Countdown to the Oscars: Silver Linings Playbook Gets All Gold Stars!
As I work my way through all the nominees for Best Picture, they keep getting better and better! First, why are there so many? There used to only be 5 or 6 nominees, and the last few years there’s been 10! And second, how will I ever choose my absolute favorite?
If I had to put my vote in for one so far, I’d pick Silver Linings Playbook. Nominated for 8 Academy Awards including Best Directing and Writing by David O. Russell, you may recall his work from the previously nominated film, The Fighter, as well as the existential comedy I Heart Huckabees. Silver Linings Playbook stole my heart. If I had to compare it to anything, it reminded me of Zach Braff’s Garden State, because it is a story about finding oneself again after dealing with depression.
In this film, SLP tells the story of Pat Solitano (played by Bradley Cooper – who, if anyone was going to steal an Oscar from Daniel Day-Lewis, it should be this man!). Pat has just been released from a mental institution after a breakdown and diagnosis of bi-polar disorder have overtaken his life. Moving back in with his parents, and facing a restraining order from his ex-wife, he tries to put his life back together. To help him along, comes the most unusual of friends, a girl by the name of Tiffany, who is dealing with her own struggles, but finds a way for them to help each other.
The cast in this movie blew me away! It’s no wonder with all the acting nominations this film received. Bradley Cooper, of course, is nominated and I’m so impressed with his dramatic role. I already adored Jennifer Lawrence, and at only 22 years old, this is her second nomination for Actress in a Leading Role! She was previously nominated for Winter’s Bone. She has already taken the Golden Globe for Lead Actress in a Musical/Comedy genre. I truly hope the “Curse of the Golden Globes” does not take her out of the Oscar running! I would weep!
To round out the supporting cast, we have two additional heavy hitters, the biggest being THE Robert De Niro, playing Pat Sr. and nominated for Best Supporting Actor. He is brilliant as a father who doesn’t know how to communicate to his grown boys beyond watching baseball. And funny! In an entirely different way from Meet the Parents comedy.
My favorite performance of the film goes to Best Supporting Actress nominee Jacki Weaver! This is her second nomination, you may remember her role in Animal Kingdom, which was a violent story of a boy trying to get by in his criminal household. Playing Dolores Solitano, Weaver is the typical mom who is trying to keep everyone together. Keep the peace, and you keep the family kind of mentality. “C’mon, stay! I made crabbysnack and homemades!” I love this woman! She is brilliant. I’m rooting for Weaver to take home an Oscar!
Though he wasn’t nominated, I give nods to Chris Tucker who plays Danny, a friend and recovering drug addict that Pat befriends in the hospital. His performance lent much to the comedic value of the movie. And, I will forever love Tucker who played Ruby Rhod in the sci-fi cult classic, The Fifth Element.
To give you more of the meat of the story, while marketed as a comedy, be aware it’s a dramatic comedy, a dramedy, if you will. But I tend to love those. Sometimes life is so heavy, all you can do to lift yourself up is laugh! Yes, Pat is a man who must deal with a lot. His undiagnosed bi-polar disorder is something he and his family aren’t use to. He must find new ways to control his anger. We see the uphill and downhill battle that is medication. We see him lose control at seemingly harmless circumstances. What helps him is his belief in a “silver lining.”
noun – a sign of hope in an unfortunate or gloomy situation; a bright prospect
His motto for life becomes Excelsior, a latin word meaning “ever upward.” So as much as life became difficult and trying for Pat and his family, his story was a message of hope. The belief that things will always get better, and that those who try to get better, will.
I’m betting each of us has experienced a period, or more, in our lives where life was not what we thought it would be. For me, it was my sophomore year of college. I was living with a girl who I thought was my best friend. A girl I wanted to someday be in my wedding, go get our dream jobs, and laugh about the funny things our kids did. During the school year, I noticed she was depressed. She had gone once or twice to a counseling group, but didn’t or couldn’t connect with the individuals there. I tried to be there for her. I listened to her, offered advice, suggestions for other groups or questions to ask. She wasn’t ready. In the end, it seemed I was caring too much and so her anger came out at me. She would pick fights with me all the time, drawing hurtful things and placing them by my bed. I began avoiding our dorm room altogether. I did it for months. Just going from class to class, hanging out in study areas and sometimes sleeping in a friend’s room. It got so bad I moved out. And shortly after that, I also got dumped by my long distance boyfriend, who I thought I was going to marry. Was I naive? Yes. Was I blaming myself for her behaviors? Yes. It was an awful end to the year. I lost a bunch of weight and didn’t even notice til I went home and my dad and old boss asked me if I was eating ok at school. I lost a bunch of friends in that move because she lived on the same floor with them, so they usually asked her out and didn’t come to see me, when I was one floor down.
It was an incredibly hurtful time. Even though the move was difficult, it was for the best. I was able to focus on school and earned some great opportunities working with literary journals. I joined the women’s student organization that I would later lead as president. And six months after all the drama, I met the wonderful man I’m still with today, 6 1/2 years later.
I thoroughly loved this film. I am hoping that it earns many awards. It is incredibly well written, and exceptionally well acted. I think Pat’s story is one all of us can relate to. And each of us is responsible for finding our own silver lining. And who knows, we could also be the silver lining for someone we least expect.
Have you seen Silver Linings Playbook yet? Do you want to?
Share with us a time you felt set back in life. What was your silver lining? Are you feeling down right now? Let me be your silver lining! I wish nothing but hope and excitement for life for each of you! Ever upwards, friends! Say it with me, “Excelsior!”
Countdown to the Oscars: Nana Nana Boo Boo, My Predictions Were Right…Mostly
I’d originally planned to get my year end review of 2012 books out there, but you all know it was going to go on hold with the announcement of:
The 2013 Oscar Nominees!
With nine nominations for Best Picture, y’all better tie your kicks and scurry them butts to the theater in time to catch these flicks before awards night! On your mark, get set, say “Cinema!”
Are you ready? Cause I’m gonna call it like I see it!
Best Picture Nominees:
Amour kicks off the list, from Austria, and most likely to win Best Foreign Language Film, starring oldest Oscar nominee in history, Emmanuelle Riva (age 85), and Jean-Louis Trintignant as a retired couple whose love is tested when Anne (Riva) suffers an attack which will forever change their lifestyle.
- Argo – The surprising film that made it in, despite being released back in October of 2012, which in Oscar world may as well have been dog years earlier. Kudos to Alan Arkin for notching a second Oscar nom for the flick in the role of Best Supporting Actor. Arkin’s made a bit of a comeback for himself in indie comedies like Little Miss Sunshine and Sunshine Cleaning, alas as the film received no major notes for Best Actor (wasn’t shocked there, Ben Affleck, but still proud of ya!) or in Best Director, I’m afraid I’ll have to count this one out as a true contender for Best Picture.
- Beasts of the Southern Wild – Or what I’m calling, “This year’s slightly better contender than The Tree of Life“. Ah, remember that one?! It was nominated last year for Best Picture and it starred Brad Pitt. Millions of you flocked to the theaters and movie rentals and then came out going WTF??? I think Beasts of the Southern Wild is going to be this year’s art film entry, but one that is going to make a lot more sense. It’s a magical tale of a little girl named Hushpuppy (artsy film hint #1) who comes of age one summer amidst her father’s ailing health and some melting snow-caps that are causing flooding in her bayou home. There’s something about mythical beasts in there too… (artsy film hint #2) The film did wonders at the Sundance Film Festival and now, Quvenzhane’ Wallis (age 9) is the youngest person to be nominated for Best Actress. I gotta say, I think it’s sweet, but I don’t think the Academy…at least I HOPE the Academy would select another contender. Seems a lot to assume this 9 year old (8 at the time) performed better than any other actress out there! Especially ones who’ve trained and practiced their craft for years. Don’t wanna be an ageist, but I can see Naomi Watts throwing knives!!
- Django Unchained – Well, bite my tongue! They decided to let Quentin Tarantino in again! I’m ecstatic! But I’m afraid this nomination is all the glory Tarantino is going to see. Without other nominations in the key categories, I think we can safely eliminate this film from winning Best Picture. Too many rumors fled the entertainment news for me to be surprised that neither Kerry Washington nor Jamie Foxx were nominated. It’s a bit of a snub, if you ask me, that Leonardo DiCaprio didn’t receive one, but wild card winner could award a Best Supporting Actor to Christoph Waltz, now a Hollywood favorite since Inglorious Bastards. With a new spin on the story of slavery, I’ll be eager to see how the action drama does!
Les Miserables – For the last several years, any musical that gets nominated typically wins Best Picture. Remember all the hype Chicago got in 2002? Probably couldn’t pay most of you to watch the film now! But Les Miserables has all the facets: an all-star popular cast full of eye candy and talent plus a slew of pop culture trends and rising! Yes, yes, even Miss Susan Boyle, our very own Britain’s Got Talent queen has made the music from this movie popular! And well done Anne Hathaway, scoring a Best Supporting Actress role along with co-star Hugh Jackman, up for Best Actor! *wipes drool*
Life of Pi – Nominated for Best Director, Ang Lee, the awesome one who gave us Sense and Sensibility, is back with another Best Picture Nominee. Life of Pi, masterfully illustrates the story of Pi, a shipwrecked and castaway boy who faces the perils of the sea with the odd, but only other survivor, a Bengal tiger. I don’t know about this one yet as I haven’t seen it. I think Ang Lee stands a chance, but without any acting nominations, could it take home Best Picture? We shall see.
- Lincoln – Of course! Of course Daniel Day-Lewis comes out of actor hiding to score another Oscar nomination for Best Actor! Rewind to There Will Be Blood, Gangs of New York, and My Left Foot! The man is unstoppable! And with Steven Spielberg in the running for Best Director, this could be a triple threat! Except…it doesn’t end there! Sally Field is up for Best Supporting Actress and Tommy Lee Jones for Best Supporting Actor (Those of you who read my review of Hope Springs may be shocked to know I’m actually rooting for him this time!)
- Silver Linings Playbook – Fantastic news for fans of
The Hunger GamesWinter’s Bone, Jennifer Lawrence scores another Best Actress nomination opposite her co-star, Bradley Cooper, who has his own Best Actor nom. Kudos to Cooper for breaking away from such comic roles as The Hangover and The A-Team to take on more in depth characters with Limitless, The Words, and of course, this nomination for Best Picture. David O. Russell, up for Best Director, Robert De Niro and Jacki Weaver both up for Best Supporting Actor/Actress leads me to believe that Silver Linings is going to be the strong contender against Lincoln and Les Mis.
- Zero Dark Thirty – The cinematic retelling of the Navy S.E.A.L. team that took out Osama bin Laden. From The Hurt Locker director, Kathryn Bigelow, first female to win the Best Director Award, Zero Dark Thirty has been highly anticipated. However, will this film hold the same weight for the Academy as The Hurt Locker? Bigelow was not nominated for director this year, but Jessica Chastain is up for Best Actress! Careful, Quvenzhane’, Jessica’s got guns! You guuuuys, I’m talking about her acting chops! Didn’t you see her in that artsy film The Tree of Life?!
There you have it! The 2013 Academy Awards nominees for Best Picture. For a full list of nominees, check out ABC’s ballot of all categories!
Your reactions?! What flick is your pick for the winner? Any titles you think were robbed of a nomination? Inquiring minds HAVE TO KNOW WHAT YOU’RE THINKING!!!
Oh, and want to know what I was slightly right about, but mostly wrong? The Hobbit! No nominations for Directing, Cinematography, Costume, or Original Song! It did however get noms in Visual Effects and Make-up, leaving me to fess up, I was “mostly” wrong, but slightly right.