Thursday, January 10, 2013

2013 Oscar Nominations

Academy of Motion Picture and Sciences(AMPAS) announced the nominations for the 2013 Oscar Awards this morning. Final winners are going to be nominated on Sunday, 24th February. Like every year, there were some surprises, some disappointments but most of the choices academy made were quite obvious. Now, that is to be taken as a good thing or bad is up to each one of us. In my opinion, I am rather happy with these nominations - probably a little bit more than I usually am. Before getting into the actual nominations I wanted to say that below, I have commented on 9 categories only because I think I am not knowledgeable enough to comment on others. There sill are quite a few movies that I have not seen yet. So in some cases, my comments are more like speculations based on whatever I read or heard. Following are the nominees and my brief comments on them.

Best Picture:
Zero Dark Thirty
Silver Linings Playbook
Life of Pi
Les Miserables
Django Unchained
Beasts of the Southern Wild

First 6 nominations were quite expected. Since we do not know how many nominations will be there until the announcement, my second batch of probables had Django and Amour along with The Master. So, I won't say I am surprised by them getting nominated as well. But Beasts certainly is a surprise. I liked this movie, especially Wallis in it but I didn't expect it to get nominated even with the complete ballot of 10.

Best Director:
Michael Haneke for Amour
Steven Spielberg for Lincoln
Ang Lee for Life of Pi
David O. Russell for Silver Linings Playbook
Benh Zeitlin for Beasts of the Southern Wild

This might be the most controversial category of the year. I am happily surprised by Haneke's inclusion as it is my favourite movie of the year so far. However, over the last few months that everyone started to take the Oscar predictions seriously, I am sure there isn't a single person who thought neither Affleck nor Bigelow would make this category. Bigelow has won almost every single critics award until now and it looked like it will be Spielberg vs Bigelow kind of race but Academy has given its own solution to this conundrum, I guess. And as for Ben Affleck, his direction was what made Argo one of my favourite movies of the year. I really wouldn't mind taking either Lee or Zeitlin out if it is to replace him.

Best Actor in a Leading Role:

Daniel Day-Lewis for Lincoln
Bradley Cooper for Silver Linings Playbook
Denzel Washington for Flight
Joaquin Phoenix for The Master
Hugh Jackman for Les Miserables

I was expecting John Hawkes to make in for Hugh Jackman (Yes, I kept Phoenix in depsite what he said and what everyone else said about how it will be reflected in nominations). I haven't seen either of the two movies but I hear Hugh Jackman is equally great in Les Miserables. So I wouldn't complain much, at least till I have seen then both. 

Best Actress in a Leading Role:

Jennifer Lawrence for Silver Linings Playbook 
Jessica Chastain for Zero Dark Thirty
Naomi Watts for The Impossible
Quvenzhane Wallis for Beast of the Southern Wild
Emmanuelle Riva for Amour

Again, I was expecting Cotillard in place of Wallis but they both gave really wonderful performances. So yes, Cotillard missed but at least she is replaced by another equally worthy choice. Beasts was the most surprising winner of these nominations but if I thought it had a chance somewhere, it was this category. So I don't have much to say about that as well and with Wallis in, we have oldest(Riva at 85) and youngest(Wallis at 9) Best Actress nominee ever in the same year. That's quite something. 

Best Actor in a Supporting Role:

Philip Seymour Hoffman in The Master
Tommy Lee Jones in Lincoln
Alan Arkin for Argo
Christoph Waltz for Django Unchained
Robert DeNiro for Silver Linings Playbook

I might sound like a broken record but this is another category that I missed by the single nomination and is replaced by an equally worthy nomination. DiCaprio out, Waltz in. Yes, DiCaprio broke out of his habit and did something different but Waltz was no way inferior to him. There also will be 'Where is Matthew McConaghey?' cry but I still haven't seen either of his supporting gigs. So No Comment.

Best Actress in Supporting Role:

Anne Hathaway for Les Miserables
Sally Field for Lincoln
Helen Hunt for The Sessions
Amy Adams for The Master
Jacki Weaver for Silver Linings Playbook

I woke up at 5:30 in the morning to watch these nominations. Only thing that would have made me regret it would have been Amy Adams not getting in here. But that didn't happen and I am happy now. However, with the inclusion of Jackie Weaver here, Silver Linings Playbook has been nominated in every single category it can be in Top 8. I do not have the statistics with me but I am sure that is pretty rare. It has officially become the movie that will decide when do I put my Top 10 of 2012.

Best Original Screenplay:

Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola for Moonrise Kingdom
Quentin Tarantino for Django Unchained
John Gatins for Flight
Mark Boal for Zero Dark Thirty
Michael Haneke for Amour

Flight in, The Master out. I am definitely not happy with it. I thought Denzel Washington did a great job in Flight but I had problem with the script. On the other hand, I know that is the exact same complaint of everyone who didn't like The Master much - great performances but story didn't really hold our attention. Seems like more academy member belong to the second category than first.

Best Adapted Screenplay:

Chris Terrio for Argo
Tony Kushner fro Lincoln
David Magee for Life of Pi
David O. Russell for Silver Linings Playbook
Benh Zeitlin and Lucy Alibar for Beasts of the Southern Wild

Out of the 9 categories I had some predictions about, this is sixth category where I got 4 out of 5 nominations right. Am I getting better or what? I had Les Miserables over Beasts which I still think is better but I am OK with this swap. Looking at the nominations, I believe this will be the most difficult category to predict with almost every nominee having a realistic chance.

Best Foreign Film:

A Royal Affair(Denmark)
War Witch(Norway)

AND at least in the last category, I finally get something to bitch about. I mean, how would you feel about an Oscar post with no criticizing the academy, right? Where Is The Intouchables? How can it NOT get nominated? This should make path clear for Amour though and the fact that it is also nominated as a Best Picture. Silver Lining, I guess.

So What do YOU Think? What did the Academy get right and what did they do Wrong? Please let me know...


  1. Great work, Shantanu... loved your overall assessment though I am still to watch a lot of them!!! :-)

    1. Thanks. I know, we usually get majority of them after Oscars. But hopefully, you'll get around to them sometime.

  2. nice briefing on the nominations :)

  3. I'm so happy for Haneke and Amour. That's one of my favorite decisions the Academy made, but I wish Trintignant could've been nominated too.

    The surprises didn't really bother me, although I'd at least replace Lee and Russell for Affleck and Bigelow in Best Director. It's too bad Cloud Atlas, Rust and Bone, and The Dark Knight Rises didn't get any attention either.

    1. Me too. I wouldn't have mind Trintignant. I saw The Sessions on Friday and thought John Hawkes was brilliant in it and we would've made it as well though I am happy with the current line-up as well.

      I haven't seen ZDT and Silver Linings yet. So, right now I am for taking Lee or Zeitlin for Affleck. Cloud Atlas not making shortlist for Hair and Make-up was ridiculous, just stupid. It should have for original score too. Also TDKR for some of the technical categories. Alas!!


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