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« Sundance: With "Boyhood", We Can Officially Crown Richard Linklater King of Longform Cinema | Main | Box Office: America Goes For a Ride Along »
Monday
Jan202014

PGA Shocks With a Best Picture Tie

My head is spinning as fast as Sandra Bullock's  tiny white spacesuit body during Gravity's terrifying opening calamity. The Producers Guild of America, which could have ended the Oscar race with a win for American Hustle, which had been gaining strength via high profile Globe and SAG wins, opted out. They looked elsewhere, two elsewheres to be specific: Gravity and 12 Years a Slave tied for their top prize. [more...]

I demand a tiebreaker in which Chiwetel Ejiofor and Sandra Bullock reenact Parent Trap in split screen. Best Hayley Mills impersonation wins! (Full disclosure: This is my preferred tiebreaker for competitions of any sort.)

But if we must stick to this year's movies, I demand a tiebreaker in which Steve McQueen remakes Gravity and Alfonso Cuaron remakes 12 Years a Slave. As I typed that I was immediately enthralled fantasizing about what McQueen would do with endless shots of fear and stamina on an actress's face in outer space means that I'm rooting for 12 Years a Slave to win the Oscar but you knew that already.

This tie is a true shock considering the PGA votes with a preferential ballot. That means a tie is something like a miracle and mathematically far-fetched in the way that a 50/50 vote count could never be. The spread the wealth decisions at the Globes and the BFCA and SAG are also pointing us to a highly unpredictable final outcome. Essentially none of the frontrunners have been able to  really rally enough of a voting block to storm its way to the Best Picture win on March 2nd. We have a true three-way race on our hand. That's something we haven't seen in arguably 13 years (since the great Traffic/Gladiator/Crouching Tiger wars) So, let's break it down.


 AMERICAN HUSTLE Golden Globe (Comedy), SAG, NYFCC
In its corner: It's the freshest. The acting branch is (by far) Oscar's largest branch so they wield a lot of power in final outcomes and the fact that it's nominated in all four acting categories - half of which were in very competitive races for nominations.  David O. Russell's momenum from Silver Linings Playbook. Box Office Hit. If they're really undecided on more serious pictures, they may just want something to cheer them up. And lately Oscar has preferred the lighter pictures so we might just be in one of those cycles. 
Working Against It: Even people who love it don't seem to think that it's the best movie of the year (despite that NYFCC)

GRAVITY Golden Globe (Director), PGA, LAFCA
In its corner: Some people think it's a masterpiece. Cuaron is the frontrunner for Best Director even if his film can't manage the win, People think of this movie as revolutionizing the cinema. Sandra Bullock and George Clooney are two of the biggest and most popular stars both within the industry and outside of it
Working Against It: No sci-fi film has ever won Best Picture, it hasn't been able to manage Best Picture wins that weren't ties really. See also LAFCA. It's arguably both thin and short. I personally love short movies but statistically speaking Oscar is a size queen, preferring both massive girth (Meaty Themes/Obvious "Importance") and length (Running Times)

12 YEARS A SLAVE Golden Globe (Drama), PGA 
In its corner: Some people (including me) think it's a masterpiece. McQueen has been building with each film so he has artistic momentum. It has the obvious "Important" factor in spades. Voters could feel really great about rewarding it. Oscar likes movies about history and civil rights struggles.
Working against it: Some people have refused to see it due to is honest depiction of the inhumanity of slavery. Though it seems indelicate to point it out (because obviously many factors decide each best picture race) no black-centric picture has ever won Best Picture. Given how amazing the movie is shouldn't it have had an easier time steamrolling awards season? 

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Reader Comments (50)

How about a tiebreaker in which both Cuaron and McQueen remake American Hustle?

January 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPitry

lol at your referencing Oscar as a size queen.

In that case, it should be a no-brainer that he'll go with the black-centric 12 Years a Slave.

Sorry, couldn't help myself.

January 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAllen

Nate- what a year! I thought last year was nuts, but this is truly crazy. It's about time too, now I can get drunk on Oscar night and FEEL the buzz when the envelopes are opened.

I definitely think this is now between 12 Years a Slave and Gravity; American Hustle could still prevail but with the voters now not feeling obligated to vote for it with such a range of competition, and it's over all shallowness- I think it's done- and good riddance; it would have made a TERRIBLE Best Picture winner.

Gravity seems like the smooth alternate to 12 Years a Slave- its appreciated by a wide range of branches, made a ton of money and was the great escape of 2013. No screenplay nod aside (which was not expected in the slightest), it can easily rack up wins in Picture, Director, Cinematography, Art Direction, Sound, Sound-Editing, Film Editing, Visual Effects and Original Score. Literally- everything but Best Actress, which I can't fathom going to anyone but the lovely Cate Blanchett.

12 Years a Slave, however, has a more prestigious story to tell, importance and 'doing the right thing' factor; plus it boasts Brad Pitt as the key producer, who unlike his star-friend counterpart George Clooney, has never won before. With big Hollywood names rallying behind him, this could be his first win. On top of that, the film seems good to go in Supporting Actress and Adapted Screenplay. So probably less wins than Gravity, but still- recent Best Picture winners have had a relatively low count in terms of win (Argo winning 3, King's Speech 4, how many did The Artist win- 5?)

This is a very tough one to call. DGA is (most likely) going to Alfonso Cuaron. Does that clear things up though? Not at all. For the first time since- hell, 2000 (Traffic, Gladiator, Crouching Tiger-Hidden Dragon) we have a true chariot race. I would say 2002, but no one thought The Pianist would be competitive until THE actual night when envelopes were being opened. Crash wasn't seen as a factor until Jack Nicholson ended the world briefly. Yep - 2013 will be a nailbiter for sure!

January 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJason Travis

Benedict's Oscar is humongous!

January 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

Can you guys imagine if Marty wins the DGA? Hilarious. Wide open

January 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterNic Meyers

This was a most pleasant - albeit shocking - surprise. I dreaded the PGA going to the overrated American Hustle but now feel a little better that it might go to the much worthier Gravity or 12YAS.

I think - like most others - that Oscar will split Picture and Director like they did last year. Pic - 12YAS and Director - Cuaron for Gravity.

American Hustle should have just received one gong - Make-up/Hair but now think it will get Original Screenplay and Costume Design. I will spew if it gets Picture, Director, or any Acting oscars.

January 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBette Streep

@Nic If only! Or Greengrass! (not that he'd deserve it but that'd mess up everyone predictions!)

January 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCarlos

@Pitry: I think Cuaron will win that tiebreak (just look at Y Tu Mama Tambien). But I'm imrested to see how McQueen approach a comedy here.

January 20, 2014 | Unregistered Commentertombeet

I think Gravity is the shallow movie. Adding in a little dead daughter psychobabble between explosions doesn't make you "deep", though obviously that was the intention there.

January 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

A retrospective of BP winners wo deal with race or racially charged themes:

- 1939 - Gone with the Wind. Only movie dealing w/ slavery ever to win. Although a classic, the movie has been criticized for its portrayal of "happy" slaves. The black talent on the movie was recognized with a historical Oscar win (Hattie McDaniel, Supporting Actress, playing Mammy, the "happy" slave mentioned before)

- 1967 - In the Heat of the Night. Another classic. Features Sidney Poitier slapping a white man on the face. Only the white talent on the movie was recognized. Sidney Poitier, himself a historical Oscar winner, was not nominated. Rod Steiger, the white actor opposite him, was nomiinated and won Best Actor. Though groundbreaking, the movie has also grown into being criticized for the usage of the "Magical Negro" trope.

- 1989 - Driving Miss Daisy. Morgan Freeman was nominated for Best Actor but lost to DDL (My Left Foot). All other nominees and winners were white. Academy caught grief (even from Kim Basinger on stage at the very Academy Awards show) for giving Do The Right Thing the short stick. Only actor recognized from DTRT was Danny Aiello (white). Also of notice, Jessica Tandy won Best Actress in spite of being nearly 81. Her win is historical in the sense that she was nearly 3 times older than your average Best Actress Oscar winner and it marks the only time in Academy history when they went for an old lady over a super steamy hot star turn by sizzling actress at the peak of her career, Michelle Pfeiffer. This is relevant because it can only be attibuted to Nathaniel's cold feet.

- 2005 - Crash. Easily the blackest film to ever win best picture. Massive ensemble of racially diverse actors. None of the actors of color managed to score a nomination, not even Thandie Newton (Bafta winner) or Don Cheadle (nominated for SAG). All talent recognized was white. Crash's epic upset is frequently attibuted to homophobia, which means that Academy members don't mind voting for racially charged movies, so long as it is to cockblock a gay themed one. It's a phenomenon called the Academy's Thunderdome of Bigotry (I may or may not have made that up, it's up to you to find out).

- 2013 - 12YAS on the run. Black talent recognized with nominations: Steve McQueen (Producer and Director), Chiwetel Ejiofor (Actor), Lupita Nyong'o (Supporting Actress), John Ridley (writer) and, indirectly, Solomon Northup (hero and author of the book that originated the movie). Contenders for wins: Ejiofor (long shot), Nyong'o (contender), McQueen (contender) and Ridley (frontrunner). Going for it: best movie of the year by such a large margin that all other nominees (even the good ones) feel like second-hand embarassments next to it; going against it: best movie almost never wins, too violent, too depressing and other whiny arguments against it, and, of course, the biggest hurdle to overcome, Nathaniel's pulling for it, which means Jessica Tandy will win again.

So the conclusion is: David O'Russell IS Jessica Tandy, which explains why they had the camera on Emmanuelle Riva last year when they were showing the nominees boxes for Best Director. They got their old ladies mixed up!

January 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCarmen Sandiego

Carmen -- i appreciate that you understand how difficult a hurdle I am. I am the cursed tiki doll. If i love you, say goodbye to your Oscar dreams!

Suzanne - agreed.

January 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterNATHANIEL R

May I ask all of you to start writing Cuarón properly?

January 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMiss Jean Brodie

I, for one, am perfectly okay with this tie. Not just because Gravity and 12 Years a Slave are in my top three of 2013 (with Her at #2, but that's not happening), but because it makes the race more interesting.

Or does it? Gravity was by far the biggest hit on the DGA's ballot, but it couldn't pull off a solo win. On the other hand, The Hurt Locker managed a win on its own against the massive Avatar, and 12 Years couldn't manage it here. On the other hand 12 Years also just won the Critic's Choice, so it definitely has the momentum right now, tie or not. DGA will decide this if it goes to Cuaron or McQueen. If it goes to anyone else... this is gonna be an EXCITING awards season!

Also, I saw Gravity again last night and I'm so glad to say that it holds up - at least for me. The seams still show a bit, but there were some things that were even better than I remembered. Greatest experience I've had in a movie theater in quite some time.

January 20, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterdenny

Cuarón! Cuarón! with an accent!!! Shit!

January 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMiss Jean Brodie

Oh simmer down, Miss Jean Brodie. Good Christ. Like any modern web editor trying to keep up with awards season madness, he's typing these things quickly and doesn't always reach for the immediate aid of the special character. Enjoy the post and don't rag on a man who's clearly otherwise sensitive to all kinds of ethnic and artistic minutiae.

Nat: "I personally love short movies but statistically speaking Oscar is a size queen, preferring both massive girth and length." You NASTY.

And I'm surprised you didn't mention 12 Years' ability to turn off (unfortunate) squeamish voters as something working against it.

January 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKurtis O

I don't think Gravity is deep, but is it a flaw? It's a hell of a ride. Nobody complained Duel wasn't deep enough.

January 20, 2014 | Unregistered Commentercal roth

Its great the race is wide open. This site in particular complains (is complaining) about locks on nominations and wins and its going to be nice to have some suspense.

I'm not surprised that AH did win. Its messy and looks wasteful. Not attributes producers appreciate. And neither 12YaS or Gravity could be called messy or wasteful. If anything they look like money well spent.

January 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHenry

I love the penis analogy to Gravity lmao.

January 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMariah Carey

cal: Agreed. Now, because of that, I don't think Gravity's an "A" level total masterpiece, but it's thrilling and I CERTAINLY don't begrudge Gravity being Oscar favoured. (B+) They've made FAR worse Best Picture win choices (Gentleman's Agreement, A Beautiful Mind, the THREE HOUR LONG adaptation of Around the World in 80 Days), when it comes down to it.

January 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

I'd love to see the ballot totals for the different rounds. To get a tie in a preferential ballot system would mean that there were an even number of votes and, even after removing eight films and reassigning their votes to second/third/fourth/etc. place choices, there were still even. The odds of that must be astronomical.

January 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSean C.

Kurtis O -- arse-licker

January 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMiss Jean Brodie

"Gravity" is my pick all the way, and this includes Oscar for Sandra Bullock.
This film gives people reason to go to an actual theater and drink in all of the
craftsmanship at work. It maybe short, but it is beautiful and intense. Something
truly new and different. Sci-Fi deserves its turn and with the Producers Guild win, I
hope Academy voters can feel better about getting behind "Gravity."

January 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMN

BAFTAs are gonna be CHARGED. All 3 films have a legit shot there and I really think it could be a tall tale sign in director and picture.

I am still skeptical if there was a legit tie. On a preferential ballot? How could that happen?

"Crash. Easily the blackest film to ever win best picture"
Oh, hell naw!!!!! In the Heat of the Night! 'They call me Mr. Tibbs' is one of the totem moments of race in American cinema.

Cuaron/Gravity or 12 Years a Slave/McQueen splitting Picture/Director is the best of both worlds. I may have been slightly disappointed on Gravity but it's a great FILM experience to have at a movie theater. I'd much rather have a spectacle win than just a movie that will run on cable for the next 10 years which are usually your Forrest Gumps, The King's Speeches, Argos, etc. American Hustle fits more of that description. 12 Years a Slave could in no way be that cable weekend slate film and neither can Gravity, but to me as cinema there's more to chew on.

Also, DOR is out of the director jail and can make any film he wants at this point because every actor wants to work with him now and blah, blah, blah. McQueen and Cuaron are more in the Kathryn Bigelow mode where these kinds of wins and notices can lead to more projects of their mind and scope after their previous films felt like bumps in the road for different reasons (NC-17 arthouse pretension and a box-office failure).

January 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCMG

I was shocked as well: it certainly makes Best Picture an open race, although A.H still could win. I don"t know if this helps Gravity as much, given I expected to win at the PGA, but it gives 12 Years a strong boost. It was losing momentum for a little while there, but now it looks like it"s roaring back. I assumed that the PGA was going to make American Hustle this years The King"s Speech, and have it sweep all the guilds,which of course, it didn"t. I think 12 Years is the frontrunner, and if it does well at BAFTA, I think it"ll triumph on Oscar night.

I agree that it"s the most exciting race in Best Picture for a while, but why does everyone keep forgetting 2006? It was right down the wire there too, with Babel, The Departed, and Little Miss Sunshine all battling it out.

January 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJoe

I have stopped caring about the oscars as a legitimate reward. I like them as entertainment. That said, and just for the sake of the filmmakers involved, i think it would be refreshing for a good movie to win this year. We ve had a run of entertaining not so substantial movies winning. What people don t understand is that when a very undeserving movie wins it becomes a villain. It loses its entertaining value. Look at Argo. Perfectly respectable entertainement. Then started racking awards and now no one remembers it fondly. Same is happening to American Hustle. It is by far the weakest effort in the pool of strong contenders. It has nothing significant to say. It s all production design and spectacle but is ultimately hollow. It glamoriZes awful greedy people and makes us root for them (basically what Wolf of Wall Street is accused of doing). It s just not that good of a movie. David O russell is not that good of a director. Some of the movies realeased
This year are genius! It would be nice to see one of them take the prize
So that the oscars become relevant again. As a consolation prize, if american hustle rnds up being the winner, i demand best actress be the last award of the night so that Blanchett can throw some much needed shade onto that win.

January 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTony T

@Joe: I don't recall people being as passionate about the perceived importance of the two frontrunners in the 2006 race, if that answers your question.

January 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

if cuaron accent mark wins dga, i think all three of the frontrunners are still in the race. if mcqueen or russell wins dga, their respective movies gain an edge. why this is i am not sure. certainly cuaron accent mark gets credit for his technical prowess, but people who love movies recognize how great y tu mama tambien accent mark and children of men no accent marks were.

12 years is my honey this year, but her was such a lovely film i wouldnt mind if it tied. in a better world, those two movies would be recognized as the elite of the elite french accent marks.

January 20, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterxander

God, Volvagia--I saw Gentleman's Agreement a few months ago. Boy was that a dud.

January 20, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterzig

Gravity is a mostly neat-o cinema experience marred by lazy screenwriting 1001 - add in dead daughter/wife/husband to lead character's backstory, follow that with this: I Must Overcome Great Odds To Appreciate Life and Move On, Despite My Dead Daughter/Wife/Husband. Time to give that one a rest, Hollywood, esp when it feels as tacked on as it did here. I'll have no prob if Cuaron with accent mark gets BD but I'll be hanged by all the folks longing for his film to win BP - note that it rightly did not get a screenwriting nom. 12YAS to me is the clear Should Win for Pic and I hope it does. The filmmaking and performances were tremendous. As for American Hustle, what Tony T said above, totally. A fun night at the movies but there's honestly no there there.

January 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRob

Everybody and their mother knew in 2006 that was going to be Scorsese and the narrative was insurmountable. Sure, The Departed underperformed in awards because WB botched their acting campaign by putting all the men in supporting when Leo was totally a lead, but I think people got caught up in Babel over-performing. I think LMS was also this way. The performance in nominations caught people off-guard but I didn't believe there was a race for a second. Dreamgirls felt like an industry counter-programming contender until people actually saw it.

American Hustle is a fine film for me and I like DOR and do think he is a good director (Yeesh, it's so cute that people are using the film's status to question everything on his resume) but it should be about the performances, not Lawrence being that performance singled for me either by the way, garnering wins than the film itself. I don't think his direction is a problem but I am still stun that a film that is so much in his style compared to The Fighter and Silver Linings Playbook has curried so much favor. His last two films had 15 total nominations and just 3 wins, all in acting. That's usually been where he is liked the most. I could easily seeing it missing everything if it somehow loses at the WGA.

January 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCMG

Thank you. This news just made my day. AH should not, must not, CANNOT win Best Picture. Holding my breath till the BAFTAs.

January 20, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

I would totally expect either 12YaS or Gravity to take BAFTA. Both have strong British cred, are excellent films and are high enough on the radar to warrant the attention. Philomena might slip in for Dench....its a lovely perf, she is nearing the end of a tremendous career and the subject is far more socially important there than here although Blancett is very loved as well, I don't think DBC was seen so I wouldn't put much stock in it not being nomed in regard to its Oscar chances for acting.

January 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHenry

Rob - The screenplay nod miss is very notable. People talk about Titanic lacking a nomination, but that was basically an out and out snub of Cameron by the writers' branch - he even got in at WGA that year. I believe that the prior film to win Best Picture without a screenwriting nod was The Sound of Music. Stallone was even nominated for writing the screenplay to Rocky!

January 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

Has anybody gotten a PDF of the Gravity script? Like what is it's actual length in pages? It's 90 minute movie with most of the dialogue thrown out the window after act 1. That script has to be nothing but structure given all of what is happening in so few shots. Come on, scripts like that usually aren't nominated no matter how 'weak' people thought it was.

January 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCMG

I was so happy at this. I think 12 Years and Gravity are so much better than Hustle. I still have a feeling the Hustle wins it (though I really am a pessimist at heart :(, so maybe things work out).

January 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMarsha Mason

LMAO girth and length!

January 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPatryk

Peggy Sue ---

What is Benedict's oscar is humongous meaning?

January 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMe

CMG - in comparison to what other major films? Life of Pi, 127 Hours and The Artist all got nominated. Heck, even 2001 got nominated for screenplay, and it missed a Best Picture nod. I have no idea how long any of these screenplays are, but the genre or lack of dialogue should not prove to be a limitation if the screenplay itself is good enough.

January 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

I know Gravity is not a 2001 kind of sci-fi juggernaut but it's so structural and situational than world-building. I never ranked it in my screenplay list ever, even before I saw it. People who read the script seemed to be trying to figure out how this could possibly look on film. To me it always seemed built more on the film's design, scope, and direction. It got more love than an Avatar that also got zip on screenplay but also no acting nominations which Gravity does have.

January 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCMG

@Me... how about looking at the photos in the post? :P

January 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCarlos

Miss Jean Brodie - I respect your love of accents and you should know that we usually use them correctly at the film experience. Even the ones that are really hard to do on the keyboard. But for whatever reason my laptop will not do the accents. Only my desktop computer will and I'm at Sundance.

Xander - thank you for playing along!

MN -- oh i love Gravity's length. don't get me wrong. I think it's the perfect length for the kind of movie it is... I just wish that within that length it hadn't felt like the same scene on a loop (nervous calm. sudden calamity. hyperventilating. sandy b finds way to save herself.)

January 20, 2014 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Suzanne: 127 Hours actually has quite a bit of that guy talking to himself. Yes, it's monologue and not natural dialogue, but it's still something. Life of Pi at least transitions enough of the narration and ending concept to feel believable as a nomination. And as for 2001? The images in that last half feel so specific (unlike the images in Gravity) that I, at least, buy that what they were going to be was entirely written out before they started filming.
CMG: I'm COMPLETELY surprised that, considering how big a box office hit Avatar was, that ZOE SALDANA wasn't the one who wound up with the season's surprise supporting actress nomination. Especially since it wound up being Maggie Gyllenhaal in Crazy Heart.

January 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

It's not really surprising when you consider their obvious lack of interest in motion-capture/CGI-assisted performances.

January 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSean C.

Volvagia- I forget who were getting the precursors but that was a hot-mess w/r/t the supporting races. I don't get how the movies with the two strongest ensembles (Inglourious Basterds and The Hurt Locker) only had 2 nominees and one winner to show for it. I get if Mo'nique was undeniable but I hated how failed bait films like Invictus, The Lovely Bones, and Nine still managed acting nominations. Rough year but even previous years with stronger races were bolder.

Feel so ashamed I put ScarJo as my surprise nominees this year. If not motion-capture, why would they just be into voice performances?

January 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCMG

Wait........ there could be a 3-way tie.

January 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRicopolo

I love it! Who wants a coronation anyway? Even if Gravity were to win, which was my least favorite of the 3, it's a quality movie that would stand against future-scrutiny better than Gladiator in 2000.

January 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSawyer

Volvagia - Agreed. The screenplay for a survival film, sci-fi film with a minimal cast, or even a silent film can be well done and achieve industry recognition.

January 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

When are the votes due for the Oscars? The reason I ask is that I think the long wait time for the Oscars would actually help 12 Years the most. If you have a chance to second guess your vote, you'd probably realize that American Hustle is fun but kinda shallow. And Gravity IS a masterpiece but what is it really about after all is said and done? 12 Years would be a very honorable vote for Best Picture and if people have enough time to consider it, I think it will win.

Oh, and as for accents, blame the American keyboard not Nathaniel. I mean I'm sure that Tony Leung's chinese character name is imprinted on Nathaniel's heart, but you can spell it out that way on an American keyboard.

January 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDave in Alamitos Beach

dave, what is "gravity" about? my favorite answer comes from gold derby's tom o'neil, who says that it's about the globally important issue of "orbiting space junk." (he's serious when he says that.) to hell with war and income inequality and environmental devastation! that space junk needs to be retrieved today before it hurts some . . . gps satellites.

i agree with you that "12 years" deepens the more you think about it. many scenes already feel like instant classics, but one image that i still find almost unbearably moving and often return to is the letter burning in the dark.

January 21, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterxander

Gravity is about the warrior's journey home. It's the Odyssey done at warp speed. Instead of 20 years, it's 80 minutes! :-)

January 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDave in Alamitos Beach

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