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HonestObserver said on December 29th, 2012 at 8:45 pm

Sorry, liberal-friendly jingoism and its similarity to Homeland will allow Zero Dark Thirty to win the day.

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I think best picture comes down to ZDT and Lincoln.

But Anne Hathaway is about as much of a lock to win Best Supporting Actress as anyone or thing has been to win any Oscar since Javier Bardem and Daniel Day-Lewis in 2007.

At any rate, having not yet seen ZDT because I live in neither New York nor LA, Les Mis is easily the best film I’ve seen so far this year.

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HonestObserver said on December 29th, 2012 at 8:54 pm

Here’s hoping the Academy will reprise the populism of 2009 and give Django Unchained, The Dark Knight Rises, Wreck-It Ralph, and even The Avengers recognition somewhere.

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Mason Kramer said on December 30th, 2012 at 12:38 am

*All* the Oscars. Including Best Janitor.

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Mitchell Hundred said on December 30th, 2012 at 1:54 am

Heh, ironic. My parents and I just now got back from seeing it.

Anyway, as a fan of musicals, I liked it very much. The weakest link was probably Russell Crowe as Javert. And that wasn’t so much because he was bad per se, but because he wasn’t riveting in the way that a great Javert can be. I saw a theatrical production of it a couple of years ago, and I could not take my eyes off of the guy playing Javert, he was so magnetic.

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I thought Crowe was fine in most of the movie, even in The Confrontation, but he simply is not a good enough singer for Javert’s two big solo numbers, and they were borderline painful.

Otherwise, though, the movie was spectacular.

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I thought Crowe would have made an excellent Javert. Didn’t work for me as either actor or singer.

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To me, it appeared as if Russell Crowe, in struggling to sound not-awful (and full credit to him for pulling that off) lost all ability to convey emotion or charisma. He skillfully portrayed the essence of a rather soggy piece of cardboard.

Then again my opinion should probably by discounted since I find the idea that large numbers of people like Les Mis to be one of the more frustrating mysteries of the universe. It’s just so dull and shallow, at least to me. I will say that, other than finding Gavroche surprisingly repellant and Aaron Tveit (the actor playing revolutionary guy who wasn’t Marius) surprisingly inoffensive, the movie precisely met my expectations.

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I suspect “Lincoln” will be the ultimate winner (it will be the highest-grossing of the major nominees, in all likelihood, and it would have snagged the lion’s share of the critics’ prizes if “Zero Dark Thirty” hadn’t come along), but I loved “Les Miserables”, flaws and all.

Crowe wasn’t great, but I thought he was adequate, and in some numbers quite good (the confrontations with Valjean, especially). But Jackman, Hathaway, Barks and Redmayne were the standouts.

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I suspect “Lincoln” will be the ultimate winner (it will be the highest-grossing of the major nominees, in all likelihood, and it would have snagged the lion’s share of the critics’ prizes if “Zero Dark Thirty” hadn’t come along), but I loved “Les Miserables”, flaws and all.

People seem to be missing the point that “film that wins the most Oscars” is hardly ever “best film of the year” or even “most widely praised wide-released film of the year.” Crash swept the Oscars, for example, despite the fact that it was dogshit, because it is the sort of movie that Wins Oscars (and because the Academy wasn’t ready to give Best Picture to Brokeback Mountain).

Les Miserables is quite clearly cut from the same cloth. Zero Dark Thirty looks to be a damn good film, but will it Win Oscars when it is a movie by a director who just won Best Director a few years ago for a movie that is, in the Academy’s eyes, very nearly the same thing? No, it will not. Because it is not really the sort of movie that Wins Oscars.

Now, Lincoln is also a movie that Wins Oscars, but it is also a complex political procedural story about slavery whereas Les Miserables is a dramatic and well-known musical. That Lincoln is easily the better film is really besides the point (except possibly for Daniel Day-Lewis grabbing Best Actor away from Hugh Jackman, which I think is likely – but then again DDL has two Best Actor statues and Jackman has none, and everybody (rightfully) loves Jackman, so an upset is clearly achievable here).

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Mister Harvest said on December 30th, 2012 at 4:57 pm

The movies that win Oscars, especially the grand categories, are the ones that make the Academy members proud to be in the movie business. On that basis alone, Les Mis is a shoe-in.

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I never said that my belief that Lincoln would win was based on it being the better film. I follow Oscar politics quite closely. There are tons of factors as to why films win, in the big balance of art and commerce. Lincoln will almost certainly have made the most money (domestically, anyway) of the nominees by voting time, which is historically rather important, especially when the film is otherwise the sort of thing Oscar likes (as with Lincoln, an inspirational historical drama from a much-loved Hollywood director, that has also accumulated much critical acclaim) — Avatar, for instance, became a force to be reckoned with despite not being remotely the Academy’s thing based solely on its stupendous success (it not being the Academy’s thing, ultimately, is also a big reason why it didn’t win).

Also, if you like your historical trivia, it’s currently in the lead in both the Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor races; decisively, in Day-Lewis’ case, more ambiguously in Jones’. But if it maintains that, it would be only the fifth film to accomplish that since 1936. Three of the first four won Best Picture, and the last, Mystic River, would have won if not for the Lord of the Rings phenomenon that year.

This is not at all to say that Les Miserables couldn’t win. It very well could. While more divisive amongst critics and audiences in some ways, it engenders real passion in those who like it.

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Les Mis is getting relatively mixed reviews, as well, fwiw.

I’ll be surprised (pleasantly) if it wins Best Picture.

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I think Jackman gets it for this to make sure he doesn’t get stranded in Lifetime Achievementville.

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HonestObserver said on January 1st, 2013 at 1:16 am

I’m disappointed that no one’s giving Argo a chance.

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William Kendall said on January 5th, 2013 at 11:57 am

Not seeing this one, because I hate musicals, and because one of the most obnoxious human beings on the planet, Sasha Baron Cohen, is costarring in it.

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I loathe Sasha Baron Cohen, both as a performer and as a human being, and I was actually really pleased with his performance in this.

But! He was performing a role that is supposed to be loathsome, and honestly if you’re more familiar with Sasha Baron Cohen than with this musical, I can see where it might seem like he’s basically playing himself. So you’ve probably made the right choice.

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