Tag Archives: Lincoln

The Oscars 2013: And the actual winners are…

25 Feb
Daniel Day-Lewis wins third Oscar for Lincoln

Daniel Day-Lewis: The Greatest Actor Who Ever Lived™

Best Picture: Argo With hindsight (and having now actually seen it, which I hadn’t when I predicted Lincoln in January), Argo seems an obvious winner. The Academy rewards films about the movies disproportionately – just look at The Artist. And it has the same message as Zero Dark Thirty – screw you, terrorists, America kicks ass! – without the unpalatable politics. It even has its own catchphrase, “Argo f*** yourself”, which is being repeated in film meetings across Hollywood. Interestingly, truth here is stranger than fiction. The real CIA agent behind the extradition of US embassy staff from Iran deliberately called his fictional film Argo after an old joke: “Knock knock.” “Who’s there?” “Argo.” “Argo who?” “Argo f*** yourself.” The title of the movie was, therefore, a barely coded “f*** you” to the Iranians they were duping.

Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln. I called this one right, not that that makes me Mystic Meg. With a third win, he is now officially The Greatest Actor Who Ever Lived™.

Actress: Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook. I mischievously called for Emmanuel Riva to win, on the grounds that her age is closer to that of most Academy voters, but there has been a growing Cult of Jennifer Lawrence in the last year, her chat show appearances turning into internet memes. She is unstoppably adorable, bizarrely untainted (so far) by Hollywood pretension. Even on the red carpet she was announcing how hungry she was, voicing what every stick-thin actress thought but would never say. Quite apart from her performance being great, people would have voted for her just to see her speech. She didn’t disappoint. After stumbling over her dress, she said: “You guys are just standing up because you feel bad that I fell over and that’s embarrassing.”

Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained. I don’t quite get this. Waltz was playing pretty much the same character with the same laborious elocution and loquacity as in Inglorious Basterds. Still, I guess they liked it enough the first time to give him an Oscar, so it makes sense to chuck another one on the fire.

Supporting Actress: Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables. Again, you didn’t have to be Mystic Meg to see this coming. Hathaway is evolving into a very complex and credible actress, able to switch effortlessly from frothy comedy to searing drama. [Her alcoholic in Rachel Getting Married was extraordinary.] Her brief role in Les Mis was such a stand-out, she was as firm a favourite to win as The Greatest Actor Who Ever Lived™.

Directing: Ang Lee, Life of Pi. Steven Spielberg had an epic subject, a terrific script, and The Greatest Actor Who Ever Lived™. As a director, all he really had to do was not screw it up. Whereas Life of Pi is pretty much unfilmable, and Lee did a bang-up job.

Foreign Language Film: Amour. If it’s nominated for Best Picture, you can be pretty sure it’s going to win this category.

Adapted Screenplay: Chris Terrio, Argo. It won Best Picture, so it’s going to win this. Sorry, Tony Kushner.

Original Screenplay: Quentin Tarantino, Django Unchained. A deserving winner. The problems I had with this film (see bit.ly/YgJfSV ) are down more to direction than writing. This was a big, ballsy piece of work with some unforgettable scenes and dialogue.

Animated Feature Film: Brave. This was Pixar’s blandest and most disappointing movie by far. Maybe Academicians don’t actually watch the cartoons. Mind you, Pirates! was not up to the usual Aardman standard, either, and Frankenweenie was perhaps always going to be too weird.

And the other awards went to….

Production Design: Lincoln.

Cinematography: Life of Pi.

Sound Mixing: Les Miserables.

Sound Editing (tie): Skyfall, Zero Dark Thirty.

Original Score: Life of Pi, Mychael Danna.

Original Song: Skyfall from Skyfall, Adele Adkins and Paul Epworth.

Costume: Anna Karenina.

Documentary Feature: Searching for Sugar Man.

Documentary (short subject): Inocente.

Film Editing: Argo.

Makeup and Hairstyling: Les Miserables.

Animated Short Film: Paperman.

Live Action Short Film: Curfew.

Visual Effects: Life of Pi.

Backstage at the Oscars: bit.ly/WjCnhI

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And the Oscar winners are…

10 Jan
Image

Daniel Day-Lewis, riding to Oscar glory. Again.

The Oscar noms are out! I love the Oscars. Even as a child, since I grew up in Canada, I would stay up late to watch the whole unedited splurge of ballgowns and orchestras and boom-tish jokes, hardly knowing who half the people were but fascinated by the ritual. It’s the closest thing America has in pomp and pageantry to a Royal wedding.

So believe me when I say I know already who’s going to win:

Best Picture: The nice surprises here are the lovely Beasts of the Southern Wild, and the extraordinary Amour – rare to have a foreign picture get the nod. Les Miserables will have a bucket-load of good will, Pi looks ravishing and there’s even an outside chance for Silver Linings Playbook, but really there’s just one possible winner: Lincoln. America feels bad about itself. Spielberg keeps reminding it of its racist past, through The Color Purple, Amistad and, if you will, E.T. Now he is eulogising the end of slavery.

Best Actor: A heavyweight line-up here. Hugh Jackman is well loved in the industry, and Hollywood loves a musical. Joaquin Phoenix was mesmerising in The Master, but does himself no favours with the Oscar committee (Anthony Hopkins has been pointedly snubbed for dissing the Awards a month ago). Denzel Washington also has a chance for a subtle, career-best performance in Flight. But who can stop Daniel Day-Lewis in full flow, accent and all?

Best Actress: Conversely, no heavyweights at all here. Jennifer Lawrence won’t win again, so soon.  It’s cute to nominate nine-year-old Quvenzhane Wallis, but good acting at that age is more down to director than performer. Emmanuelle Riva, at 85 the oldest ever nominee, has a very good chance at getting Amour deserved recognition, but then so does Jessica Chastain for Zero Dark Thirty, which received fewer noms than expected. It’s a close call, but I think sentiment will triumph over jingoism (plus the Academy voters have a median age of 62, so like an older actress).  The name in the envelope will be Riva’s.

Best Director: Can Spielberg win a fourth Oscar? Does the Pope say Hail Marys? Do bears eschew sanitary facilities in favour of the woods? It would be nice for Michael Haneke to win, and voters might just mistake technical accomplishment for direction and honour Ang Lee again, but Hollywood loves nothing more than an epic with a heart: Spielberg it is.

Best Screenplay: The voters in this category, ie fellow screenwriters, are a more discerning bunch. So best original screenplay will confound American expectations by going to Amour rather than to Django Unchained or Zero Dark Thirty. Best adapted screenplay could just go to the wonderful David O. Russell for Silver Linings Playbook, since it’s so rare to find a genuinely great rom-com, with a brain as well as a heart. But Tony Kushner’s Angels in America was one of the great works of the 20th century, and if Lincoln‘s winning the other big awards, he’ll have to win this one too.

See you back here on Feb 24 so I can say “told you so”… or else to see photographic evidence of me eating my hat.

Now read this… When I stood on stage at the Oscars: http://bit.ly/WjCnhI