Some of you might recall that my dear Friend Jonathan Godfrey, a fellow Film Aficionado has pitched-in a few Reviews here of late. He thought of the brilliant idea of us combining our perspectives together for you all to read right in time for the 85th annual Academy Awards. As it turns out, we have rather different opinions on how we feel the Oscars will unfold. We both live for Oscars Day and these would be our choices if we were given Ballots by the Academy…
SUPPORTING ACTRESS & ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE
Jonathan Godfrey: Ladies first, I am a Gentleman after all. And when it comes to the fairer sex I must admit my fondness for Anne Hathaway, however when it comes to this year’s Best Supporting Actress, she is not my Flagbearer. Helen Hunt is, and the sexuality she exudes in The Sessions makes her so.
Mr. Will: Although I would agree that the brazen and physically-correct Helen Hunt was superb in The Sessions, it was Hathaway who devastated me most as Fantine in Les Misérables. In fact her performance was so good that if the Academy would allow it, she could well have won Actress in a Leading Role this year. The last two-thirds ofLes Misérables never could match that level of intensity it had when she was on-screen. Mark my words, it will be a Hathaway Sweep this Awards season, completed by an Oscar win here. Anne, I’m still on for Soy Lattes and Salon Day some time. Text me, A-Hath!
Jonathan Godfrey: As for Actress in a Leading Role, my choice is far more mainstream. Jennifer Lawrence is unforgettable in Silver Linings Playbook, and such an impression should be adequately awarded.
Mr. Will: Inasmuch as I love J-Law – and I really do – I really just don’t think she’s earned it yet. When you measure her performance here against recent Winners like Natalie Portman in Black Swan, Hilary Swank in Million Dollar Baby/Boys Don’t Cry, Charlize Theron in Monster or Meryl Streep in The Iron Lady, her Silver Linings Playbook work just doesn’t stack-up to that caliber. I’m so sorry to say it – don’t Katniss me with a Crossbow! I also would hate to see her peak this early in her career as I think her best work is still ahead of her. The Oscars Curse can be detrimental, ask Mira Sorvino. Therefore, my vote goes to the effervescent Jessica Chastain. Her stone-cold performance as Maya in Zero Dark Thirty in my opinion, dug that extra layer deeper and left an impression with me long after I left the theatre. Kudos also to a then six-year-old Quvenzhané Wallis who wowed me in Beasts of the Southern Wild, a born natural. NaomiWatts I adore, starting off so strong in The Impossible, but alas it is her role which didn’t give her as much to work with after she fell ill for most of the Film.
SUPPORTING ACTOR & ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
Jonathan Godrey: My choices here are for the pair of Chaps who star opposite each other in The Master. Yes, I was one of those Oddballs impressed by that haunting theological treatise. And so I believe Philip Seymour Hoffman to be Supporting Actor, and Joaquin Phoenix the Actor in a Leading Role. Color me crazy (a suitable shade), for that Film drove me to madness (its own indelible mark).
Mr. Will: Odd, indeed! The Master was this year’s Tree of Life for me. Although sartorially exquisite, it went completely over my head. I appreciate Phoenix‘s daringness and Hoffman‘s conviction here, but it is Christoph Waltz who lit-up the Screen for me in Django Unchained, giving us a performance equally brilliant to the one he gave us in 2009’s Inglourious Basterds. This Man fascinates me: his range, his ability to command a scene and his working chemistry with Quentin Tarantino is just explosive. And can I say what an injustice it is that Leonardo DiCaprio didn’t get recognized?
As for Actor in a Leading Role I begrudgingly have to say the incomparable Daniel Day-Lewis is the odds-on choice. And I say “begrudgingly” because I know how Hugh Jackman gave it his all in Les Misérables, finally getting that long-overdue Academy acknowledgment. In any other year it could’ve been him.
COSTUME DESIGN, PRODUCTION DESIGN & ORIGINAL SCORE
Jonathan Godfrey: Though I do not believe I am qualified to comment on every Technical category, I do wish to talk about a few. It may be Paul Delgado’s first nomination, but he is deserving of the gold for Costume Design nonetheless. The Wardrobe he stitched for Les Misérables is inspiring, so is Sarah Greenwood & Katie Spencer’s work on Anna Karenina. To them the aesthetic award of Best Production Design is given easily. They made the stage a character of its own, a truth too often overlooked. Lastly, may Mychael Danna take the Oscar for Original Score in Life of Pi. We Torontonians must stick together.
Mr. Will: I tend to agree with you Jonathan, despite our v. different opinions in the Acting categories. In any given year there are several Nominees in categories such as Short Film – Animated or Short Film – Live Action which we unfortunately don’t get an opportunity to evaluate. In terms of Costume Design, Colleen Atwood has built her own legacy and her work for Snow White and The Huntsman cannot be overlooked as a possible Dark Horse, but yes, the Costumes in Anna Karenina were stunning – a Film defined by its Fashion. I do think though that Les Misérables has more fuel in its tank at this point in Awards Season. I’d give the upper hand to Delgado here for his work in the Musical.
As for Production Design, I’m inclined to say that the Duo of Eve Stewart & Anna Lynch-Robinson for Les Misérables also will be awarded. Hard to believe they made us believe we were amidst the June Rebellion in France all within the confines of a few Soundstages. As for Original Score, I love John Williams as does the Academy making him the choice, although Thomas Newman for Skyfall might give him a run for his money.
I also would like to commend the phenomenal Makeup and Hairstyling in the under-appreciated Hitchcock. You go, Howard Berger, Peter Montagna & Martin Samuel! Anyone who can turn Sir Anthony Hopkins so believably into such a widely-recognizable Icon deserves a round of applause in my books.
ADAPTED SCREENPLAY, ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY & DIRECTING
Jonathan Godfrey: Lucy Alibar & Benh Zeitlin cannot go unmentioned for Adapted Screenplay. Theirs is a story of life, its beauty and opposing struggle. Beasts of the Southern Wild is absolutely brilliant and so is Amour. Thus, for Original Screenplay the statue goes to Michael Haneke. However, as much as I am torn in denying Haneke the Award for Directing, it nevertheless goes to a worthy Opponent. Benh Zeitlin took home the honours at Sundance for Beasts, and here he shall have them again. His Film reminds the World that life is in the living.
Mr. Will: Argo was my fave Film of 2012, so I am pretty much rooting for Chris Terrio to be awarded Adapted Screenplay for his enthralling, humanistic and detailed work. For Original Screenplay, my heart is with Tarantino for Django Unchained; an unparalleled Storyteller, in a league of his own.
As for Directing, it still to this day does not sit well with me that Ben Affleck so cruelly was overlooked for Argo. The Golden Globes, BAFTAs, DGAs and Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards got it right. The Academy, not so much. That being said, the legendary Steven Spielberg is as deserving as he’s ever been for Lincoln, drawing phenomenal performances all around from his superior-caliber Cast, paying a fitting tribute to a Man who changed our World.
Jonathan Godfrey: Beasts of the Southern Wild is my selection for Best Picture. All of the Nominees are deserving of the honour this year, and I believe Les Misérables and Amour to be especially so. That said, Beasts remains my choice, one I have been debating for weeks on-end. In time, I shall see if the Academy agrees with me, and I do not worry if they don’t. I’m happy to have seen all of the nominated Films, and to have enjoyed them in turn. I hope those interested do the same, and come to their own honest conclusions.
Mr. Will: Although I walked away from Zero Dark Thirty thinking for sure it was this year’s Best Picture, I’ve seen both Silver Linings Playbook and Argo gain a huge amount of momentum over the past few weeks, particularly the latter. To be honest, I think Argo is peaking at the right moment to take it all, especially with Affleck‘s snubbing reminding the Academy how badly they’ve messed-up failing to recognize his work as a Director. Argo, it is.
And thank you so much Jonathan for generously sharing your thoughts with us. You definitely have a unique perspective and offer a refreshing take! I do think you’re terribly wrong about Hathaway though and you know it!
ABC airs the 85th annual Academy Awards on Sunday, February 24, 2013 at 7:00 PM EST.
Hollywood didn’t sleep much last night as the 85th annual Academy Award Nominations were announced at 5:30 AM Pacific Time. This year, Emma Stone and Funnyman Seth McFarlane were called-upon for announcing duties and although there were a few surprise Omissions, few will dispute that this year’s Nominees are deserving. MacFarlane himself even received a Nomination for his Song, Everybody Needs a Friend from Ted.
This year’s Best Picture Nominees are: Amour, Argo, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Django Unchained, Les Misérables, Life of Pi, Silver Linings Playbook, Zero Dark Thirty and lastly, Lincoln which leads the way with twelve Nominations. Many are concerned that snubs in the Directing Category might be predictive of a voting result here.
Directing Nominees include: Michael Haneke (Amour), Benh Zeitlin (Beasts of the Southern Wild), Ang Lee (Life of Pi), David O. Russell (Silver Linings Playbook) and Steven Spielberg (Lincoln). Surprise Omissions are first-ever Female Winner in the Category, Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty) and Ben Affleck who despite a v. heavy promotional Campaign, still got snubbed for Argo. Missing also is Quentin Tarantino for Django Unchained.
Actor in a Leading Role is hotly-contended with Hugh Jackman (Les Misérables) up against current Favourite Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln), Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook), Joaquin Phoenix (The Master) and Denzel Washington (Flight). Many are surprised that John Hawkes was snubbed here while his The Sessions Co-Star Helen Hunt was recognized for her work.
Actress in a Leading Role boasts two records – youngest and oldest Actress ever to be nominated with Quvenzhané Wallis and Emmanuelle Riva holding those distinctions respectively. Otherwise, Naomi Watts (The Impossible) is up against Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook) and Favourite, Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty) – these three Actresses each receiving their second-ever Nominations.
Actor in a Supporting Role for the first-time ever includes all previous Academy Award Winners: Christoph Waltz (Django Unchained), Robert DeNiro (Silver Linings Playbook), Philip Seymour Hoffman (The Master), Tommy Lee-Jones (Lincoln) and Alan Arkin (Argo). Some are surprised that Leonardo Dicaprio got snubbed for his work in Django Unchained, in perhaps the most evenly-matched Category at this year’s Awards.
Actress in a Supporting Role recognizes some fine work this year, but through and through Anne Hathaway is likely to win it all for her bone-chilling work as Fantine in Les Misérables. Also nominated are Amy Adams (The Master), Helen Hunt (The Sessions), Sally Field (Lincoln) and Jackie Weaver (Silver Linings Playbook). Each of these Actresses have either been nominated for or have won at least one Academy Award prior.
As an added surprise, perhaps we can expect to see Adele performing Original Song Nominee Skyfall?
2012 was a memorable year for Music, with several standouts in Music and Film. I was busier than ever chasing Stars in the City, with several Celebrities having good reason to visit Toronto this year, including one of the most star-studded TIFFs in recent memory. Let’s take a walk down Memory Lane in honour what I feel were the most memorable Films, Pop Songs and personal Celebrity Encounters!
Top Ten Movies of 2012
2. The Perks of Being a Wallflower
3. Django Unchained
5. Silver Linings Playbook
6. The Hunger Games
7. End of Watch
8. The Sessions
9. Les Misérables
10. Rock of Ages
Top Ten Singles of 2012
1. Brokenhearted – Karmin
2. What Doesn’t Kill You (Stronger) – Kelly Clarkson
3. Madness – Muse
4. Midnight City – M83
5. We are Young – fun. ft. Janelle Monáe
6. Dance Again – Jennifer Lopez ft. Pitbull
7. Skyfall – Adele
8. Wide Awake – Katy Perry
9. Starships – Nicki Minaj
10. Gangnam Style – PSY
Top Celebrity Encounters of 2012
Steven Tyler, Paula Abdul, Sheena Easton, Alanis Morissette, Nelly Furtado, Carly Rae Jepsen, PSY, The Wanted, One Direction, Ed Sheeran, fun., Karmin, Emeli Sandé, Adam Lambert, Jennifer Hudson, Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Quentin Tarantino, Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton, Robin Williams, Jon Voight, Malcolm McDowell, Viggo Mortensen, Matt Dillon, Andrew McCarthy, Rob Lowe, Linda Hamilton, Ben Affleck, Idris Elba, Charlie Hunnam, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Joe Manganiello, Aaron Johnson, Ben Whishaw, Dane DeHaan, Joel Kinnaman, Daniel Radcliffe, Josh Hutcherson, Zac Efron, Logan Lerman, Jeremy Irvine, Patrick Schwarzenegger, Michael Shannon, Patrick Wilson, John Krasinski, Adam Sandler, Tracy Morgan, Kristen Wiig, Leslie Mann & Judd Apatow, Allison Williams, Meg Hilty, Lisa D’Amato, Cobie Smulders, Zoe Kazan & Paul Dano, Amy Adams, Julianne Moore, Mélanie Laurent, Marisa Tomei, Eva Mendes, Lily Collins, Alice Englert, Elle Fanning, Kristin Scott Thomas, Christina Hendricks, Kim Kardashian, Seann William Scott, Stephen Amell, Ricki Lake, Connie Chung, Jacky Cheung, George Takei, Mike Smith, Rosie Napravnik, Frankie Dettori, Andy Roddick & Brooklyn Decker and Jeremy Lin.
Fox Searchlight Canada and Mr. Will Wong are thrilled to give Readers a chance to win a Double Pass to see acclaimed Dramedy THE SESSIONS, which comes out of TIFF 2012 with rave reviews!
Based on the poignantly optimistic autobiographical writings of California-based Journalist and Poet Mark O’Brien, THE SESSIONS tells the story of a Man (John Hawkes) who lived most of his life in an iron lung who is determined – at age 38 – to lose his Virginity. With the help of his Therapist (Helen Hunt) and the guidance of his Priest (William H. Macy), he sets out to make his dream a reality.
To enter to win, simply click “like” on this Post at Mr. Will Wong on Facebookbefore Sunday, October 21, 2012. Please specify which City you would like Passes for. If you have Privacy Settings enabled on Facebook, please ensure you include some way for me to reach you back. Good luck!
Release dates for THE SESSIONS are as follows, with Advance Screenings scheduled the same weeks respectively:
Certainly no stranger to the Oscars race, Academy Award Winner Helen Hunt graced us with her presence yesterday at the Press Conference for The Sessions – a Hit coming out of the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year. Hunt was v. generous with her Fans, signing a slew of Autographs upon exit.
Receiving tons of praise already for his work in The Sessions, the gracious and talented John Hawkes was seen making time for Fans arriving at the Press Conference for the Film yesterday. Super-excited to see this one later this week.
The Toronto International Film Festival traditionally is a good indicator of the Films we can expect to be in-contention come Awards Season, which concludes with the Oscars. In fact, six out of seven recent Best Picture Winners saw their debuts at TIFF including: Crash, The King’s Speech, Slumdog Millionaire, No Country for Old Men, The Hurt Locker and The Artist. This raises the question – will the next Best Picture Winner also be premiering at TIFF 2012? Bet on it. Here are a few early Contenders premiering at TIFF 2012 nabbing serious buzz coming into the Festival and some of these just may even have a real fighting chance Sunday, February 24, 2013 at the Oscars.
ARGO – A CIA Specialist helps six Americans who have found shelter at the home of Canadian Ambassador during the Iranian Revolution. Stars Ben Affleck, John Goodman, Bryan Cranston, Victor Garber, Clea Duvall and Taylor Schilling. Affleck also directs. Warner Bros. releases October 12, 2012. Screens at TIFF: Friday, September 7, 2012 at Roy Thomson Hall – 6:30 PM, Saturday, September 8, 2012 at VISA Screening Room – 11:00 AM and Saturday, September 15, 2012 at VISA Screening Room – 3:00 PM.
SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK – A former Teacher who was institutionalized, returns home to reconcile matters with his Ex-Girlfriend. He meets a mysterious Woman with her own set of problems. Stars Bradley Cooper, Julia Stiles and Jennifer Lawrence.David O. Russell (The Fighter) directs. Already hearing Oscar buzz from Insiders about Lawrence here. Alliance Films releases November 21, 2012. Screens at TIFF: Saturday, September 8, 2012 at Roy Thomsom Hall at 6:30 PM and Sunday, September 9, 2012 at VISA Screening Room at 11:00 AM.
THE MASTER– A Drama set in the ’50s about a Man whose Faith-based Organizations begin to catch-on with the help of his Right-hand Man. Stars Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams and Joaquin Phoenix. Paul Thomas Anderson (Boogie Nights, There Will Be Blood) directs. Alliance Films releases on October 12, 2012. Screens at TIFF: Friday, September 7, 2012 at Princess of Wales Theatre – 9:00 PM, Saturday, September 8, 2012 at TIFF Bell Lightbox – 3:15 PM and Sunday, September 16, 2012 at TIFF Bell Lightbox – 6:00 PM.
THE SESSIONS– A Man with an iron Lung enlists the help of a Sex Therapist and Priest to help him lose his Virginity. Stars Helen Hunt, William H. Macy and John Hawkes; Ben Lewin directs. Fox Searchlight releases October 26, 2012. Screens at TIFF: Sunday, September 8, 2012 at VISA Screening Rom at 2:30 PM, Tuesday, September 11, 2012 at VISA Screening Room at 2:30 PM and Saturday, September 15, 2012 at Ryerson Theatre.
THE PAPERBOY– A Reporter returns to his Hometown in Florida to investigate the case of a Man on Death Row. Stars John Cusack, Matthew McConnaughey, Nicole Kidman and Zac Efron; Lee Daniels (Precious) directs. D Films releases on October 19, 2012. Screens at TIFF: Friday, September 14, 2012 at VISA Screening Room – 6:00 PM and Saturday, September 15, 2012 at Ryerson Theatre – 6:00 PM.
THE HUNT – A Danish Film about a Kindergarten Teacher is falsely accused of Child Abuse. Stars Mads Mikkelsen (who won Best Actor at Cannes in May for this) and Thomas Bo Larsen; Thomas Vinterberg directs. Screens at TIFF: Monday, September 10, 2012 at TIFF Bell Lightbox – 9:15 PM and Wednesday, September 12, 2012 at TIFF Bell Lightbox – 3:00 PM. Opens in theatres October 25, 2012 via Mongrel Media.
FRANCES HA – A young Dance Teacher lives her life with unaccountable joy and lightness, but aims to be so much more than what she is. Stars Greta Gerwig, Adam Driver and Mickey Sumner; Noah Baumbach directs this Film which recently won the hearts of Critics at the Venice Film Festival. Screens at TIFF: Friday, September 7, 2012 at Ryerson Theatre – 9:30PM, Saturday, September 8, 2012 at Winter Garden Theatre – 12:00 PM and Saturday, September 15, 2012 at Bloor HotDocs Cinema – 6:15 PM.
DREDD 3D – Set in a futuristic World where Violence is fought with Violence, a Trainee aspires to become a Judge – who act also as Jury and Executioners. Stars Olivia Thirlby, Karl Urban and Lena Headey; Pete Travis directs. Screens at TIFF: Thursday, September 6, 2012 at Ryerson Theatre – 11:59 PM and Saturday, September 8, 2012 at Cineplex Yonge & Dundas – 12:30 PM. Opens in theatres via Alliance Films on Friday, September 21, 2012.
Of course, as is the case with previous TIFFs, there always is a Dark Horse or two to emerge out of the clouds. Surely we’ll also be hearing about The Reluctant Fundamentalist, A Song for Marion and Hyde on Hudson Park? We soon shall see…