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Spiritually Correct

The Harsh Complexities of Reality

5 Broken Cameras

A scene from “5 Broken Cameras.” (Courtesy of Kino Lorber)

It’s time to move past the politically correct filters that stifle our ability to communicate, writes director Guy Davidi.

One of the most poignant scenes in 5 Broken Cameras, the documentary I co-directed with Emad Burnat, is when Emad films his four children crossing the separation barrier built in the Palestinian village of Bil’in in the West Bank. In this scene, Emad concentrates on filming the barrier itself as his children enter the frame. His youngest son, Gibreel, then age 2, utters his first on-screen words: “wall,” “army,” and “rubber bullet.” Emad creates a portrait of the occupation, and his family becomes a pretext for this political reality.

Long before Gibreel learns to define himself as a child, he sees himself as a person in a relationship to the political elements around him. And it is not until he’s 6, near the end of the film, that he defines himself as “Gibreel,” by writing his own name on the barrier. In other words, his personal identity only emerges after his connection to the political world has been defined—and in this way, political language dominates his inner voice.

My intention during the making of 5 Broken Cameras was to tease out Emad’s inner voice from the layers of political language obfuscating it. This film deals with political subjects in a politicized reality, but its language doesn’t come from the political world. It’s a language that borders on the spiritual world and that of the soul. For years political discourse has been robbing us of opportunities to have complex debates about our lives and reducing our ability to bring invention and creativity to our actions in the world.

I entered into this partnership with Emad knowing that our work would be interpreted according to a set of idealized assumptions, and through my participation, I implicitly agreed to be part of this narrative.

Last October, over a two-hour dinner with Ramin Setoodeh, Jennifer Lawrence was told that she’d win the Oscar this year. Here’s how she reacted to the news.

Jennifer Lawrence has been the presumed frontrunner for the Best Actress Oscar since Silver Linings Playbook wowed critics at the Toronto Film Festival last fall.

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Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

But one person didn’t get the memo—Jennifer Lawrence. To be fair, she was busy at the time, reprising her role as Katniss Everdeen in Hunger Games: Catching Fire. And she doesn’t Google herself.

In October 2012, The Daily Beast sat down with Lawrence for a two-hour dinner, where she breezed through a number of topics—she’s a weird runner, she once stalked Daniel Radcliffe, and she auditioned for Silver Linings over Skype. Even though she’s only 22, she nailed Tiffany, a depressed widow who falls for Bradley Cooper. When I told Lawrence that the blogosphere had already decided she’d win the Oscar, she had no idea. And she gave one of her trademark off-the-cuff responses.

gallery

25 Biggest Oscar Snubs!

Pick ‘Em

Your Oscars Cheat Sheet

Ace your betting pool with our handy guide to all the big races—film clips, major reviews, the odds from Vegas, and more. Then, share your winning ballot so you can rub it in later.

Photo research by Marcia Allert.

Django has been unchained. The people have sung. Ben Affleck cut his Argo hair. The long slog to Oscar night ends on Sunday, culminating in one grand question: Who’s going to win?

To help you size up the competition, we’ve compiled a cheat sheet to the big six categories. Here you’ll find handy information about the other awards the nominees have racked up thus far—Golden Globes, BAFTA, Screen Actors Guild (SAG), Directors Guild (DGA), and Critics Choice. Plus, video clips of key performances, reviews from the major critics, and the latest odds from the bookies in Vegas.


Take a look at The Daily Beast’s exhaustive coverage of this year’s Oscar contenders, and fill out your ballot in all of the 24 categories. Then, share it with friends through email, Facebook, or Twitter, or print it out to bring to your Oscar night viewing party. Finally, pour a glass of champagne and enjoy Hollywood’s biggest night. Happy picking!

Photo credits: Claire Folger/Warner Bros., via AP; Sony Pictures Classics/AP; The Weinstein Company/AP; Chris Pizzello/AP; Laurie Sparham/Universal Pictures, via AP; Jess Pinkham/Fox Searchlight Pictures, via AP; Evan Agostini/Invision/AP; JoJo Whilden/The Weinstein Company, via AP; Sony Pictures/AP; David James/DreamWorks and Twentieth Century Fox, via AP; Matt Sayles/Invision/AP; Robert Zuckerman/Paramount Pictures, via AP; Andrew Cooper/The Weinstein Company, via AP; Sony Pictures Classics/AP; Fox Searchlight Pictures/AP; ©2012 Zero Dark Thirty; Phil Bray/The Weinstein Company, via AP; Universal Pictures/AP, 20th Century Fox/AP; David James/DreamWorks II Distribution Co., LLC and Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, via AP; Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP; Jose Haro/Summit Entertainment, via AP; Jose Haro/Summit Entertainment, via AP; Mary Cybulski/Fox Searchlight Pictures, via AP; David James/DreamWorks and Twentieth Century Fox, via AP; Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP; Sony - Columbia Pictures/AP

Freebies

Oscar Guests’s Bizarre Swag Bag

Windex? Lint rollers? Maple syrup? Kevin Fallon peeks inside the curious gift bag going home with this year’s Oscar nominees.

This year’s Oscar losers shouldn’t be too upset when Anne Hathaway and Daniel Day-Lewis waltz off with the coveted trophies. Turns out every one’s a winner: They’re all going home with copies of Leeza Gibbons’s memoir.

Oscars Rehearsals

Prop Oscars are seen backstage during rehearsals for the 85th Academy Awards in Los Angeles, on Feb. 20, 2013. The Academy Awards will be held Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013. (Matt Sayles/Invision/AP)

Yes, the former talk show host and QVC maven’s new book, Take 2: Your Guide to Happy Endings and New Beginnings, is among the increasingly strange contents that stock this year’s Oscar swag bag.

Presumptuously titled the “Everyone Wins at the Oscars Nominee Gift Bag,” the freebies going home with all of this year’s nominees is valued at a whopping $45,000. Included are the glamorous luxuries one would presume Hollywood’s A-list would covet: $10,000 trips to Australia, skincare products worth hundreds of dollars each, $625 private training sessions, and gourmet chocolates.

Envelope Please ...

The Perfect Oscar Speech

Take note, Anne Hathaway! Lessons on delivering the most flawless acceptance speech from Julia Roberts, Tom Hanks, George Clooney, and other stars.

If you win an Academy Award, 
for the love of Meryl Streep, cry. And be witty. And thank your mom. 
And bow down to lord and savior Harvey Weinstein. But please 
just remember to cry.



Best Academy Awards Speeches

Clockwise from top left: Gwyneth Paltrow, Tom Hanks, Meryl Streep, and Halle Berry. (Getty (4))

By this point, at the tail end of the seemingly interminable awards 
season, the likes of Anne Hathaway, Daniel Day-Lewis, 
and Ben Affleck have likely logged hours each giving acceptance speeches as they steamrolled the precursor awards shows. Jennifer 
Lawrence 
has charmed America on a handful of occasions with her thank-yous. But 
has anyone thus far given a truly great acceptance speech?



As the stars prepare for Oscars Sunday, we’ve perused the greatest hits
 of Oscar speeches past and come up with this, an instructional video 
for giving the Academy Award acceptance speech of viewers’ dreams.

 

HE SAID, HE SAID

Who Will Win on Oscar Night?

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Clockwise L-R: Anne Hathaway in Les Miserables, Daniel Day Lewis and the cast of Lincoln, Jennifer Lawrence in Silver linings Playbook, and Ben Affleck and Bryan Cranston in Argo.

Will ‘Argo’ win the Best Picture Oscar, or will ‘Silver Linings Playbook’ rally to take the night’s top prize? And what about the other categories? Ramin Setoodeh and Marlow Stern make their picks, and break down what’s in store for viewers at the Academy Awards, airing on ABC at 7 p.m. ET Sunday.

Best Picture

Ramin: This turned out to be such a hard year for predicting the Oscars! The winner was supposed to be Argo, until it was Silver Linings Playbook, until it was Les Miserables, until it was Zero Dark Thirty, until it was Lincoln. But after the guild awards were announced, the momentum swung back to Argo, which I am grateful for, because even if it’s not the best movie of the year, it’s one of the best, and so much better than the C-SPAN presentation that was Lincoln. If I could choose, I would have voted Les Miserables, the epic and excessive (in the best way) movie musical. I still remember the night in late November that we both saw it at Lincoln Center, and we thought it had the Best Picture Oscar in the bag. Oh well. We dreamed a dream. I’ll still be cheering when Affleck takes the podium.

Who should win: Les Miserables

Who will win: Argo

Executive producer Michelle Raimo Kouyate and co-executive producer Renee Witt explain why they had to get the film made.

Stories about Little Movies That Could usually center on coincidences involving celebrities and financing—serendipitous, right-place, right time stuff. While our film couldn’t have taken off—or gotten started—without Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, David O. Russell, Harvey Weinstein, or the late Sydney Pollack and Anthony Minghella, the real steam for its genesis came from long-gone, unfamous people in our own lives. People whose stories we could never forget, because they forever changed our own.

SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK

Jojo Whilden/The Weinstein Company

Both of us had experienced the loneliness and frustration depicted in the film firsthand. Renee grew up the child of a paranoid schizophrenic, believing she had the world’s only mentally-ill mom, feeling ashamed by it, and dreaming of her mom’s silver lining. She optioned Silver Linings Playbook (the novel) during her very first week working at the Weinstein Company, with the hope it might help audiences see that mental illness is just that—an illness—comprising but one part of a person’s whole, rather than defining them.

The Silver Linings Playbook novel hit Michelle like “a ton of bricks thrown at [her] chest.” Five years earlier, her husband had died at the age of 33, and like Tiffany, Jennifer Lawrence’s character in the movie, Michelle couldn’t seem to identify herself as anything but her dead husband’s wife. She was crippled by severe survivor’s guilt, stuck in a pitch-black mindset with no idea of how to find her way out. By the time she came across the novel, Michelle had found her silver lining in the form of other people—her family, her friends, her community, her therapist, and most importantly, her now-husband and son—and she wanted other struggling people to see that this sort of transformation was possible. The characters in Silver Linings Playbook proved it.

Academy Awards

No Country for Old People

The Oscar-nominated documentary, set to air on HBO on March 11, captures the fears of the residents of a Florida retirement community. A psychiatrist for the elderly says it should be required viewing for anyone who cares for the aged.

I just finished proctoring the geriatric psychiatry station of the comprehensive examination that second-year students take at the Harvard Medical School. Serendipitously, I also viewed Sari Gilman’s Academy Award–nominated Kings Point, a 30-minute documentary covering 10 years in the life of an age-restricted community in Florida, that’s set to premiere on HBO on March 11. While the doctors-to-be all did well in interviewing and diagnosing a “standardized” geriatric patient, it occurred to me how their interactions could have been enhanced by viewing Gilman’s film.

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Kings Point takes the viewer into the lives of five aging-in-place residents who are extremely insightful into their own circumstance. They accept with equanimity the true horror of aging alone, sundered from family and community. They all bought the Florida dream and left New York City for what they believed to be the Promised Land. The promise of home ownership, eternal sunshine, and companionship with like-minded people lured them into a desperate trap. For as they aged and developed infirmities, as their spouses died off, they were left alone and frightened. As one of the elders noted, “Nobody gets too close here; they are afraid.” And Kings Point elucidates these fears all too clearly and poignantly. They desire connection but are so afraid of loss that they shy away from closeness and commitment, two essential aspects of our human nature.

The result is isolation and a focus on simple self-preservation. As Gert, one of the elders, notes, “I’m taking care of myself.” The cinematographers—Daniel Gold, Gabriel Miller, and Toby Oppenheimer—manage to capture both the surface beauty of the setting with its pink houses, lush lawns, bubbling brooks, and tall palm trees and contrast it with a glimpse into the residents’ sense of living in a prison they cannot escape from. Filming through windows with protective bars on them, down long, empty, and sterile corridors—all reinforce the loneliness and despair of the individuals living there.

Academy Awards

Oscar’s 85-Year-Old Darling

Her startling turn in Michael Haneke’s end-of-life drama has made the French screen icon the dark horse for Best Actress. She talks about her very long road to the Academy Awards.

She’s a sleeper star on a breathtaking hot streak. And on February 24, Emmanuelle Riva, Oscar’s oldest Best Actress nominee ever, will celebrate her 86th birthday on the red carpet in Hollywood. Yet another dance with serendipity—and, perhaps, a handsome gold statuette—for the French actress, who has collected a mantelpiece worth of hardware for her masterful turn in Austrian director Michael Haneke’s staggering Amour.

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Emmanuelle Riva in 'Amour,' (Sony)

The French-language end-of-life drama stars Riva and fellow French screen legend Jean-Louis Trintignant as Anne and Georges, retired Parisian music teachers in their 80s struggling with Anne’s sudden spiral into paralysis and dementia. It is the story of love at its zenith, without glamour; pure, intimate, spare, sans melodrama. The couple’s daughter, Eva (Isabelle Huppert), a musician in London, provides stark contrast, effusively anguished on her whirlwind visits. When Eva sheds the film’s only tears, they seem an indulgence, out of step. “Your concern serves no purpose to me,” Georges, caregiver for her mother, tells Eva. The film has been called Haneke’s warmest and most humane. Although, for the man who brought us The Piano Teacher, Funny Games, and The White Ribbon, that alone doesn’t say much.

“The title is Amour [Love]. It is nothing else. And it’s true that that is an extremely appropriate title,” Riva tells The Daily Beast, speaking in French from her home in Paris.

OSCAR FORECAST

Who Will Win Best Director?

Most of the big Oscar races this year are predictable—except best director. With Ben Affleck out of the running, Ramin Setoodeh looks into who will take home the prize.

With only two weeks left until the Oscars—mark your calendars for Feb. 24—most of the winners are so locked up, this article doesn’t need a spoiler warning. Argo will grab the Best Picture award. The acting trophies will go to Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook), Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln), and Anne Hathaway (Les Misérables). And the best-director statuette belongs to Ben Affleck.

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Nominated directors (clockwise from top left) David O. Russell, Benh Zeitlin, Steven Spielberg, Ang Lee, and Michael Haneke. (Getty)

Oh, wait. Even though Affleck won the Golden Globe, the Critics' Choice Award, and the Directors Guild Award for making Argo, he’s not in the running for a directing Oscar. There are plenty of Internet conspiracy theories about his snub, but blame likely goes to the snooty auteurs who vote for the nominees in the category. They look down on actors who want to direct.

If Affleck were nominated, he’d surely win. But since he’s been sidelined, the best-director Oscar race will be one of the few wild cards of the night. “I think it’s between Ang Lee [Life of Pi], Steven Spielberg [Lincoln], and David O. Russell [Silver Linings Playbook],” says an Academy voter who would only speak anonymously about handicapping the Oscar race. The other nominees are the underdogs Michael Haneke (Amour) and Benh Zeitlin (Beasts of the Southern Wild).

‘The Invisible War’ casts a harsh light on the sexual-assault epidemic in the military. The film’s director, Kirby Dick, on how it is changing the military and culture at large.

Much of the attention this Oscar season has gone to the rich and unpredictable Best Picture category, but the most interesting race may actually be happening down the ballot between a murderer’s row of politically charged documentaries. Five Broken Cameras, Emad Burnat and Guy Davidi’s look at Palestinians coping with the arrival of militant Israeli settlers in their West Bank community, faces off with The Gatekeepers, Dror Moreh, Philippa Kowarsky, and Estelle Fialon’s unprecedented examination of Israeli security agency Shin Bet. David France’s searing chronicle of AIDS activism, How to Survive a Plague, is in the mix, as is Kirby Dick’s present-day cri de coeur against sexual assault in the military, The Invisible War. In this company, the much-loved music biopic Searching for Sugarman, a hit at last year’s Sundance Film Festival is practically a ray of sunshine.

The Invisible War

Jessica Hinves, of Hampton, Virginia, was enlisted in the U.S. Air Force from 2001 to 2011 as a senior airman working as a tactical aircraft maintainer. After reporting her rape, Jessica Hinves was diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder and discharged from the military. During the investigation into the assault, her perpetrator was awarded Airman of the Year. (The Invisible War)

“They’re all excellent films,” Dick said, considering the films that are going up against his searing condemnation of the sexual-assault epidemic in the military for Best Documentary at the Academy Awards on February 24. “It was an amazing year this year for documentaries. But this is the film that—if it does get an Academy Award—it will motivate Congress, it will motivate the [Defense Department], it will motivate the military to make even more changes. There will be a direct result from this winning the award and the reduction of rape. That will happen.”

It’s a bold claim for Dick to make. But he might actually have a point.

BLAST FROM THE PAST

Oscar Nominees’ Embarrassing Roles

Their performances have been lauded as this year’s best, but some of the 2013 Oscar nominees have a few silly skeletons in their closets. From Anne Hathaway’s ghetto-fabulous rich girl to Jennifer Lawrence’s bonkers high school mascot, see their most cringeworthy roles.

Anne Hathaway: Havoc (2005)
Oscar Nomination: Best Supporting Actress, Les Misérables

Despite her penchant for painfully awkward awards speeches and her cult of haters, Anne Hathaway is a virtual lock to win the best-supporting-actress Oscar for her poignant turn as doomed prostitute Fantine in Les Misérables. Her weepy, hyperventilating rendition of “I Dreamed a Dream” is arguably one of the finest “Oscar moments” of the year, after all. But before she dazzled in Les Miz, Hathaway starred in the so-bad-it’s-hilarious misfire Havoc. Directed by Oscar winner Barbara Kopple from a screenplay by Oscar winner Stephen Gaghan (Traffic), the film chronicles the travails of two rich white girls from Beverly Hills (Hathaway and Bijou Phillips) who act black and eventually get mixed up with menacing Latino gang members in East L.A. The film, which also stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt and features a brief appearance by Channing Tatum—in his first film role—sees Hathaway rapping along to Tupac and Jay-Z, smoking crack, and throwing haymakers. You will laugh your ass off.

Hugh Jackman: Movie 43 (2013)
Oscar Nomination: Best Actor, Les Misérables

Trail of Tears

Cry Me an Oscar

The hot new awards campaigning trick? Tears. From Robert De Niro to Anne Hathaway, Kevin Fallon looks at the nominees who are blubbering their way to a (possible) Oscar.

The Oscar campaign trial features a host of tried and true tactics nominees use to goose their chances of scoring the golden statue. There’s the endless stream of Q&A sessions with gawking journalists, the cozying up to powerful producers and voters, and the talk-show circuit so dizzying that it becomes impossible to tell your Fallon from your Kimmel.

Crying Celebrities

This year, however, there seems to be one campaigning trick trumping them all: tears. From typically stone-faced Robert De Niro’s blubbering to Katie Couric to Anne Hathaway getting verklempt over Catwoman, here’s a look at what’s become the Oscar Campaign Trail of Tears.

Robert De Niro

Academy Award Nominees

10 Oscar Shockers!

The Oscar nominations honoring the best in cinema were announced early this morning. Marlow Stern on all the huge surprises (Joaquin Phoenix!) and snubs (No Ben Affleck?) among this year’s awards nominees. Plus, see all the nominees here.

Early this morning, the event’s host, Seth MacFarlane, and actress Emma Stone announced the nominees for the 85th Academy Awards—the preeminent awards ceremony honoring the finest achievements of the year in film.

And, as in most years, there were quite a few surprises—and snubs.

1. SURPRISE: Joaquin Phoenix, The Master

Seth MacFarlane's Worst Oscar Jokes

Whether you found him hilarious or lame, it's undeniable that the Academy Awards host gave a provocative performance. Watch MacFarlane's most controversial comments, as he ripped on everything from Clooney's pedophilia to Lincoln's assassination.

Snub

They Forgot Who?

10 Oscar Shockers!

10 Oscar Shockers!

All the surprises and snubs from this morning’s Academy Award nominations honoring the best in cinema.

For Your Consideration

Amour

The Year’s Best Foreign Film

The Year’s Best Foreign Film

Marlow Stern talks to Michael Haneke about his heartrending ‘Amour’—which deserves an Oscar nod.

For Your Consideration

Argo

Ben Affleck’s Oscar Lock

Ben Affleck’s Oscar Lock

The actor-director dishes on his riveting CIA thriller, a virtual Oscar-nomination lock.

Reality Check

‘Shahs of Sunset’ Grade ‘Argo’

Not a History Lesson

What ‘Argo’ Gets Wrong

Crisis Revisited

Love and Hate in Tehran

Reality Check

‘Argo’ Blurs the Truth

Flick Picks: Argo

It's Hollywood to the rescue in actor/director Ben Affleck's new film, 'Argo,' based on the true story of when the U.S. staged a movie shoot to rescue hostages from Iran. Ramin Setoodeh and Rolling Stone's Peter Travers dissect the film.

For Your Consideration

Beasts of the Southern Wild

A Post-Katrina Fairy Tale

A Post-Katrina Fairy Tale

Sundance darling ‘Beasts of the Southern Wild,’ out June 27, is one of the year’s best, says Marlow Stern.

For Your Consideration

Django Unchained

Django’s Damsel in Distress

Django’s Damsel in Distress

In Quentin Tarantino’s dark new movie, Kerry Washington comes face to face with the horrors of slavery.

‘Django’ Fallout

Was Spike Lee Out of Line?

Too Far?

Django Unhinged

Flick Picks: Django Unchained

Quentin Tarantino is at it again, directing another star-studded cast in a monumental slave story meets spaghetti western. But is it his best work? Ramin Setoodeh and Peter Travers debate.

For Your Consideration

Les Miserables

‘Les Misérables’ Is a Triumph

‘Les Misérables’ Is a Triumph

Marlow Stern on why the film adaptation of the celebrated musical is the frontrunner for the Best Picture Oscar.

Misreading History

‘Les Miz’s’ Bad History Lesson

One Day More

The Best ‘Les Miz’ Flash Mobs

Cheat Sheet

French Revolution for Dummies

‘Les Miserables’

Eddie Redmayne’s Star-Making Turn

Flick Picks: Les Miserables

Does 'Les Miz' justify all the Oscar buzz? Ramin Setoodeh and Peter Travers review the epic big screen adaptation of the celebrated musical.

For Your Consideration

Life of Pi

‘Life of Pi’: Book vs. Film

‘Life of Pi’: Book vs. Film

Was Ang Lee’s film adaptation of ‘Life of Pi’ true to the novel? Mike Munoz explores the differences.

Oscar Hopeful

Life of Pi: This Year’s ‘Slumdog?’

For Your Consideration

Lincoln

'Lincoln' Fact Check

'Lincoln' Fact Check

Lincoln scholar Harold Holzer, a consultant on the movie, says in the end it’s not the details that matter.

Sally Field’s Take

Was Mrs. Lincoln Bipolar?

Highlights 2012

Obama Reviews ‘Lincoln'

Come On

Where Are the Black People?

EPIC

Is ‘Lincoln’ Great?

For Your Consideration

Silver Linings Playbook

Jennifer Lawrence on Katniss and Vaginas

The actress tells Ramin Setoodeh about ‘Silver Linings Playbook’ and how ‘Hunger Games’ changed her life.

‘Silver Linings’ 

Chris Tucker’s Comeback Tour

Under the Mistletoe

2012’s Most Memorable Kisses

For Your Consideration

Zero Dark Thirty

The ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ Backlash

The ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ Backlash

Kathryn Bigelow’s Oscar-bait film is being falsely accused of promoting torture, says Marlow Stern.

Bin Laden Film

‘Zero Dark Thirty’ Revealed!

It's That Opening

Is Zero Dark Thirty Propaganda?

Spies Like Them

Is This the Real Carrie Mathison?

‘Osombie’

Bin Laden’s Walking Dead?

Flick Picks: Zero Dark Thirty

We missed you, Kathryn Bigelow! In this edition of Flick Picks, Ramin Setoodeh and Rolling Stone's Peter Travers review her not-quite-a-follow-up to The Hurt Locker.