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Best Picture: What If There Were Only Five?

Life of Pi by Dean WaltonI was just looking as a series of graphic Best Picture prints designed by Dean Walton and my mind wandered into a geeky Oscaroborus that I couldn't break free of. The series of prints is referred to as a "full series" but there's only five: Django Unchained, Life of Pi, Zero Dark Thirty, Les Misérables, and Lincoln. Um. There are nine Best Picture nominees this year, Dean!

It got me to thinking. I don't even think those would have been "the five", had there been just five. It's not so easy to discount Argo, Amour, Beasts of the Southern Wild and Silver Linings Playbook given the final vote tallies. I think we might have had a year of 3/5 Picture/Director split year. Or even gasp 2/5... which has happened before believe it or not.

Way back in 1955 the Best Picture nominees were: Marty, Picnic, Love is a Many Splendored Thing, The Rose Tattoo, and Mister Roberts. The directors branch felt quite differently going with only Delbert Mann (for Marty) who won and Joshua Logan for the big hit Picnic (we recently discussed that film and its Broadway revival) from the Best Picture list. Otherwise the director's branch threw their support behind David Lean's Summertime, John Sturges' Bad Day at Black Rock and Elia Kazan's East of Eden

But back to the here and now.

It's easy to twist yourself into pretzels devouring your own tail in trying to chase the "what if..." of five nominees. My guess is it would have been Argo, Lincoln, Life of Pi, Les Miz, and Silver Linings Playbook... but maybe that's too simple of a guess? We'll never know but it's fascinating to wonder. Number of nominations doesn't always tell the story -- remember when Four Weddings and Funeral crashed the Best Picture party in 1994 with only one other nomination to its name?!. What if it was Argo, Beasts, Lincoln, Les Miz, and Silver Linings Playbook with Life of Pi taking over the long held title of "Most Nominated Movie Ever Without a Best Picture Nom"? That dubious honor currently belongs to a great great movie known as They Shoot Horses, Don't They (1969) which won nine nominations but miraculous fell short of a Best Picture nod. (If you've never seen it you should drop everything and get right to that. It's better than almost all of the real Best Picture nominees)

Which five films do you think would have been nominated under the traditional system? Would Amour have been the first foreign film Best Pic nominated since Crouching Tiger (as it is know) or would we still be waiting for a subtitled picture to enter the race again?



USA Today no, Jennifer Lawrence did not have a wardrobe malfunction despite all visual evidence to the contrary. That's just the dress!
Filmdrunk uncovers the MTV promo that got JLaw her SAG card - she mentioned it in her speech last night.
In Contention wonders where Ang Lee is in all the who will win Pic/Dir confusion
do you want a documentary about the ill-fated Tim Burton / Nicolas Cage Superman movie? I sure do! Schadenfreude for days on end!
Pop Elegantarium awwww a new Film Experience baby. Congratulations to mom Alexa (who writes the Curio column right here)
EW Hunter Foster on Bunheads with real life sister Sutton Foster. Gah. I ♥ them both
MNPP superheroes working it
Pajiba Celebrity friendships you probably didn't know about. I knew a few but some really goodies unearthed here. Some of these are really surprising (Kyle Chandler & Lorenzo Lamas) others shouldn't be surprising but somehow I didn't know (Matt Bomer & Lee Pace are best friends?) and others are just delightful as in 'they stayed close after filming!' (Christian Bale & Winona Ryder?) but anyway, read it. Fun finds.
Wired Is Glee stealing arrangements from indie musicians? My god I'm so glad I gave up on that show when I did and have never been attempted to return. This story is so sleazy awful. 

And I'll leave you with an old video of Emma Stone shaking it shaking it shaking it.

This makes me want to watch Easy A and Crazy Stupid Love on loop right now.


Film Bitch Awards Best Picture Prizes (2000-2012)

Appropros of nothing other than to whet your appetite for more Film Bitch Awards announcements, this site's long running awards (I agonize over my snail's pace as much as any of you!) I thought I'd share all of Best Picture winners to date. [If you're just looking for Oscar stuff and clicked over, here's your current Best Picture race and Oscar related articles for the current competition. ] I'm mostly pleased with my choices in retrospect though I would make a couple of switcheroos. You'll notice that in the time I've been publishing my lists for the world I've only ever twice agreed with Oscar's final pic on Best Picture (2003, 2009) though I sort of count 2007 as agreement by virtue of coin-toss almostness. My motto with controlling disappointments with Oscar is to just be grateful if a couple of my favorites get nominated and be thrilled if something in my top ten wins the industry's top prize.

* I will eventually republish the now missing top ten articles - I have them on the hard drive.

Gold: Beasts of the Southern Wild 
Silver: Amour
Bronze: Magic Mike
Also Nominated: Moonrise Kingdom, Les Misérables
Top Ten Article

Gold: A Separation
Silver: The Artist
Bronze: Drive 
Also Nominated: Beginners, Weekend
Top Ten Article

Gold: I Am Love
Silver: The Social Network
Bronze: The Kids Are All Right
Also Nominated: Blue Valentine, Black Swan

Top Ten Article

Gold: The Hurt Locker
Silver: Hunger
Bronze: Bright Star
Also Nominated: Precious, Avatar
Top Ten Article No Longer Online

Gold: Rachel Getting Married
Silver: The Class
Bronze: WALL•E
Also Nominated: Reprise, The Wrestler
Top Ten Article No Longer Online

Gold: There Will Be Blood
Silver: No Country For Old Men
Bronze: Once
Also Nominated: 4 Months 3 Weeks and 2 Days, Ratatouille
Top Ten Article No Longer Online

Gold: Marie Antoinette
Silver: Volver
Bronze: Shortbus
Also Nominated: Children of Men, The Fountain
Top Ten Article No Longer Online

Gold: Brokeback Mountain
Silver: A History of Violence
Bronze: Pride & Prejudice
Also Nominated: Caché, Me and You and Everyone We Know
Top Ten Article No Longer Online

Gold: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Silver: Spider-Man 2
Bronze: Vera Drake
Also Nominated: Before Sunset, Sideways
Top Ten Article No Longer Online

Gold: LotR: The Return of the King
Silver: Kill Bill, Vol. 1
Bronze: Lost in Translation
Also Nominated: Raising Victor Vargas, thirteen
Top Ten Article No Longer Online

Gold: Far From Heaven
Silver: Y Tu Mama Tambien
Bronze: Talk to Her
Also Nominated: LotR: The Two Towers, 25th Hour
Top Ten Article No Longer Online

Gold: Moulin Rouge!
Silver: LotR: The Fellowship of the Ring
Bronze: In the Mood for Love
Also Nominated: Mulholland Drive, Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Top Ten Article No Longer Online

Gold: Dancer in the Dark
Silver: Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon
Bronze: Requiem for a Dream
Also Nominated: Erin Brockovich, Beau Travail
Top Ten Article No Longer Online




Silver Live-Blogging SAG Playbook (The Show!)

Previously: THE ARRIVALS

8:00 The announcer just said Zero Dark Thirty Jessica Chastain is "Zero Dark Flirty". Regret to inform that his was not even the worst pun of the intro. This was not even in the bottom ten of worst puns. Yikes. "Argo Seat Yourself"??? (And you don't even want to know how much television pays writers for this sort of thing. Can I apply?)

8:02 I Am An Actor from Jane Krakowski, Chris Tucker, Helen Hunt, Hal Holbrook, Sofia Vergara. Followed by Nicole Kidman with some hot razor cut flat iron hair to announce... 

8:06 SUPPORTING ACTOR. I predicted Tommy Lee Jones because of the huge audience response he gets in Lincoln. But perhaps I'm too stuck back in November and the TLJ hoopla has ended. The award goes to... oh, wow. Tommy Lee Jones. Who is not there. His absence does him no favors in a possibly very tight Oscar race.

8:08 Bradley Cooper, whose hair is unusually light brown fluffy. (I'm reminded of Dustin Hoffman in Tootsie both Michael Dorsey and Dorothy Michaels) and Jennifer Lawrence introduce their own movie. They use a clip of the "silver lining" monologue over images of the cast. 

8:10 SUPPORTING ACTRESS. Justin Timberlake arrives in his 'suit and tie shit, suit and tie shit ♫' (plaid pattern potpourri but quite fetching)... and tries to do a little dance to the piped in canned show music [more after the jump]

Click to read more ...


Silver Live-Blogging SAG Playbook (Arrivals)

6:22 Shall we begin?

6: 27 In this year of Past Favorites as Current Favorites -- so many previous statue-hoarding players in the mix -- I think it's wothing noting a bit of SAG history. Two of this year's Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Feature Film SAG Nominees were nominated at the very first SAG Awards for 1994: Helen Hunt won in the TV categories for Mad About You and Sally Field was up for Forrest Gump despite getting the ol' heave ho from Oscar voters who were otherwise totally GUMP HAPPENS! Except Mama Gump -- she don't happen!

6:44 Glee is STILL getting nominated? Mark Salling is addressing some sort of scandal/gossip that I am blissfully unaware of and shoos it away saying "I have a relationship with Jesus Christ"... Usually saying you have a relationship with a dude is not the way to stop gossip.

6:47 Lady Mary of Downton Abbey is showing major side boob and I am loving it.

6:56 I'm going to drink everytime someone claims they're tight with Jesus. #DrinkingGames #HolySpirits




7:00 Jessica Chastain is working a little side part, didn't want to go "too diva", doesn't know where to hide her jewelry, doesn't bother to hide her boobs.

MORE including Amanda Seyfried, Living Cartoon, after the jump

Click to read more ...


Sundance Winners: Will "Fruitvale" and "Blood Brother" March On to Oscar Glory?

Here is Amanda Seyfried with some paparazzi at Sundance. Amanda is great at being a celebrity. 

So even if Lovelace didn't exactly light the world on fire, she still wins.

But I suppose we should discuss actual festival winners, now that the fest has wrapped and the journos have all exited the snowy peaks of Park City, Utah. Before we list the winners, let's look at the context of how well they usually fare come Oscar time the following year. Are there any patterns?

2012 Beasts of the Southern Wild & The Sessions split the jury & audience prizes for drama, respectively. Beasts went on to major Oscar nominations and The Sessions (which also won a prize for its ensemble acting held on for one Oscar nomination in the form of the title character played by Helen Hunt (back then it was called "The Surrogate" remember?). The House I Live In and The Invisible War split the juried & audience prizes for doc and the reverse happened: Oscar went with the audience fav rather than the jury fav. (Personally I think The House I Live In is a much stronger documentary so that outcome disappointed me). 

Total Oscar nods from Sundance prize-winning films:  9
Most Predictive: Best Documentary. 3 of the eventual 5 nominees won prizes here 

2011 This year produced a lot of disparate favorites but most of the hot films in the cold climate of Park City like How to Die in Oregon, Tyrannosaur, Project NIM, Like Crazy, Buck, Circumstance, Martha Marcy May Marlene, failed to win any Oscar nominations.

Total Oscar nods from Sundance prize-winning films:  2
Most PredictiveBest Documentary. 2 of the eventual nominees won prizes here 

More after the jump including this year's winning Sundance films. Obviously, congratulations for now and well done, can't wait to see you. Etcetera. (But will we be talking about them at Oscar time next year?) 

Click to read more ...


Three Reasons Why "Argo" Became the One To Beat

You can't always know how the future will treat each year's awards recipients. Will their strengths will come into sharper focus as time erodes the particulars of the movie culture and conversation they arrived into or will that erosion grind a movie or performers appeal down with it? What will we make in five year's time of this moment when Hollywood threw awards at Argo instead of, say, Lincoln? That's what happened again last night at the Producers Guild Awards when Ben Affleck's 1970s CIA rescue tale took the top prize.

We don't have to wait for hindsight clarity when it comes to Argo's sudden rise in the previous deadheat Oscar race.  I'd say that three things are responsible, two of which no one could have predicted.

1. I'd been saying from the very start that Argo's narrative subtext, embedded into its truish story of a fake movie being used to rescue Americans from a hostile regime, that 'Movies Save the World!' feel would be irressistible to the back-patting awards season mentality in much the same way it was for the documentary The Cove some years ago.

The other two factors were not things anyone could have predicted though....

2.  Zero Dark Thirty emerged to somewhat reductive "so much better than Argo!" laudatory soundbytes (they both involve CIA meddling in the Middle East so they must be compared incessantly!) and for about a week it looked like The Real Oscar Deal but what happened next with it was very kind to Argo. Zero became the media's most slobbered on and teared at rag doll with everyone tsk-tsking and fuming and eventually subtly equating the making of it with condoning torture. By extension voting for it felt unpleasant to some, too. Suddenly the "better than Argo" conversation died and was replaced with just "...Argo", a rebooting if you will of where the Oscar conversation had previously been. Sometimes opening early helps and it's more than helped Argo.

3. The last, and most shocking turn of events was Ben Affleck's omission from the Best Director lineup. I'd long been predicting him to win that statue even though I hadn't viewed Argo necessarily as the future Best Picture champ, suspecting that we were in for a split year. The best thing that ever happened to Argo in terms of its Best Picture prospects was Affleck's "snub". And conversely, that's the worse thing that happened to Lincoln. Whatever one makes of the quality of the Best Picture nominees (have you voted for your favorite here?), Lincoln previously had the strongest narrative arriving as it did in this historic year of President Obama's reelection and the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. Affleck's over-mourned "snub" (people keep conveniently forgetting how strong the Best Director lineup is without him!) handed Argo an underdog narrative in a season where the narratives -- those tricky hooks that make a person or movie so irresistible in the Story of the Year's Entertainments -- weren't all that strong even if the movies were.

Reason no. 3 is in some ways the most understandable now that it's happened and the most baffling. If you really step back for some perspective Ben Affleck is an enormous waste of a Sympathy Vote. He's already an Oscar winner. He's an Oscar nominee even when he's snubbed (he'll win the Oscar if Argo wins Best Picture since he produced) - fancy that. He has a happy Hollywood marriage. He rose to fame with his best friend who is still a huge power player in Hollywood, too. He's risen from the ashes of a weirdly shaky leading man career to become a respected director and a... uh... leading man again. He's super handsome and aging well. He's made only three films all of which received Oscar attention, the latter two of which were big big hits. If anything he's a true golden boy of showbiz with a hugely enviable career and awards run and yet, you'd think he were dying! To this Awards Season he's suddenly treated like the Fantine figure in Les Miz on her death bed; the one to cry over "if only life weren't so cruel!", the one to promise everything to in order to make amends.

And all because he missed out on an expected Best Director nomination?

Mrs. Affleck at the PGAs. Oh, you know she makes this pose at home while mock scolding BenTHE WINNERS

Outstanding Producer, Film: Ben Affleck, Grant Henslov, George Clooney for Argo
Outstanding Producer, Documentary: Malik Bendjelloul, Simon Chinn for Searching for Sugar Man
Outstanding Producer, Animated: Clark Spencer for Wreck-it Ralph
Outstanding Producer, Longform TV: Gary Goetzman, Tom Hanks, Jay Roach, Amy Sayres, Steven Shareshian, Danny Strong for "Game Change"
Outstanding Producer, Episodic TV (Drama): Henry Bromell, Alexander Cary, Michael Cuesta, Alex Gansa, Howard Gordon, Chip Johannessen, Michael Klick, Meredith Stiehm for "Homeland"
Outstanding Producer, Episodic TV (Comedy): Cindy Chupack, Paul Corrigan, Abraham Higginbotham, Ben Karlin, Steven Levitan, Christopher Lloyd, Jeff Morton, Dan O’Shannon, Jeffrey Richman, Chris Smirnoff, Brad Walsh, Bill Wrubel, Danny Zuker for "Modern Family" 
Outstanding Producer, NonFiction TV: Prudence Glass, Susan Lacy,Julie Sacks for "American Masters" PBS 
Outstanding Producer, Live TV: Meredith Bennett, Stephen Colbert, Richard Dahm, Paul Dinello, Barry Julien, Matt Lappin, Emily Lazar, Tanya Michnevich Bracco, Tom Purcell,Jon Stewart for "The Colbert Report" 
Outsanding Producer, Competition TV:  Jerry Bruckheimer, Elise Doganieri, Jonathan Littman, Bertram van Munster, Mark Vertullo for "The Amazing Race"

Outstanding Sports Program: "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel"
Outstanding Children's Program:  "Sesame Street"
Outstanding Digital Series: "30 Rock: The Webisodes"