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Bow to "The Master"

The Academy rewards the best and brightest in film this Sunday, but San Francisco's cineastes are still buzzing about the movie they overlooked.

No one knows how the Academy will vote, but San Francisco film afficianados agree that the year's most deserving film is the one that wasn't nominated.

It’s Oscar weekend, and while the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences does boast its share of Bay Area members it’s mostly, of course, a Hollywood clique. But as any film fan will tell you, the Academy doesn’t always make the best calls. San Francisco film geeks are just as qualified to judge the year in movies as anyone, so we put together an academy of our own with representatives from Indiefest, CAAMFest, the San Francisco Silent Film Festival, and the Roxie Theater. Here's what they had to say—not only about the nominees but about the one movie that got away in 2012. The envelope please? The (hypothetical) Oscar goes to…

 
Best Picture: Django Unchained by Quentin Tarantino.

“Here's the thing: Like it, tolerate it, love it, or loathe it, Django Unchained is an absolutely gonzo piece of cinema. By sheer force of competition it wins out against its lily-livered peers.”
-Mike Keegan, Roxie Theater

“Top notch performances, perfect pacing and story development, and [a] too-good-to-be-true ending.”
-Justin LaneLutter, screenwriter

“I really wanted to like Lincoln instead, but it feels like that catering event you went to that you can’t even remember the next day.”
-Jeffrey Cohlman, director

 

But they should have nominated: The Master by Paul Thomas Anderson.

“[Anderson’s] been giving it up the backside to Hollywood since Boogie Nights, and I respect that.”
-Cohlman

“It’s just the best movie of the year. Probably five or six years.”
-Anita Monga, Silent Film Festival

“It’s not surprising that San Francisco loved that film. It’s such an enigmatic movie and it’s about this damaged soul. The city likes that.”
-Chris Metzler, documentarian

 

Best Actor: Joaquin Phoenix for The Master.

“My pick, Joaquin Phoenix in The Master. Because the motherfucker was in THE MASTER!”
-Keegan

“You could taste the sleaze and sweat off that guy. It was this mix of disgust and utter enchantment.”
-Metzler

“[Phoenix] is just kind a son of a bitch who gives a middle finger to Hollywood and still gets a pat on the back.  I hope he wins so it’ll be his big gold middle finger to Hollywood forever.”
-Cohlman

 

But they should have nominated: Philip Seymour Hoffman for The Master. (He was nominated for Best Supporting Actor instead.)

“Phoenix is showier, but without playing against Hoffman, [his performance] wouldn’t have been there. They were in perfect balance.”
-Monga

“It’s unusual to see him in the Supporting Actor category. He’s as much a lead actor in that film as anyone. People like the idea of this mysterious character based on Hubbard coming to life.”
-Metzler

 

Best Actress: Jessica Chastain for Zero Dark Thirty.

“I went to school with Jessica Chastain and she really is the perfect Hollywood success story. She’s so non-Hollywood, but she’s still the Hollywood ‘It’ girl right now. If it’s really about the recognition of your peers, this would be her year.”
-Cohlman

“Chastain carried Zero Dark Thirty—no easy task when Chris Pratt is in the cast.”
-LaneLutter

 

But they should have nominated: Amy Adams for The Master. (She was nominated for Best Supporting Actress instead.)

“They’ve always treated her as a beautiful actress, but I never knew she had so much soul. She’s probably the most complex of the trio [of lead actors in the film].”
-Metzler

“That entire ensemble was amazing. The cast members rely on each other so closely. It’s hard to pick out anything that wasn’t worthy of praise.”
-Monga

 

Movies San Francisco wants to nominate other than The Master:

Queen of Versailles for Best Documentary

“What makes a great documentary is access to an untold story, and I was surprised by how much these people let the filmmakers into their lives. I think it hit a little too close to home for the Academy."
-Metzler

It’s Such a Beautiful Day for Best Animated Film

“[Don Hertzfeldt] traditionally does comedic stuff, but this had a serious bent to it. He adds a lot by playing with the film stock and the presentation. It’s about life and mental illness. It felt like a revelation and the [animated film] nominees are so bland this year.”
-Vince Gargiulo, director

 

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