There's always an element of fatalism with making Oscar predictions. You actually hope you're wrong. You want to be right because people conflate educated awards-guessing with expertise. But when you have to sit and watch more than 190 minutes of the Academy Awards, you really don't want a predicted outcome. You want to be wrong about who the majority of 6,000 or so people will say was the best supporting actor of 2013. You want to go in with a little conventional wisdom and know that Tommy Lee Jones will win so that when Octavia Spencer opens her envelope and says Christoph Waltz's name, you can stare at the television and just say, "Wow."
Waltz was a surprise in a season of surprises. This was the year voters decided to pee into millions of Oscar pools. It was the year that everything started to seem refreshingly upside down: no Tarantino or Paul Thomas Anderson or Kathryn Bigelow or Wes Anderson up for Best Director, but Benh Zeitlin?
For the final Hollywood Prospectus Podcast of the year, Chris Ryan and I, like generations of anthropomorphic snacks before us, headed to the cinema. What were 2012's best films? (The Bourne Legacy, obvs.) Best characters? (Edward Norton in The Bourne Legacy, duh.) Biggest surprises? (That time Jeremy Renner punched a wolf in The Bourne Legacy. Next time bring harder questions!) We were joined by Hollywood Prospectus editor (and Dredd superfan) Mark Lisanti to debate the debate over Zero Dark Thirty, go hunting for Beasts of the Southern Wild, and remember (or misremember) The Master. There may or may not also be mention of Channing Tatum's leather pants. It's the Year in Movies! Listen up and then, as a great cinema legend once said, it's over! Go home!
The capper to Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy drew mixed reviews during its theatrical run, so if the bad ones kept you away, now's your chance to form an opinion before its inevitable nomination for several technical Oscars and probably none for writing or acting.
Bane's (Tom Hardy) plot: too complicated? Bane's voice: too silly? Anne Hathaway's Catwoman: superior to Michelle Pfeiffer's? Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) using his Batman voice, when he's suited up, with Morgan Freeman's Fox, even though Fox totally knows who he is: still?! You'll be able to answer all these questions and more — and, best of all, you can pause it for bathroom breaks, and you will need to, because this thing is LONG.
The Super Lab may have been destroyed, but that won’t stop Chris Ryan and me from getting back in our lab and cooking up some podcasts for our hungry audience. First up is the return of Breaking Bad (:50): We chop it up about the season premiere and what it means for the rest of these final 15 episodes. Then we take a look at the new USA series Political Animals (13:00), which features Sigourney Weaver, an insane performance by Ciarán Hinds, and a menacing bathroom of truth. Then it's off to the multiplexes, where we marvel over the strange beauty of Beasts of the Southern Wild (30:10) and preview our excitement over the imminent release of The Dark Knight Rises (38:05). (There may or may not also be a little crosstalk about America’s soon-to-be-favorite talking space raccoon.) Finally, the Double Down Book Club (49:35) marches on with the inevitable inclusion of John D. MacDonald and his immortal creation, Travis McGee. Check out The Deep Blue Good-by or, really, any of the 21 books in the series. Just don’t forget the cold beer.
The big news from this weekend's box office breakdown is that, as expected, The Amazing Spider-Man crushed it. Opening on July 4, Eduardo Saverin's Spidey rolled into $65 million in its first weekend and $140 million in its first six days. As EW explains, those numbers are actually lower than the pace set by all three of Tobey Maguire's Spider-Man movies, none of which had the benefit of boosted 3-D and IMAX ticket prices. But considering both the possibility of the quickie reboot flopping altogether, and the fact that this is just the first installment of a whole new franchise, the numbers (and an A- Cinemascore) are wholly promising.
At this year's Sundance Festival, Beasts of the Southern Wild -- a lo-fi fantasy shot in Louisiana about a young girl surviving a storm directed by first-timer Benh Zeitlin -- was an instant hit. It ended up winning the Grand Jury Prize, and then getting scooped up by Fox Searchlight for a couple of million dollars, and then getting a June 27 release date -- and, now, a couple months before us peons that don't get invited to fancy movie festivals get to see exactly what all the hype is about, a trailer has been released.