Peter O'Toole dies

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"Do you think I'm just anybody, Ali, do you?"

It is with a heavy heart, I mourn the passing of Peter O'Toole, the man who is synonymous with Lawrence of Arabia to me. So much dignity, all that sense of self, the most piercing eyes. Without him breathing life into T. E. Lawrence, how would I have found my past kindred? This is the most significant passing of a famous person to me since 2007 (Ingmar Bergman's passing). In a strange way, it's like saying goodbye to a very, very dear friend - ElAurens has passed away the second time. *sniffles*

Of course, the onscreen ElAurens lives forever - or at least as long as forever for me. He is within me, and remains there as one of the most influential, comforting presence in my life.

R.I.P.  I'm gonna go dream of the desert now. :`(

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Thoughts on Golden Globes Nominations

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By Griz

Wow, we sure overpredicted The Butler, it didn't get a single nomination! I really thought it was just the kind of gooey crap that the Golden Globes would eat up, especially with the Weinsteins backing it. But I guess they put their muscle behind their other Oscar ponies, like Philomena and August: Osage County. August: Osage County must be quite a stinker if the Weinsteins can't even get the Golden Globes to nominate it for Best Picture.

Biggest surprise has to be Rush for Best Picture?! Noms for Julie Delpy AND Greta Gerwig were a nice surprise too! Sally Hawkins got a nom! Those seem like the only real surprises to me. Kate Winslet isn't too surprising maybe, except I really haven't heard anything at all about the movie, and it just seemed to have vanished, which is why I (foolishly) went with Adele Extrareallylonglastname instead. A bit surprising that they didn't find room for Gandolfini either, but maybe they really did split the votes between lead and supporting?

Anyway, I'm pretty pleased with the choices, even though I've barely seen any of the movies yet. But it seems like a good mix and not too much starfucking (Johnny Depp in anything) or Oscar bait (The Butler).

Editor's Note

I was most pleased with The Great Beauty getting nominated - I hope it translates to an Oscar nom as well. I was similarly surprised with the lesser number of star pandering nominations (though it's still there in some sections where there is less consensus, like the song category - hello Taylor Swift and Bono!). Most surprising was Oprah Winfrey getting left on the cutting floor. She was such a sure nom, too.

Other questions I have: where did Rush come from? Why didn't anyone vote for August: Osange County - it seems so Oscarish? How did The Wind Rises get a nomination for foreign film and not animated feature? What does this mean for Adèle Exarchopoulos' Oscars chances? Why did people vote for The Past?

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Golden Globes 2014 Nominations predix / Nominations

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It's awards season, so naturally I'm making predictions, as I am some kind of Awards Season Geek. I don't have much time though, so there'll be very few comments.

My special guest, Griz, once again helpfully contributes (in purple). Actual nominations in red.

PICTURE (DRAMA)
12 years a slave
Gravity
Saving Mr. Banks X Philomena
The Butler X Rush
Captain Phillips
Alt. Blue Jasmine

• 12 Years a Slave
• The Butler
• Captain Phillips
• Gravity
• Saving Mr. Banks
———————————————————————
Alt: Blue Jasmine


PICTURE (COMEDY/MUSICAL)
August: Osage County X
Nebraska
The Wolf of Wall Street
American Hustle
Her
Alt. Inside Llewyn Davis

• American Hustle
• Her
• Inside Llewyn Davis
• Nebraska
• The Wolf of Wall Street
———————————————————————
Alt: August: Osage County


Why would anyone bet against the star power of August: Osage County. Ahem. X I eat crows.

DIRECTOR
Steve McQueen
Alfonso Cuarón
David O. Russell
Martin Scorsese X Paul Greengrass
Spike Jonze X Alexander Payne
Alt. Woody Allen

• Alfonso Cuarón - Gravity
• Paul Greengrass - Captain Phillips
• Steve McQueen - 12 Years a Slave
• David O. Russell - American Hustle
• Martin Scorsese - The Wolf of Wall Street
———————————————————————
Alt: Joel & Ethan Coen - Inside Llewyn Davis


ACTOR (DRAMA)
Chiwetel Ejiofor
Tom Hanks
Forest Whitaker X
Idris Elba
Matthew McConaughey
Alt. Robert Redford

• Chiwetel Ejiofor - 12 Years a Slave
• Tom Hanks - Captain Phillips
• Matthew McConaughey - Dallas Buyers Club
• Robert Redford - All Is Lost
• Forest Whitaker - The Butler
———————————————————————
Alt: Idris Elba - Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom


Will Elba squeak in by playing the recently deceased Mandela?

ACTOR (COMEDY/MUSICAL)
Leonardo DiCaprio
Joaquin Phoenix
Christian Bale
Bruce Dern
James Gandolfini X Oscar Isaac
Alt. Joseph Gordon-Levitt

• Bruce Dern - Nebraska
• Leonardo DiCaprio - The Wolf of Wall Street
• James Gandolfini - Enough Said
• Oscar Isaac - Inside Llewyn Davis
• Joaquin Phoenix - Her
———————————————————————
Alt: Christian Bale - American Hustle


Gandolfini's placement is confusing - lead or supporting? We'll see soon enough.

ACTRESS (DRAMA)
Cate Blanchette
Sandra Bullock
Emma Thompson
Judi Dench
Adèle Exarchopoulos X
Alt. Kate Winslet

• Cate Blanchett - Blue Jasmine
• Sandra Bullock - Gravity
• Judi Dench - Philomena
• Adèle Exarchoupoulus - Blue is the Warmest Colour
• Emma Thompson - Saving Mr. Banks
———————————————————————
Alt: Kate Winslet - Labor Day


I guess this category is pretty solid?

ACTRESS (COMEDY / MUSICAL)
Amy Adams
Meryl Streep
Julia Louis-Dreyfus
Melissa McCarthy X Julie Delpy
Scarlett Johansson X
Alt. Greta Gerwig

• Amy Adams - American Hustle
• Scarlett Johansson - Don Jon
• Julia Louis-Dreyfus - Enough Said
• Melissa McCarthy - The Heat
• Meryl Streep - August: Osage County
———————————————————————
Alt: Julie Delpy - Before Midnight


SUPPORTING ACTOR
Barkhad Abdi
Michael Fassbender
Jared Leto
Bradley Cooper
Daniel Bruhl
Alt. Jonah Hill

• Bradley Cooper - American Hustle
• Michael Fassbender - 12 Years a Slave
• Jared Leto - Dallas Buyers Club
• Tom Hanks - Saving Mr. Banks
• Jonah Hill - The Wolf of Wall Street
———————————————————————
Alt: Matthew McConaughey - Mud


SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Lupita Nyong'o
June Squibb
Jennifer Lawrence
Julia Roberts
Oprah Winfrey X
Alt. Sally Hawkins

• Jennifer Lawrence - American Hustle
• Lupita Nyong’o - 12 Years a Slave
• Julia Roberts - August: Osage County
• June Squibb - Nebraska
• Oprah Winfrey - The Butler
———————————————————————
Alt: Octavia Spencer - Fruitvale Station


SCREENPLAY
12 years a slave
Blue Jasmine X Her
American Hustle
Nebraska
August: Osage County X Philomena
Alt. The Wolf of Wall Street

• American Hustle
• Blue Jasmine
• Inside Llewyn Davis
• Nebraska
———————————————————————
Alt: Saving Mr. Banks


FOREIGN FILM FEATURE
Blue is the warmest colour
Wadjda X The Wind Rises
The hunt
The Great Beauty
The Past
Alt. The Grandmaster

• Blue is the Warmest Colour
• Gloria
• The Great Beauty
• The Past
• Wadjda
———————————————————————
Alt: The Hunt


I have no clue other than Blue. The Great Beauty is wishful thinking.

ANIMATED FEATURE
Frozen
Despicable Me 2
Monsters university X
The croods
The wind rises X
Alt. Epic

• Despicable Me 2
• Epic
• Frozen
• Monsters University
• The Wind Rises
———————————————————————
Alt: The Croods


SCORE
Saving Mr. Banks X All is lost
12 years a slave
Philomena X Mandela
Gravity
Monsters university X
Alt. The book thief

• 12 Years a Slave
• The Book Thief
• Gravity
• Philomena
• Saving Mr. Banks
———————————————————————
Alt: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug


SONG
Something from Frozen
Something from The Great Gatsby X Mandela
Something from Her X Inside Llewyn Davis
Something from The Hunger Games
And that one from Epic X One chance

Alt. The Butler, why not.

• Despicable Me 2
• Epic
• Frozen
• The Great Gatsby
• The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
———————————————————————
Alt: The Butler


And it begun.

Tally: Multiple nominations
12 Years a slave - 7 nominations
American Hustle - 6 nominations
Gravity - 4 nominations
Nebraska - 4 nominations
Captain Phillips - 4 nominations
Her - 3 nominations
Philomena - 3 nominations
Inside Llewyn Lewis - 3 nominations
Mandela - 3 nominations
Dallas Buyers Club - 2 nominations
The Wolf of Wall Street - 2 nominations
Rush - 2 nominations
All is lost - 2 nominations

How did we do?
Editor - 48/68 (without alternates) or 70.59%; 54/68 (with alternates) or 79.41%
Griz - 46/68 (without alternates) or 67.65%; 52/68 (with alternates) or 76.47%

I am victorious!

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Belated reviews of TIFF 2013 Films

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Le Grande Bellezza
So let's get to it, the list of films I'd seen from best to not really all that great.

1. Le Grande Bellezza (The Great Beauty; Sorrentino): An absurd, energetic, sumptuous feast for the senses, the like of which you'd think Italy no longer produces. This is old school spectacular film making (yes, think La Dolce Vita, any Fellini film really), and yet its relevant modern examination shows just how timeless classic films are. As it is Italy's entry for Foreign Oscars, I can only hope that by some miracle the Academy sees the film and votes for it. My eyes were dancing in their sockets.

2. La Vie d'Adèle – Chapitres 1 & 2 (Blue is the warmest colour; Kechiche): The more you read about this film, the less you'd probably like it. Well, at least that's what happened to me. There's something very off putting about this whole behind the scene gossip regarding the alleged tortured artistic process they went through. But I must remember the first time I sat down to watch the film. It was emotional, if I may put it lightly. Nay, it was a flooded experience. Adèle made it happen. Without her raw vulnerability, this would have just been an exploitative exercise (sorry Kechiche). However, unlike many of the films with strong female leads, the coming-of-age storyboard for the main characters is strong enough to withstand critical examination (thanks Kechiche). See it, not for the long lesbian sex scene (well, if you must), but for the vicarious experience of falling absolutely, resolutely, carnally in love.

3. Poziția copilului (Child's pose; Netzer): I don't know what's going on Romania but there are great films coming out of its woods every year, each astonishes in its own way. At its core, here is a journey to redemption, which really starts with accepting responsibility and the pain that comes with it. Character-driven and naturalistic in its unfolding of events, Călin Peter Netzer's film boasts a handful of strong, unexpected performances. Again, I hope the Academy sees the film and votes for it (Romania's entry), though, just like Beauty, this somewhat demanding film has no chance in hell of winning.

4. Tian zhu ding (A touch of sin; Jia): Holy magnolia, Jia went off the ledge. He's not known for bloody films so it's a bit of a surprise to see the seemingly inexplicable violence that ensues in each tableau. The characters are connected by magic, or flu virus, whichever the touch of evil maybe. Jia himself sees the film as a bit of a fantasy, as he uses the "wuxia" form as the backbone for his broad strokes. He does not explain the motivations too much - it's almost like you're reading breaking news on crimes. You know the details, the parties involved, the fear, but you don't know exactly why it has to happen just then. There's a surreal quality to the picture, so you are removed somewhat from what happens on screen, but not far enough that you leave untouched. It's a difficult but worthwhile film to see, especially if you're a Jia Zhangke fan.

5. Soshite chichi ni naru (Like father like son; Koreeda): There's a casual, no fuss style about this film. I am a huge fan of Koreeda, so naturally I ate this up. The man showed up to his own premiere in sweat pants, running shoes, and a long sweater. How can you not love him? For someone who captures such exact performances from children, you'd think he'd be aces at being a dad. He confessed, however, that he was much more like the aloof father in the film. Maybe that's why he wanted to put in that ending, which was the tidiest that I've seen from him. I must admit though, it is a lesser film from Koreeda. I enjoyed it, but it didn't shake me like his previous ones (After Life, Nobody Knows). They can't all be monumental I guess.

6. Kaze Tachinu (The wind rises; Miyazaki): There's not much to say about the film, other than everything you'd expect from Miyazaki minus the fantasy part is in the picture. There's a love story, but don't expect any overflow of emotions. He has to be the gentlest film maker there is. Even his earthquake is warm. It's definitely a "mature" film, but it is a smaller jewel in his studded crown.

7. Le Passé (The Past; Farhadi): It's a mildly disappointing follow up to the amazing "A Separation" by the promising Iranian director, Farhadi. You can see the intricate dramatic plot deftly being worked out on screen, but the sum of its weight is less than its parts. There's a general sense of "so what?" by the end of the film. I think he still got the human drama right. He just needs a different story, and a little less beating around the proverbial bush.

8. Blood ties (Canet): I don't know why I went to see it - I hated Canet's Little White Lies, and thought he was very mediocre as a director. Well, I live to regret it, because now I can't remember anything good about it. Oh, Clive Owen was decent. That's about it.

9. Moebius (Kim): I rarely ever get the sense that a director is just screwing with me, but watching Moebius, I really thought Kim Ki-duk did just that. Let me describe the film to you: it's a silent film (as in: no dialogue) about desire that involves incest, masturbation by way of physical pain, and castrations (Freudian impulses galore!). The drama is so beyond ridiculous that you can only laugh at what's on the screen. I'm sure that's the intended effect, but I don't qualify this as a valuable way of spending my time. If you're in for good ol' shock value, then you're in the right screening. Just don't expect too much depth, despite what the director believes he's bringing to the equation.

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Man of Steel

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I will post the most anticipated upcoming films shortly, but first:


As you know, I’m quite keen on comic books. Especially the ones about superheroes. I find the whole mythology surrounding superheroes fascinating.

    Take my favorite superhero, Superman. Not a great comic book. Not particularly well-drawn. But the mythology… The mythology is not only great, it’s unique.

    Now, a staple of the superhero mythology is, there’s the superhero and there’s the alter ego. Batman is actually Bruce Wayne, Spider-Man is actually Peter Parker. When that character wakes up in the morning, he’s Peter Parker. He has to put on a costume to become Spider-Man. And it is in that characteristic Superman stands alone.

    Superman didn’t become Superman. Superman was born Superman. When Superman wakes up in the morning, he’s Superman. His alter ego is Clark Kent. His outfit with the big red “S” – that’s the blanket he was wrapped in as a baby when the Kents found him. Those are his clothes. What Kent wears – the glasses, the business suit – that’s the costume. That’s the costume Superman wears to blend in with us.

    Clark Kent is how Superman views us. And what are the characteristics of Clark Kent? He’s weak… He’s unsure of himself… He’s a coward.

    Clark Kent is Superman’s critique on the whole human race.

    – Bill’s Superman speech from Kill Bill

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Roger Ebert dies

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Roger Ebert, the "constance" in film criticism, dies at 70, just two days after he announced that the cancer had come back and he was going to write less.

I guess he is not going to write anymore. And that makes me sad.

I remember first having heard of him via Siskel and Ebert at the movie. The show was a fluffy piece of TV I would watch because I'm just a movie geek and I'd watch the heck out of anything movie-related. It was not often that you'd see a TV show dedicated to talking semi seriously about films at the time (or even now), without dipping into celebrity culture. I was not an immediate Ebert fan, however. I found myself agreeing with Siskel more, and did not think much of the other guy.

It was not until I stumbled upon his writing while looking for a positive review on A.I.: Artificial Intelligence (a divisive film I was in love with) that I began to look at him differently. Our thumbs did not always point in the same direction, but I respected the way he included his impassioned, eloquent personal voice in his writing without being intrusive. There was such grace in the flow of his composition, the same kind that would carry him through out his illness. If there's anything I'd miss, this would be it. That and, well, he was just always there and now he is not.

I'd suggest reading that wonderful write up of Ebert's life from the link above. He had quite a colourful life alongside the movies he loved.

“Kindness covers all of my political beliefs,” he wrote, at the end of his memoir, “Life Itself.” “No need to spell them out. I believe that if, at the end, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and something to make ourselves a little happier, that is about the best we can do. To make others less happy is a crime. To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts. We must try to contribute joy to the world. That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances. We must try. I didn’t always know this and am happy I lived long enough to find it out.”
I think our thumbs are in the same direction on this one.

Rest in peace.

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Oscars 2013: The show goes on ... and on

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Given the feeling of dread coming into this year's telecast, I have to say the show went way better than I expected (yay for low expectations?) Here are the good, the bad, and the mediocre:

THE GOOD
Best bit from opening monologue: Sock puppet!


Second best bit from the opening monologue: Sally Field taking off with Seth.
Best joke on winners who talk too much: Play 'em off with Jaws!
Best speech: Daniel Day-Lewis
Best upset: Ang Lee!
Best musical number: Shirley Bassey upstaged everyone (J. Hudson went full glass-shattering impact - not pleasant)
Best J. Law moment:

Second best J. Law moment:


THE BAD
Worst McFarlane offence: lazy, sexist jokes (jab at women via Zero Dark Thirty? cringe-worthy)
Worst showcase for a movie: Les Miserables cast singing in their fabulous get-up. Somebody give these poor folks more diamonds for their fur!
Worst Catherine Zeta-Jones impersonation: did she lip sync or what?
Worst upset: Lincoln won for Best Production / Art Direction. You supposed they reinvented the wheel for this film?
Worst Oscar math: Lincoln led all nominations, lost to a movie that won only 3 categories total and without a Best Director nom, and then went home with only two statuettes - a production win, and Daniel Day-Lewis.
Second worst Oscar math: TIE? Zero Dark Thirty couldn't even win one full category (Sound editing).

THE MEDIOCRE
Most non-event performance: Adele
Most obvious sign of Globes envy: Michelle Obama handed out the last award, via a screen. How was that better than Clinton showing up in person at the Globes?
Presenting snoozefest: they should fire the writer for the presenters. And clone Will Ferrell & Kristen Wiig to present all the awards.


Griz:

THE GOOD:
• Quvenzhané Wallis showing her guns during the Best Actress presentation was adorable.
• Daniel Day-Lewis coming in at the last moment to give us one good and funny speech.
• Barbara Streisand singing at the tail-end of the In Memoriam section.
• Shirley Bassey belting out the greatest Bond song of them all.
• Michael Haneke’s complete inability to pronounce “thank you” and still saying it over and over again.
• A tie for Best Sound Editing! First time since 1994!
• The winners, on the whole, were deserving. It also feels appropriate that they spread the wealth since no one film really deserved to sweep.

THE BAD:
• Seth MacFarlane. But maybe not so much him as the writing/humour-level being set at 14-year-old boys. I expected it, but I was still disappointed that he and the writers couldn’t rise to the occasion to come up with something better than boob jokes. Lazy.
• The show was overlong, sluggish and sloppy. The song and dance performances felt like they were a few weeks of practice away from showtime, and the whole theme of music got old real fast.
• The speeches managed to be even worse and more mechanical than usual.
• Brave winning Animated Feature over Wreck-It Ralph. Just no.
• Ang Lee getting a freebie Best Director Oscar after the one who would’ve been the slam-dunk winner failed to get nominated. You could feel the energy in the room being all wrong when it was being presented.
• Just getting nominated was Beasts of the Southern Wild’s reward, but it’s too damn bad it didn’t win something.
• The Best Picture presentation via satellite link really takes something away. Nothing (too) wrong with having Michelle Obama present it, but she should’ve been there in the room instead.

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And the Oscars 2013 Winners are ...

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I'll comment on the show and how Griz and I did on our ballots at a later time. For now, I just want to put up the results:

PICTURE
Argo

DIRECTOR
Ang Lee, Life of Pi

ACTOR
Daniel Day Lewis, Lincoln

ACTRESS
Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook

SUPPORTING ACTOR
Christoph Waltz, Django unchained

SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Anne Hathaway, Les Misérables

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Django Unchained

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Argo

EDITING
Argo

CINEMATOGRAPHY
Life of Pi

ART DIRECTION / PRODUCTION DESIGN
Lincoln

COSTUMES
Anna Karenina

SOUND MIXING
Les Misérables

SOUND EDITING
Zero Dark Thirty
Skyfall

FOREIGN FILM FEATURE
Amour

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Searching for Sugar Man

ANIMATED FEATURE
Brave

VISUAL EFFECTS
Life of Pi

MAKE UP and HAIRSTYLING
Les Misérables

SCORE
Life of Pi

SONG
Skyfall

TALLY:
Life of Pi: 4 Director, Cinematography, Visual Effects, Score
Argo: 3 Picture, Adapted Screenplay, Editing
Les Misérables: 3 S. Actress, Sound mixing, Make up & Hair
Lincoln: 2 Actor, Art Direction
Django: 2 O. Screenplay, S. Actor
Skyfall: 2 Song, Sound Editing
Silver Linings Playbook: 1 Actress
Amour: 1 Foreign film
Zero Dark Thirty: 1 Sound editing
Brave: 1 Animated
Anna Karenina: 1 Costumes
Beasts: 0

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Oscars 2013 Winners Predictions!

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Arkin and Affleck
Oscars telecast is tomorrow, and as per tradition, it's time for me and my dear friend / contributor, Griz, to make our predictions. To help you make your own predix, dear precious invisible readers, here are the list of things to consider:

1. The Argo dilemma: This wouldn't have been such a tough Oscars prediction year if Argo didn't sweep the precursors and Ben Affleck got his directing nomination. Then we would have been looking at an easy Lincoln year. Instead, we have mad scramble for gold. If the Oscars follows the precursors and awards Best Picture to Argo, the film will have to pull these two other wins: Screenplay (over Lincoln / Silver Linings Playbook), and Editing (a consistent win for Best Picture winners in the past, over Zero Dark Thirty). That would give it 3 wins total, one of the lowest counts for a Best Picture winner in the history of Oscars (Crash was the last one to have only 3). It might win two other categories - Supporting Actor for Arkin, and Sound Editing - but the odds in those categories are not in its favour. For one, Supporting Actor has two other popular choices in Tommy Lee Jones and Christoph Waltz, and Arkin is the least deserving of the win (the nom was undeserving as well, but such is life). Sound Editing could go to Argo, but that would mean Zero Dark Thirty going home empty handed (which it might just, but what a shame it would be for a critically acclaimed Best Picture nominee to go home a complete loser). The other scenario? Oscars ignores precursors and goes with the obvious choice, considering the sheer number of nominations in all important categories: Lincoln. In that case, Argo's tally would range from nothing (Screenplay to Lincoln, Editing to Zero Dark Thirty) to just one win (Editing is its best bet of the two).

2. Lincoln's leading total number of nominations: It's a good bet that when a picture has the most number of nominations in most important categories, it's taking home the Best Picture prize. If the Academy adheres to this rule, then it would be one of the most upsetting AND safe Oscars picks ever, considering the way Argo has swept all important precursors.

3. Best Director: This is a wide open field. Let's break it down:
- Spielberg: for him - Lincoln's consolation big prize if Argo wins, and he's the director of the most nominated film. Against him - he's won before, and a boring choice. Still, he's got the best odds of winning the category.
- Lee: for him - Pi is actually the most showy in terms of direction, and for some reason, it looks to be well liked. Against him - not certain just how well loved Pi is, and Pi has no acting nomination.
- O. Russell: for him - Playbook is a crowd pleaser, backed by Weinstein (WEINSTEIN FACTOR!), and he got all his actors nominated for the film. Against him - it's a blandly directed film, and there are showier directing in the mix.
- Zeitlin: for him - freshness. Against him - nomination was his win, since the film is so small and too indie for him to win such a major prize.
- Haneke: for him - an avant garde director in the mix! Against him - an avant garde director in the mix!

4. Acting: Daniel Day Lewis, Jennifer Lawrence and Anne Hathaway are sure wins. People talk about the possibility of Riva taking the Actress win, but I'd say that's nothing more than wishful thinking. It's J. Law or no law. S. Actor is the only iffy category - Waltz should have this, since he won SAG, but Lincoln's love will probably lift Tommy Lee Jones above the pack.

5. Brave vs. Wreck-it Ralph: Annie gave the edge to Ralph, but having seen neither, I am a little on the fence about Brave - a Pixar film that looks to be quite traditional - losing the Oscars to Ralph. I'm going with Annie though, for I only play inside the circle of witchcraft.

6. Life of Pi surprise: Yes, Argo and Lincoln are the 1-2 punch contenders, but I wouldn't be surprised if when it's all said and done, Pi walks away with the most wins, just for its technical side prowess.

7. Django: For all Weinstein magic, there's a very real possibility that it's going home empty handed!

8. Weinstein factor: I have no idea how this is going to play out. Since the Master is pretty much dead on arrival, and Django unlikely to do much damage, that leaves Playbook the most hopeful Weinstein contender. What other party favours can he do for the little film? It won People's choice at TIFF, but will it come home with only one Actress win? Or can it pull other acting, directing, and writing wins?

With all that said, we've made our predictions (mine first, followed by Griz's). I've decided on the scenario that Argo is winning, and adjusted my other categories accordingly.

PICTURE
Argo
Alt. Lincoln

DIRECTOR
Steven Spielberg
Alt. Ang Lee

ACTOR
Daniel Day Lewis
Alt. Bradley Cooper

ACTRESS
Jennifer Lawrence
Alt. Emmanuelle Riva

SUPPORTING ACTOR
Tommy Lee Jones
Alt. Christoph Waltz

SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Anne Hathaway
Alt. Sally Field

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Amour
Alt. Zero Dark Thirty

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Argo
Alt. Silver Linings Playbook

EDITING
Argo
Alt. Zero Dark Thirty

CINEMATOGRAPHY
Life of Pi
Alt. Skyfall

ART DIRECTION / PRODUCTION DESIGN
Life of Pi
Alt. Anna Karenina

COSTUMES
Anna Karenina
Alt. Les Misérables

SOUND MIXING
Les Misérables
Alt. Argo

SOUND EDITING
Zero Dark Thirty
Alt. Argo

FOREIGN FILM FEATURE
Amour
Alt. Rebelle (War Witch)

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Searching for Sugar Man
Alt. The Gatekeepers

ANIMATED FEATURE
Wreck-It Ralph
Alt. Brave

VISUAL EFFECTS
Life of Pi
Alt. The hobbit

MAKE UP and HAIRSTYLING
Les Misérables
Alt. The hobbit

SCORE
Life of Pi
Alt. Lincoln

SONG
Skyfall
Alt. Les Misérables

Griz's Predix:
BEST PICTURE: Argo
Alternate: Lincoln

BEST DIRECTOR: Steven Spielberg - Lincoln
Alternate: Ang Lee - Life of Pi

BEST ACTOR: Daniel Day-Lewis - Lincoln
Alternate: Joaquin Phoenix - The Master

BEST ACTRESS: Jennifer Lawrence - Silver Linings Playbook
Alternate: Jessica Chastain - Zero Dark Thirty

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Tommy Lee Jones - Lincoln
Alternate: Robert De Niro - Silver Linings Playbook

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Anne Hathaway - Les Misérables
Alternate: Sally Field - Lincoln

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Amour
Alternate: Django Unchained

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: Argo
Alternate: Silver Linings Playbook

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: Life of Pi
Alternate: Anna Karenina

BEST FILM EDITING: Argo
Alternate: Lincoln

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN: Les Misérables
Alternate: Anna Karenina

BEST COSTUME DESIGN: Anna Karenina
Alternate: Mirror Mirror

BEST MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING: The Hobbit
Alternate: Les Misérables

BEST SOUND EDITING: Life of Pi
Alternate: Skyfall

BEST SOUND MIXING: Les Misérables
Alternate: Skyfall

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS: Life of Pi
Alternate: The Hobbit

BEST ORIGINAL SONG: “Skyfall” - Skyfall
Alternate: “Pi’s Lullaby” - Life of Pi

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE: Life of Pi
Alternate: Argo

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM: Wreck-It Ralph
Alternate: Brave

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM: Amour
Alternate: War Witch

BEST DOCUMENTARY: Searching for Sugar Man
Alternate: How To Survive A Plague

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Cinemaps' 2012 Year in Review

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'TIS WAS THE YEAR OF ...
J. Law in Hunger Games & Silver Linings Playbook
The rise and rise of J. Law: Ms. Spunkness is at the forefront of new Hollywood, and she's on fire. On one occasion, literally.

Hollywood endings: Argo. Silver Linings Playbook. The Avengers. Beasts of the Southern Wild. Even Zero Dark Thirty. Not that I want to spoil these movies, but, well, I just did, didn't I. Hm. <-- SPOILERSS!

Law of diminishing returns: Hobbit < LOTR. Bourne Legacy < every other Bourne. Prometheus < Alien / Aliens. The Dark Knight Rises < That one with Heath Ledger. Brave < previous Pixar films (a wild guess!). Seven Psychopaths < In Bruges. And MIB3 exists only to remind us Will Smith has a deal with the devil in exchange for eternal youth.

Worst added special effect: Joseph Gordon Levitt's prosthetic nose to look like Bruce Willis. It's like having exposed nipples on your face. Who can pay attention to anything else?

CINEMAPS' BEST OF
It was really hard to fill out 10 slots for best picture, actually. So. Much. Mediocrity. That's why I'm just gonna do 5. Because, honestly, that's all I can really stand behind? This is my preferential ballot!
Top 5
01. Tabu (Gomes, 2012) ****1/2
'Tis the most magical film of the year. I love it with all my black and white heart.
02. Holy Motors (Carax, 2012) ****1/2
What outrageous, daring fun. It even has a musical number! In the middle of a meta-film about the life of cinematic performances and the tragic immortality thereof!
03. Amour (Haneke, 2012) ****
A very stoic, confident European film to accompany its softer sister-from-a-different-mother Canadian film on love and letting go at the end of life, Sarah Polley's Away from her.
04. Zero Dark Thirty (Bigelow, 2012) ****
That quiet, powerful ending proves Bigelow is one mother***** playing in the big league, to semi-quote the cheesiest line from the film that announced the arrival of Jessica Chastain.
05. The Master (Anderson, 2012) ****
Beautiful and manic take on the cult of saviour, with power-full performances from all three leads.
Tabu
Grin & Pulse
The most fun I had watching a movie this past year
Tabu
The Avengers
Life of Pi
Hodejegerne (Headhunters)
The cabin in the woods

Director
Miguel Gomes, Tabu
Leos Carax, Holy Motors
Michael Haneke, Amour
Kathryn Bigelow, Zero Dark Thirty
P. T. Anderson, The Master
Denis Lavant in Holy Motors
Performances
Denis Lavant, Holy Motors
Daniel Day Lewis, Lincoln
Philip Seymour Hoffman, The Master
Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained
Jean-Louis Trintignant, Amour

Quvenzhané Wallis, Beasts of the Southern Wild
Matthew McConaughey, Magic Mike
Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook
Aksel Hennie, Hodejegerne (Headhunters)
Mark Ruffalo, The Avengers

Writing
Holy Motors
Amour
The Master
Bernie
Django Unchained

Editing
Tabu
Holy Motors
Zero Dark Thirty
The Master
Hodejegerne (Headhunters)

Cinematography
Tabu
The Master
Life of Pi
Holy Motors
Moonrise Kingdom
Moonrise Kingdom
Art Direction
Moonrise Kingdom
Life of Pi
Prometheus
Django Unchained
The Hobbit
Richard Parker, Life of Pi
Effects
Life of Pi
The hobbit
Prometheus
The cabin in the Woods
The Avengers

Sound
Tabu
Zero Dark Thirty
The hobbit
Beasts of the Southern Wild
The raid: redemption

Score
The hobbit
The Dark Knight Rises
Moonrise Kingdom
Looper
Django Unchained

Uncharted (yet to be seen)
Barbara
Cosmopolis
Queen of Versailles
Brave
Wreck-it Ralph
Les Misérables
Cloud Atlas
Anna Karenina

Charted
****1/2
Tabu (Gomes, 2012)
Holy Motors (Carax, 2012)

****
Amour (Haneke, 2012)
Zero Dark Thirty (Bigelow, 2012)
The Master (Anderson, 2012)

***1/2
Hodejegerne (Headhunters; Tyldum, 2012)
Bernie (Linklater, 2012)
Django Unchained (Tarantino, 2012)
Life of Pi (Lee, 2012)
Argo (Affleck, 2012)
The hobbit: an Unexpected Journey (Jackson, 2012)
Skyfall (Mendes, 2012)
Beasts of the Southern Wild (Zeitlin, 2012)
Marvel's The Avengers (Whedon, 2012)
Moonrise Kingdom (Anderson, 2012)
Serbuan maut (The raid: redemption; Evans, 2012)
Prometheus (Scott, 2012)

***
Lincoln (Spielberg, 2012)
Silver Linings Playbook (Russell, 2012)
The Cabin in the Woods (Goddard, 2012)
Seven Psychopaths (McDonagh, 2012)
Looper (Johnson, 2012)
Batman: The dark knight rises (Nolan, 2012)
The place beyond the pines (Cianfrance, 2012)

**1/2
The Bourne Legacy (Gilroy, 2012)
Magic Mike (Soderberg, 2012)
Men in Black 3 (Sonnenfeld,2012)

**
Total recall (Wiseman, 2012)
The hunger games (Ross, 2012)

*
The dictator (Charles, 2012)

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Drive posters, re-imagined

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A series of re-imagined posters of Drive here. This one is my favourite:

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Golden Globes 2013 Winners

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How are the hostesses doing?
"When it comes to torture, I would trust the woman who was married to James Cameron for 3 years."
"[Ann Hathaway in Les Miserables looked] so abandoned, like when she was on stage at the Oscars."
"You know what Taylor Swift, stay away from Michael J. Fox's son. She needs some me time."
Endorsement of the night / guest of the night / how is the Oscars going to compete with this? Bill Clinton!!?
Best reaction / presenters: Kristen Wiig and Will Ferrell ("you get out!" They should host the Oscars?)


Best Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz
Best Score: Life of Pi
Best Song: Skyfall - Adele
Best Actress (Comedy): Jennifer Lawrence ("thank you Harvey for killing whoever you needed to kill to get me up here.")
Best Supporting Actress: Ann Hathaway
Best Screenplay: Quentin Tarantino
Best Foreign Film: Amour
Best Animated Film: Brave
Best Director: Ben Affleck
Best Actor (Comedy): Hugh Jackman!?
Best Picture (Comedy): Les Miserables!
Best Actress (Drama): Jessica Chastain! (yay!)
Best Actor (Drama): Daniel Day Lewis
Best Picture (Drama): Argo!

Well that was a fun show, especially the first half. After Jodie Foster came out, it kinda went unfunny. This Globes show clears up nothing for the Oscars, except J. Law is winning Best Actress.  And Daniel Day Lewis is winning Ben Affleck. And, right, Adele.

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Shock & Awe: Oscars 2013

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A truly shocking set of nominations were announced yesterday by the Academy. Of all the years that I've been following the awards season game, this one takes the cake in the crazy department. A part of it, I believe, had to do with moving the nominations up so early: people had little guidance from traditional precursors before casting that ballot. A part of it, too, might be that only a handful of films had truly reached the heart of the balloteers. There may be too many second tier films - in heartstring matters - to fill the rest of the ballots with, that they vary wildly across the field. Or maybe I'm just talking out of my wazoo. Anyway, here are some yays and nays:

YAY:
Amour surprised with Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress, Best Script and Best foreign film nomination. And it's doing that without being a blockbuster action film! Haneke, in particular, made the Director category so much more prestigious by his nomination. He's no middle-brow director. What was the Academy thinking?

Acting nominations for The Master cast, which put on a master class of its craft (you can rap this line out). It helps to ease a little pain from P.T. Anderson's no show.

NAY:
The biggest shock is Bigelow's lack of nomination. I don't know how good the movie is just yet (I'll know soon), but judging from the trailer and everyone's breathless praise of Bigelow, I don't get how she could be left off the ballot, no matter who's nominated. If it was my ballot, I would take O. Russell out. How was that film best directed of the year again? No offense to Russell, as I like him just fine, but Playbook is no great gift of direction in any year.

Tabu and Holy Motors had no chance in hell, but this was such a crazy year that I feel like they really missed their chance at some much deserved gold glory.

To elaborate further, here are some sane thoughts by guest contributor, Griz:

While the Academy tends to throw in a few surprises each year, this year they decided to throw out everything we thought we knew and gave us something completely different. It was a shocker to even the most seasoned Oscar geeks, but mostly a pleasant shocker (as long as your last name wasn’t Affleck or Bigelow). But at least Ben Affleck and Kathryn Bigelow can take solace in the fact that they both garnered Best Picture nominations as producers of their respective films, and that they missed out on directing nominations to one of the most solid and worthy line-ups in years.

So why did their nominees end up being so different from what most were expecting? Was it the earlier deadline, which meant voters were able to make up their own minds rather than having guilds and other awards shows dictate which ones to pick? Did the switch to online voting (and the troubles that brought along) affect the result? Whatever the cause, as much as I initially thought January 10th was too early to announce nominees, I am now fully on board with them doing it like this for all years to come.

The financial success of the traditional Oscar films is also one of the stories of the year, and what may be responsible to some degree for the extremely poor showing by summer blockbusters. When you’ve got films like Lincoln, Django Unchained, Argo and Les Misérables (and soon Life of Pi) making over $100m in North America, who needs Batman? No one, apparently, seeing as The Dark Knight Rises garnered not a single nomination (compared to the eight nominations and two wins The Dark Knight earned). The Avengers could only muster one nomination, the same for Prometheus. The Hobbit could only manage a meager three. Even the sound categories, typically the bastion of blockbusters, were dominated by the Best Picture nominees.

Anyway, here’s what I liked and didn’t like about this year’s nominations:

THE GOOD:

• The Academy going their own way and nominating the likes of Amour and Beasts of the Southern Wild for Best Picture. One can only hope this is a sign of things to come.

• Tim Burton scored the second Oscar nomination of his career, and I’ll always be happy seeing him nominated, even if it is “only” for Best Animated Feature.

• Even though I didn’t quite love it as much as others did, I was really happy seeing Wes Anderson (and Roman Coppola) getting a screenplay nomination for Moonrise Kingdom.

• The same could be said for Aardman’s terribly-titled but very enjoyable The Pirates! Band of Misfits. I fully expected it to get nominated, but was still pleased to see it get in.

• Song nominees worth a damn. When they only managed to nominate two songs last year I thought the category should be scrapped altogether, but this year’s slate is actually pretty good, even if they left off a few more deserving contenders.

• The Best Actress category featuring the oldest- and youngest-ever nominees in Emmanuelle Riva and Quvenzhané Wallis is like a feelgood Hollywood movie in its own right.

THE BAD:

• The snubbing of Ben Affleck and Kathryn Bigelow. Even if all the directors that were nominated are equally worthy, it’s hard not to feel for these two stumbling on the final stretch.

• I just don’t see what everyone else saw in Alan Arkin’s performance in Argo. He’s funny, gets a few great lines, but that’s it. There’s nothing even remotely substantial about his role, and there were many other far more worthy contenders left out.

• Another undeserving nominee would be Thomas Newman for Skyfall. I’ve always loved his scores in the past, but he was a real mismatch to score a James Bond movie and the result is pretty bland.

• Speaking of Skyfall, Judi Dench missing a Best Supporting Actress nomination stings considering she was the heart and soul of the movie.

• The Hobbit, for all its flaws, deserved much better than its three nominations. Production Design, Score and Song were just as worthy as anything that was nominated in those categories.

• Prometheus, another flawed film, also deserved better than its sole visual effects nomination. Ridley Scott knows how to put a film together, and I would’ve loved to see it grab a few more.

• Though all five Best Actor nominees strike me as very deserving, it’s hard not to feel for John Hawkes, who likely was sixth on the ballot and probably missed out mostly because he’s not well-known enough.

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Oscar 2013 nominees! Amour! Beasts! Shock, shock all around!

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PICTURE
Argo
Django Unchained
Les Misérables
Life of Pi
Lincoln
Silver Linings Playbook
Zero Dark Thirty
Amour!!!

Alt. Beasts of the Southern Wild!!!

DIRECTOR
Steven Spielberg
Ang Lee
Michael Haneke
Benh Zeitlin
Alt. David O. Russell!

Wow, DGA be damned. No Kathryn Bigelow! Benh Zeitlin AND Haneke surprise!!

ACTOR
Daniel Day Lewis
Hugh Jackman
Danzel Washington
Bradley Cooper
Joaquin Phoenix

ACTRESS
Jennifer Lawrence
Jessica Chastain
Naomi Watts
Emmanuelle Riva
Quvenzhané Wallis!!!

SUPPORTING ACTOR
Alan Arkin
Tommy Lee Jones
Philip Seymour Hoffman
Robert De Niro
Christoph Waltz

SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Amy Adams
Sally Field
Ann Hathaway
Helen Hunt
Jacki Weaver!
They really loved Playbook!

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Zero Dark Thirty
Moonrise Kingdom
Django Unchained
Amour
Flight

The Master got screwed!

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Lincoln
Argo
Silver Linings Playbook
Life of Pi
Beasts of the Southern Wild

EDITING
Zero Dark Thirty
Argo
Lincoln
Life of Pi
Silver Linings Playbook!!!
Wow, Playbook for EDITING? Really??

CINEMATOGRAPHY
Anna Karenina
Life of Pi
Lincoln
Skyfall
Alt. Django Unchained

ART DIRECTION / PRODUCTION DESIGN
Life of Pi
Lincoln
Les Misérables
Anna Karenina
The Hobbit

COSTUMES
Anna Karenina
Les Misérables
Lincoln
Mirror Mirror
Snow White and the Huntsman

The hobbit was snubbed! Maybe they think it's all recycled from the previous series?

SOUND MIXING
Lincoln
Skyfall
Les Misérables
Argo
Life of Pi

SOUND EDITING
Argo
Skyfall
Zero Dark Thirty
Django Unchained
Life of Pi

FOREIGN FILM FEATURE
Amour
No
Kon-Tiki
A Royal Affair
Alt. War Witch
No Intouchables!!

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
The Gatekeepers
Searching for Sugar Man
How to survive a plague
5 Broken Cameras
Alt. The invisible war

ANIMATED FEATURE
Brave
Frankenweenie
Paranorman
Pirates 
Wreck-It Ralph

VISUAL EFFECTS
The hobbit
The Avengers
Life of Pi
Prometheus
Snow White and the Huntsman

What is with Snow White showing up places?

MAKE UP and HAIRSTYLING
The hobbit
Les Miz
Hitchcock!

SCORE
Argo
Life of Pi
Lincoln
Anna Karenina
Skyfall

SONG
Skyfall
Les Misérables
Life of Pi
Chasing Ice?
Ted

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Oscars 2013 Nominations Predictions!

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Oh thank goodness the interweb came crawling back, because I was without it for hours and thought this list would not happen! Tradition can not be thwarted! The nominations will be announced tomorrow morning, and once again I make predictions. I will also try to do live nominations, with the birds. This year is one of the trickiest years for Oscars predictions in, like, forever. My special guest, Grizzly, helpfully contributes (in purple?!).

*A special note for the Picture category - the rule is as follows:
"... all active and life members of the Academy who shall vote in the order of their preference for not more than five pictures. The pictures receiving the highest number of votes shall become the nominations for final voting for the Best Picture award. There may not be more than ten nor fewer than five nominations; however, no picture shall be nominated that receives less than five percent of the total votes cast."

PICTURE
Argo
Django Unchained
Les Misérables
Life of Pi
Lincoln
Silver Linings Playbook
Zero Dark Thirty

Alt. Beasts of the Southern Wild

• Argo
• Django Unchained
• Les Misérables
• Life of Pi
• Lincoln
• Silver Linings Playbook
• Zero Dark Thirty

Alternate: Amour
Adding in the uncertainty of this year's weak flock of birds is the fact that the rule makes it so we could have a very unholy number of best picture nominees rather than a nice, even 5 or 10. So we're going for 7 here, and I may be kicking myself for not adding Skyfall. I'm torn, because Skyfall seems like a good bet, but a Bond movie for best picture sounds rather out of AMPAS' snuggie zone. So there's that. I have no horse in this race - my horse is not even galloping anywhere near the Oscar radar. It's too busy eating rainbows to bother with AMPAS gold? Loner, forever.

DIRECTOR
Ben Affleck
Steven Spielberg
Ang Lee
Kathryn Bigelow
Tom Hooper
Alt. David O. Russell
• Ben Affleck - Argo
• Kathryn Bigelow - Zero Dark Thirty
• Tom Hooper - Les Misérables
• Ang Lee - Life of Pi
• Steven Spielberg - Lincoln

Alternate: Quentin Tarantino - Django Unchained
The DGA is throwing Tom Hooper into the race for fun here, but what of Weinstein's clout to push one of his directors for a nomination? For now, I'm going with the DGA, but O. Russell may just make a break for it. Why not Quentin Tarantino, you say? Because ... I'm not feeling Django, man.

ACTOR
Daniel Day Lewis
Hugh Jackman
Danzel Washington
Bradley Cooper
Joaquin Phoenix
Alt. John Hawkes
• Bradley Cooper - Silver Linings Playbook
• Daniel Day-Lewis - Lincoln
• Hugh Jackman - Les Misérables
• Joaquin Phoenix - The Master
• Denzel Washington - Flight

Alternate: John Hawkes - The Sessions

I do have a horse in this race: Joaquin Phoenix!!!! Please let SAG be wrong. I haven't seen John Hawkes in The Sessions, but sight unseen I'm gonna take him out to make space for Joaquin. Or maybe Danzel could move aside to make room for both?

ACTRESS
Jennifer Lawrence
Jessica Chastain
Marion Cotillard
Naomi Watts
Emmanuelle Riva
Alt. Rachel Weisz
• Jessica Chastain - Zero Dark Thirty
• Marion Cotillard - Rust and Bone
• Jennifer Lawrence - Silver Linings Playbook
• Emmanuelle Riva - Amour
• Naomi Watts - The Impossible

Alternate: Rachel Weisz - The Deep Blue Sea

The only reason I'm sticking with Emmanuelle Riva, even though it doesn't really make sense (if you're nominating her, why don't you nominate the film?) is because I don't believe Deep Blue Sea has been seen by enough people. Heck, I hadn't even heard of it until her name started to pop up in the precursors. I'm pretty sure that if enough people had seen her in it, she'd get a nomination, simply because she's just such a darling and a beautiful actress and quite honestly if you don't love her you are made of drift wood.

SUPPORTING ACTOR
Alan Arkin
Tommy Lee Jones
Philip Seymour Hoffman
Robert De Niro
Christoph Waltz

Alt. Leonardo DiCaprio
• Alan Arkin - Argo
• Robert De Niro - Silver Linings Playbook
• Philip Seymour Hoffman - The Master
• Tommy Lee Jones - Lincoln
• Christoph Waltz - Django Unchained

Alternate: Javier Bardem - Skyfall

I really hope one of the Django actors makes it in, and may that person be Christoph Waltz. What is Alan Arkin doing in this category? He really does not deserve a spot in this category this year. It's one of those names that got stuck in the precursors and just won't die.

SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Amy Adams
Sally Field
Ann Hathaway
Helen Hunt
Nicole Kidman

Alt. Judi Dench
• Amy Adams - The Master
• Sally Field - Lincoln
• Anne Hathaway - Les Misérables
• Helen Hunt - The Sessions
• Nicole Kidman - The Paperboy

Alternate: Judi Dench - Skyfall

Maggie Smith did get a SAG nomination, but I'm thinking one should never underestimate the good will towards Dame Dench and the Bond blockbuster. It may just happen.


ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Zero Dark Thirty
Moonrise Kingdom
Django Unchained
The master
Amour

Alt. Looper
• Amour
• Django Unchained
• The Master
• Moonrise Kingdom
• Zero Dark Thirty

Alternate: Looper

I have ordered my predix according to what I'm most sure with. After Moonrise Kingdom though, I have no clue if any of the rest would make it in. IT IS THAT UNCERTAIN.

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Lincoln
Argo
Silver Linings Playbook
Life of Pi
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Alt. The perks of being a wallflower
• Argo
• Les Misérables
• Life of Pi
• Lincoln
• Silver Linings Playbook

Alternate: Beasts of the Southern Wild

The fifth spot is really shakey, but Beasts, if it has any fan at all, will make an appearance here. AMPAS likes rewarding small indie movies in the writing category, out of pity.

EDITING
Zero Dark Thirty
Argo
Lincoln
Life of Pi
Les Misérables
Alt. Django Unchained
• Argo
• Django Unchained
• Les Misérables
• Lincoln
• Zero Dark Thirty

Alternate: Life of Pi

As much as I love Tarantino, Django's weakest aspect is its editing. I'm semi-voting here by leaving Django out, but also because I believe Life of Pi is way more popular than people give it credits for.

CINEMATOGRAPHY
Anna Karenina
Les Misérables
Life of Pi
Lincoln
Skyfall
Alt. Django Unchained
• Anna Karenina
• Les Misérables
• Life of Pi
• Lincoln
• Skyfall

Alternate: Django Unchained

I'm just following the ASC nominations. Plus, they're all big guns. Hard to imagine them missing the bullet. Yeahhhhh that makes no dollar.

ART DIRECTION / PRODUCTION DESIGN
Life of Pi
Lincoln
Les Misérables
Anna Karenina
The Hobbit
Alt. The Master
• Anna Karenina
• Cloud Atlas
• The Hobbit
• Les Misérables
• Lincoln

Alternate: Django Unchained

There are many worthy nominees in this category, so we'll see how we're gonna fare comes tomorrow morning. The hobbit may not make it, though that would be a travesty.

COSTUMES
Anna Karenina
The hobbit
Les Misérables
Lincoln
Django Unchained
Alt. Cloud Atlas
• Anna Karenina
• The Hobbit
• Les Misérables
• Lincoln
• Mirror Mirror

Alternate: A Royal Affair

Django's entries: the KKK precursors' regal, and Django ridiculous blue get up. FTW!

SOUND MIXING
The hobbit
Lincoln
Skyfall
Les Misérables
Zero Dark Thirty
Alt. The Dark Knight Rises
• The Avengers
• Django Unchained
• The Hobbit
• Lincoln
• Skyfall

Alternate: Les Misérables

Thank you, precursors.

SOUND EDITING
Argo
Skyfall
Zero Dark Thirty
Lincoln
Les Misérables
Alt. The hobbit
• The Avengers
• Django Unchained
• The Hobbit
• Prometheus
• Skyfall

Alternate: Lincoln

No thank you, precursors.
FOREIGN FILM FEATURE
Amour
The Intouchables
No
Kon-Tiki
A Royal Affair
Alt. War Witch
• Amour (Austria)
• The Intouchables (France)
• No (Chile)
• A Royal Affair (Denmark)
• War Witch (Canada)

Alternate: Kon-Tiki (Norway)

Other than Amour, I don't know what else would be there. Surprise time!

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
The Gatekeepers
Searching for Sugar Man
How to survive a plague
Bully
Queen of Versailles
Alt. The invisible war
• Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry
• The Gatekeepers
• How to Survive a Plague
• The Imposter
• Searching for Sugar Man

Alternate: This Is Not a Film

I have only heard of Queen of Versailles. This category last year was so random, I don't expect anything less confusing this time around.

ANIMATED FEATURE
Brave
Frankenweenie
Paranorman
Pirates
Wreck-It Ralph
Alt. Rise of the Guardians
• Brave
• Frankenweenie
• ParaNorman
• The Pirates! Band of Misfits
• Wreck-It Ralph

Alternate: A Liar’s Autobiography

So very weak sugar. There should really be only 3 nominees?

VISUAL EFFECTS
The hobbit
The Avengers
Life of Pi
Prometheus
The Dark Knight Rises
Alt. Skyfall
• The Avengers
• The Dark Knight Rises
• The Hobbit
• Life of Pi
• Prometheus

Alternate: Cloud Atlas

Life of Pi really has a chance of winning here. Skyfall could sneak in just for being well liked, in place of Prometheus. But that would be lame.

MAKE UP & HAIRSTYLING
The hobbit
Les Miz
Lincoln
Alt. Looper
• The Hobbit
• Lincoln
• Men in Black 3

Alternate: Looper

I'm laughing at my Looper alternate. I'm only putting it in because I remember how much the Academy likes prosthetic nose. It's pretty hard to miss the giant distraction that is JGL trying to look like Bruce Willis.

SCORE
Argo
Life of Pi
Lincoln
Anna Karenina
Brave
Alt. Cloud Atlas
• Anna Karenina
• Argo
• The Hobbit
• Life of Pi
• Lincoln

Alternate: Brave

I really can't remember any of these scores. Okay, maybe Life of Pi. And The Hobbit. Why am I putting Lincoln here? I work in such mysterious ways.

SONG
Skyfall
White Snow & the Huntsman
Les Misérables
Django Unchained
Life of Pi

Alt. Brave
• Brave
• Django Unchained
• Les Misérables
• Life of Pi
• Skyfall

Alternate: The Hunger Games

No Taylor Swift!!!! Ineligible! Ha!

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