Oscar Picks 2014
2013 was an amazing year for films. I think in the future we will consider quite a few of the movies that came out last year classics. Here are my picks for the Oscars.
As I said in the intro, several of these are instant classics. The short list for me is “12 Years a Slave”, “The Wolf of Wall Street”, “Gravity” and “Dallas Buyers Club”. I will eliminate “The Wolf of Wall Street” because of it’s length and it’s self-indulgence. I’m eliminating “Gravity” because it’s probably too Sci-Fi. I pick “12 Years a Slave” over “Dallas Buyers Club” because of it’s epicness. It’s up there with the best historical epics in terms of movie making and the (true) story is amazing and horrible at the same time.
12 Years a Slave
The Wolf of Wall Street
Dallas Buyers Club
For me this is a fight between McQueen and Cuaron. Again, because of the epicness I go with “12 Years A Slave”. It’s rare in recent history for one movie to get both Best Picture and Best Director.
Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave)
David O. Russell (American Hustle)
Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity)
Alexander Payne (Nebraska)
Martin Scorsese (The Wolf of Wall Street)
In all honesty, it could be anyone on this list but I’m going to believe in the “The McConaissance”.
Bruce Dern (Nebraska)
Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave)
Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club)
Leonardo DiCaprio (The Wolf of Wall Street)
Christian Bale (American Hustle)
This is a one-on-one for me. Blanchett vs. Bullock. But Bullock is the movie. I don’t know of another movie where the essentially the only character is a female. And Bullock pulls it off like no other actor, man or woman, could do.
Amy Adams (American Hustle)
Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine)
Judi Dench (Philomena)
Sandra Bullock (Gravity)
Meryl Streep (August: Osage County)
Best Supporting Actor
I think it would be awesome for Abdi to win this but I don’t think it’s going to happen. Jonah Hill steals the show from DiCaprio in “The Wolf of Wall Street” but Jared Leto is my choice. Not because he plays a transgender prostitute with AIDS, but because he was the emotional tie for the audience and was just so good.
Barkhad Abdi (Captain Phillips)
Bradley Cooper (American Hustle)
Jonah Hill (The Wolf of Wall Street)
Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club)
Michael Fassbender (12 Years a Slave)
Best Supporting Actress
This is my upset pick. June Squibb over everyone else. Nebraska would be a good movie without her but with her it’s a great movie.
Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle)
Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave)
June Squibb (Nebraska)
Julia Roberts (August: Osage County)
Sally Hawkins (Blue Jasmine)
Best Original Screenplay
After seeing “American Hustle” I felt there was too much talking about doing stuff and not enough actually doing it. But that dialogue is snappy and moves what could have been a very complicated story along well.
David O. Russell and Eric Warren Singer (American Hustle)
Woody Allen (Blue Jasmine)
Spike Jonze (Her)
Bob Nelson (Nebraska)
Craig Borten and Melisa Wallack (Dallas Buyers Club)
Best Adapted Screenplay
Philomena needs to win something and I think think this is the category where it does it. Plus, you doesn’t want to see a Steve Coogan acceptance speech?
John Ridley (12 Years a Slave)
Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke and Richard Linklater (Before Midnight)
Terence Winter (The Wolf of Wall Street)
Billy Ray (Captain Phillips)
Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope (Philomena)
Best Animated Feature
I haven’t seen any of these but come on… The cultural impact of Frozen the past three months is undeniable.
The Wind Rises
Despicable Me 2
Ernest & Celestine
Best Foreign Feature
Three out of five in this category are political or controversial subjects. The exceptions are “The Broken Circle Breakdown” and “The Great Beauty”.
The Hunt (Denmark)
The Broken Circle Breakdown (Belgium)
The Great Beauty (Italy)
Omar (Palestinian territories)
The Missing Picture (Cambodia)
Best Documentary Feature
“The Act of Killing” should win. There is a good chance that “20 Feet From Stardom” does because it is more accessible and a happier story.
The Act of Killing
20 Feet From Stardom
Cutie and the Boxer
Best Music (Original Song)
Did any other movie get released as a Sing-Along version? No. Frozen wins.
“Let it Go” – Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez (Frozen)
“Ordinary Love” – U2, Paul Hewson (Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom)
“The Moon Song” – Karen O, Spike Jonze (Her)
“Happy” – Pharrell Williams (Despicable Me 2)
“Alone Yet Not Alone” — Bruce Broughton, Dennis Spiegel (Alone Yet Not Alone)
Best Music (Original Score)
Space is silent so there were no explosions to hear in “Gravity”. Instead the music provided the seat-shaking bass to emphasize what was happening. It was so well incorporated into the movie that you probably don’t even remember there was a score to it at all.
John Williams (The Book Thief)
Steven Price (Gravity)
William Butler and Owen Pallett (Her)
Alexandre Desplat (Philomena)
Thomas Newman (Saving Mr. Banks)
I haven’t seen “Prisoners” or “The Grandmaster” but I can’t imagine “Gravity” not winning. Except for an elective in college (Film Appreciation) I have never studied cinematography but I can go on and on about why certain scenes look the way they do in “Gravity”. Mind blowing.
Emmanuel Lubezki (Gravity)
Bruno Delbonnel (Inside Llewyn Davis)
Phedon Papamichael (Nebraska)
Roger Deakins (Prisoners)
Phillippe Le Sourd (The Grandmaster)
Best Costume Design
“American Hustle” could win but I’m going with epicness again. “12 Years a Slave” is not just a period piece. It also covers different social classes, cultures and geographies and the costumes reflect that exquisitely.
Catherine Martin (The Great Gatsby)
Patricia Norris (12 Years a Slave)
William Chang Suk Ping (The Grandmaster)
Michael Wilkinson (American Hustle)
Michael O’Connor (The Invisible Woman)
Best Film Editing
Alfonso Cuaron, Mark Sanger (Gravity)
Joe Walker (12 Years a Slave)
Christopher Rouse (Captain Phillips)
Jay Cassidy, Crispin Struthers and Alan Baumgarten (American Hustle)
John Mac McMurphy and Martin Pensa (Dallas Buyers Club)
Best Makeup And Hairstyling
Why is “American Hustle” not nominated? Without it here it is simple process of elimination.
Joel Harlow and Gloria Pasqua-Casny (The Lone Ranger)
Stephen Prouty (Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa)
Adruitha Lee and Robin Mathews (Dallas Buyers Club)
Best Production Design
This is a tough one. Each nominee has a very precise style and look and each one is perfectly executed. My gut says “American Hustle”.
Adam Stockhausen and Alice Baker (12 Years a Slave)
Catherine Martin and Beverley Dunn (The Great Gatsby)
Judy Becker and Heather Loeffler (American Hustle)
Andy Nicholson, Rosie Goodwin and Joanne Woollard (Gravity)
K.K. Barrett and Gene Serdena (Her)
Best Visual Effects
I feel that “Gravity” will sweep the visual and audio categories. Every melded together seemlessly.
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Star Trek Into Darkness
Iron Man 3
The Lone Ranger
Best Sound Mixing
Inside Llewyn Davis
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Best Sound Editing
All Is Lost
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Best Short Film, Live Action
Haven’t seen these but it is notable how many non-English shorts got nominated. I think it’s safe to say one of them will win. Let’s go with a comedy…
Aquel No Era Yo (That Wasn’t Me)
Avant Que De Tout Perdre (Just Before Losing Everything)
Pitaako Mun Kaikki Hoitaa? (Do I Have to Take Care of Everything?)
The Voorman Problem
Best Short Film, Animated
“Get a Horse!” features Walt Disney’s voice and new animations made to look like old. It’s a shoo-in
Get a Horse!
Room on the Broom
Best Documentary Short
The topics these documentary shorts cover are all staggering but I think voters will want to send a political message with this one.
Karama Has No Walls
The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life
Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall
The 86th Academy Awards are Sunday March 2, 2014 at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles and are hosted by Ellen Degeneres. Television coverage of the ceremony is at 7pm EST on ABC (with ABC’s red carpet coverage starting at 5pm EST and E!’s red carpet coverage starting at 1:30pm EST).