Name: Les Miserables
Release date: December 25, 2012
DVD release date: Estimated March 2013
Run time: 157 song-filled minutes
Box office: $138.3 mil and counting
Rotten Tomatoes score: 70%
Movie Math: V for Vendetta + Master and Commander + West Side Story x Marie Antoinette
Tweetable description: Vive la France!
What Owen Gleiberman said: It peaks a little bit early. This film was coming at you in two great big halves that didn’t necessarily come together.
What Lisa Schwarzbaum said: This ”prestige” production is at heart a minor road-show carnival, leaving behind little but tinsel as it rumbles through the streets of Awardstown.
Number of Oscar nods: 8 (Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress in a Supporting Role, Best Original Song, Best Costume Design, Best Makeup and Hairstyling, Best Sound Mixing, Best Production Design)
Movie’s Oscar history: Tom Hooper won the Best Director Oscar in 2010 for The King’s Speech and is backed by a cast that has been nominated multiple times over, but his failure to get a nod this time around has critics denouncing the film’s chances for Best Picture. Anne Hathaway was previously nominated for Best Actress for Rachel Getting Married; Russell Crowe was nominated three times in a row for Best Actor for Gladiator (he won), A Beautiful Mind, and The Insider; and Helena Bonham Carter has been nominated twice for The Wings of the Dove and The Kings Speech.
What is has won thus far: American Film Institute Movie of the Year; Broadcast Film Critics Association (Anne Hathaway, Best Supporting Actress); Golden Globes (Best Motion Picture: Musical or Comedy, Best Actor - Hugh Jackman, and Best Supporting Actress –Anne Hathaway); SAG Awards (Best Supporting Actress, Anne Hathaway).
Why it should win: Tom Hooper has invented a new way of making movie musicals and innovative filmmaking deserves to be recognized. The singing-live aspect of Les Mis is innovative, compelling, and is the first movie musical that makes the experience feel like you’re in a Broadway playhouse, not a multiplex at the mall. And isn’t the point of movie musicals to make Broadway accessible to everyone? Anne Hathaway’s performance of I Dreamed a Dream is a shoe-in for the Best Supporting Actress Oscar, and it’s Hooper’s filming style that brings her to life and lets you feel Fantine’s pain in a new way. To sing a song that we’ve all heard done 1,000 times by everyone from Katie Holmes to Susan Boyle and make it feel new – that’s incredible filmmaking.
Why it shouldn’t win: For some people, a Broadway playhouse is the equivalent of a medieval torture chamber, that is to say some people, including some Academy members, just don’t like musicals. And even for those who do, Les Miserables the movie has similar shortcoming as Les Miserables the stage musical – it’s really long, the music is repetitive at best and boring at worst, the story is depressing with overwhelming religious overtones, and the comic relief – Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter as the innkeepers – is a shtick we’ve seen before.
Vegas Odds: 28/1, according to Las Vegas Sports Betting
Best Line: I had a dream my life would be/So different from this hell I’m living/So different now from what it seemed/ Now life has killed the dream I dreamed
Worst Line: Suddenly I see/What I could not see/Something suddenly/Has begun.