Published: Friday February 8, 2013 MYT 8:04:00 PM
Updated: Friday February 8, 2013 MYT 8:39:36 PM
The Oscar race for Best Picture
By Punitha Yogaratnam
The 85th Academy Awards is just around the corner and movie fanatics are taking bets on which movie will win Best Picture.
Unfortunately for us in Malaysia, many of the nominated movies will either come later in the year or not at all.
So we're here to give you the low down on the nine nominated movies this year.
May the best movie win.
This French-language movie is also nominated as the Austrian entry for the Best Foreign Language Oscar. Directed by Austrian filmmaker Michael Haneke, Amour stars Jean-Louis Trintignant, Emmanuelle Riva and Isabelle Huppert. The movie centers around retired music teachers Anne and Georges and the love they have for each other when Anne suffers a heart attack.
Amour was screened at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival where it won the Palme d'Or. It also won big at the European Film Awards bagging the Best Film and Best Director awards. At the British Academy Film Awards is was nominated in four categories including Best Director and Best Leading Actress.
This American thriller is directed by Ben Affleck who also stars in it along side Oscar nominee Alan Arkin and Bryan Cranston.
Argo has already won the Best Picture and Best Director awards at this year's Golden Globes and the Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture at the Screen Actors Guild Awards.
If the Globes are any indication, Argo will also take home the Best Picture Oscar this year. If Argo doesn't win Best Picture at the Oscars, it still has six other nominations to rely on including Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actor in a Supporting Role and Best Original Score.
Co-produced by Affleck, George Clooney and Grant Heslov, Argo is a dramatisation of the 1980 CIA-Canadian secret operation to extract six American diplomats taken hostage during the revolution in Iran.
Beast Of The Southern Wild
Nominated for four Oscars, this fantasy drama is directed by Benh Zeitlin who is also nominated for Best Director.
Shot with a small but professional crew and dozens of local residents in and around Louisiana, Beast Of The Southern Wild is about five-year-old Hushpuppy and her ailing yet hot-tempered dad, Wink and the courage and love the six-year-old has to muster to save him and her home from the melting ice-caps that will unleash the ancient creatures called aurochs.
Before being released in mainstream cinemas, Beast Of The Southern Wild played at several film festivals and was well received. It was designated a 2012 Critics' Pick by reviewers of The New York Times.
Quvenzhane Wallis who plays Hushpuppy is nominated in the Best Actress field making the nine-year-old the youngest ever Oscar nominee in that category.
Directed by multiple-award winning director Quentin Tarantino, this epic western stars Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kerry Washington and Samuel L. Jackson.
One of the favourites with Hollywood movie critics, this movie follows a freed slave Django (Foxx) who travels the untamed American heartland with bounty hunter Schultz to rescue his wife from a brutal and ruthless plantation owner.
This violent and bloody movie has been nominated for Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor (Christoph Waltz) and Best Original Screenplay. At this year's Globes, Oscar-winning actor Waltz took home the award for Best Supporting Actor and Tarantino won the Best Screenplay.
Oddly enough the director is not nominated in the Best Director field.
This is a musical based on the 1862 French novel by Victor Hugo. Directed by Tom Hooper, who is also nominated in the Best Director category, Les Miserables is scripted by William Nicholson, Boublil Schonberg and Herbert Kretzmer and stars Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Amanda Seyfried and Anne Hathaway in lead roles.
Set in 19th-century France, Les Miserables tells the story of Jean Valjean, an ex-convict who becomes the mayor of a town in France. He befriends a dying Fantine and agrees to care for her daughter Cosette while evading capture by police inspector Javert.
The plot spans 17 years and is chockablock with some of the well known Broadway tunes including Valjean's Soliloquy, I Dreamed A Dream and The Confrontation all sung by the actors.
Life Of Pi
Based on Yann Martel's novel of the same name, Life Of Pi is directed by acclaimed director Ang Lee.
Based on the adapted screenplay by David Magee, the movie stars newcomer Suraj Sharma and veteran actor Irrfan Khan. In the movie, Piscine Molitor 'Pi' Patel is a 16-year-old boy who survives a shipwreck which kills his entire family. Stranded in the Pacific Ocean on a lifeboat he shares with a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker, Pi is forced to survive not only the harsh waters, the lack of food, but he also has to care for the tiger that's his only companion.
Life Of Pi opened to critical and commercial success at the New York Film Festival last September and had made over US$524 million worldwide. The film is nominated for 11 Academy Awards including Best Director, Best Visual Effects and Best Adapted Screenplay.
The film was originally tied to M. Night Shyamalan but when the director became unavailable, the task of filming the movie went to Alfonso Cuaron in March of 2005.
Cuaron however backed down late in 2005 and it was offered to Jean-Pierre Jeunet who began writing the adapted screenplay.
Eventually he too left the project and Ang Lee was approached. The director is nominated in the Best Director category.
This historical drama covers the final four months of former US President Abraham Lincoln's life. The icon is played by Oscar-winning actor and recent Golden Globe recipient Daniel Day-Lewis who is nominated for the Best Actor award.
The movie also stars veteran actors Sally Field, David Strathairn, Tommy Lee Jones and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. It is directed by Oscar-winning director Steven Spielberg.
Lincoln has received widespread critical acclaim and has earned 12 nominations including Best Director, Best Actor and Best Actress in a Supporting Role. The movie has earned over US$203 million at the box office.
Silver Linings Playbook
After a stint in a mental institution, former teacher Pat Solitano moves back with his parents and tries to reconcile with his ex-wife but things become more challenging when he meets Tiffany a mysterious girl with her own set of problems.
Silver Linings Playbook stars a couple of today's hottest stars, Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence. Directed by David O. Russell, the movie first premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and opened in the US late last year. It was a major critical success earning Oscar nominations for Russell, Cooper and Lawrence.
Plans for the movie was originally made several years ago with Sydney Pollack and Anthony Minghella producing. However pre-production had to be put on hold after the untimely deaths of both men. After 25 rewrites over five years, Russell was ready to shoot a movie Pollack told him could be tricky because it was emotional, troubling as well as funny and romantic.
The gamble has paid off for the moviemakers. Silver Linings Playbook has raked in over US$56.7 million with predictions that it will hit the US$100 million mark.
Zero Dark Thirty
This controversial movie is a dramatization of the United States operation that found and eventually killed the most wanted man in history, Osama bin Laden. Produced by Mark Boal, Megan Ellison and director Kathryn Bigelow the movie presents the graphic portrayal of torture of suspects in order to gain information about the whereabouts of the master terrorist.
Republications in the Obama administration suggested that the filmmakers were given improper access to certain classified information, which the current administration has denied. Nevertheless, early this year the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee announced that they would review the contacts between the CIA and the filmmakers to find out whether Bigelow and Boal had access to classified documents.
Bigelow and writer Boal had originally planned for a movie about the unsuccessful efforts to find bin Laden, however two weeks before filming was about to begin for an already prepared script, news broke that US forces had captured and killed bin Laden.
Immediate plans were then made to start the project from scratch, however most of the research Boal did with counter-terrorism and military personal were still useful. The main character is based on a female CIA officer who remains undercover.
Many in the movie industry believe Bigelow was not nominated in the Best Director category because of the unwanted political attention the movie was getting.
Despite this, Zero Dark Thirty has been nominated for five Oscars and four Golden Globes (it won for Best Actress). The Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association also awarded the Best Director accolade to Bigelow, the second time the honour has gone to a woman (the first also being Bigelow for The Hurt Locker).
So which movie will take home the Oscar for Best Picture? Tune in on 26 February.
Take the eCentral poll and tell us who you think ought to get the award.