Last updated: February 23. 2013 2:48PM - 595 Views

Hildy Morgan from the Dietrich Theater in Tunkhannock said there were many good movies this Oscar season, some of them ‘separated by a hairsbreadth’ of quality.
Hildy Morgan from the Dietrich Theater in Tunkhannock said there were many good movies this Oscar season, some of them ‘separated by a hairsbreadth’ of quality.
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That’s just some of the scuttlebutt we’ve heard as local fans await the 85th annual Academy Awards show, set to air at 7 p.m. Sunday on ABC.

“I always am emotionally invested in the results,” said Chris Bedwick of Plains Township, who expects she’ll feel a certain satisfaction if Ben Affleck’s film about the rescue of American hostages from Iran wins as best picture.

“When I saw ‘Argo,’ I walked out of that movie and I turned and said, ‘That was definitely the best movie I’ve seen this year.’ I haven’t walked out of a movie and said that since,” said Bedwick, co-owner of Bedwick’s Pharmacy in Wilkes-Barre, who estimates she’s seen more than 100 films on the big screen this year.

Hildy Morgan, who chooses the lineup for the Dietrich Theater’s film festivals, believes “best picture” will go to “Lincoln.” Still, she loved “Argo” enough to see it twice – and she’s somewhat miffed about the Academy’s failure to nominate Affleck as best director.

“I have no idea why the Academy chose to snub him,” she said. “The awards are so dumb half the time. How can you nominate such a great movie and not nominate the director? To me, I don’t see how you can separate them.”

“I think it’s a glaring omission,” Bedwick said.

Despite her admiration for “Argo,” Morgan said “Lincoln” deserves to win.

“It was absolutely a gorgeous film,” she said. “Daniel Day-Lewis was magnificent (in the title role.) I read that he went into character and never emerged until the film was done.”

Luzerne County Historical Society Director Anthony T.P. Brooks adds his kudos for the historical accuracy of the film and would like to see Tommy Lee Jones win as best-supporting actor for his role as “a radical Republican from Pennsylvania.”

“As a Pennsylvanian, I couldn’t be more proud of his performance and the surprise twist of who we find in his bed at the end,” Brooks said. “But we can’t give that away.”

The movie inspired Brooks to look up how Pennsylvania representatives voted on the 13th amendment to the Constitution, which abolished slavery.

“All the Republicans voted ‘yes,’ and only 10 Democrats voted ‘yes.’ Sadly to say, the local congressman was a ‘no’ vote,” Brooks said. “It was Charles Denison, grandson of Nathan Denison. I don’t know his internal thoughts, but it would be something a young high-school student might want to come in and research.”

Area thespian Matt Hinton, who directs shows for Gaslight Theatre and works in the Kirby Center Box Office, said he found himself watching more movies than usual this Oscar season.

“As a Western-head, I really did like ‘D’Jango Unchained.’ It really did speak to the genre,” he said. “I just saw ‘Argo’ (on Monday). I thought it was fantastic. Even though we knew how it would turn out, it was still very suspenseful and very engaging. Terrific, from start to finish.”

“There’s a lot to talk about this year,” Hinton said. “ ‘Silver Linings Playbook’ really spoke to life because everybody’s got troubles, and that kind of addresses everyone’s neuroses.”

“I was impressed by Bradley Cooper in ‘Silver Linings,’ and by Jennifer Lawrence as an actress. She’s proven herself,” Hinton said. “We knew Hugh Jackman (who played John Valjean in “Les Miserables”) is endlessly talented.”

“You’re really talking about a hairsbreadth of difference between movies,” said Morgan, explaining she loved “Silver Linings Playbook” and “D’Jango Unchained.”

“For me, (director Quentin Tarantino) did for African-Americans in ‘D’Jango Unchained,’ leaving the plantation in ruins, what he did for Jewish people in ‘Inglourious Basterds.’ ”

But a revenge fantasy might not be “serious” enough to win, Morgan said.

Nevertheless, Bedwick said, Christoph Waltz’s performance in “D’Jango Unchained” deserves to win the best-supporting-actor award.

“In this competition, all the supporting-actor nominees are wonderful. I could see any of the five of them winning. But he carried that movie.”

Some of the Oscar-nominated films are still showing on area screens; others are more difficult to find.

If you haven’t seen the elusive “Amour,” which tells the story of an elderly couple dealing with the woman’s mental decline, Morgan said, it will come to the Dietrich Theater’s Spring Film Festival in early April.

Some Oscar nominees may come to the F.M. Kirby Center in upcoming months, marketing director Anne Rodella said, but the list has not been finalized.

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