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'Zero Dark Thirty' & 'Argo' + 'Amour' & Anne Hathaway: Top Awards Season Choices

Argo Ben Affleck: #2 Best Film fave after another heroic Americans vs evil West Asian Muslims thrillerArgo with Ben Affleck. Adapted by Chris Terrio from Antonio J. Mendez and Malcolm McConnell's book The Master of Disguise: My Secret Life in the CIA and Joshuah Bearman's Wired article “The Great Escape,” actor-director Ben Affleck's political thriller Argo chronicles – by way of some Hollywood-style flights of fancy – the real-life rescue of six U.S. embassy employees hiding in the Tehran house of Canada's ambassador after most of their colleagues are taken hostage following the Iranian Revolution of 1979. If U.S. critics and assorted awards groups are to be trusted, Argo is the no. 2 movie of 2012, trailing another fictionalized version of real-life events pitting heroic, cool-headed Americans against cowardly, off-their-rocker West Asian Muslims: Kathryn Bigelow's controversial Zero Dark Thirty, starring Jessica Chastain as a CIA analyst on the hunt for Osama bin Laden. Besides Ben Affleck, the Argo cast features Bryan Cranston, John Goodman, and Best Supporting Actor Oscar winner Alan Arkin (Little Miss Sunshine, 2006). Affleck also produced the film, with Grant Heslov and George Clooney.

U.S. government vs. Islamic Radicals: Awards season Best Film favorites 'Zero Dark Thirty' & 'Argo'

(See previous post: “Jessica Chastain & Jennifer Lawrence + Daniel Day-Lewis: Movie Awards Season Front-Runners.”) Two Hollywood movies featuring American government forces vs. Islamic radicals are the leaders in the Best Film category this awards season: Kathryn Bigelow's Zero Dark Thirty, about the hunt for Osama bin Laden, and Ben Affleck's Argo, about the rescue of several would-be U.S. hostages in Iran. See below.

    List of Best Film favorites

  • Kathryn Bigelow's Zero Dark Thirty with 8 wins: Austin, Boston, Chicago, National Board of Review, New York, New York Online, Utah, Washington. Plus 2 nominations: Critics' Choice, Golden Globes.
  • Ben Affleck's Argo with 6 wins: Florida, Nevada, Oklahoma, Phoenix, St. Louis, San Diego. Plus 3 nominations: Golden Globes, Critics' Choice, SAG Awards Best Cast.
  • Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master with 3 wins: Kansas City, San Francisco, Toronto. Plus 1 nomination: Critics' Choice.
  • Michael Haneke's Amour with 3 wins: Cannes, European Film Awards, Los Angeles*.
  • David O. Russell's Silver Linings Playbook with 2 wins: Detroit, Satellite Awards. Plus 4 nominations: Critics' Choice, Golden Globes, SAG Awards Best Cast, Spirit Awards.
  • Steven Spielberg's Lincoln with 1 win: Dallas-Ft. Worth. Plus 3 nominations: Critics' Choice, Golden Globes, SAG Awards Best Cast.
  • Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom with 1 win: Gotham Awards. Plus 3 nominations: Critics' Choice, Golden Globes, Spirit Awards.
  • Benh Zeitlin's Beasts of the Southern Wild with 1 win: Sundance. Plus 2 nominations: Critics' Choice, Spirit Awards.
  • Ang Lee's Life of Pi with 1 win: Las Vegas. Plus 2 nominations: Critics' Choice, Golden Globes.
  • Colin Trevorrow's Safety Not Guaranteed with 1 win: Indiana.
  • Tom Hooper's Les Misérables, which has received mixed reviews, with 3 nominations: Critics' Choice, Golden Globes, SAG Awards Best Cast.
  • John Madden's The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel with 2 nominations: Golden Globes, SAG Awards Best Cast.
  • Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained with 2 nominations: Critics' Choice, Golden Globes.
  • Richard Linklater's Bernie with 1 nomination: Spirit Awards.
  • Ira Sachs' Keep the Lights On with 1 nomination: Spirit Awards.
  • Lasse Hallström's Salmon Fishing in the Yemen with 1 nomination: Golden Globes.

Note: The Golden Globes and the Critics' Choice Awards have each 10 Best Picture entries. The Golden Globes have them split into two categories: Best Motion Picture - Drama and Best Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical.

* The Los Angeles Film Critics Association's Best Film of 2012, Michael Haneke's French-language, French-Austrian-German co-production Amour has been singled out in the Best Foreign Language Film category elsewhere in North America.

Best Film omissions: From 'The Dark Knight Rises' to 'Take This Waltz'

Notable (English-language) Best Picture omissions, both big- and low-budget, blockbusters and bombs, include:

Amour with Jean-Louis Trintignant Emmanuelle Riva: Michael Haneke drama is Best Foreign Language Film favoriteAmour with Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva. This awards season's top pick in the Best Foreign Language Film category is screenwriter-director Michael Haneke's French-language drama Amour, which deals with an array of less-than-pleasant issues: aging, illness, death. But permeating it all is the connection between the two lead characters, played by veterans Jean-Louis Trintignant (My Night at Maud's, Le Bon plaisir) and Emmanuelle Riva (Kapò, Thérèse Desqueyroux). As a plus, the film has another veteran, Isabelle Huppert (Merci pour le Chocolat, The Piano Teacher), as the elderly couple's daughter. Now, Amour is a “special” kind of non-English-language movie. Winner of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association's Best Picture award, it's a likely Oscar contender in the Best Film, Best Director, Best Actress (Riva), and Best Original Screenplay categories.

'Amour' is easily Best Foreign Language Film favorite

Michael Haneke's Amour is the indisputable leader in the Best Foreign Language Film category, with a total of 14 wins: 11 as Best Foreign Language Film, in addition to the Los Angeles Film Critics Association's Best Picture Award, the European Film Award for Best European Film, and the Cannes Film Festival's Palme d'Or.

Starring veterans Jean-Louis Trintignant (Z, The Conformist, Three Colors: Red) and Emmanuelle Riva (Hiroshima Mon Amour, Léon Morin Priest), Amour follows the travails of an elderly couple after one of them suffers a stroke. Another veteran, Isabelle Huppert (Entre Nous, Story of Women), plays their daughter.

So far this awards season, only four other movies have been singled out in the Best Foreign Language Film category in North America: Eric Toledano and Olivier Nakache's international blockbuster The Intouchables, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne's The Kid with a Bike, Gareth Evans' Indonesian-language The Raid: Redemption, and the Los Angeles Film Critics' “other” non-English-language pick, Leos Carax's Cannes Film Festival entry Holy Motors.

Worth mentioning: with the exception of The Raid: Redemption, an American-Indonesian joint effort, the other titles mentioned above – including Amour – are either French-made or French co-productions.

See below this year's awards season favorites in the Best Foreign Language Film category.

    List of Best Foreign Language Film favorites

  • Michael Haneke's Amour with 15 wins: Boston, Cannes (Palme d'Or), Chicago, Dallas-Ft. Worth, European Film Awards (Best European Film), Kansas City, Las Vegas, Los Angeles (Best Picture), National Board of Review, New York, New York Online, Oklahoma, San Francisco, Washington, Toronto. Plus 3 nominations: Critics' Choice, Golden Globes, Spirit Awards.
  • Eric Toledano and Olivier Nakache's The Intouchables with 5 wins: Florida, Phoenix, St. Louis, Satellite Awards, Southeastern. Plus 2 nominations: Critics' Choice, Golden Globes.
  • Leos Carax's Holy Motors with 2 wins: Austin, Los Angeles.
  • Morten Tyldum's Headhunters with 1 win: Utah.
  • Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne's The Kid with a Bike with 1 win: San Diego.
  • Gareth Evans' The Raid: Redemption with 1 win: Indiana.
  • Jacques Audiard's Rust and Bone with 3 nominations: Critics' Choice, Golden Globes, Spirit Awards.
  • Nikolaj Arcel's A Royal Affair with 2 nominations: Critics' Choice, Golden Globes.
  • Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg's Kon-Tiki with 1 nomination: Golden Globes.
  • Nuri Birge Ceylan's Once Upon a Time in Anatolia with 1 nomination: Spirit Awards.
  • Ursula Meier's Sister with 1 nomination: Spirit Awards.
  • Kim Nguyen's War Witch with 1 nomination: Spirit Awards.

Best Foreign Language Film Oscar 2013 contenders

As an aside, the French-language Amour is Austria's submission for the 2013 Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award.

The Intouchables is France's submission. War Witch is Canada's (though it represents the Democratic Republic of Congo at the Spirit Awards). A Royal Affair is Denmark's. Kon-Tiki is Norway's. Sister is Switzerland's.

Co-winner of the 2011 Cannes Film Festival's Grand Prix (second prize), Nuri Birge Ceylan's Once Upon a Time in Anatolia was the Turkish submission last year.

The Belgian film committee, however, failed to submit 2011's other Grand Prix winner, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne's The Kid with a Bike, which also ended up taking home the Best Screenplay European Film Award, in addition to being shortlisted for the 2012 Golden Globes. (Their Oscar entry was Michael R. Roskam's Bullhead, which was nominated earlier this year.)

For Oscar 2013, Belgium failed to submit the generally well-received Rust and Bone, starring Marion Cotillard and Matthias Schoenaerts, opting instead for Joachim Lafosse's Our Children.

And finally, Paolo and Vittorio Taviani's Berlin Film Festival Golden Bear winner Caesar Must Die is Italy's Oscar 2013 entry, while Kim Ki-duk's Venice Film Festival Golden Lion winner Pieta is South Korea's. Neither film is found on the list above, as they've yet to open in the U.S.

Anne Hathaway & Philip Seymour Hoffman: Best Supporting Actress & Best Supporting Actor favorites

Anne Hathaway, who suffers horrors (and sings about them) in Tom Hooper's Les Misérables, and Philip Seymour Hoffman, who creates a new philosophy/religion in Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master, are the two favorites in, respectively, the Best Supporting Actress and Best Supporting Actor categories this awards season.

Anne Hathaway leads the Best Supporting Actress category (bad pun intended) by a wide margin. Philip Seymour Hoffman, however, is only slightly ahead of Tommy Lee Jones in Steven Spielberg's Lincoln. See below.

    List of Best Supporting Actress favorites

  • Anne Hathaway for Les Misérables with 13 wins: Austin, Detroit, Florida, Indiana, Kansas City, Las Vegas, New York Online, Oklahoma, Phoenix, Satellite Awards, Southeastern (also for The Dark Knight Rises), Utah, Washington. Plus 3 nominations: Critics' Choice, Golden Globes, SAG Awards.
  • Sally Field for Lincoln with 4 wins: Boston, Dallas-Ft. Worth, Nevada, New York. Plus 3 nominations: Critics' Choice, Golden Globes, SAG Awards.
  • Helen Hunt for The Sessions with 2 wins: St. Louis (tied with Ann Dowd), San Francisco. Plus 4 nominations: Critics' Choice, Golden Globes, SAG Awards, Spirit Awards. In addition to one Best Actress win: Nevada (tied with Jennifer Lawrence for Silver Linings Playbook).
  • Amy Adams for The Master with 2 wins: Chicago, Los Angeles. Plus 2 nominations: Critics' Choice, Golden Globes.
  • Ann Dowd for Compliance with 2 wins: National Board of Review, St. Louis (tied with Helen Hunt). Plus 2 nominations: Critics' Choice, Spirit Awards.
  • Emma Watson for The Perks of Being a Wallflower with 1 win: San Diego.
  • Gina Gershon for Killer Joe with 1 win: Toronto.
  • Nicole Kidman for The Paperboy with 2 nominations: Golden Globes, SAG Awards.
  • Judi Dench for Skyfall with 1 nomination: Critics' Choice.
  • Rosemarie DeWitt for Your Sister's Sister with 1 nomination: Spirit Awards.
  • Brit Marling for Sound of My Voice with 1 nomination: Spirit Awards.
  • Maggie Smith for The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel with 1 nomination: SAG Awards.
  • Lorraine Toussaint for Middle of Nowhere with 1 nomination: Spirit Awards.
Philip Seymour Hoffman The Master: Best Supporting Actor favorite but Tommy Lee Jones on his heelsPhilip Seymour Hoffman in The Master. A Best Actor Academy Award winner for his spot-on portrayal of writer Truman Capote in Bennett Miller's Capote (2005), Philip Seymour Hoffman is this awards season's favorite in the Best Supporting Actor category for his portrayal of a fictionalized version of another real-life figure, Church of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard in Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master, also featuring Joaquin Phoenix and Amy Adams. Trailing Hoffman are Tommy Lee Jones for his portrayal of a third real-life figure, Radical Republican (i.e., uncompromising abolitionist) Thaddeus Stevens in Steven Spielberg's Lincoln, and, further behind, Christoph Waltz for his – apparently totally fictitious – German bounty hunter in Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained. Both Jones and Waltz have already taken home Best Supporting Actor Oscars: Jones for Andrew Davis' The Fugitive (1993); Waltz for Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds (2009).

    List of Best Supporting Actor favorites

  • Philip Seymour Hoffman for The Master with 9 wins: Chicago, Florida, Kansas City, Oklahoma, Phoenix, Southeastern, Toronto, Venice (as Best Actor, shared with Joaquin Phoenix), Washington. Plus 3 nominations: Critics' Choice, Golden Globes, SAG Awards.
  • Tommy Lee Jones for Lincoln with 6 wins: Dallas-Ft. Worth, Indiana, Las Vegas, Nevada, New York Online, San Francisco. Plus 3 nominations: Critics' Choice, Golden Globes, SAG Awards.
  • Christoph Waltz for Django Unchained with 3 wins: Austin, St. Louis, San Diego. Plus 1 nomination: Golden Globes.
  • Dwight Henry for Beasts of the Southern Wild with 2 wins: Los Angeles, Utah.
  • Javier Bardem for Skyfall with 1 win: Satellite Awards. Plus 2 nominations: Critics' Choice, SAG Awards.
  • Robert De Niro for Silver Linings Playbook with 1 win: Detroit. Plus 2 nominations: Critics' Choice, SAG Awards
  • Matthew McConaughey for Magic Mike & Bernie with 1 win: New York. Plus 2 nominations for Magic Mike: Critics' Choice, Spirit Awards.
  • Leonardo DiCaprio for Django Unchained with 1 win: National Board of Review. Plus 1 nomination: Golden Globes.
  • Ezra Miller for The Perks of Being a Wallflower with 1 win: Boston.
  • Alan Arkin for Argo with 3 nominations: Critics' Choice, Golden Globes, SAG Awards.
  • David Oyelowo for Middle of Nowhere with 1 nomination: Spirit Awards.
  • Michael Peña for End of Watch with 1 nomination: Spirit Awards.
  • Sam Rockwell for Seven Psychopaths with 1 nomination: Spirit Awards.
  • Bruce Willis for Moonrise Kingdom with 1 nomination: Spirit Awards.

Best Supporting Actress omissions

Among the actresses in supporting roles that to date have been all but ignored this awards season are:

  • Jacki Weaver, Silver Linings Playbook.
  • Penélope Cruz, To Rome with Love.
  • Noomi Rapace, Prometheus.
  • Shirley MacLaine, Bernie.
  • Kristen Stewart, On the Road.
  • Susan Sarandon for a quartet of movies: Robot & Frank, Cloud Atlas, Arbitrage, and Jeff, Who Lives at Home.
  • Helena Bonham Carter, Amanda Seyfried & Samantha Barks, Les Misérables.
  • Scarlett Johansson, Hitchcock.
  • Melissa Leo & Kelly Reilly, Flight.
  • Anna Kendrick, End of Watch.
  • Somewhat paradoxically, top Best Supporting Actress pick Anne Hathaway, whose Catwoman in Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises has been totally eclipsed by her Fantine.

Best Supporting Actor omissions

Among the “forgotten” performers in the Best Supporting Actor category are:

  • Michael Fassbender, Prometheus.
  • Tom Cruise, Rock of Ages.
  • Michael Caine & Tom Hardy, The Dark Knight Rises.
  • Woody Allen & Roberto Benigni, To Rome with Love.
  • Hal Holbrook, Joseph Gordon-Levitt & James Spader, Lincoln.
  • Tom Hiddleston, The Avengers.
  • John Goodman, Flight & Argo.
  • Jude Law, Anna Karenina.
  • Ian McKellen, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.
  • Viggo Mortensen, On the Road.
  • Ben Whishaw, Cloud Atlas.
  • William H. Macy, The Sessions.
  • Irrfan Khan, Life of Pi.
  • Paul Giamatti, Cosmopolis.

Tom Hardy is the year's biggest disappointment of all, as his Bane was to have been TDKR's grandiose equivalent to Best Supporting Actor Oscar winner Heath Ledger's Joker in The Dark Knight.

See also: Best Director & Best Screenplay front-runners.

 

Emmanuelle Riva and Jean-Louis Trintignant Amour image: Sony Pictures Classics.

Ben Affleck Argo image: Warner Bros.

Philip Seymour Hoffman The Master image: The Weinstein Company.


         
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