Oscars Ceremony 2013

Nominations
The Red Dragon’s Choice

Winners

Discussion
Ceremony Clips

Nominations

Best Motion Picture of the Year

Amour : Margaret Ménégoz, Stefan Arndt, Veit Heiduschka, Michael Katz
Argo : Grant Heslov, Ben Affleck, George Clooney
Beasts of the Southern Wild : Dan Janvey, Josh Penn, Michael Gottwald
Django Unchained : Stacey Sher, Reginald Hudlin, Pilar Savone
Les Misérables : Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Debra Hayward, Cameron Mackintosh
Life of Pi : Gil Netter, Ang Lee, David Womark
Lincoln : Steven Spielberg, Kathleen Kennedy
Silver Linings Playbook : Donna Gigliotti, Bruce Cohen, Jonathan Gordon
Zero Dark Thirty : Mark Boal, Kathryn Bigelow, Megan Ellison

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role

Bradley Cooper for Silver Linings Playbook
Daniel Day-Lewis for Lincoln
Hugh Jackman for Les Misérables
Joaquin Phoenix for The Master
Denzel Washington for Flight

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

Jessica Chastain for Zero Dark Thirty
Jennifer Lawrence for Silver Linings Playbook
Emmanuelle Riva for Amour
Quvenzhané Wallis for Beasts of the Southern Wild
Naomi Watts for The Impossible

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role

Alan Arkin for Argo
Robert De Niro for Silver Linings Playbook
Philip Seymour Hoffman for The Master
Tommy Lee Jones for Lincoln
Christoph Waltz for Django Unchained

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role

Amy Adams for The Master
Sally Field for Lincoln
Anne Hathaway for Les Misérables
Helen Hunt for The Sessions
Jacki Weaver for Silver Linings Playbook

Best Achievement in Directing

Michael Haneke for Amour
Ang Lee for Life of Pi
David O. Russell for Silver Linings Playbook
Steven Spielberg for Lincoln
Benh Zeitlin for Beasts of the Southern Wild

Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen

Amour : Michael Haneke
Django Unchained : Quentin Tarantino
Flight : John Gatins
Moonrise Kingdom : Wes Anderson, Roman Coppola
Zero Dark Thirty : Mark Boal

Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published

Argo : Chris Terrio
Beasts of the Southern Wild : Lucy Alibar, Benh Zeitlin
Life of Pi : David Magee
Lincoln : Tony Kushner
Silver Linings Playbook : David O. Russell

Best Animated Feature Film of the Year

Brave : Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman
Frankenweenie : Tim Burton
ParaNorman : Sam Fell, Chris Butler
The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists! : Peter Lord
Wreck-It Ralph : Rich Moore

Best Foreign Language Film of the Year

Amour (Austria)
War Witch (Canada)
No (Chile)
A Royal Affair (Denmark)
Kon-Tiki (Norway)

Best Achievement in Cinematography

Anna Karenina : Seamus McGarvey
Django Unchained : Robert Richardson
Life of Pi : Claudio Miranda
Lincoln : Janusz Kaminski
Skyfall : Roger Deakins

Best Achievement in Editing

Argo : William Goldenberg
Life of Pi : Tim Squyres
Lincoln : Michael Kahn
Silver Linings Playbook : Jay Cassidy, Crispin Struthers
Zero Dark Thirty : William Goldenberg, Dylan Tichenor

Best Achievement in Production Design

Anna Karenina : Sarah Greenwood, Katie Spencer
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey : Dan Hennah, Ra Vincent, Simon Bright
Les Misérables : Eve Stewart, Anna Lynch-Robinson
Life of Pi : David Gropman, Anna Pinnock
Lincoln : Rick Carter, Jim Erickson

Best Achievement in Costume Design

Anna Karenina : Jacqueline Durran
Les Misérables : Paco Delgado
Lincoln : Joanna Johnston
Mirror Mirror: The Untold Adventures of Snow White : Eiko Ishioka
Snow White and the Huntsman : Colleen Atwood

Best Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling

Hitchcock : Howard Berger, Peter Montagna, Martin Samuel
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey : Peter King, Rick Findlater, Tami Lane
Les Misérables : Lisa Westcott, Julie Dartnell

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score

Anna Karenina : Dario Marianelli
Argo : Alexandre Desplat
Life of Pi : Mychael Danna
Lincoln : John Williams
Skyfall : Thomas Newman

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song

Chasing Ice : J. Ralph(“Before My Time”)
Les Misérables : Alain Boublil, Claude-Michel Schönberg, Herbert Kretzmer(“Suddenly”)
Life of Pi : Mychael Danna, Bombay Jayshree(“Pi’s Lullaby”)
Skyfall : Adele, Paul Epworth(“Skyfall”)
Ted : Walter Murphy, Seth MacFarlane(“Everybody Needs a Best Friend”)

Best Achievement in Sound Mixing

Argo : John T. Reitz, Gregg Rudloff, José Antonio García
Les Misérables : Andy Nelson, Mark Paterson, Simon Hayes
Life of Pi : Ron Bartlett, Doug Hemphill, Drew Kunin
Lincoln : Andy Nelson, Gary Rydstrom, Ron Judkins
Skyfall : Scott Millan, Greg P. Russell, Stuart Wilson

Best Achievement in Sound Editing

Argo : Erik Aadahl, Ethan Van der Ryn
Django Unchained : Wylie Stateman
Life of Pi : Eugene Gearty, Philip Stockton
Skyfall : Per Hallberg, Karen M. Baker
Zero Dark Thirty : Paul N.J. Ottosson

Best Achievement in Visual Effects

Avengers Assemble : Janek Sirrs, Jeff White, Guy Williams, Daniel Sudick
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey : Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton, R. Christopher White
Life of Pi : Bill Westenhofer, Guillaume Rocheron, Erik De Boer, Donald Elliott
Prometheus : Richard Stammers, Trevor Wood, Charley Henley, Martin Hill
Snow White and the Huntsman : Cedric Nicolas-Troyan, Phil Brennan, Neil Corbould, Michael Dawson

Best Documentary, Feature

5 Broken Cameras : Emad Burnat, Guy Davidi
The Gatekeepers : Dror Moreh, Philippa Kowarsky, Estelle Fialon
How to Survive a Plague : David France, Howard Gertler
The Invisible War : Kirby Dick, Amy Ziering
Searching for Sugar Man : Malik Bendjelloul, Simon Chinn

Best Documentary, Short Subject

Inocente : Sean Fine, Andrea Nix
Kings Point : Sari Gilman, Jedd Wider
Mondays at Racine : Cynthia Wade, Robin Honan
Open Heart : Kief Davidson, Cori Shepherd Stern
Redemption : Jon Alpert, Matthew O’Neill

Best Short Film, Animated

Adam and Dog : Minkyu Lee
Fresh Guacamole : PES
Head Over Heels : Timothy Reckart, Fodhla Cronin O’Reilly
Paperman : John Kahrs
The Simpsons: The Longest Daycare : David Silverman

Best Short Film, Live Action

Asad : Bryan Buckley, Mino Jarjoura
Buzkashi : Sam French, Ariel Nasr
Curfew : Shawn Christensen
Death of a Shadow : Tom Van Avermaet, Ellen De Waele
Henry: Yan England

 

The Red Dragon’s Choice

Welcome to the little corner of the site dedicated to this year’s Academy Awards, though for some reason they have now ditched that appellation for the ceremony and are now simply referring to it as ‘The 2013 Oscars’

Knowledge of the Oscars can be something of a treasure trove for trivia fans, but the ceremony can sometimes be an infuriating experience for film buffs and industry professionals alike, whether that’s because you disagree with selections, or with the concept of competition between filmmakers, or the inevitable back stage politics that will sometimes play a part in deciding who wins what. Merit and integrity aside, there are few annual competitions that have the novelty value of the Oscars, and The Red Dragon has created this page as much to acknowledge their influence as to offer quick reference and his own personal judgement.

At the end of each of the following categories I have listed the nominations in the order I think they should be ranked in, starting with the one I think most deserves the much sought after Oscar.

Best Film
Amour : Margaret Ménégoz, Stefan Arndt, Veit Heiduschka, Michael Katz
Argo : Grant Heslov, Ben Affleck, George Clooney
Beasts of the Southern Wild : Dan Janvey, Josh Penn, Michael Gottwald
Django Unchained : Stacey Sher, Reginald Hudlin, Pilar Savone
Les Misérables : Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Debra Hayward, Cameron Mackintosh
Life of Pi : Gil Netter, Ang Lee, David Womark
Lincoln : Steven Spielberg, Kathleen Kennedy
Silver Linings Playbook : Donna Gigliotti, Bruce Cohen, Jonathan Gordon
Zero Dark Thirty : Mark Boal, Kathryn Bigelow, Megan Ellison

Ok, first of all, why is ‘Skyfall’ not in here? It’s only the most successful British film of all time. Any suggestion that it is because it’s an action film can be allayed by the fact it has more going on than just lots of action, and also by the nomination for best film in previous years of not only action orientated ‘District 9’, but also ‘Avatar’. Had ‘Skyfall’ been an American production it would have been up for the award without a doubt, and it would have had a decent chance of winning it as well. This leads nicely onto what I’ll be placing bottom of the list – ‘Argo’, which insulted various nations, including Britain, with its gross destruction of history and has no right to be here. Sadly, it has already won the Bafta and Golden Globe and so must be the hot favourite here too, but if it wins it will set a horrific standard for the future of filmmaking everywhere, sending the very clear message that the filmmaker has no responsibility to the truth whatsoever. Real filmmakers expose the truth, not subvert it.

Interestingly, one of the very few throwaway lines in ‘Amour’ is also a slight jibe at the expense of the British, though it was harmless and likely enjoyed by the target French audience. ‘Amour’ is a film whose inclusion I can understand but, for me, over familiarity with the director Michael Haneke’s work has ruined it somewhat. ‘Django Unchained’ is another film that doesn’t really deserve to be here, it certainly has its moments but ultimately I suspect hype and Tarantino’s previous run on the awards circuit with the deserving ‘Inglorious Basterds’ have played their part. ‘Beasts of the Southern Wild’ didn’t really move me one way or another, I’d have to rewatch it before I could make up my mind about that one, it is good to see an underdog in there though.

All the others here are pretty close. ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ is a powerful film, but I think it will ultimately prove too controversial to stand much chance of winning. ‘Life of Pi’ delivered its message in a hugely unique way, and was vividly brought to realisation by Ang Lee and his team, but for me the best film has to have something a bit more going for it. ‘Silver Linings Playbook’ is a wonderful film in which everyone was great and the story felt just right, but for me, though I wouldn’t mind this, ZDT, or Pi winning, the real battle is between ‘Lincoln’ and ‘Les Miserables’.

I have yet to meet someone who didn’t enjoy ‘Les Miserables’, nor anyone who liked everybody in it, and overall my own personal misgivings are enough to root for Lincoln to land the coveted prize instead. Technically very strong, ‘Lincoln’ is the quiet one in this group, calmly waiting for the ceremony, confident enough in its own achievement not to be seen to be chasing accolades, nor much disappointed if it does not receive any.

I hope it gets it. I think I might have to punch someone if ‘Argo’ wins.

‘Lincoln’,   ‘Les Miserables’,   ‘Silver Linings Playbook’,   ‘Zero Dark Thirty’,   ‘Life of Pi’,   ‘Beasts of the Southern Wild’,   ‘Amour’,   ‘Django Unchained’,   ‘Argo’

Best Actor
Bradley Cooper for Silver Linings Playbook
Daniel Day-Lewis for Lincoln
Hugh Jackman for Les Misérables
Joaquin Phoenix for The Master
Denzel Washington for Flight

The Red Dragon views this category as the most fiercely contested. Everyone in this is a worthy winner, with the possible exception of Joaquin Phoenix. His role as the somewhat unhinged ex navy seaman wasn’t exactly a huge departure from several emotionally unstable roles he has played before, nor indeed from speculations over his mental state in real life (interestingly Werner Herzog may have saved his life by pulling him from a car wreck a few years ago). In ‘The Master’ his character enters the shady world of a new religion, a thinly veiled depiction of scientology, and Pheonix may have been the perfect person for the role, having spent some of his childhood years with his parents whilst they were members of a religious cult themselves.

Bradley Cooper was a huge surprise and success of silver linings, his performance was subtle and yet utterly convincing and it’s very good to see him receive his first nomination here. Jackman turned down the role that eventually went to Richard Gere in ‘Chicago’, the film that went on to win the best film Oscar for 2002, and he turned his regrets into action by siezing the chance to be in Les Mis, hounding director Tom Hooper relentlessly until he was given the part, a part which he delivered with everything he had, even depriving himself of sleep and water to achieve the emaciation of the opening scene, and here he reaps the rewards.

For both Denzel and Day-Lewis, this would be their third Oscar. However, whilst Denzel has a leading win for ‘Training Day’ and a support for ‘Glory’, Day-Lewis has two leads for ‘My Left Foot’ and ‘There will be Blood’ – which means a win for him would make him the only male actor in history to have won three Oscars in the leading role category. One lady has achieved this – Katherine Hepburn, more in fact, she won four in total.

I can think of no more deserving person to achieve the what would be legendary landmark of three, he could perhaps go on to rival even Ms Hepburn. He is one of the very few actors to fully immerse himself in a role, in every role, with utterly convincing accents, mannerisms and emotions. The other four nominees must be cursing their luck as he only makes a film every few years. It’s his fifth nomination, the other two being ‘Gangs of New York’ and ‘In the Name of the Father’, and my money is on him for the significant and deserved win.

Daniel Day-Lewis, Hugh Jackman, Bradley Cooper, Denzel Washington, Joaquin Phoenix

Best Actress
Jessica Chastain for Zero Dark Thirty

Jennifer Lawrence for Silver Linings Playbook
Emmanuelle Riva for Amour
Quvenzhané Wallis for Beasts of the Southern Wild
Naomi Watts for The Impossible

The opposite of the previous category. I’m not entirely convinced any of these performances are really so good as to claim the title of best of the year. They are all decent, but Naomi Watts, for example, pretty much pretends to be dying for most of the film, and half her job is done by the makeup department. Having said that she did go through a hefty ordeal for the film – like the scene where the tsunami wave hits her character and she is actually propelled through fake glass by a real wave, various scenes like this take on a different perspective when we learn she is acutely afraid of the water. It could be she is such a good actress she realised it would help the film as the fear would be very real. In any case, her performance was one of the most convincing things about ‘The Impossible’.

Jennifer Lawrence is dependently good in all of her work, but her style doesn’t vary much from film to film, and in silver linings she was strong in the part, but I think a little more maturity will see more nuances to her acting style. Jessica Chastain could steal it just for saying ‘mother fucker’ to James Gandolfini in ‘Zero Dark Thirty’, she is an actress who does vary her style from role to role, and her central performance in the film both matched the tone director Kathryn Bigelow was going for perfectly and grounded the whole thing. Quvenzhané Wallis certainly has a huge role in ‘Beasts of the Southern Wild’, and she is the youngest performer to ever be nominated in the category.

Just as Emmanuelle Riva is the oldest, and I believe the most deserving. There is often a correlation between actresses baring all on screen and then being nominated for Oscars. So are they really not going to give the Oscar to a first time nominee whose 86th birthday is the same day as the ceremony and who appeared nude in the film. She’s one year Oscar’s senior. No way. Decency demands the win for her.

Emmanuelle Riva,   Jessica Chastain,   Jennifer Lawrence,   Quvenzhane Wallis,   Naomi Watts

Best Supporting Actor
Alan Arkin for Argo
Robert De Niro for Silver Linings Playbook
Philip Seymour Hoffman for The Master
Tommy Lee Jones for Lincoln
Christoph Waltz for Django Unchained

Alan Arkin was actually very good in ‘Argo’, but he did get all the best lines. In fact, just like the lead category everyone here is good, though once again the entry for ‘The Master’ sees Phillip Seymour Hoffman play an eloquent role punctuated with red faced explosive rants, good but nothing new for him. De Niro was wonderful, and Tommy Lee Jones commanding. Christoph Waltz plays more or less the same character as he did in ‘Inglorious Basterds’ for which he won the best supporting Oscar, and as good as he is in both, I don’t feel not varying the character at all between the films deserves another statuette. I’m torn between De Niro and Jones, hmm, they both already have one, for ‘The Godfather part 2’ and ‘The Fugitive’, respectively, but since Jones beat the ten times more deserving Ralph Fiennes in ‘Schindler’s List’ (also directed by Spielberg of course) to get his previous one, I think I’ll vote for De Niro.

Robert De Niro,   Tommy Lee Jones,   Alan Arkin,   Christoph Waltz,   Phillip Seymour Hoffman

Best Supporting Actress
Amy Adams for The Master
Sally Field for Lincoln
Anne Hathaway for Les Misérables
Helen Hunt for The Sessions
Jacki Weaver for Silver Linings Playbook

This category is a bit of a farce this year. Amy Adams gets her kit off, jerks off Phillip Seymour Hoffman, and doesn’t do much else. Helen Hunt gets her kit off and doesn’t do much else (this is slightly unfair on Hunt). Jacki Weaver is a great actress, but had precious few lines in silver linings as far as I can remember. Sally Field gives an emotional and tough performance as the wife of Abe Lincoln, and she is no stranger to awards victory having won Oscars for leading roles in ‘Places in the Heart’ (84) and ‘Norma Rae’ (79). However, it would be the biggest possible upset of the night if Anne Hathaway didn’t win for her tremendous role in Les Mis, which will hopefully answer her detractors that moan whenever she is cast in anything once and for all. She works extremely hard, and is a thoroughly professional actor who on this occasion deserves this more than any of the others.

Anne Hathaway,   Sally Field,   Helen Hunt,   Amy Adams,   Jacki Weaver

Best Director
Michael Haneke for Amour
Ang Lee for Life of Pi
David O. Russell for Silver Linings Playbook
Steven Spielberg for Lincoln
Benh Zeitlin for Beasts of the Southern Wild

Spielberg, straight off the bat for this one. Best film and best director tend to go hand in hand, which may signal that there is no real intention to give ‘Argo’ the main award, since its director Ben Affleck does not appear on this list, but it’s also why I feel most inclined to vote for the person behind what I deem to be best candidate for ‘best film’. Haneke’s ego was too prevalent in ‘Amour’, though it is supposedly based on experiences within his own family. O. Russel is not well liked in Hollywood after having various punch ups with cast and crew over the years, but his own son does suffer from some of the conditions featured in the film, and the film is very good, so I wouldn’t rule him out. Nor Ang Lee, who has already won for ‘Brokeback Mountain’, Benh Zeitlin seems unlikely, but you never know.

Steven Spielberg,   David O. Russel,   Ang Lee,   Benh Zeitlin,   Michael Haneke

Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen
Amour : Michael Haneke
Django Unchained : Quentin Tarantino
Flight : John Gatins
Moonrise Kingdom : Wes Anderson, Roman Coppola
Zero Dark Thirty : Mark Boal

Although the script for ‘Amour’ is a well constructed poetic puzzle in a way, it is far too clever for its own good and detracts massively from what it is supposed to be about – two people going through a shared, tragic, experience. Similarly Django has Tarantino rehash old tricks from his previous work and generally mash everything together in the last third producing warped characters and a narrative that is out of place with its setting. ‘Moonrise Kingdom’ had a good heart, focusing on the romantic feelings of two children for each other, and ‘Flight’ told a fascinating story well. However, ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ had the hardest job to do with its extremely sensitive subject matter, and I think it pulled it off pretty well, so I am inclined to root for this one here, though ‘Moonrise Kingdom’ is strongly tempting me, and it is a nice antidote to the darkness of ZDT, hmmm….

Mark Boal,   Wes Anderson & Roman Coppola,   John Gatins,   Quentin Tarantino,   Michael Haneke

Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published
Argo : Chris Terrio
Beasts of the Southern Wild : Lucy Alibar, Benh Zeitlin
Life of Pi : David Magee
Lincoln : Tony Kushner
Silver Linings Playbook : David O. Russell

The screenplay for ‘Argo’ should be ritually burned, actually it probably already has been in Iran. For the rest it is difficult to say without having read the original material, in fact I don’t think it would be fair to vote without having done so. But definitely not ‘Argo’.

Best Animated Feature Film of the Year
Brave : Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman
Frankenweenie : Tim Burton
ParaNorman : Sam Fell, Chris Butler
The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists! : Peter Lord
Wreck-It Ralph : Rich Moore

Now this is another tough category this year – every single one of these was very good. Ultimately, I think ‘Brave’ wins out for having slightly better animation, a more heartfelt story, and an appropriate amount of comedy in there too, with good voice acting throughout. Plus it’s set in Scotland, which automatically gets it bonus points.

Brave,   The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists!,   Wreck-It Ralph,   ParaNorman,   Frankenweenie

Best Foreign Language Film of the Year
Amour (Austria)
War Witch (Canada)
No (Chile)
A Royal Affair (Denmark)
Kon-Tiki (Norway)

Sadly, I’ve only seen one of these so shall not attempt to cast a vote, however I am very surprised and disappointed not to see ‘The Hunt‘ here, a film which I would have put in the ‘best film’ category over ‘Amour’ as well.

Best Achievement in Cinematography
Anna Karenina : Seamus McGarvey
Django Unchained : Robert Richardson
Life of Pi : Claudio Miranda
Lincoln : Janusz Kaminski
Skyfall : Roger Deakins

Seamus McGarvey, also cinematographer for the Avengers last year – I’m not sure how much skill is really required to make Keira Knightley look radiant on camera, though in fairness the theatre-esque set up and rich colours and snowy landscapes of ‘Anna Karenina’ did look very good. Nothing special about the cinematography in Django, in fact Les Mis could perhaps have been here instead as some of the shots and colour schemes (such as the blue of Javert’s uniform with the blowing white snow around him) were memorable (though at the same time the actual positioning of the cameras was pretty tragic throughout), and although Lincoln’s was very well thought out and executed, it didn’t vary much throughout the film. Tricky to say for ‘Life of Pi’ where cinematography ends and special effects begin, but the combination of the two was pretty superb, bringing to life stormy seas and magical islands. ‘Skyfall’ owes a lot to the experience of Roger Deakins, scenes like the silhouetted fight sequence in Shanghai, and when the flare is fired underwater, all look more like something we would expect in an extravagant art house film than a James Bond one, and it was touches like these that made it something special. Hopefully Deakins will win and inspire interest in the field and what it can do for filmmakers regardless of the genre they want to work in.

Roger Deakins,   Claudio Miranda,   Seamus McGarvey,   Janusz Kaminski,   Robert Richardson

Best Achievement in Editing
Argo : William Goldenberg
Life of Pi : Tim Squyres
Lincoln : Michael Kahn
Silver Linings Playbook : Jay Cassidy, Crispin Struthers
Zero Dark Thirty : William Goldenberg, Dylan Tichenor

‘Lincoln’ wins for me again here, Michael Kahn works a lot with Spielberg and though his work here is not pronounced, it nevertheless holds the whole film together and I was fascinated from start to finish. The tension in ‘Argo’ failed completely for me, and similarly, one scene which was supposed to be particularly tense in ZDT was a big let down and I think edited differently it could have worked, though in Argo’s case others probably carry a bigger share of the blame – it is perhaps not surprising that the same editor, William Goldenberg, worked on both films. Silver Linings was put together well, as was Pi except the editor really could have done with trimming about fifteen minutes out of there.

Michael Kahn,   Jay Cassidy & Crispin Struthers,   Tim Squyres,   William Goldenberg & Dylan Tichenor,   William Goldenberg

Best Achievement in Production Design
Anna Karenina : Sarah Greenwood, Katie Spencer
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey : Dan Hennah, Ra Vincent, Simon Bright
Les Misérables : Eve Stewart, Anna Lynch-Robinson
Life of Pi : David Gropman, Anna Pinnock
Lincoln : Rick Carter, Jim Erickson

This has got to be between The Hobbit and Les Mis. The Hobbit seen the building of more of The Shire than was created for The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and we once again see the attention to detail and love for their work shown by New Zealand’s Weta Workshop, with the Dwarven city looking especially marvellous, though that was likely a combination of computers, models, and perhaps actual sets. Indeed The Hobbit’s necessary use of computers may see it lose out to Les Mis, whose set design was grand and awe inspiring, though I do still think the sets at the end were a let down compared to the rest of the film. Ms Karenina’s design was well done, moments of theatrical production interspersed with location shots, with Pi it’s difficult to tell without delving much further into what effects were used and where, and Lincoln focused primarily on a handful of interior locations, although they did all look wonderfully authentic and there were a lot of outdoor sets that received less screen time. I think the opening scene of Les Mis is going to swing it for me.

Eve Stewart & Anna Lynch-Robinson,   Dan Hennah & Ra Vincent & Simon Bright,
Sarah Greenwood & Katie Spencer,   David Gropman & Anna Pinnock,   Rick Carter & Jim Erickson

Best Achievement in Costume Design
Anna Karenina : Jacqueline Durran
Les Misérables : Paco Delgado
Lincoln : Joanna Johnston
Mirror Mirror: The Untold Adventures of Snow White : Eiko Ishioka
Snow White and the Huntsman : Colleen Atwood

To be honest, both Snow White films from last year were so banal it is difficult to remember much about either, except perhaps Charlize Theron’s looks and Chris Hemsworth’s Scottish accent. From memory the costumes from both were fine, and those from Lincoln all added to the authentic feel of the film, similarly with Les Mis but they are used in a more prominent, artistic way. Overall I think I’ll vote for ‘Anna Karenina’, whose costumes were a central character throughout, and indeed the first thing that springs to mind about the film is the purple dress worn by Keira Knightley as the titular character, one which went on display in London last year as part of an exhibition of movie costumes, and its perfect compliment in the pristine white uniform worn by her lover Vronsky.

Jacqueline Durran,   Paco Delgado,   Joanna Johnston,   Eiko Ishioka,   Colleen Atwood

Best Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling
Hitchcock : Howard Berger, Peter Montagna, Martin Samuel
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey : Peter King, Rick Findlater, Tami Lane
Les Misérables : Lisa Westcott, Julie Dartnell

I think it has to be The Hobbit here, not only does this film excel in this category, but the sheer volume of it compared to the other two blows them clean out of the water.

Peter King & Rick Findlater & Tami Lane,   Lisa Westcott & Julie Dartnell,   Howard Berger, Peter Montagna, Martin Samuel

For the remaining categories I am either not familiar enough with the material, or with the techniques, to make fair comment on. The only slight exception might be special effects, but even there I’d like to see them all in 2D again to properly compare them.

Enjoy the Oscars!




Winners

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role
Alan Arkin for Argo
Robert De Niro for Silver Linings Playbook
Philip Seymour Hoffman for The Master
Tommy Lee Jones for Lincoln
Christoph Waltz for Django Unchained
Winner :   Christoph Waltz for Django Unchained

Best Short Film, Animated
Adam and Dog : Minkyu Lee
Fresh Guacamole : PES
Head Over Heels : Timothy Reckart, Fodhla Cronin O’Reilly
Paperman : John Kahrs
The Simpsons: The Longest Daycare : David Silverman
Winner :   Paperman : John Kahrs

Best Animated Feature Film of the Year
Brave : Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman
Frankenweenie : Tim Burton
ParaNorman : Sam Fell, Chris Butler
The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists! : Peter Lord
Wreck-It Ralph : Rich Moore
Winner :   Brave : Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman
Best Achievement in Cinematography
Anna Karenina : Seamus McGarvey
Django Unchained : Robert Richardson
Life of Pi : Claudio Miranda
Lincoln : Janusz Kaminski
Skyfall : Roger Deakins
Winner :   Life of Pi : Claudio Miranda

Best Achievement in Visual Effects
Avengers Assemble : Janek Sirrs, Jeff White, Guy Williams, Daniel Sudick
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey : Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton, R. Christopher White
Life of Pi : Bill Westenhofer, Guillaume Rocheron, Erik De Boer, Donald Elliott
Prometheus : Richard Stammers, Trevor Wood, Charley Henley, Martin Hill
Snow White and the Huntsman : Cedric Nicolas-Troyan, Phil Brennan, Neil Corbould, Michael Dawson
Winner :   Life of Pi : Bill Westenhofer, Guillaume Rocheron, Erik De Boer, Donald Elliott

Best Achievement in Costume Design

Anna Karenina : Jacqueline Durran
Les Misérables : Paco Delgado
Lincoln : Joanna Johnston
Mirror Mirror: The Untold Adventures of Snow White : Eiko Ishioka
Snow White and the Huntsman : Colleen Atwood
Winner :   Anna Karenina : Jacqueline Durran

Best Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling

Hitchcock : Howard Berger, Peter Montagna, Martin Samuel
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey : Peter King, Rick Findlater, Tami Lane
Les Misérables : Lisa Westcott, Julie Dartnell
Winner :   Les Misérables : Lisa Westcott, Julie Dartnell

Best Short Film, Live Action
Asad : Bryan Buckley, Mino Jarjoura
Buzkashi : Sam French, Ariel Nasr
Curfew : Shawn Christensen
Death of a Shadow : Tom Van Avermaet, Ellen De Waele
Henry: Yan England
Winner :   Curfew : Shawn Christensen

Best Documentary, Short Subject
Inocente : Sean Fine, Andrea Nix
Kings Point : Sari Gilman, Jedd Wider
Mondays at Racine : Cynthia Wade, Robin Honan
Open Heart : Kief Davidson, Cori Shepherd Stern
Redemption : Jon Alpert, Matthew O’Neill
Winner :   Inocente : Sean Fine, Andrea Nix

Best Documentary, Feature
5 Broken Cameras : Emad Burnat, Guy Davidi
The Gatekeepers : Dror Moreh, Philippa Kowarsky, Estelle Fialon
How to Survive a Plague : David France, Howard Gertler
The Invisible War : Kirby Dick, Amy Ziering
Searching for Sugar Man : Malik Bendjelloul, Simon Chinn
Winner :   Searching for Sugar Man : Malik Bendjelloul, Simon Chinn

Best Foreign Language Film of the Year
Amour
(Austria)

War Witch (Canada)
No (Chile)
A Royal Affair (Denmark)
Kon-Tiki (Norway)
Winner :   Amour (Austria)

Best Achievement in Sound Mixing
Argo
: John T. Reitz, Gregg Rudloff, José Antonio García

Les Misérables : Andy Nelson, Mark Paterson, Simon Hayes
Life of Pi : Ron Bartlett, Doug Hemphill, Drew Kunin
Lincoln : Andy Nelson, Gary Rydstrom, Ron Judkins
Skyfall : Scott Millan, Greg P. Russell, Stuart Wilson
Winner :   Les Misérables : Andy Nelson, Mark Paterson, Simon Hayes

Best Achievement in Sound Editing
Argo
: Erik Aadahl, Ethan Van der Ryn

Django Unchained : Wylie Stateman
Life of Pi : Eugene Gearty, Philip Stockton
Skyfall : Per Hallberg, Karen M. Baker
Zero Dark Thirty : Paul N.J. Ottosson
Winner :   Skyfall : Per Hallberg, Karen M. Baker AND Zero Dark Thirty : Paul N.J. Ottosson

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role
Amy Adams for The Master
Sally Field for Lincoln
Anne Hathaway for Les Misérables
Helen Hunt for The Sessions
Jacki Weaver for Silver Linings Playbook
Winner :   Anne Hathaway for Les Misérables

Best Achievement in Editing
Argo
: William Goldenberg

Life of Pi : Tim Squyres
Lincoln : Michael Kahn
Silver Linings Playbook : Jay Cassidy, Crispin Struthers
Zero Dark Thirty : William Goldenberg, Dylan Tichenor
Winner :   Argo : William Goldenberg

Best Achievement in Production Design
Anna Karenina : Sarah Greenwood, Katie Spencer
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey : Dan Hennah, Ra Vincent, Simon Bright
Les Misérables : Eve Stewart, Anna Lynch-Robinson
Life of Pi : David Gropman, Anna Pinnock
Lincoln : Rick Carter, Jim Erickson
Winner :   Lincoln : Rick Carter, Jim Erickson

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score
Anna Karenina : Dario Marianelli
Argo : Alexandre Desplat
Life of Pi : Mychael Danna
Lincoln : John Williams
Skyfall : Thomas Newman
Winner :   Life of Pi : Mychael Danna

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song
Chasing Ice : J. Ralph(“Before My Time”)
Les Misérables : Alain Boublil, Claude-Michel Schönberg, Herbert Kretzmer(“Suddenly”)
Life of Pi : Mychael Danna, Bombay Jayshree(“Pi’s Lullaby”)
Skyfall : Adele, Paul Epworth(“Skyfall”)
Ted : Walter Murphy, Seth MacFarlane(“Everybody Needs a Best Friend”)
Winner :   Skyfall : Adele, Paul Epworth(“Skyfall”)

Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published
Argo
: Chris Terrio

Beasts of the Southern Wild : Lucy Alibar, Benh Zeitlin
Life of Pi : David Magee
Lincoln : Tony Kushner
Silver Linings Playbook : David O. Russell
Winner :   Argo : Chris Terrio

Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen
Amour
: Michael Haneke

Django Unchained : Quentin Tarantino
Flight : John Gatins
Moonrise Kingdom : Wes Anderson, Roman Coppola
Zero Dark Thirty : Mark Boal
Winner :   Django Unchained : Quentin Tarantino

Best Achievement in Directing
Michael Haneke for Amour
Ang Lee for Life of Pi
David O. Russell for Silver Linings Playbook
Steven Spielberg for Lincoln
Benh Zeitlin for Beasts of the Southern Wild
Winner :   Ang Lee for Life of Pi

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role
Jessica Chastain for Zero Dark Thirty
Jennifer Lawrence for Silver Linings Playbook
Emmanuelle Riva for Amour
Quvenzhané Wallis for Beasts of the Southern Wild
Naomi Watts for The Impossible
Winner :   Jennifer Lawrence for Silver Linings Playbook

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role
Bradley Cooper for Silver Linings Playbook
Daniel Day-Lewis for Lincoln
Hugh Jackman for Les Misérables
Joaquin Phoenix for The Master
Denzel Washington for Flight
Winner :   Daniel Day-Lewis for Lincoln

Best Motion Picture of the Year
Amour
: Margaret Ménégoz, Stefan Arndt, Veit Heiduschka, Michael Katz

Argo : Grant Heslov, Ben Affleck, George Clooney
Beasts of the Southern Wild : Dan Janvey, Josh Penn, Michael Gottwald
Django Unchained : Stacey Sher, Reginald Hudlin, Pilar Savone
Les Misérables : Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Debra Hayward, Cameron Mackintosh
Life of Pi : Gil Netter, Ang Lee, David Womark
Lincoln : Steven Spielberg, Kathleen Kennedy
Silver Linings Playbook : Donna Gigliotti, Bruce Cohen, Jonathan Gordon
Zero Dark Thirty : Mark Boal, Kathryn Bigelow, Megan Ellison
Winner :   Argo : Grant Heslov, Ben Affleck, George Clooney

Discussion

All in all, despite severe misgivings about some of the winners and having to wait quite a while to find it online, The Red Dragon still enjoyed the ceremony. Seth MacFarlane’s tone was off for the most part, but wasn’t quite as terrible as early reports suggested. Highlights were some of the musical numbers, the irony of having Ben Affleck introduce the documentary award and talking about truth and integrity, Joaquin Phoenix shaking his head as his name was read out in the best actor category, the host referencing Irishman Liam Neeson as an American legend, or words to that effect, and Jennifer Lawrence in general. The James Bond tribute could have been a lot bigger and a lot better too.

One of the biggest surprises for me was ‘Lincoln’ winning best production design, but having since revisited the film, and several of the others, it is very clear an enormous amount of effort went into the sets and design work, even for places that would receive very little screen time. Time willing, it would have been ideal to watch all of the main films again before the awards, and indeed in the future I may come to change some of my opinions – over the likes of ‘Beasts of the Southern Wild’, for instance, which has long since faded into the foggy mists of memory.

Jennifer Lawrence has endeared herself to millions and effectively become America’s new sweetheart in the process (she already appears in lists of the top 100 most powerful people in the U.S.) by performing a perfect freefall nosedive on the way to collect her best actress award, and who could argue her increased prestige isn’t merited after such a masterful recovery. I think Meryl Streep stepping on her dress shortly afterward was an attempt to make her feel a little better, though her fall is not the most embarrassing thing to happen to someone at the Oscars, that dubious award belongs to Frank Capra who, in 1934, rushed toward the stage shouting for the wandering spotlight ‘Over here, I’m over here!’, only to realise the award for best director was actually going to Glaswegian Frank Lloyd. Quite difficult to top that really. The academy at least made up for this by awarding the best director award to Capra a full three times in the years that followed the incident.

‘Argo’ continues to cause shock waves of controversy around the globe with its content being discussed in various parliaments and threats of legal action against the filmmakers, who of course took home the most coveted prize of ‘best picture’. Iran have announced they will be making their own film about the depicted events, intended to be “an appropriate response to the ahistoric film Argo”. I have to say I fully support the Iranians in their efforts, although hopefully they will resist the urge to simply tell another completely one-sided account. Affleck’s speech was actually one of the best of the evening, as was Daniel Day-Lewis’ and the one for Lincoln’s production design.

The biggest surprise was seeing Michelle Obama present the award for best film (check out the somewhat awe-struck people behind her), did they know the result or were they thinking it’s either Lincoln or Argo so it’ll look good for us either way? Of course, it cannot really now be said that the Oscars do not have shadows of political intrigue, and this comes at a time when the Obama administration really wants the support of Hollywood over its attempts to change the gun culture in America. Interestingly, a couple of lecturers in the States, after having watched ‘Lincoln’, were inspired to research more about the anti-slavery 13th Amendment to the constitution, and in doing so came to realise that the amendment was never actually ratified in the state of Mississippi, but had in fact become stuck in the web of legal administration and at some point was assumed to be law and forgotten about. Bringing this fact to the attention of the government they have ensured that whilst Lincoln didn’t get the awards it deserved too, the film did at least finish the work of its protagonist, a century and a half after his death.

The Red Dragon used to study the Oscars for fun, and could probably rattle off all the winners in the big four categories, but finds himself suffering from a fairly large sense of dissatisfaction with the results, mainly ‘best film’, over the last two years. Hmm, perhaps he should have his own rival awards, which he has no doubt would be just as popular, watch this space ….

Ceremony Clips

Nominees Announcement
The Red Carpet

Best Film
Best Actress
Best Actor
Best Director
Best Supporting Actress

Best Supporting Actor

Nominees Announcement

The Red Carpet


Best Film – Argo

Best Actress – Jennifer Lawrence

Best Actor – Daniel Day-Lewis

Best Director – Ang Lee

Best Supporting Actress

Best Supporting Actor

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