Featuring my ideal-world Oscar ballot
Right, 'tis the night before Oscar Nomination Day, and plenty of creatures are still stirring. Many pundits are still feverishly tweaking their prediction lists, cross-referencing precursor lists and previous years' editions for clues, but like my HitFix colleagues, I've let mine go. These, for better or (probably) worse, are my final guesses -- some pragmatic, some playful -- and I don't much feel like shuffling them any further.
Nor, really, do I feel like talking about them much further. I could use this column to explain the method (minimal) behind my eight-nominee Best Picture lineup or the madness (maximal) behind predicting a Best Original Song nod for "The Sambola!," but any such rationalizations reach their sell-by date in just a few hours' time. I could look ahead to the next stage of the race, and the contenders likeliest to win it, but thanks to the Academy's reconfigured calendar, we still have over six weeks left in which to exhaust that topic. (Thank heavens we have some festivals in the interim to break up the conversation.)
Other nominees range from 'Argo' to 'Pitch Perfect'
The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics' Association has added its list of nominees to the very tall pile, and in a wholly non-stereotypical turn of events, "Les Misérables" leads the film field with four citations, including one particularly likely to aggravate its detractors -- for Visually Striking Film of the Year. "Argo," "Beasts of the Southern Wild" and "Lincoln" join"Les Mis" in the top category, but there's more individuality to be found in the more specialized races, where the pleasingly alliterative trio of "The Perks of Being a Wallflower," "The Paperboy" and "Pitch Perfect" all feature, while "Keep the Lights On" scored in both the Film of the Year and LGBT Film of the Year fields. Full list of film nominees below; everything else at The Circuit.
HitFix's pundits make their final choices
We're halfway there. Well, we're halfway there as of Thursday morning.
Seth MacFarlane and Emma "already hunting for an Oscar" Stone will announce the nominations for the 85th Academy Awards at the crack of dawn. "Lincoln," "Zero Dark Thirty," "Les Miserables," "Life of Pi" and "Argo" should all be rewarded with a slew of nominations. The rest? Needless to say, there are some nervous potential nominees and consultants today. With that in mind, Kris Tapley, Guy Lodge and I have made our final (and we mean final) nominations predictions which you can compare in the gallery story below. Some intriguing observations:
The Oscar-winning sound designer takes an organic approach to action
There's a standard line in awards-watching circles that voters often confuse Best Sound with Most Sound, but yesterday's nominations for the Cinema Audio Society awards didn't quite bear that out. Nestled between the thundering action of “The Hobbit” and “Skyfall,” and the showy live-vocal capture of “Les Mis,” we had the soft, chamber-y echoes of “Lincoln” and, most interestingly of all, “Zero Dark Thirty” – a film that takes a refreshingly understated sonic approach to territory Hollywood tends to fill with cacophonous fireworks.
This isn't the first time Swedish-born sound designer Paul N.J. Ottosson has been recognized for his muscular-but-delicate artistry on a Kathryn Bigelow thriller – three years ago, with collaborator Ray Beckett, he won the CAS Award, not to mention two Oscars, for his unnerving soundscapes on “The Hurt Locker.” That film, with its narrative expressly based around explosives, was a sound man's playground, compared to which “Zero Dark Thirty” concentrates its pyrotechnics in shorter bursts.
The film won Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor
"Lincoln" has picked up a third Best Picture critics prize, landing the Iowa Film Critics Association award for the year's best film. Steven Spielberg, Daniel Day-Lewis and Tommy Lee Jones were also singled out for the biopic, while Jessica Chastain ("Zero Dark Thirty") and Anne Hathaway (Les Misérables") rounded out the acting honors. Check out the full list below and keep track of it all via The Circuit.
'Django Unchained,' 'The Master,' 'Zero Dark Thirty' miss the cut
The American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) has announced nominees for its 27th annual awards honoring excellence in cinematography.
Tech Support: Final predictions for Cinematography, Costume Design, Film Editing, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing
Rounding out our pre-noms coverage
Also: A Goya nod for Watts, and predicting the nominees... for next year
With the Oscar nominations at the front of everyone's mind, the honorees at the Academy's separate Sci-Tech Awards ceremony -- known to casual viewers only via a video clip, usually presented by a bright-eyed ingenue -- tend to get short shrift. So let's take a moment to applaud veteran visual effects supervisor Bill Taylor, who will be receiving the Academy's John A. Bonner Medal of Commendation. A member of the Academy's Board of Governor, Taylor's career (and AMPAS membership) spans over 40 years, taking in such such films as the original "The Thing," "Glory," "Cape Fear," "The Fast and the Furious" and, most recently, "Lawless." It's his second special award from the Academy: his first, in 1981, was in recognition of his innovations in the area of aerial image optical printing. [AMPAS]
Affleck is celebrating, Hooper and Spielberg not so much
As usual, BAFTA delivered a few surprises this morning. While nothing in their nominee list is as far off the Oscar radar as, say, "Drive"'s hefty haul last year, they've muddled up the hierarchy a little among the leading awards players, as two of the three leading nominees found their directors frozen out -- and not even in favor of certain underperforming British hopefuls, as might have been expected.
'Life of Pi' and 'Les Mis' follow closely behind, but where's 'Skyfall?'
"Lincoln" led this morning's BAFTA nominations with 10 mentions, followed closely by "Life of Pi" and ""Les Misérables" with nine each -- but in something of twist, only one of those field-leading Best Film nominees managed an accompanying Best Director nomination, as Steven Spielberg and Tom Hooper, both nominated yesterday by the DGA, were frozen out by the British Academy. Less compromised success was enjoyed by "Argo," with seven nominations -- indeed, BAFTA took such a shine to Ben Affleck's film that they became the first group to nominate him for Best Actor too.
"Skyfall," the highest-grossing film in UK box-office history managed eight nominations, including ones for Judi Dench and Javier Bardem -- but Best Film, perhaps surprisingly, was not among them. Meanwhile, the year's other home-grown box office sensation, "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel," earned a solitary nomination in the Best British Film category, with even BAFTA darling Maggie Smith left on the sidelines. Ouch. Full list of nominees after the jump.