Episode 8 of Oscar Podcast where I once again join Ryan Adams and Sasha Stone of Awards Daily to shoot the Oscar doo doo. This week we dig into Lincoln and Silver Linings Playbook and then we take a stab at early predictions of the NBR and the NY and LA film critics.

6 Responses to “Oscar Podcast #8: Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook, NBR, NY/LA Film Crickets”

  1. I am most interested in the matters of discussion that you are promising here Craig, and plan to give this an enthusiastic listen later tonight. At that point I will come back here and post my full response.

  2. Look forward to hearing your thoughts Sam and as always I appreciate you listening

  3. Craig put this entire conversation in the proper perspective at the 57 minute mark when he offered: “Next morning after the Oscars, Barack Obama will still be president!” Naturally I applaud that! Ha!

    I was thrilled to read all the mediocre assessments of SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK, a maddeningly overrated film, that incredibly is being discussed for awards. Mr. Jeff Wells is quite a character, and I can only count my blessings I’ve never had to deal with him. His dismissal of Lincoln and dislike of Spielberg, while simultaneously promting David O. Russell’s film, tells me all I need to know about his taste and sanity. Yes, I completely agree with Sasha that it is “the weakest of the potential award nominees” and also like her I have no intentions of watching it a second time. However, unlike Sasha, I don’t think I can say something along the lines of “More power to Russell” should the film end up in the winner’s circle. This would be a major travesty, but heck we had a number of those occurances in the past. Interesting to hear that the book was “darker” as per Ryan’s revelations, and applaud Craig for his brilliant observation that “Jennifer Lawrence is basically therapeudic value to the Bradley Cooper character.” Still I agree with all three speakers here that Lawrence’s work in the film is still extraordinary. As Craig adds: “The material is there….but it falls short of it’s potential.” I couldn’t agree more. I am no fan of Russell, and thought last year’s THE FIGHTER grossly overpraised. Even the cartoonish (nice word there Sasha in assessing his work in PLAYBOOK) acting in that one was over the top. Nice to hear to that Ryan is no fan either, and totally agree with him when he opines that “No character in the film will ever be happy.” To that end Sasha adds a telling “Ordinary People” reference point and a supposition as if she were Tiffany’s mom.

    The film was truly be a disasterous choice, and perhaps even more so if one of the critics’ groups discussed near the end of the podcast, should annoint this. That said, like Craig and Sasha (I know Ryan will see this soon, though I smiled approvingly when he said he wouldn’t even bother if the film wasn’t getting awards talk) I agree the film has some entertainment value, and isn’t a complete abomination.

    The glowing talk on LINCOLN was insightful and promising. The film for me is the best American film I have seen to this point in 2012 (yes I liked ARGO and MOONRISE KINGDOM, but not THE MASTER so much, and others key films are coming up) and I am inclined to think Sasha may well have the NYFF choice named correctly, though ARGO would appear to be hot on it’s tails with the Gothams, if you closely examine the individual reviews of the group’s members.

    Sasha hit the bulls-eye as far as I’m concerned when she notes that LINCOLN is “more consequential and has more gravity” than ARGO, and that it will be well-remembered and revered years down the road. And yes agreed too that “audiences that go know what to expect.” No doubt either that Spielberg does deeply care about civil rights issues as his career will attest. Ryan’s discussion of the way Spielberg ended the film and Craig’s fabulous comment about “bloggers and critics who “haven’t directed or filmed a single scene in their life but now want to decide how Spielberg should end the film” are great, and in the end I agree with Sasha to that the choice of the speech of the Second Inaugural Address was a master stroke. Prior to that of course there was the tasteful way of showing the assassination and the surrender, both of which along with the adrress give the film resonating emotional closure.

    Ryan makes a terrific point about the visual/thematic connection in the film between Lincoln’s face on the death bed to the faces of dead soldiers. And yes Sasha makes a lot of sense when she asserts that the wntire book could not be realized on screen, and that Kusher’s screenplay is in effect one of the great components in this brilliant film.

    THE LIFE OF PI as a NBR prediction is consistent with the types of films that have chosen in the past, and it may wqell come to pass (I will be seeing that film in the upcoming days) but I will have to agree with Craig that this group will go with LINCOLN. I am thinking NY may go that way too but perhaps ARGO or THE MASTER will be the direction they will go. It’s a tough call. LA seems to be THE MASTER, but again any of the others can get it.

    The big mystery remains LES MISERABLES. I am hopeful and extremely excited about it’s prospects, and I know all three of the speakers here will revise their Oscar analysis when this is seen and the responses pour in.

    In any case, LINCOLN does look headed for multiple awards, and a load of Oscar nominations.

    This was truly a fascinating, insightful and often humorous podcast. Bravo.

  4. It’s probably way too early to be predicting NBR and LA/NY crickets, but what the hell, right? Nothing ventured, nothing gained. I can only hope that the early awards action does not ratify the sentiment that Silver Linings Playbook is something that deserves celebrating or recognizing. It’s a perfectly likable film, but let’s not get carried away.

    People do seem to love it and a lot of my friends on Facebook are going back to see it a second time. I guess this wouldn’t be the first time I’ve missed the boat on something.

    Lincoln on the other hand is a movie I’m excited to see again. I think it’s only going to get better and better.

    Since you’re a huge fan of the original production, Sam, I’ll be really curious to hear what you think of Les Miserables. On one hand, I know it’s aimed at the hard core fan, but at the same time I wonder if those fans will be satisfied with the translation.

  5. I left a few comments over in Mr. Wells’s den of vipers, as I had been flabbergasted and amazed by his audacity to state that he knew the reason why people were applauding at one commenter’s screening of Lincoln last weekend. A smart fellow by the name of “cinefan” made several excellent comments on Lincoln, too, so I thought I would take the liberty of relating our conversation here, especially as it takes a humorous bent when one considers it takes place within the territory of Mr. Wells…



    Can’t speak to Les Miserables, since I haven’t seen it yet.

    However, I just came home from seeing Lincoln (went to the 12:45 showing) and it’s playing in the two biggest auditoriums at the Century Regency in San Rafael, CA. I went across to the other big auditorium after my showing–which was only a few rows away from being sold out–and was astonished to see a completely *packed* house, with people literally sitting in the back watching the film on the floor, for there were not enough seats in the place to hold everyone.

    The film *killed* at my screening, with a large segment of the audience remaining in the auditorium throughout the entire end credits, with a loud, robust wave of applause upon the film’s conclusion. It seemed to be playing like gangbusters in the other auditorium as I stuck around long enough to soak in what seemed like the audience’s general reaction to what they were seeing.

    The next showing in “Auditorium 1” was at 4:15, and right there, at 3:35, there was a line assembled waiting for the staff to clean the auditorium out, and the line went all the way out of the building. One member of the cinema’s staff said the next showing was “95% sold out.”

    Dozens of people were still hanging around from my showing discussing the film and its many layers.

    Great experience.


    I saw Lincoln for the 2nd time and it holds up incredibly well. I recommend seeing it twice to fully savor Day-Lewis’ extraordinary performance – you can really notice and appreciate all of his little subtle physical mannerisms and vocal intonations. A fully-inhabited and realized performance.

    I saw the film in a packed theater and the audience was fully absorbed in the film. The clearest indication of this was people practically sprinting to and from the bathroom because they didn’t want to miss any parts of the film. There was very loud applause as the credits rolled.

    Lincoln, by the way, made 25 million over the holiday weekend and is already up to 62 domestically. It’s playing on 1500 fewer screens than Skyfall and 2000 fewer than Twilight and it has a higher per-screen average than either film.

    “Man of the people” Wells is right. Mass audiences aren’t liking and responding to Lincoln well at all!


    Completely agree with you, cinefan. I’ve now seen Lincoln twice and I can’t recommend doing so enough. For the sake of the performances, for the tight, *tight* construction of the multiple narratives, perhaps even for a more thorough understanding of the entire film’s timeline. It’s astonishing to me that Spielberg, Kushner, et. al. made a film that, for almost 90% of its runtime, covers approximately 20-25 days and it feels like one of the most expansive American epics in many a year. You can better appreciate the mastery of the performance by Daniel Day-Lewis and the sensational cast, which is marvelous from the tiniest role to the titular turn.


    Another thing I would mention, too, Alexander is how brave the storytelling is. Kushner and Spielberg tell the story at their own pace and rhythm and don’t compromise at all, expecting the audience to not get bored and stay with the film’s plot all the way through because of its inherent importance and interest. It’s a talky procedural pulsating with life and vitality and, above all, intelligence. It’s not solemn as some people claim. If you want to see a solemn, plodding, lifeless Civil War film, rent the Conspirator. The differences between that film and Lincoln could not be more evident.

    Looking forward, I want to see Spielberg and Kushner work together as much as possible – a dynamic team that brings out the best in each other.


    Truly spectacular commentary on the film there, cinefan. Thank you for expanding on your earlier thoughts and drawing out more from myself.

    Indeed, as I drove back home last night and stopped at a red light after picking up my Christmas tree… I considered the ostensibly voluminous gulf between the Kushner-Spielberg “Lincoln” and that dry, tedious effort by Robert Redford from a mere year and a half ago entitled “The Conspirator.” It somehow feels so much longer ago than that, when I saw that film, as it has receded from my mind ever since at a great pace of alacrity.

    You’re indeed quite right that Lincoln is not remotely “solemn” as a general rule. That isn’t to say there aren’t moments of great solemnity or melancholy, because there are–but the film pulsates, much like you state, with a liveliness and realistic, almost painstakingly fully human complexity and nuance and a fair amount of humor.

    The back-and-forth between Lincoln and his cabinet; the extraordinarily underrated David Strathairn’s performance as Secretary of State Seward and his way of communicating with Lincoln directly and on behalf of him with everyone else… And I could go on.

    The “compass” scene between Lincoln and Stevens in the White House kitchen made me recall some of the scenes between Schindler and Goeth in Schindler’s List–which is astonishing because of what Stevens represents versus what Goeth represents in Schindler’s List, but the scene captures that incisive portrait of a reasonable man endeavoring to moderate the perspective of someone one could certainly label an “extremist” of one sort or another.

    There’s just so much to feast on.

  6. hahahahaha Alexander! Loved reading through this for sure!!! You and cinefan are wonderful. Always nice to see the Big Bad Jeff Wells get taken down a peg too! It appears he is finally abadoning his best film of the year regard for the overrated SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK!

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