The House


Lincoln

If not bound to have the most impressive lineup, this category may just yield the season's most deserving win, as Tony Kushner's script for Lincoln remains miles ahead of the competition, standing, like its subject, in a class by itself. This article is, indeed, intended to outline the predicted nominees, but there are certain Oscar fields whose frontrunner dominates the conversation, and the truth is, Kushner's path to the podium is even more secured than Daniel Day-Lewis's. Agog at all the tack-sharp, workplace chattiness, many viewers have employed the term "Sorkinian" when describing Lincoln's narrative, summing it up as The West Wing for the 19th century. But that analogy doesn't come close to capturing Kushner's evenhanded humanism, or his uncanny talents for pacing and characterization, which, together, keep this historical epic as nimble as it is organically populated, filled with individuals who, somehow, seem fully drawn in mere moments. Of course, there's also the whole laborious research element, which, among other things, saw Kushner whittle his translation of Doris Kearns Goodwin's Team of Rivals down from an initial 500-page draft.

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TAGS: academy awards, ang lee, argo, beasts of the southern wild, benh zeitlin, chris terrio, cosmopolis, david cronenberg, david o. russell, don delillo, killer joe, life of pi, lincoln, silver linings playbook, terence davies, terence rattigan, the deep blue sea, tony kushner, tracy letts, william friedkin, yann martel


Before Midnight

The most anticipated movies of 2013.

And the Oscar nominees should be...according to the New York Times's film critics.

India remains in mourning for gang-rape victim.

Hillary Clinton hospitalized after doctors discover blood clot.

Confirmation at last that Kanye West isn't a gay fish.

Listen to QT's Django Unchained soundtrack commentary here.

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TAGS: academy awards, david phelps, django unchained, elaine may, gay fish, hillary clinton, ignatiy vishnevetsky, india, kanye west, kathryn bigelow, kim kardashian, mike nichols, quentin tarantino, rape, sasha frere-jones, steve pond, the new york times, zero dark thirty


Honorable Mention

American Animal, Cabin in the Woods, Compliance

American Animal: It may be a stretch to dub American Animal "the best art film ever," as Screen Junkies does in this poster's hyperbolic pull quote, but that's the only strike against an otherwise spot-on one-sheet, which nails this odd indie's unlikely blend of grating quirk and classy undercurrent. As pink as the undies often worn by Matt D'Elia's ailing antihero, the ad wreaths its wiry subject in handsome curlicues, and even throws in a lit fuse to hint at his volatility. The poster, like the film, finds common ground between the high- and lowbrow, the artful and the infantile. [Poster]

The Cabin in the Woods: The poster for The Cabin in the Woods is one of 2012's few whose design instantly doubled as an unofficial logo, so much so that a later one-sheet needed only include the established graphic's silhouette. The cabin-as-Rubik's-Cube may seem obvious and simple, but it's also perfect and universally legible, rightly promising a mad puzzle of a horror picture. The vintage model eventually produced by Mondo Gallery is notable for its M.C. Escher influences, but it misses the true triumph of this campaign: a deceptively indelible signature image, defined by twists and turns. [Poster] [Article]

Compliance: No matter how you felt about Compliance, a divisive thriller more or less about the loss of dignity, the film's poster easily trumped its in-text missteps, huddling poor Dreama Walker in a corner and surrounding her with meaningful details. Amid that fine stack of critical endorsements lies the film's title, whose "C" perfectly encircles Walker's eye, driving home the sick scrutiny her character endures. Best of all is that whiteboard's message of customer-is-always-right encouragement, urging fast food employees to dutifully "smile!" The by-the-book irony expertly communicates the film's themes, arguably even better than the film itself. [Poster] [Article]

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TAGS: american animal, beasts of the southern wild, christopher nolan, compliance, daniel craig, dreama walker, dree hemingway, hello i must be going, jafar panahi, james bond, joaquin phoenix, m.c. escher, matt delia, melanie lynskey, moonrise kingdom, osama bin laden, philip seymour hoffman, poster lab, posters, quvenzhane wallis, skyfall, starlet, the cabin in the woods, the dark knight rises, the master, this is not a film, wes anderson, zero dark thirty


Norman Schwarzkopf

Retired U.S. General Norman Schwarzkopf died yesterday at the age of 78.

Lisa Jackson will step down as head of the EPA next month.

In silly news, gun owner posts contact info of employees at newspaper that published local gun owners' addresses.

In sillier news, Second Amendment advocates seek arrest of Meet the Press's David Gregory.

Steven Boone on Django Unchained, Quentin Tarantino, and Spike Lee.

Zero Dark Thirty nears $1 million in ticket sales in just five theaters.

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TAGS: david gregory, django unchained, drag ropes, judd apatow, lisa jackson, meet the press, michael musto, norman schwarzkopf, quentin tarantino, spike lee, steven boone, storm corrosion, the village voice, wikipedia, zero dark thirty


Watch all 26 of Slant Magazine's Best Music Videos of 2012:

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TAGS: arpad miklos, björk, bob dylan, daniels, danny brown, die antwoord, earl sweatshirt, explosions in the sky, flying lotus, grimes, jay-z, kahlil joseph, kanye west, lana del rey, m.i.a., melina matsoukas, ms mr, romain gavras, sigur ros, solange, the shins, until the quiet comes, valtari mystery film experiment


Les Misérables

[Editor's Note: Oscar Prospects is your weekly analysis of an awards contender and how it's likely to fare come Oscar nomination morning. The column is comprehensive, so beware of spoilers.]

With its Oscar clout and inevitable crowd-pleasing matched by widespread critical ire, Les Misérables is easily the year's most divisive awards contender. The film does have its champions, like the oft-snarky New York Post critic Kyle Smith, who gave it the top spot on his 2012 top 10 list, but by and large, Les Mis has endured ample lashings from reviewers, as diverse as David Edelstein, Richard Corliss, and our own Calum Marsh. The divide between journos and tearful devotees has become one of the season's buzziest narratives, most recently prompting helmer Tom Hooper to "respond to his critics," whose qualms, as expected, couldn't stop the musical from squashing the box-office competition on Christmas Day (the movie raked in $18.2 million, history's second-largest holiday opening). What does it all mean for the movie's Oscar fate? To be honest, probably not much. It seems unfathomable that Les Misérables won't end up on the Best Picture shortlist, an outcome that was in the cards before a frame of footage was seen (or, arguably, before a frame of footage was shot).

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TAGS: academy awards, alain boublil, anne hathaway, bradley cooper, calum marsh, christoph waltz, claude-michel schonberg, daniel day-lewis, david edelstein, david fincher, denzel washington, directors guild of america, dreamgirls, golden globe awards, helen hunt, hugh jackman, jennifer hudson, joaquin phoenix, john hawkes, kyle smith, les misérables, lincoln, looper, mo'nique, octavia spencer, oscar prospects, rian johnson, richard corliss, russell crowe, sally field


Kate Winslet and Ned Rocknroll

Kate Winslet marries Ned Rocknroll.

Roger Ebert's top 10 of the year.

Anthony Lane reviews some Oscar bait.

And S.T. VanAirsdale asks us to stop complaining about Oscar bait!

Remembering writers who left us in 2012.

The A.V. Club's favorite TV of the year.

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TAGS: abraham lincoln, academy awards, anthony lane, jeffrey eugenides, john ford, kate winslet, ned rocknroll, quentin tarantino, roger ebert, s.t. vanairsdale, the a.v. club, westboro baptist church


Ana Marquez-Greene

Charlies Durning, prolific character actor, dies at 89.

And Jack Klugman, star of The Odd Couple, passes away at 90.

Peter Parker is left for dead in new Spider-Man comic.

Yup, this really is the best Santa photo ever.

Get your new CinemaScope.

Yes, Nate Silver, you are a gay statistician.

Dennis Lim singles out a few off-the-beaten-path films you may have missed this year.

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TAGS: andrew o'hehir, charles durning, dennis lim, i saw mommy kissing santa claus, jack klugman, joseph jon lanthier, kathryn bigelow, kevin b. lee, michael koresky, pete wells, peter parker, santa claus, spider-man, the new york times, the odd couple, zero dark thirty


Dishonorable Mention

The Sessions, Save the Date, The Giant Mechanical Man

The Sessions: The flagship poster for The Sessions is just your latest example of a marketing brainfart: How does one sell a dramedy about a polio survivor looking to lose his virginity? The answer, sadly, is the old, square, film-still-collage standby, whose slanted positioning doesn't make it any less banal. The ad may be preferable to its illustrated counterpart, which walks a dangerous line between the inspired and the vulgar, but it still fails to do the movie justice, its design appearing unfinished and its lone pullquote a cheap ploy for Oscar love. [Poster]

Save the Date: Never mind the whole bottom-heavy layout here, which opts to crush a pair of stills with a needless mountain of whitespace. The real problem is what's conveyed in the stills themselves: an aesthetic defined by boring over-the-shoulder shots. Is it a metaphor for the male characters' lack of emotional presence? Is it underscoring the prominence of the females of the film? Not really—it's just bad design. And rather than providing quirky adornment as intended, the pencil-drawn faces merely appear tacked-on, somehow making this minimalistic-in-all-the-wrong-ways fiasco look busy.[Poster]

The Giant Mechanical Man: A wonderful gem that never quite found an audience, The Giant Mechanical Man deserved much better than this tossed-together one-sheet, which basically slaps a still on a blue background and scrawls in some text. None of the film's infectious, magical-realist nature is expressed, only the fact that Jenna Fischer and Chris Messina go for coffee. The lone cloud and subtle heart might suggest that love is in the air for these drifters, but none of it succeeds in piquing interest. [Poster]

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TAGS: alec baldwin, anna kendrick, bill murray, black hole sun, brooklyn decker, cameron diaz, chris messina, darling companion, david lynch, elizabeth olsen, hyde park on hudson, jenna fischer, josh radnor, joyful noise, katherine heigl, liberal arts, maggie gyllenhaal, magic mike, nine, one for the money, penélope cruz, poster lab, posters, roberto begnini, save the date, soundgarden, the devil inside, the giant mechanical man, the sessions, the village people


Mayan Calendar

Mayan calendar reaches its end, world doesn't follow suit.

The stories of the 151 victims of mass shooting in 2012.

Pitchfork's list of the top 50 albums of the year.

J. Ho reads Siegfried Kracauer.

The 19 most terrifying Cher tweets of 2012.

Nick Pinkerton on the fantastic imagery of Ang Lee's Life of Pi.

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TAGS: adam lanza, ang lee, cinema guild, david cronenberg, glenn kenny, its the end of the world as we know it and i feel fine, j. hoberman, life of pi, mayan calendar, michael atkinson, miguel gomes, nancy lanza, nick pinkerton, pankaj mishra, pitchfork, r.e.m., salman rushdie, sandy hook elementary school, siegfried kracauer, sokurov early masterworks







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