Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...

Oscars: 5 Things We Learned From The 2013 Nominations

by Oliver Lyttelton
January 10, 2013 2:28 PM
  • |
Oscars 5 Things Learned From The Nominations

We're starting to come to the close of Oscar nominations day, and we don't know about you, but we're regretting our decision to give up drinking for January; it's a day full of hysteria, overreaction, and inexplicable anger, and it's pretty tiring, especially for those who have to get up at 4.30 in the morning to cover it (luckily, not ourselves).

But now the dust is settling, and we can start to look at the nominations with a slightly clearer head, and work out what it all means for the six weeks or so left of the awards season. And the good news is that what's been the most interesting Oscar time in a few years looks set to continue in the coming weeks. Below, we've picked out five things that today's nominations have taught us; you can also read our snubs and surprises piece from earlier today, and keep your eyes peeled for more Oscar coverage between now and February 24th.

It's "Lincoln" vs. "Silver Linings Playbook" vs. "Life Of Pi" For Best Picture
Things could, of course, change over the next few weeks, but despite picking up Best Picture nominations, three of the hopefuls seemed to take a fairly major knock today. Famously, the last time a film won Best Picture without at least a nomination for Best Director was "Driving Miss Daisy" in 1989, which means that, by missing out in the latter category, "Zero Dark Thirty," "Argo" and "Les Miserables" all have an uphill battle to fight. It may be that the snub energizes their supporters (some have suggested that issues with voting may have caused the films to miss out, though it's based on no real evidence), but it puts them on the outs, particularly as "Zero Dark Thirty" also missed out in other categories, though "Argo" and "Les Miserables" did well elsewhere.

In contrast, "Lincoln" has twelve nominations, showing strength across the board as many expected it would, while "Life Of Pi" exceeded expectations in a major way (including nominations for Best Song, both sound categories and Production Design), and "Silver Linings Playbook" also showed strength with an editing nomination in addition its strong share of four acting nods. In all three cases, it shows that these movies have widespread support (even if 'Pi' missed out on acting nominations, that wasn't a problem with "Slumdog Millionaire" a few years back). "Lincoln" is probably the front-runner, but it feels like a three-horse race to us at this stage for Best Picture.

Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva in Haneke's Amour
Emmanuelle Riva Could Win Best Actress
Of the acting races, it definitely feels like it was Best Actress that got the biggest shake-up. Common wisdom was that Jessica Chastain was the front-runner, with Jennifer Lawrence not far behind, and that Riva and Wallis were on the bubble in terms of nomination. But with Riva now inside the final five, we think she could actually make a play for the win. Like we said, with "Zero Dark Thirty" looking weaker, Chastain may not be as far ahead as was generally thought, and while "Silver Linings Playbook" is strong across the acting categories, Lawrence is still so young that she may not be seen as having paid her dues, especially against someone like Riva. She is, of course, the oldest nominee ever in the lead actress category, and what's more, she celebrates her 86th birthday on the day of the Oscar ceremony, on February 24th. How could the Academy turn down a narrative like that, particularly with five nominations for "Amour" to encourage those who haven't yet seen the film to check it out?

Free Indie Movies and Documentaries    


  • Robert | January 15, 2013 8:47 AMReply

    It's Argo for Best Picture and Haneke for Best Director. You heard this here.

  • F.P. | January 14, 2013 5:50 PMReply

    And yet for as many praiseworthy films as there may be this year, it appears as though the safest choice of them all will win because their golden boy didn't get the Best Director nomination he was 'owed.' And before anyone says, the Golden Globes are just there to give awards to boldfaced names, presumed front-runner LINCOLN won nothing beyond Hollywood's regular tribute to D.Day-Lewis, and ARGO also won the Critics Choice Awards' Best Picture as well. And who would accept that Best Picture win for ARGO? George Clooney. Mark ARGO in your bracket now - Picture, Supporting Actor (Arkin, as the producer all in Hollywood think they are), Editing (Goldenberg), Score (Desplat), and if you want to be bold, Terrio over Kushner in Adapted Screenplay. I'd count 4 or 5 wins for ARGO.

  • F.P. | January 15, 2013 1:03 PM

    I'd agree with Robert above. For director, both Ang Lee and Spielberg have Oscars, and they've (Harvey) already pulled the Picture/Director split on Spielberg once before. I doubt they want to be that sadistic again. If Harvey was smart, he'd put his energy into a full court press on Russell, even though I doubt even he thinks this is his best directing effort to date, but this is a rare moment for the Academy to get their cake and eat it too, by honoring an outsider plus their own home team favorites. ARGO/Haneke seems smart at the present.

  • Jake | January 14, 2013 9:10 PM

    If AMPAS wants to test the wind and try to vote to make up the perceived snub of Affleck they'll vote Argo Best Picture as Affleck is a nominated producer and would win for that category, and give director to whatever film ends up their other favorite, which at this point is a crap shoot between Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook and Life of Pi.

  • nightgoat72 | January 12, 2013 11:20 PMReply

    I won't bitch and moan about another dull batch of Oscar nominees (which I definitely think this is, for the most part), but one thing I simply cannot wrap my head around: how on earth did The Master not get nominated for cinematography? I mean, I understand not nominating it for picture and director (no matter how much I disagree), but nothing for cinematography? That jaw-droppingly gorgeous, 70mm cinematography? That just seems objectively wrong.

  • NIGHTGOAT73 | January 14, 2013 3:42 PM

    I agree that The Master should have been nominated for Best Cinemtography but don't agree about the nominees being boring, I never expected beasts or amour to get in.

  • Alex | January 12, 2013 8:45 PMReply

    Great piece.

  • Someperson | January 12, 2013 3:52 PMReply

    Hey now, I really liked The Green Mile.

  • Tobi | January 12, 2013 12:32 PMReply

    Thank you, thank you so much for that last paragraph. It's starting to become counter-productive with all the pissing and moaning; I was up for the nominations and of course that's all everyone did, including myself. But it's been two days now, let it go and let's see who is going to win with what we have now. The nominations are what they are. The Best Actress and Supporting Actor categories are going to be very interesting for sure, since you have a three-way and really, a five-way race, respectively in each category. Looking forward to seeing how that is going to be playing out.

  • Ryan | January 11, 2013 2:47 PMReply

    You make a compelling case against those of us who complain and dismiss; that indeed this year is somehow different than in past years - more edgy and less safe. But ultimately history will prove the complainers are correct. Amour IS Haneke's safest film; it's almost irrelevant that it's directed by the guy that did Funny Games because it's a film that's right in the wheelhouse of Academy members. Ditto on movies like Life of Pi (big and beautiful) Les Miserables (epic and dramatic), and even Django Unchained (it seems like QT has entered his respected statesman faze where every one of his films, even before they're even shot, have Oscar buzz - see Scorsese and Eastwood ten years ago). Before I even saw films like Argo, Lincoln, and Silver Linings Playbook they felt like Oscar-y movies. So the complaints come when the Academy underlines what we thought six months ago. And I don't buy this nonsense that Beasts of the Southern Wild is somehow edgy or shocking - Oscar talk has been near fever pitch since before it came out last summer. Now if you want to go edgy and unpredictable, how about nominated the other Sundance hit, Middle of Nowhere. Now THAT would've been edgy.

    Ultimately, it appears that Lincoln will sweep, something we all predicted over a year ago. This is exactly what happened last year when after all the hoopla surrounding Viola Davis and the supposed "race" for best actress, Meryl Streep ended up getting the award we all knew she would get. Ditto on the year before, when the front runner The King's Speech was supposedly losing ground to A Social Network only to be the ultimate winner come Oscar night. At the end of the day, what we initially think will happen usually ends up happening. I see no difference this year.

  • Matt-S | January 12, 2013 6:27 PM

    Actually The Social Network was the frontrunner before the Guilds gave their awards. People knew that TKS would've won BP but some still had hope for a Best Director win for David Fincher.

  • Edward | January 12, 2013 1:57 PM

    Again, a pretty silly argument. Haneke's film is perhaps his "safest," but it's still an emotionally bruising and brutal picture in comparison to a lot of these nominations. It's not an easy film to watch. History is not gonna prove jack. Aside from maybe Django (though it's really a thoughtless cartoon at the end of the day in comparison) and ZDT (which is grueling in its own right), it's easily the most uncompromising of all the pictures here. I also wonder if half the people bitching about Amour/Haneke have even seen the film.

  • AE | January 11, 2013 11:11 AMReply

    Yeah, I've been bitching about the end of the movies all year but the Best picture list is pretty great and there are still notable omissions. Overall I think the Academy have been discerning, and rewarded based on excellence of craft. At first glance the Best Director list may appear random, but if you consider that Ang Lee kept us interested in a boat, a tiger and a boy for an hour and a half, and Ben Zeitlin conjured the strange, mystical world of BOTSW with next to nothing, then the choices begin to make sense, and I'm not a big fan of either of those films overall. Now if Emmanuelle Riva and/or Haneke win one of the majors, that would be something.

  • Rafael | January 11, 2013 7:19 AMReply

    Robert De Niro WAS nominated for the SAG's.

  • ^_^ | January 11, 2013 3:25 AMReply


  • Jake | January 10, 2013 8:22 PMReply

    Oh, also, 1999's not a great year to say they were weak compared to just how good film was that year. Cider House Rules might be schmaltzy and not as strong as some other possibles, but The Green Mile is an excellent film, and far outside of the Academy's wheelhouse. I'd go with 2007, a year that featured movies like Zodiac, The Assassination of Jesse James, Eastern Promises, & The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, and we got Juno as a Best Picture nominee instead.

  • Jake | January 10, 2013 8:18 PMReply

    JLaw has been the frontrunner for Best Actress for a long time, and SLP's much stronger showing vs ZDT, her already accomplished track record & impeccable performance in Winter's Bone, it being a huge year for her by helping to cement The Hunger Games franchise, and just the type of performance it is suggests she could take it in a cake walk. She's got the china-smashing Oscar clip for goodness' sake, Chastain's is an internalized performance, and those don't play for the win with AMPAS.

  • Jake | January 14, 2013 9:06 PM

    We're not talking about challenge-level of the roles, we're talking about what AMPAS will vote for, and as you said given the type of role it's a shock Riva was even nominated, Lawrence has all she needs to win, also I love how you can just say "it really was not a difficult part" as if you're an actor, and anyone could do what Lawrence has been able to in the past few years. No it isn't the most difficult role ever, but she had to prove she could do it just to get the part, this is a wounded, widowed character played impeccably the very same year she very-convincingly carried a new franchise in a role as a teenager. Watch Winter's Bone & tell me that's not a "challenging role". AMPAS goes for extraneous things, not the single performance alone, and on top of all the things I already said, they love press and crowning a 22 year old that's the star of the biggest surprise smash of the past 12 months would definitely earn them plenty.

  • Umsure | January 13, 2013 11:21 AM

    **she being Lawrence not Riva.

  • Umsure | January 13, 2013 11:20 AM

    Seriously?? She was good in Silver Linings but it really was not a difficult part - and definitely not even close to Riva's challenging role. Now thats what I called an astonishing performance. I was even shocked she got nominated (although now I get thats its ALL about PR and not necessarily talent) - there were so many more impressive lead female roles this year.

  • rtyhghh | January 10, 2013 6:10 PMReply

    $500,000 constitutes a "micro-budget" according to whose definition? And word is that Beasts may have cost closer to 1 million. That term is usually reserved for under $100K. Not that it isn't a shocking pick, but let's not exaggerate

  • Edward | January 10, 2013 6:08 PMReply

    "You Really Have To Stop Saying That The Academy Are Safe And Boring" Well said. The opposite is a dumb knee jerk response.

  • cirkusfolk | January 10, 2013 4:24 PMReply

    I like your analysis of the Best Supporting Actor category. I'm fine with all those actors getting nomed, but it is definately a tough one to call. Arkin was good in Argo but much better in Little Miss Sunshine for which he won. Same for Waltz and Inglourious Basterds. You are also right about there may being a reluctance to honor Tommy Lee if Daniel Day takes the lead statue and Field possibly one as well. I can honestly say I think they might give it to Hoffman since the other two Master players don't really have a shot, but I'm personally hoping DeNiro will win. Like you said, it's his best performance in years that offered some very crappy ones, so it very well be his last shot at the gold in his lifetim, especially considering he hasn't been nomed in 20 years.

  • DG | January 10, 2013 3:47 PMReply

    Maybe the academy wasn't playing it safe with the nominations this year (and good on them) but I have a gut feeling they will with the wins. Icould be totally wrong but I think Lincoln will probably sweep. I hope Jenifer Lawerence wins she is amazing but Riva would be great too. So glad Django didn't get too much attention it was easily QTs worst movie in a decade. Also anyone else think The Master should have gotten a mom for editing? The editing and pacing in that was like no movie I've ever seen before.

  • StephenM | January 10, 2013 3:45 PMReply

    I kinda think nominating The Tree of Life last year was edgier than Moneyball . . .

  • Duddi | January 10, 2013 3:32 PMReply

    Come on, dude !!! Moneyball was more than a crowd-pleaser for sure... That was one of the best sport movies ever made... too bad you think of it as a crowd-pleaser..

  • Melissa | January 10, 2013 3:12 PMReply

    If Jennifer Lawrence is too young to have "paid her dues", what does that say about Quvenzhane Wallis?? Wallis' nomination was a total stunt.

  • Ted | January 10, 2013 3:06 PMReply

    I'm pulling for Riva. Not just because she gave an astounding performance in Amour, but c'mon she's 85 years old and an icon of French cinema (her performances in Hiroshima mon amour and Leon Morin were incredible also). Plus, Jessica Chastain & Jennifer Lawrence are going to have plenty of opportunities to win again.

  • Terry | January 10, 2013 2:56 PMReply

    McConaughey gave two of the most electrifying performances of the year in what might be the two riskiest roles any actor took on. Really gutted to see him get snubbed. I realize one film was an ultra-voilent, NC-17 indie that no one saw, and the other was about male strippers, but still...

  • Alan B | January 11, 2013 2:14 AM

    I predicted McConaughey because I thought there would be at least ONE newcomer to the Supporting Actor field. But it was a genuinely strong year, and someone (and - by 'someone' - I mean lots of people) had to miss out.

  • coke | January 10, 2013 5:32 PM

    He was amazing in Killer Joe!

  • Melissa | January 10, 2013 3:07 PM

    He was outstanding in Killer Joe, wasn't he???

  • MAL | January 10, 2013 2:42 PMReply

    Great article and balanced perspective. Of course, my favourite -- Moonrise Kingdom -- should have been in the race. Silver Linings Playbook... not so much.

  • Tom | January 10, 2013 3:01 PM

    I agree that Moonrise Kingdom should have been a contender in the Best Picture race, but not at the expense of Silver Linings Playbook. If anything, it should have replaced Les Misérables, or even Life of Pi. Ideally, it should have been the tenth nominee.

Email Updates