They walk out of the embassy and into history: Argo (2012).

They walk out of the embassy and into history: Argo (2012).

The 85th annual Academy Awards, for the film year 2012.  The nominations were announced on 10 January 2013 and the awards were held on 24 February 2013.

Best Picture:  Argo

  • Lincoln
  • Les Misérables
  • Zero Dark Thirty
  • Django Unchained
  • Amour
  • Silver Linings Playbook
  • Life of Pi
  • Beasts of the Southern Wild

Most Surprising Omission:  Moonrise Kingdom

Best Eligible Film Not Nominated:  Anna Karenina

Rank (out of 85) Among Best Picture Years:  #16


That great shot where we first see Lincoln's face.

That great shot where we first see Lincoln’s face.

My Top 20:

  1. Lincoln
  2. Argo
  3. Les Misérables
  4. Zero Dark Thirty
  5. Anna Karenina
  6. Moonrise Kingdom
  7. Django Unchained
  8. Amour
  9. The Dark Knight Rises
  10. Skyfall
  11. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
  12. Brave
  13. Silver Linings Playbook
  14. Prometheus
  15. Life of Pi
  16. The Avengers
  17. Frankenweenie
  18. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
  19. The Master
  20. The Secret World of Arietty


Clearly the Joaquin Phoenix add campaign worked.

Clearly the Joaquin Phoenix add campaign worked.

I fully expected to begin this post with the fact that no category had ever been entirely populated with former winners.  I expected that category to be Best Director.  Instead, with three nominees I wasn’t expecting, things have changed.  Instead, that category is Best Supporting Actor.

But the biggest news might be that Harvey Weinstein has done it again, and how.  By getting David O. Russell into the Best Director race, he has managed to do some things that haven’t been done in a long time.  And for the first time, The Weinstein Company has two films nominated for Best Picture.  And since Silver Linings Playbook is in for Director, we may have a return of the Miramax-Dreamworks wars for BP we had in the late 90’s.

But that will be part of the list below.  I also have to add in Michael Haneke and Benh Zeitlin to my Oscar nominated directors list.  That will be tricky since this is Zeitlin’s first feature film.

I went 4 for 5 on all the acting, 5 for 5 on both screenplay categories and 8 for 9 on Picture (I thought Amour would only get in if there were 10), but I went a shocking 2 for 5 on Director.

So, on to the trivia: (more…)

Steven Spielberg working with Daniel Day-Lewis on the set of Lincoln (2012)

Steven Spielberg working with Daniel Day-Lewis on the set of Lincoln (2012)

So, here we are with the Directors Guild nominations for 2012.

Here are the nominees for this year:

  • Steven Spielberg  (Lincoln)  –  11th nomination
  • Ang Lee  (Life of Pi)  –  4th nomination
  • Kathryn Bigelow  (Zero Dark Thirty)  –  2nd nomination
  • Tom Hooper  (Les Miserables)  –  2nd nomination
  • Ben Affleck  (Argo)  –  1st nomination

And I’m doing much better than last year in that I have already seen four of the nominees (I still need to see ZDT).

Here’s the trivia for this year: (more…)

Kathryn Bigelow was the first female director to win the Oscar, though she is not the highest ranked female director on the list. We’ll see what happens after Zero Dark Thirty.

Now here be the fourth group of those directors designated as “Academy Award nominees,” by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.  These are the ones who rank between #150 and #126.  And again, the points system is all explained here.

We’re starting to pick up a group of directors that I would classify as “Studio Era Directors Who Were Over-rated by the Academy”.  We have your Clarence Brown (6 Oscar noms), your Gregory La Cava (2 Oscar noms), your Henry King (2 Oscar noms) and your Sam Wood (3 Oscar noms).  Those four directors combine for 13 Oscar nominations but they combine for only one Nighthawk nomination.

We also might have on this list the first example of “a director who is so low that people will claim this discredits my entire list because this particular director is revered by a certain portion of serious films fans.”  No, it’s not Godard (thank god), because he was never nominated for an Oscar.  But I’ll let you figure out who this one is (let the hyperbolic griping begin!).

Another reminder, like before.  The Sarris quotes (and categories) come from The American Cinema, which was published in 1968, so it has no directors after that.  The Thomson quotes come from the 2002 edition of The New Biographical Dictionary of Film, unless I specifically mention the 5th edition, which was published in 2010.

And again we have an example of the flexibility of these lists.  When I originally started this post, John Madden was at #143.  But, as I was about to publish it, I realized that I had The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel from Netflix and hadn’t watched it yet.  And because Madden has 1 – not directed a lot of films, 2 – had several films that were complete duds, and 3 – made a very good film, he jumps up 9 spots with just one film.  That does indeed happen.  And for the picture on the right, I went with Kathryn Bigelow.  If I take out The Hurt Locker, she (well she wouldn’t make the list because she wouldn’t be an Oscar nominee) would rank down at #207.  But that one film, partially because it is great, partially because she won the Oscar, partially because she had only made 7 films before it, raised her 108 points to #135.  But here I am ranking her when Zero Dark Thirty is about to come out.  What could that do?  If Zero Dark Thirty is on a par with The Hurt Locker (but without the Oscar win), it could in theory raise her another 87 points and she would come in at #97.  But I can’t really wait until I get a chance to see it before I do this more detailed post.  But, that’s what the end list is for, to add in all of these changes when all is said and done.  And of course, as people continue to make films, they continue to fluctuate.  And I can keep writing these posts until I die.

One last little trivia question, prompted by a rhetorical question that I ask down below.  What do the following films have in common: Lost Horizon, The Wizard of Oz, The Little Foxes, Yankee Doodle Dandy, Double Indemnity, Henry V, Father of the Bride, The Russians are Coming The Russians are Coming, The Conversation, Tootsie, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, Mystic River and The Aviator have in common?  And what do Mrs. Miniver and The Bridge in the River Kwai have in common along the same theme?  Answer at the end. (more…)

Congratulations to Kathryn Bigelow! First female to win the DGA and only the fourth to receive an Oscar nomination for Best Director.

So, since there are limitations on working on a free blogsite (not complaining – it’s free), and while I can put my old posts up at the top, it won’t list them as recently posted for tags and categories, I am also going to make a complete list.  My plan is to update one a day or so, leave it at the top of the page and then drop it back to its original spot.  But, here is the complete list, which should stay near the top and with which you can easily find all the categories.

I will also try to start throwing in some new posts, namely my focusing on Best Picture from each year (the posts I hope to collect into a book), but we’ll see how the next 5 weeks go.

But first, a bit of trivia.  This year was so predictable that I was able to write my article for LAMB on Best Actor last night, before the nominations were announced.  But there were a few little surprises, which I will throw up here.

  • Up in the Air just had its chances of winning Best Picture plummet.  No film has won without a Best Editing nomination since 1980.
  • Crazy Heart just become the first film to win Best Song at the Golden Globes and still manage to get a Best Song nomination at the Oscars since 2003.
  • The Blind Side was nominated for Best Picture in spite of not receiving a nomination from the Globes, PGA, BAFTA or BFCA.  It’s the first film to do that since Dangerous Liaisons in 1988.
  • For the second time in three years, all four acting categories have a nominee who already has an Oscar, though to be fair, Matt Damon’s Oscar is for Screenplay.
  • It’s also the fifth year in a row that two actresses face off in Best Actress who already have an Oscar – 2005 (Judi Dench and Charlize Theron), 2006 (Meryl Streep and Judi Dench), 2007 (Julie Christie and Cate Blanchett), 2008 (Meryl Streep and Angelina Jolie), and 2009 (Meryl Streep and Helen Mirren).
  • Maggie and Jake Gyllenhall now join Ethel and Lionel Barrymore, Eric and Julia Roberts and Warren Beatty and Shirley MacLaine as brother-sister combos with acting nominations. (more…)