Thursday, January 10, 2013

Academy Award 2013 Analysis & Commentary

Academy Award 2013 Nominee Analysis
THR's awards analyst paints a category-by-category picture of how the Oscar race might end.
(By Scott Feinberg, The Hollywood Reporter, 10 January 2013)

Lincoln didn't end up tying the record for most Oscar nominations ever received by a single film: 14, which is held by All About Eve (1950) and Titanic (1997). But with a field-leading 12 nominations -- including two for acting and a bunch for crafts -- Steven Spielberg's profile of the 16th president still had one of the strongest showings of all time and solidified its standing as the film to beat in the best picture Oscar race. (The best picture nominee with the most nominations -- which in this case is also the best picture nominee with the biggest box office -- usually prevails.)
Lincoln's and Spielberg's personal prospects were further boosted by the fact that three films regarded as comparably strong contenders, Argo, Les Miserables and Zero Dark Thirty, were shockingly each denied a nom for best director. Only three films without a best director nomination have ever managed to win best picture -- and only one in the last 80 years, Driving Miss Daisy (1989).

Ben Affleck (Argo), Tom Hooper (Les Mis) and Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty) all received nominations from the Directors Guild of America. The directors union, composed of roughly 15,000 members, is usually a great predictor of the behavior of the Academy's 369-member directors branch. This year, however, the DGA and the Academy found more disagreement than agreement. Maybe Academy voters have residual bad feelings about Affleck's tabloid days, or don't really like musicals, or were deterred by the torture debate. But one Academy member spoke for many when he reacted to these snubs by telling THR, "I am beyond embarrassed by this," adding that he found it to be "bizarre shit" in what clearly "ain't no conventional year."
Spielberg ended up joined in the best director category by the filmmakers responsible for four other best picture nominees, Amour, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Life of Pi and Silver Linings Playbook, the latter two of which might have the best shot besides Lincoln to win best picture.

Compelling best picture cases can be made for and against both of them: Pi scored a nom in all the technical branches, which indicates that it has a large base of support. But the fact that it received no acting nominations is not helpful, as few films have ever won without at least one nom from the Academy's largest branch. Playbook has the opposite problem: It scored a nom in all four of the acting categories -- something that hasn't happened in 31 years and has happened only 13 other times in history, indicating huge support from actors. However, the film scored only one nomination in a "below-the-line" category, best film editing.
A best film editing nomination is considered to be pivotal, though, as only nine movies have ever won best picture without one since the category was introduced in 1934, the most recent of which came 22 years ago, with Ordinary People (1980). Another nom that is nearly essential in order to have a realistic shot at winning best picture is for screenplay, in either the best adapted or best original category. Only two films in the last 57 years have won best picture without one, the most recent being Titanic (1997).

The fact that Les Miserables failed to register a nom in either of those two categories -- and that all other best picture nominees showed up in at least one of them -- or for best director essentially puts the nail in the coffin on that film's best picture chances. Its supporters must be pleased with the fact that it did score eight nominations overall and will almost certainly win at least one of them, best supporting actress, for which Anne Hathaway is the prohibitive frontrunner.
Meanwhile, the fact that Argo and Zero Dark Thirty joined Lincoln and Life of Pi in securing both screenplay and film editing noms -- and wound up with a respectable total of seven and five noms, respectively -- has to give their supporters hope that the best director snub is an aberration and nothing more.

Lincoln's most assured win is probably Daniel Day-Lewis for best actor -- which is really saying something, considering that the 55-year-old already has two best actor Oscars on his shelf, and no man in history has ever won more than that number. It's always possible that the Academy might opt to honor to a first-time acting nominee from another best picture-nominated film, such as Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook) or Hugh Jackman (Les Miserables). This happened a decade ago when the perceived frontrunners Day-Lewis and Jack Nicholson, both previous winners, were upended by rookie Adrien Brody. Or voters could choose to reward another veteran, such as previous two-time nominee Joaquin Phoenix (The Master) or two-time winner Denzel Washington (Flight), even if there isn't much reason to believe that the full Academy loved their films. (The Master's three noms all came from the actors' branch, and Washington's and screenwriter John Gatins' are the only two afforded to Flight.) But my clear sense is that most voters regard Day-Lewis' performance as being in a different league than the others.
Lincoln could well win best supporting actor, too, thanks to the colorful performance of Tommy Lee Jones, the category's winner 19 years ago for The Fugitive. But he faces some stiff competition: All four other nominees are previous winners in the category, as well -- an Oscars first! Robert De Niro might be the sentimental choice, as it's been 21 years since he was last even nominated, and his emotional performance in Silver Linings marks a return to form for him after a lot of years of mostly comedic shlock. Argo's Alan Arkin, who won just six years ago for Little Miss Sunshine, could emulate Jason Robards and win supporting actor twice in a short span of time -- his best argument is his longevity, and with this nom he sets a new record for most years between the first and (potentially) last nomination of a male actor, 46 -- but some may feel that his role in a true ensemble film is not large or substantive enough to merit that. And The Master's Philip Seymour Hoffman certainly plays a memorable part in his film, but he may not go over as well with the Academy at large as he does with its actors branch, which nominated him even for Charlie Wilson's War (2007).

And then there's Christoph Waltz and Django Unchained, a performance and film that are true wild cards in this year's race. Waltz was this category's winner for his prior collaboration with Quentin Tarantino three years ago, Inglourious Basterds. Django, meanwhile, seems to have a diverse base of backers -- in addition to Waltz's acting nom, it received noms for best picture, best original screenplay, best cinematography and best sound editing. And, if anything, that support -- and voters' support for him -- will probably only grow as the film, which was released very late in the season, gets seen by stragglers and as the controversy over its depiction of extreme gun violence (right in the wake of the Newtown, Conn., tragedy) and the N-word (which prompted some vocal opposition to the film) inevitably dies down. For Django, I think anything is possible.
Supporting actress seems like Hathaway's category to lose. Even though she has very limited screen time, she nails the one big song that she has to sing -- just as Jennifer Hudson did en route to her Oscar for Dreamgirls, albeit in a bigger part -- and she also does a lot of other things that have historically impressed the Academy, such as losing a lot of weight and altering her appearance for her part, in this case giving up her long hair. I can't imagine her losing to either of the two previous Oscar winners Sally Field (Lincoln) and Helen Hunt (The Sessions), perennial nominee Amy Adams (she now has four noms in this category in the last seven years) or Jacki Weaver (Silver Linings Playbook), who rode the goodwill felt toward her film to her second nom in this category in three years -- a victory in and of itself.

Finally, at least for our purposes, we come to best actress, a race that is truly too close to call with any degree of confidence prior to tonight's Critics' Choice Awards, Sunday night's Golden Globe Awards and the SAG Awards on Jan. 27. My gut feeling is that it will be won by Jennifer Lawrence for her dramedic work in Silver Linings Playbook -- she has a showy part, her fellow actors can't say enough good things about her and she really makes the movie -- but I think that strong arguments can also be made for each of her competitors.
In Zero Dark Thirty, Jessica Chastain conveys so much by doing so little in the way of "acting," at least until it comes to its climactic end and she can finally let loose a little emotion, and this could ultimately work for or against her. Naomi Watts is every bit as beautiful as Lawrence and Chastain (important, sadly, when voters are predominantly male), but she's also a little older and more experienced and has an impressive body of work under her belt with which the other two cannot compete (all relevant, as many voters look to reward the career as much as the performance), so she might be seen as the "grown-up option" for her heartwrenching work in The Impossible. Of course, if voters are looking for the most grown-up of the grown-ups, they could do a lot worse than Amour's Emmanuelle Riva, who has been appearing in important films for a half-century and breaks hearts as an elderly woman who becomes a shell of her former self.

And then there is Beasts of the Southern Wild's Quvenzhane Wallis, who is now 9 (and becomes the youngest best actress nominee in history), but was 6 when she filmed her performance at the center of a tiny $1.8 million movie made by a first-time feature director and featuring not a single household name. In spite of all that, voters loved it enough to reward it with noms for best picture, best director, best adapted screenplay and best actress. Some fellow actors have suggested that a child performance like hers can be put together by feeding the actor lines and then doing a lot of work in the editing room. But actors will account for only about one-sixth of the people who will decide the outcome of this category, and many of them, as well as most other voters, will be hard pressed not to succumb to the charm and beauty of this performance and film. Any one of these women would be a worthy winner.
It may be too soon to confidently predict winners in many categories -- a testament to the quality of filmmaking this year -- but it's not too soon to note that, as always, the Oscar nominations demonstrate that life is not always fair.  History will record that the following films were not nominated for a single Oscar: Arbitrage (with a career-best performance by Richard Gere, who is still seeking his first nom), Bernie (which reveals that Jack Black can be a truly first-rate actor), The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (with its great ensemble of veteran British actors), Compliance (with a great performance by Ann Dowd), Cloud Atlas (not my personal cup of tea but a massively ambitious effort with incredible craftwork), The Dark Knight Rises (the brilliant final chapter of a landmark trilogy), The Intouchables (the most financially successful French film in France and abroad in history), Magic Mike (a movie people can't help but like), Middle of Nowhere (an indie that introduces us to the next great actress of color, Emayatzy Corinealdi) and The Perks of Being a Wallflower (one of the sweetest films about adolescence ever made).

Meanwhile, when our grandchildren google The Avengers, Hitchcock, Mirror, Mirror, The Pirates! Band of Misfits, Prometheus, Snow White and the Huntsman and Ted, they will read that they were deemed worthy of the Academy's stamp of approval.  That's frustrating, but it's also OK. Nobody, least of all the Academy, can please everyone. And, as we film buffs like to profess, the one list that is arguably even more impressive than the list of films and performances embraced by the Academy is the list of films and performances that were not.

Oscar Nomination Snubs That Have Fans and Industry Insiders Baffled
(By Scott Feinberg, The Hollywood Reporter, 10 January 2013)
When the Academy announced its 85th Oscar nominations Thursday morning, the best picture nominees turned out to be the least controversial of all. Sure, they left out a few films that some thought had a shot: Skyfall, which would have been the first Bond film to score a best pic Oscar nom after grossing a billion bucks and scoring a PGA nom; Moonrise Kingdom and The Master, indies that had two of the highest per-theater opening weekends of the year and were Critics' Choice nominees for best pic; The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, the all-star British cast of which received a SAG ensemble nom; and the blockbusters The Dark Knight Rises and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, which made a fortune in the summer and winter, respectively. But their nine (out of a possible 10 nominees) covered all of the usual suspects that have shown up in the top category with other awards-dispensing bodies.

But the best director category that the Academy unveiled matched none that has been seen anywhere else, least of all from the Directors Guild of America, whose DGA Award nominees usually are a strong predictor of what the Academy will do, missing on one or at most two in most years. This year, three DGA nominees -- all directors of films that were thought to be among the most serious contenders to win best picture -- were snubbed by the Academy's directors branch: Ben Affleck (Argo), Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty) and Tom Hooper (Les Miserables). They were replaced by the directors of three other best picture nominees, David O. Russell (Silver Linings Playbook), whose film also scored noms in all four acting categories -- something that hasn't happened in 31 years -- and now looks like the strongest challenger to Lincoln; Benh Zeitlin (Beasts of the Southern Wild), whose film now looks like a much stronger contender as well; and Michael Haneke (Amour), who became only the second director of a foreign-language film to score a best director nom in a decade, the other being Julian Schnabel (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly).
In the best actor category, John Hawkes (The Sessions) became the rare Golden Globe, SAG and Critics' Choice nominee not to repeat with an Oscar nom, booted out by the star of another indie film, Joaquin Phoenix (The Master), who had scored Globe and Critics' Choice nominations but had been left out in the cold by the best acting nomination predictor of all, SAG. Joining Hawkes on the bench are several other veterans who gave career-best performances this year: Golden Globe nominees Richard Gere (Arbitrage), who is still in search of his first Oscar nomination, and Jack Black (Bernie), an indie fave this year; Jean-Louis Trintignant (Amour), the French octogenarian whose scene partner was nominated in the best actress category; and two previous winners in this category, Anthony Hopkins (Hitchcock) and Jamie Foxx (Django Unchained).

In the best actress race, there always appeared to be seven women with a serious shot at the five slots. The two who came up short Thursday were, somewhat surprisingly, Marion Cotillard (Rust and Bone) and Helen Mirren (Hitchcock), two past winners who had scored SAG and Globes noms this year; Cotillard also received a Critics' Choice nom. Also left out were three other three previous Oscar winners who received Globe noms this year -- Rachel Weisz (The Deep Blue Sea), who also won this year's New York Film Critics Circle best actress award; Judi Dench (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel); and last year's best actress Oscar winner Meryl Streep (Hope Springs) -- as well as Keira Knightley (Anna Karenina), who was nominated in this category for her previous collaboration with director Joe Wright, Atonement (2007), but not this one.

Best supporting actor was fairly straightforward. Five previous winners in this very category were nominated this year, but another one was snubbed who could have made history: Javier Bardem (Skyfall), who elevated the Bond villain to an art form and received SAG and Critics' Choice noms for his efforts but whose film was perhaps too popcorn-y for the Academy's conservative tastes. Voters nominated Django Unchained's Christoph Waltz but left out two of his co-stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, who has been nominated three times, and Samuel L. Jackson, who has one nom to his name, which came for his previous collaboration with Django director Quentin Tarantino, Pulp Fiction (1994).
Similarly, the Academy nominated Argo's Alan Arkin, but left out two of his co-stars: John Goodman, who probably didn't help himself by being so strong in another supporting performance this year in Flight, and Bryan Cranston, whose role was probably the least flashy of the three. Eddie Redmayne, who has been hailed as a rising star by many thanks to his strong singing and acting in Les Mis, and Matthew McConaughey, whose work as a male stripper brought him this year's New York Film Critics Circle award plus a Critics' Choice nomination, also got squeezed out.
Best supporting actress always seemed to have four slots that looked secure, but nobody could agree on who would claim the fifth. I'm pleased to say that I predicted Jacki Weaver, only because the people who she wound up keeping out all had somewhat fatal flaws: Nicole Kidman (The Paperboy) scored SAG and Globe noms but was in a strange and widely ridiculed movie that voters never embraced; Ann Dowd (Compliance), this year's National Board of Review winner and also a Critics' Choice and Indie Spirit nominee, never got the support she needed from her film's distributor in order to raise her profile with voters; and Maggie Smith, who bagged a SAG nom, refuses to campaign on her own behalf, which one can very rarely get away with in this media-crazy age. Some thought that a surprise nom might go to relative newcomer Kelly Reilly (Flight) or esteemed veteran Judi Dench (Skyfall), a Critics' Choice nominee, or perhaps one of the young singing ladies of Les Mis, Amanda Seyfried or Samantha Barks, but this was not to be.

In the other categories, major snubs include The Intouchables, the immensely profitable French film that France controversially submitted for Oscar consideration in the best foreign-language film category over the more artistically ambitious Rust and Bone, something it now must be regretting; Rise of the Guardians, DreamWorks Animation's big film this year; Lincoln, while it did score a very impressive 12 noms, was left out of two categories that it had a shot at, best makeup (the Academy usually loves whisker work) and best sound editing, keeping it from tying the all-time record for most noms for a single film that has long been held by All About Eve (1950) and Titanic (1997); Skyfall failed to meet its high expectations not only in the best picture and best supporting actor races but also by not showing up among the final five for best production design and best visual effects; Les Mis was denied a best film editing nom, which is statistically-crucial for a film that hopes to win best pic, and a best sound editing nom, which often is afforded to musicals; and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, which scored noms for best makeup and hairstyling, best production design and best visual effects but failed to register in either of the two sound categories, a weak showing that must have Peter Jackson waxing for the days of the Lord of the Rings franchise, which dominated all of the below-the-line categories.

As for the best original song category, it's hard to call any of those that were left out "snubs," since the music branch had to choose five from 75 worthy options. But some of the highest-profile titles not selected include "Wide Awake," which Katy Perry performed in the doc Katy Perry: Part of Me; "Not Running Anymore," which Jon Bon Jovi, an Oscar nominee 21 years ago, performed in Stand Up Guys; "Breath of Life," performed by Florence + The Machine in Snow White and the Huntsman; "Still Alive," performed by six-time Oscar bridesmaid Paul Williams in the doc Paul Williams: Still Alive; the operatic "Still Dream," performed by Renee Fleming over the closing credits of Rise of the Guardians; and any of the three songs from Django Unchained, including tunes performed by Jamie Foxx and John Legend.

Oscar Nominations by the Numbers: Fun Facts, Shocking Stats
(By Scott Feinberg, The Hollywood Reporter, 10 January 2013)

For Oscar buffs -- read "Oscar nerds" -- like me, one of the great thrills of each year's Academy Awards nominations announcement is the opportunity to dig through the eight-plus decades of Oscar record books and investigate. There's no way to truly compare the classics of yesteryear with the finest films of today, but in a weird way this allows us to do something like that -- and, while that's not particularly useful, it sure is a blast to do! So, without further ado, here are the fun factoids and shocking stats that I've come up with about the new crop of Oscar nominees.

  • The Weinstein Co.'s Silver Linings Playbook becomes only the 14th film to ever receive at least one Oscar nomination in each of the four acting categories and the first to do so in 31 years. The others: My Man Godfrey (1936), Mrs. Miniver (1942), For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943), Johnny Belinda (1948), Sunset Blvd. (1950), A Streetcar Named Desire (1951), From Here to Eternity (1953), Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966), Bonnie and Clyde (1967), Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967), Network (1976), Coming Home (1978) and Reds (1981).
  • Universal's Les Miserables becomes the first musical in a decade to receive a best picture Oscar nomination, since Chicago (2002).
  • 20th Century Fox's Life of Pi becomes only the fifth film released predominately in 3D to receive a best picture Oscar nomination. The others: Avatar (2009), Up (2009), Toy Story 3 (2010) and Hugo (2011).
  • 20th Century Fox's Life of Pi becomes only the fourth film to score Oscar nominations in all seven technical Oscar categories: best cinematography, film editing, best original score, best sound editing, best sound mixing and best visual effects. The others: Titanic (1997), Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2002) and Hugo (2011) -- the first two of which also were set at sea!
  • Sony's Zero Dark Thirty, which was directed by Kathryn Bigelow, becomes the 11th best picture Oscar nominee directed or co-directed by a woman. The other 10: Randa Haines' Children of a Lesser God (1986), Penny Marshall's Awakenings (1990), Barbra Streisand's The Prince of Tides (1991), Jane Campion's The Piano (1993), Sofia Coppola's Lost in Translation (2003), Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris' Little Miss Sunshine (2006), Danny Boyle and Loveleen Tandan's Slumdog Millionaire (2008), Lone Scherfig's An Education (2009) and Bigelow's own The Hurt Locker (2009), the only one of the lot that ended up winning.
  • Emmanuelle Riva (Amour), who is 85, becomes the oldest best actress Oscar nominee in history, breaking the record held by Jessica Tandy, who was 80 when she was nominated -- and won -- for Driving Miss Daisy (1989). The only person older than Riva to ever receive an acting Oscar nomination was Gloria Stuart, who was 87 when she became a best supporting actress nominee for Titanic (1997).
  • Quvenzhane Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild), who is 9 years old, becomes the youngest best actress Oscar nominee in history, breaking the record held by Keisha Castle-Hughes, who was 13 when she was nominated for Whale Rider (2003). The only two people younger than Wallis to ever receive an acting Oscar nomination were Jackie Cooper, also 9 -- but a few days younger than Wallis is -- when he became a best actor nominee for Skippy (1931), and Justin Henry, who was 8 when he became a best supporting actor nominee for Kramer vs. Kramer (1979).
  • Wallis also becomes the 74th actor or actress to receive an acting Oscar nomination for his or her big screen debut, and only the 17th to receive a nomination in the best actress category for a rookie performance. The others: Greer Garson for Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1939), Martha Scott for Our Town (1940), Shirley Booth for Come Back, Little Sheba (1952), Julie Harris for The Member of the Wedding (1952), Maggie McNamara for The Moon Is Blue (1953), Julie Andrews for Mary Poppins (1964), Elizabeth Hartman for A Patch of Blue (1965), Barbra Streisand for Funny Girl (1968), Jane Alexander for The Great White Hope (1970), Diana Ross for Lady Sings the Blues (1972), Julie Walters for Educating Rita (1983), Marlee Matlin for Children of a Lesser God (1986), Emily Watson for Breaking the Waves (1996), Keisha Castle-Hughes for Whale Rider (2003), Catalina Sandino Moreno for Maria Full of Grace (2004) and Gabourey Sidibe for Precious (2009).
  • Three perennial nominees who never have won an Oscar will have a shot at breaking their losing streaks this year, all for their work on Skyfall: veteran sound mixer Greg P. Russell received his 16th best sound mixing nom (only one person -- his former mixing partner Kevin O'Connell, has received more nominations without winning: 20); composer Thomas Newman is 0-for-10 in years past, but maybe the eleventh will be the charm; and cinematographer Roger Deakins is hoping that he will finally win on his 10th try.
  • Alan Arkin (Argo), a best supporting actor nominee, becomes the male actor with the longest span of time between his first and last acting Oscar nomination -- his first nomination came 46 years ago for The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming (1966), and he's obviously still in a position to extend his record! The male record was held by Henry Fonda, who had a 41-year span. The overall record is held by Katharine Hepburn, who had a 48-year span.
  • Three Australians -- Hugh Jackman (Les Miserables), Naomi Watts (The Impossible) and Jacki Weaver (Silver Linings Playbook) -- are among this year's acting Oscar nominees, something that has happened only twice before, in 1998 and 2010.
  • For the first time in history, all five nominees from one of the acting categories -- in this case, best supporting actor (Arkin, Silver Linings Playbook's Robert De Niro, The Master's Philip Seymour Hoffman, Lincoln's Tommy Lee Jones and Django Unchained's Christoph Waltz) -- are previous Oscar winners.
  • Kathleen Kennedy and Steven Spielberg, two of the producers of Lincoln, extend their record number of best picture Oscar nominations -- most of which came for films on which they collaborated -- from seven to eight. (Spielberg won 19 years ago for Schindler's List; Kennedy has yet to win.)
  • Several of this year's nominees also were Oscar-nominated last year: best picture nominee George Clooney (Argo) was nominated last year in the best actor category for The Descendants; best actress nominee Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty) was nominated in the best supporting actress category for The Help; best original score nominee John Williams (Lincoln) was nominated in the same category for The Adventures of Tintin and War Horse; best production design nominee Rick Carter (Lincoln) was nominated in the same category (then called best art direction) for War Horse; and best sound mixing nominee Greg P. Russell (Skyfall) was nominated in the same category for Transformers: Dark of the Moon.
  • Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln) becomes the second person to receive a best actor Oscar nomination for portraying Abraham Lincoln -- the other was Raymond Massey, who was nominated 72 years ago for Abe Lincoln in Illinois (1940) -- and the fifth person to receive a best actor Oscar nomination for portraying any U.S. president. The others, in addition to those two: James Whitmore in Give 'em Hell, Harry! (1975), Anthony Hopkins in Nixon (1995) and Frank Langella in Frost/Nixon (2008).
  • The Gatekeepers, an Israeli Hebrew-language documentary, becomes one of the few films not predominately in the English language to receive a best documentary feature Oscar nomination. The others include The Sorrow and the Pity (1969), Chariots of the Gods (1970), The Last Days (1998) and several early docs about the Olympics.
  • Amy Adams (The Master) becomes only the eighth person to have received at least four best supporting actress Oscar nominations. Adams, whose noms all have come within seven years, joins Ethel Barrymore, Lee Grant, Agnes Moorehead, Geraldine Page, Maggie Smith and Maureen Stapleton, who never received another nom in the category after their fourth, and Thelma Ritter, who bagged two more. None of Adams' noms has resulted in a win yet, but she should be heartened by the fact that all but two of the other members of the 4+ Club -- Moorehead and Ritter -- wound up winning at least one Oscar.
  • It has been a long time since the Academy last nominated Lincoln's Sally Field (28 years ago for Places in the Heart), Silver Linings Playbook's Robert De Niro (21 years ago for Cape Fear), Helen Hunt (15 years ago for As Good as It Gets), Flight's Denzel Washington (11 years ago for Training Day) and The Impossible's Naomi Watts (9 years ago for 21 Grams).
  • Thursday brought the first Oscar nominations for Wallis, Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook), Michael Haneke (Amour), Hugh Jackman (Les Miserables), Emmanuelle Riva (Amour) and Benh Zeitlin (Beasts of the Southern Wild).


Oscars 2013: What The Nominees Are Saying
(By The Hollywood Reporter staff, 10 January 2013)
The nominees for the 85th Academy Awards were announced early Thursday morning by an unfiltered Seth MacFarlane -- who'll host the ABC telecast on February 24 -- and Emma Stone. Lincoln and Life of Pi lead the pack with 12 and 11 nominations, respectively. The nominees have been sharing their reactions with The Hollywood Reporter, which we'll be updating throughout the morning.

Steven Spielberg, producer and director, Lincoln, best picture, achievement in directing:

“It’s been an absolutely thrilling morning. I was awoken by [my publicist] telling me about our multiple nominations. It's the best wakeup call I’ve had in 14 years! I’m always surprised by recognition. I’m deeply grateful, and we are so honored by our 12 nominations, especially being in the great company of such amazing films. It’s a great list of nine movies and I’ve seen all of them. I’m looking forward to meeting [Beasts director] Benh Zeitlin and [Amour director] Michael Haneke. Their films and the rest all show such a diversity; such a wide range of risky opportunities. And today their risks have been rewarded.” - Stacey Wilson

Kathleen Kennedy, producer, Lincoln, best picture:

"It’s pretty exciting, though I didn’t wake up in time to turn on TV! [Husband] Frank called me and read me the list. There isn’t anything more gratifying than seeing everyone - the actors, producers, director and writer -- recognized for this film. You get to the point with this campaign process, you try to pace yourself with this long journey... we are just fortunate to have this kind of recognition. Stephen is absolutely thrilled. It’s very much like his directing style- he has enthusiasm for everything. As for choosing a dress, now that I’m going back and forth to San Francisco for my new job, I've literally had one day to think about it. My bedroom is currently full of dresses for the Globes, but I’m not seeing any I really like yet! There’s no question, women have it harder. It becomes a part time job; a high class problem, so we can’t really talk about it. But it’s daunting!" - Stacey Wilson

Hugh Jackman, Les Miserables, best actor:

"I hadn't planned to listen live to the announcements, but when I got into the car this morning to go to work, the driver had the nominations streaming as they were being broadcast. To be honest, it's very exciting but all a bit surreal, and it hasn't fully sunk in yet. This is a brilliant awards year that has been defined by an eclectic list of stories that have been told by incredibly talented and courageous filmmakers, and it's an honor to be mentioned in the same sentence as the other nominees in the Best Actor category. Having hosted the show, I have seen so many different sides of the Oscars, but to be an actual nominee is something I never would have dreamed possible."

Adam Fogelson, Universal Pictures Chairman, Les Miserables, eight nominations including best picture:

The adaptation of the hit stage musical picked up eight nominations, the third-best showing of any film, including a spot in the best picture category. One notable omission: director Tom Hooper, who won the Oscar two years ago for The King's Speech, didn't get a directing nomination.  Fogelson watched the nominations at his home in Los Angeles, coffee in hand.  "Certainly, all of the indicators that led up to today suggested the film would be recognized in a substantial way. As a person who is in no way objective, I would have loved to have seen Tom and other elements get nominated. But we have one of the most celebrated films of the year, which is on its way to becoming one of the most successful musicals in history," Fogelson told THR. "We have a lot to celebrate."  "If at all possible, you have to keep a healthy perspective. There were great movies that weren't nominated, and not getting nominated shouldn't diminish that." - Pamela McClintock

David O. Russell, director, Silver Linings Playbook, achievement in directing: 

"I'm beyond grateful, since I didn't know what to expect. I'm especially over the moon for my actors. The fact that Bob (Robert De Niro) and Jacki Weaver were nominated is amazing," David O. Russell tells THR.  "This morning was just a stunner." - Pamela McClintock

Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook, best actor:

‘I get up crazy early anyway, and I told myself, ‘Ok, I’ll take my dog to the beach, and just see what happens. Whatever goes down.’ What I forgot is that it’s pitch-black at 5 am! So I watched with my mom and my dog. These things are once in a lifetime. To see Jacki, Jennifer, Robert all recognized…and thank God, David, too. It’s so exciting, it couldn’t have gone better." - Stacey Wilson

Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook, best actress:

"I thought I would wake up, but I didn't. My parents spent the night at my house, and they came in and kissed me on the forehead and told me about all the nominations for Silver Linings," Jennifer Lawrence tells THR.  "I went into this because of David [O. Russell]. I've seen everything he's ever done. And I was so blown away by Bradley [Cooper] and the rest of the cast."  This marks Lawrence's second best actress nomination; she received her first two years ago for Winter's Bone, an indie drama that marked her breakout role.  "I plan on enjoying myself this time. Last time, I was just so nervous. I was 20 and new the industry," she says. "I don't want to make the same mistake this time."  - Pamela McClintock

Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables, best supporting actress:

"It's a wonderful morning," the Les Miserables actress said from her bedroom floor in L.A., her dog beside her. "I'm still jet-lagged on Europe time because I spent the holidays there, so I've been up for a few hours already unsuccessfully trying to fall back asleep. It's such an honor to be a part of a piece of work that has spread so much love throughout the world. I worked with a fearless cast and was so inspired by them every day. I sent Hugh [Jackman] an email. It's also a bittersweet morning for all of us because [Tom Hooper]'s our captain, and there's no way I'm on the phone with you right now without his influence in my life. He's really happy for us, which is a great feeling." - Brandon Kirby

Ang Lee, producer and director, Life of Pi, best picture, achievement in directing:

"I arrived in Los Angeles yesterday for tonight's Critics' Choice Awards. I was sleeping when my assistant David called with the good news," Lee tells THR. "Here's the thing -- everything about this movie was an uphill battle. And it was a very difficult movie to make, so I didn't really get to celebrate when we finished. I felt more like Pi, lost and exhausted. Just recently, I started to feel rewarded. This week alone has been amazing, between the DGA, BAFTA and Oscar nominations. I feel like I'm being showered with goodwill and encouragement." - Pamela McClintock

Naomi Watts, The Impossible, best actress:

"This was a complete surprise. For the other announcements this season I was in NYC, no problem... I had a proper full night of sleep. There's something about this one, being in L.A., that creates a lot of angst! I had interruptions of sleep all night because of the kids, as if I wasn't restless enough, and each time I woke up I kept thinking, "It's not going to happen.' BAFTA didn’t give us love this week, and I thought they were making the Oscar announcements at 5 am so at ten after, I thought, 'They would have called by now right?' But my publicist texted and said, 'They haven’t made the announcements yet!' I was super lucky too that my name was mentioned first. Usually I'm at the end of lists. Overall, it's very thrilling, especially in a year with so many incredible performances." - Stacey Wilson

Sally Field, Lincoln, best supporting actress:

"I was at the Bel Air Hotel, and my youngest son pounded on the door at 5:30 or whatever it was. I just feel thrilled, overwhelmed, spinning. It's been an amazing journey. I feel so honored, along with the whole Lincoln tribe. Today's a busy day. We have the the Critics Choice awards tonight. Lincoln has 13 nominations [a record]. We have two tables. I'm sure it'll be a huge, drunken brawl. Not a brawl! A revel. We're not a team of rivals, we're a team of comrades. Like people who survived a battle. My career is a wild ride. I haven't been to the Oscars in quite some time. When I went there in the '80s, I walked into a store and just bought a dress. Now, part of me is like a 12-year-old. All these designers want to design me something. I say, what? Are you kidding me? It's amazing." -

Alan Arkin, Argo, best supporting actor:

"I got about six emails this morning that said stuff like, ‘Yippee!’ and ‘Hurray!’ I didn’t know what they were talking about. No, it's thrilling. Argo is a brilliant film in every way; brilliantly directed. It’s really the work of an old master, rather than a young director. It’s about important things; solving an international crisis with creativity, without a single shot fired in the process. I haven’t done much to celebrate yet, though I did just have a rice cake with two fried eggs. Yeah, it's crazy over here, but I think I can handle it.” - Stacey Wilson

Helen Hunt, The Sessions, best supporting actress:

"I was deeply deeply asleep when the news came in this morning and the dog was the first one to get celebratory love from me and my boyfriend! I’m really really happy and feel this is a good sign that people like the spirit this character embodies. This film is definitely counter-programming to a lot of the pain and harshness in the world. It's too bad that John [Hawkes] wasn't recognized, but that doesn't take away from the brilliance of his performance one bit." - Stacey Wilson

Jacki Weaver, Silver Linings Playbook, best supporting actress:

"I arrived here from Australia just yesterday and this was the last thing I expected. I turned on TV this morning – I couldn’t sleep from being jet-lagged - and couldn’t believe it and said something very unprintable to myself! I think the film is very identifiable even if you don’t have those exact problems. We know people, we are related people as neighbors who have them. There are issues we can all identify with -- broken hearts, mental illness, sports as religion. I was recently interviewed by a British journalist, and he wanted to talk about the mental illness in the movie and. I wondered to him, ‘This film is very American. Do you think Brits and Australians are going to get it?’ He said, ‘Oh my God, yes. The themes are universal.’ I'm so proud of this movie." - Stacey Wilson

John Gatins, screenwriter, Flight, best original screenplay:

"I was in bed with my wife staring at the screen, marveling at how beautiful Emma Stone looked. Then it was, Omigod, Emma Stone just said my name! And she pronounced it right! No one ever pronounces it right. They say GAW-tin, and it's GATE-in. I've never been to the Oscars before. It would be nice to see Denzel there, since he got nominated too. There were so many great movies this year -- I saw more movies in a theater than I have in many years, every weekend another good one. So when Sam Rubin of KTLA told me, 'You're going to the Oscars,' I said, 'Uh, yeah, right, have you seen the competition out there this year?' I got into a great email exchange with Roger Ebert about the movie. After 12 years of working on it, this is an unbelievably nice surprise." - Timothy Appelo

Roman Coppola, co-screenwriter, Moonrise Kingdom, best original screenplay: 

"I was in a car with my wife and my parents [Eleanor and Francis Ford Coppola] and got a text from a friend telling me [about the nom]. My mom does this celebratory bark. It's like a seal. A woof. Once in a while she'll bring it out. Very festive. It was totally thrilling -- it's hard to express. Unless you can bark." - Timothy Appelo

Eric Fellner, co-chairman of Working Title, the company behind Les Miserables and Anna Karenina:

In London, Eric Fellner, the co-chairman of British production company Working Title, was housed in a theatre working with Ron Howard on the final cut of the director’s latest movie, Rush, when he got word that the company’s big period epics, Les Miserables and Anna Karenina, garnered 12 nominations.  “I rushed back from Rush,” he quipped, recounting his dash back to the office in order to cheer with his execs.  “To have two films in one year recognized in this way is a great thing” he said. “It’s very exciting for us here in the UK to go out and make challenging British films and for them to do not only business but also to be recognized by our peers and the Academy.”

The producer, however, wasn’t just shocked that Tom Hooper was snubbed by not receiving an nomination for best director, but scratching his head why Ben Affleck and Kathryn Bigelow were also not on the list.  “The big talk is that three of the five DGA nominees were not nominated. I think all three directors did an amazing job. I was really quite shocked that Ben, Tom and Kathryn weren’t nominated.”  Asked for theories, he responded: “I have no idea. One has to respect the Academy and respect the voting. It is what it is. I wish I knew. It’s really weird, isn’t it?" Fellner said he doesn’t have that much time to celebrate as since he’ll be packing for an 11-hour plane ride to LA for this weekend’s Golden Globes. But for the Oscars, “maybe I’ll splurge for a new suit,” he said. - Borys Kit

Michael Gottwald, producer, Beasts of the Southern Wild, best picture:

Michael Gottwald, his fellow Beasts of the Southern Wild producers and director Behn Zeitlin were all together on Wednesday morning, up early to watch the nominations from a hotel room in Los Angeles. “We stayed up pretty late last night just reminiscing about the whole crazy journey. It was a really cool way to cap off the whole year and the journey of the film,” he says.  They turned on the TV at about 5:25 a.m. and “actually freaked out for about 15 minutes straight” as the film received four nominations, including best picture. They then went up to 9-year-old Quvenzhane Wallis’ room to celebrate her nomination with her and her mother. Gottwald says he takes special pride in being “ part of the team that’s responsible for bringing her into this world and showing off her talent, which is so natural and which maybe otherwise would never have gotten tapped for film had we not done a thorough search for this one role.” - Rebecca Ford

Margaret Ménégoz, producer, Amour, best picture and foreign film:

"The whole crew was around the computer in Paris about 2:30 p.m. when we heard. We'll open a bottle of champagne, Bollinger. Impossible! For a small European film entirely shot in one apartment, with a very difficult theme, to get a nomination for best film. There will be a change. The next film for Michael Haneke will be easier. The producers will be listening more carefully. This is not only good news for our film, also for our common future. This is the most important prize you can win in your life." - Timothy Appelo

Seth MacFarlane, Oscars host, nominated for best original song ("Everybody Needs a Best Friend," Ted):

"First an Oscar nomination, then I find a basically brand-new queen mattress on my drive home. This is an incredible day."

Mychael Danna, composer, Life of Pi, best original score, best original song ("Pi's Lullaby"):

"It's kind of beyond words. A more emotional thing than I expected. Our plane got in late, we didn't get a chance to dream, we went to bed for a couple hours and the phone woke us up. I didn't get much sleep so I'll probably gonna look a little fagged today. But making up with it with a big smile. One of the premiere moments of my life, I've got to say." - Timothy Appelo

John Kars, director, Paperman, best animated short:

"It's beyond an honor to have Paperman nominated for an Oscar. I can't thank everyone on the team enough for their passion and hard work in making this dream project a reality."

David Silverman, director, Maggie Simpson in: "The Longest Daycare," best animated short:

"This amazing recognition from the Academy is the craziest wake-up call I’ve ever received. I'm very grateful to Jim Brooks, Al Jean - and especially Matt Groening, for creating The Simpsons. They all gave me the opportunity to explore the world of pantomime with what are normally very verbal characters. I also have to give a shout-out to my parents -- who I just spoke to -- and thank them for allowing me to draw on the walls as a child. It kind of worked out!" 

Rich More, director, Wreck-It Ralph, best animated feature:

Wreck-It Ralph director Rich Moore had trouble sleeping the night before the nominations so was up at 5 AM, in the living room of his Burbank home. He watched the pre-show on E! and then, with surprise and delight, heard his movie amid the nominees for best animated film.  “I was in absolute shock,” Moore said. It felt surreal and exiting. I’m so happy and so proud of the movie, the crew and the studio.”  To him, the nomination signals the nearing end of the long process that began four years when he started making the movie: “It feels like 11 PM on Christmas Day. The holiday is almost over.”  He added: The nomination is a wonderful way for the whole journey to close up.”  Ralph is still rolling out around the world -- England and Japan are two of the countries that will be opening the feature in the coming two months -- but Moore said his voice team of John C. Reilly and Sarah Silverman have expressed a desire to return for a sequel. As has Moore.  “I would love the chance to explore other stories in the world of Ralph,” he said. “We’ve talked about it a little bit, but noting official at this time.” - Borys Kit

Sarah Greenwood, production designer, and Katie Spencer, set decorator, Anna Karenina:

“Choosing to do the film in a theater setting was very last minute -- we were 12 weeks from the shoot,” production design Sarah Greenwood said, noting that it would have been problematic to shoot on location in different countries due to the budget constraints, and director Joe Wright had the idea to set the film in a theater. “It was invigorating, a novel approach. We knew it would work or fall flat. To be recognized is amazing.”  She and set decorator Katie Spencer already received emails from Wright.  “He said were the best team in the world,” Spencer said, noting that the close-knit team on the film included fellow nominees Seamus McGarvey (cinematography), Jaqueline Durran (costume design) and Dario Marianelli (score). She credited Wright for the nominations.  “We are a team who works with Joe. He is the ringmaster.” - Carolyn Giardina

Chris Butler and Sam Fell, co-directors, ParaNorman, best animated feature:

“At LAIKA we were trying to do something different, to make the kind of movie no one else is making,” said ParaNorman’s co-director and writer Chris Butler. “I’m still in shock. It was a risk on Travis Knight’s [LAIKA CEO and ParaNorman producer and lead animator] part.”  “In a way, we are the little outsider film,” admitted co-director Sam Fell, pointing out that LAIKA is a smaller, independent studio. In the end, this sophomore feature from the Portland, Ore.-based studio also marks its second Oscar nomination; the first was Coraline.  Being different perhaps underscores a theme of ParaNorman, which Fell described as “what make you weird is what makes you wonderful.”  Butler added that seeing for the first time that three of the five category nominees used the century-old stop motion technique was “amazing considering [stop-motion] is the underdog in the animated feature world. … I think it does definitely says something about how people feel about the medium, that they appreciate the Herculean effort that goes into making one of these. I think stop motion has a beauty that is unique. It is hugely encouraging to have that noticed.” - Carolyn Giardina

Lucy Alibar, writer, Beasts of the Southern Wild, best adapted screenplay:

"I was really shocked and stunned in the best way. Especially for Benh [Zeitlin], he's my best friend. I just genuinely wasn't expecting any of this. I was doing yoga waiting for my laundry to dry, and my boyfriend turned the TV on even though I really didn't want him to. I just wanted to steer clear. I haven't even thought about what the Oscars will be like." - Brandon Kirby

Peter Lord, director, ThePirates! Band of Misfits, best animated film:

Peter Lord, the director of Pirates! Band of Misfits, wasn’t even aware the Oscar nominations were being announced today, coming back to his desk after a leisurely lunch in London, where Aardman Animation is based.  “I had kind of given up, you know?” Lord said. “The movie came out in March, after all.”  He then heard a lot of yelling from another room and someone burst into his room with the news the movie had been nominated in the best animated film category.  “I’m just delighted. We were very low key and (the movie) wasn’t shoved down people’s throats. I’m happy people remembered it fondly from when it was out.”  One aspect that Lord marvels about is the strong resurgence of stop-motion – Frankenweenie and ParaNorman join Pirates! as fellow nominees that were produced in the old-school medium.  “It is downright bizarre,” he said, “but it does seem that there is more stop motion than ever in history.”  He praised stop-motion for having a magic touch that CG animation, as good as it is, can’t match.  “It’s an illusion, like all animation, but it’s an illusion it’s made by hand, and because it takes so long, made by love. It has fingerprints on it, it has the human touch. And the audience knows that it’s tangible. With CG, you can do anything and you can do it beautifully but our brains instantly tell us that it isn’t real.” - Borys Kit

Seamus McGarvey, director of photography, Anna Karenina, achievement in cinematography:

Director of photography Seamus McGarvey is in Vancouver shooting Godzilla with director Garreth Edwards, who yesterday bet the cinematographer $100 that he would receive an Oscar nomination for Anna Karenina.  After McGarvey’s Vancouver apartment had a power outage around the time that the nominations were announced, he got the news from Edwards, saying “You owe me.”  “It was the best wager I’ll ever pay,” McGarvey chuckled. “I’m honored and humbled to be with the cinematographers nominated alongside.”  This is McGarvey’s second nomination for a collaboration with director Joe Wright, as he was previously nominated for Atonement. “Joe is like a fellow cinematographer,” he said, explaining that Wright maintains and encourages close collaboration with the entire team (Anna Karenina also received nominations for production design, costumes and score). “The work always has a unique feel and he encourages us to work very closely. The cinematography has a logic and is stronger for that.” - Carolyn Giardina

William Goldenberg, editor, Argo, achievement in film editing:

William Goldenberg will celebrate his nomination for achievement in film editing for Argo with a weekend packed with other awards events including the Critics’ Choice Awards, the AFI luncheon and Golden Globes parties.  “I literally have to go pick up my clothes. I got a new suit,” he says. “My clothes for editing are not high fashion. I think jeans and a t-shirt wasn’t going to work.“  Nominated twice before (for 2003’s Seabiscuit and 1999’s The Insider), Goldenberg says this year will be a new experience not for him – but for his wife. She was pregnant during the other two awards seasons and couldn’t attend all the events. “I’m most excited for her because she gets to wear a really great dress and doesn’t have to be worried about the pregnant part,” she says. --Rebecca Ford

Jay Cassidy, editor, Silver Linings Playbookachievement in film editing:

"[Producer] Bruce Cohen called me to say we were nominated. I have to admit that I was asleep. I'm so pleased that everybody got recognized. But you just go on to the next job. I worked with Steve Zaillian on a project last month. The Oscar night itself is such a thing, you don't really get to talk to people. The luncheon, that's when you tend to meet people. So relaxed, no pressure. I remember meeting Casey Affleck there. I still have my tux from the year I got nominated for Into the Wild. I bought the tux in 2000. Maybe I'll have to upgrade this year." - Timothy Appelo

Jeff White, VFX supervisor, The Avengers, achievement in visual effects:

“Visual effects is such a team effort; it represents great work on the part of lot people,” said first time nominee Jeff White, who was the VFX supervisor at ILM on The Avengers, which used an estimated 13 VFX houses.  “I’m really excited,” he said, saying that his 2-year-old woke him up with the news of the nomination. “It’s great to see so many good films nominated. It was a strong year for VFX. I feel very lucky.”  This morning White was heading to ILM. “They poured their hearts into this,” he said. “It will be great to see the crew.” - Carolyn Giardina

Malik Bendjelloul, director, Searching for Sugar Man, best documentary:

"I was in bed, and I thought someone was going to call me at 5:30, and then no one did. Then I went online, and realized we were nominated. It's crazy and surreal. To me, the Oscars were this mythological word, they don't really exist. It's a fantasy, a dream. Now I'm living it." - Brandon Kirby

Kirby Dick, director, The Invisible War, best documentary feature:

"It's an honor, but what's more important is that rape in the military is still a burning issue and one that we can profoundly impact by changing policies within the military. Today, on the day the Oscar nominations are announced, 50 more men and women will be sexually assaulted in the military, according to the Department of Defense estimates. We hope the attention this nomination brings will send a message to the Department to protect our women and men in uniform."

Dror Moreh, director, The Gatekeepers, best documentary feature:

"I'm in my production office in Israel right now. It's nearly 7 p.m., and I came there and we waited for the nominations to be announced but was disappointed they didn't include the Best Documentary category. I don't want to sound corny, and you can site all the cliches in the world to explain what I'm feeling. It feels amazing. It's everything. I'm excited to attend the Oscars and see a lot of movie stars and brilliant directors. To be on the same platform as them is a great honor, to be marching on the same red carpet as them." - Brandon Kirby

Claude-Michel Schonberg, Herbert Kretzmer and Alain Boublil, writers of "Suddenly," Les Miserables, best original song:

"30 years in the making and 3 days in the writing -- this is how 'Suddenly' came to life 30 years after the original show was created. We wrote this song for the film on a suggestion from Tom Hooper, after he asked us to revisit a specific chapter of Victor Hugo's novel. In this chapter Jean Valjean discovers an overwhelming feeling of love for the little girl Cosette, whom he rescues as promised to her mother - and this happened to him ... 'Suddenly.'"

Joachim Roenning, director, Kon-Tiki, best foreign-language film:

"I did not dare to watch it live. I was in bed with my wife, constantly waiting for [publicist] Tatiana Detlofson's call. I screamed and ran out into the hallway of the hotel and woke up at least two floors. We [Ronning and longtime co-director Espen Sandberg] brought our wives and kids over from Norway. We spent four years making this film, so we're going to ask the kids how they want to celebrate this. My guess is they want to go to Disneyland. We're meeting with Lasse Halstrom Saturday, he's hosting a symposium for the Globes, one of our big heroes. At the Oscars, we're hoping to catch a glimpse of Mr. Spielberg." - Timothy Appelo

Nikolaj Arcel, director/co-writer, A Royal Affair, best foreign-language film:

"I couldn't really sleep. I was up until 3:30 drinking a lot of coffee. When I heard I was jumping up and down screaming. The Danish press has been calling all morning. I didn't realize, but you have a lot of work to do when you're nominated for an Academy Award. In Denmark you watch the Oscars from far, far away, and I've been watching them my entire life. It's hard to believe that little Denmark is going so far. And Kon-Tiki getting nominated! I think Norway is really coming into its own the last couple of years." - Timothy Appelo

Kim Nguyen, director, War Witch, best foreign-language film:

"They said it was going to be alphabetical and as soon as they said Chile we were like, 'Aw, darn that¹s it. We¹re done.' And then somehow, it got mixed up and they said 'Canada - War Witch.' This is something that we never planned for and are really ecstatic." - Etan Vlessing

Robert Richardson, director of photography, Django Unchained, achievement in cinematography:

Robert Richardson has been busy taking care of his 28-week pregnant wife, who is on bed rest, so the news of his nomination brought special joy to his growing family.  “This brought a little bit of a smile to her face,” says the three-time Oscar winner of his wife. “She was giggling. She tried to get up, and I told her to get back down. She said, ‘I want to hug you!’"  Richardson says this nomination is unique to him because it’s for Quentin Tarantino’s film. “Quentin shoots his movies. I may be a director of photography, but Quentin is very much a part of every decision made,” he says. - Rebecca Ford

Yan England, actor and director, Henry, best live-action short:

"I was so excited when I heard the news. I had tears in my eyes and then my legs went weak. It¹s a dream come true and I will now see how I can make my film available so that as many people as possible can see it." - Etan Vlessing

Joe Letteri, VFX supervisor, The Hobbit, achievement in visual effects: 

"My wife woke me up with the news. Weta also had one person each on The Avengers and Prometheus, so that's three in one year. It doesn't happen every day. This is the seventh time I've been nominated, and every time you feel, it doesn't get any better than this. We're going to have a little champagne, not too much. Veuve Clicquot or Taittinger." - Timothy Appelo

Dario Marianelli, composer, Anna Karenina, best original score:

"I'm in London, it's 1:30, and 50 messages have arrived with congratulations. It's my third time. I'm going to open a bottle tonight and get modestly drunk. I'm looking forward to meeting Thomas Newman. I'm the youngest one [of the nominees], which is nice. I'm the kid. I'm 49." - Timothy Appelo

Alexandre Desplat, composer, Argo, best original score:

"An Oscar nomination is wonderful, because it expresses the respect of the group that is like your second family -- the people you want to be respected by. Tonight is the Critics Choice Awards, I'm sure we'll share some drinks. It's a great thing, because a composer's life is very lonesome. You're in a room alone. It's great to meet the real people off the screen. And the great thing about being a composer is, your face is not as exposed. You can try to get to the supermarket without being chased by young fans." - Timothy Appelo

Sean Fine, director, Inocente, documentary short:

"We're blown away. We were with Dominic, one of the kids in War/Dance, our previous Oscar nominated film, about child warriors in Uganda — he was abducted as a young child. We became his guardians, and he's home on break from college. We were with him at our other kid's kindergarten, where he was playing xylophone and talking about Uganda. What the nominations do for the people in our films is amazing. It got Dominic a scholarship. It got him from Uganda to Franklin & Marshall College." - Timothy Appelo

Robert De Niro, Silver Linings Playbook, best actor:

"I am very pleased that the Academy has chosen to honor the many individuals who were a part of Silver Linings Playbook."

Michael Haneke, director, Amour, best foreign-language film, achievement in directing:

“I am very happy and gratified by the Oscar nominations that Amour has received today, and that the voting members of the Academy have taken the film so strongly to their hearts. It is fulfilling to discover that a film has found the audience and critical acclaim that Amour has garnered. I have been very fortunate on both those fronts, but it is especially rewarding to discover that a film has found favor among one’s industry peers who know, in particular, the effort that goes into getting a film – any film – made. I am also especially happy for all the people who made Amour with me. It is a joyous occasion for us all. Many thanks.”

Tim Burton, director, Frankenweenie, best animated feature:

"Frankenweenie is a very personal film for me. The idea of telling a feature length version was in the back of my mind for many years. Stop Motion was the perfect medium for this project, and one I've always loved for its expressiveness and dimensionality. I've worked with so many incredible artists: animators, cast members, set builders, and puppet makers, all who have helped bring this film to life one frame at a time. I'm so honored that the Academy has recognized this film as one of its nominees."

Ben Affleck, George Clooney and Grant Heslov, producers, Argo, best picture (joint statement): 

“We would like to thank the Academy for acknowledging Argo in this extraordinary way. This is a great tribute to everyone who worked on the film -- from our incredible cast to our tremendous crew. We are honored to have made a film that tells the story of these unsung heroes and it's so terrific that it's getting this kind of recognition.”

Emmanuelle Riva, Amour, best actress:

“I am truly happy, touched, and honored to receive, today in New York, a nomination for the role of Anne in Amour by Michael Haneke. For me, it is an immense gift, at this stage of my life, to be chosen by my sisters and brothers, for what I do as an actress. I never thought, while working throughout the years in Europe and France, that one day, i would cross the Atlantic Ocean, come to the United States, and be nominated. It is quite surreal for me. Shooting Amour with Michael Haneke was a complete joy for me, as I felt an absolute trust in him and we were in complete synch. Michael is the very music of his own film.”

Harvey Weinstein, co-chairman of The Weinstein Co., distributor of Django Unchained and Silver Linings Playbook, best picture:

“I am blown away! I can't say thank you enough to the Academy for their support of our films. We have a tremendous group of actors and film makers who we had the pleasure of working with this year and I am so happy that their achievements are being recognized.“

Tom Hooper, director, Les Miserables:

“What a wonderful year for movies when nine films with this kind of diversity get acknowledged for the industry's highest honor. I am so proud that Les Miserables joins them and that the Academy noted the magnificent work from Hugh, Annie, our legendary song writers and the superlative crafts experts whose work made our film what it was.”

Mark Boal, producer and writer, Zero Dark Thirty, best picture, original screenplay:

"Thank you to the Academy for these incredible honors. And thank you to the writers who have honored me today with their generosity and to the academy for the Best Picture nomination. None of us would be so honored today without the genius and remarkable talent of Kathryn Bigelow, and to her we are forever grateful."

Michael Barker, co-president and co-founder of Sony Pictures Classics, distributor of Amour and No (best foreign-language film) and The Gatekeepers and Searching for Sugar Man (best documentary feature):

"Eight nominations! We're thrilled. I'm walking onto a plane at JFK, and I'm definitely the only person at JFK who gave out a huge whoop when Amour got five nominations. And then to get No, and the two docs, The Gatekeepers and Searching for Sugar Man. But it's always bittersweet. There's always some disappointment. I'm devastated Marion Cotillard didn't make it for best actress."

What Really Happened at the Oscars (Analysis)
(By Scott Feinberg, Hollywood Reporter, 25 February 2013)

 For prognosticators like me, the 85th Annual Academy Awards was a scary affair. The outcomes of so many of the major categories were up in the air. I was literally on the edge of my seat -- on the far right side of the first mezzanine at the Dolby Theatre -- as each category was announced.  Yes, we all knew Argo was going to win best picture, Daniel Day-Lewis was going to win best actor for Lincoln, Les Miserables' Anne Hathaway was going to win best supporting actress, Austria's Amour would be named best foreign-language film, Searching for Sugar Man was destined to take home best documentary feature and Life of Pi was a shoo-in to pick up the trophy for best visual effects.

But anyone who tells you they were certain about the other big ones is lying: There were no guarantees that Ang Lee would beat Steven Spielberg to win best director; Jennifer Lawrence would beat Emmanuelle Riva to win best actress; Christoph Waltz would beat both Robert De Niro and Tommy Lee Jones to win best supporting actor; Argo's Chris Terrio would beat Lincoln'Tony Kushner and Silver Linings Playbook's David O. Russell to win best adapted screenplay; Django Unchained's Quentin Tarantino would beat Amour's Michael Haneke and Zero Dark Thirty's Mark Boal to win best original screenplay; or that Brave would beat Wreck-It Ralph to win best animated feature.  None were sure things.  In the end, I'm gratified to say, I ended up correctly predicting 21 of the 24 winners, tying my all-time best score from seven years ago. And so another Oscar season -- the 12th that I've covered -- is now in the books. But before we all put it on the shelf, it's worth taking a moment to consider what really happened.

Argo didn't win for the reasons many others have cited. It wasn't because Ben Affleck was screwed out of a best director Oscar nomination (although he certainly was). It wasn't because DreamWorks bungled the Lincoln campaign (they got the film as far as anyone could have). It wasn't because Zero Dark Thirty was unfairly smeared (even far-left U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich acknowledged that much when I spoke to him at the Oscars). And it wasn't because Harvey Weinstein and associates couldn't make a convincing argument that Silver Linings was socially significant (although they gave it their best shot). No, Argo won because it was the most crowd-pleasing drama among this year's nine best picture nominees, just like recent winners Slumdog Millionaire (2008), The King's Speech (2010) and The Artist (2011). Period.

In a sense -- and this might sound counterintuitive given Hollywood is basically a politically liberal town -- this year's Oscar race could be compared to the 2012 Republican primary. Argo was Mitt Romney, out front from the very beginning -- just go back and read my reporting and that of other journalists who caught its first screening at Telluride in September. People looked hard for viable alternatives -- a Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Herman Cain or Michele Bachmann, if you will -- and there were major spikes of excitement at the first screenings of Silver Linings at the Toronto International Film Festival, Pi and Lincoln at the New York Film Festival and Les Mis and Zero Dark Thirty over the Thanksgiving weekend.

But in the end, Academy voters kept coming back to the movie that was less abstract than Pi, had more vitality and a more polished resolution than Lincoln, seemed less frivolous than Les Mis and was less divisive than Zero Dark Thirty. And while it may not be one of the greatest best picture Oscar winners of all time, it is, for me, a worthy one. (It's also the second in a row in which Hollywood plays a starring role -- and everyone likes to be portrayed flatteringly!)

As for the director's race, Lee joined Spielberg in the elite club of directors who have won two Oscars because he stretched himself with Pi further than Spielberg did with Lincoln. Lincoln is Spielberg's best film in years -- in my view, a masterpiece -- but structurally and thematically it's not all that unlike his other (great) work. Pi, on the other hand, is unlike anything Lee has ever done before. He's a guy who specializes in intimate dramas but decided he wanted to venture into the new world of 3D and made a groundbreaking epic. He already had the affection of the Academy's acting branch, but with Pi he won the enthusiastic support of the tech branches, and I believe that made the difference and propelled the film to a greater accumulation of Oscars than any other film Sunday night. (I want to acknowledge that I was openly skeptical about Pi's prospects after seeing it at the New York Film fest in October -- but I don't think that I was wrong, as some have suggested, because Lee subsequently returned to the editing room for several weeks. The finished film was considerably better than what I originally saw.)

Lawrence won -- becoming the second youngest best actress winner in history -- for several reasons: She was great (like all of her fellow nominees), she campaigned (as hard as any of them), and she's the young, fun, sexy "It" girl of the moment. She's kooky but lovable and reminds me of Diane Keaton, who won the best actress Oscar 35 years ago for Annie Hall. And while there's absolutely nothing wrong with turning out like Diane Keaton, just keep in mind that Lawrence's fellow nominee Jessica Chastain might well turn out be Meryl Streep, and that if Riva spoke English, was based in the U.S. and cared a little more about winning, she might well have been the one who prevailed. But Lawrence won, and congratulations must be given to her ID-PR publicist Bryna Rifkin, who now has quietly but deftly helped to guide four clients to Oscar wins in the past five years, with Lawrence's win following those of Marion Cotillard (La Vie En Rose), Natalie Portman (Black Swan) and Jean Dujardin (The Artist).

In the case of best supporting actor, not even The Weinstein Co., which distributed both Django Unchained and Silver Linings, believed that Waltz had a better shot than De Niro, who hasn't won in the past 32 years and was being championed for his return to serious acting. But I predicted Waltz's win for several reasons. He gave the biggest performance, in terms of screen time, among the the nominees; in fact, he was originally going to be pushed for best actor, which is the category in which he truly belonged. He is likable enough (whereas De Niro and Jones can be pretty prickly). Even if they were embarrassed to admit it, most people really enjoyed his movie (unlike Philip Seymour Hoffman's The Master, which was just a bit too weird for many). And he was the clear standout in his film's ensemble (whereas Alan Arkin just as easily could have been replaced by either of his Argo castmates Bryan Cranston and John Goodman). Waltz has won two Oscars in four years, something that can be said for only 10 other actors or actresses in film history, an impressive group that consists of Walter Brennan, Bette Davis, Olivia De Havilland, Jodie Foster, Tom Hanks, Katharine Hepburn, Glenda Jackson, Luise Rainer, Jason Robards and Spencer Tracy. Amazing.

Moving on to adapted screenplay, Terrio was the victor because Argo was most people's favorite film, in no small part because of his adaptation of a magazine article and book about CIA operative Tony Mendez's remarkable caper in Iran. He turned that true story into a genre-blending/geography-jumping thriller that made audiences laugh and cry and sit on the edges of their seats even though they already knew the ending. It was no small compliment to award him the Oscar over Kushner and Russell, two of the greatest writers of dialogue working today. Tarantino, meanwhile, prevailed over Boal for several reasons. Tarantino previously won 18 years ago, for Pulp Fiction, whereas Boal won just four years ago, for The Hurt Locker. Tarantino is a more affable guy. And Zero Dark Thirty never recovered after its historical facts and agenda were first called into question, whereas Django, for all the criticism it received, was never about historical facts (the KKK that it depicts didn't even exist until after the Civil War), and it had no agenda except to entertain.  As for the Oscars show itself? It was a great thrill to be in the room for the second time. And...

I thought that Seth MacFarlane was OK.  The opening bit ran too long. The jokes didn't provoke belly-laughs. The closing musical number was a bit stupid and in poor taste. But he sang, he danced, he made voices, he kept the audience engaged and amused, and I have no doubt that he brought in many younger viewers without losing many older viewers, which is precisely what the Academy hired him to do. Sure, some of his cracks were tasteless, but I'd rather watch a host live on the edge than play it right down the middle. In my opinion, he deserves a return invite. (If he doesn't get one, though, they should consider Seth Rogen and Andy Samberg, both of whom I had my doubts about until they absolutely killed it at the Independent Spirit Awards last year and last Saturday, respectively.)

There were a lot of cool moments, but the one that I may remember longest is watching the greatest living actress, Meryl Streep, present the greatest living actor, Day-Lewis, with an Oscar -- and, in so doing, make him the first man to ever win three best actor Oscars. (He's also the first man or woman to be recognized with an Oscar for a performance in a Spielberg film.) At the Governors Ball after the show, Day-Lewis, clutching his statuette, smiled and told me, "I know that you believed in me, but I make a point of never assuming anything." I think it's safe to assume that Day-Lewis, who is only 55, might yet extend that new record even further.

The tie for best sound editing was also pretty thrilling. There have been five other ties in Oscar history, but not during the years that I've been watching the Oscars, so to be there to witness one was awesome. To be honest, I initially thought Mark Wahlberg -- whom I'd run into before the show at Ralphs -- was joking when he first revealed the situation, since the odds of one happening when more than 6,000 people are voting are obviously not very high.

And to be there in the audience for the return of my favorite actor, longtime Oscar staple Jack Nicholson, who has been away from the show for a few years, was very special.  I'm a huge fan of President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama, but I'm not sure why the first lady was asked to present best picture, especially if she couldn't do so in person -- it felt a little weird. Maybe just because there were a lot of nominees about American history and society this year, such as Argo, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Lincoln and Zero Dark Thirty? If so, that connection was never really established. Still, it was cool to witness history -- only once before had the White House directly addressed an Oscars ceremony, and that was in 1941, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt gave a six-minute address over the radio.

I give big props to Charlize Theron and Channing Tatum for not only nailing their dance number, but for agreeing to do it in the first place. They are big stars who didn't need to expose themselves to criticism or ridicule, but did so anyway. Daniel Radcliffe and Joseph Gordon-Levitt were quite good as well with their less complicated number.  The celebration of movie musicals from the past decade turned out to be terrific, and proved, as the Grammys do year after year, that people love watching live performances during awards shows. Catherine Zeta-Jones was as sexy and nimble as ever re-creating her decade-old "All That Jazz" number from Chicago. Jennifer Hudson rocked the house with her rendition of "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going," the song which single-handedly won her the best supporting actress Oscar for 2006's Dreamgirls, and she received a thunderous standing ovation that seemed to catch even her by surprise. And the Les Mis team did a great job with their medley -- even Russell Crowe got a big ovation.

The other performances were a mixed bag. Barbra Streisand did a nice job with her "The Way We Were" tribute to the late composer Marvin Hamlisch, although it focused a disproportionate spotlight on Hamlisch and kept several worthy members of the community from being included in the "In Memoriam" segment (among them Harry Carey, Jr., Andy Griffith, Larry Hagman, Lupe Ontiveros, Ann Rutherford). Norah Jones did a nice job with best original song nominee "Everybody Needs a Best Friend" from Ted. But the most anticipated performance of the night for many, Adele's rendition of the title song from Skyfall (for which she would end up winning the best original song Oscar to go with her Grammy and Golden Globe wins from the past month), proved fairly disappointing. She seemed to be holding back her voice for some reason, and she did not receive a standing ovation.

A lot of attention was paid during the show to 9-year-old Quvenzhane Wallis, the youngest best actress Oscar nominee in history, and rightly so. But, when you think about it, there were also a lot of oldies but goodies in the house who deserve shout-outs, too: 66-year-old Sally Field and 75-year-old Jane Fonda looked fabulous; 76-year-old Dame Shirley Bassey and 70-year-old Streisand sounded great; and Riva was there, on her 86th birthday, as an Oscar nominee, and received a birthday wish from Lawrence, the actress 64 years her junior who beat her. That was nice. (But where was the dude who has always escorted winners up the stairs to the stage? Thank God it was young Lawrence who fell -- and bounced right back up -- and not Riva!)

It's a shame that the Academy wasn't able to reunite all of the actors who have played James Bond -- all six are still alive. I've heard that they tried, but that Sean Connery and Pierce Brosnan were holdouts, denying all of the rest of us what would have been the moment of the night.  Anyway, before the theme of Jaws comes on to play me off, l'd like to extend my tremendous gratitude to the many people whose interest and/or support make it possible for me to do what I do: my family, friends, and THR colleagues (especially Janice Min, Lynne Segall, Gregg Kilday, Chris Krewson, Matt Belloni, Owen Phillips, Victor Klaus, David Simpson and the entire copy team); the talent who I cover and publicists who facilitate that coverage; and especially you, who read my coverage. I couldn't do what I do without you, so thank you -- and see you again soon.

At The 2013 Oscars: A Night Of Hollywood As Theater
(By Monica Hesse, Washington Post, 25 February 2013)

In the end, all that debate over which Washington-centric procedural would go big at this year’s Oscars (“Argo?” “Lincoln?” “Zero Dark Thirty?”) was for naught. They all won, a little bit.  “Argo,” Ben Affleck’s story of the L.A.-CIA plot to rescue U.S. Embassy workers during the Iranian hostage crisis, took home best picture at Sunday’s ceremony, as well as two other awards: film editing and adapted screenplay. It marked the first time since 1989’s “Driving Miss Daisy” that the director of a best-picture winner failed to receive a nomination for his own contribution to the film. (Last night, the directing award went to unexpected winner Ang Lee for “Life of Pi,” who thanked the Academy in multiple languages: ”Thank you. Xie xie. Namaste.”)  And — surprise! — was this also the first time that a glittery-gowned first lady was Skyped in from the White House in order to help Jack Nicholson present the top prize?  “You can’t hold grudges,” said a bearded Affleck as he accepted, in his producer role, the best picture award. “It doesn’t matter how you get knocked down again, because that’s going to happen. But you got to get back up.”

Earlier last fall, “Lincoln” was seen as presumptive top film, hoovering up 12 nominations — including a nod for director Steven Spielberg. But the snubbing of Affleck seemed to rally the voting populi around the erstwhile underdog film, whose 1970s plot was modernized by 2010s buzzwords: Benghazi. Tahrir Square.  Movember moustaches.  “Lincoln” still finagled two awards, including Daniel Day-Lewis’s much anticipated third best-actor award. (His first two were for “My Left Foot” and “There Will Be Blood.”) The win made Day-Lewis the first actor to acquire three Oscars in the leading actor category, and also broke the “Spielberg Curse”: Until Sunday’s ceremony, no actor in a Spielberg film had ever won that award.  “I really don’t know how any of this happened,” he said. Oh, Mr. Lewis. You’re at your most Method-y when playing bashful.  “I had actually been committed to play Margaret Thatcher,” he deadpanned, after accepting his statue from Meryl Streep. “Meryl was Steven’s first choice for Lincoln.”
Jennifer Lawrence was also playing Meryl Streep — at least the breezy awards show version of her. “This is nuts!” she protested, after winning best actress for her portrayal of a damaged wannabe dance champion in “Silver Linings Playbook.” She remembered to wish fellow nominee Emmanuelle Riva a happy 86th birthday.  How classy those actress winners were on Sunday. Can-do, chirp-chirp Anne Hathaway took home the supporting actress award for her tremulous, bald performance in “Les Miserables” on Sunday evening’s Academy Awards ceremony. Some said she was owed it for, if nothing else, enduring the ensuing transitional haircut. Some said she was owed it for, if for nothing else, her take-one-for-the-team co-hosting duties with a somnolent James Franco two years ago.  Either way, the win was symbolic of the Hollywood as theatah theme that permeated the program — Hathaway herself representing everyone’s high school thespian president. Like me. Love my art. “It came true,” she said, cradling the statue. (Yes! It came true! You dreamed a dream!) One can’t blame her for trying to deliver the hairbrush-as-microphone mirror speech favored by teen girls everywhere. It was, after all, her first win.

The best supporting actor award, on the other hand, went to second-time winner Christoph Waltz — the Austrian-born actor whose theatrical training actually was in the theater. His turn as a bounty hunter in Quentin Tarantino’s “Django Unchained” was as cartoonishly heroic as his character in 2009’s “Inglourious Basterds” had been cartoonishly evil.  “We participated in a hero’s journey, the hero here being Quentin,” Waltz said in his acceptance speech. “You slayed the dragon because you’re not afraid of it.”  As this year’s Oscars approached, the evening was hailed as a showcase of Hollywood-in-Washington (Hollyton? Washingwood? Los Sequesterlos?), with big nominations for “Argo,” “Lincoln” and “Zero Dark Thirty,” all of which laud the D.C. back-door brokering that voters claim to haaate, but viewers apparently love.  But the awards were ultimately spread among a far more disparate group of honorees.
“Zero Dark Thirty,” the movie that launched a thousand torture debates, only ended up with one award — a rare tie, with Bond movie “Skyfall,” for sound editing. “Skyfall” also won for original song, treating the audience to an Adele/podium encounter: “I love you, bay-bey!!” she called to her “man.”  And, another early winner did have a Washington connection, although it wasn’t the one that viewers had predicted: Washington residents Sean Fine and his wife, Andrea Nix Fine, won best short documentary for “Inocente,” their chronicling of the struggles of a homeless immigrant.  “She was homeless just a year ago, and now she’s standing in front of you, and she’s an artist . . . and all of us are artists.” Sean Fine said, as he squeezed a blushing, flabbergasted Inocente Izucar on stage.

Oscarologists spend weeks leading up to the awards ceremony dabbling in over/unders and if/thens and but/maybes, trying to hone their predictions enough that it becomes unnecessary to even watch the 31 / 2-hour telecast. (Straight to the photo galleries, America! Everything you really need to know about the Oscars is encapsulated in Halle Berry’s dress.) A few days ago, even accuracy meister Nate Silver rung in with his wonkified, sabermetrixed take on the evening.  As a result, everyone already knew that sobfest “Anna Karenina” would take home the prize for costume design. Still: “This is absolutely overwhelming,” said Jacqueline Durran, thanking her children in a delightfully British acceptance speech. “They’re completely oblivious to this,” she insisted. “They’re fast asleep in England.”  Oh, no no no, mummy. Some dear nanny let them stay up a wee bit late.  As a result, everyone already expected “Life of Pi,” a lush tale about a young Indian boy’s fantastical journey across the sea, to take home early visual awards. “The irony is not lost on us that in a movie about questioning what is real, most of what you see is fake,” said Bill Westenhofer, acceping the honor for visual effects. Claudio Miranda, he of the flowing silver Fabio hair, accepted the cinematography award for the film. (We caught up with him on the red carpet beforehand and asked who styled his mane. “Bed de la Morning,” he said.) The film also won for original score.
Everyone expected that “Searching for Sugarman,” the decades-long quest of a South African fan to track down a Detroit music legend, would take the award for Best Documentary.  Everyone most certainly knew that Austrian tearjerker love story “Amour” would win the award for best foreign-language film — it had transcended its language boundaries to also be nominated for best picture. That did not make director Michael Haneke’s speech any less pleasing to listen to. “Zank you very much vor zis honor . . . Zank you to my vife,” he said. “Zank you to my actors. Zank you.”

Hugh Jackman Rushes To Jennifer Lawrence’s Aid At Oscars
Hugh Jackman “out Hugh Jackmaned” himself as he rushes to help Jennifer Lawrence as she takes a tumble collecting her Best Actress award for Silver Linings Playbook at the Oscars.

(By Australian Times, 25 February, 2013)

The collective sighs of thousands of Australian women could be heard across the world last night as Hugh Jackman once again proved his credentials as a true Aussie gentleman.  Hugh Jackman was filmed leaping to the aid of Jennifer Lawrence, as she tripped up the stairs on the way to the podium to receive her Oscar for Best Actress for her role in Silver Linings Playbook. With millions watching from around the world, Jen struggled to negotiate the stairs to the stage in her large pink ball gown. The 22-year-old star recovered gracefully however, not needing Jackman’s help after all to right herself and go on to collect her well-deserved award.

Hugh Jackman later told People magazine about his heroic dash: “I had to help her, poor thing! I didn’t know if she could get up.”  Once at the podium the audience gave her a standing ovation, although Lawrence laughed it off saying: “You guys are just standing up because I fell and you feel bad, thank you.”  Predictably tweeters on Twitter had many words of advice to offer, including this from Arianna Huffington of Huffington Post: “Lesson of Jennifer Lawrence’s walk to stage: flats!”
However, other tweeters used the opportunity to comment on Hugh Jackman’s gentlemanly actions.  @Molly 23 told Jennifer: ”JLaw! When Hugh Jackman runs to help you up, YOU STAY DOWN UNTIL HE GETS TO YOU.”  @itscarinae said: “I fell in love with Hugh Jackman even more for sprinting to Jennifer Lawrence’s side after she fell.”  @nessienakivell summed it up well, saying “when Hugh ran to help Jen he was the biggest Hugh Jackman this world has ever seen. He out Hugh Jackmaned himself to the highest degree.”

Oscars 2013: Winners And Losers
By Lanford Beard, Entertainment weekly, Feb 25 2013
Seth MacFarlane proved surprisingly self-aware, Jennifer Lawrence was down but not out, long-winded speeches were nipped in the bud, and more highlights.  Here were the night’s winners and losers:

WINNER: Seth MacFarlane's Self-Awareness
The Family Guy creator handicapped himself from the start, slipping in sly jokes about his destiny as a one-time host and playfully ribbing the audience when they groaned at jokes that went too far (we're lookin' at you, ''I would argue that the actor who really got inside Lincoln's head was John Wilkes Booth.'') Still, lowering the audience’s expectations was the best favor MacFarlane could have done for himself. Throwing his haters off-kilter, he was able to drop in some legitimately funny bits, including a Sound of Music gag before Christopher Plummer’s introduction of the Best Supporting Actress category and a self-deprecating riff on his own accomplishments compared to the nominees. (''You guys have made some inspiring movies. I made Ted. Your movies are going to win awards. My movies are in Redboxes outside of grocery stores being urinated on by bums.'') Early polls show that MacFarlane's gambit paid off. Well-played, voice man. Well-played.

TOSS-UP: MacFarlane's Monologue
While we credit Oscar 85's host for knowing his limitations, his ''High Hopes'' shtick felt forced during an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink monologue. A Fred and Ginger homage from Channing Tatum and Charlize Theron? Surprisingly charming. A little soft-shoe from the always game Daniel Radcliffe and Joseph Gordon-Levitt? Sure. Enlisting William Shatner to save MacFarlane from himself, all while playing the gags that — in the Shatnerian future — were proven to tank MacFarlane's hosting stint? You're losing us, Seth. The monologue had some funny elements that were ultimately overshadowed by an over-long, under-edited execution. (Bonus winner: EW, which got a begrudging shout-out from the Oscars 2013 host.)

LOSER: Best Picture Nominees
The night had its share of awkward moments, but what was with the on-the-nose clusters of Best Picture contenders? Perhaps most streamlined was the America's Got History block of Argo, Zero Dark Thirty, and Lincoln. But then there was the DIY Rafting bloc of Beasts of the Southern Wild, Life of Pi, and...Les Misérables? Not to mention a trio of meditations on mental health including Silver Linings Playbook, Amour, and...Django Unchained? We appreciate the brevity, but this was a stretch.

Winner: Oscar Historians
Could this year be any more historic? Best Actress nominees Quvenzhané Wallis and Emmanuelle Riva represented the category’s youngest and oldest contenders ever, respectively; the Best Sound Editing category ended in a tie between Zero Dark Thirty and Skyfall — Oscar's first tie since 1995, and Daniel Day-Lewis became the first thesp ever to win three Best Actor trophies. Movie nerds everywhere, rejoice!

LOSER: Life of Pi's Bill Westenhofer
Is there any greater indignity than being played out of your acceptance speech by the Jaws theme? Nope. One of the ceremony's most cringe-worthy moments, hands down. More to the point, Best Visual Effects winner Westenhofer was addressing the collapse of VFX studios, including Life of Pi's Rhythm + Hues, which prompted red carpet protests before this year's ceremony. Where's Julia Roberts when you need her?

Cinema's raunchiest stuffed animal wangled his way into announcing two Oscar winners and Jack Nicholson's ''big, post-Oscar orgy.'' What can we say? The bear has had a phenomenal go of it.

LOSER: James Bond
Ian Fleming's superspy franchise celebrated its 50th anniversary, had a blockbuster year at the box office, and won its first Academy Award since 1965, and yet…the Oscar tribute to 007 was surprisingly unimpressive. All due respect to legendary diva Shirley Bassey, who belted ''Goldfinger'' with aplomb, but there were more than a few missed opportunities in this lackluster homage — including the chance to organize a for-the-ages duet between Bassey and Best Song winner Adele. Bottom line: We were neither shaken nor stirred.

TOSS-UP: Movie Musical Montage
This year's ceremony was impressively restrained in terms of gratuitous montages. With Les Misérables up for Best Picture and Broadway vets Neil Meron and Craig Zadan at the telecast's helm, it was only natural we'd hear about the triumphant return of the movie musical. Dreamgirls' 2007 Best Supporting Actress winner Jennifer Hudson blew the roof off reprising her Oscar-winning rendition of ''And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going,'' but 2003 winner Catherine Zeta-Jones turned in an obviously lip-synched performance of Chicago's ''All That Jazz.'' Capped off by a mixed-bag group number from Les Miz that was unevenly mic'd and out of costume, and it was hard to find the melody in the muddle.

Let's face it: Best Original Song was hers to lose. Adele has won all the awards since 21 was released more than a year ago. And yet she was, as ever, surprisingly emotional and off-the-cuff when she stepped up to the podium, alongside ''Skyfall'' producer Paul Epworth, to collect her Oscar. Adele, we love you. EGOT, you're on notice.

WINNER: In Memoriam
The annual tribute to the Academy's dearly departed has been notoriously tricky. Live performances often fall flat, and the decision to leave on ambient sound during the reel (thus revealing how much applause each late great receives) has felt gauche. This year, both got the kibosh in favor of an elegant segment capped off by Barbra Streisand's poignant performance of ''Memories,'' the iconic tune penned by three-time Oscar winner and In Memoriam notable Marvin Hamlisch

LOSER: Anne Hathaway's speech
If there was any guaranteed winner this year, it was the Les Misérables star. As Fantine, she was breathtaking, wrenching, stunning. As a Best Supporting Actress winner, she was as uninspired and rote as her underwhelming Prada gown. Oh, Anne. We had a dream your speech would be so different from this list you're giving.

WINNER: Jennifer Lawrence
Now the second-youngest actress to win the Best Actress award, Lawrence had an unfortunate stumble on the way to the stage. But she picked herself up, dusted herself off, and collected her trophy. Then, in typical J.Law style, she was delightfully candid as she told the audience in the Dolby Theatre, ''You guys are just standing up because I fell, and that's so embarrassing.'' She also wished dark horse nominee Emmanuelle Riva a happy birthday. Classy

WINNER: Meryl Streep
To quote MacFarlane, ''Ladies and gentlemen, our next presenter needs no introduction [leaves stage].'' La Streep wasn't nominated this year, but that didn't stop her from being the belle of the ball as she presented Best Actor statuette. You almost have to wonder, is there a universe in which Oscar can exist without Meryl Streep? Smart money says no.

WINNER: Daniel Day-Lewis, Comedian
The über-Method actor typically hasn't been known for his sense of humor. His speeches throughout this awards season have been generally earnest and dignified, as befitting a true thespian. So, to the surprise of everyone at Sunday's ceremony, he waxed comedic about the one-for-one swap he'd made with Meryl Streep the year before: In DDL's version of the story, he booked the role of Margaret Thatcher, while Streep was Steven Spielberg's ''first choice'' to play Abraham Lincoln — ''I'd have liked to see that version,'' he quipped.

WINNER: Ben Affleck
Argo has been riding a once-in-a-lifetime wave of support to the top prize since Affleck's snub in the Best Director category. Still, despite all signs in his favor, Affleck seemed genuinely touched to win the Best Picture prize and get all due credit from co-producer Grant Heslov. He admitted that, after his Good Will Hunting screenplay win, ''I never thought I'd be back here, but I am — because of so many of you.'' (Bonus to Heslov, who joked about the win: ''I know what you're thinking: Three Sexiest Producers Alive.'')
LOSERS: Jack Nicholson and Michelle Obama
In one of the night's most unnecessary, unnatural pairings, the First Lady teamed up with the three-time Oscar winner (via satellite) to present the final award. All respect to FLOTUS Michelle Obama, but what was she doing there? Not only was it a clear tip-off that Argo would take top honors, it also made us wonder: If Jack's not enough, who is?

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