February 24, 2013

2012 Oscar picks announced

People — myself included — love to complain about Hollywood. There’s a lack of originality, too many sequels and too many movies aimed at viewers with single-digit IQs.

Things, however, really aren’t that bad. In fact, 2012 was a very good year for movies.

There were a dozen movies last year that earned A or A-minus grades in my personal opinion (10 in published reviews, two that I graded off-the-record). Unless I’m just getting soft in my old age, that’s an above-average number for any 365-day period.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences doesn’t always agree with me, but four of my top-five movies of 2012 did earn Oscar nominations, and only one (“Les Miserables”) of the nine Best Picture nominees got less than a B grade from me.

For my mom, who will want to know what movies she should rent, here’s my personal top 10:

1) “Moonrise Kingdom”; 2) “Lincoln”; 3) “Argo”; 4) “Silver Linings Playbook”; 5) “Django Unchained”; 6) “The Dark Knight Rises”; 7) “Bully”; 8) “Looper”; 9) “The Avengers”; and 10) “Searching for Sugarman.”

Um, mom, you should probably skip “Django Unchained.” And if you want a good cry, the two documentaries — “Bully” and “Searching for Sugarman” — nearly made me a little misty.

Near misses on the “Best of” list included Best Picture nominees “Zero Dark Thirty” and “Life of Pi,” along with “The Hunger Games,” “Lawless,” “Flight,” “The Hobbit,” “End of Watch” and 2012’s top guilty pleasure, “Cabin in the Woods.” Which I also won’t recommend to my mom.

This column isn’t really about what I think, however. It’s what the Academy thinks. Without further ado — and probably a day or two too late to help you at all in your Oscar pool — here’s a look at what to expect in tonight’s 11-and-a-half hour Oscar broadcast.

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