Best Picture and Director 2012

What are your choices for Best Picture and Director of 2012?

Amour
14
21%
Argo
2
3%
Beasts of the Southern Wild
1
1%
Django Unchained
1
1%
Les Misérables
1
1%
Life of Pi
1
1%
Lincoln
6
9%
Silver Linings Playbook
1
1%
Zero Dark Thirty
7
10%
Michael Haneke - Amour
18
26%
Ang Lee - Life of Pi
4
6%
David O. Russell - Silver Linings Playbook
2
3%
Steven Spielberg - Lincoln
7
10%
Benh Zeitlin - Beasts of the Southern Wild
3
4%
 
Total votes: 68

MaxWilder
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Re: Best Picture and Director 2012

Postby MaxWilder » Thu Apr 08, 2021 10:56 am

Heksagon wrote:I’m a bit surprised that there aren’t more votes for Django Unchained, which is my own favourite film here. Django is a film that only Quentin Tarantino can make, and the characters and the story work a lot better here than in Kill Bill or Inglourious Basterds. Maybe a few scenes go on for too long, it didn’t really bother me.

QT’s editor, Sally Menke, was his secret weapon. (And he knew it. When else do you see the editor credited immediately after the writer-director?) Tarantino hasn’t been the same since she passed. Django and Hollywood are nominally longer than Basterds, but feel endless by comparison. As for The Hateful Eight—was it even edited?

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Re: Best Picture and Director 2012

Postby Sabin » Wed Apr 07, 2021 4:43 pm

mlrg wrote
Yes, it hits the same ceiling as Argo, although Argo is a much lighter film than ZD30.

Even if ZD30 would have won at the globes it doesn’t change my opinion that Life of Pi takes the Oscar. Even without Argo it should be noted that Bigelow was also not nominated for best director. It’s only win was sound effects and even that was under a tie with Skyfall.

This is true. I think Zero Dark Thirty is looking at wins for Best Film Editing and possibly an outright win for Sound Editing or at least the same tie. There is also an outside chance it could win Best Original Screenplay or Actress but I doubt it. Then again, if Zero Dark Thirty gets a more protracted moment in the spotlight, who knows?

However it's worth noting that Zero Dark Thirty could do better overall without Argo taking air out of the conversation as the preferred political thriller. If Hollywood doesn't have the less challenging Argo to switch to, it's possible some in the industry stick to their guns and defend Zero Dark Thirty. Either way, it benefits without there being an alternative. Certainly winning more Golden Globes than any other film that year (Best Drama, Director, and Actress) boost its fanfare before hitting the ceiling. I just wonder if maybe it becomes easier for Kathryn Bigelow to elbow in past Benh Zeitlin.

Argo is definitely as forgettable as anything to win.

I appreciate your responses. I'm still not sold on Life of Pi taking home Best Picture but great thoughts.
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Re: Best Picture and Director 2012

Postby mlrg » Mon Apr 05, 2021 6:22 pm

Sabin wrote:
mlrg wrote
Probably they would go for Zero Dark Thirty for best picture and Bigelow for best director. The HFPA awarded Avatar and Cameron three years earlier and this would be like a make up win. Jessica Chastain won best actress and the movie peaked during the period the HFPA was voting for their winners.

That's an interesting take. You could be right. So, Zero Dark Thirty walks away with three Golden Globes (Picture, Actress, and Director) heading into Oscar season. That certainly boosts its standing. And without Argo in the midst, it becomes the only film about a secret government mission (I know that's reductive) in the race. But you would agree it hits the same ceiling, correct?

I think the ceiling for additional nominations to add to Zero Dark Thirty's total are Best Director, Original Score, Cinematography, and Sound Mixing. I'm not sure how many of those it ultimately picks up but at least a couple.


Yes, it hits the same ceiling as Argo, although Argo is a much lighter film than ZD30.

Even if ZD30 would have won at the globes it doesn’t change my opinion that Life of Pi takes the Oscar. Even without Argo it should be noted that Bigelow was also not nominated for best director. It’s only win was sound effects and even that was under a tie with Skyfall.

In retrospect and looking at the list of nominated films I think Argo is probably one of the most forgettable films of the list and one of the most forgettable best picture winners ever. It hasn’t aged well either.

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Re: Best Picture and Director 2012

Postby Sabin » Mon Apr 05, 2021 6:10 pm

mlrg wrote
Probably they would go for Zero Dark Thirty for best picture and Bigelow for best director. The HFPA awarded Avatar and Cameron three years earlier and this would be like a make up win. Jessica Chastain won best actress and the movie peaked during the period the HFPA was voting for their winners.

That's an interesting take. You could be right. So, Zero Dark Thirty walks away with three Golden Globes (Picture, Actress, and Director) heading into Oscar season. That certainly boosts its standing. And without Argo in the midst, it becomes the only film about a secret government mission (I know that's reductive) in the race. But you would agree it hits the same ceiling, correct?

I think the ceiling for additional nominations to add to Zero Dark Thirty's total are Best Director, Original Score, Cinematography, and Sound Mixing. I'm not sure how many of those it ultimately picks up but at least a couple.
"Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough." ~ FDR

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Re: Best Picture and Director 2012

Postby mlrg » Mon Apr 05, 2021 6:01 pm

Sabin wrote:
mlrg wrote
Argo won the globe for best picture drama, not Lincoln.

I didn't phrase that as well as I could've. I meant without Argo in the race, it would seem like Lincoln's to lose. Do you think Lincoln would have won or something else?


Probably they would go for Zero Dark Thirty for best picture and Bigelow for best director. The HFPA awarded Avatar and Cameron three years earlier and this would be like a make up win. Jessica Chastain won best actress and the movie peaked during the period the HFPA was voting for their winners.

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Re: Best Picture and Director 2012

Postby Sabin » Mon Apr 05, 2021 5:18 pm

mlrg wrote
Argo won the globe for best picture drama, not Lincoln.

I didn't phrase that as well as I could've. I meant without Argo in the race, it would seem like Lincoln's to lose. Do you think Lincoln would have won or something else?
"Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough." ~ FDR

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Re: Best Picture and Director 2012

Postby mlrg » Mon Apr 05, 2021 5:08 pm

Sabin wrote: I wonder if Lincoln doesn't win the Golden Globe for Best Drama, what does?


Argo won the globe for best picture drama, not Lincoln.

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Re: Best Picture and Director 2012

Postby Sabin » Mon Apr 05, 2021 4:12 pm

mlrg wrote
I think Life of Pi would take best picture. Although I don’t like the film it clearly is the most inventive of the bunch and had big support from the technical branches. It’s not as an actors film but Ang Lee clearly is liked by actors and that’s why I think he won best director.

I'm not sure that's why he won Best Director. I think he won Best Director for the same reason that Alfonso Cuaron won the following year: big technical achievements have the inside track to this award. You could be right that Life of Pi would be the de facto winner. I think it would likely take home the DGA Award but films that aren't nominated for a SAG Cast nomination (also, never in the running for a nomination) rarely win Best Picture. And is Ang Lee truly that liked by actors? Is that just based on the fact that he directed Brokeback Mountain and Sense and Sensibility?

mlrg wrote
On paper Lincoln always seemed like an academy favorite but in the end it came out as more a respected film than an admired one. In my book the film is a complete snooze fest.

I like the film quite a bit but it certainly does appear that the film was more respected than loved. I wonder if Lincoln doesn't win the Golden Globe for Best Drama, what does?
"Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough." ~ FDR

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Re: Best Picture and Director 2012

Postby mlrg » Sun Apr 04, 2021 3:58 pm

I think Life of Pi would take best picture. Although I don’t like the film it clearly is the most inventive of the bunch and had big support from the technical branches. It’s not as an actors film but Ang Lee clearly is liked by actors and that’s why I think he won best director.

On paper Lincoln always seemed like an academy favorite but in the end it came out as more a respected film than an admired one. In my book the film is a complete snooze fest.

Interesting to note that since Artificial Intelligence Spielberg’s filmography is very very academic and very far from his creative streak that run for 25 years.

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Re: Best Picture and Director 2012

Postby Sabin » Sun Apr 04, 2021 2:22 pm

Let's play this again: what happens if there's no Argo? Either it doesn't get made, or it gets pushed, or I don't know let's say it turns out that -- surprise! -- Ben Affleck just isn't good at making movies.

What wins Best Picture instead?

We're looking at a totally different awards season because surprisingly Argo had the biggest sweep of any film this decade. It won the Golden Globe, the BAFTA, the SAG, the DGA, the PGA, and the WGA. And somehow wasn't up for Best Director. It's worth saying again that I think from almost any metric, the 2012 Oscar race was the strongest lineup of "Oscar-able" films until 2019/last year. I mean, Argo, Django Unchained, Life of Pi, Lincoln, Les Miserables, Silver Linings Playbook, Zero Dark Thirty... in any other year, any of these films could rack up double-digit nominations and take the top prize. 2012 is on nobody's list of one of the great years for film but a very impressive crop of films. Without Argo in the mix, it's hard to imagine any one film taking it all. But what would've won?

I remember Zero Dark Thirty was dominating December/early January conversations with its strong box office and major critic's wins. It felt like a contender but then the whisper campaign really took off. It's conceivable that Zero Dark Thirty maybe even picks up an award or two from the Golden Globes. It almost definitely wins Best Film Editing. I'm not sure it wins Best Picture.

Next off the list is... maybe Django Unchained? It only got five nominations. It picked up two Golden Globe wins, which was a surprisingly strong total, plus monster box office. It's possible without Argo in the race that it grabs a Best Film Editing nomination or another Best Supporting Actor nominations, but I get the sense that The Weinstein Company saw Silver Linings Playbook as their Oscar film.

Les Miserables picked up a Golden Globe for Best Comedy or Musical Film plus DGA, PGA, and SAG nominations, and did very well at the box office. But it was also (alongside Zero Dark Thirty) the most polarizing film of the bunch. It didn't get nominations for writing or editing. Maybe without Argo in the race it picks both up but I doubt it.

That leaves Life of Pi, Lincoln, and Silver Linings Playbook.

I'm going to write off Life of Pi next even though it ended up winning Best Director. Yes, maybe it would win the DGA. Maybe even the PGA or Golden Globes for Best Drama and Director. But it was going to hit a brick wall with the actors. It wasn't up for any acting nominations nor really ever in the conversation. But really today, it's pretty clearly one of those big budget spectacles like Avatar, Hugo, Gravity, The Revenant, Dunkirk, and 1917 that looks like it could win but is ultimately more admired for its spectacle than its emotional storytelling. But again: who knows? Its best case scenario doesn't look much different than what it ended up winning. Probably Best Picture along with its wins for Best Director, Original Score, Cinematography, and Visual Effects but it would also be in the running for Best Production Design, Sound Mixing, and Sound Editing. But again: with few exceptions (like The Shape of Water), this looks like a crop of winners that usually goes to a movie that does great down-ballot but not Best Picture.

I guess Silver Linings Playbook is next off the list but I'm not so sure. For one big reason, The Weinstein Company was at the height of their second renaissance during this period. They had just picked up two consecutive Best Picture wins and their one-two punch of Django Unchained and Silver Linings Playbook was evidence of a strong year. Maybe not 2002 strong. It would all go away very quickly though. Anyway, because David O. Russell picked up a Best Director nomination and nabbed DGA nominations for The Fighter and American Hustle, it seems likely that he would be the beneficiary of Argo's DGA slot which makes the film Oscar-able. It also seems like a likely SAG winner without Argo in the mix. An underdog. Its best case scenario is probably pulling out wins for Best Picture, Actress, and Adapted Screenplay. Maybe Best Supporting Actor as well but it's hard to make a case for why if it didn't happen IRL.

Finally, that leaves Lincoln, the movie to beat all year which means it probably takes home the top prize. A chance to honor Steven Spielberg and democracy in a year where Obama was reelected. What's strange is that it seems the least shaken up by the race. There aren't any real nominations or precursors it stands to gain. Maybe it takes the Golden Globe for Best Drama? (although the most nominations is not necessarily a signal of victory) Maybe it wins the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay? (although the BAFTA gave it to Silver Linings Playbook over both Argo and Lincoln) Maybe it wins the SAG? But then there are those industry rumors that it was more admired than loved. The best case scenario, is it picks up Oscars for Best Picture, Director, Actor, Adapted Screenplay, and Production Design. Maybe Best Supporting Actor as well but again it's hard to make a case for why that would happen if it didn't IRL.

I'm not sure. What do you all think now that we're eight years and a world of grey hair away from this moment?
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Re: Best Picture and Director 2012

Postby Heksagon » Wed Jul 30, 2014 12:46 am

I’m a bit surprised that there aren’t more votes for Django Unchained, which is my own favourite film here. Django is a film that only Quentin Tarantino can make, and the characters and the story work a lot better here than in Kill Bill or Inglourious Basterds. Maybe a few scenes go on for too long, it didn’t really bother me.

Amour and Zero Dark Thirty are next best here. Amour is a simple, but also a highly effective film, that does a lot of things right. Zero is vastly better than The Hurt Locker, it looks like having an actual plot work with gave Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal a chance to show what they really are capable of.

Argo and Life of Pi are both good films that could be a lot more, given the source material. Pi has great visuals, but unfortunately, at the cost of not focusing enough on the story and the philosophical aspects of the novel.

Lincoln and Beast of the Southern Wild are both films with a lot of positive elements in them, but they just didn’t connect for me.

And I really can’t understand the praise for Silver Linings Playbook here. I absolutely hated that film, it just felt incredibly fake to me.

Nominees ranked:

1. Django Unchained
2. Amour
3. Zero Dark Thirty
4. Life of Pi
5. Argo
6. Lincoln
7. Beasts of the Southern Wild
8. Les Misérables
9. Silver Linings Playbook

My votes go to Django Unchained and Michael Haneke.

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Re: Best Picture and Director 2012

Postby The Original BJ » Sat May 31, 2014 4:15 am

I thought this was a strong year with a mostly impressive set of nominees. As for alts, I'd probably say The Master, though I'd push for it more enthusiastically under Director than Picture, as I thought it was a dazzlingly made, piercingly acted movie, but I didn't feel the pieces of the story entirely gelled by the end of it.

The only nominee I actively disliked was Les Mis. I'd seen the musical several times on stage, and though it was never a personal favorite, I never disliked it. I severely called that opinion into question while watching the movie, though I conclude that its real problems were a director without a bone of musicality in his body, and too many actors who just weren't remotely up to the vocal challenges of the music.

Beasts of the Southern Wild had arrived with raves out of Sundance. When I saw it on opening day, I thought it was...fine. It had compelling elements -- a child performance that was far more natural than most, a rousing score -- and I admired Benh Zeitlin's work in creating something that was clearly its own strange unique thing. But while the film had some strong scenes, overall the story felt pretty aimless to me, and I didn't see the greatness in this affecting but minor effort that so many others did.

Django Unchained had a lot of elements that make Tarantino films appealing -- memorable characters embodied by actors having a lot of fun with their roles, clever dialogue, set pieces that provide real visceral thrills. But, more than a lot of his movies, it was bogged down by his excesses as well, namely a lack of discipline in storytelling. Which is to say, simply, the movie is way too damn long. The Candyland segment feels like it just goes on forever, and by the time we got to the big shoot-out, I assumed that was the story's climax. Nope, a whole new act kicked in, and I wasn't really in the mood to sit through all that. Not an unworthy effort, but one that feels more like a rough draft of a Tarantino movie than a fully realized one.

I found Argo to be a perfectly enjoyable film -- it was as consistently suspenseful as many of the best thrillers, but was more fully grounded and intelligent than much of what passes for that genre today. When critics praised its '70's-style aesthetic, they weren't wrong. The thing is, I wouldn't rank this remotely close to a top-notch effort from that era -- it was more typical of the kind of thriller that seemed to come out every few weeks in that decade. I think the movie's coronation says a lot about how low mainstream movies for adults have fallen, that a smart and well-crafted but not especially original or profound film like this could be viewed as such a blast of fresh air. And the uproar over Affleck's snub is a great example of actors getting graded on a curve when they turn to directing -- I've liked all of Affleck's movies, but I find the director far more a solid craftsman than any kind of visionary. Far more unique filmmakers have been denied director spots to far less outrage.

The bulk of Life of Pi has some of the year's most beautiful filmmaking. With basically one location, only one human character, and minimal dialogue, Ang Lee and his collaborators found a way to turn a seemingly unfilmable story into a breathtaking spectacle of color, sound, and effect, that also brought to life a gripping and powerful narrative. Ang Lee hasn't always been a visually ostentatious director, but I've always found his work impressive in this era -- here, I think he should put to rest any criticism that he doesn't bring a lot of imagination to the table in that department. All of that being said, the bookend sequences were pretty clearly a problem -- at one point, the narrator's friend said something like "It's an amazing story...but what does it all mean?" and I just about audibly groaned. The blunt and clunky nature of the writing in this chunk of the movie didn't severely detract from my appreciation of the rest of it, but it does prevent me from voting for it.

I was surprised by the hostility Silver Linings Playbook received in some quarters, because up to that point, I hadn't ever enjoyed a David O. Russell movie as much as this one. He had always seemed to me to be a very erratic director -- obviously talented, but with a sensibility that didn't always lend itself to creating emotionally resonant, coherent narratives. I had no such problem here, as I felt his reckless energy provided the perfect edge to counterpoint the film's romantic comedy tropes. In a way, that great dance number at the end is a perfect reflection of the film itself -- a little bit ungainly, awkward in spots, but full of life, humor, and an emotionally joyous ending. I do think the movie sometimes wants to have its social issue cake and eat its romantic comedy movie too -- and Harvey Weinstein's peddling of the film as an IMPORTANT movie about mental illness was pretty obnoxious -- but I found it very pleasurable, with a completely winning cast.

My votes in both categories would come down to the remaining three movies, and they all seem so different in their aims and aesthetics that it's very difficult for me to choose. I can see why many have gravited toward Amour. It's a bracing piece of work, an honest and brutal portrait of the physical and emotional experience of dying (and watching a loved one slip away), filled with the sort of shocking horrors one would expect from Michael Haneke's take on this subject. And yet, I don't know if the director has ever crafted scenes as emotionally heartfelt as those in this film (Riva's "It's beautiful...life...so long" scene as she flips through her photo album is a thing of simple delicate beauty.) I watched the movie again recently, and found it just as powerful as I had in the theater...but I will acknowledge that it's a smallish effort, and I think I'm drawn a bit more to the scope of the remaining two films when declaring movie of the year. But I'll pick Haneke as Best Director, as tribute to his impressive filmography, the terrific performances he gets out of his leads, and the way he manages to preserve his singularly bold sensibilities while lending them an emotional heart.

He also gets my vote because Kathryn Bigelow is not on the ballot, and her omission under Director was absolutely my biggest disappointment of nomination morning. I don't think Zero Dark Thirty is as thoroughly wonderful a movie as The Hurt Locker -- its labyrinthine web of investigative leads and red herrings sometimes gets a little murky for me, even after multiple viewings. But on the whole I think it's another stellar effort from the director, a consistently gripping, politically thorny thriller that packages very recent history into a drama that feels both urgent and cathartic. And the raid on the compound is a dazzlingly directed sequence that's frightening and, by film's end, overwhelmingly sad -- scenes like Chastain identifying the body, or sitting alone on the plane, reveal the weight and personal cost of her endeavor in a manner that never feels jingoistic. It would have been a perfectly worthy Best Picture choice.

But, in a very close race, I'm going to go with Lincoln as Best Picture. dws, THIS was the recent Spielberg film where I felt he was channeling John Ford to most impressive effect. The repeated shots of Lincoln as iconography -- often framed by doorways or windows like an image in a photograph -- seem straight out of the Ford bag of tricks, and serve both to memorialize and demyth America's sixteenth president and his place in history. This was, I think, Spielberg's best film in some time, though oddly, a lot of that has to do with the fact that the director often just stays out of the script's way -- although Lincoln is a very good-looking movie, a lot of the visual flourishes we've come to expect from Spielberg take a back seat to Tony Kushner's terrific script, which does a wonderful job of showcasing the ways in which politics have very personal effects on individual lives. I think it's one of the best films about the political process in America, and its story of compromises, shady deals, and betrayals makes the film seem far less like an embalmed history piece than a political drama that still feels deeply relevant today. And it even has a completely unexpected but thoroughly welcome sense of humor! Throw in the year's best cast (from the towering work by Day-Lewis at its center down to every terrific day player), a patriotic yet mournful score, and a terrific sense of period detail, and you have a film I'd have been perfectly happy to see crowned Best Picture.

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Re: Best Picture and Director 2012

Postby Reza » Wed Mar 26, 2014 6:02 am

Voted for Amour and Michael Haneke.

My picks for 2012:

Best Picture
1. Amour
2. Life of Pi
3. Skyfall
4. The Master
5. Lincoln

The 6th Spot: Cloud Atlas

Best Director
1. Michael Haneke, Amour
2. Ang Lee, Life of Pi
3. Paul Thomas Anderson, The Master
4. Benh Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern Wild
5. Steven Spielberg, Lincoln

The 6th Spot: Sam Mendes, Skyfall

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Re: Best Picture and Director 2012

Postby ITALIANO » Wed Mar 26, 2014 2:46 am

SalantBeau wrote:
ITALIANO wrote:
SalantBeau wrote:I liked Silver Linings Playbook, which I found to have more to say about human relationships, love and the world we live in than most films from the past decade,



Obviously you must have seen only two or three films from the past decade... Because honestly - HUMAN RELATIONSHIPS, LOVE and THE WORLD WE LIVE IN... I mean, I'd use these terms for, say, Anna Karenina (the novel) or other masterpieces. Let's be careful with words, words are so important, really.


I'll have my thoughts and you'll have yours.


It's not so easy but never mind.

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Re: Best Picture and Director 2012

Postby SalantBeau » Tue Mar 25, 2014 3:24 pm

ITALIANO wrote:
SalantBeau wrote:I liked Silver Linings Playbook, which I found to have more to say about human relationships, love and the world we live in than most films from the past decade,



Obviously you must have seen only two or three films from the past decade... Because honestly - HUMAN RELATIONSHIPS, LOVE and THE WORLD WE LIVE IN... I mean, I'd use these terms for, say, Anna Karenina (the novel) or other masterpieces. Let's be careful with words, words are so important, really.


I'll have my thoughts and you'll have yours.


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