(Joe Klamar/AFP/Getty Images)

Movie critics were surprised when Ben Affleck wasn’t nominated for a Best Director Oscar. Will his film “Argo” be vindicated with other awards on Sunday? Will the story of the killing of bin Laden or the tale of the president who saved the U.S. from being split in two take home Best Picture? We talk with a panel of film critics in advance of this weekend’s Academy Awards about their favorite (and least favorite) of the nominees.

Guests:
Leonard Maltin, film critic, historian, and host of Maltin on Movies on the Reelz Channel; the 2013 edition of Leonard Maltin’s movie guide is now in stores
Ty Burr, film critic for the Boston Globe and author of the recent book "Gods Like Us: On Movie stardom and Modern Fame"
Sura Wood, freelance arts journalist and film critic for publications including Hollywood Reporter, San Francisco Arts Monthly and the San Jose Mercury News

  • thucy

    I’d like to award a special Oscar for bad behavior to “Lincoln” screenwriter Tony Kushner for his mind-bogglingly obtuse reply to CT representative Joe Courtney, who merely asked that the “power duo” (groan) of Spielberg and Kushner correct their inexplicable decision to grossly misrepresent the CT vote on the 13th amendment. Kushner had the nuts to compare Courtney’s legit request for the correction to “nitpicking” over whether Lincoln wore blue or green socks. What a grotesque ego

  • thucy

    also: how do you explain a “historical” film on abolition that entirely (and I mean entirely) elides “Freddie” Douglass’ existence, but “necessarily” includes Lincoln’s butler?

    Hey, Spielberg’s still in denial that 27 million dead Soviets made the real difference in defeating the Nazis. So no one should expect him to credit African-Americans with political agency. But come on!!! There’s only so much Spielberg fantasy we can stomach.

    I recommend Thomas Frank’s evisceration of Spielberg’s “Lincoln” in the recent issue of Harper’s. And give the oscar to Tarantino – at least he’s honest about his fiction.

  • thucy

    Thomas Frank on Spielberg’s “Lincoln” in Harper’s:

    “Lincoln is a movie that makes viewers feel noble at first, but on reflection the sentiment proves hollow. This is not only a hackneyed film but a mendacious one. Like other Spielberg productions, it drops you into a world where all the great moral judgments have been made for you already — Lincoln is as absolutely good as the Nazis in Raiders of the Lost Ark are absolutely bad — and then it smuggles its tendentious political payload through amid those comfortable stereotypes.”

    Thomas Frank calls Spielberg “that Michaelangelo of the trite.” True enough. Unfortunately, Spielberg, like Colonel Tom Parker (with Kushner in tow as Fat Elvis?), is laughing all the way to the bank.

  • lord above, I’ve not seen all the contenders for this year, but suffice it to say:

    Life of Pi is a super bore; Les Miserables is miserable; and Amour
    isn’t the beauty everyone wants it to be– it’s a depressing super well
    acted film, that’s all it’s got going for it. Not a hot Oscar year.

  • Michael

    In regards to Seth Macfarlane hosting the event, I can’t say it’s preferable to, well, anyone else. I am of the age demographic that has perhaps seen the greatest volume of his ‘work’ and I can’t say that it has warranted what I consider a higher esteemed position than he perhaps deserves. Without evidence, and perhaps with bias, I had assumed he was selected to appeal to a more mainstream audience.

  • thucy

    Prego, Michael, it’s disingenuous to suggest that only people in CT are offended by Lincoln, or that the misrepresentation of Lincoln starts and ends with the CT vote.

    also: ZERO evidence that TS was sleeping with housekeeper! Not saying he wasn’t but it’s more Spielbergian-Kushnerian fantasy.

  • In my way of seeing, Moonrise Kingdom was the Best Picture by far. Creative, excellent writing and acting. A masterpiece.

  • Ken

    Just saw the Oscar shorts this week and “The Death of a Shadow” and “Henry” were two of the most fascinating and moving films I have seen in many years.

  • Fay Nissenbaum

    Given that last years James Franko appeared tranquilized, I fear Seth will overcompensate… I enjoy Seth McFarlane as a character voice, but when he smiles broadly and sings and hams up, he puts me in mind of Potsie on Happy Days — in other words, cringeworthy!

  • Tommy Lee Jones’ casting was a travesty in Lincoln. At least he could have bothered to lose his Texas drawl in favor of the real Stevens’ New England accent! A great wig does not a great portrayal make.

  • Fay Nissenbaum

    Undiscussed is how these films based on recent events, such as ‘Zero Dark 30’, mis-color, bend, and make up facts for sake of drama, yet promote with “Based On A True Story”. The more recent and grave the event is, I argue, the greater the need to not fabricate. If there was a film based on Katrina flood, it would not be acceptable if it showed the Feds ‘doing every thing they could’ to help the people. The distortions CAN reach a level of unacceptable fibbing and I believe that happened with the plot of Zero Dark 30.

  • MattCA12

    What is Leonard’s problem? His answer to everything seems to be some smarmy variation of “well, because it’s a movie…” I found him to be a pretty boorish guest.

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