The Philadelphia Eagles didn’t win big on the football field in 2012. In fact, the Eagles’ biggest success all season was on the big screen, as the favorite team of the main characters in the Oscar contender “Silver Linings Playbook” On Jan. 10, Oscar went green as “Silver Linings” exceeded expectations with eight nominations, including Best Picture.
Given its low box office and how Oscar buzz had come to center around “Lincoln” “Zero Dark Thirty” and “Argo” “Silver Linings” appeared to be downgraded to a mere sleeper. But unlike Philadelphia’s football team in 2012, this Philadelphia-based movie made a big comeback and has shot back to the center of the race.
Not only did it land predictable nominations for the movie and for leads Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper, it squeezed Robert De Niro and Jacki Weaver into the supporting categories and got David O. Russell into the Best Director field. It became the only movie to have nominees in all four acting categories, and with Ben Affleck and Kathryn Bigelow snubbed for Best Director, Russell now has a fighting chance against the likes of Steven Spielberg and Ang Lee.
Both the Eagles and “Silver Linings Playbook” came into 2012 with heavy expectations. Yet when the Eagles slumped out of the gate, they never recovered and had to blow up the Andy Reid regime at the end, whereas the movie actually found new life. Ironically, “Silver Linings” is set during the 2008 season, when the Eagles did make a miraculous late playoff run that parallels the recoveries of the movie’s main characters -- and was the last major Super Bowl run of the Reid era.
Perhaps the movie’s big performance on Oscar nomination day wasn’t a total shock. It is produced by the Weinstein brothers, whose movies have made big, successful Oscar pushes for years -- like the old Dallas Cowboys back when they contended for Super Bowls. But with “Lincoln” leading the way in this year’s field with 12 nominations, “Silver Linings” remains an Eagles-level underdog in the big picture, with Lawrence as its best hope for even one win.
The number of “Silver Linings” Oscar nominations doubled the number of Eagles victories in 2012, as it turned out. Yet it would be something if the Eagles had better luck at the Oscars than they've ever had at winning a Super Bowl, albeit indirectly.