The 85th Annual Academy Awards is on tonight, and instead of just giving you my perspective, I reached out to several of my favorite movie reviewers with a few questions. Here’s how they responded.

Biggest Snub from the Best Picture Category?

daniel-craig-james-bond-skyfallDan The Man: I wasn’t that upset with the Best Picture nominees this year, although I felt like they could have at least shown a bit more love to the Master. This category, as well as some others, but I still think that it is one of the best movies from last year because of it’s story, and what P.T. Anderson was able to do with it. Maybe not perfect like There Will Be Blood, but still compelling and invigorating nonetheless. Also, you’d think that with the 50 year celebration and anniversary of the James Bond franchise, that they would at least throw it some Best Picture (for Skyfall), but surprisingly: no.

Dan Fogarty: “Skyfall” without a doubt. It’s that rare action movie that also has enough dramatic heft that it could have been considered. Given that it was the 50th anniversary of Bond, plus the fact they only nominated 9 movies as it was… “Skyfall” definitely should have been in the mix. If for no other reason than to bump the Ratings!

Sean Kelly: The general consensus, which I agree with, is that The Master should have received a Best Picture nomination.

Chris Turner: I don’t really think there is one. This wasn’t a particularly strong year for movies.

Erik Sebok: For me it is The Impossible. It is a deeply moving drama with top notch performances and it is not there.

Steve Habrat: I think the biggest snub was The Dark Knight Rises. I feel like the Academy really owed it to Christopher Nolan after they snubbed The Dark Knight back in 2009, but once again, they brushed him off. It’s a shame because that trilogy really demanded that the superhero genre be taken seriously and it showed the world that superhero movies can have some pretty profound things to say. I know that some people weren’t as smitten with the movie as I was, but I found it to be one of the strongest films of 2012. I also think The Avengers was severely overlooked, but that film definitely didn’t have the depth that Nolan’s film did.

Ryan Fernand: The Hobbit – An Unexpected Journey is probably the first film I would choose to replace one of the current Best Picture nominees.  It did a great job of recapturing the spirit of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy (all 3 of those films were nominated for Best Picture).  Even though the film has been accused of playing it safe I think Peter Jackson took a huge risk with the use of 48 frames per second, and Academy Award voters liked the 48 FPS enough to nominate the film for Best Visual Effects (where the producers displayed a visual effects reel in 48 FPS to Academy voters in order to make the cut).

James Diamond of Failed Critic: Although I’m surprised The Master didn’t make the cut, personally I wasn’t a huge fan. The one film that has been unfairly snubbed (and not just in the big categories) is Cloud Atlas. What the Wachowskis and Tom Twyker have achieved in adapting David Mitchell’s ‘unfilmable’ novel is remarkable. I know it has its faults, but it’s brave, breathtaking, and unique. It is also a great lesson in editing , with it’s sense of momentum  matched only by Argo from the nominees.

Bryan Lienesch: The Dark Knight Rises. EASILY. You’re telling me a film with subtitles (Amour) and a movie NO ONE understands (Beasts of the Southern Wild) was better than Christopher Nolan’s masterpiece? Come on, now. I also thought End of Watch should’ve been included, but that one, at least, I can understand. Finally, I was dismayed to see that neither Impostor nor Head Games were nominated for documentary feature. I thought they were the two best documentaries of the year and neither got the nod here.

Biggest Snub(s) from any of the other categories?

argo-ben-affleck-directingChris Turner:  Ben Affleck for Directing ARGO.

Dan Fogarty:  Well, Ben Affleck certainly. Especially seeing as it seems that Argo is on its way towards a best picture win now.

Sean Kelly: In terms of acting, Ann Dowd should have received recognition for her role as a gullible fast food manager in Compliance.  Also, after it debuted at Sundance last year, the film Smashed seemed poised to be the break-through role for Mary Elizabeth Winstead, however it was all but forgotten when the awards season came along.  Both those films received very limited releases, which could help explain the snubs.  In the Best Documentary category, the most notable snub is The Impostor. In my opinion, that film would’ve been the clear favourite to win if it was nominated. Finally, it confounds me that Cloud Atlas wasn’t even considered for the Best Make-Up category.

Erik Sebok: Not nominating Tarantino in best director category was a shock for me. I would happily exchange Ang Lee for him. Also, I have just seen The Paperboy and I have to say Nicole Kidman would have deserved a nomination in best actress in supporting role. She gave one of the best performances of her career and it was overlooked. Not having The Imposter in best documentary category is another shocker. Easily one of the best films of 2012 and again overlooked.

Steve Habrat: As far as Best Director goes, I was definitely shocked that Ben Affleck didn’t get a Best Director nomination for Argo. I really think he deserved one. I also think Quentin Tarantino should have been in there for Django Unchained and Kathryn Bigelow should have grabbed a spot for Zero Dark Thirty. Both of those movies were so well done and it’s just hard to believe that they didn’t make the cut. I also think that Leonardo DiCaprio should have gotten a Best Supporting Actor nomination. He was just incredible and he showed a side that we have never seen from him.

Ryan Fernand: I think the director’s branch not voting in Kathryn Bigelow’s work on Zero Dark Thirty is downright criminal.  She was getting attacked from all corners (unfairly I might add) and Hollywood had a golden opportunity to stand by her.  They sadly did not step up.  Bigelow’s work was incredible as she deftly mixed a lot of personal touches into an intense epic.  I also don’t think there was a better-directed scene this year than the compound raid.

James Diamond of Failed Critic:  I think that two actors in particular are unlucky to have missed out on nominations this year. In the Best Actor category, John Hawkes’ incredible performance in The Sessions was easily as deserving as his co-star Helen Hunt’s nod for Best Supporting Actress. I would also love to have seen Marion Cotillard rewarded for her stunning turn in Rust & Bone, which was probably my favourite performance and film of 2012.

Dan The Man: The biggest snub of all for me was Leo DiCaprio in Django Unchained. His ass deserved the nomination no matter what anybody, from any place says. The guy was great and if it was up to me: I would have given it to him. There were a bunch of snubs in the Best Director category including Affleck, Bigelow, and even Tarantino. I get that the Academy doesn’t want to seem like they are supporting some of the things that these directors do, but you cannot tell me that David. O. Russell did anything flashier than Tarantino did the whole, freakin’ time in Django. This year, I think is the year where the Academy got old and felt old for all of us.

Bryan Lienesch: Again, Christopher Nolan for directing The Dark Knight Rises. His re-imagining of such an overused comic book character was otherworldly. A lot of people are crying foul about Ben Affleck being snubbed, but Nolan was even better. For Actor in a Supporting Role, I would’ve liked to see Bryan Cranston for Argo. He was SENSATIONAL, delivering quite possibly the best performance in the movie.

Are there any movies or performances which got nominated which you’d remove from that list?

Silver_Linings_PlaybookDan Fogarty: Mnnnn… not really. For the most part they did a good job. “Silver Linings Playbook” might be getting a tad overrated, but I can see why. Honestly, when I scanned the list, my biggest “Uh, no” went to “Pirates: Band of Misfits” It’s definitely not all that in my book. I would have much rather seen ParaNorman or Rise of the Guardians.

Sean Kelly: There have been times that I’ve forgotten Life of Pi was even nominated and it seems the most destined for “also ran” status. Even though I thought it was a better than average romantic comedy, I think that Silver Linings Playbook is a bit overrated and could do without half of its nominations, even though I have to say Jennifer Lawrence deserves hers.

Erik Sebok: I personally would remove Life of Pi from Best Picture category. It seems to be this year’s Avatar, visually stunning but shallow. It is an enjoyable film by all means but highly overrated. AMOUR is another tricky one. It got nominated in both best picture and best foreign language film categories. Well…It is a wonderful film and in my top 10 of 2012 BUT it should not be in best picture category as it is not English speaking. They created a separate category for foreign language films and I don’t think it is fair to have it in both. It sort of defeats the purpose and also seems a bit biased.

Steve Habrat:  I think the only film I’d pull out of the Best Picture category is Life of Pi. I thought it was a good movie and it sure was something to look at, but it just didn’t have the emotional weight that it THOUGHT it had. I also thought that the film lagged in places which was a major disappointment. As far as Best Director goes, I really don’t think that Benh Zeitlin deserved a nomination for Beasts of the Southern Wild. I thought the film was fantastic and easily one of the best of the year, but I don’t think he deserved it more than Affleck, Tarantino, or Bigelow. I also would have liked to see Killing Them Softly get a Best Adapted Screenplay nomination. I know there are a lot of people out there who really didn’t care for that movie, but I really stand behind that one.

Ryan Fernand: It seems like Amour is the hardcore cinephile’s choice for film of the year, but I just don’t get its nomination for Best Picture.  I watch and talk about films for the enjoyment I find within them.  There is nothing to enjoy about Amour.  I don’t care how well directed or acted the film is (and Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva did some really good work in the film), there is just no need to have a film about a realistic portrayal of an elderly woman slowly dying.

James Diamond of Failed Critic: As adorable as Quvenzhane Wallis is in Beasts of the Southern Wild, her performance isn’t what I would call ‘acting’. She isn’t making character choices, and is instead being told exactly what to do. I’m in the minority in funding that film a little boring, and actually quite a condescending view of the people it portrays, but I’m glad it got a nomination for Best Picture as it shows the Academy is looking past the big studio productions.

Dan The Man: I thought Amour was a bit too much of a blind-side pick, but I was surprised by how much love it actually ended up getting. I didn’t love, nor did I hate the movie. But I didn’t think there was anything special that Michael Haneke did behind the screen, or in his screenplay. Yeah, he tells the truth the way it is, and it’s sad, but still nothing special. I wish they would have just removed Alan Arkin’s supporting-role from the whole nomination scheme, but seeing as that everybody, everywhere nominated him for something, I guess it was too hard to avoid.

Bryan Lienesch: I thought Silver Linings Playbook was good, but not in the running for the BEST. That and some of the others (Amour, Life of Pi) could’ve easily been replaced. Then, for best actress, I didn’t think Jessica Chastain’s performance was that good. Rather, it was only satisfactory. If you watch her in The Help, I think it’s a stark juxtaposition of just how lackluster she was in Zero Dark Thirty. Also, I think we can take David O. Russell down from Best Director. He was good, no doubt, but there were better. Much, much better.

In terms of enjoyment or entertainment, what were your top 5 films from 2012?

DJANGO UNCHAINED – Turner (1), Erik Sebok (1), Steve Habrat (1), Dan The Man (1), Bryan Lienesch (5)

ZERO DARK THIRTY – Ryan Fernand (1), Erik Sebok (3), Bryan Lienesch (3), Dan The Man (4)

ARGO – Turner (2), Erik Sebok (4), Ryan Fernand (4), Bryan Lienesch (4), Steve Habrat (5)

THE AVENGERS – Dan Fogarty (2), Steve Habrat (3), James Diamond (3), Turner (4)

SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS – Sean Kelly (2), Dan Fogarty (4), Ryan Fernand (5)

DARK KNIGHT RISES – Bryan Lienesch (1), Steve Habrat (2), Dan The Man (2), Sean Kelly (4)

SKYFALL – Dan Fogarty (1), Steve Habrat (4)

THE RAID: REDEMPTION – Erik Sebok (2), James Diamond (3),

COMPLIANCE – Sean Kelly (1)

END OF WATCH – Bryan Lienesch (2)


LOOPER – Dan Fogarty (3)

KILLER JOE – Sean Kelly (3)

The GREY – Ryan Fernand (3)

CABIN IN THE WOODS – James Diamond (3)


SIGHTSEERS – James Diamond (3)


HOBBIT – Ryan Fernand (2), Dan Fogarty (5)

Les Miserables – Dan The Man (5)

FRANKENWEENIE – Sean Kelly (5)

THE HUNT (Jagten) – Erik Sebok (5)


What do you predict will win Best Picture?

James Diamond: I keep telling everyone how I backed Argo at 10/1 back in December, so I’m really pleased to see it with the momentum as the favourite now. It’s difficult to imagine it not winning, especially as you imagine the Academy will be determined to make up for Affleck’s snub in the Best Director category.

Chris Turner: ARGO

Dan Fogarty: “Argo”. All the precurser awards went its way, it would kind of be shocking now if it didnt win. Though if you had asked me two months ago I would have said Lincoln, that movie is Grade A Oscar Bait, so if there is a surprise, that’s what I would bet on!

Sean Kelly: A lot of people were predicting Lincoln, solely for the fact that it is the leading nominee.  However, despite not having an accompanying Best Director nomination, Argo has won nearly every pre-Oscar Award, including the Golden Globes and BAFTAs.  As such, I predict that it will be the big winner at the Oscars as well.

Erik Sebok: It is more than likely to be Lincoln. It is the type of film the academy loves. Long, historical, educational and tiring. I would be very surprised if Argo won. Fingers crossed!

Steve Habrat: I really think it’s going to Argo. I’d love to see it go to Django Unchained, but I’m realistic. Argo is certainly deserving though.

Ryan Fernand: If Argo doesn’t win Best Picture it would be the biggest upset in Academy Award history.

Dan The Man: I think by now, we all know who is going to win and that’s Argo. I have no problem with Argo winning, even though I didn’t love the movie like others, because I think it’s a statement that the Academy needs to get in it’s, as well as everybody else’s heads: the Oscars can still be a bit unpredictable. Besides, I’ve always like Ben Affleck, even though a lot of people thought he was scum for the longest time, so it would be nice to see his movie walk away with the grandest prize of them all. Woo-hoo!

Bryan Lienesch: A lot of people are speculating Argo for a number of reasons. Maybe it’s just me, but Argo didn’t feel “big” enough to the BEST Picture, if that makes any sense. I’ll go against the “favorite” here and say Zero Dark Thirty, since it’s the highest I have rated amongst those considered to be in the running.

New York Premiere of Warner Bros. New Film ARGO

Here are some links to help you better get to know the reviewers who contributed to this article:

Dan Fogarty (@Fogsmoviereview) – website:

Sean Kelly (@skonmovies) – website:

Erik Sebok (@CinemaVisitor) – website: Movie140

Steve Habrat (@AntiFilmSchool) – website: Anti-Film School

Ryan Fernand (@ryan_fernand) –  website: LordOfTheFilms

James Diamond of Failed Critics (@FailedJames) – website:

Dan The Man (@DanTheMan610) – website:  DanTheManMovieReviews

Bryan Lienesch (@bclienesch) – website: SportsHead

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