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"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…


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Second-guessing my Oscar guesses

In announcing my annual Outguess Ebert contest, I used a cocky headline: Outguess Ebert? I may have them all right, I followed by writing: "This year's Outguess Ebert contest seems a little like shooting fish in a barrel. For the first time in many a year, maybe ever, I think I've guessed every one correctly."

Every year it is the same. I come out of the gate filled with certainty, and as the deadline draws near I begin to falter. A guy has an ear to the ground. This year I now suspect I may have been mistaken in two categories.

For Best Picture, I joined nearly the whole world and countless awards shows by predicting "Argo," the thriller about how Hollywood outsmarted Iran during the hostage crisis. It was also my choice of the year's best movie.

Now, more and more, from many different quarters, I hear affection for "Silver Linings Playbook," People tell me, I have a brother-in- law exactly like that." I sense a groundswell.


My original choice for Best Actress was Emmanuelle Riva, for "Amour." I finally decided on Jennifer Lawrence, Now, as more and more people get the chance to see Michael Haneke's "Amour" and Riva's extraordinary work as a proud lady's disintegration under Alzheimer's, I think sentiment is shifting. She may become the oldest nominee in history to win.

It's too late to change my ballot, I'm just sayin'.

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