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.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • Terry_Mattingly.jpg Easter with doubters and the 'nones'

    Should more pastors ask this blunt question: "Do you really believe Jesus was raised from the dead?" wonders religion columnist Terry Mattingly.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • ouellette.jpg Web doctor always gets it right

    I have access to the collected medical knowledge of all recorded history at my fingertips, columnist Steve Ouellette writes.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Black_Peter_2014_cropped.jpg Canadiens are Canada's team

    The National Hockey League playoffs are underway, and for Canadiens fans, many of whom likely reside in the Montreal "suburb" of Plattsburgh, it is a time of hope and joy.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • little_mug.jpg There's no saw like an old saw Kaye and I laughed ourselves silly the other day as we tried to top each other with our own sayings from childhood, columnist Gordie Little writes.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Denenberg_Stu1.jpg Privacy concerns make a comeback

    There's a growing concern amongst the millennials, columnist Stu Denenberg writes.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • paul_grasso.jpg Several options exist for downtown

    Pedestrian mall just one idea that could be good for city's economic future, according to columnist Paul Grasso.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • colin_read.jpg Government can't create success on its own

    It takes a grass-roots community effort of people working together to assure future accomplishment, according to columnist Colin Read.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hagar_mug1.jpg Farmers strive for sustainability

    Conserving the land and assuring long-term profitability are two of the key goals for farmers these days, according to columnist Peter Hagar.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Black_Peter_2014_cropped.jpg Big shift in Quebec vote

    Being a man of science, Philippe Couillard, premier-designate of Quebec, chose to use a geological term (though his field is actually medicine) to describe what happened in Monday's election, writes Canadian columnist Peter Black.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Terry_Mattingly.jpg A monastery in the Hebrides, after 1,000 years

    Before Father Seraphim Aldea can build a monastery on Scotland's Mull Island, he needs to have a working septic system, writes religion columnist Terry Mattingly.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

Peter Black: Canadian Dispatch

Lois Clermont, Editor

Cornell Cooperative Extension
Richard Gast: Cornell Ag Extension

Bob Grady

Guest Columns
Peter Hagar: Cornell Ag Connection

Health Advice

Ray Johnson: Climate Science
Gordie Little: Small Talk

Terry Mattingly: On Religion

Steve Ouellette: You Had To Ask

Colin Read: Everybody's Business

Pinch of Time