Eye on the Oscars: Crix Picks

AMOUR

“Haneke’s rigorous insistence upon emotional honesty means that no tear shed is unearned, no feeling manipulated, and that the film is, crucially, devoid of sentiment … (‘Amour’) is uncomfortable, uncompromising, unflinching … and utterly unmissable.” David Hughes, Empire

“One can never shake the feeling that by magnifying death’s ugliest qualities from a ‘measured’ emotional remove, ‘Amour’ is simply following the path of least resistance to achieving its desired visceral effect.” Calum Marsh, Slant Magazine

ARGO

” ‘Argo,’ the real movie about the fake movie, is both spellbinding and surprisingly funny.” Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

” ‘Argo’ is a solid but very ordinary film with patriotic and inspirational elements.” Richard Corliss, Time

DJANGO UNCHAINED

” ‘Django’ delivers, wholesale, that particular narcotic and delirious pleasure that Tarantino still knows how to confect in the cinema, something to do with the manipulation of surfaces. It’s as unwholesome, deplorable and delicious as a forbidden cigarette.” Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

“There’s no pressure on or expectation for Tarantino to please anyone other than himself, and the film feels overstuffed with ideas that should have been pruned.” Alison Willmore, Movieline

LINCOLN

“Spielberg’s remarkable film seems old and new too: genuinely old in its beautifully rendered settings and costumes; genuinely new in its placement of our 16th president, portrayed in eccentric glory by Daniel Day-Lewis, within the politics of his day.” Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal

“To compare this stiff history lesson to a waxy attraction at an Orlando theme park would be an insult to Walt Disney.” Joe Williams, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

LOOPER

“It’s easy to be beguiled by the production’s dazzling surfaces; they’re so dazzling that the plot’s improbabilities and downright impossibilities are readily forgiven, if not forgotten. But there’s no forgetting the beauty and mystery that flow from the premise.” Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal

” ‘Looper’ felt to me like a maddening near-miss: It posits an impossible but fascinating-to-imagine relationshipand then throws away nearly all the dramatic potential that relationship offers.” Dana Stevens, Slate

THE MASTER

“An ambitious, challenging, and creatively hot-blooded but cool-toned project that picks seriously at knotty ideas about American personality, success, rootlessness, master-disciple dynamics, and father-son mutually assured destruction.” Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly

“The actors’ commitment to their roles is impressive, but it’s tethered to a weightless, airless movie, a film so enamored of itself, the audience gets shut out.” Rene Rodriguez, Miami Herald

MOONRISE KINGDOM

“The film is precious and adorable, but it isn’t naive, and the movie breathes so deep that Anderson even gets a real performance out of Willis (this is his best work in years).” Rene Rodriguez, Miami Herald

“Like all Wes Anderson movies, it is naive, mannered, pretentious and incomprehensible.” Rex Reed, New York Observer

SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK

“Mr. (David O.) Russell, a virtuoso of chaos, has supreme command over a movie that regularly feels as if it’s teetering on the edge of hysteria, in respect to the characters and director both.” Manohla Dargis. New York Times

“It’s a film about the alienated that makes sure to alienate no one, a movie depicting wild mood extremes that never rises or falls above a dull hum of diversion, never exploding into riotous comedy or daring to be devastatingly sad.” Karina Longworth, Village Voice

SKYFALL

“In Sam Mendes’ hands, the franchise comes full circle, revealing the three-film Daniel Craig cycle to be both prelude and coda to the entire series via a foxy chess move that puts these pics on par with Christopher Nolan’s ‘Dark Knight’ trilogy as best-case examples of what cinematic brands can achieve — resulting in a recipe for nothing short of world domination.” Peter Debruge, Variety

“It would be lovely to announce that the new Bond movie is scintillating, or at least rambunctiously exciting, but ‘Skyfall,’ in the recent mode of Christopher Nolan’s ‘Batman’ films, is a gloomy, dark action thriller, and almost completely without the cynical playfulness that drew us to the series in the first place.” David Denby, The New Yorker

ZERO DARK THIRTY

“As a moral statement, ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ is borderline fascistic. As a piece of cinema, it’s phenomenally gripping — an unholy masterwork.” David Edelstein, New York Magazine

“The (movie) is neither particularly entertaining nor especially artful, as the filmmakers take a lean, ‘All the President’s Men’-style approach to dramatizing an investigation that took nearly a decade to bear fruit.” Peter Debruge, Variety

EARLY FRONTRUNNERS

PICTURE

“Amour”
Los Angeles Film Critics

“Zero Dark Thirty”
Boston Society of Film Critics
National Board of Review
New York Film Critics Circle
New York Film Critics Online
Washington, D.C., Area Film Critics

DIRECTOR

Paul Thomas Anderson, “The Master”
Los Angeles Film Critics

Kathryn Bigelow, “Zero Dark Thirty”
Boston Society of Film Critics
National Board of Review
New York Film Critics Circle
New York Film Critics Online
Washington, D.C., Area Film Critics

LEAD ACTOR

Bradley Cooper, “Silver Linings Playbook”
National Board of Review

Daniel Day-Lewis, “Lincoln”
New York Film Critics Circle
New York Film Critics Online
Washington, D.C., Area Film Critics

Joaquin Phoenix, “The Master”
Los Angeles Film Critics

LEAD ACTRESS

Jessica Chastain, “Zero Dark Thirty”
National Board of Review
Washington, D.C., Area Film Critics

Jennifer Lawrence, “Silver Linings Playbook”
Los Angeles Film Critics (tie)

Emmanuelle Riva, “Amour”
Boston Society of Film Critics
Los Angeles Film Critics (tie)
New York Film Critics Online

Rachel Weisz, “The Deep Blue Sea”
New York Film Critics Circle

SUPPORTING ACTOR

Leonardo DiCaprio, “Django Unchained”
National Board of Review

Dwight Henry, “Beasts of the Southern Wild”
Los Angeles Film Critics

Tommy Lee Jones, “Lincoln”
New York Film Critics Online

Matthew McConaughey, “Magic Mike”
New York Film Critics Circle (also recognized for “Bernie”)

Ezra Miller, “The Perks of Being a Wallflower”
Boston Society of Film Critics

Philip Seymour Hoffman, “The Master”
Washington, D.C., Area Film Critics

SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Amy Adams, “The Master”
Los Angeles Film Critics

Ann Dowd, “Compliance”
National Board of Review

Sally Field, “Lincoln”
Boston Society of Film Critics
New York Film Critics Circle

Anne Hathaway, “Les Miserables”
New York Film Critics Online
Washington, D.C., Area Film Critics

DOCUMENTARY

“Bully”
Washington, D.C., Area Film Critics

“The Central Park Five”*
New York Film Critics Circle
New York Film Critics Online

“The Gatekeepers”
Los Angeles Film Critics
How to Survive a Plague

Boston Society of Film Critics
Gotham Independent Film Awards

“Searching for Sugar Man”
National Board of Review
(*ineligible for Oscar in this category)

FOREIGN-LANGUAGE FILM

“Amour”
National Board of Review
New York Film Critics Circle
Washington D.C. Area Film Critics

“Holy Motors”*
Los Angeles Film CriticsLos Angeles Film Critics

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