DJANGO UNCHAINED



<!–[if !mso]>st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } <![endif]–>

I’m not sure I know what to make of writer/director Quentin Tarantino’s new spaghetti western/slavery pastiche, Django (as in jango with a hard “j”—the “D” is most pronouncedly silent) Unchained.  However, I strongly suspect it may be genius.
Django… is in many ways a mirror image of Tarantino’s last film Inglourious Basterds, which was a giallo take on World War II films (there were times when I jokingly wondered whether Tarantino should consider suing himself for plagiarism).  Neither is about what they are about.  I mean, really, …Basterds is no more about Nazism and the Holocaust than Django… is about slavery.  What they are both about is movies, and how many movies can Tarantino quote and pay homage to, and how brilliant a director Tarantino is, and how he can out post-modern any post-modern filmmaker. 
At the same time, as in …Basterds, Tarantino takes his subject matter with a deathly seriousness.  He doesn’t turn a blind, aesthetic eye to either Nazism or slavery.  In fact, he, in many ways, proves the truth of that phrase, “more Catholic than the Catholics”.  His view of slavery is probably the most gruesome, revolting and honest in any movie I may have seen.  Though I do think his comments on the landmark TV miniseries Roots a bit too cavalier, in one way he has a point: his view of that institution is far more devastating and much harder to watch. 
And I think it’s this approach that may be causing some people discomfort.  In one way he trivializes his subject matter by making it subservient to his aesthetic approach: this is a post-modern spaghetti western before it is anything else.  At the same time, he treats his subject matter with much more seriousness than people who treat it seriously.  And it’s this aesthetic conflict that gives his movies their power: he makes highly entertaining movies about subjects that should not be entertaining.  And what is worse, from his distracters’ viewpoints, he gets away with it.  He not only gets away with it, he’s managed to make himself perhaps the most important and influential American director of his generation.  It’s one thing to do something your rivals dislike; it’s another thing to do it better than your rivals.  Failure is forgivable, success is not.
There are only two other filmmakers who I can think of who can also get away with what Tarantino does.  The first are the Cohen Brothers who have also embraced the post modern approach creating movies which are often more a comment on the genre they are seriously parodying (in the true sense of the word) rather than using a purely straight approach in making their films.  The second is Roberto Begnini who, I think I can safely say, is not post modern in any shape, form or matter.  But he takes subject matter like organized crime, serial killers, the Holocaust and the American invasion of Iraq and sets them against the backdrop of a romance, usually a rom com.
So first and foremost Django… is a spaghetti western.   It may be set against the U.S. south whereas a large number of the Italian ones are set against the Mexican revolution (with an anti-capitalist, pro-communist bent to them), but if it looks like a spaghetti western, sounds like a spaghetti western, and if it was in smellovision, would probably have the odor of a spaghetti western—well, draw your own conclusions.  The sets and costumes are not what one would find in the fake West of a John Ford/Howard Hawks, but the fake West of a Sergio Leone/Sergio Corbucci.  The music is often overloud and thunderous with a slight tinny sound to it here and there.  The opening titles are tackily period.  The cinematography betrays a certain cheap look to it at times (tres 1970’s).  The only thing missing is the very bad dubbing no Italian film would be complete without.
Django… stars Christoph Waltz as a dentist/bounty hunter; Leonardo Di Caprio as a slow on the uptake slave owner; and Jamie Foxx in the title role, a freed slave who can understandably see the pleasure in killing white people and getting paid for it.  Here again we sort of have …Basterds redux with Waltz playing the Brad Pitt role; Di Caprio playing the Waltz role; and Jamie Fox playing the Melanie Laurent role.  The cast is filled out with what my friend called “the usual suspects” and I described as Tarantino phoning his casting director and telling him to call up every 1960’s and ‘70’s icon from small and large screen who no longer have a career to speak of and hire them (Don Johnson, Tom Wopat, Russ Tamblyn, Dennis  Christopher, Don Stroud, Michael Parks-not quite the approach Spielberg used for Lincoln).  There are also some nice turns by Samuel L. Jackson, James Remar, Jonah Hill and Walton, he with the Cheshire Cat smile, Goggins.   In addition, keep a look out for the in-joke Franco Nero appearance.
Waltz and Di Caprio give turns that are often called bravura.  Waltz savors every moment he has.  It’s as if he told Tarantino, I don’t care how many pretentious lines and words you give me to say, I’m going to say each one of them as if I was eating an oyster.  Di Caprio relishes his villain role as if to the plantation born.  And Foxx does well in a role that is far less showy.  The structure is a bit of catch as catch can.  There’s an improv feel to it and Tarantino certainly doesn’t push the events as if a meteor was plummeting to earth.  This is especially noticeable in an ending that has two climaxes a bit too close together.  This same ending also suffers a bit because certain characters are conspicuously missing.  But, as in …Basterds, it revels in an ahistoric revisionist revenge fantasy that is dynamite (pun intended).   And more important, it’s never boring.
When the movie is over, one wonders what film genre, style, or aesthetic is left for Tarantino to appropriate for his own purposes.  Where does he go from here?  I believe even he wonders what is left for him and whether he has finally reached the end of his aesthetic sensibility.  Personally, I’d love to see what he could do with a Bollywood musical.   But only time will tell if post modernism is, in the end, a matter of diminishing returns for him.

Race for the Oscars 2012: Reevaluation of My Screenplay Nominations



<!–[if !mso]>st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } <![endif]–>

For my final reevaluation of my Oscar noms (until my next set of reevaluations), I will end with Best Screenplay, Original and Adapted
I will begin with the Best Original Screenplay category.  My original choices were:  
Mark Boal for Zero Dark Thirty to win
Michael  Hanake for Amour
Romain Coppola and Wes Anderson for Moonrise Kingdom
Quintin Tarantino for Django Unchained
Martin McDonagh for Seven Psychopaths
Other possiblities:  Paul Thomas Anderson for The Master; Woody Allen for To Rome With Love;  John Gatins for Flight; Rian Johnson for Looper;  Jacques Audiar, Thomas Bidegain and Craig Davidson for Rust and Bone
No pundit seems to be thinking that Seven Psychopaths will make it, which is a shame.  But I will be removing it for now.  I’m also not sure about The Master (I can’t get a real read on how the various voters are feeling toward it) or Moonrise Kingdom, which many voters may just have forgotten. 
Of course, To Rome with Love is out, as is Flight and Rust and Bone.  Looper is the big fly in the ointment.  It’s getting quite a lot of attention.  So I am going to predict:
Mark Boal for Zero Dark Thirty to win
Michael  Hanake for Amour
Paul Thomas Anderson for The Master
Quintin Tarantino for Django Unchained
Rian Johnson for Looper
Adapted screenplay:
David O. Russell for Silver Linings Playbook to win
Tony Kushner for Lincoln
Chris Terrio for Argo
Benh Zeitlin and Lucy Alibar for Beasts of the Southern Wild
William Nicholson for Les Miserables
Other possibilities:  Stephen Chobosky for The Perks of Being a Wallflower; David Magee for Life of Pi; Ben Lewin for The Sessions; Tim Burton and Leonard Ripps for Frankenweenie; John J. McLaughlin for Hitchcock
I think that the only one right now that could be pushed out is Les Miserables.  But I’m going to stick with my choices here and not change anything.
That is that until I reevaluate it again.

2012 OSCAR NOMINATIONS: Reevaluation of Picture and Director categories



<!–[if !mso]>st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } <![endif]–>

In previous entries I have gone over my predictions for the 2012 Academy Award nominations for Picture, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Screenplay (both original and adaptation) and Director.  A lot has happened since then, and it’s time to start reevaluating my predictions.  Most of them I believe still hold.  But there are some instances where I have to eat crow a bit.  There are still some issues due to a few movies having not opened or having only recently opened, so it’s still a bit difficult to gauge a general feeling toward those few. 
There are also a couple of issues to discuss before proceeding.  One of the problems now is that once you have previously made a list as to what the top five are going to be (or more when it comes to Picture), you now are not just deciding what will be nominated; you have to take the list you made and decide what name to remove.  This is a sometimes much more difficult (if not downright painful) action to take.
Also, even though a number of films haven’t opened or have just recently opened, there have been screenings for the films, as well as screeners, and appearances at film festivals, awards and other nominations, etc.  This can, but not always, mean that you can gauge a general feeling toward a film.
At any rate, here I go:
Best Picture
My previous predictions were:
Argo
Beasts of the Southern Wild
The Master
Les Miserables
Lincoln
Django Unchained
Silver Linings Playbook
Arbitrage
Moonrise Kingdom
Amour
As runner ups Life of Pi, Flight, Zero Dark Thirty, The Hobbit
I think it’s obvious right now, I made a couple of boo-boos.  Arbitrage is out, as if Flight, Zero Dark Thirty is in, and not just in, but will probably win (my only defense is that ZDT at the time I made my list, was an incredibly unknown quantity). 
In addition, Amour is still a possibility, but will probably be passed over since all voters are going to assume it is going to win in the Best Foreign Language category. 
I still have a few qualms about Les Miserables, only because it hasn’t opened yet and it is getting some terrible reviews and a mixed reaction by the people who have seen it.  It’s probably a sure thing, but if any movie is going to crash and burn before the voting closes, it’s going to be this one.  It’s somewhat the same on Django Unchained, but the reactions so far have been much stronger and better than for Les Miserables.
The two main questionable films are The Master and Moonrise Kingdom.  The Academy voting is set up now such that movies that have a strong following (i.e., movies that will get more votes for first place rather than movies that get more overall votes, but only in the middle range) will have a chance.  The Master is loved by the critics and by those who really loved it; it is also hated or left feelings of indifference in even more of the audience.  The intensity of the love, though, if only by a small number, fits perfectly with the Oscar voting system; so it could sneak in.
Moonrise Kingdom is different.  People liked it, but I don’t think with the passion of The Master.  And with Beasts of the Southern Wild having a bigger impact on the voters, it may be left out.
I will now put a movie on the list that I think most people are not even thinking about.  I strongly suspect that The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel will make the list.  It is one of those movies that people seem to really love, and by the attention it is now getting from various awards groups, I think it may be the real sleeper of the noms.
 Finally, there is Life of Pi.  As we get closer to the nominations, I may change my mind and include this.  The feeling I’m getting right now is that critics and Oscar pundits would like to see it nominated so much, that they keep pushing it on their lists.  But I’m not convinced that the audience and voters are agreeing.  But that may change.  But then, which one would I remove?
So in reevaluating, I will list them in the order I think their chances are.
Zero Dark Thirty to win
Lincoln
Argo
Silver Linings Playbook
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Django Unchained
Les Miserables
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
The Master
That’s nine.  If there is a tenth spot, I’ll go for Moonrise Kingdom or Amour with also a chance for Life of Pi.
Best Director
Since Best Picture and Best Director usually go hand in hand (with often only one, more rarely two, differences), I’ll quickly firm this category up.  
My previous predictions:
Kathryn Bigelow for Zero Dark Thirty to win. 
Steven Spielberg for Lincoln. 
Ben Affleck for Argo. 
Tom Hooper for Les Miserables. 
David O. Russell for Silver Linings Playbook. 
Runners up: Paul Thomas Anderson for The Master; Benh Zeitlin for Beasts of the Southern Wild; Quentin Tarantino for Django Unchained; Peter Jackson for The Hobbit; Michael Haneke for Amour; Wes Anderson for Moonrise Kingdom; Ang Lee for Life of Pi.
You will see one oddity.  I made this list so long after my predictions for Best Picture, I had seen the light and now had Bigelow to win.  I still think she will.  In addition, I can’t imagine Spielberg and Affleck not being nominated. 
But after Bigelow, Spielberg and Affleck, that leaves two spots.  My issue with Hooper is as I’ve said before: if any movie is going to crash and burn before the nominations come out, it will be Les Miserables.  But it seems like it has a firm enough foothold so far.
If Russell doesn’t make it, it will probably be because you can only have five nominations, so someone has to go.  But who will it be?  And I have to be honest, I don’t know.  I suspect that Zeitlin will be overlooked because the movie is too small and there’s too much competition.  The director will have to go the “it’s an honor just to be nominated” route, even if that nomination is not for him, but for picture, actress and screenplay.
Jackson is out for The Hobbit.  It was well received, but not that well and a lot of people are having issues with the 3D process.  Wes Anderson I think is out because if Zeitlin isn’t going to make it, Anderson has even less of a chance.  At this time, I’m also putting Lee out for the same reason as before; I can’t tell if the enthusiasm for him is being driven by certain people wanting it, or because there is an actual desire by voters to nominate him.
That leaves three possible upsets for Russell: Anderson, Tarantino and Haneke.  Anderson has a better chance with directors than general voters.  Tarantino is getting great buzz.  Haneke’s main issue is that his film won’t get a nomination since most people will assume Amour will get the Best Foreign Film award. 
But I am going to go out on a limb and go for Haneke.  It has great buzz and has more recently opened, whereas The Master has been gone from the screens for some time.  I can’t give a logical reason for Haneke over Tarantino, but I’m just going to be contrary and go for something unorthodox here.
So my predictions are, in order of their likelihood:
Kathryn Bigelow for Zero Dark Thirty to win. 
Steven Spielberg for Lincoln. 
Ben Affleck for Argo. 
Tom Hooper for Les Miserables. 
Michael Haneke for Amour
Runners up: David O. Russell for Silver Linings Playbook; Quentin Tarantino for Django Unchained; and Paul Thomas Anderson for The Master.
Next up: Actors.

OSCARS 2012: SCREENPLAY CATEGORY



<!–[if !mso]>st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } <![endif]–>

For my next essay on the upcoming Oscar race, I shall deal with the Best Screenplay categories.  This is often the most difficult category to predict because, first, one has to go to all the trouble of figuring out whether a screenplay is adapted or original, which is really kind of annoying, believe it or not.
The second difficulty is that, of all the categories, the Best Screenplay is the one that will have the most monkey wrenches thrown into it.  Screenwriters, who vote for the nominations, can be a non-conformist  sort of lot and it is not unusual for them to recognize unusual, edgy, foreign, indie screenplays that will often not get a nomination in any other category.   The directors are second to the writers when it comes to this, but the screenwriters’ branch edges them out a bit.  And since there are ten slots to fill, that only allows for a few more idiosyncratic choices to sneak their gremlin way in.
But there is also one overriding issue that has to also be considered here.   This category is often called the consolation prize.  Since there are two awards every year, one of the categories usually goes to the best picture win.   The other is often used to give an award to a smaller or more (altogether now) idiosyncratic picture or a favorite that just got overshadowed by another film and often doesn’t do well in any other major category (Good Will Hunting, Sling Blade, The Social Network, Precious, etc.).
I will begin with the Best Original Screenplay category:
Mark Boal for Zero Dark Thirty to win.  Zero Dark Thirty has really broken out after doing well at a couple of critical award competitions.  Boal won for The Hurt Locker.  Everything seems to now be going ZDT’s (as it’s being called) way.   At the same time, it hasn’t opened, but that may not matter.
Michael  Hanake for Amour.  He also directed.  Amour has also been breaking out in the critics’ competitions.  The movie hasn’t opened yet, like ZDT, but the buzz is strong.  It’s supposed to win best foreign language film.  It’ll be the A Separation of this year, one of those idiosyncratic (oops, I said it again) screenplays that screenwriters like.
Beyond this?  I really am not sure yet.   But this is what is being talked about:
Paul Thomas Anderson for The Master.  The critics loved it, but the public (which includes Oscar voters) stayed away.  But Paul Thomas Anderson is well respected.  With ten categories to fill and a lot of uncertainty, this could get in.  But I’m still having a little problem accepting this because I just didn’t like it (perhaps I’m just being a bit too Republican here, though, and refusing to accept reality).
Romain Coppola and Wes Anderson for Moonrise Kingdom.  I really feel that this movie has almost been forgotten.  It was not the break out independent movie that Beasts of the Southern Wild was which played in the theaters far longer.  If the producers, et al., can make the screenwriting branch remember that the movie came out this year, it could have a chance.
Quintin Tarantino for Django Unchained.   A bit too unknown a quantity.  In addition, unlike ZDT and Amour, the buzz hasn’t really started yet, so it’s hard to say.  But it has a very good chance.
Martin McDonagh for Seven Psychopaths.  It deserves to be up there.  I haven’t seen all the above movies yet, but it’s my favorite original screenplay of the year so far.  But no one seems to think it has much of a chance and it may not have made enough of an impression on the public when it opened (maybe even less than Moonrise Kingdom).
The remainder:  Woody Allen for To Rome With Love (some people loved it, but so many people hated it, I mean hated, it I don’t think it will make it; but it is Woody);  John Gatins for Flight (probably only a best actor nom, but it’s possible, even though the it’s not that strong a screenplay); Rian Johnson for Looper (very popular and people thought it was a clever screenplay—it wasn’t; but it has a chance);  Jacques Audiar, Thomas Bidegain and Craig Davidson for Rust and Bone (mainly included because it opened to excellent reviews and Marion Cotillard is expected to get a nomination, and it could be another of those damn idiosyncratic choices the screenplay branch likes, but I’m not convinced, yet).
If I had to make a prediction now, I would go with Zero Dark Thirty, Armour, Django Unchained, Moonrise Kingdom and Seven Psychopaths. 
Adapted screenplay:
This is actually a much easier category only because the most likely candidates have sort of risen to the top, like cream, I suppose, I mean, if you have to use a simile, it’ll do, I guess.
But what may make this a bit more difficult is that if ZDT is going to win best picture and then wins screenplay, this is the consolation prize category. 
David O. Russell for Silver Linings Playbook to win.  People love the film. It’s going to get a number of other nominations.  It has some good writing (though the second half is a little weak).   It’s the sort of thing that could just win the consolation prize.
Tony Kushner for Lincoln.  SLP’s biggest competitor and it could win.  But I’m getting the feeling that Lincoln may be a movie that everybody loves, but somehow is going to get shut out more than one might expect (except for best actor which still seems a shoo-in for Daniel Day-Lewis).   But since it’s such a big movie and isn’t going to win Best Picture (which right now, is going to ZDT), it may lose out to a consolation prize award (which could go to SLP).
Chris Terrio for Argo.  The definite winner until Silver Linings Playbook and Lincoln opened.  It’s great Hollywood studio writing (which is also its drawback).  But the movie may have peaked too soon and it may have trouble doing as well as originally thought.
Benh Zeitlin and Lucy Alibar for Beasts of the Southern Wild.  In another year, this would have automatically won the consolation prize award.  But it doesn’t look good this year with fierce competition and a more solid set of nominations.  It feels more like this film is going to be one of those, it’s just an honor to be nominated movie. 
William Nicholson for Les Miserables.  This seems a certainty, though strangely enough, the fact that it’s more an opera than a musical I suppose could hurt it (isn’t the real writing the lyrics and the music and just how much of an adaptation could Nicholson have done when it came to that; at the same time, Kenneth Branagh got a nomination for adapting Hamlet, so this is probably a silly objection, at least when it comes to a nom).  
Other possibilities:  Stephen Chobosky for The Perks of Being a Wallflower (should be included, but Beasts… may be the only really non-big, more independent film to get a nom; screenwriters are idiosyncratic, but only up to a point—they ultimately know who signs their paychecks); David Magee for Life of Pi (perhaps the screenplay with the best chance to unseat one of the above, but people may feel it’s more a director’s movie than a writer’s); Ben Lewin for The Sessions (a well liked movie, but may have to settle for a couple of acting awards); Tim Burton and Leonard Ripps for Frankenweenie (it’s doing well in winning animation awards with the critics, but hard to see what it could upset above); John J. McLaughlin for Hitchcock (a clever script, but that may be it’s problem—viewers thought that was all it was and have been disappointed it wasn’t a more serious look at the great filmmaker).
After this, basically what I will be doing is updating each category.  At this point, the basic nominees have been set.  When deciding if someone new is going to be included (Bradley Cooper, Hugh Jackman, etc.), you will have to make the choice of who will he replaced, i.e. who will not be nominated who was thought a shoo in before.  This is where the guessing becomes really difficult.

OSCARS 2012


It’s getting to be that time of the year, so I’m going to start my annual blogs on the Oscars.  I know, I know.  It’s the one baited breath thing you’ve been waiting all year to hear about.  Well, you can finally stop thinking about the election and really grapple with something important now.  No need to thank me.  It’s just what I do. 

These entries will be quick and off the top of my head, so my thoughts will change as time goes on.  This entry will deal with best picture.

By now, I usually know what’s going to win top dog.  But this year, I was really stymied for a long time and even now I’m not totally sure.  I’m not certain why things are so up in the air this year.  Maybe it’s because it’s been one of the worst years for movies in the U.S. and it’s been hard for anything to really galvanize people.   But it does look like things are starting to gel. 

Argo:   The Mitt Romney of the noms.  As of right now, this is the lead to win best picture (though I think the Presidential election will come out differently).  It has all the right qualifications.  It’s perfectly middle brow, i.e., it makes the audience think it’s edgy, takes chances, is very serious, really grapples with important subject matter, when in reality, it’s a safe, above average action/thriller.  Very retro, but gets the job done.  It also is a box office hit, but not such a hit that people think it’s a studio time waster like The Avengers or The Amazing Spider-Man.  It also has some nice selling points from a marketing standpoint.  First, it’s based on a true story and a true story that most people are unaware of; and it’s a great story, one of those, if it hadn’t really happened, no one would ever believe it had (even if it didn’t really, exactly happen the way it happened in the movie).  Second, Ben Affleck’s acting career had seriously stalled, then he became a director, and is now finally getting new respect, so it’s something of a come back story.  Third, it’s topical—well, topical for a Hollywood story; it takes place in the Middle East, though as was mentioned above, it doesn’t really tell us that much or give us any serious insight into what’s going on over there.  The writer and director are having too good a time entertaining us to do something like that.

Beasts of the Southern Wild:  The Barack Obama of the noms (though, again, I personally think the election will go a different way than the Oscars).  The indie darling of the year.  It probably should win best picture, but will have to settle for a best picture, actress (the youngest ever), screenplay and maybe supporting actor and director nom.  This is the movie that does something and takes the art of filmmaking forward, unlike Argo that is very old school, very George Bush.   It has a great grass roots organization behind it; after all this time, it’s like the Energizer Bunny: it just keeps going and going and going.  It came from nowhere and worked its way up to the top on sheer quality alone.

The Master: a tough call.  The critics love it, but not many others seem to, and it’s the others that vote for the nominations.  In a year of only five noms, I would say this wouldn’t have a chance, but it’s the sort of love it or hate it that the new rules of possibly up to ten noms is made for and it may slip in.  Whether it will get a directing nod is much more difficult to say.  Should get a best actor nom no matter what (Joachim Phoenix) and possibly supporting actor and actress (Hoffman and Adams).

Les Miserables: There is a certain set of films that is impossible to make a guess on until they open.  These are movies that are so big, have such high expectations, have so much “talent” associated with them, that everyone thinks they are a sure thing until they open when most of them crash and burn.  This is especially true of musicals.  I refuse to make any sort of guess until people who have seen it (regular people, not critics) start reacting to it.  Remember Nine?  I’m not making that mistake again.

Lincoln:  See above for Les Miserables.  The previews make it look ponderous, overstuff and self-important.  But it’s Steven Spielberg, so who knows, it might also be entertaining.  It’s suppose to win a best actor for Daniel Day Lewis (beginning to look like one of the few sure things right now), and some possible supporting noms.  Expect to see it in the top ten even if it’s awful simply because it’s Spielberg.

Django Unchained:  In a year of five, probably no way, but in a year of up to ten?  Maybe.  The problem is that it’s by Tarantino.  Tarantino is one of our greatest filmmakers, but he’s a very serious filmmaker who doesn’t makes serious films.  They do nothing, but do it absolutely brilliantly.  This, I think, makes it difficult for the Academy to actually nominate him.  The exceptions were Inglorious Basterds which was about the heavy subject of WWII, Nazism and the Holocaust, and Pulp Fiction which was something people hadn’t really seen before and made people see movies in a different way (and was a film noir, which helped).  Django is basically a Spaghetti Western, so there you have it.  Also, people seem a little uneasy right now whether it’s going to work.

Silver Linings Playbook: It’s been getting a lot of good buzz, but the previews make it look incredibly formulaic and sentimental, so until it opens, it’s an unknown quantity.

Arbitrage:  Not on anybody’s radar right now, but don’t count it out.  It’s the sort of well made, unambitious, entertaining movie that wins voters over.  It’s just fun and there’s often a movie on the list that is just fun.

Moonrise Kingdom:  The, “Oh, yeah, right, I remember that movie, I loved it, but whatever happened to it” film of the year.  People have even forgotten it opened this year and it’s been overshadowed by Beasts of the Southern Wild.

Amour:  A shoe-in for awhile, but it’s also the Austrian entry in the Foreign Language Film category so that may cut against it.  I still think it might have a chance since we have up to ten movies to nom.  It’s very different from Haneke’s other films, so the voters may feel safe in voting for it.  It also may get a best actor and actress nom, as well as screenplay.

Life of Pi, Flight, Zero Dark Thirty, The Hobbit are all too unknown quantities right now.