Silver Linings Playbook
Silver’s Award-winning Playbook
By now everyone knows that Silver Linings Playbook is a good movie. It’s the first movie since 2004 to get nominated for each of the ‘Big Five’ categories at the Academy Awards (Best Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, and Screenwriter), becoming one of 41 films ever created to achieve this.
Even after that, I believe winning any of these awards (let alone all five) is a long shot for poor little Silver Linings, entirely due to the sheer cutthroat savagery of the films it is up against. Award-gobbling monsters like Lincoln and Argo stand in its way. In this post, Silver Linings Playbook will be the protagonist who we help guide to glory in each of the five categories. Here is the playbook I composed:
According to me, only four of the nine Best Pic noms are actually in the running. I’d be shocked if Beasts of the Southern Wild, Life of Pi, Django Unchained, or the French one no one ever heard of won. To my begrudging horror, I do think Lame Misérables may have an outside shot of winning, but I also think Russell Crowe’s apparently bad acting will knock it out of the race.
I believe the top prize will come down to Argo, Lincoln, Zero Dark Thirty, and Silver Linings. I would have never predicted Argo to win until the Golden Globes happened; it totally shook up my universe. Critics are obsessed with everything about Lincoln, though mainly out of relief that it repaired the damage caused to our sixteenth President in light of a certain movie accusing him of vampirism released earlier last year. And I think the faceless elders who vote for this thing will appreciate the relevance Zero Dark Thirty bears in modern world affairs.
What keeps Silver Linings in the running is the versatility of its quality. The movie earned every nomination it received, which happens to be more than most of its competition. As evidenced by the rarity with which the Big Five movie gods descend upon the mortal world, it takes trust and teamwork to make a film that blends together as well as Silver Linings does. The best aspect of the film is the synchronicity the stars on and off screen share. A rare and magical feat.
The director for Silver Linings Playbook is a psychopath. His name is David O’Russell and he has a history of losing control on sets of movies he is making. Some actors he has worked with in the past hate him. Despite this, David also has a history of making excellent films, as Silver Linings is his second Best Pic nom in three years (also nominated for The Fighter in 2010).
It makes a lot of sense that O’Russell directed a movie about insanity. He was able to channel his nutty emotions into this movie. The Faceless Elders That Be (I’ll refer to them as FETB for short) love backstory and emotion, and Silver Linings has the advantage of being directed by someone personally connected to his film’s tale, more so than any of its competition. “There’s your silver lining.”
Let’s be real and say that Bradley Cooper has no chance of winning against Daniel Day-Lewis, whose main talent besides acting is making The FETB obsessed with his acting. I’m not saying Bradley Cooper wasn’t good. He was fantastic. Best performance in the movie, and the movie spawned three other acting nominees. If I had to choose my favorite singular aspect of the film, I would easily choose his and Lawrence’s performances.
Unfortunately for Bradley, the trophy is tucked away deep in a labyrinth of broken dreams, and Daniel Day-Lewis is the Minotaur. Horns poke through his sinister top hat and drool seeps into his unkempt beard. Cooper puts on his sweat-grabbing garbage bag and flees.
This is the simplest step in the playbook. If the Golden Globes are any indicator of how the Academy Awards will play out, Jennifer Lawrence has this in the bag. In 2012 she reigned queen of Hollywood, and has probably moved her way to become one of the favorite actresses whose last name does not resemble a nonmetallic mineral typically used to build houses.
Lawrence’s character Tiffany is almost completely conveyed through her facial acting. What we recognize from Tiffany’s dialogue is a supposedly toughened, confident, headfirst woman comfortable with her mental illness(es). What we learn from Lawrence’s subtle expressions is what makes Tiffany such a layered and personal character; fear, isolation, and wildness that would not have left an impression from a less competent actress. The FETB love subtlety, so this is great for her. Besides, even if the FETB aren’t quite convinced, one look at Lawrence’s House at the End of the Street will have ‘em singin’ another tune.
Once again up against four fellow Best Pic nominees for Best Adapted Screenplay, the last step in the playbook may prove difficult. Nonetheless, I believe Silver Linings has a shot. The movie is written from the perspective of each of the character’s clashing viewpoints, rather than from a single clear voice. Arguments between Tiffany and Pat Jr. (Cooper) are as electric as they are confusing. The characters hash out the first thought that jumps to mind, whether it have anything to do with the actual situation or not. The film is about mental illnesses, and how they impact people, and how people help people afflicted with them, and the film refuses to compromise honesty for simplicity. The script explodes as quickly as it calms to a whisper. Its understanding and complexity earned the script its nomination.
Overall, I believe Silver Linings has a shot at maybe one or gold trophies (among the Big Five categories). Its strongest bets are with Best Director and Actress. It won’t win Best Actor. Best Picture and Screenwriting may have to remain silver.