Sunday, March 2, 2014
2014 Oscar Predictions
Tonight's the big night, and I have mixed feelings about Ellen DeGeneres hosting, but I'm glad it's not Billy Crystal....again. I'll stick to the big categories, because I didn't get a chance to see the foreign language nominees, the animated film nominees, or the best short nominees. Also, I'll skip over screenplay awards this year, because this post will turn into one giant word fart, if I don't. And I'll try to post some reviews for the Best Picture nominees in the future. There's only so much time in one day! Let's get to it.
• "American Hustle"
• "Captain Phillips"
• "Dallas Buyers Club"
• "12 Years a Slave"
• "The Wolf of Wall Street"
The winner could go either way this year, because there's no clear cut favorite. American Hustle is riding a massive (and undeserved) hype train, so a win wouldn't shock me. Personally, I loved the movie, but The Wolf Of Wall Street has no chance in hell. The Academy's going to see a raunchy film with too much gratuitous nudity, and they're too PC to hand over a Best Picture award to TWOWS.
Nebraska is a longshot, but I'm going with Her. It's a moving, sweet, and sentimental love story about a man (Joaquin Phoenix's Theodore) trying to find some peace and happiness in his life, and Her is loaded with underlying messages. The unnatural obsession and reliance for favoring technology over human relationships (i.e. think about the scene towards the end with Theodore panicking during Samantha's brief disappearance), facing the despondent reality of fulfilling all your hopes, goals, and dreams before you're time is up, and taking chances before it's too late.
Her is phenomenal, and an easy 10/10 pick, but 12 Years Of A Slave, Gravity, and other nominees provide some tough competition, and you have to overcome the love fest for American Hustle.
• David O. Russell, "American Hustle"
• Alfonso Cuaron, "Gravity"
• Alexander Payne, "Nebraska"
• Steve McQueen, "12 Years a Slave"
• Martin Scorsese, "The Wolf of Wall Street"
Alfonso Cuaron all the way.
Without a theater or an IMAX screen, Gravity loses some points in the "wow factor" department. Still, Gravity is a technical and suspenseful masterpiece, with the eerie and chilling backdrop of outer space. Steve McQueen is a close number two, with Scorsese as a real longshot at number three.
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"
Robert Redford for All Is Lost is an obvious snub, and Christian Bale shouldn't be in here. Joaquin Phoenix is more deserving of a spot for Her. I'm not trying to bash Bale, because he's one of my favorite actors. But his performance in American Hustle doesn't fit into the top three for his career on my list (in no particular order, American Psycho, The Fighter, The Machinist), and it's not even close. On top of that, you can say Bale was upstaged by Amy Adams and Jennifer Lawrence in American Hustle, AND his performance in Out Of The Furnace last year was much better.
My money is on Matthew McConaughey. I'm a HUGE Leonardo DicCaprio fan, but McConaughey's performance is masterful. McConaughey's ability to make the transition from this hateful, homophobic, and stubborn redneck to the determined businessman with a chip on his shoulder, and a new found sense of motivation is remarkable.
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"
It's a two horse race between Blanchett and Streep for me. Streep delivers another powerhouse performance in Osage County, but she's surrounded by a good supporting cast, so the extra support could hurt her chances tonight.
I'm going with Blanchett. Sally Hawkins is no scrub, and you can say the same thing about Alec Baldwin, but Blanchett is head and shoulders above everyone else with no real competition. On top of that, Blanchett is the MAIN reason why Blue Jasmine is a memorable romantic comedy. On the other hand, there's a good chance we'll all forget about August: Osage County this time next year, because you can make an argument for pure Oscar bait.
Although, you have to consider Sandra Bullock as a dark horse. Clooney disappears after a while, and Bullock carries everything in the leading role with no real help until the very end.
• Barkhad Abdi, "Captain Phillips"
• Bradley Cooper, "American Hustle"
• , "12 Years a Slave"
• Jonah Hill, "The Wolf of Wall Street"
• Jared Leto, "The Dallas Buyers Club"
Captain Phillips is a bit overrated in my book, but Abdi's performance is one of the major highlights in the movie. Still, I'm going with Michael Fassbender. He's genuinely evil, menacing, and despicable as Edwin Epps, and Fassbender's performance is capable of pulling legit feelings of anger out of you.
Jared Leto is a close second. The scene towards the end, where Rayon breaks into tears because he's afraid to "die" is a genuine heartbreaking moment, and Leto shared some excellent chemistry with Mconaughey.
Best Supporting Actress
• Sally Hawkins, "Blue Jasmine"
• Jennifer Lawrence, "American Hustle"
• Lupita Nyong'o, "12 Years a Slave"
• Julia Roberts, "August: Osage County"
• June Squibb, "Nebraska"
June Squibb is hilarious in Nebraska, and a Julia Roberts win wouldn't bother me too much, but it's antoher tight race between Lupita Nyong'o and Jennifer Lawrence. I have a strong feeling Lawrence will walk away with the gold here, but Nyong'o is my pick.
With more screen time and focus on her character, you can make an argument for Nyong'o delveinrg the best performance (think about the scene with Patsey pleading her case for the bar of soap towards the end) in 12 Years A Slave. Nyong'o is stand out star in 12 Years A Slave, and it's impressive feat, when you consider the overall quality of the cast (including Sarah Paulson, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Paul Dano).