Month: January 2013

SAG-ing Along; Predicting the Screen Actors Guild Awards

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The year was 2009. Just as Rafiki brushed his thumb against Simba’s forehead, whispering his name, a stoic Phylicia Rashad caressed my love/hate trigger as she stared into the camera and delivered her lines. “I am Phylicia Rashad, and I am an actor” she said, surrounded by gaggles of peers amidst the 15th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards. Live coverage then cut from actor to actor sitting in the same room, each new face (from Meryl Streep to Anne Hathaway) delivering the same line, none as self-serving (with a subtle hint of “This is how you do it, Beyonce) as Phylicia’s. It was one of the most embarrassing openings of any awards show I’ve ever witnessed, but it came as no surprise; This is an actor-on-actor lovefest; The SAG Awards; The Martha Stewart Home Accents Collection of awards season.

And it’s beautiful.

The SAG Awards can either be the strongest litmus test for the acting categories at the Oscars (think 2010) or throw a few curveballs that reflect a much more deserving (selected by a voting base that’s better informed and in tune with the craft than the Oscars’) batch of winners (think 2008).

In what has already shaped up as one of the most heated and upredictable Oscar races in years, the SAG Awards will most likely play out as they did for the 2011 calendar, at least in the Lead Actress category. Lawrence is poised to take the top spot from Jessica Chastain tonight, although the latter’s extensive body of work in such a short amount of time might prove impressive enough to SAG voters to push her to a win. If Chastain wins here, she’ll probably get the Viola Davis treatment at the Oscars (she won here last year, only to be upset by Meryl Streep at the hands of the Academy). Lawrence’s performance is much more Academy-friendly (commercially receivable and appealing) and it’s in a Weinstein film. If Naomi Watts has a chance at winning any major award this season, it’s here, and she’ll do it here if she’s lucky (she’s got major acting powerhouses campaigning for her this year). I usually trust the SAG voting base a bit more than I trust the Academy’s, considering it’s made up entirely of actors judging their own craft. Once nominations are in, the Academy opens the categories up to the entire membership, leaving more room for politicized votes. A win for Chastain here tonight indicates a better performance in a film unfortunately marred by politics.

The other categories will play out pretty much in-line with the rest of the precursor awards. Tommy Lee Jones should take Supporting Actor, Anne Hathaway will take Supporting Actress (although Sally Field is certainly in a position to upset), and Daniel Day-Lewis will take home a statue for his Leading performance in Lincoln.

If there are no surprises tonight, we should have a somewhat clearer idea of who will be taking home Oscar gold on February 24th. Hell, I’ll be happy if Phylicia Rashad gets another opportunity to give some gif-able diva face.

Film Predictions:

Lead:

Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln)

Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook)

Supporting:

Tommy Lee Jones (Lincoln)

Anne Hathaway (Les Miserables)

Ensemble:

The cast of Lincoln

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Top 10 of 2012: Why “Zero Dark Thirty” is the Best (and Most Important) Film of the Year

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It was in the way a few audience members clapped as Osama bin Laden is shot to death, and how more applauded immediately after the final cut to black. I just can’t wrap my head around why someone would feel such a celebratory impulse immediately after viewing Zero Dark Thirty, a film rooted deeply in the middle eastern conflict, whose focus is not the gratification one might feel about the idea of eradicating the most well-known terrorist of the modern era. Rather, it’s a film built on the foundation of certainty–one woman’s, in particular–that ends in an ominous haze of uncertainty. Uncertainty of our future, of our security, of our position as a noble force in the fight to defend our country. For those reasons, it makes the jeers, hoots, and applause (an indication of acceptance) from the audience which surrounded me all the more disturbing. For, you see, Zero Dark Thirty is not a reaffirmation of America in white, Middle East in black; it fiercely calls into question American morals just as often as it castigates those we fight against. Killing Osama bin Laden was a small battle won in a much larger war, and certainly isn’t presented as an end-all, be-all point of closure within the film. Zero Dark Thirty is, in direct conflict with what so many Americans want it to be, a most anti-“America, Fuck Yeah” film.

Zero Dark Thirty is based on “true accounts” from those directly (and some, perhaps more indirectly) involved with the killing of Osama bin Laden. It is not a “true” story as much as it is a true interpretation of events which most likely (but have not been proven) led to the extermination of one of the most hated men in the world. It’s true; Bigelow and Mark Boal (also her collaborator on 2010’s The Hurt Locker), spend a glaring amount of time focused on Americans using torture as a means to elicit information from captured Al-Qaeda members–as well as the boldfaced lies purportedly projected to the public regarding such tactics. It’s difficult to accept the events of Zero Dark Thirty as the truth, both morally and because the film is technically a work of fiction. Protagonist Maya (Jessica Chastain, giving the best acting performance of 2012) is a pseudo mash-up character birthed from various reports of individuals involved in the real hunt for Osama bin Laden, as are the events which lead to the payoff. It’s also, therefore, much easier to see the controversial scenes of torture as something beyond a simple endorsement, the same as Steven Spielberg’s reproduction of WWII-era death camps isn’t an endorsement of anti-Semitism. Spielberg wasn’t present for the Holocaust, and Bigelow wasn’t present during interrogations of captured Al-Qaeda members. That doesn’t, however, trivialize her right as an artist to include such scenes meant for greater effect.

If you’re looking to a film for truth, you’re simply misguided. As it is, it’s colossally difficult to reproduce the truth in a film like Zero Dark Thirty (or any film, for that matter) in the first place, as the vastness of its scope spans multiple countries, intelligence operations, and surveillance missions wrapped within a messy little ten-year timeframe. Thankfully Bigelow and Boal aren’t overwhelmed, able to pick and choose from their resources with what rings only as ease, crafting a remarkably effective collection of fictitious staging with real-world implications. As the film begins, we’re reminded of one of the defining events which set the entire mess in motion. An assemblage of audio from panicked phone calls placed at the World Trade Center on September 11th plays over a black screen at the beginning of Zero Dark Thirty, reminding us not only of the aura of facelessness which plagued that day (attackers, amassed victims, etc.) but also of the fear, a fear and uncertainty that can be heard in the voices of the callers that endures to this day. Our security is not guaranteed, even with the death of Osama bin Laden.

The actions leading up to Osama bin Laden’s death unfold through the eyes of Maya, who acts as a sort of conduit between the fiction of the film and the reality we endure in a world where the death of Osama bin Laden is more than just a narrative climax. She’s in constant conflict with herself, embodying a raging war of preserved morality versus getting results. She’s good at what she does, however, and the fact that she’s a woman in a male-dominated field doesn’t exactly help her showcase it. Her persistence and certainty is marginalized by the male characters in the film, who often mistake her youth for inexperience, her beauty as a distraction. But, as Maya tells a fellow officer who wishes to set her up with another agent, she’s “not that girl who fucks,” and isn’t one to take the influence of others (whether questioning her experience, her accuracy, or her sex life), even in a situation with all odds against her, to mean more than her certainty.

When her efforts lead her to an Abottabad compound where she believes Osama bin Laden to be hiding, Maya must endure a round-table of men who assess the payoff of her ten-year workload with a maximum “soft 60%” chance of yielding results. “It’s 100%. Ok, 95%, because I know certainty freaks you guys out. But it’s 100,” she butts in. Whether it’s sheer confidence or a diluted willingness to accept the best-looking outcome after ten years of tireless work isn’t necessarilly answered in the subsequent affirmation of her speculation. She was right, but the most powerful moment of the film comes at its conclusion as she’s being flown out of Pakistan. “Where do you want to go?” the pilot asks her as we cut to a close-up of her face, strained from sleepless nights and a decade of near thankless slaving. She remains silent, a few tears streaming down her cheeks as the film cuts to black, Maya never giving an answer. The power of these moments is colossal, and it’s here the film achieves its most profound effect. The world knows the gist of Osama bin Laden’s death. It matters that he’s dead, but the way he died is not entirely clear. Sure, it can be reduced to a bullet. But the process leading up to that bullet isn’t mapped out for us. We’ve seen one artist’s interpretation within Zero Dark Thirty, one which does not celebrate the would-be climax as a moment of pure ecstasy. This is not a film of triumph, but of fear and uncertainty; it’s an ugly pre, during, and post of the most notorious manhunt in history. The question the pilot asks Maya is one she can’t answer, for she knows firsthand that it is unanswerable. She’s seen ugliness on both sides. Torture from Americans, suicide bombings from members of Al-Qaeda. A neverending conflict of ruthless vigilance and moral duty, each defined differently by the sides who wield them. Yet, what yields results? Torture doesn’t lead to much, and the only thing the death of Osama bin Laden proves–at least in the world of Zero Dark Thirty–is that steady enduring unrest doesn’t have a solution solvable by putting a bullet into human flesh. So, then, where you “want” to go becomes an issue, as there is no foreseeable place to go. The next target gives us no time for celebration.

Zero Dark Thirty is most powerful when it is treated not as factual representation, but as a film, from which gleaning versus accepting should be your focus. It is, however, a film which seeks to insert itself into our reality, forcing us to question the parameters around us, and the morality of those in power. Immediately following one of the film’s many gruesome scenes of torture, we see a reassuring interview playing onscreen behind a few characters as he (within the diegetic realm of the film, mind you) lies about the country’s use of such deplorable tactics. There’s no proof that this is fact. Zero Dark Thirty might be fiction, but one with powerful reflective qualities. A mirror rooted in fiction, if you will. Do we gain greater meaning from the torture scenes? From seeing our President trying to cover up amoral actions performed for the preservation of the good of the nation? Are politicians complaining about the film’s depiction of torture because we’re uncomfortable that all of this might be true? The uncertainty is real whether in fiction or our reality, and forcing us to accept and confront the absence of closure following Osama bin Laden’s death is where the true terror of Zero Dark Thirty lies; It places us at war with ourselves.

Top 10 Films of 2012:

Note: The only film I haven’t seen that will most likely make an impact on this list is Amour, which I’ll be seeing on February 15th.

1

1 – Zero Dark Thirty
Directed by: Kathryn Bigelow

2

2 – Beasts of the Southern Wild
Directed by: Benh Zeitlin

3

3 – The Master
Directed by: Paul Thomas Anderson

4

4 – Silver Linings Playbook
Directed by: David O. Russell

5

5 – Celeste and Jesse Forever
Directed by: Lee Toland Krieger

6

6 – Holy Motors
Directed by: Leos Carax

7

7 – Seven Psychopaths
Directed by: Martin McDonagh

8

8 – Life of Pi
Directed by: Ang Lee

9

9 – Django Unchained
Directed by: Quentin Tarantino

10

10 – The Impossible
Directed by: Juan Antonio Bayona

And this, essentially, functions as my apology for hating on Kathryn Bigelow throughout the entire 2009-10 awards season. I still don’t like The Hurt Locker, but Zero Dark Thirty is a triumph of contemporary cinema.

Musing on “Argo” and the Globes; What Does this Mean for the Oscars?

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I liken Ben Affleck’s direction of Argo to that of a monkey using a brush to paint a smiley face. For what I assume some of you might think are the “right” reason, that’s the worst comparison in the world. Affleck has proven himself as a skilled filmmaker both in front of and behind the camera, spinning webs of cinematic greatness whilst honing focused, almost dialectic perspective on his prior features based in Boston, a town he’s largely familiar with (he spent a great deal of his young life in Cambridge). Of course, I’m not likening Affleck’s aptitude to that of a zoo animal. I merely think it’s the reception of his latest work, however, that makes it hard to see him as anything but an awards season actor-turned-director spectacle. Something unexpected from an unexpected source (in this case, not an entirely unexpected source, just one on a much bigger scale than what we’re used to, considering Argo has grossed in upwards of $100 million).

It’s hard to not compare Affleck’s awards season run these past few months to that of Kathryn Bigelow’s during the 2009-10 pre-Oscar period. Bigelow’s nomination and subsequent win for Best Director not only marked the Academy’s first official recognition of a woman in that category, but, for me, cemented the Academy’s existence as a purely cyclical machine of self-generating, self-whoring, pathetically pandering publicity. I assume this isn’t a surprise to many. I just wasn’t so readily accepting of Bigelow’s triumph that year as the rest of Hollywood seemed to be. At every commercial break, I recall the announcer touting the category for all it was worth: “Will Kathryn Bigelow become the first ever female to win for Best Director? Find out in thirty minutes.” Her gender became the go-to talking point of that year’s Oscars. Does that make her any less worthy? In some cases, yes. The Academy, perhaps nominating her based on merit alone, placed her there in a collective vote. But, her gender was marketed and exploited to generate hype which would eventually become self-fulfilling. In essence, her gender was her defining trait that night (It’s also interesting to note that Bigelow was given the cold shoulder from the Academy this year, indicating that the initial excitement of decorating a woman who directed a decent film four years ago has long since worn off).

While Affleck possesses little in the way of such “unique” aspects to define his presence on the awards circuit, his actor-turned-director status as well as his general likeability within the industry undoubtedly contributed to his name being thrown around this Oscar season. Alas, he wasn’t nominated in the category he was (at one time) largely expected to win (or at least give Steven Spielberg a run for his money). So, what went wrong? It’ll be interesting to see how Affleck’s combined Oscar snub/Globes takeover plays itself out, seeing as (as much as I don’t want to admit it) the earlier-than-usual deadline for Academy nomination ballots most likely played a huge factor in his lack of a nomination.

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The Globes usually hold little influence over the direction of awards season. They rarely have power to dictate what gets nominated at the Oscars, but often reaffirm the direction Academy members should take as they cast their ballots by reflecting what countless other guilds, critics circles, and Oscar season awards shows already have. Since Oscar voters weren’t able to see who won at the Golden Globes before voting, a very prominent piece of the usual awards season puzzle was missing. I’m not saying the Globes and Academy are mutually operational, it’s just that Affleck’s “snub” seems too huge to ignore when Argo gobbled up major accolades on Sunday (Affleck won for Direction, the film won in the dramatic category). If the timetable for the Globes ceremony and Oscar voting was “normal” this year, I think we’d be looking at a very different Oscar picture, one that included a lot more Ben Affleck and a lot less Benh Zeitlin.

So, does Globes success bode well for Argo at the Oscars? Maybe. Arguably, Argo is a more, how shall I put this, “worldy” film than Oscar juggernaut (and current frontrunner for Best Picture, Director, Screenplay, and Actor) Lincoln, its appeal stronger as a “Globes” film than an “Academy” film. The Academy will most likely still side with Spielberg, but the outpouring of anger from various Oscar pundits, critics, and general audiences alike has me infinitely baffled. It’s one thing to create something new out of source material as David O. Russell did with Silver Linings Playbook. It’s another to competently direct a glorified Wikipedia article, which is exactly what Argo is. It’s universally appealing, superficially suspenseful, reaffirming of traditional American values (that last shot? Come on.), and ultimately an adequate procedural. Argo does what it needs to do; it tells a fascinating story. It doesn’t however, take a historical occurrence and give it a “new” face for the medium as, say, The Impossible has done with its retelling of the events surrounding the 2004 tsunami. The Impossible uses the frame of true events to tell a much larger, cinematically rich story, making connections a simple A-leads-to-B recreation can’t. And that, my friends, is a choice of direction. Although, it’s unfair to hate a film for what it hasn’t accomplished, for what it hasn’t done, and what it is not.

If anything, the HFPA’s love for Argo could very well act as a major catalyst for the first write-in Oscar since Hal Mohr’s win for Best Cinematography in 1935. Is it allowed right now? Nope. But, there’s buzz within the industry that that’s just what Academy voters are planning to do for Affleck, but I’m not so certain the push is strong enough to overthrow Spielberg’s current position out front, or to warrant a compete overhaul of voting rules since write-in voting hasn’t been allowed for decades. For starters, Argo isn’t exactly filmmaking of the highest order–even its most vocal supporters would agree to that. It’s certainly not a film that will define an era as, say, films like Citizen Kane or Bonnie and Clyde. It’s not a monumental achievement for the medium, and certainly not worthy of taking away recognition from the likes of Zeitlin, Lee, and Russell. People seem to be more frustrated that their predictions were off thanks to one-two sucker punch snubs of two early Oscar frontrunners. At most, Argo has the potential to gain some sympathy votes in the Best Picture category, making it a viable contender to take on Lincoln and Silver Linings Playbook, the latter of which I think is poised to upset as well (the power of Weinstein got Jacki Weaver and David O. Russell surprise nominations in their respective categories. It can’t be denied).

I just so desperately want to think of Ben Affleck as a brush-equipped platypus or sloth; now that’s impressive.

Should We Really Care About the HFPA? Predicting the 70th Annual Golden Globe Awards

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It’s time, yet again, to marvel at one of the most beautiful disasters in Hollywood as the 70th Annual Golden Globe Awards are presented tonight. But, aside from placing Naomi Watts, Lena Dunham, Julianne Moore, and Jessica Chastain in the same room (causing my inevitable death via heart attack), are the Globes really worth our time anymore?

The Globes have traditionally functioned as more of a glorified, drunker, less frilly Oscar forecast. Each of the major categories usually share winners with their Oscar brethren, essentially securing a nomination at Hollywood’s most prestigious night for those already in contention with the Guilds (which contain actual Oscar voters, mind you).

The HFPA winners generally reaffirm Oscar voters’ nomination ballots; however, this year Oscar voters submitted their ballots prior to the announcement of the Golden Globe winners, leaving the HFPA’s very public forum with little influence over who the Academy chose to nominate.

It’s not like the opinions of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association are of any legitimate value. After all, to be a voting member you must have, as Scott Weinberg of FEARnet pointed out on Twitter earlier today, a minimum of four published articles a year. That’s not much, considering most industry trade papers circulate on an average weekly basis.

The Globes is an exercise in good fun, whether intentional or not, because no one (even those present, well, maybe except Claire Danes) seems to take the HFPA as seriously as the HFPA does. They offer little innovation beyond shining light on a few faces which go unrecognized at the Oscars (this year: Rachel Weisz, Helen Mirren). The Guilds contain Academy members, breaking down specifics of the films they nominate as judged by peers who make films all year long, not by a few journalists who publish a single article quarterly.

Perhaps part of the problem lies within the insistence on funneling films into two different categories and treating them as polar opposites. Take, for example, Les Miserables, an undeniably grim drama whose script consists nearly entirely of sung dialogue and sweeping musical numbers. It faces off with a film like Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, a comedy by definition (albeit possessing some sharp dramatic edge). The former certainly a musical, but bearing no resemblance to the comedic (or tonal) structure of the other. Jessica Chastain and Jennifer Lawrence, widely considered two frontrunners for the Best Actress Oscar, don’t compete directly tonight for their Golden Globes, as Chastain is the clear victor in the drama category, Lawrence easily trumping her fellow nominees in the comedic category. What benefit will be reaped tonight aside from reaffirming both ladies as Oscar frontrunner? The HFPA surely can’t take themselves to be the most important industry awards show, so perhaps a revamping of the categorical nomination process would widen their scope as a legitimate game changer instead of a complimentary excuse to hand out more awards to the same people.

The Globes is merely a flex of industry redundancy, its members attempting to have their cake and eat it, too (and not in the beautifully charming way Lena Dunham did in the Season 1 finale of “Girls”). But at least they’re giving us an excuse to indulge in three hours of Amy Poehler and Tina Fey this time, which is more than enough incentive for me to crack some wine with friends and enjoy the mess.

Predicted Winners:
Motion Picture, Drama: Lincoln
Motion Picture, Musical/Comedy: Les Miserables
Actor, Drama: Daniel Day-Lewis
Actress, Drama: Jessica Chastain
Actor, Musical/Comedy: Hugh Jackman
Actress, Musical/Comedy: Jennifer Lawrence
Supporting Actor: Tommy Lee Jones
Supporting Actress: Anne Hathaway
Director: Steven Spielberg
Original Score: Lincoln
Screenplay: Lincoln
Original Song: “Skyfall”  by Adele
Animated Feature: Brave
Foreign Film: Amour

Predicting Oscar: 2012 in Review

silver-linings A mere twelve hours prior to the announcement of the 85th Academy Award nominations, I find myself struggling with predictions in nearly all of the major categories. If 2012 taught us anything, it’s that major precursor organizations like the SAG, DGA, and HFPA (I cringed as I labeled the latter “major,” too) are still capable of pulling out intense, game-changing nominations in the months leading up to Academy voting—well, that and we learned it’s perfectly acceptable to die and leave your child in the care of a stranger you’ve known for a whole twenty minutes (I’m looking at you, Fantine).

The bad taste 2011 left in my mouth lingers no more, with a bounty of 2012’s films offering up plenty of fantastic contributions to the medium.

The most interesting race this year is between the leading women in a category which still feels wide open. Jessica Chastain and Jennifer Lawrence seemingly lead a race that’s included names of industry mainstays (Rachel Weisz, Helen Mirren) and fresh (literally) newcomers (9-year old Quvenzhane Wallis). Naomi Watts picked up some steam when she garnered SAG and Golden Globe nominations for her brilliant turn in The Impossible (alongside an impressive cast of supporting men, including Tom Holland and Ewan McGregor), and will likely see her much-deserved (albeit long overdue) second Academy Award nomination come tomorrow morning. The remaining slots pose a dilemma. Emmanuelle Riva seems likely to take at least one for her performance in Amour, a film many are predicting as this year’s Oscar dark horse. Marion Cotillard, highly recognized already for her work in Rust and Bone, is poised for the other. That leaves Wallis’ fate in jeopardy. If recognized, she’d be the youngest in the history of the category. Her work is deserving, but it’ll take a lot for the Academy (comprised overwhelmingly of people triple, double, quadruple, her age) to herald a mere child over the immense talent of other actresses (like Riva) who have paid their dues on a career clock that’s already begun ticking.

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Over on the men’s side, things are considerably less exciting. In a year when Daniel Day-Lewis competes, rarely does anyone but Daniel Day-Lewis win; he’s poised for yet another nomination and win this year for his performance in Lincoln, also the frontrunner in the Picture, Director (Steven Spielberg), and Supporting Actor (Tommy Lee Jones) categories. Sally Field will earn a Supporting Actress nomination for her role in the same film, although the likes of Anne Hathaway, Helen Hunt, and perhaps Nicole Kidman will give her some stiff competition, Hathaway likely taking the win in February.

The Best Director category is also problematic this year. Just yesterday, five directors were recognized by the Directors Guild of America with nominations; Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty), Steven Spielberg (Lincoln), Ang Lee (Life of Pi), and Ben Affleck (Argo) claimed expected nominations from the DGA, although Tom Hooper’s inclusion for his work on Les Miserables left the placement of fellow Oscar contenders Quentin Tarantino (Django Unchained), David O. Russell (Silver Linings Playbook) and Michael Haneke (Amour) in the category at tomorrow’s nominations in question. According to GoldDerby, only two films (Hamlet and Driving Miss Daisy) have won Best Picture without their directors being nominated by the DGA, making the top prize even more of a distant dream than it already was for the likes of Django Unchained, Amour, and Silver Linings Playbook.

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The Best Picture race has settled a bit on Lincoln, after fluctuating from Argo to Les Miserables and Zero Dark Thirty. I’m still not satisfied labeling Spielberg’s historical drama the winner this early, as Zero Dark Thirty was able to pick up considerable amounts of audience and critical appraisal (not to mention a heaping of Guild nominations, many for Jessica Chastain, Kathryn Bigelow, and Mark Boal) prior to the closing of Academy voting.

I’m in a  growing minority in feeling The Hurt Locker’s success with the Academy was due largely in part to director Bigelow’s gender, considering it was touted left and right in advertisements and mid-presentation announcer cliffhangers three years ago (“Will Kathryn Bigelow be the first woman to win the Best Director Oscar?” I remember so clearly being teased before every commercial break) as a means for the Academy to create their own newspaper headlines the next morning. Alas, picking apart films based on the gender of those who crafted them is inherently sexist. I sometimes question the act of separating the acting categories by gender; why not, then, separate the female directors from the male directors? The female screenwriters from the male screenwriters? Can it not be argued that the appeal of a film like Bridesmaids, written by two women and nominated in the Original Screenplay category just last year, is a film by and “for” women? Its overwhelming success (and the fact that it was directed by a man) prove otherwise; so why, then, is Bigelow such a hot topic? Her films have undoubtedly been shaped by male hands, too, considering Boal’s co-writing on Zero Dark Thirty’s script is likely to be recognized this year in the Best Original Screenplay category. I’m a fan of Bigelow’s work (can you really argue with Juliette Lewis’ badassery in Strange Days?), but I feel like the pressure for her to deliver anything above mere adequacy (which, by all means, is all The Hurt Locker amounts to) has been fulfilled within Zero Dark Thirty. I’ve yet to come across a quintessentially “female” agenda (does one even exist? I’ve never heard of anyone getting up in the middle of a screening and yell “ME SMELL WOMAN BEHIND LENS”) in any of her films, only the agenda of the Academy touting her gender as a pawn to diddle its own skittle for awarding a woman its top prize. That, my friends, is not sexist thinking; it’s merely pointing out exploitative bullshit of which the Academy is often guilty of parading, and why Kathryn Bigelow only won because she’s a woman.

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My full predictions below:

Best Picture:

Lincoln

Les Miserables

Argo

Silver Linings Playbook

Amour

Beasts of the Southern Wild

Skyfall

Life of Pi

Django Unchained

Moonrise Kingdom

Alternates: The Master, Flight

Best Actress

Jessica Chastain – Zero Dark Thirty

Jennifer Lawrence – Silver Linings Playbook

Emmanuelle Riva – Amour

Marion Cotillard – Rust and Bone

Naomi Watts – The Impossible

Alternates – Quvenzhane Wallis, Rachel Weisz, Helen Mirren

Best Actor

Daniel Day-Lewis – Lincoln

Denzel Washington – Flight

Hugh Jackman – Les Miserables

John Hawkes – The Sessions

Bradley Cooper – Silver Linings Playbook

Alternates – Joaquin Phoenix

Best Supporting Actress

Anne Hathaway – Les Miserables

Sally Field – Lincoln

Helen Hunt – The Sessions

Ann Dowd – Compliance

Amy Adams – The Master

Alternates – Nicole Kidman

Best Supporting Actor

Tommy Lee Jones – Lincoln

Alan Arkin – Argo

Christoph Waltz – Django Unchained

Robert De Niro – Silver Linings Playbook

Philip Seymour Hoffman – The Master

Alternates – Dwight Henry, Leonardo DiCaprio, Matthew McConoughey

Best Director

Kathryn Bigelow – Zero Dark Thirty

Steven Spielberg – Lincoln

Ben Affleck – Argo

Ang Lee – Life of Pi

Tom Hooper – Les Miserables

Alternates – Michael Haneke, Quentin Tarantino, David O. Russell

Best Original Screenplay

Zero Dark Thirty

Amour

Django Unchained

Moonrise Kingdom

The Master

Alternates – Looper

Best Adapted Screenplay

Beasts of the Southern Wild

Lincoln

Argo

Silver Linings Playbook

Life of Pi

Alternates – The Perks of Being a Wallflower