How could the 2013 Academy Award Nominations ignore James Gandolfini in Andrew Dominik’s Killing Them Softly?  He was stunning as Mickey – the washed-up hitman with a chip on each shoulder.  Even his skin was acting in close-ups on screen.  His skin was actually conveying subtext about his past regrets belying his cavalier dialogue .  Now that’s acting.

Okay, the Academy was never going to go for a movie that holds a mirror up to America and reflects it as it really is today – a desolate wasteland littered with wastrels grinding each other down as the GFC hits criminal enterprise.

But it did give a nod to the more pro-American movies such as: Argo – Ben Affleck’s directorial tour de force kindly pro-Canadian too AND Lincoln – Spielberg’s latest masterpiece which is reminiscent of the wonderful Hollywood bloat the Academy just loves (ie Citizen Kane).

On the other hand – The Master got treated more like a mistress and politely pushed to the back of the room.


Joaquin Phoenix picked up a Best Actor nom but he won’t win.  Still, I’m keen to hear anything he has to say on the red carpet, at the awards, after the awards etc.  I like mad art.  And this guy IS mad art.

Kath Bigelow surely didn’t believe heading back for a Middle East-themed movie about America’s enslavement to propaganda about terrorism (Zero Dark Thirty) would get her another Best Director nod.  It might be a great film but the subject matter and context are not varied enough from her previous slam-dunk The Hurt Locker.

Wow – the giggly surprise had to be a star of The Hangover 2 getting a Best Actor nom – Bradley Cooper for Silver Linings Playbook.  I’m not saying he doesn’t deserve the nod – just saying it’s a big leap from The Hangover 2 to Oscar recognition.  (I did finally love him in Limitless, though.)

It’s a joy Jackie Weaver proved she didn’t just fluke her first Oscar nomination for Animal Kingdom.  Now she’s got another shot at the title for her role as Brad Cooper’s mum and she shared the screen with de Niro.  Booyah!


Naomi Watts looks like the odds-on fave to win an Oscar for The Impossible.  And with Hugh Jackman getting both BAFTA and Oscar noms for Best Actor – well – best he start working on a few different acceptance speeches about his role in Les Miserables because he’ll be making a few as the 2013 award season unfolds.

Fighting it out for Best Supporting Actress will Sally Field, Jackie Weaver and Anne Hathaway (who looked a lot like Rove McManus in Les Mis). 

Daniel Day Lewis won’t win Best Actor.  He’s got 2 already and the Academy won’t elevate an actor to that God-like status very often.


I’d love to see Django Unchained convert some noms into wins.  Christoph Waltz deserves Best Supporting Actor again in a Tarantino film again (seeing Gandolfini didn’t get a start in the same category, dammit.)

But in these dark economic times and  witnessing America’s futile desire to be free of the tyranny of the GFC and its own economic slavery – my gut feeling reckons voters will look to past freedom fighters to put up on Oscar pedestals.  So Steven ‘SS’ Spielberg might be the big winner of the biggest prize of all.

But does Lincoln deserve it?  And if it does win big, will it be a true and free win?  Or will it be a heavily politicized ‘bought’ win – with Hollywood marketeering getting it across the line?

If Abraham Lincoln was alive today – he might be surprised the only thing America has abolished in the last few decades is freedom.

When nothing is free, there is no real freedom.


We’ll find out the winners and grinners when we hit the couch to see the Oscars handed out on Feb 24.

(That’s me in the bear suit ready for the Awards.)