Every cloud has a silver lining, and the 85th Academy Awards have Silver Linings Playbook.
The mood-swinging, Philly-centric romantic dramedy came away with eight key nominations as the Oscar contenders were announced Thursday morning in Beverly Hills. Among its coups: It's the first film since 1982 (Reds) to win recognition in all four acting categories: Bradley Cooper for best actor, Jennifer Lawrence best actress, Robert De Niro (his first Oscar nomination in 21 years) for supporting actor, and Jacki Weaver supporting actress (her second in three years).
Silver Linings Playbook, filmed in and around Philadelphia in late 2011, is one of nine titles vying for best picture. David O. Russell also received nominations for best director and best adapted screenplay. Silver Linings is based on the novel by former Haddonfield High School teacher Matthew Quick.
"I couldn't be more thrilled for everyone involved. . . . It's such an underdog story," said Quick, reached at his home in central Massachusetts. He quit his tenured teaching job and moved into his in-laws' house to write the book.
"To see this go from my in-laws' basement, when everybody thought I was just some insane person throwing away a good position at Haddonfield, to eight Oscar nominations is mind-blowing," he said. "It also is a win for Philly. I really believe that. I wrote this book because I missed Philadelphia, I love Philadelphia."
"The production experience on Silver Linings Playbook was one of the best I have ever had in 21 years," said an elated Sharon Pinkenson, executive director of the Greater Philadelphia Film Office. "It was magical, and when that happens, you just know it's going to be a great movie. . . . I just wish there was a category for Best City."
And director Russell, who watched the nominations live Thursday morning, had more praise for the city: "It's very much a character-driven and emotion-driven and people-driven story. And Philadelphia is one of the characters - the neighborhoods of Upper Darby and Lower Merion, those are characters in the movie, and the people who inhabit that world. . . . So, to have that recognized - fantastic."
In addition to the Hollywood community's resounding endorsement of an edgy saga about a guy suffering from bipolar disorder, the Oscar nominations read off Thursday were full of significant firsts.
Beasts of the Southern Wild star Quvenzhané Wallis became the youngest best-actress nominee in Academy Awards history (she's 9). Amour star Emmanuelle Riva is the oldest nominee in the category (she's 85).
Overall, Lincoln came away with the most nominations, 12. The historical drama scored picture and director (Steven Spielberg) salutes, and Daniel Day-Lewis, as the 16th president, wandering the White House in the middle of the night, is as close to a sure thing as there is to take the best-actor prize. (Sorry, Bradley.)
If Day-Lewis does indeed win, that'll be a first as well: No one in academy history has won three best-actor trophies. (Katharine Hepburn won four best-actress Oscars over the course of her career.)
Breaking with the sober predawn tradition of nomination announcements past (a podium, a bleary-eyed thespian), contenders for this year's awards were read off with jokey aplomb by the Oscar telecast's designated host, Seth MacFarlane, and actress Emma Stone, who hopped onto the stage from a seat in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' Samuel Goldwyn Theater, as if she was surprised to be invited up. Working Donny Osmond and Adolf Hitler jokes in between the list-reading, MacFarlane also pulled off a James Franco-esque coup: He'll be hosting the ceremonies, as Franco did a few years ago, and will also be vying for a prize. MacFarlane cowrote "Everybody Needs a Best Friend," the song from Ted. It's up against Adele's Skyfall theme, the freshly minted "Suddenly" from Les Misérables, and two other tunes.
After weeks of awards-season kudos and expert prognostication, the academy's announcement Thursday actually threw a lot of people for a loop. Kathryn Bigelow, winner of the directing prize three years ago for The Hurt Locker, and considered a lock for one of the five director slots for her taut Osama manhunt movie Zero Dark Thirty, was left out. So too Ben Affleck, for another ripped-from-CIA-files narrative, Argo. Tom Hooper, director of Les Misérables, also failed to make the cut. Instead, the Austrian director of the French-language Amour, Michael Haneke, sidled into a berth, as did newcomer Benh Zeitlin, for the low-budget Louisiana bayou dream Beasts of the Southern Wild. Note to presenters: The h in Benh is silent. So is the d in Django - Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained took five nominations, including best picture.
Speaking of Django Unchained and Tarantino, a best-picture contender without the concomitant director nod significantly lessens its chances for a win. So what was presumed to be a battle between Lincoln and Zero Dark Thirty is now Lincoln's to lose. But Silver Linings Playbook, with the savvy Oscar campaign skills of the Weinstein Co. behind it, has a shot.
In the acting categories, John Hawkes' beautiful performance as the polio-stricken poet Mark O'Brien in The Sessions failed to elbow off the competition in a crowded actor field, while Marion Cotillard, a strong contender for her work as a double amputee in the French-language Rust and Bone, lost out (probably to that little kid from New Orleans, Wallis).
And Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom, thought by many to be a certain best-picture candidate, came away with just one nomination, for original screenplay.
Two films that deal with Israeli-Palestinian tensions - 5 Broken Cameras and The Gatekeepers - are among the best-documentary titles. On another local note, "Inocente," about a homeless high school student using her art to find a place in the world, is nominated in the documentary-shorts category. The film was executive-produced by Christina Weiss Lurie, the Philadelphia Eagles co-owner who has been active in making films with strong social themes.
And of the five foreign-language nominees, Amour has to be considered the sure bet. It is nominated in five categories, including best picture, best director, and best actress. The foreign-language prize is the one this sublime and heartbreaking film will probably win.
The 85th Academy Awards ceremony will be telecast live Feb. 24 on 6ABC, beginning with all the red-carpet hoopla at 7 p.m.
Best picture: Amour, Argo, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Django Unchained, Les Misérables, Life of Pi, Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook, Zero Dark Thirty.
Actor: Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook; Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln; Hugh Jackman, Les Misérables; Joaquin Phoenix, The Master; Denzel Washington, Flight.
Actress: Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty; Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook; Emmanuelle Riva, Amour; Quvenzhane Wallis, Beasts of the Southern Wild; Naomi Watts, The Impossible.
Supporting actor: Alan Arkin, Argo; Robert De Niro, Silver Linings Playbook; Philip Seymour Hoffman, The Master; Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln; Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained.
Supporting actress: Amy Adams, The Master; Sally Field, Lincoln; Anne Hathaway, Les Misérables; Helen Hunt, The Sessions; Jacki Weaver, Silver Linings Playbook.
Directing: Michael Haneke, Amour; Benh Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern Wild; Ang Lee, Life of Pi; Steven Spielberg, Lincoln; David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook.
Foreign-language film: Amour, Austria; Kon-Tiki, Norway; No, Chile; A Royal Affair, Denmark; War Witch, Canada.
Adapted screenplay: Chris Terrio, Argo; Lucy Alibar and Benh Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern Wild; David Magee, Life of Pi; Tony Kushner, Lincoln; David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook.
Original screenplay: Michael Haneke, Amour; Quentin Tarantino, Django Unchained; John Gatins, Flight; Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola, Moonrise Kingdom; Mark Boal, Zero Dark Thirty.
Animated feature film: Brave; Frankenweenie; ParaNorman; The Pirates! Band of Misfits; Wreck-It Ralph.
Production design: Anna Karenina, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Les Misérables, Life of Pi, Lincoln.
Cinematography: Anna Karenina, Django Unchained, Life of Pi, Lincoln, Skyfall.
Sound mixing: Argo, Les Misérables, Life of Pi, Lincoln, Skyfall.
Sound editing: Argo, Django Unchained, Life of Pi, Skyfall, Zero Dark Thirty.
Original score: Anna Karenina, Dario Marianelli; Argo, Alexandre Desplat; Life of Pi, Mychael Danna; Lincoln, John Williams; Skyfall, Thomas Newman.
Original song: "Before My Time" from Chasing Ice, J. Ralph; "Everybody Needs a Best Friend" from Ted, Walter Murphy and Seth MacFarlane; "Pi's Lullaby" from Life of Pi, Mychael Danna and Bombay Jayashri; "Skyfall" from Skyfall, Adele Adkins and Paul Epworth; "Suddenly" from Les Misérables, Claude-Michel Schonberg, Herbert Kretzmer, and Alain Boublil.
Costume: Anna Karenina, Les Misérables, Lincoln, Mirror Mirror, Snow White and the Huntsman.
Documentary feature: 5 Broken Cameras, The Gatekeepers, How to Survive a Plague, The Invisible War, Searching for Sugar Man.
Documentary short subject: "Inocente," "Kings Point," "Mondays at Racine," "Open Heart," "Redemption."
Film editing: Argo, Life of Pi, Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook, Zero Dark Thirty.
Makeup and hairstyling: Hitchcock, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Les Misérables.
Animated short film: "Adam and Dog," "Fresh Guacamole," "Head Over Heels," "Maggie Simpson in 'The Longest Daycare,' " "Paperman."
Live action short film: "Asad," "Buzkashi Boys," "Curfew," "Death of a Shadow (Dood van een Schaduw)," "Henry."