The Free Press, Mankato, MN


February 22, 2013

Oscar preview: Searching for 'Silver Linings'

— My favorite conversations surrounding “Silver Linings Playbook” have dealt with its “classification.” Is it a drama? Is it a comedy? Is it a ... (gulp) rom-com?

Those kinds of movies -- the ones that evade labels and avoid clichŽs with every unexpected plot turn -- are so wonderful and rare. Which is why I have been the unofficial head cheerleader for “Playbook” all Awards Season and have my fingers and toes crossed going into the Oscars this weekend.

The movie is by far David O’Russell’s finest work, a hilarious and heartwarming story of a band of misfits who find comfort through relying on one another’s strengths and forgiving each other’s flaws.

The “romantic comedy or not” question comes in because technically this is the story of how two people meet and possibly end up together (I won’t spoil it for you), and it’s laugh-out-loud funny. So ... romantic ... and a comedy ... doesn’t that make it a rom-com?

As a gal who has very apologetically indulged in Nicholas Sparks’ fare to get my girlie-love-fix over the years, it was a welcome surprise for somebody to bring back some street cred to the genre. (John Hughes would be so proud.)

But regardless of what you’d call it, “Playbook” isn’t just for the ladies. And if I had it my way, the movie would sweep in all categories. Rarely, however, do I get my way when it comes to the Academy.

So, here’s what I predict will happen with the big awards on Sunday night ...

Actress in a Leading Role

Will win and should win: Jennifer Lawrence, “Silver Linings Playbook”

For a while there Jessica Chastain of “Zero Dark Thirty” had the momentum. Usually, when the choice is between an actress in a comedy or a drama, the super-serious Academy will go drama every time.

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