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The Oscars

Will Daniel Day-Lewis get crowned for his Honest Abe? Will Hushpuppy tame the beasts of the academy? On Point looks at this year’s best work in film and the Oscars.

Oscars signage is seen as preparations are made for the 85th Academy Awards in Los Angeles (Matt Sayles/Invision/AP)

Oscars signage is seen as preparations are made for the 85th Academy Awards in Los Angeles (Matt Sayles/Invision/AP)

Oscar, oh Oscar! The awards are Sunday night and what do you know… it’s been a pretty good year for film.

Get through the righteous bloodbath of Django Unchained, and there’s a lot to see. Argo, Lincoln, Amour, Life of Pi. Beasts of the Southern Wild, Zero Dark Thirty, Silver Linings Playbook. With some great performances. Daniel Day, Denzel, Joaquin, Quvenzhane. And don’t get us started on Emanuelle Riva. Jessica Chastain. Jennifer Lawrence.

This hour, On Point: the year’s best work in film, and what we’ll see at the Oscars.

-Tom Ashbrook


Carrie Rickey, film critic at The Philadelphia Inquirer

Paul Dergarabedian, reporter and president of Hollywood.com’s Box Office division. (@PDergarabedian)

From Tom’s Reading List

New York Times Interactive: Among the Oscar contenders, a host of connections

Los Angeles Times “Ben Affleck and Kathryn Bigelow, considered virtual locks for their work on their fact-based thrillers “Argo” and “Zero Dark Thirty,” were both shut out of the director category, as was “Les Miserables’” Tom Hooper. All three filmmakers had been nominated for Directors Guild awards, usually an excellent predictor of the Oscar category.”

Los Angeles Times “If the movies are a feast or famine business — and they are — we are in the heart of the feast at the moment. Both the studios and the smaller distributors, having hidden away their strongest films like squirrels hoarding especially tasty nuts, release them all in a rush in the last months of the year.”

List of Oscar nominees

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  • wauch

    If The Sessions, Silver Linings Playbook, and Moonrise Kingdom are denied multiple Oscars the fix is in. Helen Hunt and John Hawkes deserve to fight it out with Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper. Moonrise Kingdom is vintage Wes Anderson and the cinematography was perfect.
    I think DD Lewis was great in Lincoln and he is always great but for my money I would take The Master’s Philip Seymour Hoffman over him.
    This idea that Lincoln should sweep and Steven Spielberg is somehow above reproach is nonsense. There were so many gems this year including Christopher Waltz and Leo Dicaprio in Django as well as Denzel’s amazingly underrated performance in Flight maybe the single best solo performance of the year.

  • Blendi Salaj

    I absolutely loved The Beasts of the Southern Wild. As a parent, it was sometimes hard to watch this child survive that kind of life. A brilliant movie in my opinion. Something we do not see a lot of. Have e great show guys. Blendi, regular listener in Tirana, Albania.

  • ten4nis

    Zero Dark Thirty’s emotional element impressed me. The violence was not the usual cold action film fix, but included a many faceted depth that I appreciated.

    • wauch

      Are you serious? The notion that some beautiful redhead single handedly took down OBL is laughable and I love that the clip of Obama they showed in the movie was him proclaiming that the US does not torture. Please this was a Hollywood man-crush aimed at current POTUS. Obama continues to rip up civil liberties much like his predecessors, but his suitors in Hollywood wouldn’t dare discuss this. This movie was nothing more than DNC propaganda.

      • ten4nis

        What’s wrong with that? This (duh?) is fiction. Did you think you were watching a documentary? Remember it’s only entertainment. Don’t take it too seriously. My point is the violence was humanized. The viewer could feel for both sides (in this fictional story based on true events that have occurred). Often hollywood features cold unfeeling blood and guts which I don’t care for. Just an opinion. Get a grip.

  • http://www.facebook.com/luke.held.9 Luke Held

    Please talk about the Palestinian, Emad Burnat, held in custody because airport security didn’t believe that he could have been nominated for an Oscar (for 5 Broken Cameras).


  • http://www.facebook.com/luke.held.9 Luke Held

    (Zero Dark 30) Please also talk about it’s propagandist element.  Pentagon had final review of script before production and bankrolls large chunks of all movies containing military equipment.

  • http://www.facebook.com/luke.held.9 Luke Held

      Please also talk about it’s propagandist element.  Pentagon had final
    review of script before production and bankrolls large chunks of all
    movies containing military equipment.

  • Coastghost

    Oh, NOW I see!! This show’s lead-in is “the year’s best work in film, and what we’ll see at the Oscars”: two utterly separate and entirely distinct issues!!

  • DrewInGeorgia

    Argo? Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy was a MUCH better film in my opinion.

    • Mike_Card

      Yes, even the PBS series.  Argo would have been in the running if I hadn’t known the ending–and who doesn’t?

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

    I never liked the songs of Les Miserables enough to see it in a theater.

    But there’s a reason that musicals haven’t been live-sung since about 1933. And to do that with non-singers?

    This isn’t MGM in the mid-50s where even the “B team” had leads with talent to burn, like Howard Keel and Kathyrn Grayson.

  • DrewInGeorgia

    Titanic sucked, it should have been sunk.

    • J__o__h__n

      Its song was even worse. 

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

        Edit: No fair picking on Titanic for a Celine Dion song. It’s not the only movie theme with her name on it.

        I’m all for “Best Song” being something that someone has to sing (or at least lip-sync) on screen.

  • J__o__h__n

    I disagree.  It should be narrowed down to five films.  More people might watch if they expanded it to twenty too.

  • Coastghost

    Economic performance of the industry +  “relevant” social, political, historical themes = complete failure and inattention to artistic integrity.
    The Hollywood aesthetic only KILLS imagination: its aspiration to provide “total experience” fills theatres with production values and leaves no room for audiences to breathe.
    Damn Hollywood’s hortatory appeals and ridiculous moral depictions: no soul, no integrity, NO CREDIBILITY.  

  • gemli

    I would like to see Beasts of the Southern Wild take home the gold.  A stunning, strange secular prayer to the human condition.  Ms. Wallis deserves the best actress honor.

  • http://www.facebook.com/emily.h.lacroix Emily Harvey Lacroix

    Best Actor: Hugh Jackman in Les Miserables. I believe him as all the different versions of Jean ValJean. Starving criminal, business man, and old saint.

  • Lesann

    Do we need any more proof that the US is the most violent nation to ever exist? How is it that every one of these films is full of darkness and violence?

  • Davesix6

    The Hollywood left is certianly upset that Katherine Bigelow choose to tell the whole storty in Zero Dark Thirty!

    Guess the left will have a cow if she decides her next film is about Obama and his drones.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/QMDZ3LH5U2B4GAT7J2HS4TCP6E Jim

    i do want to make a statement about the oscar. it is repleted with politics and hypocrisy. 

    i recall the oscar gave crouching tiger hidden dragon the best pictures. for someone like me who grew up watching kung fu movies in the late 70s and early 80s, i laugh and felt insulted since i am of asian descent. i recall there was the chinese film directed by Wayne Wang, the Joy Club. This film was written and directed so well. I was so surprise no oscar was awarded to it.

    To me the Oscar event and the whole hoopla are farce and at times a disgrace. To fix it… take out the politics.

  • Coastghost

    Hollywood films foster emotional elicitation or embody manipulation of emotions? “Emotions” or sentimental clap-trap?

  • jchatter

    My favorite movie was about Honest Abe: ABE LINCOLN VAMPIRE HUNTER. Is it nominated for something?

  • jchatter

    My favorite movie was about Honest Abe — ABE LINCOLN VAMPIRE HUNTER. Was it nominated for something?

  • DrewInGeorgia

    I know what you’re trying to say caller, haven’t seen Django (really want to) but I gather you are talking about Samuel L. Jackson’s portrayal of a Slave who supported their “station” in life. There is no politically correct way to discuss it, stammering forgiven.

  • Coastghost

    Abbas Kiarostami on Tarentino: “he’s more interesting than his films”.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100005008084168 Cameron Day

    Hello, Tom. This is Cameron from Orford, NH. I am 14, and enjoy the show greatly. On a limb from Djano and the others, I really think The Hobbit should really get some awards. The music is magnificent, the plot excellent, and the wonderful shots of beautiful NEw Zealand.

  • DrewInGeorgia

    I want to see Lincoln so bad it’s killing me. DD Lewis is a great actor, if anyone has not seen In The Name Of The Father you’re missing out.

  • Davesix6

    The Oscars, like Hollywood itself, are all about who confoms to the political left’s positions.

    • J__o__h__n

      Where do Stalone, Schwartzenegger, Willis and Eastwood work?

  • stillin

    I have only seen Argo so far, and I thought it was a B film. Suspenseful, but nothing that will stay with me. Years ago Syrianna, and even Babol, to me were much better, more memorable. I want to see War Witch and Beasts…but seriously not impresed with Argo. House of Cards  was better than that.

  • Coastghost

    Hollywood: purveyor of stale bread and somniferous circuses.

  • PithHelmut

    One thing that screamed at me from the movie “Lincoln” is the prevalence of men who seem to be rolling around in endless debates over issues that are easily fixed. This adds to the already colossal evidence that shows men are convoluted in their way of solving problems. It probably stems from doing everything from a viewpoint of self-interest and base urges, like competition and striving for top-dog positioning, retribution, and other ego-driven quagmires. Women do this too but to nowhere near the extent. Streets ahead of men in getting stuff done.

    • Coastghost

      Obviously, Hollywood needs to produce a series of chick flicks (but let’s be patient: the centenary approaches) dealing with that wise exercise of feminist political prowess known as Prohibition and the passage of the XVIIIth Amendment. (That was one easy fix to a convoluted problem, almost as easy as passage of the XXIst Amendment. [Nota bene: no women drank alcohol during Prohibition.])
      Equally obviously, we have all long been blind to feminine selflessness and the complete and utter absence of female “base urges”. Aristophanes missed it, Juvenal missed it, Shakespeare missed it, Schopenhauer missed it, Maupassant missed it: and THESE guys were supposed to be paying attention. (In the interest of gender equity: Livia and Messalina did not get the memo, either, nor did Salome, Elizabeth I of England, or Elizabeth Bathory.)  

  • Penumbral

    Tom, you strongly implied that the US today is the most violent nation ever.  Where are our colosseums for the public to view gladiators, and the Christians versus the lions?  And you shove into the back seat the violence of Genghis Khan, Adolph Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Pol Pot, Idi Amin, etc., etc., and etc.???

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