E: To begin our series looking back on 2012, the year that was, My Movie Going Friend and I talk Supporting Actor. Were the right actors nominated, and in the right category? Did the right actor win? Look below for a wide roving conversation on the amazing movies, men and managing expections:
E: I have to tell you, I feel pretty damn great about that. Especially after the nominations proved so fiendishly difficult, I’m feeling pretty satisfied. And exhausted, because I was too excited to sleep last night – but mostly just happy. I was a bit dubious about Seth McFarlane, but in the end, I thought he was pretty terrific. Oh, sure, his monologue went on to long, but the song and dance numbers were fantastic (Charlize Theron and Channing Tatum! Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Daniel Radcliffe! Alex Wong! the L.A. Gay Mens Chorus singing about boobs!), the sock puppets killed it, and way more of his jokes made me laugh than groan. Let’s talk Oscar!
E: 2013 has proved to be one of the more challenging Oscar seasons in memory. Some seasons, dreary after dreary award show passes with the same four actors and the same clump of producers. But this year, three of the top six categories are in complete chaos! Amazing! It makes my job harder here, but it’s going to make the ceremony WAY more interesting. Much as I enjoy them, this year it’s not just going to be about the gowns and speeches; there are some genuine mysteries here. Ladies and Gentlemen, fasten your seatbelts – like the lady says, it’s going to be a bumpy night.
E: Rounding out the last best picture nominees, and the remaining films with the highest nomination total, I have an odd little quartet for you today. An extravagant Western fantasy, a heartbreaking tale of a marriage’s ending, a tale of heroism and alcohol, and James Bond’s zesty new installment. Yes, that’s right. Skyfall is a five time Oscar nominee. A Bond movie – because it’s a really, really well made Bond movie.
E: Last night, the British Academy weighed in, giving us their picks for the year’s best performances and pictures, clearing up some races and muddying a few others. As much fun as Stephen Fry was as a host – and as much joy as I got from Helen Mirren’s sassy pink hair – BAFTA was a surprising frustration. Best Picture seems ever more certain; Best Actress was thrown back in doubt, Adapted Screenplay remains a puzzle, and Supporting Actor is as confusing as it ever was.
BAFTA awarded their Best Director and Best Picture awards to a jubilant, generous Ben Affleck for Argo. While I remain puzzled by the overwhelming support for this entertaining but imperfect film, I can absolutely understand the joy in rewarding the man himself. There’s something so charming and contagious and authentic about his response. Too many people either don’t emote or seem rehearsed, false in their gushing. Not so Ben! Without bouncing around the stage as he did for his screenplay win for Good Will Hunting, he’s so endearing with his humble talk of second chances and hard work and gratitude.
Based on the cheers of the crowd, I do have another candidate to propose to take Ben’s directing Oscar. Barring a write-in-campaign (which may not even be possible with the new online voting procedures), I’m now thinking it could go to Ang Lee for his beautiful Life of Pi, for filming an “unfilmable” philosophical novel and rendering it in spectacular, awe-inspiring 3D.
It was BAFTA that signaled the ascendance of Marion Cotillard a few years ago when she wrestled the lead actress Oscar from the luminous Julie Christie; it’s possible that their embrace of Christoph Waltz and Emmanuelle Riva could have Oscar repercussions. Does this mean our attention has been misdirected by the two young It Girls the whole time? I’ve been wondering about Emmanuelle Riva, and wow. Will the fact that she wasn’t at the ceremony make a difference? A good speech can always help a contender – look at Jamie Foxx and Roberto Benigni. Winning the BAFTA would have all but clinched the Oscar for Jennifer Lawrence. Actually, what I mean when I say that is that it would have shown us that the momentum is hers, that she’s on a clear winning trajectory. In a popularity contest, buzz and momentum can’t be discounted. So where does that leave us now? I’ll be darned if I know.
Tommy Lee Jones snagged the SAG, but SAG-AFTRA has a far larger voting base than the Academy – a fluctuation of a few thousand votes might not mean much in SAG, but it’s everything for Oscar. Waltz now has both the Golden Globe and the BAFTA. But how much does that mean? Does the Academy like Tarantino as much as the Globes and BAFTA do? Both bodies awarded his original script, which shows you his popularity; all three bodies nominated him for writing and directing the same three movies – Django, Inglourious Basterds and Pulp Fiction, with the exception of his directing snub at this year’s Oscar nods. Does that mean that the Academy is less sweet on Django, or on Tarantino himself? Or maybe its just a crazy year. Either way, I think we have to consider him the frontrunner in that category now.
While I’m at it, I have to say that Adapted Screenplay’s not any clearer than it was before yesterday. The Globes gave their single award to Tarantino’s original screenplay. The WGA picked Argo‘s Chris Terrio. Most critics group lavished praise on Tony Kushner for Lincoln. Last night, BAFTA picked David O. Russell for Silver Linings Playbook. So not helpful. But I guess there is a little clarity – costumes are looking more and more like Anna Karenina‘s happy ending.