Monday, December 9, 2013

2014 OSCAR Predictions

     Roughly three months from now the 2013 film year will have its penultimate award ceremony, The Academy Awards. All the campaigning, politics, bullshit, ass kissing and, oh yeah, the quality of the films, in this self satisfying and highly self aware environment, will glorify each other with the annual award show on March 2, 2014. The prognosticating and hype is fun, but kind of redundant and ridiculous. I mean, the films that have heavy campaigns or are released at the end of the year and are fresh in the academies mind seem to get the most love, if not all of it. It is history and it is fun to have a good time making predictions, but the academy just likes softies or filmmakers that make films that are feel good and avoid any kind of social or cultural awareness, for the most part. For example, last year with Argo over the far better and more meaningful Zero Dark Thirty. In 2012 the big softy The Artist over the field, even though Moneyball was one of the best that year and a lot better than that silent film. And, in 2011, where the highly rated, critical favorite and easily overall best film The Social Network was beat by the old school academies pick that, like the other ones, relates to there  beliefs and a safe, uneventful choice with The King's Speech. Blah, blah, blah. Here are my picks with a few notes at the end of each category. I am only predicting the main categories and some that I enjoy (i.e. cinematography, editing, foreign language film). Nothing I ever want wins anyways. Haha! How many times is Roger Deakins going to get nominated without a win and look how long it took for the great Martin Scorsese to win Best Director. The Departed is a really good film, but Taxi Driver, Goodfellas, Raging Bull... You see what I mean. Here I go:

  1. 12 Years a Slave
  2. Gravity
  3. Saving Mr. Banks
  4. The Wolf of Wall Street
  5. Inside Llewyn Davis
  6. Captain Phillips
  7. Nebraska
  8. Her
  9. American Hustle
  10. All Is Lost
  • Fruitvale Station
  • Lee Daniels' The Butler
  • Dallas Buyers Club
  • Blue Jasmine
I think there will be 9 nominees and I feel that Fruitvale Station might be the tenth film to sneak in, but I am not betting on that just yet. Great first movie from Ryan Coogler. The Academy will be hesitant to award the brutally honest, expertly well crafted 12 Years a Slave and Gravity might be too much "tech-i-ness" for them. Saving Mr. Banks might be the default choice this year and Scorsese's The Wolf of Wall Street is getting rave reviews, but probably has too much drugs, sex, vulgarity and unlikeable characters for the Academy go for. I say, based on recent history, that Saving Mr. Banks or Captain Phillips might have a good shot at winning it all. I really hope All Is Lost gets in. It totally deserves it, as well as Inside Llewyn Davis, but that will be too arty for the Academy to get a win. Do not forget, Her is surging in the critics circles, so I think it will sneak in. That is good news.

  1. Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave
  2. Alfonso Cuarón, Gravity
  3. Martin Scorsese, The Wolf of Wall Street
  4. Joel & Ethan Coen, Inside Llewyn Davis
  5. Spike Jonze, Her
  • Paul Greengrass, Captain Phillips
  • Alexander Payne, Nebraska
  • J.C. Chandor, All Is Lost
  • John Lee Hancock, Saving Mr. Banks
  • Ryan Coogler, Fruitvale Station
I feel that McQueen and Cuarón are easy, definitive locks. Scorsese most likely is a lock as well, but it depends on how his film is received. I want the Coen's and Jonze in the top five and I think they will be, but Payne, whose film is truly admired already, could easily take a spot away from the Coen's or Jonze. Matter a fact, Payne probably will inch his way into the top five within a month or so, but I really think Jonze will make it. The film looks amazing and is getting stellar reviews. Payne's film might be more Oscar friendly and give him the edge. Also, watch out for Hancock and Greengrass to possibly steal a spot away as well. 

  1. Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave
  2. Robert Redford, All Is Lost
  3. Bruce Dern, Nebraska
  4. Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club
  5. Tom Hanks, Captain Phillips
  • Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street
  • Forest Whitaker, Lee Dainels' The Butler
  • Oscar Isaac, Inside Llewyn Davis
  • Joaquin Phoenix, Her
  • Mcahel B. Jordan, Fruitvale Station
The top four here are set and have been for some time. It could go either way with Hanks and DiCaprio, even though the Academy loves Hanks and just sorta appreciates the guts and balls of DiCaprio. Safe bet is Hanks. Would love to see Isaac or Joaquin Phoenix for Her get in, but those films are too different and challenging for the Academy to be slam dunks. Watch out for Jordan, as he might just sneak his way into the field. That film will make some buzz come Oscar time...I think.

  1. Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
  2. Emma Thompson, Saving Mr. Banks
  3. Judi Dench, Philomena
  4. Sandra Bullock, Gravity
  5. Brie Larson, Short Term 12
  • Meryl Streep, August: Osage County
  • Amy Adams, American Hustle
  • Adèle Exarchopoulos, Blue is the Warmest Color
  • Bérénice Bejo, The Past
As with the Best Actor race, I feel the top four are locks no matter what. That last spot is up for grabs though. I think, as the Academy always likes to put a fresh, new face in the mix of legends and great actresses, Brie Larson will get that fifth spot for her work in Short Term 12. If not her, it could easily be Streep (they adore her) or Amy Adams. If not those three, I really hope the Academy opens up and gets Exarhopoulos or Bejo in the mix. Both of there performances have been widely appreciated and they are easily in the top five this year. The Academy just is not always foreign friendly.

  1. Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club
  2. Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave
  3. Jonah Hill, The Wolf of Wall Street
  4. Tom Hanks, Saving Mr. Banks
  5. Barkhad Abdi, Captain Phillips
  • Will Forte, Nebraska
  • James Gandolfini, Enough Said
  • Jake Gyllenhaal, Prisoners
  • Daniel Brühl, Rush
I think Leto has this one wrapped up. At least I hope so. He is phenomenal in that film. Fassbender and Hill should be locks and Hanks is most likely as well. I believe Abdi should easily be in there, but can Forte or Gandolfini take the last spot... I think Forte has a good shot, the fact being they like Payne and really like Nebraska.

  1. Lupita Nyong'o, 12 Years a Slave
  2. June Squibb, Nebraska
  3. Oprah Winfrey, Lee Daniels' The Butler
  4. Octavia Spencer, Fruitvale Station
  5. Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle
  • Margo Martindale, August: Osage County
  • Julia Roberts, August: Osage County
  • Sally Hawkins, Blue Jasmine
  • Scarlett Johansson, Her
I think this is pretty much set. I hope Nyong'o or Spencer win. They are absolutely amazing in each respective performance. Squibb is getting a lot of critical attention, so she might squeeze out a victory, but the nomination is probably a win in itself. Winfrey will be in the race and Lawrence, supposedly, is on fire in American Hustle.

  1. Joel & Ethan Coen, Inside Llewyn Davis
  2. Woody Allen, Blue Jasmine
  3. Bob Nelson, Nebraska
  4. Kelly Marcel & Sue Smith, Saving Mr. Banks
  5. Spike Jonze, Her
  • Alfonso Cuarón & Jonás Cuarón, Gravity
  • Ryan Coogler, Fruitvale Station
  • Craig Borten & Melisa Wallack, Dallas Buyers Club
  • David O. Russell & Eric Singer, American Hustle
Coen's or Allen. It would be nice if Jonze can get in and I think he will, but who gets left out? The Cuarón's might be edged out.

  1. John Ridley, 12 Years a Slave
  2. Terence Winter, The Wolf of Wall Street
  3. Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy & Ethan Hawke, Before Midnight
  4. Billy Ray, Captain Phillips
  5. Steve Coogan & Jeff Pope, Philomena
  • Tracy Letts, August: Osage County
  • Abdellatif Kechiche & Ghalia Lacroix, Blue is the Warmest Color
  • Michael Petroni, The Book Thief
  • Peter Berg, Lone Survivor
I really would love to see the Before Midnight writers win this, but it will probably be either Ridley or Winter. Respect that.

  1. Emmanuel Lubezki, Gravity
  2. Bruno Delbonnel, Inside Llewyn Davis
  3. Sean Bobbitt, 12 Years a Slave
  4. Barry Ackroyd, Captain Phillips
  5. Roger Deakins, Prisoners
  • Frank G. DeMarco, All Is Lost
  • Anthony Dod Mantle, Rush
  • Phedon Papamichael, Nebraska
  • Rodrigo Prieto, The Wolf of Wall Street
A packed field. You could have ten nominations in this category and still leave five DP's out that easily should be in the top five. Is this Lubezki or Deakins year? I feel that Lubezki's work cannot go without a win. Creating new technology with Cuarón and his work is just unbelievably fantastic on Gravity. He and Deakins are the best. I just feel it is his year and poor Roger Deakins. Damn good cinematographer. I hope DeMarco gets in because his work on All Is Lost is truly phenomenal. Delbonnel might take the win though. His work with Coen's on Inside Llewyn Davis is pretty damn brilliant. Not to forget Hoyte Van Hoytema on Her, as well. My favorite category of the awards show. The best.

  1. Thelma Schoonmaker, The Wolf of Wall Street
  2. Alfonso Cuarón & Mark Sanger, Gravity
  3. Joe Walker, 12 Years a Slave
  4. Roderick Jaynes (Joel & Ethan Coen), Inside Llewyn Davis
  5. Pete Beaudreau, All Is Lost
  • Christopher Rouse, Captain Phillips
  • Kevin Tent, Nebraska
  • Mark Livolsi, Saving Mr. Banks
  • Alan Baumgarten, Jay Cassidy & Crispin Struthers, American Hustle
This is always an interesting and highly important category. Editors help shape the film. Schoonmaker is a legend and her work with Scorsese speaks for itself. She is the favorite, but watch out for Gravity, Inside LLewyn Davis and 12 Years a Slave. Beaudreau deserves a nomination for his amazing work on All Is Lost

  1. Stories We Tell
  2. The Act of Killing
  3. 20 Feet from Stardom
  4. Blackfish
  5. The Square
  • Cutie and the Boxer
  • Tim's Vermeer
  • The Armstrong Lie
  • After Tiller
I think it is between Sarah Polley's Stories We Tell and Joshua Oppenheimer's groundbreaking, if not extremely stretched out The Act of Killing

  1. Wadjda   (Saudi Arabia)
  2. Gloria   (Chile)
  3. The Hunt   (Denmark)
  4. The Past   (Iran)
  5. The Great Beauty   (Italy)
  • The Broken Circle Breakdown   (Belgium)
  • Bethlehem   (Israel)
  • Gabrielle   (Canada)
  • Omar   (Palestine)
I think this is how this category will pan out, but The Broken Circle Breakdown could easily be in the top five and any of those I predicted could be out. This is a tough category to pick and I do think the Belgium film will end up in the top five, but who gets left out. Too many stupid, ridiculous regulations with this category. If one country has ten great films in one year, they should all be eligible. Blue is the Warmest Color...???

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