In a matter of days now, the nominees for the 85th Academy Awards will be revealed. Some of us will be thrilled at the films and performances cited, while others will be disappointed. The thing to remember though, which I mentioned on the latest Power Hour, is that we all won as film lovers in 2012. However the nominations turn out, the ones truly being honored were audiences. People in my position spend countless hours pouring over what might happen, but we rarely stop to smell the roses. Honestly, a lot of that has to do with not having reason to, but this past year of movies is a horse of a different color. I’ve done months of prognostication, but for a moment on nearly the eve of the Oscar nominations, I want to do a little bit of appreciating for a change. I may not have loved every movie, and I downright hated a group of them, but for my money this was the best year movie fans have had in some time, and that remains the case even when just thinking about likely awards contenders. Talk about a rare year!
Yes, some people will scoff at a bunch of the nominees on Thursday, especially if fan favorites are passed over, but consider what we’re likely getting on the whole. Can you really be that upset with Oscar voters if they wind up nominating the likes of Argo, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Silver Linings Playbook, and Zero Dark Thirty? They may not all be unanimously adored, but they’re hardly 100% typical awards bait. Even in that regard, something like Lincoln is better than we had any right to expect. I may not care for Les Miserables, but tons of people love it, and the same goes for Life of Pi. We may not see The Dark Knight Rises, Django Unchained, or The Master in the lineup, but they too have large followings and pushed cinema forward in one small way or another.
What started out as a rather underwhelming year wound up being a top notch one. Honestly, as much as I love The Cabin in the Woods and Ruby Sparks, having them as my #1 and #2 films through most of the summer gave me slight pause when thinking about how this year would stack up. In the end though, 2012 may go down as one of the great ones for cinema. Even popcorn movies like The Avengers wound up impressing, beyond just breaking box office records.
Every genre got arguably a new classic. Horror fans have The Cabin in the Woods, super hero buffs can debate whether The Avengers or The Dark Knight Rises is superior. Romantic comedy fans got a likely Oscar nominee in Silver Linings Playbook. War aficionados got Zero Dark Thirty, which potentially created a whole new genre…the “reported film”. Argo gave a big kiss to fans of throwback dramatic thrillers of the 70’s, science fiction nuts will be defending Looper until the cows come home, and musical followers can now decide where Les Miserables stands among the greats. I’m still not sure where to put Cloud Atlas, but there’s a bit of cinema that will have die hard fans for the next century.
I just wanted to tip my cap to the films of 2012 one time before obsessing over the nominations later this week. I saw 290 films last year (though some won’t be out until 2013), and if you count short films I broke 300, which is somewhat mind boggling, even to me. Sometimes a haul like that can dilute the pool, but in my case it only made me admire the top tier of cinema even more. Yes, we got atrocities like 2016: Obama’s America, Alex Cross, The Apparition, and The Vow, but the good far outweighed the bad. Sometimes that’s all we can ask for, but in 2012 we got so much more than that, and I for one am grateful!
I turn it over to you know, faithful readers of The Awards Circuit. Do you not feel like we all collectively won in 2012? Whether your favorite film was Argo, Cloud Atlas, Magic Mike, or anything in between, never of late have we been able to counteract the notion that cinema was dead more forcefully. I’m proud of the medium and can’t wait to see what 2013 brings us. If it’s anything close to 2012, then we’re going to be in for a treat…
–Thoughts? Discuss in the comments!