Dear Scott Feinberg,
I feel so strongly that you're so wrong about your belief that "Life of Pi" will probably not be nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars that I pose this bet: a Sour Cream Apple Walnut Pie from the Little Pie Company in Manhattan.
"I must confess that I am skeptical about its Oscar prospects," you wrote last week at Hollywood Reporter. "While it looks to be a strong below-the-line contender, I'm not sure that I see it contending strongly in the higher-profile categories. To my eye it is, frankly, uneven -- its pacing is off, it feels too long, and its third-act twist is something between confusing and aggravating. I suspect that those who check it out will, by and large, come away from it feeling respect more than passion, which is the key to cracking into the best picture race under the new voting system (as opposed to the old one which rewarded widespread support). In short, I think it will face an uphill climb for best picture, best director, and best adapted screenplay noms."
While I'm sure, Scott, that some academy members will share your view of "Life of Pi," quite a few will feel the same way I did after seeing it: knocked out, dazzled and amazed. I think it's not only one of the best films of 2012, but one of those films for the ages.
Some of our other Oscar bloggers were also wowed. Sasha Stone (Awards Daily) even believes "Life of Pi" has greater Oscar potential than a mere Best Pic nomination. "Right now I feel like three films can win: 'Argo,' 'Silver Linings' and 'Life of Pi,' she asserts. "'Life of Pi,' 'Beasts of the Southern Wild' and to an extent, 'Silver Linings' are all films that pack an emotional punch. One should never count out films that do that, even if they are roasted by the critics — take 'Extremely Loud,' for example."
Anne Thompson (Thompson on Hollywood) calls "life of Pi" "a leading contender for Oscars," adding, "This movie will play for critics, audiences and awards givers all over the world. It has the right elements: globally popular literary source (7 million copies sold); heart-warming family story from an A-list Oscar-winning director ("Brokeback Mountain"); and epic VFX."
In addition to me, Stone and Thompson, you can see at Gold Derby's prediction chart that the following Oscarologists agree that "Life of Pi" will be nominated for Best Picture: Edward Douglas (Comingsoon), Pete Hammond (Deadline), Dave Karger (Fandango), Tariq Khan (Fox News), Michael Musto (Village Voice), Kevin Polowy (NextMovie), Steve Pond (TheWrap), Paul Sheehan (Gold Derby), Alex Suskind (Moviefone), Chuck Walton (Fandango) and Susan Wloszczyna (USA Today).
Passion, as you note, Scott, is "the key to cracking into the best picture race under the new voting system" and you're right. It's all about nabbing those number-one votes and "Pi" generates extremely strong passions in many viewers. Like me. And I think it will resonate particularly well with Hollywooders, who are famously smitten with Asian philosophy and spiritualism. And with Ang Lee, who's delivered two strong Best Picture nominees in the past: "Brokeback Mountain" (2005) and "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" (2000).
I look forward to receiving the Sour Cream Apple Walnut from you, Scott, and I hope you'll sit down with me and share a few slices after Jan. 10 when we can dish which nominee can actually WIN.
Your Fearless Fellow Oscarologist,
P.S. - The pie costs $30
Every actor submits only one sample episode, which will be judged by other actors (ranging from 25 to 75 per category jury) between July 28 and August 14. TV series submit six, which will be split into three pairs to be distributed randomly to about 300 voters. We now have uncovered every single title submitted for the 2014 races. CLICK HERE FOR THE EPISODES