Countdown to Oscars!

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By Craig Thornton

All of the other big awards have been handed out and it is coming down to the grand daddy of awards---the Oscars!

This year is one of the most unpredictable years in recent history. Not since the controversial and surprising win of Crash over Brokeback Mountainfor best picture (2005) have so many major awards been up in the air. This uncertain outcome has been fueled by the inconsistent wins for best picture and best director in the awards that have preceded the Oscars. None of these wins is more startling than Ben Affleck’s win as best director for Argo at the Director’s Guild Awards. The DGA award usually predicts an Oscar win. In a Sixty five year history of the DGA awards overlapping with the Oscars, the awards have only differed eight times. Of these eight times only three times has the winner of the DGA award not been nominated for the best directing Oscar. This year is one of those three years; Affleck wasn’t even nominated for an Oscar. A snub that looks more and more obvious and baffling as Argo continues to rack up award after award including best picture from the PGA (Producer’s Guild of America), the Golden Globes, SAG award for acting ensemble, BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Awards) and even the American Film Institute’s picture of the year. Argo was nominated for best picture by the misguided Academy and because of its other wins and Affleck’s snub, it is no longer considered the underdog for the big prize.
 
The Directing branch of the Academy has egg all over its face. By the way the directing branch also failed to nominate Kathryn Bigelow for Zero Dark Thirty. Her wins presently include: the National Board of Review and several critics awards, including the impossible to please New York Film Critic’s Circle Award.
 
For months Lincoln has been a lock for the best adapted screenplay Oscar. Tony Kushner’s script has been praised by everyone. It is intelligent, historically accurate (for the most part) with gorgeous language and beautiful speeches. But Chris Terrio’s win for Argo at the Writer’s Guild Awards this past week further clouds the crystal ball of pundits, who swear they can predict Oscar wins. 
 
 
Still there are some awards you can predict, but not many. If you have to put money on something you better put it on Daniel Day Lewis, who seems to be destined to become the only third actor to win three competitive Oscars, and the only actor to win three Oscars for a lead performance, for his remarkable performance as the 16th president in Lincoln.  Some say that Anne Hathaway is also a lock for her emotionally wrenching turn as the doomed young mother in Les Miserables (I was wrecked after seeing this), but there are some people who think Sally Field is still in the running for her crazy, canny Mrs. Lincoln. Incidentally, she also would be a three time winner if she won, as would Robert De Niro if he wins for Silver Linings Playbook (best supporting actor). He has a very good chance, as the film is much admired by actors and the acting branch is biggest voting block at the Academy. Furthermore the Best Supporting Actor category is as unpredictable as you can get. It’s anyone’s game.
 
 
Read more later this week, here on Craig’s To Do List before the big night--this Sunday, February 24th.

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Monday, September 1, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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