I’m no Philip Martin, but I advance the Oscars anyhow.

I love good movies and I like average movies and I can get through some bad movies.

I think the Oscars are mostly hype and nonsense and pretense, but I get interested every year anyway.

It’s folly, really, to declare one film better than another if both successfully and compellingly told their stories and connected with audiences.

“Argo,” “Lincoln,” “Zero Dark Thirty,” “Silver Linings Playbook” — all told engaging and powerful stories expertly. And all delivered acting performances that showcased spectacular art and craft.

So now we pick the best. It’s like being a gymnastics judge with Olga Korbut and Nadia Comenici both in their primes competing against each other. You’re looking at a pair of 10.0 scores and trying to choose one perfection as better than the other.

Except, you know, Daniel Day-Lewis was the best actor in his Lincoln portrayal. Somehow that’s beyond dispute. I think he’s the male Meryl Streep, except he hasn’t made as many bad movies as she has.

One more note before I chance predictions: There always is a movie I personally enjoy most during a year and it always gets nominated and it never wins.

It usually is an understated drama with comedic touches marked by great writing.

Last year it was “Midnight in Paris” by Woody Allen. One year it was “Sideways.” Another year it was “Little Miss Sunshine.”

This year: “Silver Linings Playbook.” I could watch Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro — especially Jennifer Lawrence — in that film all day every day. A movie about the tragic behavioral affliction of a lead character that suddenly has you roaring in glorious happy laughter — now that is some serious filmmaking, a triumph, a genuine ode to a greater humanity.

So, as usual, my favorite movie has a boatload of nominations and won’t win much — an acting award, maybe two, at best.

Anyway, the following aren’t actually predictions. They are compilations and assessments of prevailing predictions:

Best movie — “Argo” has won practically everything in sight so far, suggesting it will defeat “Lincoln” again tonight. I don’t understand it.

Best director — Well, this is strange. The director of the favorite for best film, “Argo,” is Ben Affleck, and he isn’t even nominated. How can you have the best movie if it didn’t benefit from at least one of the better directing jobs? Anyway, Stephen Spielberg should win for “Lincoln.”

Best actor — Daniel Day-Lewis.

Best actress — Jennifer Lawrence. Maybe Jennifer Chastain in “Zero Dark Thirty,” though that would irk me. Lawrence in “Silver Linings” was like Heath Ledger in “The Dark Knight.” I felt empty when she wasn’t on the screen, and was delighted when she reappeared, maybe to stalk Cooper as he jogged with that plastic bag draped around him. What a movie.

Best supporting actor — This is the most wide-open contest. It also is laden with great talent: Tommy Lee Jones, Christoph Waltz, Philip Seymour Hoffman. So here’s what some people are starting to think: In some high drama, all these great actors will split the vote and the Oscar will go to ….. Robert De Niro in “Silver Linings Playbook.” I’d love it, except I worry about Bobby trying to make an acceptance speech.

Best supporting actress — Anne Hathaway in a musical I’ve not seen, and, alas, will not see. I’m sorry. I”m not going to pretend to have sufficient refinement to appreciate  over-emotive singing where dialogue ought to be.

Best original screenplay — Mark Boal for “Zero Dark Thirty.”

Best adapted screenplay — Chris Terrio for “Argo” in an absolute outrage because what Tony Kushner did on “Lincoln” was a tour-de-force.

Best documentary — “Searching for Sugar Man.” A guy named Sixto Rodriguez in inner-city Detroit emerged briefly as a Dylanesque song-writing talent in the early 70s, then disappeared. Except, that is, in South Africa, where he remained legend, but where they were told he was dead. He wasn’t. He was a handyman in Detroit. These filmmakers found him. His back-from-the-dead tours of South Africa have been like Springsteen in Jersey. They say he may not make it tonight because he’s touring South Africa. Good stories. Man, I love ’em.





6 Responses to 'I’m no Philip Martin, but I advance the Oscars anyhow.'

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  1. […] By jbrummett […]

  2. An earlier “thread” you had on your “Blog” caught my attention and has made me think often about it in days since…but it now seems to be gone therefrom. It dealt with an issue that is very important to each of us, and, I believe, deserves some expansion on a point that: i.) I did not see mentioned, and ii.) requires some “attorney-client-judicial system” perspecive, i.e., that of the Miller County possible or apparent “scandal”and of Justice Goodson’s action off of the Bench which have raised the issue of judicial impropriety under the category of “appearance of impropriety.”
    First of all, I do not know the Justice either personally or professionally, perhaps because of my being of a “different generation of lawyers” or because of the fact that most of my civil general practice came in my fiftee years of practice in Oklahoma, where I worked mostly in bankruptcy, commercial lending, administraive and appelate matters. I have had other “iterations” over the years.
    Arkansas, and Miller County certinly do not have a monopoly or “corner” on the market when it comes to issues of this sort. Just a quick moment reminds me of very similar circumstances in Oklahoma relating to the bars of Creek County (County seat–Sapulpa), Muskogee County (Count seat–Muskogee) and Pittsburg County–County seat–McAlister). These were the “hot beds of seeming impropiety both of the Bench and Bar for several years–so much so that the entire state was very likely embarrassed…or at least should have been.
    The question that occurred to me as I was, figureatively only, in the middle of all of this was that attornies had to be, as a group, the most unprincipled professionals in our society–because they both “know how the public system of governance works” and, consequently, are more able than any other group to affect outcomes of the process. In a word, they had the opportunity to self-deal and too many of them took advantage of it–to their significant financial benefit. And attorneys who became politicians were most often the subject of inquiry because the “knew” more than anyone else.
    Later, however, I had an “epiphany” of sorts as I realized that over the years I had worked, time and time again, on issues relative to “self-dealing” M.D.’s (dual or triple billing), aiding and abetting fictiticious auto-accident/injury rings, and both M.D.s and C.P.A.’s who masterminded unregistred and penniless fraudulent ERISA–Employee Health Insurance Benefit Plans–which, factually speaking, were but “Ponzi” schemes. So, lawyers certainly did not have a corner on this particular market–that of impropriety or criminality. And, too, for every crooked lawyer wiht whom I came into contact, I was acquainted or had witnessed time and time again the actions of dozens if not hundreds of highly honorable aned principled lawyers and jurists. So, the conclusion I came to was that lawyers and jurists, in this particular way was “cursed” with too much public visibility insmuch as they are, by definitoin, dealing with matters of wide public import which leads, understandably, to publicity. So, I then began to feel much better about my chosen profession from which, of course, I am now retired.
    It is ironic to me and a little depressing that as I think of these issues and the apparent fact of illegal or at least improper activity by members of the Miller County Bar–as well as the acceptance of such a huge gift from persons who often practice before her Court, there we have the issue of the “appearance of impropriety”–at least on the surface of matters and as reported by your paper. And all of this, perhaps oddly to some readers, brings back to mind some of the best and most enjoyable eras of my practice–or “pre-practice.” In the summer of 1967, between my second and third years at Vanderbilt Law School I interned at the firm of Wright, Lindsey & Jennings in Little Rock–which means I “carried water” for all of the partners, but most especially for Winslow Drummond and Ed Wright, Sr., each now deceased but when they were in the practice were “lions” to be admired and emulated by everyone.

    Don Switzer

    25 Feb 13 at 12:46 pm

  3. I hit that “wrong button” again…and cut off my last sentence or so., i.e.

    That particular summer, or year, Mr. Wright was the President of the American Bar Association and “charged with re-drafting the Canons of Ethics as to the Practice of Law; he had the attorney issuew with which I asisted him in some particulars (“carried water”) but do not know if he might also have worked on a “re-do” of the model code concerning the ethical principles relating to jurists as well. Regardless, Mr.s Wright’s conversation with me on the ethical responsiblities of lawyers only apply ten-fold as to judges and jurists and, therefore the analysis is the same.
    One of the applicable sayings with which Mr. Wright made very aware–certainly not original to him, but since it came from “Mt. Olympus”, it appeared as if it did. He made the point that in the practice of law an attorney only had three things to sell, i.e., his industry, his intellect, and perhaps most importantly, his integrity.
    And it was in that vein that I learned the importance of the phrase the “appearance of impropriety” as applied to lawyers–both below the bench and sitting upon it. Its true importance lay in the fact that the integrity and knowledge of attorneys have in an almost monopolistic manner, must be guarded dearly as if it is not, the confidence of the People in our system of justice would be lessened if not destroyed. One of my law professors at Vanderbilt, Paul Hartmann (known well by many LR lawyers) was that the true purpose of the system of courts was NOT to achieve “justice” (a term so vague as to be impossible to define to everyone’s satisfaction) but to provide a means to keep people with disputes to settle them in a reserved, trustworthy quiet setting–rather than with drawn pistols at high noon on Main Street.
    And, naturally, if the People lose all trust in the legal system or in the principle players in the “play”, all is lost. That is precisely why anyone charged or rumored to be involved with such matters as set forth in this imbroglio must set matters straight. If they do not, the appropriate committees of the Bench and Bar Must take at least proper investigative action to clear the air. Too often, I hav seen such committees search and search for ways to avoid doing anything. And in that circumstance it is they who fail to properly serve the People–for they do not demonstrate their integrity either. It may be a high and narrow “bar” which we tread, but we chose it and have no standing to complain.

    Don Switzer

    25 Feb 13 at 1:12 pm

  4. John, Missed you at the Capitol Monday, where I enjoyed conversing with ( I hope) the future Gov of Arkansas Davy Carter.Rep Carter was attentive, and willing to take a minute for a Howard County boy with cow manure on his boots.
    Mr Carter was very humble and admitted he did not have all the answers to the many concerns in this years ledge session.
    He said you worked hard at keeping the public informed of the doings at The Capitol.

    mike graves

    26 Feb 13 at 9:40 am

  5. carter has intelligence and leadership skills. wrong on tax cuts, but may be the key to medicaid expansion.


    26 Feb 13 at 12:19 pm

  6. John, you should reconsider and see Les Mis. Has anybody hated it? I know from personal experience it requires no refinement to enjoy.

    T Fish

    1 Mar 13 at 5:19 pm

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