Tony’s Best and Worst Films of 2012: “Motors” and “Dark Knight” tie for Best Picture

The two couldn’t be more different. One is an action film designed to capture the biggest possible audience, the other, a French art-house allegory not likely to excite many outside the critic circle. But Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises, his closing installment of his cape crusader trilogy, and Leo Carax’s Holy Motors, an unorthodox road film about an actor who gives himself over to his career and craft so much so that he is unable to maintain an authentic self, were the two best films of 2012 and mark TB Journal’s first ever tie for Best Picture .

Knight and Motors are just two of 170 films I viewed in 2012, a fairly lackluster year. Naming them both “best picture” was not a decision that came easily. When I first saw Knight  in July, I thought it was the film to beat in the year-end showdown.  That assessment went unchallenged until Holy Motors made its début at the New York Film Festival in October. Months later, with a slew of Holiday releases and praised (even over-praised) critics favorites, Knight and Motors continued to resonate, ranking above other solid films by Michael Haneke, Steven Spielberg and Paul Thomas Anderson.  And after a nearly three-month, internal debate over which one should take my top spot, I decided to stop choosing between two equally beautiful, but unlike things, and called it a draw.  Here are my choices for the best and worst of 2012.

The Years 10 Best 2012

Overrated films of 2012

What were the three major critics groups smoking when they all chose Zero Dark Thirty as Best Picture? A good, but by no means extraordinary, picture.  Also can’t understand all the raves for Argo and Silver Lining Playbook (Cuckoo’s Nest meets Dirty Dancing).

Best Actor Jpeg

Mr. Day-Lewis continues to set himself apart from just about every other actor on the planet with his dazzling Lincoln incarnation. It makes Ms. Steep’s Thatcher look like a Saturday Night Live skit.

Best Actress Jpeg

Biggest Disapointment

Also disappointing were Les Misérables, The Hobbit, and The Impossible and Hitchcock.

Supporting Actor Jpeg Supporting Actress Jpeg

Best Director

The 10 Worst Films of 2012 are

Worst Actors of 2012

Adam Sander

And the Nominees will be…Oscar Predictions 2013

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Oscar 2 (1)There are bound to be a few broken hearts come Thursday morning when Oscar nominations are announced. Half of Hollywood will turn to their shrinks via speed-dial wondering if the snubs are personal. But the truth is, unlike most years, 2012 was so rich in Oscar kitsch that some unlucky fellas who coulda been contenders are gonna get overlooked. The shoo-ins can be counted on one hand: Daniel Day-Lewis, for Lincoln, and Anne Hathaway, for Les Misérables, will make the cut on merit. Jessica Chastain and Jennifer Lawrence will slide into best actress slots by default. But the rest is up for grabs and it will be interesting to see if artsy (Amour, Moonrise Kingdom, Beasts of the Southern Wild) trumps pseudo-glitzy (Les Miz and Life of Pi)? Or if Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained becomes the first ever blaxploitation film to run for Best Picture?  Can’t wait to see want happens in a year when (almost) anything can happen.

Here are my predictions.

Best Picture

Anne and Les Miz are likely to be popular with voters

Anne and Les Miz are likely to be popular with voters

Amour

Argo

Beasts of the Southern Wild

Les Misérables

Life of Pi

Lincoln

The Master

Moonrise Kingdom

The overrated Brad and Jen (not that Brad and Jen!) could be very happy come Thursday!

The overrated Brad and Jen (not that Brad and Jen!) could be very happy come Thursday!

Silver Linings Playbook

Zero Dark Thirty

Possible Spoiler: None likely. Tarantino’s Django may be too controversial for the Academy’s senior citizen base.  And they do not seem to like Christopher Nolan enough to acknowledge his Dark Knight Rises over more traditional options.

Actor

Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook

Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln

John Hawkes, The Sessions

Jean-Louis Trintignant, Amour

Denzel Washington, Flight

Possible Spoiler: Joaquin Phoenix in The Master could bump art-house Trintignant or flavor-of-the-month Cooper.

Actress

Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty

Marion Cotillard, Rust and Bone

Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook

Emmanuelle Riva, Amour

Naomi Watts, The Impossible

Possible Spoiler: Who knows? Since Cotillard and Riva gave the only Oscar caliber performances of this category, the rest are simply padding anyway. But the overrated Chastain and Lawrence can order their gowns now. Unfortunately, they’re going.

Supporting Actor

Alan Arkin, Argo

Leonardo DiCaprio, Django Unchained

Phillip Seymour Hoffman, The Master

Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln

Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained

Possible Spoiler: Matthew McConaughey is worthy of a nomination for his performance in Magic Mike, but may not have enough support to bump a less deserving Arkin out of the spot. His chances increase if there is a Django backlash. And then, there is always Robert De Niro, who could make the cut for his first decent performance in a zillion years in Silver Linings Playbook.

Supporting Actress   

A dreadful Kidman in the running? Say a prayer!

A dreadful Kidman in the running? Say a prayer!

Amy Adams, The Master

Sally Field, Lincoln

Anne Hathaway, Les Misérables

Helen Hunt, The Sessions

Maggie Smith, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Possible Spoiler: Nicole Kidman. If this were to happen, the Academy will have hit rock bottom. Lets keep our fingers crossed that the marvelous Maggie, based on pedigree alone, can keep the bleached blonde horror show of The Paperboy from prancing down the red carpet come Oscar night. Best Possible Spoiler: Ann Dowd for Compliance. But that would take more than a prayer.

Director

Amour and its director Michael Haneke could be Oscar bound

Amour and its director Michael Haneke could be Oscar bound

Ben Affleck, Argo

Kathryn Bigelow, Zero Dark Thirty

David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook

Steven Spielberg, Lincoln

Michael Haneke, Amour

Possible Spoiler: Tarantino, of course, and newcomer Benh Zeitlin, for Beasts of the Southern Wild. Both are more worthy than Affleck or Bigelow. But if they do pull it off, they are more likely to replace Haneke or Russell.