Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
David Fincher Says He Shouldn't Have Directed 'The Game,' Dislikes Superhero Movies & Talks "Crazy" '20,000 Leagues' David Fincher Says He Shouldn't Have Directed 'The Game,' Dislikes Superhero Movies & Talks "Crazy" '20,000 Leagues' Matt Damon & Paul Greengrass Are Returning To The 'Bourne' Series Matt Damon & Paul Greengrass Are Returning To The 'Bourne' Series First Look: Angelina Jolie And Brad Pitt In 'By The Sea' First Look: Angelina Jolie And Brad Pitt In 'By The Sea' The Best, Worst And Most Disappointing Films Of The 2014 Toronto International Film Festival The Best, Worst And Most Disappointing Films Of The 2014 Toronto International Film Festival David Fincher Says Differences Over Casting And Disney's Corporate Culture Stalled '20,000 Leagues Under The Sea' David Fincher Says Differences Over Casting And Disney's Corporate Culture Stalled '20,000 Leagues Under The Sea' Review: 'No Good Deed' Starring Idris Elba and Taraji P. Henson Review: 'No Good Deed' Starring Idris Elba and Taraji P. Henson Watch: Shailene Woodley Gets NSFW In 2 Clips From 'White Bird In A Blizzard' Plus New Pics Watch: Shailene Woodley Gets NSFW In 2 Clips From 'White Bird In A Blizzard' Plus New Pics TIFF Review: 'Cake' Starring Jennifer Aniston, Anna Kendrick, Sam Worthington & More TIFF Review: 'Cake' Starring Jennifer Aniston, Anna Kendrick, Sam Worthington & More Watch: First Trailer For Rom-Com 'Playing It Cool' With Chris Evans, Michelle Monaghan, Aubrey Plaza & More Watch: First Trailer For Rom-Com 'Playing It Cool' With Chris Evans, Michelle Monaghan, Aubrey Plaza & More Watch: First Trailer For ‘Serena’ Starring Jennifer Lawrence & Bradley Cooper Watch: First Trailer For ‘Serena’ Starring Jennifer Lawrence & Bradley Cooper First Look: Matthew McConaughey & Ken Watanabe In Gus Van Sant’s ‘Sea Of Trees’ First Look: Matthew McConaughey & Ken Watanabe In Gus Van Sant’s ‘Sea Of Trees’ Tom Hardy Says He'll Never Do Another Romantic Comedy Again Thanks To 'This Means War' Tom Hardy Says He'll Never Do Another Romantic Comedy Again Thanks To 'This Means War' David Fincher Apparently Thinks 'Dragon Tattoo' Sequel 'The Girl Who Played With Fire' Could Get Made David Fincher Apparently Thinks 'Dragon Tattoo' Sequel 'The Girl Who Played With Fire' Could Get Made Revisiting On The Rise: Where Are Our 2012 Picks Now? Revisiting On The Rise: Where Are Our 2012 Picks Now? Fall TV Preview: Our 22 Most Anticipated Shows For The Rest Of 2014 Fall TV Preview: Our 22 Most Anticipated Shows For The Rest Of 2014 TIFF Review: 'Still Alice' Starring Julianne Moore, Kristen Stewart, Alec Baldwin & Kate Bosworth TIFF Review: 'Still Alice' Starring Julianne Moore, Kristen Stewart, Alec Baldwin & Kate Bosworth The Best Documentaries Of 2014 So Far The Best Documentaries Of 2014 So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The Best Films Of 2014 So Far... The Best Films Of 2014 So Far... The 10 Best & Worst Movie Sex Scenes The 10 Best & Worst Movie Sex Scenes

Oscars: 'The Master,' 'Silver Linings Playbook' & 'Argo' Lead Wide Open Awards Season Field

Photo of Oliver Lyttelton By Oliver Lyttelton | www.oliverlyttelton.com September 17, 2012 at 12:01PM

Having covered the Oscar race in quite a bit of detail last year, it's fair to say that it wasn't the most exciting race in history. It became clear from early September onward that "The Artist" was set to be a juggernaut, and as the film swept the precursors in the run-up, it was clear that nothing else -- not "Hugo," not "The Descendants" had a chance at beating it out. And indeed, most of the acting races felt like foregone conclusions from the off. It was clear in the weeks before that Jean Dujardin was going to edge out George Clooney, while Christopher Plummer and Octavia Spencer had their awards locked up for months, making the Meryl Streep/Viola Davis head to head the only major race that felt up in the air.
5
Argo The Master Silver Linings Playbook

Having covered the awards season in quite a bit of detail last year, it's fair to say that it wasn't the most exciting Oscar race in history. It became clear from early September onward that "The Artist" was set to be a juggernaut, and as the film swept the precursors in the run-up, it was clear that nothing else had a chance at beating it out. And indeed, most of the acting races felt like foregone conclusions as well. It became apparent in the weeks before the Oscars that Jean Dujardin was going to edge out George Clooney, while Christopher Plummer and Octavia Spencer had their awards locked up for months, making the Meryl Streep/Viola Davis head-to-head the only major race that felt up in the air.

And the same has mostly been true of the last few years. 2011's awards was a two-header between "The King's Speech" and "The Social Network," but few were backing the latter by Oscar night. 2010 had a similar situation, between "The Hurt Locker" and "Avatar," but it was pretty clear that David was going to win out over Goliath in that case. "Slumdog Millionaire" and "No Country For Old Men" both looked like obvious winners months out, as did "The Departed," leaving 2005 the last real knife-edge contest, when "Crash" beat out "Brokeback Mountain."

"The Master"
TWC "The Master"

This year, while many, many months are still to play out, it's exciting to look at the field of contenders as the dust settles on the key Venice/Telluride/Toronto festival triumvirate, and realize that it's all still wide open. Barring a serious surprise we could be looking at the most unpredictable and exciting awards race in some time.

Post Venice and Telluride, it became clear that both "The Master" and "Argo" were going to be serious contenders, and virtually certain Best Picture nominees. At TIFF, they certainly shored up their positions with equally ecstatic reactions and were joined by David O. Russell's "Silver Linings Playbook," which after some initially quiet buzz, has roared to the front of the pack as well.

Joaquin Phoenix, The Master

Of the three, "The Master" is in theory the least likely to have a chance at the top prize -- the film is firmly on the arty side of the spectrum, and the least interested in pleasing an audience. But the rapturous critical reception, including two awards at Venice (it was also widely reported, much to Harvey Weinstein's delight, the jury wanted to give it the top prize as well), and a record-breaking opening weekend in limited release, suggest that the film will certainly be a Best Picture nominee, and pick up multiple nominations elsewhere.

There's been some suggestion that the box office for "The Master" is front-loaded, with the hardcore PTA fanbase turning out in droves, but we think such thoughts are underestimating what a hot-button topic the film is at the moment, and the general curiosity to check it out whether due to the 70mm format or buzz around the performances. Our gut says that "The Master" is far too opaque to beat out the competition for the Best Picture prize, but it will be a major cotender in the acting categories were actors like Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman will be major threats for the Best Actor prize (unless they're both nominated as a lead and cancel each other out). And you can never count out the power of Harvey Weinstein during award season campaigning that should at least be able to musters a Best Pic nomination.

This article is related to: The Amazing Race, Oscars, Academy Awards, TIFF, The Master, The Silver Linings Playbook, Argo


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates