Getting Ready for The Oscars With the Best Picture Nominees

best picture 2015

For those of you who strictly adhere to the Ross Watchability Scale (RWS) when deciding which movies to see, you’ve probably been a bit disappointed over the last few months by my lack of movie reviews. You’d think that as we got closer to Oscar night, I’d be seeing more nominated films and spreading the word about them. Well it turns out I have been seeing a lot of those films, but I haven’t done a good job of putting up my reviews (blame it on football season, the Patriots’ extended run through the football season, or just plain laziness…all are valid).

With the 87th Academy Awards (fancy name for Oscars) taking place only a couple days from now, I wanted to post a little primer to get people excited. Maybe this column will spark some debates, maybe it’ll cause you to run out to the theaters and see a few of the nominated films before Sunday evening, or maybe it’ll just get you in the mood for Hollywood’s most self-righteous night.

No matter your feelings on the topic, The Oscars will be talked about a lot in the days following the event. Don’t be the jerk who didn’t tune in.

Beyond this preview for the award show’s most important category, you can also expect a recap in the form of a running diary on Monday morning. Since Sunday is Hollywood’s night of unnecessary self-congratulations, allow me to be the first celebrity to do exactly that…

I pretty much CRUSHED IT with my running diary of last year’s Oscars (which you can find HERE). I just re-read it, and I’m still laughing at jokes that are now a year old. I’m the best.

OK so here’s the deal: I’ve seen six of the eight Best Picture nominees. I might see a seventh on Friday afternoon, but this blog needed to go up on Friday morning so you all could make your weekend plans accordingly. The two that I didn’t see are Selma and The Theory of Everything. So there’s a chance those two films are awesome. But I doubt it.

Here is how I would rank the Best Picture nominees that I’ve seen in order from worst to best:

6. Boyhood – The worst movie of the group wasn’t bad by normal standards, but it most certainly is not Oscar worthy. It was basically a three-hour gimmick where we got to see the actual actors age over 10 years in the context of a family in Texas growing and living, just like many families do. It was certainly an outside-the-box concept to film the story over a decade, but the stakes weren’t very high and it didn’t keep me glued to my TV at all. It was just OK. The plot could be boiled down to “boy moves through childhood and adolescence in a very normal way, with the usual highs and lows of a human life.” So someone please explain to me why this is considered one of the best eight movies of 2014??

5. American Sniper – Here’s how loaded the top five of this category is this year: American Sniper was a fantastic movie and it’s only the fifth best! It seems like this movie needs the least explaining out of all of them because there have been dozens of web articles and TV stories about this war story. And recent events have put Sniper back in the mainstream news (sorry for being vague, but I’d hate to spoil the ending). Even though this particular war movie focuses on a very specific person—the greatest sniper in American history—it’s still mainly about war in the Middle East. So I had to dock it points for originality. In many years, this could easily be the best movie. Bradley Cooper was fantastic and deserving of his Best Actor nod. But it didn’t hold my attention quite like these next four did.

4. The Grand Budapest Hotel – These days you could lose a lot of friends simply by saying you didn’t like a Wes Anderson film. It’s not very cool or hip to dislike anything this great writer and director does. But I promise you it’s not just peer pressure that made me love Grand Budapest. In classic Anderson style, we get to see a very intricate plot dressed up in colorful, precise scenery while still feeling like we’re watching an easy-going, fun adventure. If you’re at all familiar with his previous work, then you know exactly what to expect walking into this movie. This particular tale starts off a little slow, but once you get past the opening 20 minutes, the pace picks up and you really have to pay attention to keep up. The characters and the action move at light speed. Grand Budapest follows a concierge of the fictitious hotel and his loyal Lobby Boy as they try to prove the concierge’s innocence in a murder case. Like many films from the Wes Anderson archives, the plot is almost an afterthought as the characters and dialogue take center stage. Buckle your seat belts and hang on tight as this movie speeds down the proverbial (and real) alpine ski slope.

3. The Imitation Game – Trust me, I was just as surprised as you are at how much I enjoyed this Benedict Cumberbatch starring film. Set in the 1940s and ’50s, specifically during World War II, this is the true story of how Alan Turing and a handful of England’s top mathematicians cracked Germany’s brilliant Engima code. The code is what the Nazis used for all wartime communications (where to position their troops and U-boats, where to bring supplies, the positions of the Ally armies, etc). The movie includes Turing’s life before being recruited to the top secret code-cracking sector of England’s military, and his postwar life, where he was prosecuted for being a homosexual. The reason this movie is so compelling is because of the perfect blend of the high stakes of war (this small group of geniuses seems to be England’s only hope for saving millions of lives and ending the war) and the captivating story behind Turing himself. Technology buffs will also tell you that the machine Turing created during this time period was technically the first computer in human history. Not too many movies can boast that level of importance in its story. When I exited the theater after seeing The Imitation Game, I didn’t think I’d be ranking it this high, but it’s grown on me the more I’ve thought about it. Cumberbatch was so good, I think he deserves runner up in the Lead Actor category to the man who starred in this next movie.

2. Birdman – This is the one Best Picture movie that I actually did write a review for, which you can find HERE. In a nutshell, Birdman was a fantastic independent “artsy” film that featured the shoo-in Best Actor winner in Michael Keaton and a handful of other outstanding supporting performances by the rest of the cast. The parallels between Keaton’s actual career and the fictitious Riggan Thomson are impossible to ignore, and there wasn’t a more uniquely shot movie in 2014. Please click the link above to read about the plot in more detail. It’s a must-see, and for me it almost made it to the Oscars finish line as the best movie of the year. However…

1. Whiplash – For three months I’ve been telling people it would take a miracle for any movie to knock Birdman off the top of my 2014 “best films” list. At the 11th hour, a miracle is exactly what occurred. I finally saw Whiplash on Thursday and it BLEW EVERY OTHER MOVIE OF 2014 OUT OF THE WATER. I’m not exaggerating even slightly. In fact, I went into the theater hoping not to like it that much because there’s this one particular person in my life who I hate having to admit to that he’s right, and he told me a couple weeks ago that this was the best movie he’s seen in a while. Even while trying to be stubborn about it, Whiplash lapped the field in this year’s Best Picture race in my opinion. The story follows student jazz drummer Andrew (played by Miles Teller) at America’s finest music school, Schaffer Conservatory in New York. He starts on what is essentially the Junior Varsity team of bands, but is aiming to get to the next level, the studio band conducted by the legendary Terence Fletcher (played by J.K. Simmons). Let’s stop right there with the plot because we need to talk about Simmons (who has acted in a ton of stuff, with the most notable role for me being Paul Rudd’s Dad in I Love You, Man…remember his best friend, Hank Mardukas?). In Whiplash, Simmons plays the role of the fearsome, abusive, uber-demanding teacher. And he plays it just about better than any actor in any role that I’ve seen in my lifetime. As I watched him, I laughed and trembled with fear at the same time. Teller also played his part phenomenally, I thought, but sometimes an actor and a role are like a tornado ripping through the movie and leaving destruction in its wake. That was Simmons in this particular film. He’s nominated for the Supporting Actor Award on Sunday, and I don’t think a category has been this locked up before the ceremony since Daniel Day-Lewis actually mutated into Abraham Lincoln in 2012’s Lincoln. I can’t say enough about Simmons or the movie in general. Beyond the characters, the plot was even better than you could ever imagine considering it’s a story about jazz and music school. The writer/director of Whiplash, Damien Chazelle, sets us up for the ultimate “HOLY SHIT” moment not once, but twice in the second half of this movie. And to top it all off, the final 10 minutes are the most fun you will ever have watching actors play music on the big screen. After writing all this, I really want to go see Whiplash again. Like right now. You should do the same.

And because I thought Whiplash was so amazing, I’m hoping one more miracle happens. Below are the betting odds for the Best Picture category. I just had to put a few bucks on Whiplash at 66/1 odds. I’m hoping the Academy members saw what I saw in this movie and decide to reward it in the way it deserves. Fingers crossed.

Enjoy Oscar Night!

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Movie Reviews: A Predictable Disappointment & The Best Movie of 2013

american hustle

Maybe on this New Year’s Day you’ve decided to wait out the hangover by heading to the movie theater. It’s not the worst play to be when you’re recovering from too much partying: It’s dark, the seats are generally comfortable, you’re actually encouraged to eat greasy junk food, and you don’t have to speak to other humans.

Or maybe one of your New Year’s Resolutions is to see more movies (that’s a weird one, try harder next time).

Either way, I wanted to weigh in on two movies I’ve recently seen in the theater: Anchorman 2 and American Hustle. 

Anyone who’s already seen these two movies knows it’s a travesty to compare them. One of them is an over-the-top, zany, hilarious and clever film featuring some of the finest actors Hollywood has to offer. And the other one is Anchorman 2.

Let’s just knock this out of the way quickly: Anchorman 2 wasn’t very good. You can convince me that there were enough individual funny moments to make seeing the movie worthwhile, but if you try to argue that it comes anywhere near the brilliance of the original Anchorman, you’ve lost all credibility with me forever. Maybe in similar fashion to the first Anchorman, this latest installment will prove better the more I watch it. But we’ll have to wait and see. For now, I remain unimpressed. I don’t think I laughed once during the opening 25 minutes, and I was secretly rooting for the film to take a drastic turn where it would focus solely on Brick Tamland & Chani’s amazingly awkward love (Steve Carell and Kristen Wiig).

Don’t see this movie in the theater. Save it for a Netflix night when you only want to laugh a little bit. On the Ross Watchability Scale (RWS), I give it a 4.5 out of 10. 

Now that we’ve gotten than bit of unpleasantness out of the way, let’s turn our attention American Hustle, a comedy-drama crime film that will most certainly be getting some Oscar nominations, both for its actors and its director/screenwriters.

Like other David O. Russell films, it’s tough to do the plot justice via a written description. The movie’s loosely based on an FBI operation from the 1970s (so loosely based, in fact, that the movie opens with these words on the screen: “Some of this actually happened”) that involves a couple of con artists working with the Feds to entrap some of New Jersey’s greedier politicians. Except that the FBI agent leading the operation is almost as incompetent and distractable as the con artists he’s supposed to be in charge of. And while Christian Bale’s con artist Irving Rosenfeld and Bradley Cooper’s FBI agent Richie DiMaso appear to be the people in charge of this cat-and-mouse game, it’s really the women that make the big moves and drive the story. Amy Adams is fantastic as Bale’s partner who ends up in the middle of everything, but Jennifer Lawrence steals the show as Bale’s bitter and unstable wife. I’d estimate Lawrence only had 20 minutes of screen time in this entire movie, but she was so good, she’d better win Best Supporting Actress at the 86h Academy Awards in March or else.. (or else what? Or else I will never attend the Academy Awards no matter how bad they want me there. That’s how serious I am about this.)

If the previous paragraph didn’t sound like much of a plot description, that’s because it’s impossible to appropriately capture all the madcap zaniness of this film. Just know that it was super entertaining the entire time, the acting was amazing and the twists and turns at the end completely legitimize this movie as a crime drama.

You should see this movie if: You enjoy incredible movies; you liked other David O. Russell films; you enjoy seeing today’s best actors submitting possibly their best work of their careers; you gravitate towards movies that have the perfect amount of comedy, drama and intelligent plot; you’re as obsessed with Jennifer Lawrence as I now am; you appreciate outrageous comb-overs and perms; you want to see the most glorious usage of constant side boob ever seen on screen.

You should not see this movie if: I don’t know, actually…if you hate good entertainment, I guess?

On the RWS, I give it a 9.5 out of 10. This is now the highest-rated film of all time using the RWS.

Poor Wolf of Wall Street…before I even see it I know it doesn’t stand a chance to match wits with American Hustle.

Public Service Announcement: Rooting For the “Hangover” Characters To Die In A Nuclear Blast

It’s easy to tell when I’m no longer entertained by a TV show or movie. Anyone who’s been around me enough knows that when I’m sick of something that we’re watching, I start rooting for all the main characters to suffer horrible deaths. It’s especially telling when I’m watching a comedy—a genre where there is typically no violence or serious plot lines like death—and I start hoping that one character’s going to pull a gun on another and shoot him in the head. It’s my way of saying “Can this please end as quickly as possible?”

The following is more of a Public Service Announcement than an actual blog post.

While watching The Hangover Part III last weekend, I wasn’t just rooting for all the characters to shoot each other. I was rooting for a random nuclear bomb to fall from the sky and land in Ed Helms’ skull. It was THE WORST COMEDY I’VE EVER SEEN. And I’ve seen Little Nicky, I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, Evan Almighty, Caddyshack II, The Cat In The Hat (Mike Myers version) and even The Hangover Part II.

My apologies to Ed Helms because his character wasn’t the only insufferable one in this movie. Bradley Cooper and Ken Jeong’s characters were also pathetic and uninspiring. Ed Helms just happens to be who I pictured when I decided I wanted a bomb to come crashing down and split one of the characters’ skulls open (right before detonating and wiping out the rest of the characters obviously).

What set it apart from all the other gigantic comedic failures I mentioned above? The fact that it wasn’t even a comedy. It didn’t even try to be a comedy. It tried to be an action/adventure movie with Zach Galifianakis wandering through each scene trying to say or do something inappropriate. Not one other character in the movie said or did a funny thing the entire time. I realize the first Hangover installment was such a hit partly because of the unexpected genius of Galifianakis, but you can’t just recycle the same setups and punchlines that surprised us in the original.

And if you’ve decided to screw us by becoming an action movie, then we’re going to pay more attention to the plot and the realness of the whole thing. For instance, it’s tough for me to buy that this group of adults is trapped inside the basement of a house with no way out when one of them is holding a giant sledge hammer and all that stands in his way is a standard wooden door. Interestingly enough, these same characters think up and execute a crazy scheme later in the movie when they tie a bunch of bed sheets together and repel down the side of the Caesar’s Palace Hotel in Las Vegas…but they can’t figure out that the sledge hammer lying right next to them might be able to bust through a door?

If this was a comedy, we would ignore that type of ridiculousness. But since the creators of this movie decided to jump into a whole new genre, we can’t help but pay attention to the details.

How many more ways can I say this movie was horrific?

The actors weren’t terrible; the material they had to work with was terrible.

There were a couple funny parts, but they were all delivered to us in the trailers and previews. Galifianakis driving around with a pet giraffe and later singing with the “voice of an angel” at his dad’s funeral could have been a couple very funny, unexpected moments in the movie. But we already saw those clips over and over during the months leading up to the movie’s release.

I saw this movie for $5.50 (apparently the going rate for a matinee movie in Fitchburg, Massachusetts), and I still felt ripped off at the end.

Do yourself a favor: Save your money now and spend it on a comedy that might actually make you laugh later on in the summer, like Adam Sandler’s Grown Ups 2. I guarantee Sandler’s awful comedies will at least be comedies.

Everything You Never Wanted To Know About Movies: Handicapping the Oscars & Your Guide to the Best Movies of 2012

It’s February 15th and that means The 2013 Oscars are looming. It’s that time of year when all you people who didn’t see a single movie in the last 12 months—because you were too busy holding down a job, raising your kids, spending your time and money on something more fulfilling than “sitting in a theater while consuming 4,700 calories of grease, butter and sugar”—start scrambling to watch as many Oscar-nominated films as possible.

If you’re someone who thinks “Life of Pi” is a movie about the mathematician who came up with that confusing 3.14 number, or you think “Amour” is a romantic comedy about a man and a woman falling in love at a yard sale where they both tried to buy an antique piece of furniture, you’ve got a lot of catching up to do.

With so many different films and actors nominated it’s impractical to try to see it all. So which movies do you prioritize? Lucky for you this article includes a worst-to-best ranking of the 19 movies I saw in 2012. I have great taste in movies so just follow my list blindly and you won’t be disappointed.

But Oscar season isn’t just about seeing as many good movies as possible. It’s about predicting who will win each major award even though none of us know the first thing about acting, directing, adapting or costume designing. That doesn’t mean it can’t be fun to argue with a friend that “Tommy Lee Jones should never win any award because he’s such an asshole in real life.”

For the readers who are gamblers at heart, you’ll be happy to know that many betting websites allow you to bet on who will win each of the major Oscar awards. So of course in this article I’ll provide you the odds of the favorite in each category as well as a long shot that I like.

So let’s rip through the important Oscar categories real quick so you know what films to see in the next nine days, either by going to the movie theater or re-organizing your Netflix queue. I’ll make some very subjective comments next to the movies I’ve seen, and perhaps next to some of the movies I haven’t seen. (Disclaimer: I haven’t seen all the movies that are relevant to the Oscars. I’ve only seen the ones I thought I might actually enjoy.)

BEST PICTURE

  • Amour: I haven’t seen it. When “elderly” and “love story” are used in a movie’s synopsis, you can just about guarantee that I’ll never watch it.
  • Argo: A great movie where the story is a lot more memorable than the acting. Awesome job mixing in some light, humorous moments in an otherwise very serious plot. If there was a “fan favorite” Oscar award, this would probably win (or be a close runner-up to “Silver Linings Playbook”).
  • Beasts of the Southern Wild: This movie arrived via Netflix over a week ago and it’s been sitting on my coffee table gathering dust ever since. I just don’t think I’m going to like it very much. I hear the little girl who’s nominated for Best Actress is incredible, but I don’t typically watch movies for just one individual acting performance.
  • Django Unchained: During the first 30 minutes of this movie, I was worried it was going to be one of Quentin Tarantino’s worst films. It turned out to be one of his best. There’s no other way to describe it other than to say “it was just a fun movie to watch.” Such an enjoyable movie with some awesome acting performances (which we’ll talk about it in a minute). I’m rooting for this one to win even though I know it won’t.
  • Les Miserables: I can’t even correctly pronounce this movie’s name, and I heard a crazy rumor that it’s a musical. I doubt I’ll ever see it.
  • Life of Pi: Another movie I haven’t seen, mostly because in the previews the tiger on the raft didn’t look real enough to me.
  • Lincoln: I heard that the Academy would only allow one Lincoln film into the Best Picture category this year, and Spielberg’s “Lincoln” only narrowly beat out “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.” All jokes aside, this movie was surprisingly great. I say surprisingly because it’s essentially 150 minutes of 19th century politicians blathering on about amendments and slavery. The fact that this film held my attention should automatically put it in the lead for Best Picture.
  • Silver Linings Playbook: Loved it. It might be the movie I re-watch the most out of all the Best Picture nominations. But it’s pretty much a romantic comedy (even if it is a well-disguised romantic comedy). I don’t want “Silver Linings” to win and set the precedent that if all of Jennifer Aniston and Kate Hudson’s future movies just include a few more plot twists, they’ll suddenly be Oscar worthy.
  • Zero Dark Thirty: Better than “The Hurt Locker,” which was Kathryn Bigelow’s previous movie that won Best Picture. But up against much tougher competition than “Locker” faced in 2010. Best edge-of-your-seat, hold-your-breath story of all the nominees. And c’mon, it ends with the killing of bin Laden.

Odds-on favorite to win according to gambling sites: Argo (1/5 odds)

Long shot that I might put a bet on: Amour (100/1 odds)…Because the Oscars love picking the boring, stuffy, old people-bait movies. Just like “The Artist” did last year, an “Amour” win will set movies back 100 years.

(A quick side note: How interesting that this year featured three movies where the audience knew the ending of the story with 100% certainty before walking into the theater (Lincoln, Argo, Zero Dark Thirty). And yet, they were three of the best movies, and one of them is probably winning Best Picture. Somehow these movies were able to keep me in suspense the entire time even though there was zero chance for a surprise ending. Incredible work by everyone who made these three films.)

BEST DIRECTOR

  • Michael Haneke (Amour): I don’t have a goddamn clue if he did a good job directing.
  • Benh Zeitlin (Beasts of the Southern Wild): I’m going to assume he did a good job because he coaxed a Best Actress performance out of a nine-year-old.
  • Ang Lee (Life of Pi): Apparently there’s an unspoken rule in Hollywood that says you should stay away from using children, animals and large bodies of water in your movie. Something about any of those three variables making things much more difficult. And yet all three were major players in “Life of Pi.” I haven’t seen it yet, but if people voted in this category based on “biggest headaches overcome,” I bet Lee has a great chance to win.
  • Steven Spielberg (Lincoln): Spielberg isn’t quite the lock for directing as his lead actor is for that category, but he’s probably going to win his 3rd Best Director Award on February 24th. Regardless of “Argo” being the frontrunner for Best Picture, Spielberg has the inside track here because Ben Affleck somehow didn’t get nominated for the directing category.
  • David O. Russell (Silver Linings Playbook): Adding to my “this movie is just a dressed-up rom com” comments from before…anybody who can mask a romantic comedy as well as Russell did with “Silver Linings” deserves a ton of credit. Trickery or not, the movie was still an A+.

Odds-on favorite to win according to gambling sites: Steven Spielberg (1/4 odds)

Long shot that I might put a bet on: David O. Russell (14/1 odds)…If this really is a “fan favorite” year and “Argo” wins the Best Picture, then it makes sense for David O. to win for directing. I promise you it’ll be the movie you stop the channel surfing on most often when you see it pop up on HBO or Cinemax over the next few years.

ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

  • Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook): In 12 years this guy has gone from playing the gay dude in “Wet Hot American Summer” and the asshole villain boyfriend in “Wedding Crashers” to a bona fide A-list actor who can carry a movie. He’s legit and deserves to be recognized for that. Unfortunately this year he’s up against a guy who seriously made me question whether Abraham Lincoln had actually risen from the dead to play himself in a movie. Thinking Cooper will get his Oscar due eventually. I don’t think this will be his last nomination.
  • Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln): Just the man I was talking about. The Lead Actor category is not a competition this year. If ever there was a situation where someone shouldn’t bother preparing an acceptance speech, it’s the other four men in this category. I’m pretty sure Day-Lewis could murder the head of the Academy tomorrow and they’d still feel obligated to give him this award. I wasn’t alive when Abraham Lincoln was doing his thing. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a recording of the big man Presidenting it up, but I honestly believe he looked and sounded exactly like what Day-Lewis brought to this movie. This is one of those movies that’s worth watching purely for one man’s performance.
  • Hugh Jackman (Les Miserables): Didn’t see it so I have no idea about his performance.
  • Joaquin Phoenix (The Master): Ditto.
  • Denzel Washington (Flight): I actually watched this today. It was my first ever rental from a Red Box machine because I really wanted to see if there was any chance Denzel could unseat Mr. Lincoln. It was a solid, dramatic performance, but I thought the movie was a little boring. Washington had some very memorable scenes, but I knew I’d never take this movie seriously when I saw the trailer for it months ago and a plane was flying upside down.

Odds-on favorite to win according to gambling sites: Daniel Day-Lewis (1/50 odds)…That means you have to bet $50 just to make $1 of profit. Normally I wouldn’t recommend this, but if you’ve got $50,000 to spare, I guarantee you’ll make the $1,000 profit off of it.

Long shot that I might put a bet on: Bradley Cooper (40/1 odds)…It’s a waste of money, but maybe the Academy has a lot more white supremacists who are still irked by Lincoln’s freeing the slaves than we imagined.

 ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE

  • Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty): Not to take anything away from her performance, but I think the intense storyline and the emotional appeal of hunting Osama bin Laden carried this movie much more than any single actor did. She was damn good, don’t get me wrong. But if you threw Heather Graham into Chastain’s role as the CIA Agent in this movie, I don’t know if the film would take that big of a hit…and Heather Graham is an awful, awful actress.
  • Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook): She would certainly win if we were voting for which actress we most want to see up on stage on Oscar night. But I don’t know how she wins Best Actress without Bradley Cooper winning Best Actor. He was a bigger piece of the movie and probably carried a lot more scenes than her.
  • Emmanuelle Riva (Amour): Didn’t see it.
  • Quvenzhane Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild): Didn’t see it, but hopefully I will by Oscar night.
  • Naomi Watts (The Impossible): Didn’t see it.

Odds-on favorite to win according to gambling sites: Jennifer Lawrence (4/7 odds)

Long shot that I might put a bet on: Quvenzhane Wallis (50/1 odds)…Because I’m lukewarm about the two performances I saw, and it would be awesome for someone this young to win while watching whoever presents the award try to pronounce her name.

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

  • Alan Arkin (Argo): Basically him and John Goodman should have been co-nominated for “Argo” because they were in the movie almost equally and both were hysterical. Good performances from both guys, but not Oscar worthy in my opinion.
  • Robert De Niro (Silver Linings Playbook): The problem here is that De Niro’s character is supposed to be a bookie in the movie, and I know far too much about sports to buy into his performance as that bookie.
  • Philip Seymour Hoffman (The Master): Didn’t see it so let’s just assume he won’t win.
  • Tommy Lee Jones (Lincoln): I came out of the theater after seeing “Lincoln” and all I could remember was Daniel Day-Lewis’s performance. Everything else in this movie seemed like background noise. TLJ was actually really good in his role as Thaddeus Stevens (especially with the twist at the end of him wearing a wig!), but I’d only be rooting for him if he’d never won an Oscar before. Oh, and I hear he’s a real asshole.
  • Christoph Waltz (Django Unchained): Just like Waltz steals the show in Quentin Tarantino’s last film, “Inglourious Basterds,” so too does he steal the show in “Django.” In “Basterds” he was opposite Brad Pitt. This time he shared the screen with Jamie Foxx and Leonardo DiCaprio. Quite a feat to overshadow all of those guys. He might have given my favorite performance of the year in the non-Daniel Day-Lewis category.

Odds-on favorite to win according to gambling sites: Tommy Lee Jones (+110)

Long shot that I might put a bet on: Christoph Waltz (+140)…OK so it’s not really a “long shot” in the traditional sense, but I don’t care. He’s not the favorite and he should be.

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

  • Amy Adams (The Master): Didn’t see it, but I like her moxie.
  • Sally Field (Lincoln): If you can win an award like this based on one scene, then Sally Field should win for the scene in “Lincoln” when she talks circles around Tommy Lee Jones’ Thaddeus Stevens as she’s welcoming him to a dinner party. Great scene, but that’s all I really remember from her performance.
  • Anne Hathaway (Les Miserables): You already know I didn’t see it. I assume she’s going to win, but I hate her new short haircut.
  • Helen Hunt (The Sessions): Is this a real movie? Haven’t heard of it.
  • Jacki Weaver (Silver Linings Playbook): I saw this movie so long ago now that I barely remember her role as the Mom. I know she tried to break up the fights between Bradley Cooper’s character and Robert De Niro’s character, but I’m struggling to recall any other pertinent details.

Odds-on favorite to win according to gambling sites: Anne Hathaway (1/50 odds)…Apparently she’s as much of a shoo-in as Daniel Day-Lewis is.

Long shot that I might put a bet on: Jacki Weaver (50/1 odds)…Because it’s one of only two supporting actress performances I’ve seen and I’m a sucker for the big long shot.

And now, here’s my arbitrary, subjective and illogical ranking of the 19 movies I saw that came out in 2012:

19). Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

18). Snow White & The Huntsman

17). Wanderlust

16). The Campaign

15). Men In Black III

14). Prometheus

13). The Amazing Spiderman

12). The Hunger Games

11). Flight

10). This is 40

9). Ted

8). The Avengers

7). Dark Knight Rises

6). Lincoln

5). Moonrise Kingdom

4). Zero Dark Thirty

3). Argo

2). Silver Linings Playbook

1). Django Unchained