The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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February 22, 2013

Oscar preview: Searching for 'Silver Linings'

(Continued)

Will win and should win, indeed.

Writing -- Original Screenplay

Will win: “Amour”

Should win: “Flight”

“Flight” has been overlooked this season, as has the fabulous performance by Denzel Washington playing an alcoholic pilot. Great script and great performances, but unfortunately it doesn’t have a shot.

“Amour,” a French film about an elderly couple after one suffers a stroke, is beloved by critics and it’s a great big bummer, which the Academy tends to adore.

Directing

Will win and should win: O’Russell

Ben Affleck has been the big winner in this category at almost all previous awards shows this season, and nobody has been more surprised than him.

But the Academy, for an unbeknownst and highly criticized reason, didn’t even nominate Affleck in the category. The Academy also left Kathryn Bigelow off the roster, even though “Zero Dark Thirty” was an acclaimed and buzzed-about movie this winter.

So, I think that field-clearing is going to ensure O’Russell takes home the gold.

Best Picture

Will win: “Argo”

Should win: “Silver Linings Playbook”

I’ve actually been smiling along with Affleck all Awards Season as he’s been completely blown away every time he hears his name for best director and “Argo” for best picture (or the equivalent, such as best cast, at certain shows).

He’s really enjoying himself, and it’s been a nice little “in yo’ face” to the Academy for not even nominating him in the Directing category.

I liked “Argo,” which is the story behind the Iran hostage crisis. I thought it was a good movie, and it was also really commercial, so it had a wide-ranging audience.

Do I think it’s a “Best Picture”? Not really. Not a whole lot of originality in filmmaking here, which is important to me when choosing a deserved recipient of the biggest prize of the evening.

For all the reasons I laid out above, it would be a wonderful and welcomed surprise if “Silver Linings Playbook” pulled out a win.

It would certainly be my Awards Season’s silver lining if it did.

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