Tuesday, 29 January 2013


WRITTEN BY: Tony Kushner
DIRECTED BY: Steven Spielberg
STARRING: Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, Tommy Lee Jones, David Strathairn, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, James Spader
RATING: 1.5 stars

Remember in those early seasons of Aaron Sorkin's The West Wing when the protagonists would have long debates with each other and you were entertained by their wit and intelligence? Well, in Lincoln the protagonists also have long-winded debates. Unfortunately, those conversations lack all wit, are only sparingly amusing with one-liners you would miss if you lost concentration for a moment, and are drearily boring. I like studying history, but even I was bored during Lincoln. What is Daniel Day-Lewis tipped to win an Oscar for - remembering big chunks of dialogue?

The film centres on the final months of Lincoln's life in 1864, including the passage of the 13th amendment ending slavery, the surrender of the confederacy during the civil war and his assassination, although the latter is not shown on screen. I was hoping for an interesting story about America's civil war president and how he emancipated the slaves. Instead, I got a film about political process with a few back-room tricks and bribes that politicians would never get away with in the modern western world. I suppose for that I should find some appreciation, but I wanted to see more about Lincoln, the man.

The so-called climax in particular dragged on with all the members of the House of Representatives stating whether they voted for the 13th amendment or not. I thought, "Surely they aren't going to go through every person in parliament are they?" Well, they very nearly did. Perhaps with some editing the film, which runs for about 150 minutes, could have been improved but it was far too bland - a combination of a mediocre script by Tony Kushner and a lack of imagination from Steven Spielberg, a director so admired for his imagination. It was obviously a passion project for Spielberg but he did not convey that passion in the film.

Day-Lewis was the stand-out performer in this film, but even he could not save it. I understand why he was given the Oscar nomination, but I certainly don't think he should win. Sally Field had some good moments portraying Lincoln's wife, especially one scene where she rips a politician to shreds, but she was ultimately not all that interesting to watch. Tommy Lee Jones was probably the most entertaining playing an abolitionist, but even he reverted to his grumpy self at times. I think he deserved an Oscar nomination for Hope Springs, rather than this film. Meanwhile, Joseph Gordon-Levitt was underused as Lincoln's son and the rest of the cast was hardly memorable.

Dare I say it, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter entertained me with its ridiculousness more than Lincoln. At least it didn't threaten to put me to sleep.

Monday, 28 January 2013

SAG Awards

After the results of the Screen Actors Guild Awards, two things are almost certain - Anne Hathaway will win a best supporting actress Academy Award for Les Miserables and Daniel Day-Lewis will win best actor for Lincoln. The best actress category remains a toss up between Jessica Chastain and Jennifer Lawrence. My tip for best supporting actor is still Christoph Waltz but that category is also a little more open after today. I'd like to think Argo is the strongest chance for best picture too, but it is still a relatively open competition.

Here is the full list of winners at the SAG Awards.


Outstanding performance by a cast
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Les Miserables
Silver Linings Playbook

Best actor
WINNER: Daniel Day Lewis, Lincoln
Hugh Jackman - Les Miserables
John Hawkes - The Sessions
Bradley Cooper - Silver Linings Playbook
Denzel Washington – Flight

Best actress
WINNER: Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook
Naomi Watts - The Impossible
Helen Mirren - Hitchcock
Marion Cotillard - Rust and Bone
Jessica Chastain - Zero Dark Thirty

Supporting actor
WINNER: Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln
Robert De Niro - Silver Linings Playbook
Alan Arkin - Argo
Javier Bardem - Skyfall
Philip Seymour Hoffman - The Master

Supporting actress
WINNER: Anne Hathaway - Les Miserables
Nicole Kidman - The Paperboy
Sally Field - Lincoln
Helen Hunt - The Sessions
Maggie Smith - The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Best stunt ensemble
WINNER: Skyfall
The Amazing Spider-Man
The Bourne Legacy
The Dark Knight Rises
Les Miserables


Outstanding performance by an ensemble in a drama series
WINNER: Downton Abbey
Boardwalk Empire
Breaking Bad
Mad Men

Outstanding performance by an ensemble in a comedy series
WINNER: Modern Family
30 Rock
The Big Bang Theory
Nurse Jackie
The Office

Outstanding performance by an actor in a drama series
WINNER: Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad
Steve Buscemi - Boardwalk Empire
Jeff Daniels - The Newsroom
Jon Hamm - Mad Men
Damian Lewis - Homeland

Outstanding performance by an actress in a drama series
WINNER: Claire Danes - Homeland
Michelle Dockery - Downton Abbey
Jessica Lange - American Horror Story: Asylum
Julianna Margulies - The Good Wife
Maggie Smith - Downton Abbey

Outstanding performance by an actor in a comedy series
WINNER: Alec Baldwin - 30 Rock
Ty Burrell - Modern Family
Louis C.K. - Louie
Jim Parsons - The Big Bang Theory
Eric Stonestreet - Modern Family

Outstanding performance by an actress in a comedy series
WINNER: Tina Fey - 30 Rock
Edie Falco - Nurse Jackie
Amy Poehler - Parks and Recreation
Sofia Vergara - Modern Family
Betty White - Hot in Cleveland

Outstanding performance by an actor in a telemovie or miniseries
WINNER: Kevin Costner - Hatfields & McCoys
Woody Harrelson - Game Change
Ed Harris - Game Change
Clive Owen - Hemingway & Gellhorn
Bill Paxton - Hatfields & McCoys

Outstanding performance by an actress in a telemovie or miniseries
WINNER: Julianne Moore - Game Change
Nicole Kidman - Hemingway & Gellhorn
Charlotte Rampling - Restless
Sigourney Weaver - Political Animals
Alfre Woodard - Steel Magnolias

Best stunt ensemble
WINNER: Game of Thrones
Boardwalk Empire
Breaking Bad
Sons of Anarchy
The Walking Dead

Life Achievement Award recipient - Dick Van Dyke


Well there were more bad than good dresses this year. Here is my list of the best and worst dressed celebrities on the red carpet.

- Sofia Vergara - Stunning in an off-white dress that accentuates her curves.
- Lea Michelle - Pretty in pink. I'm not sure how she manages to make this dress work, because it is very bright, but she does.
- Jennifer Garner - She looked comfortable and classy in gold.
- Marion Cotillard - Love the blue and white combination. I just hope she can walk in that dress.
- Naomi Watts - She tends to wear very similar dresses lately but this one is still a winner.

- Indina Menzel - Too tight, not at all flattering.
- Anne Hathaway - Black is supposed to be a safe and easy dress option. Not in this case.
- Jane Krakowski - I think it's orange. Right? Well, it's certainly ugly.
- Rose Byrne - That dress needs some trimming all over and some new fabric. Actually, just throw it out and start again.
- Naya Rivera - It looks like she had a wardrobe malfunction, but that's just the "style" of the dress apparently.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Zero Dark Thirty

DIRECTED BY: Kathryn Bigelow
STARRING: Jessica Chastain, Jason Clarke, Joel Edgerton, Chris Pratt, Jennifer Ehle, Mark Strong, Kyle Chandler
RATING: 4.5 stars

We all remember the devastating terrorist attack in New York on September 11, 2001. We also remember the day United States president Barack Obama announced to the world that Osama bin Laden was dead, captured by the US Navy SEALs. So how do you make an exciting thriller about something so widely reported in the media? Well, you just leave it to writer Mark Boal and director Kathryn Bigelow to entertain you. Zero Dark Thirty is more than two-and-a-half hours long, and yet, the time seems to pass quickly. The pace never slows down, the dialogue is fast and intelligent, and there are more than a few moments that will make you jump.

Zero Dark Thirty follows the 10-year CIA hunt for Osama bin Laden, including all the leads and the dead ends along the way. Events depicted include President Obama ordering the CIA to stop the torture of terrorists, the 2005 London bombings and the 2008 bombing of the Marriott Hotel in Pakistan. At times, it feels like a solid history lesson and almost like a documentary, although I'm sure there are many artistic liberties taken with the film. In fact, Zero Dark Thirty has been criticised by Washington politicians who say the film inaccurately depicts torture as integral in finding leads that led to bin Laden's death during a Navy SEALs raid in Pakistan in 2011. But really, despite feeling so realistic, the film is very much a work of fiction and I doubt anyone is watching it believing it is anything more than that. What made it so enthralling though was that Bigelow used real recordings and footage throughout the film.

The story spans so many years that there are inevitably several key characters throughout the film who weave in to inject some new interest and keep the plot running. However, at the heart of the film is one consistent and fascinating character. Maya (Jessica Chastain) has an amazing character arc throughout the film. She begins as an innocent CIA officer who feels awkward watching the violent interrogation of an al-Qaeda detainee led by Dan (Jason Clarke) who seems strangely calm during the controversial torture techniques. Maya then develops into a determined and strong woman obsessed with finding bin Laden. Chastain more than deserves the Oscar nomination for best actress and should win. Speaking of strong women, Jennifer Ehle is also impressive. A lot has been said about "girl power" in this film. While I agree that Maya kicks arse and is right about everything, I don't think this really has to be a feminist issue.

The men stack up quite nicely in this film too. Clarke is simply captivating. His character's tactics against terrorists include water-boarding and mental torture but he is not a stereotypical menacing interrogator. Rather, he can appear friendly and caring one moment before unleashing brutality without even blinking. Clarke deserved award attention for his role. It's a shame he was overlooked. The rest of the cast is also very good such as the Aussies who take on roles as the Navy SEALs including Joel and Nash Edgerton and Callan Mulvey. The raid scene runs for quite a while, but I was fully engrossed in the suspense, again despite knowing what happened in real life.

Zero Dark Thirty is a tense thriller and well worth a look. I wouldn't be disappointed if it won best picture at the Oscars.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Silver Linings Playbook

WRITTEN BY: David O. Russell
DIRECTED BY: David O'Russell
STARRING: Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert DeNiro, Jacki Weaver
RATING: 2.5 stars
I feel like Silver Linings Playbook thinks it's more witty and intelligent than it actually is. While I enjoyed parts of the film, I ultimately found myself wondering what the point was. Is it that people with a mental illness feel love too? Well, of course they do. We don't need Hollywood to tell us that. While the film aims to show the positive side to what may seem like negative situations through comedy, the film failed to engage me in the most important way. It's not that it's a bad film, I'm just not sure it deserves the praise that so many others have shown it, and it's certainly not deserving of its eight Oscar nominations.
Adapted by writer/director David O. Russell from a novel by Matthew Quick, Silver Linings Playbook is an eccentric love story. Pat Solitano (Bradley Cooper) has been in a psychiatric institution for eight months after attacking his wife's lover and being diagnosed with bipolar disorder. He moves back in with his parents Dolores and Pat Sr (Jacki Weaver and Robert DeNiro) who continue to express concern about his mental stability. Pat has lost his job as a teacher and his wife, and his bipolar behaviour continues to alienate people, especially with his unfiltered speech and violent breakdowns. When he meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), Pat enlists her help to get a letter to his estranged wife in the hopes of winning her back. But Tiffany has her own mental health problems since becoming a young widow. The pair strike up an odd and unpredictable friendship that could help them both manage their mental illnesses.
It's impossible to view this film in Australia without carrying some high expectations given the award season buzz, including Academy Award nominations in all four acting categories for the first time in 31 years. As decent as the performances were, most were not worthy of the Oscar nominations. DeNiro and Weaver were both solid but not outstanding, while Cooper was funny and charismatic but not much beyond that. Lawrence, on the other hand, was the stand-out performer blending comedy and drama almost perfectly. There is also a decent supporting cast including Julia Stiles, Chris Tucker and John Ortiz.
A strong theme in Silver Linings Playbook is reading signs. I quite liked the intricacy of that. There is also a very funny dance scene that brought tears to my eyes. Unfortunately, even those two things weren't enough to sustain my interest for two hours. The film was good, but not great.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Django Unchained

WRITTEN BY: Quentin Tarantino
DIRECTED BY: Quentin Tarantino
STARRING: Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Samuel L. Jackson, Kerry Washington
RATING: 4.5 stars
Who cares about the truth when you can have so much fun with fiction? Writer/director Quentin Tarantino returns with what could be his best film yet - a spaghetti western, comedy that rewrites the history of slavery in the United States. Django Unchained has everything fans have come to expect from Tarantio and more - blood, romance, revenge, shootings, more blood, action, foul language, including the "N" word ... did I mention there's lots of blood? Django Unchained is ridiculous fun and while some may be offended by how far he pushes the boundaries, Tarantino has been making films long enough for people to know if they are going to enjoy his work or not. If you're not a fan of his previous films, don't bother reading on.
Django Unchained pays homage to Sergio Corbucci's 1966 spaghetti western Django, starring Franco Nero, who also has a cameo in this film. The stylised opening credits of the period sets the tone for the rest of the film. Set in Texas, two years before the civil war, German dentist turned bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz) buys the freedom of slave Django (Jamie Foxx) because he needs his help to identify his next bounty. The pair strike up a friendship and Django proves to be an asset to Schultz's work so he takes Django on as his deputy. He also agrees to help Django find his wife Broomhilda (Kerry Washington) who was separately sold to someone else when they tried to escape their owner. Their journey leads them to a plantation owned by evil racist Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio).
I want to give all the leads in this film an Academy Award. It is one of the best ensemble casts in years. Waltz has formed a good working relationship with Tarantino since Inglorious Basterds, in which he won an Oscar. He gives another powerful performance in this film as an arrogant and clever humanitarian who happens to kill bad guys for money. It's the perfect contradiction that makes his character so complex and intriguing. Foxx in comparison has a more understated role. He is the lead, but his character does not show off as much as some of the others. Nonetheless, he gives a strong performance. How DiCaprio was overlooked for an Oscar nomination, I'll never understand. In his first real bad guy role, DiCaprio is disgusting, creepy, horrible and scary as a man who appears civil but enjoys watching slaves fight to the death and has no problem ordering dogs to rip apart another slave. Meanwhile, Samuel L. Jackson is almost unrecognisable as Candie's loyal slave. He's very funny and also puts an unexpected hurdle in Django's plans. Washington is the only one I thought weakened the cast. I know she's supposed to be a frightened and tortured slave, but did she have to cry every minute?
What works so well in this film is that at its heart is a very serious issue but it is dealt with in a funny way. One of the best scenes involves a group of regulators who argue over sheets they have to wear over their heads with cut-outs for their eyes. Jonah Hill has an entertaining small role in this scene too. There's also a completely random Australian link towards the end of the film, which I won't spoil, but which was perhaps a nod from Tarantino who is a fan of Australian cinema. The soundtrack is also impressive with some Ennio Morricone mixed in with some James Brown and Tupac Shakur.
If I had to say something negative about this film it is that it is perhaps just a little too long. Just when you think it is going to end, it goes on for another 20 minutes. But really, those 20 minutes are a lot of fun too.
There's no doubt that Django Unchained in a controversial film, but that's what we want from Tarantino, and wow, did he deliver it. While many Americans prefer to ignore their dark past, this film puts a spotlight on it in a brave and entertaining way, just as long as people don't think they are getting an accurate history lesson.


Tuesday, 22 January 2013


WRITTEN BY: John Gatins
DIRECTED BY: Robert Zemeckis
STARRING: Denzel Washington, Kelly Riley, Don Cheadle, John Goodman
RATING: 3.5 stars

The best scene in Flight happens within the first half hour. Actually, for some, the best scene may be the first because there is a lot of female nudity. But really, it's the crash scene that is top-notch. It's exciting to watch and is stylistically well filmed. Although it's not in 3D, you certainly feel like you are on the plane and I'm sure there are a lot of people who will think about this scene the next time they fly. In fact, if nothing else, Flight raises some very good questions about the faith we put in pilots to keep us safe in the air. While it may be fiction, there's a lot about this film that we can apply to real life.

Captain Whip Whitaker (Denzel Washington) is a commercial pilot who doesn't mind drinking alcohol and snorting cocaine on the job. His lifestyle has cost him his marriage and relationship with his son, but Whip is having far too much fun sleeping with attractive flight attendants to mind. Everything changes when Whip pilots a plane that crashes due to a mechanical failure. He actually saves dozens of lives due to his exceptional skills of inverting the plane to slow down the descent, but six people still die in the crash. To make matters worse, Whip was intoxicated at the time, which does not bode well for him during the official investigation that involves hard questions and a toxicology report.

The most interesting aspect of Flight for me was my reaction to Whit. Why do I find myself supporting this man who should never have been piloting a plane in the first place? He is hailed a hero by many for his efforts, but he has also been incredibly irresponsible to fly a plane when he is high (pardon the pun). He is a functioning alcoholic and drug addict, and that is what makes him so interesting to study. The character is cleverly crafted by screenwriter John Gatins and director Robert Zemeckis who makes his return to live-action film making.

The interest in Whip is also largely due to Washington himself who gives a convincing performance and has challenged himself more in this role than he has in recent films. He also makes pilot sunglasses look great - not bad for a man nearing the age of 60. He is supported by Kelly Reilly who plays Nicole, a recovering junkie who tries to help Whip face his demons while also trying to avoid her own relapse. Don Cheadle doesn't appear until half way through the film but he is also solid as Whip's lawyer, while John Goodman provides the much-needed and well-timed laughs as Whip's drug dealer.

Monday, 14 January 2013

2013 Golden Globes

A lot of people criticise the Golden Globes because its voters are about 90 people from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. But as a journalist and film fan, I support the Globes as a prominent award. Why is the Academy any better qualified to judge its own industry than true film lovers from around the world? Besides, in my opinion, the Golden Globes got it mostly right in 2013, especially in the film categories…


Django Unchained
Life of Pi
Zero Dark Thirty

Comedy or Musical
WINNER: Les Misérables
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Moonrise Kingdom
Silver Linings Playbook
Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

WINNER: Ben Affleck, Argo
Kathryn Bigelow, Zero Dark Thirty
Ang Lee, Life of Pi
Steven Spielberg, Lincoln
Quentin Tarantino, Django Unchained

Actor, comedy or musical
WINNER: Hugh Jackman, Les Misérables
Jack Black, Bernie
Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook
Ewan MacGregor, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen
Bill Murray, Hyde Park on Hudson

Actress, comedy or musical
WINNER: Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook
Emily Blunt, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen
Judi Dench, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Maggie Smith, Quartet
Meryl Streep, Hope Springs

Actor, drama
WINNER: Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
Richard Gere, Arbitrage
John Hawkes, The Sessions
Joaquin Phoenix, The Master
Denzel Washington, Flight

Actress, drama
WINNER: Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty
Marion Cotillard, Rust and Bone
Helen Mirren, Hitchcock
Rachel Weisz, The Deep Blue Sea
Naomi Watts, The Impossible

Supporting Actor
WINNER: Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained
Alan Arkin, Argo
Leonardo DiCaprio, Django Unchained
Philip Seymour Hoffman, The Master
Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln

Supporting Actress
WINNER: Anne Hathaway, Les Misérables
Amy Adams, The Master
Sally Field, Lincoln
Helen Hunt, The Sessions
Nicole Kidman, The Paperboy

WINNER: Quentin Tarantino, Django Unchained
Chris Terrio, Argo
Tony Kushner, Lincoln
David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook
Mark Boal, Zero Dark Thirty

Original Score
WINNER: Mychael Danna, Life of Pi
Alexandre Desplat, Argo
Dario Marianeli, Anna Karenina
Tom Tykwer, Johnny Klimek, Reinhold Heil, Cloud Atlas
John Williams, Lincoln

Best Original Song
WINNER: Adele, Skyfall (Skyfall)
Keith Urban, For You (Act of Valor)
Taylor Swift, Safe & Sound (The Hunger Games)
Hugh Jackman, Suddenly (Les Misérables)
Jon Bon Jovi, Not Running Anymore (Stand Up Guys)

Animated Feature Film
Hotel Transylvania
Rise of the Guardians
Wreck-It Ralph

Foreign Film
The Intouchables
A Royal Affair
Rust and Bone


Miniseries or TV Movie
WINNER: Game Change, HBO
Hatfields & McCoys, History
The Girl, HBO
The Hour, BBC America
Political Animals, USA

WINNER: Homeland, Showtime
Boardwalk Empire, HBO
Breaking Bad, AMC
Downton Abbey, PBS
The Newsroom, HBO

Comedy or Musical
The Big Bang Theory, CBS
Episodes, Showtime
Modern Family, ABC
Smash, NBC

Actor, drama series
WINNER: Damian Lewis, Homeland, Showtime
Steve Buscemi, Boardwalk Empire, HBO
Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad, AMC
Jeff Daniels, The Newsroom, HBO
Jon Hamm, Mad Men, AMC

Actress, drama series
WINNER: Claire Danes, Homeland, Showtime
Connie Britton, Nashville, ABC
Michelle Dockery, Downton Abbey, PBS
Glenn Close, Damages, DirecTV
Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife, CBS

Actor, comedy or musical series
WINNER: Don Cheadle, House of Lies, Showtime
Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock, NBC
Louis C.K., Louie, FX
Matt LeBlanc, Episodes, Showtime
Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory, CBS

Actress, comedy or musical series
WINNER: Lena Dunham, Girls, HBO
Zooey Deschanel, The New Girl, Fox
Tina Fey,30 Rock, NBC
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep, HBO
Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation, NBC

Supporting Actor, series, miniseries or movie
WINNER: Ed Harris, Game Change, HBO
Max Greenfield, New Girl, Fox
Danny Huston, Magic City, Starz
Mandy Patinkin, Homeland, Showtime
Eric Stonestreet, Modern Family, ABC

Supporting Actress, series, miniseries or movie
WINNER: Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey, PBS
Hayden Panettiere, Nashville, ABC
Archie Punjabi, The Good Wife, CBS
Sarah Paulson, American Horror Story, FX
Sofia Vergara, Modern Family, ABC

Actor, miniseries or TV movie
WINNER: Kevin Costner, Hatfields & McCoys, History
Benedict Cumberbatch, Sherlock, PBS
Woody Harrelson, Game Change, HBO
Toby Jones, The Girl, HBO
Clive Owen, Hemingway & Gellhorn, HBO

Actress, miniseries or TV movie
WINNER: Julianne Moore, Game Change, HBO
Nicole Kidman, Hemingway & Gellhorn, HBO
Jessica Lange, American Horror Story, FX
Sienna Miller, The Girl, HBO
Sigourney Weaver, Political Animals, USA

Cecil B DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award
Jodie Foster

Here's the very funny opening from Tina Fey and Amy Poehler:

And here is one of the best presenting pairs ever:


My list of the best dressed celebrities:

- Heidi Klum - She had a slit in her dress, but she didn’t throw her leg out like everyone seemed to do. Stunning in white.
- Claire Danes - Gorgeous in red. I don’t know who I adore more, Danes or her rdiculously handsome husband, Hugh Dancy.
- Jacki Weaver - I love it when older women look fabulous on the red carpet. Classy in green.
- Hayden Panatierre - She had the figure to make that dress work well.
- Jessica Alba - I don’t even particularly like coral, but she made it look amazing.

My list of the worst dressed celebrities:

- Sienna Miller - I have no words. It's just ugly.
- Halle Berry - She was copying Angelina Jolie with the leg thing. I have a major girl crush on Halle. I wish I didn't have to put her on this list.
- Amy Adams - Her dress was too pale, too tight and not flattering.
- Carla Gugino - She could hurt someone with that dress. It's very prickly.
- Lucy Liu - She wore a garden to the Golden Globes.

What did you think of the Golden Globes?

Friday, 11 January 2013

2013 Academy Award Nominees and Snubs

Every year film fans look forward to the Oscar nominations and then whinge about who was snubbed. Then the actual awards are handed out and outrage is expressed all over again. But let's remember that film is art and art is subjective. Having said that, there are some shocking inclusions and exclusions for the 2013 Academy Awards. Here's the list of nominees followed by a few personal thoughts…

Beasts of the Southern Wild
Django Unchained
Les Miserables
Life of Pi
Silver Linings Playbook
Zero Dark Thirty

Ang Lee, Life of Pi
David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook
Behn Zeitlin, Beast of the Southern Wild
Michael Haneke, Amour
Steven Spielberg, Lincoln

Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook
Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
Denzel Washington, Flight
Hugh Jackman, Les Miserables
Joaquin Phoenix, The Master

Emmanuelle Riva, Amour
Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook
Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty
Naomi Watts, The Impossible
Quvenzhane Wallis, Beasts of the Southern Wild

Alan Arkin, Argo
Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained
Philip Seymour Hoffman, The Master
Robert De Niro, Silver Linings Playbook
Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln

Amy Adams, The Master
Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables
Sally Field, Lincoln
Helen Hunt, The Sessions
Jacki Weaver, Silver Linings Playbook

Django Unchained
Moonrise Kingdom
Zero Dark Thirty

Beasts of the Southern Wild
Life of Pi
Silver Linings Playbook

The Pirates! Band of Misfits
Wreck-It Ralph

A Royal Affair
War Witch

5 Broken Cameras
The Gatekeepers
How to Survive a Plague
The Invisible War
“Searching for Sugar Man

Kings Point
Mondays at Racine
Open Heart

Anna Karenina
Django Unchained
Life of Pi

Life of Pi
Silver Linings Playbook
Zero Dark Thirty

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Life of Pi
Marvel's The Avengers
Snow White and the Huntsman

Anna Karenina
Les Miserables
Mirror Mirror
Snow White and the Huntsman

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Les Miserables

Anna Karenina
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Les Miserables
Life of Pi

Anna Karenina
Life of Pi

"Before My Time” from Chasing Ice
"Everybody Needs a Best Friend” from Ted
"Pi's Lullaby” from Life of Pi
"Skyfall” from Skyfall
"Suddenly” from Les Miserables

Django Unchained
Life of Pi
Zero Dark Thirty

Les Miserables
Life of Pi

Adam and Dog
Fresh Guacamole
Head Over Heels
Maggie Simpson in 'The Longest Daycare'

Buzkashi Boys
Death of a Shadow (Dood van een Schaduw)


Leonardo DiCaprio - That's two years in a row now that he's been snubbed. Has the Academy just given up on him? Will Leo ever win a much-deserved Oscar?

Ben Affleck - Seven nominations for his film and yet he misses out on a directing nod. He was my favourite to win too. He must be thinking, "Argo fuck yourself!"

Quentin Tarantino - Some consider Django Unchained to be his best work and yet he's left out in the cold.

Kathryn Bigelow - She's a former Oscar winning director and her film Zero Dark Thirty has been nominated in other categories but she still misses out?

Tom Hooper - Perhaps it's because people complained about his choice of camera style in Les Miserables?

John Hawkes - Helen Hunt was nominated for The Sessions and Hawkes wasn't? Bizarre.

The Dark Knight Rises - Not a surprise that the Academy refuses to acknowledge this masterpiece of film. Not even a visual effects nomination.

Garrett Hedlund - Not many would feel that this was a snub, but I thought he gave one of the best performances on screen this past year in On The Road.


Beasts of the Southern Wild - A popular film, but it came out of nowhere to get several major nominations.

Silver Linings Playbook - I haven't seen this film yet, but I'm certainly intrigued with all these nominations, including all four acting categories.

Amour - Nominated for best foreign film and best picture. Highly unusual. The dark horse?


- Steven Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy share the record for the most best picture nominations for individual producers with eight each.

- With his best picture nomination for Argo, producer George Clooney joins Warren Beatty as the only person to have nominations for best picture, directing, writing and acting.

- Michael Kahn becomes the most-nominated film editor with his eighth nomination this year for Lincoln.