Hello, readers. March 2nd will be the 86th Annual Academy Awards. The Oscars are the only awards show for film that I pay any attention to, primarily ’cause – well, who are we kidding? The Golden Globes are about as legitimate as that “consolation game” my high school basketball team got to play after losing in the first round of our playoff tournament.
I finally caught up with the nominees and saw the remaining films I needed to see. For the record, films like All Is Lost, Inside Llewyn Davis and Philomena wouldn’t have made my top 10, but they definitely earn a strong recommendation from me, while Nebraska and Her would’ve cracked my top 10. Come on, Kalamazoo! Let’s start getting these films in on time this year so I can review ’em!
August: Osage County? Huge disappointment. Talented cast in a very annoying film, and although I’ve enjoyed many other films of hers, Streep couldn’t have come off as more obnoxious as she was there. Why the nomination then? ‘Cause Pavlov was right. She gives any performance and “ring ring ring”, voters start to salivate and she gets a nomination.
Anyway, I’m going to give you my picks for the six main categories (acting, directing and film) and why I think they should win, and then give you my predictions for who will win as well as a quick rundown of the remaining categories. Keep in mind, I’m only predicting categories where I’ve seen all of the nominees listed, so some will be omitted.
Best Actor in a Leading Role:
Christian Bale – American Hustle
Bruce Dern – Nebraska
Leonardo DiCaprio – The Wolf of Wall Street
Chiwetel Ejiofor – 12 Years a Slave
Matthew McConaughey – Dallas Buyers Club
Who should win: Matthew McConaughey
Although Bruce Dern could be the dark horse candidate, knowing the Academy’s penchant for giving an Oscar-less veteran their due (Paul Newman, Al Pacino, Alan Arkin, Jeff Bridges, Christopher Plummer, etc.), this is essentially a very tight race between two men: Chiwetel Ejiofor and Matthew McConaughey. Both are very deserving of the award, but McConaughey should get it. It’s not just the jaw-dropping physical transformation. This is an unlikeable man at the beginning who becomes an unlikely hero that we find ourselves rooting for to survive. Whether he’s flashing that Texas charm he’s always been known for, or sitting in his car on the side of the road, vulnerable, desperate and utterly alone, McConaughey hits every note in his performance perfectly.
Who will win: Matthew McConaughey
Best Actor in a Supporting Role:
Barkhad Abdi – Captain Phillips
Bradley Cooper – American Hustle
Michael Fassbender – 12 Years a Slave
Jonah Hill – The Wolf of Wall Street
Jared Leto – Dallas Buyers Club
Who should win: Barkhad Abdi
My pick here is usually the one that pisses all the “established” nominees off, considering Abdi came out of nowhere with no prior acting experience. I could care less how they feel though as Abdi struck fear and terror into every single moviegoer that witnessed Captain Phillips. On top of that, this man went head to head with two-time Oscar winner Tom Hanks, in intimidating fashion, and pulled it off effortlessly. That’s not easy. “Look at me… Look at me… I’m the captain now.” That was ad-libbed by Abdi, by the way. However, Abdi’s unfortunately not gonna win, ’cause the one who will win appears to be a lock, and for good reason too.
Who will win: Jared Leto
Best Actress in a Leading Role:
Amy Adams – American Hustle
Cate Blanchett – Blue Jasmine
Sandra Bullock – Gravity
Judi Dench – Philomena
Meryl Streep – August: Osage County
Who should win: Cate Blanchett
Blue Jasmine will never go down as one of Woody Allen’s best films. Cate Blanchett was the bright spot that outshined any flaws this film may have had, though. This is a funny, manic, somewhat crazy, snobbish, yet heartbreaking performance that I believe is just as good as the performance she gave in The Aviator, which she won her first Oscar for. Even the little things she adds, such as the ticks and the outbursts and the various body languages are spot on.
Who will win: Cate Blanchett
Best Actress in a Supporting Role:
Sally Hawkins – Blue Jasmine
Jennifer Lawrence – American Hustle
Lupita Nyong’o – 12 Years a Slave
Julia Roberts – August: Osage County
June Squibb – Nebraska
Who should win: Lupita Nyong’o
Like Barkhad Abdi, Lupita Nyong’o is another one of those “Hey, where’d she come from?” performances. I don’t care how long you’ve been in the acting profession and feel like your work’s being undermined by some “rookie”. Watch Nyong’o’s rip your heart out of your chest performance and tell me she doesn’t deserve this award. Unlike Best Supporting Actor, this category isn’t quite as much of a lock. Nyong’o has a good shot at winning this, but I think narrowly it’ll go to an actress who, as much as I admire her and the work she’s done, gave a performance I didn’t feel was as Oscar worthy as the other nominees here.
Who will win: Jennifer Lawrence
Alfonso Cuaron – Gravity
Steve McQueen – 12 Years a Slave
Alexander Payne – Nebraska
David O. Russell – American Hustle
Martin Scorsese – The Wolf of Wall Street
Who should win: Alfonso Cuaron
It didn’t crack my top 10, and, sure, it doesn’t have the narrative of the other nominees’ films, but Cuaron took every single viewer that saw Gravity on a 90 minute thrill ride that had everyone on the edge of their seats. This is a director’s movie. From that opening tracking shot that seemed like it went on forever, but had you captivated for every single second anyway, to the very final shot, Cuaron’s vision is simply marvelous. Still, don’t count out Steve McQueen. He could very well win this, and his brutally unflinching direction makes him worthy of the award.
Who will win: Alfonso Cuaron
American Hustle – Charles Roven, Richard Suckle, Megan Ellison & Jonathan Gordon
Captain Phillips – Scott Rudin, Dana Brunetti & Michael De Luca
Dallas Buyers Club – Robbie Brenner & Rachel Winter
Gravity – Alfonso Cuaron & David Heyman
Her – Megan Ellison, Spike Jonze & Vincent Landay
Nebraska – Albert Berger & Ron Yerxa
Philomena – Gabrielle Tana, Steve Coogan & Tracey Seaward
12 Years a Slave – Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Steve McQueen & Anthony Katagas
The Wolf of Wall Street – Martin Scorsese, Leonardo DiCaprio, Joey McFarland & Emma Tillinger
What should win: The Wolf of Wall Street
If you’ve read my top 10 best of 2013 post, the answer should be easy. I’ll keep it short and simple, though. The Wolf of Wall Street has a snowball’s chance in hell of winning. Thank you, so-called “controversy”. That said, I can’t really throw out the S-word, and by that, I mean “snub” ’cause really all nine films are worthy of their nominations.
What will win: 12 Years a Slave
Okay, so there’s my predictions for the main categories. Here’s a quick rundown of the remaining categories, mostly the technical awards (which I think should be viewed more importantly than most people give credit for).
Best Adapted Screenplay: 12 Years a Slave – John Ridley
Best Original Screenplay: Her – Spike Jonze
Best Animated Feature Film: Frozen – Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee & Peter Del Vecho
Best Cinematography: Gravity – Emmanuel Lubezki
Best Costume Design: The Great Gatsby – Catherine Martin
Best Film Editing: Gravity – Alfonso Cuaron & Mark Sanger
Best Makeup and Hairstyling: Dallas Buyers Club – Adruitha Lee & Robin Matthews
Best Original Score: Philomena – Alexandre Desplat
Best Original Song: “Let It Go” from Frozen – Kristen Anderson-Lopez & Robert Lopez
Best Production Design: 12 Years a Slave – Adam Stockhausen & Alice Baker
Best Sound Editing: Gravity – Glenn Freemantle
Best Sound Mixing: Captain Phillips – Chris Burdon, Mark Taylor, Mike Prestwood Smith & Chris Munro
Best Visual Effects: Gravity – Tim Webber, Chris Lawrence, Dave Shirk & Neil Corbould
That’s my predictions and I’m sticking to ’em. Hopefully this year I’ll do better ’cause my predictions last year mostly sucked.