.