No one needs awards coverage this deep
David O. Russell's Oscar nominee wins four, including Best Feature
"Silver Linings Playbook" star Jennifer Lawrence accepts the Independent Spirit Award for Best Female Lead.
Credit: Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP
In a normal year I would have been working on an interesting blood-Jameson content on the beach of Santa Monica today. Film Independent's Spirit Awards are, after all, the great stretch of the legs at the tail end of the season with the big Sunday showdown on the horizon. It's a good party, even if it still seems to be chasing what "independent filmmaking" is in this day and age. (I don't know that they've caught it.)
Nevertheless, it's a good bridesmaid roll call for films like "Beasts of the Southern Wild" and "Silver Linigns Playbook" to have their day while Oscar's heavies go at it the following day. But there is the rare occasion, like a Harvey Weinstein player last year, that dominates both ceremonies and feels like synergy, if for a moment. Could that play out again?
The last big hurrah for Michael Haneke's film?
Jean-Louis Trintignant (left) and Michael Haneke on the set of "Amour"
Credit: Sony Classics
The César Awards aren't quite the final stop on the circuit for "Amour" ahead of Sunday's Oscars. There is still the Independent Spirits Awards tomorrow. But it was probably the last opportunity for the film to have a big final hurrah of the season, and it seized it.
It's almost over
Anne Hathaway's seat placard in the Dolby Theatre
Credit: AP Photo
I think we've covered it, yeah? The season has been recounted, the big expected outcome has been laid out, we've consoled you if that outcome is troublesome and we've offered up our guesses on what to expect otherwise (including our unique crafts category analysis). The season, in so many words, is nearing its end.
Check out the Moore-hosted panel discussion with all the nominees
Michael Moore hosts the Academy's "Oscar Celebrates: Docs" panel.
As Kris has mentioned before, it's a shame that "Searching for Sugar Man" appears to be cruising to such an easy win in the Best Documentary Feature race. That's not because the film, an engaging audience favorite that has won nearly ever major precursor in sight, wouldn't be a respectable Oscar winner, but because the standard of the competition this year merits a bit more of a fight. Someone who hasn't seen any of the films this year might simply look at how little the wealth has been spread and assume that "Sugar Man" stands inarguably apart from the field, and that simply isn't the case.
But he admits his method is a little problematic
Credit: AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh
There are three ways to predict the Oscars. The first is to go strictly on facts, stats and precedents. The second is to use a mixture of sentiment and psychological projection. The third, and best, combines a bit of both with good old-fashioned gut instinct.
Statistician extraordinaire Nate Silver, unsurprisingly, opts for the first method. His election-style Oscar predictions are based purely on how nominees have fared in previous awards: a system that poses some problems this year, when the Academy's earlier-than-usual deadline for nominations voting resulted in less correlation than usual with several major precursors -- the Actors' and Directors' Guilds in particular. (Stat geeks love to tell us, or example, that Marcia Gay Harden is only person in the 19-year history of the SAG Awards to win the Oscar without a Guild nod -- but there's a strong possibility that number could triple on Sunday.)
Is 'Argo' set to complete its big sweep?
Jamie Foxx in "Django Unchained"
Credit: The Weinstein Company
(Welcome to the Oscar Guide, your chaperone through the Academy’s 24 categories awarding excellence in film. A new installment hit every weekday in the run-up to the Oscars on February 24, with the Best Picture finale today, February 22.)
And here we are, the final category after two-and-a-half weeks of the 2013 Oscar Guide. I hope you've enjoyed the entries, which you can click back through in the dedicated section below this post. The Best Picture field proved, in its second year of featuring a slate that could include between five and 10 nominees, to be a full one. Nine films were nominated again, and they ran the gamut from foreign languages to political thrillers, big-scale musicals to epic fantasies, scruffy indies to prestige biopics and romantic comedies.
In the end, one film stood out and showed dominance at a time when it appeared to be at its weakest. Whether that perceived weakness was ultimately a source of sympathy is up for debate, but it asserted its dominance nevertheless. And in this, a year when the stats can absolutely go out the window given the shifting of the Academy's calendar and its introduction of online balloting, "history" was going to be made. And so it shall, no matter what happens.
The nominees are…
Last guesses with the 85th annual around the corner
Welcome to Oscar Talk.
In case you're new to the site and/or the podcast, Oscar Talk is a weekly kudocast, your one-stop awards chat shop between yours truly and Anne Thompson of Thompson on Hollywood. The podcast is weekly, every Friday throughout the season, charting the ups and downs of contenders along the way. Plenty of things change en route to Oscar's stage and we're here to address it all as it unfolds.
How many Oscar-winning actors also boast wins in other categories?
George Clooney accepting his Best Supporting Actor Oscar at the 2005 Academy Awards.
Amid all the fuss over Ben Affleck in the run-up to Sunday's Academy Awards -- with his path from surprise omission to probable vindication, all in the space of a few weeks, likely to be the lasting narrative of this year's Oscars -- there's been markedly little attention paid to his nominated co-producers. That wouldn't normally be very surprising: producers, by and large, don't tend to be as photogenic or as headline-friendly as the Ben Afflecks of this world. But it's slightly different when one of the co-producers in question in George Clooney.
Clooney has been a typically urbane, but graciously quiet, presence on the campaign trail for "Argo" all season long: it's Affleck's film, after all, and he's been selling the hell out of it, so there's no call for his fellow A-list star to switch on the jazz hands.
Also: Does the Academy still have a blockbuster blind spot?
Daniel Craig in "Skyfall."
Credit: Sony Pictures
I'm not sure "Skyfall" represents the best work in the field -- though I prefer it to the presumed frontrunner in the category -- but it's hard not to root for Roger Deakins in the Best Cinematography race on Sunday. The British DP's perennial bridesmaid status at the Oscars has grown into a widely publicized sticking point, and Vulture has further highlighted the debt with a great piece on 10 key shots from his career, and how he got them. (Hey, that sounds not unlike one of our favorite annual features.) For "Skyfall," they've selected Bond's arrival at the Macao gambling palace for scrutiny. Deakins explains the difficulties of faking mass candlelight, and brushes off talk of how he excels in the digital department: "Whether or not it's film or digital, much more of my career has been about choosing the location, getting an idea of the look of something, and choosing the practical kinds of lighting and the positions of the windows, anything that enables you to get the look you want." [Vulture]
Which 14 categories did our pundits agree on?
The 85th annual Academy Awards are right around the corner as Oscar weekend is ready to descend on Tinseltown and, indeed, the world stage. Is it smooth sailing for "Argo" and Daniel Day-Lewis? Did the tight races for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actor yield surprises? What mysteries do the envelopes still hold? We'll know for sure next week and the Monday morning quarterbacking will be fascinating to behold, but in the meantime, it's last call on predictions.