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'Lincoln' favourite in strong Oscars field

'Lincoln' favourite in strong Oscars field
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Blockbusters, independent movies and European arthouse cinema make this year’s Oscar shortlist quite eclectic.

Steven Spielberg’s critically acclaimed “Lincoln” is the best picture front-runner, up against eight contenders such as Ang Lee’s “Life of Pi”, David O. Russell’s surprise hit “Silver Linings Playbook”, Ben Affleck’s “Argo” and Tom Hooper’s musical “Les Miserables”, but with 12 nominations in top categories, “Lincoln” takes the lead.

“Steven Spielberg, Sally Field, Daniel Day-Lewis is the closest thing to a sure thing that we have this year at the Oscars, so it does look like, you know, it does look like they’re wearing No. 1 silks, you know, that they’ll definitely be the main contender in the Super Bowl,” says Entertainment reporter Jeanne Wolf.

Quentin Tarantino’s “Django Unchained” fared well for an action film, earning five nods, including best picture and best supporting actor for Christoph Walz. Not best director though, but Tarantino reacted joyfully at “Django’s” London premiere.

“Five Oscar nominations today, five BAFTA nominations yesterday, it’s been a pretty good week. Plus awards shows are really fun to go to, you get to see a bunch of old friends. You get to see people you have worked with before, haven’t seen them for a little bit, it’s a lovely party every year, it’s just nice to be invited to the party,” he said.

As a big surprise came indie film “Beasts of the Southern Wild”. It has four nominations including a youngest-ever Best Actress nominee, but as the cast is essentially amateur this has caused controversy and accusations of exploitation from the actors’ union. Director Benh Zeitlin’s debut has already won Cannes’ Caméra d’Or.

“We stayed up until about three in the morning trying to talk about anything other than awards. I took a little nap and woke back up and it was me and all the producers there, so we got to celebrate Super Bowl style, it was great,” said Zeitlin.

“I saw my name just scrolling down. On the inside I was excited but I was just watching it scroll. And boom! All you hear is stuff just talking about the movie, Benh, me, producers and all that,” says nine-year old best actress nominee Quvenzhané Wallis.

Chilean director Pablo Larrain’s fourth feature, “No” made history when it became the first Chilean film to be nominated for an Oscar when it was selected to represent the South American country in the Foreign-Language Film category.

Larrain and other members of the film crew celebrated in Santiago after the Oscar nominations announcement.

“This movie tells the fortunate story of change from a dictatorship to democracy and we are happy to have made a narrative out of this and be able to show this story to the world,” said Larrain.

“No” tells the story of a Chilean ad agency that helped to oust dictator Augusto Pinochet through a clever marketing campaign around a 1988 referendum. The film, starring Gael Garcia Bernal, has gathered accolades around the world.

And finally the ‘Palme d’Or’ challenger from Europe, Michael Haneke’s ‘Amour’. It has five Oscar nominations, including the oldest-ever best actress nominee, 85-year-old Emmanuelle Riva.

“Many big blockbusters are nominated, starring well-known people and it feels good for an European ‘film d’auteur’ to be part of the game,” he said.

The film is a piercing study of a couple at the end of their lives, falling apart physically yet still together. Riva stars with an out-of-retirement-just for-this-picture Jean-Louis Trintignant whose world is devastated by his wife’s serious illness.

Also of note is an Oscars first; the four lead cast members of “Silver Linings Playbook” have pocketed best actor and actress and best supporting actor and actress nominations, a feat that has never been pulled off before.