The 85th Academy Awards are just days away, and for the last 5-6 weeks since nominations were unveiled, we’ve all heard an assortment of lauds and whines being spewed out by people of my ilk. (Here’s my only gripe about this year’s award hopefuls)

What people may or may not know, is that film journalists/critics, who are members of the 30 or so accredited critic associations out there, submit their votes for the year’s best prior to ringing in the New Year. And most them (critic groups) vote on the same categories the roughly 6,000 Academy members weigh-in on for that coveted golden trinket.

So being a member of the Florida Film Critics Circle, and feeling a little audacious in 2013, for the first time, yours truly is going to share his votes with the people.

After you peruse down the list, a few thoughts on some of what some fellow journos have called, “perplexing” choices will be addressed below. Also, in a not-so humble effort to show how dedicated to the craft is this guy (Yoda style talk), this link ranks 216 movies released in 2012 that were seen by these green eyes:

1. Chronicle
2. Moonrise Kingdom
3. Lincoln

1. Daniel Day-Lewis – Lincoln
2. Joaquin Phoenix – The Master
3. Denis Lavant – Holy Motors

1. Emmanuelle Riva – Amour
2. Anne Hathaway – The Dark Knight Rises
3. Naomi Watts – The Impossible

1. Tom Cruise – Rock of Ages
2. Javier Bardem – Skyfall
3. Philip Seymour Hoffman – The Master

1. Sally Field – Lincoln
2. Helen Hunt – The Sessions
3. Rebel Wilson – Pitch Perfect

1. Ben Affleck – Argo
2. Wes Anderson – Moonrise Kingdom
3. Kathryn Bigelow – Zero Dark Thirty

1. Chris Terrio – Argo
2. Tony Kushner – Lincoln
3. Ol Parker – The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

1. Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola – Moonrise Kingdom
2. Rian Johnson – Looper
3. John Gatins – Flight

1. Robert D. Yeoman – Moonrise Kingdom
2. Matthew Jensen – Chronicle
3. Oscar Faura – The Impossible

1. The Avengers
2. Life of Pi
3. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

1. Rick Carter and Jim Emerson – Lincoln
2. Sarah Greenwood and Katie Spencer – Anna Karenina
3. Peter Borck and Deniz Gokturk – Argo

1. The Intouchables
2. Holy Motors
3. The Raid: Redemption

1. ParaNorman
2. The Secret World of Arriety
3. Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax

1. Side By Side
2. The Imposter
3. Samsara

1. Suraj Sharma – Life of Pi
2. Quvenzhane Wallis – Beasts of the Southern Wild
3. Tom Holland – The Impossible

Analysis (or defense)

Chronicle being my top movie of the year has baffled the majority of critics and readers. The above link that lists my 2012 movie rankings addresses my choosing of that quite clearly. But with regards to voting, it was essentially a wasted 1st place vote. I could have easily moved up Moonrise Kingdom and Lincoln and added Argo, knowing that one of those would probably win – which in turn, would be a fine representative for the group. Problem is, I’m not going to hide what I feel. Chronicle just did it for me. And just because it will not be in the running doesn’t mean I’m off my rocker. I voted for Moneyball last year – though in contention, was another long-shot. So all the arguments made for voting in Chronicle would have to be levied against me for doing the same for Moneyball in my opinion. Point being: Vote for what you believe is the best in your mind, and your mind alone.

-The other glaring choice was selecting Tom Cruise in Rock of Ages. Again, we probably won’t hear his name called out at 8:30 a.m. EST on Thursday, but screw it, it’s what I really thought was the best in that respective category. And when going through the other categories, it’s quite obvious that I’m not trying to be a rebel or anything like that.

-Though I didn’t vote him Best Actor, everyone should see Denis Lavant’s performance in Holy Motors. That is all.

-A category that is just a dud this year is the Supporting Actress. No one immediately came to mind and that’s a rarity for me. I was forced to look at the other critic groups, who announced their award winners prior to ours, to catalyze my mind on who to write-in. Perhaps that will lead to more excitement when watching the often-predictable show. But someone like a Rebel Wilson pulls an upset (Hathaway seems to have this locked up for her cameo work in Les Miserables) and delivers a drunk acceptance speech, it will be a yawner segment.

In general, this year’s telecast might have slightly more intriguing since all the critic groups had a plethora of unique choices in highlighted categories (dug how Rian Johnson took the screenplay nod for Looper in our eclectic crew). Either way, I’ll have to watch and eventually sound-off over the next month…yet that’s what I get paid to do (and I have no complaints about that).

And for those of you that still think I’m crazy, well, no one understood Einstein right away either.


By Joe Belcastro

Joe Belcastro is an established movie critic in Tampa, Florida. As a member of the Florida Film Critics Circle, most of his time is spent reviewing upcoming movies. He also covers news pertaining to the film industry, on both a local and national level as well as conducting interviews. To contact Joe Belcastro regarding a story or with general questions about his services, please e-mail him and/or follow him on Twiiter @TheWritingDemon.

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