Thursday, March 6, 2014

Oscar Recap

I should have done this on Monday, but I'm doing it now because laziness is too tempting sometimes.

Anyway, I got 22/24. The decisions were incredibly easy to predict this year, and that was a good thing this year because the vast majority (off the top of my head all of the decisions I can have opinions on) went to deserving recipients (mostly Gravity).

I missed Documentary Feature, which I figured would go to The Act of Killing, which had most of the critics awards and stuff, but instead it went to 20 Feet from Stardom about showbusiness, so obviously showbusiness people voted for it. It's evidently feel-good, etc. I will NEVER see the latter, but I'm planning on watching the former in a week or two.

The only other category I missed was Live Action Short, which I assumed would go to the 12 minute film The Voorman Problem, which I saw shortly after the ceremony. I figured people would just vote for Martin Freeman, Tom Hollander, and the English language (over Spanish, French, Finnish, and Danish), but they went for dying children (the Danish) instead of "god" prisoners.

Also, I thought Ellen was terrific. She was quite funny, and I will never complain about a host being funny and not being controversial.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Oscar Predictions

The Oscars are just around the corner, as in tonight, so here are my predictions, without category run-downs or explanations.

Best Picture:

  1. American Hustle
  2. Captain Phillips
  3. Dallas Buyers Club
  4. Gravity
  5. Her
  6. Nebraska
  7. Philomena
  8. 12 Years a Slave
  9. The Wolf of Wall Street
Will Win: 12 Years a Slave
Spoiler: Gravity
Spoiler 2: American Hustle
Dark Horse: The Wolf of Wall Street
Should Win: 12 Years a Slave
Hopefully Will NOT Win If Justice Exists: American Hustle

Best Director:
  1. Alfonso Cuarón for Gravity
  2. Steve McQueen for 12 Years a Slave
  3. Alexander Payne for Nebraska
  4. Martin Scorsese for The Wolf of Wall Street
  5. David O. Russell for American Hustle
Will Win: Alfonso Cuarón
Spoiler: Steve McQueen
Dark Horse: Martin Scorsese
Should Win: Alfonso Cuarón

Best Actor:
  1. Christian Bale in American Hustle
  2. Bruce Dern in Nebraska
  3. Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street
  4. Chiwetel Ejiofor in 12 Years a Slave
  5. Matthew McConaughey in Dallas Buyers Club
Will Win: Matthew McConaughey
Spoiler: Leonardo DiCaprio
Dark Horse: Chiwetel Ejiofor
Should Win: Matthew McConaughey
One the "Will Win" matters because McConaughey has had this in the bag since the movie hit the screen.

Best Actress:
  1. Amy Adams in American Hustle
  2. Cate Blanchett in Blue Jasmine
  3. Sandra Bullock in Gravity
  4. Judi Dench in Philomena
  5. Meryl Streep in August: Osage County
Will Win: Cate Blanchett
Spoiler: Judi Dench (old British people, mainly)
Dark Horse: Amy Adams
Should Win: Sandra Bullock (Brie Larson)
All that said, Blanchett's BAFTA win over Dench all but gives her the Oscar.

Best Supporting Actor:
  1. Barkhad Abdi in Captain Phillips
  2. Bradley Cooper in American Hustle
  3. Michael Fassbender in 12 Years a Slave
  4. Jonah Hill in The Wolf of Wall Street
  5. Jared Leto in Dallas Buyers Club
Will Win: Jared Leto
Spoiler: Michael Fassbender
Dark Horse: Barkhad Abdi (when you win BAFTA, you shouldn't be underestimated)
Should Win: Michael Fassbender
Leto's had this one in the bag almost as long as McConaughey.

Best Supporting Actress:
  1. Sally Hawkins in Blue Jasmine
  2. Jennifer Lawrence in American Hustle
  3. Lupita Nyong'o in 12 Years a Slave
  4. Julia Roberts in August: Osage County
  5. June Squibb in Nebraska
Will Win: Lupita Nyong'o
Spoiler (MAJOR): Jennifer Lawrence (this isn't a Forrest Gump-type Oscar-baity performance (it's Oscar-baity in a different, worse way) and she's not Tracy or Hepburn, but she has almost equivalent awards traction)
Dark Horse: June Squibb
Should Win: Lupita Nyong'o (Sarah Paulson in the same movie)

Best Adapted Screenplay:
  1. Before Midnight
  2. Captain Phillips
  3. Philomena
  4. 12 Years a Slave
  5. The Wolf of Wall Street
Will Win: 12 Years a Slave
Spoiler: The Wolf of Wall Street
Dark Horse: Captain Phillips
Should Win: The Wolf of Wall Street

Best Original Screenplay:
  1. American Hustle
  2. Blue Jasmine
  3. Dallas Buyers Club
  4. Her
  5. Nebraska
Will Win: Her
Spoiler (MAJOR): American Hustle
Dark Horse: Blue Jasmine (Woody Allen is always a threat)
Should Win: Her
American Hustle has more overall traction, but Her seems to have been coming on strong lately.

Best Animated Feature:
  1. The Croods
  2. Despicable Me 2
  3. Ernest and Celestine
  4. Frozen
  5. The Wind Rises
Will Win: Frozen
Spoiler: The Wind Rises (Miyazaki may get a 2nd award for his final project)
Dark Horse: Despicable Me 2
Should Win: Frozen (I'll admit to not having seen The Wind Rises, the only legitimate challenger.)

Best Foreign Language Film:
  1. The Broken Circle Breakdown (from Belgium, in Dutch)
  2. The Great Beauty (from Italy, in Italian)
  3. The Hunt (from Denmark, in Danish)
  4. The Missing Picture (from Cambodia, in French)
  5. Omar (from Palestine, in Arabic)
Will Win: The Great Beauty
Spoiler: The Broken Circle Breakdown
Dark Horse: The Hunt

Best Documentary Feature:
  1. The Act of Killing
  2. Cutie and the Boxer
  3. Dirty Wars
  4. The Square
  5. 20 Feet from Stardom
Will Win: The Act of Killing
Spoiler: 20 Feet from Stardom
Dark Horse: The Square
Dark Horse 2: Dirty Wars

Best Production Design:
  1. American Hustle
  2. Gravity
  3. The Great Gatsby
  4. Her
  5. 12 Years a Slave
Will Win: The Great Gatsby
Spoiler: Gravity
Dark Horse: 12 Years a Slave
Should Win: Her (The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug)

Best Cinematography:
  1. The Grandmaster (Philippe Le Sourd)
  2. Gravity (Emmanuel Lubezki)
  3. Inside Llewyn Davis (Bruno Delbonnel)
  4. Nebraska (Phedon Papamichael)
  5. Prisoners (Roger Deakins)
Will Win: Gravity:
Spoiler: Inside Llewyn Davis
Dark Horse: Nebraska
Dark Horse 2: Prisoners
Should Win: Inside Llewyn Davis (or 12 Years a Slave, I can't decide)

Best Costume Design:
  1. American Hustle
  2. The Grandmaster
  3. The Great Gatsby
  4. The Invisible Woman
  5. 12 Years a Slave
Will Win: The Great Gatsby
Spoiler: 12 Years a Slave
Dark Horse: The Invisible Woman
Should Win: 12 Years a Slave or The Invisible Woman

Best (Film) Editing:
  1. American Hustle (Jay Cassidy, Crispin Struthers, and Alan Baumgarten)
  2. Captain Phillips (Christopher Rouse)
  3. Dallas Buyers Club (John Mac McMurphy and Martin pensa)
  4. Gravity (Alfonso Cuarón and Mark Sanger)
  5. 12 Years a Slave (Joe Walker)
Will Win: Gravity
Spoiler: Captain Phillips
Dark Horse: 12 Years a Slave
Should Win: Gravity (or The Wolf of Wall Street, I can't decide)

Best Makeup and Hairstyling:
  1. Dallas Buyers Club
  2. Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa
  3. The Lone Ranger
Will Win: Dallas Buyers Club (BP nominee has never lost, if I'm not mistaken)
Spoiler: Bad Grandpa
Dark Horse: The Lone Ranger
Should Win: Dallas Buyers Club

Best Original Score:
  1. The Book Thief (John Williams)
  2. Gravity (Steven Price)
  3. Her (William Butler and Owen Pallett (essentially Arcade Fire))
  4. Philomena (Alexandre Desplat)
  5. Saving Mr. Banks (Thomas Newman)
Will Win: Gravity
Spoiler: Her
Dark Horse: Saving Mr. Banks
Should Win: Saving Mr. Banks
Note: For me, Gravity's score's issue is that it fails to show much beyond some incredibly effective suspense music. The movie doesn't really provide many opportunities for nuanced, lower key (or even simply hopeful) work. Arcade Fire's score for Her is too low key for me, and though it works perfectly with every frame of the film, it's simply not ear-catching. Thomas Newman's for Saving Mr. Banks is basically an agglomeration of his best ideas from past films tailor-made to fit a new one. I think he's the best living film composer, so maybe I'm biased, but this trumps his great work for Skyfall, American Beauty, Finding Nemo, and possibly even WALL-E, though it obviously fails to touch Shawshank Redemption.

Best Original Song:
  1. "Happy" from Despicable Me 2 (composed, written, and performed by Pharrell Williams)
  2. "Let It Go" from Frozen (composed and written by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, performed by Idina Menzel)
  3. "The Moon Song" from Her (composed by Karen Orzolek (Karen O), written by Orzolek and Spike Jonze, and performed by Karen O)
  4. "Ordinary Love" from Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom (composed by Paul Hewson (Bono), David Evans (The Edge), Adam Clayton, and Larry Mullen, Jr. (U2); written by Hewson; and performed by U2)
Will Win: "Let It Go"
Spoiler: "Ordinary Love"
Dark Horse: "The Moon Song"
Should Win: "Let It Go"
Easiest choice ever. With U2 getting the Golden Globe, Frozen's win is all but assured (the Globes and Oscars almost never agree in this category)

Best Sound Editing:
  1. All Is Lost
  2. Captain Phillips
  3. Gravity
  4. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
  5. Lone Survivor
Best Sound Mixing:
  1. Captain Phillips
  2. Gravity
  3. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
  4. Inside Llewyn Davis
  5. Lone Survivor
Will Win: Gravity
Spoiler: Inside Llewyn Davis
Dark Horse: Captain Phillips
Should Win: Gravity or Inside Llewyn Davis

Best Visual Effects:
  1. Gravity
  2. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
  3. Iron Man 3
  4. The Lone Ranger
  5. Star Trek Into Darkness
Will Win: Gravity
Spoiler: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Dark Horse: Star Trek Into Darkness
Should Win: Gravity

Best Animated Short:
  1. Feral
  2. Get a Horse
  3. Mr. Hublot
  4. Possessions
  5. Room on the Broom
Will Win: Mr. Hublot
Spoiler: Get a Horse
Dark Horse: Room on the Broom
All signs point to Get a Horse, but I was unimpressed both times I saw it (the two times I saw Frozen), so I'm going for what seems to be the consensus second choice.

Best Documentary Short:
  1. CaveDigger
  2. Facing Fear
  3. Karama Has No Walls
  4. The Last in Number 6: Music Saved My Life
  5. Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall
Will Win: The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life
Spoiler: Karama Has No Walls
Dark Horse: CaveDigger
I essentially just put things down blindly.

Best Live Action Short:
  1. Aquel no era yo (That Wasn't Me)
  2. Avant que de tout perdre (Just Before Losing Everything)
  3. Helium
  4. Pitääkö mun kaikki hoitaa? (Do I Have to Take Care of Everything?)
  5. The Voorman Problem
Will Win: The Voorman Problem
Spoiler: Helium
Dark Horse: Aquel no era yo (That Wasn't Me)
This is the only short category of which I am essentially certain.

As you can see, I sincerely think (and am hoping with everything I have) that American Hustle gets shutout. If it does, it will be tie the Coens' True Grit (maybe some others, too, I don't know) for 3rd-most nominations without a win, The Turning Point and The Color Purple tied at 1st with 11.