Sunday, February 17, 2013

My 2013 Oscar Selections

Watching all the Movies nominated for the Top Oscar Awards as a tradition started in 2011, I followed it up in 2012 and continued this year as well. But this year there was a major difference – I had watched majority of the movies even before the nominations were announced & that was heartening to see! Thanks to being in Kuwait where almost all major Hollywood movie release simultaneously with the US!

2012 was another tremendous year for Hollywood; many brilliant movies were released and many of them made mind-boggling amount of money! Most notably The Dark Knight Rises, Skyfall and The Avengers – all 3 made it to the Billion Dollar Club and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey wasn’t too far behind (made 956 Million USD!) 2012 has the record for the most number of films making it to the top 50 with eight films, breaking 2009's record of seven films. It has also tied the record of 2011 for the most number of films crossing the $1 billion mark, with three films, and has beaten its record for the most number of films earning more than $500 million, with thirteen films. It is the only year to have all the top 10 highest-grossing films earn more than $600 million worldwide.

The James Bond series celebrated its 50th anniversary, Spielberg made a Biopic, Tarantino was back & how, Affleck once again proved he is a Master Class director, Kathryn Bigelow was back with another War thriller, Les Misérables was made again (yawn!), David O. Russell was back after “The Fighter”, Jennifer Lawrence proved that she is one of the finest actresses of this generation, De Niro got ANOTHER Oscar Nomination and Meryl Streep didn’t get any (now that’s BIG)!, Daniel Day-Lewis looks strong for his 3rd Oscar & would join a very special club, Ang Lee shows his class & splendid range again with the awe-inspiring Life of Pi, Six box-office blockbusters from previous years (Beauty and the Beast, Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, Titanic, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Finding Nemo, and Monsters, Inc.) were re-released in 3D and/or IMAX.

I finally finished this selection yesterday when I watched the last 2 pending ones – Frankenweenie & Wreck-It Ralph (both nominated for the “Best Animated Feature” Oscar)

Some snippets from this year’s Oscar Nominations –

The interesting ones to begin with:

  1. Film with Maximum nominations - Lincoln with 12 followed by Life of Pi (11) and Les Misérables and Silver Linings Playbook (8 each)
  2. Amour (French) became the first film in twelve years to be nominated for both Best Picture and Best Foreign Language Film; the last film to do so was Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (Mandarin) in 2000
  3. Emmanuelle Riva, at 85, became the oldest nominee in the Best Actress category for the film Amour
  4. Quvenzhané Wallis, at age 9, became the youngest nominated actress in the Best Actress category for the film Beasts of the Southern Wild
  5. Jennifer Lawrence (for Silver Linings Playbook), at 22, became the youngest Best Actress two-time nominee, having previously been nominated in 2010 for Winter's Bone.
  6. Silver Linings Playbook became the first film in 31 years to receive nominations in all four acting categories; the last film to do so was Reds in 1981.
  7. Silver Linings Playbook also became the first film in eight years to be nominated in the "Big Five" categories; the last film to do so was Million Dollar Baby in the 2004.
  8. For the first time in the history of the awards, the Best Supporting Actor category consists only of previous winners. Alan Arkin, Tommy Lee Jones, and Christoph Waltz have each won Best Supporting Actor; Phillip Seymour Hoffman has won Best Actor; and Robert De Niro has won in both award categories.
And now the misses:

  1. The most controversial and the most talked about is Ben Affleck not getting nominated for the “Best Director” Oscar; every other award ceremony leading has awarded Affleck. Maybe because the Oscars won’t & can't. 
  2. Surprisingly and shockingly Wes Anderson, Quentin Tarantino and Kathryn Bigelow: Not nominated for Moonrise Kingdom, Django Unchained and Zero Dark Thirty respectively
  3. I was disappointed not to find “The Dark Knight Rises”, “Moonrise Kingdom” and “The Master” getting nominated for the Best Picture category. – 3 brilliant movies but which missed out!
  4. Another big surprise was the omission of the French film ‘Untouchable’ in the Best Foreign Language Film category; it was such a wonderful film!
  5. The magnificent performances of Samuel L Jackson and Leonardo in Django Unchained were overlooked but then one single movie can’t have 3 Best Supporting Actor nominations for sure! So these 2 had to sacrifice for the awesomely brilliant Waltz

And now all the nominations, my predictions and my choices! I have also posted some of my reviews as well….

                                    Best Picture


Definitely amongst the top movies of this year for me! A poignant tale of eternal love and with a devastating ending, this movie made me cry 2-3 times just to see those emotions pouring out of the female lead's eyes! The Cinematography of Darius Khondji is par excellence and he has captured the scenes of the house so well! Helmets off to the Director for he has got out brilliant performances from the 2 leads and his tight handling of the script which would have easily got too melodramatic! Full marks to the 85-years old Emmanuelle Riva for acting so well...I can’t imagine myself being so fit at that age!!! This one just can't be wonder it is sweeping all awards rating 4/5...


My favourite movie from the weekend list! I always love movies based on real-life stories and when they are based in the Middle-East it makes them even better! It is a story of how a CIA Operative led the rescue of six U.S. diplomats from Tehran during the 1979 Iran hostage crisis...Ben Affleck is stupendous both in the direction and acting departments! The movie stays true to the script and never loses direction and that was the highlight for me! the suspense moments in the last scene were real awesome too! I loved this movie and hope it wins some awards too! My rating 4/5...

Beasts of the Southern Wild

I am not a big fan of the Fantasy-Drama genre but this surely is an is a lovely tale of a father-daughter relationship and about their miraculous lives! Quvenzhané Wallis as Hushpuppy is the star of the movie and a true revelation...superb debut performance...I am sure this would many Oscars and Golden Globes this year! My rating 3/5...

Django Unchained

Les Misérables

DLed this in early January but could not gather the guts to watch this as I hate the Musical Genre plus the 158 Mins duration of this movie was another deterrent...the only reason I wanted to watch this was due to it getting all those Oscar Nominations & complete my 2013 Oscar Fiesta! So after gathering all possible patience & guts I started this movie in the weekend but could not last 45 minutes! The way all dialogues have been sung put me off so much that it became intolerable! Finally decided to stop it and save myself....sorry folks...this movie would always remain "not rated" for me!

Life of Pi

It is not just a movie...It is a cinematic spectacle in itself....poetry on screen! I loved this movie to bits...the plot, cinematography, digital effects and the thrills! And the IMAX View made it even more brilliant...I shouted 2-3 times during the Tiger Jump scenes! Loved the ending too...the different interpretation...and this movie reinforced one of my fundas - Never Give-Up! It is one of the best of 2012 so far for rating 4/5...


A Biopic Movie, Daniel Day-Lewis and a historic plot...good enough reasons to watch this movie! And yeah these were even before all those GG Wins and Oscar nominations...and a brilliant movie for sure...DDL is simply superb - his dialogue delivery, mannerisms and demeanor are near perfect! The movie covers the final four months of Lincoln's life, focusing on his efforts in January 1865 to have the Thirteenth Amendment (Abolition of Slavery) to the US Constitution...his political maneuvers were superb and helped shaped one of the most important law-changes for the US...I ended up doing a lot of research on his life and no wonder he is considered one of the greatest! And DDL looks strikingly similar to Lincoln too...thanks to the awesome make-up...he definitely deserves his 2nd Oscar! My rating 4/5...

Silver Linings Playbook

One of the most quirky love-stories I have ever seen and a real nice movie...has loads of fun is a story of a man played by Cooper suffering from Bi-Polar Disorder and how he gets into a love affair with the strange and equally quirky Jennifer Lawrence...both Cooper & Lawrence are brilliant in the movie...and then there is ROBERT DE NIRO - in one of his meatiest roles in recent times - he is superb as always...I loved this movie! My rating 3.5/5...

Zero Dark Thirty

157-Minutes long & we didn't move from our couch even for a second! thats how how gripping this movie is...full of thrill & engaging moments...coupled with superb editing and cinematography...the plot talks about one of the most important encounters of our times and the painstaking research & intelligence efforts which went to achieve the near-impossible! It also shows the dark side of torture showered on the inmates but then that is a stark reality! It isn't easy to get the truth out! Kathryn Bigelow's direction is surely Oscar-worthy!
Now the Indian Connection - Osama Bin Laden's role is played by an Indian! The co-producer of this movie - Megan Ellison (daughter of Oracle CEO Larry Ellison) owns a company named - Annapurna Pictures :) and "Being Human" Tee is visible in one of the scenes! My rating 4/5 for this movie...go watch it folks...I am sure you would like it too...

Only 3 films have ever won best picture without best director, the last being "Driving Miss Daisy"…

And now my say:

Will win:                   Argo
Could win:                Lincoln
MY CHOICE:           Zero Dark Thirty

                                     Best Director

Michael Haneke – Amour

Haven’t watched any of his previous movies but what a masterpiece this movie is; kept me intrigued & glued throughout in spite of the fact that the plot was supposedly a slow & boring one plus to make such old-aged actors work such effortlessly! This movie made my eyes moist but at the same happy very happy just because of the sheer class of the entire crew!

Ang Lee – Life of Pi

One of the Directors having a splendid range! One can see that just looking at his repertoire - Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Hulk, Brokeback Mountain and now this movie which is an artistic masterpiece! A movie best enjoyed if watched in 3D IMAX (which I luckily did); the opening sequence on that huge screen made my money worth! I haven’t read the novel so can’t compare the two but still this definitely is a part of the movies which wowed me cinematically! 

David O. Russell – Silver Linings Playbook

I loved his last movie – The Fighter and this one was no different! The similarity between these 2 movies was the awesome lead cast! It is no easy task for a relatively young Director to line-up such brilliant actors/actresses for one movie! And read this: His next movie’s cast - Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Renner, Jennifer Lawrence, and Amy Adams.

Steven Spielberg – Lincoln

He is a legend, enough said! He brought back Lincoln to life in his period drama with effortless grace inspite of the length & pace of the movie! But then he had an awesome cast to help his cause! The tremendous DDL, TLJ and others too…He is a definite frontrunner for this award!

Benh Zeitlin – Beasts of the Southern Wild

The Darkhorse of this category! A Debutant Director getting this nomination is a huge achievement in itself! It is a beautiful movie and very-well made! His chances look quite tough for this award but maybe he can win the Best Adapted Screenplay award where he is co-nominated!

Will win:                   Steven Spielberg
Could win:                Ang Lee
MY CHOICE:           Michael Haneke


                                     Best Actor

Bradley Cooper – Silver Linings Playbook

The most unusual choice for this casting considering his previous works but he did a tremendous job playing the Bipolar character! IMHO has no chance of winning this award but then the Oscar Jury have done stranger things in the past!

Daniel Day-Lewis – Lincoln

The clear front-runner for this award! He is pretty much one of the best actors of the current generation with 2 Oscars [My Left Foot (1989) and There Will Be Blood (2007)] already under his belt – definitely up & ready for a threesome!

Hugh Jackman – Les Misérables

Please give me a break!

Joaquin Phoenix – The Master

My clear choice for this award but sadly he won’t win it afterall! It was a demanding & excruciatingly difficult role and he did with aplomb! By far one of his best performances IMHO…

Denzel Washington – Flight

The most undeserving nomination of the Oscars I say! He was below average rather sleepwalking through the entire movie. I feel sad for John Hawkes (The Sessions) and Jean-Louis Trintignant (Amour) who missed out!

Will win:                   Daniel Day-Lewis
Could win:                Bradley Cooper
MY CHOICE:           Joaquin Phoenix

                                                                Best Actress

Jessica Chastain – Zero Dark Thirty

She is real nice in the movie but definitely doesn’t deserve the Golden Statuette! Many other actresses would have done an equally good job in her place! Deserves the nomination nod but not the Oscar IMHO

Jennifer Lawrence – Silver Linings Playbook

The Darkhorse nominee and one of the finest actresses of this generation – she was awesome in 2010's Winter's Bone and in this one too! To hold her stead in front of all those master actors was simply too good! 

Emmanuelle Riva – Amour

My clear choice for this award! Her 85-years age could not be even a minor hindrance in giving this masterful performance…minimal dialogues but maximum effect! She is simply exquisite in the movie and I am sure without her this movie would have been well…just average! Just read her latest interview:
"This adventure, this gift, in the last stage of my life - it's not easy to measure up - but it's the exact moment in my life when I could do it. Before would have been too early. Later might have been too late. But it's a great treasure to participate in this film.I am very calm in the face of all of this. I am 85 years old. I am not going to flop about like a fish. What makes me nervous is these hours on the plane. Frankly, it seems like a hell of a journey to me. It's so long. But I will do things to the end. I will fall in someone's arms if I need to."

Quvenzhané Wallis – Beasts of the Southern Wild

The youngest person ever to be nominated as Best Actress & definitely a deserving one! An electrifying performance…Hushpuppy was the real life of this new-age disaster movie!

Naomi Watts – The Impossible

The weakest contender for this award – but I am clearly not undermining her performance! It was brilliant but the other 4 nominees were far better!

Will win:                   Too close to call
Could win:                Jennifer Lawrence
MY CHOICE:           Emmanuelle Riva

                            Best Supporting Actor

Alan Arkin – Argo

He definitely didn’t deserve his first Oscar in Little Miss Sunshine nor does he deserve to win this one! A good but nothing spectacular type of performance in this movie! There were far better ones in 2012!

Robert De Niro – Silver Linings Playbook

My favourite actor of all-time and no other actor can match my levels of affection! Hope he wins again! This is his seventh Oscar Nomination (he has won twice already)! He was awesome in this movie – a role tailor-made for De Niro that’s why I think he won’t win it!

Philip Seymour Hoffman – The Master

Another top performance from this master class actor – I love him to bits! He has already won an Oscar for “Capote” and has earned 2 other nominations in the past! He was ruthless in this movie and played the perfect foil to the crazy Phoenix!

Tommy Lee Jones – Lincoln

One of the top frontrunners for this Award for his restrained and classic performance in this Period Drama! His role is one of the most instrumental ones after the lead character and he played it with effortless ease – like he always does!

Christoph Waltz – Django Unchained

My clear choice! And yeah even without my Tarantino Bias! All we Hollywood lovers are so glad & lucky that Tarantino found him and pulled him out of the German Cinema! He was flawless, brilliant and crazily awesome in my favourite movie of 2012! His dialogue delivery class is unmatched IMHO!

Will win:                   Tommy Lee Jones
Could win:                De Niro or Seymour Hoffman
MY CHOICE:           Christoph Waltz

                           Best Supporting Actress

Amy Adams – The Master

She has given much better performances in the past and is one of my top favourite female actresses but just didn’t deserve this Award! Was strictly good – nothing spectacular!

Sally Field – Lincoln

She would always remain Forrest’s Mother in “Forrest Gump” for me! Definitely got to watch her “Norma Rae” for which she won the Best Actress Oscar in 1979 and she was really nice in Lincoln for sure!

Anne Hathaway – Les Misérables

Please give me a break, would you? All this hoopla for that blink & miss role! She has won all those applause but in my books she just doesn’t deserve to be here!

Helen Hunt – The Sessions

Clearly the winner in my books for her unblemished & masterful performance in this awesome movie which sadly just got this solitary nomination – definitely deserved more of them! Definitely one of my top female Hollywood actresses; hoping she wins this one!

Jacki Weaver – Silver Linings Playbook

Another deserving nomination – she was playing the wife of De Niro in this movie and that;s not a mean feat in itself!

Will win:                   Anne Hathaway
Could win:                Sally Field
MY CHOICE:           Helen Hunt

                Best Writing – Original Screenplay

Amour – Michael Haneke

Definitely deserves this nomination; for this simple yet so brilliant somber storyline!

Django Unchained – Quentin Tarantino

I love the way he writes Boy! Enough said…

Flight – John Gatins

Really? I mean is this for real?

Moonrise Kingdom – Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola

Consolation Nomination by the Oscar Jury – this movie definitely deserved more!

Zero Dark Thirty – Mark Boal

WTF…such a recent event; it would have been the easiest script ever to be written IMHO! But on a serious note I am sure that is the deserving reason as well as he had all the more pressure on himself to maintain the authencity!

Will win:                   Django Unchained
Could win:                Moonrise Kingdom
MY CHOICE:           Django Unchained

                        Best Animated Feature

Brave – Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman

A thoroughly enjoyable movie...I loved the graphics and the background score...and the 3D Experience made it even better...a definite must-watch for fairytale lovers...and the movie is fast-paced as well; never realized when it got rating 3.5/5...

Frankenweenie – Tim Burton

Loved the Graphics& the storyline! The B&W definitely added to the experience!

ParaNorman – Sam Fell and Chris Butler
Lovely comedy horror animated movie with awesome music and a nice storyline! Very skillfully created in the Stop-Motion format.

The Pirates! Band of Misfits – Peter Lord

Funny, entertaining and skillfully animated! I loved the plot, humour and the graphics plus the Background Score keeps the viewer engaged all the time...definitely a must-watch for all animation genre fans! My rating 3/5...

Wreck-It Ralph – Rich Moore

I didn’t like this movie much except for the last 20 minutes or so! I am sure am the exception out here as it is one of the clear favourites to win this!

Will win:                   Wreck-It-Ralph
Could win:                Frankenweenie
MY CHOICE:           Brave

                        Best Foreign Language Film

Amour (Austria)

Definitely amongst the top movies of this year for me! a poignant tale of eternal love and with a devastating ending, this movie made me cry 2-3 times just to see those emotions pouring out of the female lead's eyes! The Cinematography of Darius Khondji is par excellence and he has captured the scenes of the house so well! Helmets off to the Director for he has got out brilliant performances from the 2 leads and his tight handling of the script which would have easily got too melodramatic! Full marks to the 85-years old Emmanuelle Riva for acting so well...I can’t imagine myself being so fit at that age!!! This one just can't be wonder it is sweeping all awards rating 4/5...

Kon-Tiki (Norway)

A definite watch for all adventure & history lovers! It is a 2012 Norwegian historical drama film about the 1947 Kon-Tiki expedition in which the lead character Thor Heyerdahl and his group of fellow "sailors" travel 5000 miles on sea in their raft to prove his theory! The Cinematography and the graphics are brilliant...the thrill element keeps you rooted to the seat throughout! I love watching movies based on real-life incidents and being a Travel enthusiast this was a lovely experience...It is also nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars this rating 4/5...

No (Chile)
A Royal Affair (Denmark)
War Witch (Canada)

Could not get hold of the other 3 films so this award selection is incomplete! Nonetheless my say:

Will win:                   Amour
Could win:                Either of the other 4
MY CHOICE:           Amour

So these are my prediction and winners; didn’t list the other categories as I have minimal technical knowledge about them for example Best Writing – Adapted Screenplay, Best Film Editing, etc etc!

And now the sad part; clearly looks like that I won’t be able to watch the Oscars Ceremony LIVE as we would be vacationing in Dubai and as per DST it would start at 3 AM – no chance I would be awake at that time! Would check the updates once I get up and then DL the ceremony for a proper view! Last 4 years I have watched the Ceremony LIVE so it is going to be a big & sad miss!

Nonetheless 2013 has started on a grand note; not even 2 months have passed and I have already watched 60 Non-Hindi movies! Augurs well for the remaining 20 months! Watched 271 Non-Hindi movies in 2012 – hope to match this number in 2013!

Thanks to Wikipedia for providing me with almost all the inputs for this Blog Post; just can’t thank Wiki enough – it is almost a lifeline!

So till the time we meet again……..

Cheers to life…

Till then ride safe and have safe sex…

Hasta la Victoria Siempre…

Jai BoP! 


Mhnsh.T46 said...

The header image of the blog is a good one. Even the blog is a good one, appreciate the efforts taken.You have made it a point to express your dislikes and likes in this one without getting bothered by the public opinion which is another good thing. Keep up with the good work.

ashesh said...

Very comprehensive and impressive Nishant. I am wondering if you are planning a change in career ;)

Madhukar said...

Very nicely written bhai, your command over language is impressive and the rationale and analysis carried out for the blog meets the difficult criteria of brevity and exhaustiveness. Now for your nominations, I am sure you are one lucky gambler as I see your deck of cards loaded in your favour...keep up with the good work and rock on :)

Anonymous said...

Nice and exhaustive review Nishant...! I loved Amour too!.. Have seen the rest except Argo and Life of Pi..Les Miserables was really too much.. even I left it midway! Will be nice to see who won finally and then compare to ur list!!!

Rohit Sharma said...

Yeah man.
Finally get to read your blog days before the ceremony, I will certainly be watching it Live this time - will have to take a day off but who cares, its too big to be missed. You have a good vacation dude.
This was an awesome compilation but our choices this time are a bit different ;) - but Academy has surprised us in the past and this time too I will be shocked i guess.
One thing for sure that Tomy Lee Jones - aint winning this year for sure - I can bet whatever you say on that :D.

I am gonna go back again and do put my next comment shortly.

Rohit Sharma said...

Yes, Exactly like you - I too havent missed a single nominated movie in the last 3 years or so. Started taking them seriously 2011 onwards and the record has been intact so far. This year was a no surprise - 60% of movies we already saw before the nominations and rest we ate up in like January itself :) - I was done with my list by January end right like you.

I love Amour Totally and will be glad if it does picks up some of them at least.
Best Picture for me is Definitely DU but they will give it to Lincoln for sure.

Best Director - our choices meet :) - Michael shud pick it up and I will be shocked to death of Steven picks it up.
Best Actor - definitely DDL my choice is Joaquin but I know he wont.

Best Actress is Emmanuelle for sure but Chastain / Jennifer can shock us too. No chance for Naomi or That little girl.

Supporting Actor is definitely Waltz. I will never watching a Tomy Lee movie if he wins this and I mean it NEVER.

Best Supporting will be Helen Hunt for sure i will be surprised thought but plesantly if they do and I wll hit my head against wall if they give it to Jacki or Amy amd evem Sally - IMHO they dont deserve it any more than Helen and Anne shocked me. WTF.

Best Writing - it should be DU - QT - Period.

Animation - Pass

Foreign Film - No doubts on Amour.

PS: I will be recording the ceremony on HD this time around :)

Fenil Seta said...

Whew! That was a damn comprehensive list. Now I am really damnn curious to check out Amour! And also Les Miserables! :P

Great post...hope your predictions come true!