The Missing Slate’s Film Critics, Rhea Cinna, Jay Sizemore and Shamain Nisar gather to discuss the upcoming Oscars. Who will win, who should win, and who should have been nominated is explained and grumbled about in our very own Pre-Oscar Round Table.
Who are you rooting for this year?
Jay: I’m not really rooting for a film in this year’s Oscars. Over the years, I have lost interest due to the fact that the most deserved winner (in my opinion) is usually ignored. If I were to root for one, I would root for Beasts of the Southern Wild, as it seems like the underdog. Having said that, Daniel Day-Lewis is the best actor on the planet, and he should win every acting award he is ever nominated for. I also hope Amy Adams wins for best actress, because she deserves it. But once again, the Oscars don’t care about talent.
Shamain: As my write up said, I am rooting for Silver Linings Playbook for Best Film, as out of all the selections, it is the one that I watched multiple times, and the one that I can really relate to. For the same reason, I am rooting for Jennifer Lawrence for best actress, she just won my heart with her performance in the movie and I’ve come to really admire her. It’s a tie between Hugh Jackman and Bradley Cooper in my mind for best actor. I would be happy to see either David O. Russel, Ang Lee or Steven Speilberg for Best Director as I like all three of them. And if David doesn’t go home with a statue for Direction I would at least like him to take one home for Writing (basically, I am extremely biased this year and want Silver Linings to win EVERYTHING).
Rhea: Amour. Not necessarily for being the absolute film festival juries seem to herald it as, but for being something that doesn’t fit into that yearly Oscar pattern. And for Best Actress, Emanuelle Riva. Because she broke my heart in Hiroshima and then broke it again in Amour.
What film, director or performance do you think should have been nominated but wasn’t?
Shamain: I was surprised to see that The Impossible was not nominated for Best Film this year. I have to say, being a film student and an aspiring writer/director, I was hoping to write an Oscar winning, incredibly emotional film about the tsunami, and since someone beat me to it, at least they should be appreciated for the effort!
Jay: Obviously Tarantino was overlooked for his work on Django. How can you ignore one of the most definitive voices in American cinema? Well, they did it for years with Kubrick and Scorsese. At least Scorsese finally won one.
Rhea: Too many to count. But then again, what I feel the Oscars should be and what they are, are very different things. The films that pop up on my radar and those that pop up on the Oscars’ are not necessarily the same. But if I had to nominate one, it would be Holy Motors – funnily enough, this is what most film festivals have been doing all along, nominating it, but nobody seems to have had the courage to go within two feet of it with any big awards. It happens.
Who do you think will win and why?
Jay: Argo will win because it is this year’s Neapolitan, and because Ben Affleck does a good “aw shucks” face.
Rhea: Depending greatly on the “message” the Academy wants to send out, it’ll be between Lincoln, Amour and Argo (and maaaybe, just maybe Life of Pi). Somehow, I have a feeling it might be Lincoln — because, well, it’s Spielberg and he’s enough of an audience’s sweetheart to, uh, appease all those rooting for Life of Pi. If the Academy wants to show how “open minded and innovative” it is, then it’ll be Amour. And Argo – I wouldn’t want it to win, but it’s so chock-full of those Oscar-tickling ingredients that put me off a film, that it just might.
Shamain: Having listed my favorite, it seems to me Zero Dark Thirty has a lot of chances, as does Jessica Chastain for her performance in it (though I won’t count Jennifer Lawrence out, fingers crossed). Also Ang Lee and Steven Spielberg, being two geniuses, have a high chance of taking the Direction statue home.
Any grudges this year?
Jay: Cloud Atlas was and is one of the best movies I have ever seen, and it was completely snubbed. This is unforgivable. Another reason for me to hate the Oscars. I guess the studio couldn’t afford to pay enough people to review it, or send out enough screeners.
Shamain: Not Really. Except, and I’ll say it again, The Impossible should’ve been a Best Film nominee and the underdog (Silver Linings) should take some awards home.
Rhea: I’ve been grudge-free since going completely ballistic when The Departed won a few years back. It’s been years but that episode depleted me of the resources to care enough about the Oscars to bear a grudge. These days I just scoff.
What kind of film would you like to see nominated for the Oscars in the future, what direction do you think the Oscars should take?
Shamain: To me, it’s refreshing to see titles like The Kids are Alright, 127 Hours, Slumdog Millionaire and The Social Network among the nominations, as these are the kinds of movies I love to watch and are more often than not overlooked. Period films and very serious historical/political films often fail to capture my interest.
Jay: The Oscars stopped taking chances. I would like to see them start again, and move away from the politically correct popularity contest they seem to have aligned themselves with. Make a statement.
Rhea: I’d like to see a widening of horizons. Something that says they’ve opened their eyes to talent rather than budget, or that they’ve acknowledged true independent (and international) film rather than calling a film low budget for costing a few tens of millions less than the year’s blockbusting mammoth.
Any final comments?
Jay: I will never forgive the Oscars for two things: Shakespeare in Love, and Brokeback Mountain. I’m not bitter. Okay, maybe a little.
Shamain: I don’t know if anyone feels this way, or if my argument is valid, but it gets kind of boring seeing the same 10 films nominated in every single category in every awards, I mean surely some other movie did good in some area and should be in there. A wide variety of nominations would be nice to see.
Rhea: Despite some of my bitter rambling, I do have hope for the Oscars. They are an institution and the fact that a wide audience sees film as more than something to pass the time over a bucket of popcorn is, in part, due to them (and other awards shows/festivals like them). I just wish they’d live up to their own proclaimed standards.
The Missing Slate continues its Oscar journey, with reviews and Oscar-related articles over the following weeks.