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Smiley’s 2012 Oscar Race Predictions

It’s almost Christmas, so I figured I’d leave my two cents about what films I enjoyed this year as everyone is rushing out to see films during the holidays. The Oscars this year should prove to be a great show. I’m thrilled that Seth MacFarlane will host the show. As long as he doesn’t get into some sort of public relations disaster like Brett Ratner last year, then we should be on course for some fun entertainment. MacFarlane brings old-school Hollywood class, with a heavy modern day punch.

Here’s the list:

“Silver Linings Playbook” Directed by David O. Russell tops the list of my favorite films of the year. Tackling the subject of mental health disorders, O. Russell and his cast churn out a charming film that will leave plenty for the viewers to think about when the curtain closes. Great performances by Cooper and Lawrence. She will most likely be nominated for an Oscar.

David O. Russell’s "Silver Linings Playbook" with Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence
David O. Russell’s “Silver Linings Playbook” with Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence

“Argo” Directed by Ben Affleck. This has been one of my favorite films of the year. I had the good fortune of watching this film at the Academy with a Q&A after with Ben Affleck and a few members of the cast. I’ve been very impressed with Affleck’s career as a director. All three of his films have scored above 90% in user approval reviews. “Gone Baby Gone” scored 94%, “The Town” 94% and “Argo” ranking in at 95%.

Ben Affleck in "Argo"
Ben Affleck in “Argo”

“Django Unchained” Written and directed by Quentin Tarantino. I’m on the fence about this film, but not having it on my list this year would be a sin. Tarantino delivers a knock-out sucker punch late in the Oscar race with a heavy N-bombing script that is hugely entertaining. The performances in the film are fantastic, namely DiCaprio who may find himself in the running for a best-supporting actor nod. If you loved “Pulp Fiction” and “Inglorious Bastards”, you’re bound to love the “Django Unchained”.

There’s also some controversy surrounding this film. Already, Spike Lee, a director that I greatly admire has expressed publicly that he will not see Tarantino’s film out of respect for his ancestors. (see video below)

 

Leonardo DiCaprio in "Django Unchained"
Leonardo DiCaprio in “Django Unchained”

“Les Miserables” Directed by Tom Hooper. Starring Hugh Jackman. Jackman should be nominated for an Oscar this year alongside co-star Anne Hathaway who gives a brilliant performance. It’s one of the first industry screenings I’ve ever been to where people were weeping in the theater.

Hugh Jackman les Miserables
Hugh Jackman “les Miserables”

“Any Day Now” Directed by Travis Fine, starring Alan Cumming. This film was a huge surprise for me this year. I waited a while before making time to watch it and boy was I floored. It’s a beautifully sad story, but worth watching. Isaac Levya gives a great performance alongside Alan Cumming.

Garret Dillahunt, Isaac Leyva and Alan Cumming in "Any Day Now"
Garret Dillahunt, Isaac Leyva and Alan Cumming in “Any Day Now”

“Flight” Directed by Robert Zemeckis and starring Denzel Washington. I’ve seen this movie three times already. While it would rank higher on my life, there was some stiff competition. Denzel is excellent in this film. There’s no question that he’s one of the best actors of our generation and he should be in the top rankings for the golden Oscar statue this year. John Goodman delivers a strong scene stealing performance in “Flight”. He was great in “Argo”, but the theater was roaring with laughter every time he graced the screen. Goodman is a master at work. If excessive booze, cocaine and girls are your thing, “Flight” will deliver, only, but ready for a lesson in life.

Denzel Washington in Flight.
Denzel Washington in Flight.

“Zero Dark Thirty” Directed by Kathryn Bigelow. Another film I’ve seen three times this year. Who wouldn’t want to watch what led to one of the greatest assassinations in modern history. Bigelow tackles a huge topic: the hunt for Osama Bin Ladin and delivers. She’s certainly one of the toughest directors working in the business at the moment. You’ve got to have strength to pick this topic and not pull your punches. I wouldn’t be surprised if this film wins the Oscar. Jessica Chastain gives a great performance.

"Zero Dark Thirty"
“Zero Dark Thirty”

“The Intouchables” Directed by Olivier Nakache won the hearts of the French and broke box office records in 2012, moving on to win 9 César Awards. The film is based on a true story of a paralyzed French aristocrat Philippe, played by Francois Cluzet who hires Driss, a charismatic young con artist brilliantly acted by Omar Sy. This is a great feel good film. Rennie Dyball of People.com lists five reasons to see the film in her article.

"The Untouchables"
“The Untouchables”

“West of Memphis” (documentary) Directed by Amy Berg is an amazing documentary. It is no surprise mega-successful filmmakers Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh are behind this project. Jackson was also personally responsible for taking care of the defense fees for the trial of Jason Baldwin, Jesse Misskelley Jr., and Damien Echols who were convicted of murder. With major advancements in DNA testing, there is an amazing twist to the story.

Now that I am in my final stages of editing my first documentary, this project was a great blueprint in master-storytelling. It comes out on Tuesday, so be sure to check it out. Also, be sure to read about how “West of Memphis” helped free The West Memphis Three:

http://blogs.wsj.com/speakeasy/2012/12/24/how-west-of-memphis-helped-free-the-west-memphis-three/

"West of Memphis"
“West of Memphis”

 

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