Sunday, 24 February 2013

Oscar Best Picture Rundown #9:

ZERO DARK THIRTY

 Kathryn Bigelow’s first film since her Oscar winning turn behind the camera for The Hurt Locker  three years back, Zero Dark Thirty tracks the ten year hunt for Osama Bin Laden as led by Jessica Chastain’s Maya, a fiercely determined CIA operative. It seems to be that every year the Academy opts to pinpoint one film and shed controversial light over it, thus ruining its chances. This year,Bigelow’s thrillingly brilliant film is the victim, with several members requesting their fellow Academy members to boycott this film due to its depiction of torture. Shameful, considering the final hour of this film is the most thrilling hour of all the films nominated.


Will it win?
Once upon a time, it was a contender. It’s a crying shame – and a disservice to the past year in film – that it no longer is. The controversy has really damaged its chances, with the final nail in the coffin coming in the form of Bigelow not receiving a nomination in the Directing category. Many of the Academy members who spoke out about Zero Dark Thirty have since spoken out about their comments, stating they didn’t mean what they said… Alas, the damage had been done.

Film: 5/5
Chances of Winning: 2.5/5


Read my Zero Dark Thirty review here

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Oscars Best Picture Rundown #8:

SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK
David O. Russell’s first film since The Fighter was somewhat different to what everybody expected the guy to do, but his ever-present quirkiness is definitely embraced in Silver Linings Playbook, a charming comedy-drama about Bradley Cooper’s Pat who clashes with Jennifer Lawrence’s Tiffany following a stint in a mental institution. What ensues is an electrical on-screen chemistry - which is probably to thank for its huge success in the nominations.

Will it win?
I’ve said Argo is the former dark horse… Well, Silver Linings Playbook is officially the new one going into the ceremony. With the backing of producing and campaigning heavyweight Harvey Weinstein, the film could very well find awards glory tonight; Silver Linings is the first film to be nominated in all 5 main categories since Clint Eastwood’s Million Dollar Baby in 2006, so it’s carrying quite some heft. When you bear in mind that the winner of Best Editing has more often than not gone on to win Best Picture also, its appearance in this category should have  ensured  the film was an odds-on favourite. As it stands, its best chance of picking something up tonight goes to the fantastic Jennifer Lawrence for Best Actress, despite fierce competition.

Film: 4/5
 Chances of Winning: 3.5/5

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Oscar Best Picture Rundown #7:

 LINCOLN
When recounting the synopsis of each nominee, it’d be easy to assume Lincoln has won this race already; a grandiose focus on American president Abraham Lincoln – played by two-time winner, Daniel Day-Lewis – and his plan to both abolish slavery and end the Civil War, directed by Steven Spielberg. The screenplay cleverly encapsulates just a few months of the President’s life, meaning tension is squeezed out of a renowned historical turning point in America’s history, directed with a detached skill by one of the world's most famous directors. It's epic (in length) and oh-so talky... a true actor's film rather than a cinematic experience.

Will it win?
Let me put it this way; if Argo doesn’t win, Lincoln will. It sounds like a sitter. Day-Lewis is a shoo-in for Best Actor (him and Anne Hathaway for Les Mis can sit very tight tonight,) and Spielberg will be providing close battle in the Directing category – but the Academy seems to be favouring underdogs this year - well, in the nominations, at least. My call is that Lincoln won’t be winning half as much as everybody first expected it to, perhaps providing the biggest upset of the ceremony.


My Guess: Big shout, but nothing other than Best Actor for Daniel Day-Lewis 
Film: 4/5 
Chances of Winning: 4/5


Read my Lincoln review here

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Oscar Best Picture Rundown #6:

LIFE OF PI 

Out of all the nominees, Life of Pi has hauled in the most money at the box office, Ang Lee’s translation of Yann Martel’s ‘unfilmable’ novel proving – after all – very filmable, and equally as watchable. A success for all ages, its Oscar recognition was probable, especially in the technical categories. Ang Lee himself notched up a third nomination in the Directing category (his previous for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Brokeback Mountain - the latter for which he won.) Wholly deserved, he proved with Life of Pi he could juggle a huge budget, whilst dabbling in the realm of 3D – and still deliver a visually-awesome crowd-pleaser. Would have loved to see Richard Parker nominated, alas.

Will it win?
Considering my money is on Ang Lee to take the Best Director award from under Spielberg’s nose, its chances are raised… However, I’m sold on the fact that this year the winner of Best Director won’t be won by the filmmaker behind the Best Picture – so, its chances dwindle with that in mind. It has the Hugo appeal, but that film didn’t quite pip The Artist to the post last year.
Film: 4/5 
Chances of Winning: 3/5


Read my Life of Pi review here





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Oscar Best Picture Rundown #5

LES MISÉRABLES 
A film adaptation of mammoth musical Les Miserables (itself an adaptation of the Victor Hugo novel,) directed by a previous Oscar winner (The King’s Speech’s Tom Hooper) was always going to bait the Academy. Throw in the mixer the fact that this is the ‘first’ film to have had its actors sing on-set live (to this scale, anyway,) and the blistering performances – namely from the deadest cert of the night, Anne Hathaway (she’ll scoop Best Supporting Actress.)

Will it win?
This is the strange thing – no. It isn’t even deemed a frontrunner. In a year where Lincoln, Zero Dark Thirty, and now Argo, have been firmly fixed on everybody’s lips, Les Misérables has been largely ignored. In a sense, this means good ‘ole Les Mis could pose a threat – but it probably won’t. Hooper missing out on a Director nomination for a film directed better than the one he won for pretty much confirms this. This doesn't stop me having a strange feeling about it though.
Film: 4/5
Chances of Winning: 3/5 


Read my Les Misérables review here

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