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A group of unique directors and the essential works that you've got to see.

||| Norman Jewison |||
Norman Jewison

Yes, he directed “Moonstruck” and two unforgettable musicals, but Jewison is also responsible for a trilogy of films focusing on racial-injustice, a whacky Cold War comedy and a signature film of Steve McQueen’s showing that he is one of the most versatile directors since Robert Wise.

This blueprint for good investigation dramas tells the story of a black Philadelphia detective investigating a murder in Mississippi who matches wits with a redneck sheriff. Groundbreaking for it’s time, this Oscar winning film is still relevant today and offers a gripping mystery with terrific dramatic performances by a complete cast of fully realized characters.

This is an amazingly funny and entertaining irreverent "Cold War" comedy about a Russian submarine stranded outside an isolated New England town, which throws the locals into a panic. Jewison does a delightful job of utilizing his all-star cast to their fullest, deftly mixing Capra-esq characters with Mel Brooks’s type situations (and vise-versa).

A bored millionaire (Steve McQueen in his prime) masterminds a flawless bank job as Faye Dunaway (an insurance investigator out to get him) identifies him as the mastermind and falls in love along the way. This is the original and the best, with all the arch stylized movie techniques of the ‘60s (including split-screen and fuzzy shallow focus) and the most erotic chess game ever captured on screen.

Recommended by CarrieSpecht


Oscar Handicap 2013: Best Picture of the Year

By EdwardHavens

February 19th, 2013

We begin (or conclude, depending on how you go about perusing) our tenth series of articles with the most important and prestigious award in all cinema.

Oscar Handicap 2013: Best Picture of the Year

We took a look many of the major categories over the past 34 ceremonies (for the films of 1979 through 2011), and found some surprising mathematical data, which may give some pause about who might win on February 24th.

Please note: These are not predictions on how the awards will turn out. Like in baseball, there are always more stats that could delve deeper into any category (like how well Buster Posey hits with men in scoring position, with less than two outs, at AT&T Park, during day games, against left handers, on artificial turf, when the count is 3-1, etc.), but these numbers are meant to entertain and start some interesting discussions about the nominees.

For clarification purposes, when there is mention of a pre-award favorite, this describes how this person won at least two of the top five pre-Oscar awards, between the Golden Globe for Drama, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, the National Board of Review, the National Society of Film Critics and the New York Film Critics Circle. Also, when there is mention of someone playing a real person, the character that actor played must not be a fictionalized version of a real person, such as with Cate Blanchett in I'm Not There or Joe Pesci in GoodFellas. Had Pesci won for Raging Bull, that would have counted. Joey LaMotta was a real person. But Tommy DeVito in GoodFellas was (allegedly) a fictionalized version of Lucchese family gangster Thomas DeSimone, and thus does not qualify for this category.

And now, on with the show...

There are basically two camps for Best Picture this year: those who think Lincoln has the best chance to win Best Picture, and those who think Argo has the momentum. Can we prove one camp is more on target than the other?

The Breakdowns:
1) Best Picture winners have come from movies whose directors were also nominated for Best Director 33 of the past 34 ceremonies (97.06%). Advantage: Amour, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Life of Pi, Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook
2) Movies with nominated screenplays have won 33 of 34 (97.06%). Advantage: Amour, Argo, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Django Unchained, Life of Pi, Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook, Zero Dark Thirty
3) Films nominated for Best Editing have won for Best Picture 33 of 34 (97.06%). Advantage: Argo, Life of Pi, Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook, Zero Dark Thirty
4) Films with at least five other nominations have won Best Picture 75 of the 84 previous Oscar ceremonies (89.29%). Advantage: Argo, Les Miserables, Life of Pi, Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook
5) Best Picture winners have had at least one acting nomination 30 of 34 (88.24%). Advantage: Amour, Argo, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Django Unchained, Les Miserables, Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook, Zero Dark Thirty
6) Movies with a screenplay nominated by the WGA have won Best Picture 28 of 34 (82.35%). Advantage: Argo, Life of Pi, Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook, Zero Dark Thirty
7) Best Picture winners have lined up with the winner of the Directors Guild's Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures Award 27 of 34 (78.79%). Advantage: Argo
8) The Best Picture winner has also won the PGA Golden Laurel Award 17 of the 23 times the latter award has been presented (73.91%). Advantage: Argo
9) The winner of Best Picture was released in theatres after September 30th 25 of 34 (73.53%). Advantage: Amour, Argo, Django Unchained, Les Miserables, Life of Pi, Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook, Zero Dark Thirty
10) Stories not predominantly set in the past thirty years have won 23 of 34 (67.65%). Advantage: Argo, Django Unchained, Les Miserables, Life of Pi, Lincoln
11) Pictures that have received the Golden Globe for drama have won 19 of 33 (57.58%). Advantage: Argo

By The Numbers
Argo has won so many awards recently, some might want to throw up their hands and scream "Argofuckyourself!," but don't be too surprised if Lincoln's "better known" cast, "more traditional" storytelling structure and "more important" themes resonate stronger with the Academy's older voters.

"Amour" (Stefan Arndt, Margaret Menegoz, Veit Heiduschka and Michael Katz): +1, +2, -3, -4, +5, -6, -7, -8, +9, -10, -11 (191 of 481, 39.71%)
"Argo" (Grant Heslov, Ben Affleck and George Clooney): -1, +2, +3, +4, +5, +6, +7, +8, +9, +10, +11 (330 of 481, 68.61%)
"Beasts of the Southern Wild" (Dan Janvey, Josh Penn and Michael Gottwald): +1, +2, -3, -4, +5, -6, -7, -8, -9, -10, -11 (175 of 481, 36.38%)
"Django Unchained" (Stacey Sher, Reginald Hudlin and Pilar Savone): -1, +2, -3, -4, +5, -6, -7, -8, +9, +10, -11 (175 of 481, 36.38%)
"Les Miserables" (Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Debra Hayward and Cameron Mackintosh): -1, -2, -3, +4, +5, -6, -7, -8, +9, +10, 11 (205 of 481, 42.62%)
"Life of Pi" (Gil Netter, Ang Lee and David Womark): +1, +2, +3, +4, -5, +6, -7, -8, +9, +10, -11 (293 of 481, 60.91%)
"Lincoln" (Steven Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy): +1, +2, +3, +4, +5, +6, -7, -8, +9, +10, -11 (327 of 481, 67.98%)
"Silver Linings Playbook" (Donna Gigliotti, Bruce Cohen and Jonathan Gordon): +1, +2, +3, +4, +5, +6, -7, -8, +9, -10, -11 (311 of 481, 64.66%)
"Zero Dark Thirty" (Mark Boal, Kathryn Bigelow and Megan Ellison): -1, +2, +3, -4, +5, +6, -7, -8, +9, -10, -11 (217 of 481, 45.11%)

All articles in this series:
Best Picture of the Year
Best Director
Best Actor and Best Actress
Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress
Best Cinematography
Best Original Screenplay and Best Adapted Screenplay
Best Foreign Language Film
Best Animated Feature