Sunday, March 02, 2014

A superquick Oscar prediction session

OK, superfast rundown here:
I've seen 7 of the 9 Oscar nominees at this point--Her, Gravity, Dallas Buyers Club, 12 Years a Slave, Captain Phillips, Nebraska, and American Hustle--in addition to approximately 15 other films this year.

Best Picture:
Will Win: 12 Years a Slave
Should Win: 12 Years a Slave is a good choice. Certainly not a lightweight popcorn movie. But weighty, thoughftully made, and effectively told. It's also not as brutal and depressing as one might think. In other words, go see it.
Personal Preference: A slight edge to Her although I can proudly say I personally responded to all seven of the films I've seen. Outside of those seven, I very much enjoyed the little-seen Girl Most Likely and the indie
film In a World but I didn't see them as Oscar nominees.
Got snubbed: This is somewhat of a sad state if filmdom we're currently in where there are very few films outside 8 or 9 that really are nominee-worthy. Last year, I could only think of Moonrise Kingdom and the Master that were legitimate snubs. This year Saving Mr. Banks and possibly August Osage County are the only films I can think of that are visible (a great indie film that doesn't capture the public imagination is just a great indie film that never got traction, that's a marketing problem) films that have yet to go mainstream.  Go five years before that to 2007 and you have In the Valley of Ellah, Zodiac, Eastern Promises, Before the Devil Knows You're Dead, Sweeney Todd, Charlie Wilson's War, Into the Wild, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Once, Persopolis, Assassination of Jesse James, Ratatouille, Bourne Ultimatum, Great Debaters, American Gangster, Evening, Things we Lost in the Fire, Love in the Time of Cholera, Reservation Road and Hairspray.

Best Director:
Will Win: Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity
Should Win: Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity as I like a good director-picture split
Got snubbed: Paul Greengrass, Captain Philips

Best Actor:
Will Win: I'm hoping Bruce Dern or Leonardo DiCaprio pulls off an upset and I'll predict Bruce Dern so if he wins I'll be double happy. The money is on McConaughey but you don't need this blog to tell you that. I
Should Win: Bruce Dern. It's the subtlety right down to the physical movements and posture of the character that truly impresses me
God snubbed: If I could nominate one more person, I'd go with Joaquin Phoenix in Her followed by Robert Redford in All is Lost followed by Tom Hanks

Best Actress:
Will Win: Cate Blanchett. I'm moderately pleased with this as she's a great actor who should have a lead statue. I'm not particularly pleased to see Woody Allen pick up a seventh statue for acting considering he doesn't rehearse them and his films aren't ever profitable (ha! you thought I'd go with the molestation charges, but I came up with other reasons not to like Woody Allen at the moment) but that's OK.

Should Win: Amy Adams is a revelation. I see her in 2 or 3 films a year (not intentionally, she's just in everything) and she's freakin' amazing
Got snubbed: Adèle Exarchopoulos, Blue is the Warmest Color

Best Supporting Actor:
Will Win: Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club
Should Win: Jared Leto although I'm pleased Michael Fassbender got nominated and should the unthinkable happen in terms of an upset, I'd be pleased.
Got snubbed: Tom Hanks should have gotten at least a little traction considering his snub for best actor. Daniel Bruhl was brilliant in Inglourious Basterds so it's too bad he won't be joining us here.

Best Supporting Actress:
Will Win: Lupita Nyongo, 12 Years a Slave. Some are predicting Jennifer  Lawrence but that's ridiculous.
Should Win: Jane Squinn, Nebraska
Got snubbed: Scarlett Johansson, Her or Scarlett Johansson, Don Juan

Best Adapted Screenplay:
12 Years a Slave is a front runner which would be a very good choice. Terrence Winters in Wolf of Wall Street would be equally good

Best Original Screenplay
Her is my choice. As I previously wrote in my last post, the original screenplay should go to "Her." It will likely go to American Hustle

Best Cinematography
The nominees are Grandmaster, The Prisoner, Inside Lleweyn Davis, Nebraska and Gravity. Grandmaster is a film I've never heard of before while Prisoners is an interesting choice here as it is one of the few films not nominated for an Oscar that doesn't qualify as a popcorn movie. Inside Lleweyn Davis got snubbed nearly everywhere else. Nebraska, Gravity and Inside Lleweyn Davis seem to all stand a chance and I'll go with Gravity as the photography played such a large role.

Best Score:
The electronic futuristic score of Her impresses me a lot, but Gravity was bold and dramatic. I can't speak to the other three nominees. This might be a good opportunity to spread the wealth. In the past, Atonement, Finding Neverland, and Babel have saved themselves from a shutout by winning here. 

Best Song:
We have U2, Karen O, Idina Menzel, Pharrell, and a man who's approaching the EGOT (I know there are four nominees, so I suspect Menzel is just a performer, and for all I know Karen O is not nominated). This is quite a crowd of performers and I'd like Pharrell Williams to win because his song is the one everyone's singing along to on the radio and he's had a great career behind and in front of the scenes.

Best Costume Direction:
This is a very close one as 12 Years a Slave has old-timey costumes (how can you lose with that), American Hustle has some stylized costumes for a modern era and Great Gatsby has some flashy costumes. The more subtle choice here is American Hustle. The costume design in those movies wasn't flashy or particularly historic but they jumped out at you quite a bit.


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