Return to Transcripts main page


Academy Announces Oscar Nominations; Shockers in the Best Director Category

Aired January 10, 2013 - 08:30   ET


ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR, "EARLY START": Now, it is surprising about these types of movies is that in the history of the academy awards, only one politically themed movie has ever won Best Picture, and that was "All The King's Men." That was in 1950 at the 22nd academy awards. And we're going to find out in just a few minutes if "Lincoln" gets the chance to become the second with a nomination -- A.J. and Soledad.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Zoraida, thanks.

For more Hollywood's fascination with history and politics, "Vanity Fair" senior West Coast editor Krista Smith joins us live from Los Angeles this morning.

Krista, thanks. Do you think it makes it more likely to win an Oscar nod if it's a recent history movie or is it sort of past history?

KRISTA SMITH, SENIOR WEST COAST EDITOR, "VANITY FAIR": I think we're comfortable with things in the past I think as we're seeing with "Zero Dark Thirty," which was a brilliant form, I felt incredible and was captured the second it started. It's hard to participate in something that's a living history, what's coming up with torture and whether they had access or not access, secrets or not secrets. I think none of that is happening for "Argo," a movie that basically took an event that happened, basically 30 years ago.

So I do think that it's easier, and also with "Lincoln," it's an amazing book, obviously, well-studied, and it was a passion project by Spielberg, but also not entirely by the book either. None of us were there. We don't know exactly happened.

O'BRIEN: It seems like we're more comfortable when it's far past history.

TATIANA SIEGEL, "HOLLYWOOD REPORTER": Well, in some cases, "The Social Network" almost won the Best Oscar two years ago. And that was very recent history. Mark Zuckerberg's story had been two years old he they started making that movie. Even though that movie was not politically themed it was very much still in our consciousness when production began on that film. Some people are like, is it too soon? And I think ultimately it was a great movie.

And if "Zero Dark Thirty," same thing. It's very soon after the facts and people are still very much still digesting this information. And, yet, you make a great movie that's riveting and has this sort of last 15 minutes when you're on the edge of your seat even though you know how it's going end. I think that really appeals to people.

BRADLEY JACOBS, SENIOR EDITOR, "US WEEKLY": That was the true achievement of that movie was to take something we all knew about and dramatize it in a way that we were all still held in its palm. That whole last half hour, really of "Zero Dark Thirty" was just incredible. That's why I think some of the CIA statements about the movie kind of could hurt it a little bit in its Oscar chances because the head of the CIA is saying it's not totally a documentary. It is entertaining. You have to remember that.

O'BRIEN: But it is a movie, why would that have an impact on the vote?

JAY THOMAS, ACTOR/COMEDIAN: "All the President's Men" when what meeting Deep Throat in the parking lot, I saw it recently. You're nervous. You know he didn't die. He's still writing books. I think "Zero Dark Thirty" is considered a movie by people who go to the movies. I think, and I apologize, I think a lost times news makers make a big deal out of it. I think they're having an investigation about a waterboarding incident in a movie is really ridiculous. If I was writing a movie about the war, I would put waterboarding in the movie. It's just something that people -- this is horrible to say, they kind of want to see it dramatically. They want to see some action.

A.J. HAMMER, HLN HOST, "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT": Sure. They're also in this movie, a lost questions about the access they were giving to what were potentially classified pieces of CIA information.

THOMAS: Look, war movies. "The Big Red One". You can go back to John Wayne's war movies; they would say the United States Army gave them airplanes, tanks, everything.

SIEGEL: He was an imbedded filmmaker.

O'BRIEN: You're talking about a debate in congress. It's not a debate happening right on the screen when you're watching it.

THOMAS: The United States army that that movie was made --

O'BRIEN: There are military people who will tell you yes. I have interviewed military people who have said yes.

THOMAS: Why does it hurt them?

O'BRIEN: I can't speak for them. But I think they believe that kind of access is damaging to the United States. That is not our topic. Our topic is the Oscars, and Scott Feinberg is an Oscar analyst this morning. We'll let to him. Let's start with the Golden Globes.

HAMMER: Scott is going to bring us -- this is a precursor to what happens in the announcements. Let's get right to Scott. Scott, who do we see in the nominees in the favorites for Sunday, because I'm sure the lists will match up pretty closely.

SCOTT FEINBERG, OSCAR ANALYST, "THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER": And it's interesting, because they, you know, logically shouldn't. A lot of people realize the golden globes are determined by roughly 90 foreign journalists who, a very small group of people who don't work in the industry, and then the academy is actually composed of 6,000 people who do make movies or have made movies. Their tastes don't necessarily align. There's obviously great publicity value to being a nominee or winner, or other shows that precede the Oscars.

But they have nominated a lot of the same movies. The big difference is they have comedy and musical category and drama category They actually in some ways not especially helpful because they have twice the nominees. You will see "Argo" and "Lincoln" for instance along with "Zero Dark Thirty." In the best pictures category and "Les Mis," two of the other top contenders, competing in a totally different category.

What often ends up happening, you always get two winners and quite frequently, neither of them ends up being the one that wins the Oscar. The HFPA which picks the globes, they opted for "Avatar" instead of "The Hurt Locker." I think people assume they are a big harbinger of things to come with the Academy but that's not always the case.

HAMMER:. And I want to see how many nominees there will be for best picture this year.

O'BRIEN: Some think this will be a short list.

HAMMER: I think it may. Scott, thank you very much. Along with the golden globes Sunday, we have the Critics' Choice Awards, next month the Academy Awards on the 24th.

O'BRIEN: Award season coming up. You've attended the Academy Awards.

THOMAS: Yes, for "Mr. Holland's Opus." They lock you in. You get there at 3:00, they don't let you eat. Then they have the seat fillers. Years and years ago. Years and years ago I went to an awards ceremony and a seat filler went home with my date. Why is John Hawkes being mentioned from Sessions? I go back to people you see a lot. I think Johnny Goodman might be a dark horse nominee this year.

HAMMER: For "Flight," specifically.

THOMAS: Probably for "Flight," or "Argo." It's kind of like an overlapping thing. I would like to see John Goodman nominated.

O'BRIEN: Unless he splits his vote. It feels like it's been a great season for great movies.

THOMAS: And people have seen them.

O'BRIEN: In the past you have movies that no one has seen.

THOMAS: "Beast of Southern Wild." I am from Louisiana. I fish and hunt where they shot that movie. That's amazing how they made it for a million and a half dollars. The guy wasn't a big director. I can't pronounce the little girl's name, I'm sorry.

HAMMER: We make you, Seth McFarlane give the official pronunciation.

O'BRIEN: We're only about 30 seconds away from the start of the announcements.

SIEGEL: If she gets nominated --

O'BRIEN: We'll see the official pronunciation. Let's take you live to that shot right there. We're going to sit here and watch as they're getting ready to watch. It's interesting to see Seth McFarlane before he actually hosts the show itself be part of the announcement. Here it is.



SETH MCFARLANE, OSCAR HOST: Hi, there. Good morning. I'm Seth McFarlane, the host of the Oscars. If you don't know who I am, just pretend I'm Donny Osmond. We'll get through this.


MCFARLANE: It's a great honor to announce the nominees. I am not sure why we don't wait until noon since the only people up right now are either flying or having surgery. But I want to congratulate today's nominees and also congratulate those who weren't nominated. You can stop doing interviews where you pretend you had such a great time making the movie. And here to help me out since there's nothing creepier than a guy standing by himself in Hollywood at 5:00 in the lovely and talented Miss Emma Stone.


EMMA STONE, ACTRESS: Thank you, Seth.

MCFARLANE: Emma Stone is the star of the new system "Gangster Squad." I'm not you're the star. That seems like an ensemble piece to me.

STONE: Keep reading.

MCFARLANE: The star of the new film "Gangster Squad" and one of the Brit brightest talents of her generation. Some say she's better than Meryl Streep. Who says that?

STONE: I don't know, nobody, a lot of people.


STONE: Let's read the nominees.

MCFARLANE: The nominees will be read in no particular order.

STONE: For Best Performance of an Actor of Supporting Role, the nominees are Christoph Waltz. He's won before. Philipp Seymour Hoffman. He has won before. Robert De Niro. He's won before. Alan Arkin in "Argo. He has won before. And Tommy Lee Jones in "Lincoln." He's won before.

MCFARLANE: Breath of fresh air in that category.


STONE: For Best Original Song, the nominees are "Before my Time" from "Chasing Ice." "Pi's Lullaby" from "Life of Pi," "Suddenly" from "Les Miserables," "Everybody Needs a Best Friend" from "Ted," music by Walter Murphy, lyrics by Seth MacFarland, and "Skyfall."

MCFARLANE: That's kind of cool, I got nominated. How do you like that? I get to go to the Oscars.

STONE: Yes. The MTV awards once gave Michael Jackson a Lifetime Achievement Award just so he would show up. I'm not saying that's what is happening today, but -- I kind of am.

MCFARLANE: All right, the 2012 nominees for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role are Sally Field in "Lincoln," Anne Hathaway in "Les Miserables," Jackie Weaver in "Silver Linings Playbook," Helen Hunt in "The Sessions," and Amy Adams in "The Master."

Congratulations, you five ladies no lover have to pretend to be attracted to Harvey Weinstein.


STONE: For Best Animated Feature Film, the nominees are "Frankenweenie," "The Pirates," "Wreck-it Ralph," "Para-Norman," and "Brave."

MCFARLANE: For best foreign language film, nominees are --

From Austria, "Amour"

STONE: From Chile, "No."

MCFARLANE: From Canada, "War-Witch."

STONE: From Denmark, "A Royal Affair."

MCFARLANE: And from Norway, "Kon-tiki"


MCFARLANE: I read "Amour" was co-produced with Austria and Germany. The last time Austria and German got together and co-produced something it was Hitler. But this is so much better.


STONE: For Adapted Screenplay we have Lucy Alibar and Ben Zeitman for "Beasts of the Southern Wild," Tony Cushner for "Lincoln," David O'Russell for "Silver Linings Playbook," and David McGee for "Life of Pi." MCFARLANE: These are adapted screenplays, keep in mind. That means the writers just basically copied stuff from Microsoft Word and pasted it into Final Draft.

STONE: For Best Original Screenplay, the nominees are, "Flight," Mark Boas for "Zero Dark Thirty," Quentin Tarantino for "Django Unchained," Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola for "Moonrise Kingdom"

MCFARLANE: For Best Achievement in Directing, the nominees are David O'Russell for "Silver Linings Playbook," Ang Lee for "Life of Pi," Steven Spielberg for "Lincoln," Michael Hanaka for "Amour," and Ben Zeitman for "Beasts of the Southern Wild." These are five people who are the very best at sitting in a chair watching other people make a movie.

STONE: The nominees for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role are Daniel Day Lewis in "Lincoln," Denzel Washington in "Flight," Hugh Jackman in "Les Miserables," Bradley Cooper in "Silver Linings Playbook," and Joaquin Phoenix in "The Master." This is a little fun fact for you. Denzel's character was actually as drunk as half of the people who are up this hour.




MCFARLANE: For Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role, the nominees are Naomi Watts in "The Impossible," Jessica Chastain in "Zero Dark Thirty," Jennifer Lawrence in "Silver Linings Playbook", Emmanuelle Riva in "Amour", and Quvenzhane Wallis in the "Beasts of the Southern Wild".

STONE: At 85, Emmanuelle Riva is the oldest Best Actress nominee in Oscar history; Quvenzhane Wallis is the youngest Best Actress nominee ever, she's nine.

And finally, we are pleased to announce that the films selected as the Best Picture nominees for 2012 are: "Beasts of the Southern Wild"; Dan Janvey, Josh Penn and Michael Gottwald, producers.

MACFARLANE: "Silver Linings Playbook"; Donna Gigliotti, Bruce Cohen and Jonathan Gordon, producers.

STONE: "Zero Dark Thirty", Mark Boal, Kathryn Bigelow and Megan Ellison producers.

MACFARLANE: "Lincoln"; Steven Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy, producers.

STONE: "Les Miserables"; Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Debra Hayward and Cameron Mackintosh, producers.

MACFARLANE: "Life of Pi", Gil Netter, Ang Lee and David Womark, producers. STONE: "Amour". Nominees to be determined.

MACFARLANE: "Django Unchained"; Stacey Sher, Reginald Hudlin and Pilar Savone, producers.

STONE: And "Argo"; Grant Heslov, Ben Affleck and George Clooney, producers.

MACFARLANE: "Argo" has been nominated. Somebody tell Cranston he can unclench his teeth now. Brian, I love you. Please join us at the Oscars Sunday February 24th to find out who will take home the Oscars.

STONE: Congratulations to all of the nominees.


O'BRIEN: And there you have it. Lots of surprises, I think. Some big snubs and also a really good nomination sort of moment between Emma Stone and Seth MacFarlane. They were very funny.


HAMMER: That was refreshing. He had no podium. They were just standing there with the names of the films going up behind them, I thought that was terrific.

JACOBS: It really establishes the tone of the Oscars. I think people are really going to be excited about it, because it's usually so stiff and straightforward it -- this really is going to be a very different Oscars with Seth MacFarlane.

O'BRIEN: And he clearly is going to be a lot of fun. You can tell already. So what do you think, I mean obviously if you look at director, Best Director.

SIEGEL: Oh my God.

THOMAS: Weird.

SIEGEL: No Ben Affleck and no Kathryn Bigelow. I totally now change all of my predictions I had coming in because I thought this is a three picture race between "Argo", I mean, "Zero Dark Thirty" and "Lincoln". With no director nominated, your chance really is incredibly --

JACOBS: Very minimal.

SIEGEL: -- minimal of winning the Best Picture.

HAMMER: And no Tom Hoover for "Les Mis."

THOMAS: Tom Hoover for "Les Mis", which I looked at that movie and thought this had to be tough to shoot these close-up decisions, they sang on the set rather than dub it later.

SIEGEL: And just single shots too. THOMAS: And there was a lot of decisions made. I'm not a director. But you know, how tough it is to put it together.

O'BRIEN: A lots of nods for "Beast of the Southern Wild."


O'BRIEN: Including the best director as well.

SIEGEL: Yes, that was --

THOMAS: I also want to say that Alan Arkin is doing the film now and is renting one of my homes. I'm going to give him a 10 percent discount.

JACOBS: Another interesting nomination was Joaquim for best actor for "The Master" because he basically dissed the Academy and said the awards season for "Walk the Line" when he was nominated there was the most uncomfortable time of his life. He never wants to go back there. The Oscar is like a carrot -- it's like the most disgusting, distasteful carrot he could imagine. And they still gave --

THOMAS: That doesn't matter.

SIEGEL: There's something about the academy, they like the people who don't like them. They gave Marlon Brando an Oscar because he refused to show up.

THOMAS: Well, I'm going accept for Joaquim if he wins. I'm going to rush out --

HAMMER: We do have the correct pronouncer for the youngest -- Quvenzhane -- but this does make her as just pointed out --

THOMAS: You just mispronounced it A.J. --

HAMMER: I'd let Soledad.

O'BRIEN: And I just mumble over it. But you know --

THOMAS: Quvenzhane.

O'BRIEN: I'm telling you, you see the number of nods that that movie has gotten. I think that she has a really tremendous opportunity here.

JACOBS: This shall be a dark horse.

O'BRIEN: And of course, as Emma Stone pointed out, right -- oldest and youngest. So making history on that front.

Looking at Best Actor, Best Actress category, any big surprises there?

SIEGEL: Miss Wallis. I'm just going to call her Miss Wallis for now.

JACOBS: For me, the snub in Best Actor was John Hawkes for "The Sessions".


THOMAS: I thought he was wonderful.

JACOBS: He was never really a shoe in but Joaquim got that spot. But the rest of it was just down the line. It's Bradley Cooper's first Best Actor nomination for the Oscars.

THOMAS: Helen Hunt was wonderful in "The Sessions". She'll be tough to beat if they really look at the film. That was --

JACOBS: I think it's going to come down to Jessica Chastain and Jennifer Lawrence.

HAMMER: Jennifer Lawrence, who is the odds on favorite at this point even before those nominees were announced.

O'BRIEN: Right, right, right.

Let's bring in Nischelle Turner and also Scott Feinberg, they're both with us. Scott's with the Hollywood Reporter, of course. Nischelle, how did you do? How does your list match up to what was announced?

NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: You know the good thing about the Oscars and the Academy, we always know they're going to zig when everyone else zags at some point. And we saw that this morning.

I was pleasantly surprised to see Quvenzhane Wallis get a nomination. I thought that could happen. I figured Hugh Jackman would probably get a nomination. He was kind of made to play Jean Valjean, you know.

But I was surprised about John Hawkes not getting a nomination for "The Sessions", of course. And then in the director category, Scott, I mean that's mouth open -- no Kathryn Bigelow, no Ben Affleck and no Quentin Tarantino we could have seen.

SCOTT FEINBERG, HOLLYWOOD REPORTER: Yes. Not to take any issue with the people who replaced them, but that was pretty shocking because "Argo" and "Zero Dark Thirty" have, along with "Lincoln", been perceived as a front-runner for quite a while. So for their directors not get in almost disqualifies their Best Picture prospects in terms of winning. You don't win without a Best Director nomination.

So the new landscape would appear to be "Lincoln" with 12 nominations, including all the big ones, and "Silver Linings Playbook" which made some history. This is the first movie in 31 years to get an acting nomination in all four acting categories and only 14 have ever done it. We're talking about "Streetcar Named Desire", "Sunset Boulevard" -- real classics. So that's a tremendous deal.

TURNER: And just to get everyone caught up if they missed it. "Silver Linings Playbook" was nominated for Best Picture, nominated for Best Director, Best Lead Actor Bradley Cooper, Best Lead Actress Jennifer Lawrence, Best Supporting Actor Robert De Niro and Best Supporting Actress, Jackie Weaver.

It was one of those movies that you heard a lot about and when you saw it, you thought, yes, it's just that good.

FEINBERG: And you know what else that that has in common with "Lincoln" is that you leave them both I think -- you know, obviously "Lincoln", we knew how that was going end -- it's not a happy ending but you're sort of inspired.

TURNER: Absolutely.

FEINBERG: With "Silver Linings Playbook", it's an upbeat ending. "Zero Dark Thirty" is not necessarily that and "Argo", you know, people do cheer towards the end. I am not quite sure really what happened there. That is bizarre.

TURNER: I was gripping the seat at the end of that show and I knew what was going to happen.

FEINBERG: Some people applaud and all of that.

TURNER: So Soledad, "Lincoln" leads the nominations this morning with 12 nominations. Although, like Scott was mentioning, "Silver Linings Playbook" seems to be the darling of the Academy this year.

O'BRIEN: All right. Those folks who said "Lincoln" was a shoo-in, they were completely right. And those who thought "Argo" was going to be a shoo in...

HAMMER: Yes, imagine the vibe in the Affleck household this morning. I have a feeling that it's such a huge surprise there. But what we do now know, 8 out of a potential 10 pictures have been nominated for Best Picture.

And looking at my list, I put them in the order of how I thought they would fall in. The top eight were the ones that were nominated. "Moonrise Kingdom" and "Amour" were the ones that I thought maybe could sneak in but they didn't.

We also have senior editor from Vanity Fair, Krista Smith with us this morning. So Best Director, really, I think this is going to be looked at Krista as a snub for not only Ben Affleck for "Argo" but also Kathryn Bigelow.

SMITH: It's a total shocker. I am shocked that Ben Affleck did not get Best Director. I'm shocked that Kathryn Bigelow did not get it. And I think -- I just really don't know how that happened. It's kind of amazing to see a little Sundance movie that I saw in January a year ago go all the way with "Beasts of the Southern Wild". I'm surprised that that got Best Director. I'm thrilled for the young actress, that's a great story of obviously with the young and the old there. That's what we love the Academy for.

But yes, that's shocking and the other big, big surprise is "Silver Linings Playbook". I love this movie so I'm happy to see it do so well, but it is fantastic that it got all nominations across the board. So I think that is a game changer in terms of kind of reassessing who's going to win and who are the favorites.

HAMMER: You were concerned about how "Django Unchained" will do. Or at least --

O'BRIEN: I think they got -- everybody had said either they're going to get a lot or they're going to get nothing. Actually that didn't happen. They got a couple.

JACOBS: Best Supporting Actor.

O'BRIEN: Christopher Waltz.

Go ahead, Krista.

SMITH: I think Christopher Waltz was just amazing. He was undeniable. It was a little touch and go whether he would be Best Actor or Best Supporting Actor, but he was fantastic in that. I think it was a really tough category with Leo and Sam Jackson, as you guys have discussed earlier.

The Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor contest was really, really tight this year. It was a flooded arena. So it's just a nail-biter. It's amazing. It changed the game. Very excited. And I'm so excited for Seth MacFarlane.

O'BRIEN: Yes, you know, he was so good in just that listing of the nominees, which is usually really pretty boring and awkward to see people who have to do it. It makes me want to watch the Oscars now.

SMITH: Soledad, he was able to make a Hitler joke at 5:30 in the morning. What's he going to do going forward?

O'BRIEN: Exactly. Exactly. I think he's going to be great.

We're going to talk to him ahead in just a few minutes about how he's going to prepare. I got a sense too that that was a little bit of a preparation.

HAMMER: Oh, yes, oh, yes. That was definitely preparation. They really want to tee it up. And they do -- you know, look, I feel like we say this every year in advance of the Oscars. They really want to bring in a younger audience this year. That's what they do want to do. And I think Seth MacFarlane's exactly that.

O'BRIEN: Sometimes that does not work.


THOMAS: I can't wait to see the episode when "Family Guy" watches the Oscars, because he's going to do that, and the he loves big bands. His Christmas Party that I've been to, is one from the most fun things. I think when Billy Crystal had the singing and the dancing, it was so much fun when he first started doing it. I think Seth MacFarlane, I hope he has a 30-piece orchestra behind him.

O'BRIEN: And he's a singer himself. THOMAS: He loves this stuff. He's a throwback to the 30s and 40s.

HAMMER: He's nominated yes.

O'BRIEN: He's nominated as well.

THOMAS: It will be fun.

HAMMER: Yes. The best song category, I have to say -- look, I think it's Adele for "Skyfall" and we don't have to get too involved. I was disappointed not to drop names but my bud Jon Bon Jovi didn't get the nomination for a song from "Stand up Guys". I hope he wins the Golden Globe this weekend. I thought he'd see another Oscar nomination. It would have been his first in some 20 years.

THOMAS: But "Les Mis" has got to win the song, right. I mean.

HAMMER: Adele, "Skyfall". Write it down.

O'BRIEN: Hard to be the gel on any (INAUDIBLE).


O'BRIEN: We have to take a short break. We'll come back in just a moment.

THOMAS: OK. "Les Mis" wins.

O'BRIEN: We'll be talking to Seth MacFarlane about his Oscar nod and also of course about his hosting.

That's straight ahead. We're back in just a moment.



STONE: "Beasts of the Southern Wild" Dan Janvey, Josh Penn and Michael Gottwald, producers.

MACFARLANE: "Silver Linings Playbook", Donna Gigliotti, Bruce Cohen and Jonathan Gordon producers.

STONE: "Zero Dark Thirty", Mark Boal, Kathryn Bigelow and Megan Ellison, producers.

MACFARLANE: "Lincoln", Steven Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy, producers.

STONE: "Les Miserables", Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Debra Hayward and Cameron Mackintosh, producers.

MACFARLANE: "Life of Pi", Gil Netter, Ang Lee and David Womark, producers.

STONE: "Amour", nominees to be determined. MACFARLANE: "Django Unchained", Stacey Sher, Reginald Hudlin and Pilar Savone producers.

STONE: And "Argo", Grant Heslov, Ben Affleck and George Clooney, producers.

MACFARLANE: "Argo" has been nominated. Somebody tell Cranston he can unclench his teeth now.


O'BRIEN: Good morning. Welcome back everybody.