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2013 Oscar Preview: Part 1

2013 Oscar Preview: Part 1

The 85th Annual Academy Awards will take place Sunday February 24th at 7pm Eastern time. This is our overview of the major awards nominees in case you didn’t get to see them yourself.  

There’s always a lot of talk leading up to the big day about who will win what awards. We try to make our predictions based on trends from the past, but we can’t help to be swayed by our own personal opinions. Some movies truly strike a chord with us, while others aren’t interesting at all. Furthermore, Oscar films are usually heavy in the drama department and therefore they aren’t always the easiest or most entertaining movies to watch.

That’s why we’re here. Here is your guide to the nominees of this year’s Academy Awards. I’ve compiled the following brief summaries, interesting facts, and critical reviews for all these films and people. The goal is to give you a solid background even if you haven’t been able to catch up with this year’s nominees. So read on, and then start planning your Oscar-related drinking game.   

Looking for Oscar predictions? Find ours here

Did your favorite 2012 film not earn a nomination? Check this out

(Note that individual awards already won by best picture nominees are not included under “Biggest Awards So Far”.)

 


 Best Picture Nominees


 

 

Amour


amour

Director: Michael Haneke

Starring: Jean-Louis Trintignant, Emmanuelle Riva, Isabelle Huppert

Story: Georges and Anne are in their eighties. They are cultivated, retired music teachers. Their daughter, who is also a musician, lives abroad with her family. One day, Anne has an attack. The couple's bond of love is severely tested.

 

Biggest Awards So Far:                 

Film Not in the English Language – BAFTA Awards

Best Foreign Language Film – Critics Choice Awards

Palme d’Or – Cannes Film Festival

Best Foreign Language Film – Golden Globes

 

Oscar Nominations: 5, including;

Best Actress in a Leading Role (Emmanuelle Riva)

Best Achievement in Directing

Best Foreign Language Film

Best Writing, Original Screenplay

                                                               

What the Critics Said: (Not reviewed on Cinelinx)

“ “Amour" is a moving love story, a privileged glimpse of a relationship between two people who are everything to each other, and a film that enlarges our understanding of a reality we would prefer not to confront”

Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

 

Critical Consensus:

                IMDB: 8.0/10

                Metacritic: 94/100

                Rotten Tomatoes: 93% Fresh

 

Interesting Fact: Emmanuelle Riva became the oldest person ever nominated for a Best Actress Oscar (at age 84). She broke the record of the previous oldest-ever Best Actress nominee (and winner), Jessica Tandy, who was nominated for Driving Miss Daisy at age 80. 

 

Argo


argo

Director: Ben Affleck 

Starring: Ben Affleck, Alan Arkin, John Goodman, Bryan Cranston

Story:  Hollywood and the CIA team up to stage the production of a fake movie in order to rescue a group of hostages in 1970’s Iran.

 

Biggest Awards So Far:                 

Best Film – BAFTA Awards

Best Picture – Critics Choice Awards

Best Motion Picture – Golden Globes

Ensemble of the Year – Hollywood Film Festival

Outstanding Performance by a Cast – Screen Actors Guild Awards

 

Oscar Nominations: 7, including;

Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Alan Arkin)

Best Achievement in Sound Mixing

Best Achievement in Sound Editing

Best Achievement in Music, Original Score

Best Achievement in Editing

Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay

                                                               

What we said: (Read our review here)

Argo was a solid, relevant, and truly emotional film that does everything it should do, and by its end, I think viewers will realize they came away with far more than they ever expected to.”

 

Critical Consensus:

                Cinelinx: 9.0/10

      IMDB: 8.0/10

                Metacritic: 86/100

                Rotten Tomatoes: 96% Fresh

 

Interesting Fact: In order to make the movie feel like the 1970s, Affleck shot it on regular film, cut the frames in half, and blew those images up 200% to increase their graininess. He also copied camera movements and bustling office scenes from All The Presidents Men for sequences depicting CIA headquarters; for L.A. exteriors, he borrowed from The Killing of a Chinese Bookie. 

 

Beasts of the Southern Wild


A-scene-from-Beasts-of-the-Southern-Wild-e1347525513170

Director: Behn Zeitlin

Starring: Quvenzhané Wallis, Dwight Henry, Levy Easterly

Story: Faced with both her hot-tempered father's fading health and melting ice-caps that flood her ramshackle bayou community and unleash ancient aurochs, six-year-old Hushpuppy must learn the ways of courage and love.

 

Biggest Awards so Far:                 

Grand Jury Prize – Sundance Film Festival

Several Awards at the Cannes Film Festival

 

Oscar Nominations:  4, including;

Best Actress in a Leading Role (Quvenzhané Wallis)

Best Achievement in Directing

Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay

 

What the Critics Said: (Not reviewed on Cinelinx)

“Beasts of the Southern Wild" is sheer poetry on screen: an explosion of joy in the midst of startling squalor and one of the most visceral, original films to come along in a while.”

Christy Lemire, The Associated Press

 

Critical Consensus:

                IMDB: 7.4/10

                Metacritic: 86/100

                Rotten Tomatoes: 86% Fresh

 

Interesting Fact: Quvenzhané Wallis and her mom admit that they fibbed about Quvenzhané's age, claiming she was at least six years old, as required to audition, when she was only five. According to director Benh Zeitlin, Nazie, as she is called, beat out almost 4,000 other area kids considered for the lead role.

 

Django Unchained


django

Director: Quentin Tarantino 

Starring: Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo Dicaprio, Samuel L. Jackson, Kerry Washington

Story: Dr. King Schultz is a bounty hunter who frees a slave named Django to help him track down his next job. Schultz finds out that Django is very apt at this line of work so he agrees to help him rescue his enslaved wife in return for becoming his partner.

 

Biggest Awards so Far:                 

Original Screenplay – BAFTA Awards

Best Screenplay – Golden Globes

 

Oscar Nominations:  5, including;

Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Christoph Waltz)

Best Achievement in Cinematography

Best Achievement in Sound Editing

Best Writing, Original Screenplay

 

What We Said: (Read our review here)

 “Tarantino is able to create many exciting situations for his well-acted characters. Tarantino himself does a decent job as director mostly thanks to a straightforward story and good pacing. Fans of his films will find plenty of things to smile about.”

 

Critical Consensus:        

                Cinelinx: 8.4/10

      IMDB: 8.6/10

                Metacritic: 81/100

                Rotten Tomatoes: 89% Fresh

 

Interesting Fact: The title and setting of the film was inspired by the 1960s spaghetti western Django, with the original Django actor Franco Nero having a small role in the film.

 

Les Misérables


lesmis

Director: Tom Hooper

Starring: Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried

Story: In 19th-century France, Jean Valjean, who for decades has been hunted by the ruthless policeman Javert after he breaks parole, agrees to care for factory worker Fantine's daughter, Cosette. The fateful decision changes their lives forever.

 

Biggest Awards So Far:                 

Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy – Golden Globes

 

Oscar Nominations:  8, including;

Best Achievement in Costume Design

Best Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyle Design

Best Achievement in Music, Original Song

Best Achievement in Production Design

Best Achievement in Sound Mixing

Best Actor, Leading Role (Hugh Jackman)

Best Actress, Supporting Role (Anne Hathaway)

                                                               

What We Said: (Read our review here)

This is one of the year's best films and a great adaptation of Hugo's story. The music is terrific and the cast does a nice job, both with the singing and the acting. Hooper's directing keeps the visuals interesting. The sets and costumes are excellently done, and capture the dismal dirtiness of the French slums. But it's the music that is the key to a good musical and this one has all the wonderful songs that have entertained theater goers for over 25 years.”

 

Critical Consensus:

                Cinelinx: 9/10

                IMDB: 7.9/10

                Metacritic: 63/100

                Rotten Tomatoes: 70% Fresh

 

Interesting Fact: Hugh Jackman went 36 hours without water, causing him to lose water weight around his eyes and cheeks, giving him the gaunt appearance of a prisoner.

 

Life of Pi


lifeofpi

Director: Ang Lee

Starring: Suraj Sharma, Irrfan Khan

Story: A young man who survives a disaster at sea is hurtled into an epic journey of adventure and discovery. While cast away, he forms an unexpected connection with another survivor: a fearsome Bengal tiger.

 

Biggest Awards So Far:                 

Cinematography and Special Visual Effects – BAFTA Awards

Cinematography and Best Visual Effects – Critics Choice Awards

 

Oscar Nominations:  11, including;

Best Achievement in Cinematography

Best Achievement in Director

Best Achievement in Editing

Best Achievement in Music, Original Score

Best Achievement in Music, Original Song

Best Achievement in Production Design

Best Achievement in Sound Editing

Best Achievement in Sound Mixing

Best Achievement in Visual Effects

Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay

 

What We Said: (Read our review here)

Ang Lee’s adaptation of the popular novel The Life of Pi is not only a thoughtful exercise that muses on the nature of existence; it is also a cinematic treat for the eyes, full of amazing visuals.”

 

Critical Consensus:

                Cinelinx: 9/10

                IMDB: 8.2/10

                Metacritic: 79/100

                Rotten Tomatoes: 88% Fresh

 

Interesting Fact: 86% of the tiger shots are CGI, while 14% (or 23 shots) are real. In some cases it's intercut with a CG tiger.

 

Lincoln


lincoln

Director: Steven Spielberg

Starring: Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, Tommy Lee Jones, David Straithairn

Story: As the Civil War continues to rage, America's president struggles with continuing carnage on the battlefield and as he fights with many inside his own cabinet on the decision to emancipate the slaves.

 

Biggest Awards so Far:                 

Best Adapted Screenplay – Critics Choice Awards

 

Oscar Nominations:  12, including;

Best Achievement in Cinematography

Best Achievement in Costume Design

Best Achievement in Director

Best Achievement in Editing

Best Achievement in Music, Original Score

Best Achievement in Production Design

Best Achievement in Sound Mixing

Best Actor, Leading Role (Daniel Day-Lewis)

Best Actor, Supporting Role (Tommy Lee Jones)

Best Actress, Supporting Role (Sally Field)

Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay

 

What the critics said: (Not reviewed on Cinelinx)

Lincoln is exceptionally good, elevated by a preternatural star turn, and by the energy and invention its director displays in telling a story that doesn't rely on action and special effects.”

 Steven Rea – Philadelphia Inquirer

 

Critical Consensus:

                IMDB: 7.8/10

                Metacritic: 86/100

                Rotten Tomatoes: 89% Fresh

 

Interesting Fact: Once Daniel Day-Lewis decided on the voice that he would use to portray Lincoln, he sent an audiotape of it to Director Steven Spielberg in a box with a skull & crossbones on it so no one but he would hear it first.

 

Silver Linings Playbook


SilverLiningsPlaybook 620x350 

Director: David O. Russell

Starring: Bradley Cooper, Jessica Lawrence, Robert DeNiro, Jacki Weaver

Story: Pat has just been released from a mental institute, and is now living at his parents’ house to try piecing his life back together. His wife cheated on him, which brought out an emotional and mental disorder that he has struggled to contain ever since. Through a mutual friend he meets Tiffany, a young woman who lost her husband, and as a result, is going through emotional problems herself. Through their interactions, Pat gets the idea that Tiffany can help him get back together with his wife. She asks him for a favor in return, and Pat reluctantly obliges.

 

Biggest Awards So Far:                 

Adapted Screenplay – BAFTA Awards

Best Acting Ensemble – Critic’s Choice Awards

 

Oscar Nominations:  8, including;

Best Achievement in Directing

Best Achievement in Editing

Best Actor, Leading Role (Bradley Cooper)

Best Actor, Supporting Role (Robert De Niro)

Best Actress, Leading Role (Jennifer Lawrence)

Best Actress, Supporting Role (Jacki Weaver)

Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay

 

What We Said: (Read our review here)

“Both Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper are deathly serious when they need to be, but they also make their characters playful, sarcastic, and uninhibited.  The film uses these performances to straddle the middle ground between a light-hearted tone and heavy emotion. This incorporation of two different dramatic styles is what makes this film so good”

 

Critical Consensus:

                Cinelinx: 9.0/10

                IMDB: 8.0/10

                Metacritic: 81/100

                Rotten Tomatoes: 92% Fresh

 

Interesting Fact: Among its 8 Academy Award nominations, this film became the first to earn nods in all four acting categories since Reds and the first "Big Five" (Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director, Best Writing) nominee since Million Dollar Baby  

 

Zero Dark Thirty


zero dark thrty

Director: Katherine Bigelow 

Starring: Jessica Lawrence, Joel Edgerton, Jason Clarke

Story: Maya is a CIA agent and her job is to use intelligence she’s gathered to hunt down Osama Bin Laden. The film starts as she takes part in a prisoner interrogation, in order to forcefully obtain the information she needs. Initially she only has her knowledge of terrorist organizations, her intuition and scraps of information. When the government starts to crack down on using torture as an information gathering technique, Maya and her fellow operatives are forced to use their intuition more and more.

 

Biggest Awards so Far:

Best Editing – Critic’s Choice Awards

 

Oscar Nominations:  5, including;

Best Achievement in Editing

Best Achievement in Sound Editing

Best Actress, Leading Role (Jessica Chastain)

Best Writing, Original Screenplay

 

What We Said: (Read our review here)

"Jessica Chastain puts on the best performance of her career so far, and Bigelow’s competent direction manages to handle the complicated plot. Despite the audience knowing how it ends, the story moves with masterful suspense, excitement, and drama that only keeps getting better until the final nail-biting climax.”

 

Critical Consensus:

                Cinelinx: 9.1/10

                IMDB: 7.6/10

                Metacritic: 95/100

                Rotten Tomatoes: 94% Fresh

 

Interesting Fact: “Zero Dark Thirty" in military terms means 12:30 AM. Zero Dark is midnight, 00:00 on a 24 hour clock, 30 being added to connote 30 minutes past. In the scene during the raid you can see Maya look at the clock being shown as 00:30.