I'm real late with this list, so I decided to just put it up sans commentary. In no particular order:
Killer Joe - William Friedkin
Something in the Air - Olivier Assayas
Damsels in Distress - Whit Stillman
The Hobbit - Peter Jackson
Sound of My Voice - Zal Batmanglij
Holy Motors - Leos Carax
Killing Them Softly - Andrew Dominik
Project X - Nima Nourizadeh
Lincoln - Steven Spielberg
Lady Mary Crawley
The porn debate is underscored by two fundamentally antagonistic views of the purpose of law in society. The first view, to which pro-sex feminists subscribe, is that law should protect choice. "A woman's body, a woman's right" applies to every peaceful activity a woman chooses to engage in. The law should come into play only when a woman initiates force or has force initiated against her. The second view, to which both conservatives and anti-porn feminists subscribe, is that law should protect virtue. It should come into play whenever there has been a breach of public morality, or a breach of "women's class interests.
-- Wendy McElroy, "A Feminist Defense of Pornography"
I recently watched the French documentary Mutantes: Punk Porn Feminism, which contains interviews with women who participate in and/or support what you'd think based on the title. One of the main points Virginie Despentes makes with her film is that much of the antagonism the sex trade continues to face is rooted in an old fashioned patriarchal control of women's bodies. It's as if the entire familial tradition would crumble if women were allowed to do with their bodies what they want, giving sex away for free or for cash. This same notion can be seen in pop culture in the way rape tends to be seen as the worst thing that one can do to a fictional female victim, not murder. The contamination of a woman's body, the violation of her "virtue" is too evil to face, rather just kill her and get it over with. And, despite how much I love the subgenre, the same might be said of rape-revenge films, even those with an ostensible feminist message (e.g., I Spit on Your Grave), as if the moral equation balances out with the quid pro quo of rape and murderous vengeance. But the feminist view here (at least the right one) is that a woman shouldn't have virtue forced on her, solely defined by others to have her live as they see fit. This is McElroy's quoted distinction in the two views of law, which accurately places certain feminists on the side of traditional conservatives.
I had my decomposing gall bladder removed this week just so I could read it to make my predictions. Against the wire, but here they are ...
Best Picture: Argo
A film that suggests Hollywood saved lives. Really, there's no contest here.
Leading Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln)
Joaquin Phoenix is great doing what Day-Lewis did the last time around, a slash-your-wrists performance for Paul Thomas Anderson, but no one seems to like The Master much. Maybe it guilt trips Hollywood into thinking about the days when it used film. I don't know, but the other choices aren't worth much.
Supporting Actor: Robert Di Niro (Silver Linings Playbook)
This should've gone to Leonardo DiCaprio, the best thing about Django Unchained; but no one seemed to notice, since he's not up for anything. As it stands, it'll probably go to De Niro for appearing to care enough to act this time around.
Best Actress: Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty)
Maybe political backlash over the film's pro-torture sentiment will kill her chances, but I'm thinking strong-willed woman in the middle of another of Bigelow's macho wank fantasies as tough-minded realism has something for everyone. Besides, the film won't win anything else.
Supporting Actress: Anne Hathaway (Les Misérables)
Sally Fields is shrill and irritating -- at what point do people realize that she's not really playing a part? Hathaway can really sing, cut her hair and the Academy really likes her.
Animated Feature: Frankenweenie
Along with being a director for Cartoon Network's Metalocalypse, Jon Schnepp is the fellow who designed its protagonists, the group Dethklok. He's currently trying to get Kickstarter funding for The Death of "Superman Lives": What Happened?, a documentary looking into the vagaries of Tim Burton's aborted Superman project that was to star Nicholas Cage. It could've been the most spectacular travesty of a Superman film ever made ... and that's saying something given Superman III and IV. Jon recently visited Amoeba Hollywood and recommended some stuff: