2014 Oscar Predictions

Our predictions will follow this overview of the 2014 Oscar nominations. “Gravity” is gonna get most of the awards this year, and I won’t dwell on it except to say I love going to the circus. The lion tamer (George Clooney) is always entertaining, handsome and heroic, but it’s the high wire act of Sandra Bullock that gets the ooos and ahhhs. I go to the circus about once a year and that’s gracious plenty. There’s nothing complicated or interesting about the circus, but it’s damned fun and the kid will love it.

The Academy’s nominations included no outstanding film for 2013. “American Hustle” had the best plotline and could’ve been called “Argot Part II” for its pressure cooker pacing and 1970s depiction of government conspiracy. Christian Bale is always good and Amy Adams will continue to impress with more than her breasts, tho she uses them ably to communicate both innocence and sexual prowess. “Dallas Buyers Club” endeared us to a Texas cowboy whose epiphanies were genuine and had nothing to do with politics for a change. Matthew McConaughey lost 45 lbs for his part, and his acting, with both sensitivity and redneckness, makes him a shoein for Best Actor this year. “Her” was the only film to break any barriers in this year’s line-up what with the tender depiction of a sexbot’s cavorting and lustful diabolicism. Spike Jonze’s idea of the next generation’s online dating scene seems not just feasible but inevitable. As far as the Academy’s nod toward the independent scene, they fall short again. I’d ask the academy to stop patting themselves on the back for pawning off their idea of an indy film – “Nebraska” was a B-movie masquerading as indy, sincere and funny as it was. “Captain Phillips” was nominated, of course, because of Tom Hanks and because pirates are interesting. Our modern day Jimmy Stewart does not make a bad movie. Finally, because the academy is mostly actors who started out on stage effecting British accents, the wordy and entertaining Philomena comes in strong. Is it possible to go a year without nominating Judi Dench or Meryl Streep for an award?

Now let’s talk about the Best Picture award. Many pundits suggest the academy’s split decision for Best Picture could result in the inferior “12 Years a Slave” as winner, a movie tackling our country’s biggest stain that is slavery. It won’t win. The gratuitous violence and endless flogging in “12 Years a Slave” disqualifies this biopic for the same reason that “The Wolf of Wall Street” should be dismissed outright because of its gratuitous depiction of indulgent sex, drugs and greed. They’re unbalanced films. Perhaps there’s no balance because the subjects are appalling and the good in slavery and the good in criminal capitalism are not worthy of positive depiction. But I appreciate that Scorsese’s “The Wolf of Wall Street” did, at least, tease the viewer into seeing the evil protagonist something of a role model. Surely nobody thinks huffing coke off the tanned asses of hookers is something to celebrate – or wrecking Lamborghinis, surviving yacht wrecks and finding redemption on the tennis courts of white collar jails are things we should aspire toward? Oh, I see what Scorsese did there … very clever, Martin. But the subject of American slavery allows for no such indulgences. Not after movies like “Gone With The Wind” stupidly celebrated slavery’s beneficiaries without portraying slavery’s horrors. “12 Years a Slave” is not interesting precisely because there is no attempt to depict the  enemy within us all – human indulgence in repressing others. Slavery shown as pure evil is morally correct but factually flawed. We must entertain that all of us have potential to be slave masters. Think “Shindler’s List”.

But the bigger problem with “12 Years a Slave” was that nobody liked the film but for the brilliant portrayal of pure evil and its consequences by the master actor Michael Fassbender.

But even the expert acting of Michael Fassbender and the black slave he flogs, portrayed by Lupita Nyong’o, won’t make us like the movie. Gravity wins.

 Best Motion Picture of the Year
Nominees:
American Hustle (2013)
Captain Phillips (2013)
Dallas Buyers Club (2013)
Gravity (2013)
Her (2013)
Nebraska (2013)
Philomena (2013)
12 Years a Slave (2013)
The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

BLOTTER’s pick: American Hustle
Hollywood Academy pick: Gravity

 

 Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role
Nominees:
Christian Bale for American Hustle (2013)
Bruce Dern for Nebraska (2013)
Leonardo DiCaprio for The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
Chiwetel Ejiofor for 12 Years a Slave (2013)
Matthew McConaughey for Dallas Buyers Club (2013)

BLOTTER’s pick: Matthew McConaughey
Hollywood Academy pick: Matthew McConaughey

 

 Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role
Nominees:
Amy Adams for American Hustle (2013)
Cate Blanchett for Blue Jasmine (2013)
Sandra Bullock for Gravity (2013)
Judi Dench for Philomena (2013)
Meryl Streep for August: Osage County (2013)

BLOTTER’s pick: Amy Adams
Hollywood Academy pick: Cate Blanchett

 

 Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role
Nominees:
Barkhad Abdi for Captain Phillips (2013)
Bradley Cooper for American Hustle (2013)
Jonah Hill for The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
Michael Fassbender for 12 Years a Slave (2013)
Jared Leto for Dallas Buyers Club (2013)

BLOTTER’s pick: Michael Fassbender
Hollywood Academy pick: Jared Leto

 

 Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role
Nominees:
Sally Hawkins for Blue Jasmine (2013)
Julia Roberts for August: Osage County (2013)
Lupita Nyong’o for 12 Years a Slave (2013)
Jennifer Lawrence for American Hustle (2013)
June Squibb for Nebraska (2013)

BLOTTER’s pick: Jennifer Lawrence
Hollywood Academy pick: Lupita Nyong’o

 

 Achievement in Directing
Nominees:
Alfonso Cuarón for Gravity (2013)
Steve McQueen for 12 Years a Slave (2013)
David O. Russell for American Hustle (2013)
Martin Scorsese for The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
Alexander Payne for Nebraska (2013)

BLOTTER’s pick: Alfonso Cuarón
Hollywood Academy pick: Alfonso Cuarón

 

 Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen
Nominees:
American Hustle (2013): Eric Warren Singer, David O. Russell
Blue Jasmine (2013): Woody Allen
Her (2013): Spike Jonze
Nebraska (2013): Bob Nelson
Dallas Buyers Club (2013): Craig Borten, Melisa Wallack

BLOTTER’s pick: Her
Hollywood Academy pick: Her

 

 Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published
Nominees:
Before Midnight (2013): Richard Linklater
Captain Phillips (2013): Billy Ray
12 Years a Slave (2013): John Ridley
The Wolf of Wall Street (2013): Terence Winter
Philomena (2013): Steve Coogan, Jeff Pope

BLOTTER’s pick: The Wolf of Wall Street
Hollywood Academy pick: 12 Years a Slave

 

 Animated Feature Film of the Year
Nominees:
The Croods (2013)
Despicable Me 2 (2013)
Ernest & Célestine (2012)
Frozen (2013)
The Wind Rises (2013)

BLOTTER’s pick: Frozen
Hollywood Academy pick: Frozen

 

 Foreign Language Film of the Year
Nominees:
The Broken Circle Breakdown (2012): Felix Van Groeningen(Belgium)
The Missing Picture (2013): Rithy Panh(Cambodia)
The Hunt (2012): Thomas Vinterberg(Denmark)
The Great Beauty (2013): Paolo Sorrentino(Italy)
Omar (2013): Hany Abu-Assad(Palestine)

BLOTTER’s pick: The Hunt
Hollywood Academy pick: The Hunt

 

 Achievement in Cinematography
Nominees:
Gravity (2013): Emmanuel Lubezki
Inside Llewyn Davis (2013): Bruno Delbonnel
Nebraska (2013): Phedon Papamichael
Prisoners (2013): Roger Deakins
The Grandmaster (2013): Philippe Le Sourd

BLOTTER’s pick: Gravity
Hollywood Academy pick: Gravity

 

 Achievement in Editing
Nominees:
12 Years a Slave (2013): Joe Walker
American Hustle (2013): Alan Baumgarten, Jay Cassidy, Crispin Struthers
Gravity (2013): Alfonso Cuarón, Mark Sanger
Captain Phillips (2013): Christopher Rouse
Dallas Buyers Club (2013): Martin Pensa, John Mac McMurphy

BLOTTER’s pick: Gravity
Hollywood Academy pick: Gravity

 

 Achievement in Production Design
Nominees:
12 Years a Slave (2013): Adam Stockhausen, Alice Baker
American Hustle (2013): Judy Becker, Heather Loeffler
Gravity (2013)
The Great Gatsby (2013): Catherine Martin, Beverley Dunn
Her (2013): K.K. Barrett, Gene Serdena

BLOTTER’s pick: The Great Gatsby
Hollywood Academy pick: The Great Gatsby

 

 Achievement in Costume Design
Nominees:
American Hustle (2013): Michael Wilkinson
The Great Gatsby (2013): Catherine Martin
12 Years a Slave (2013): Patricia Norris
The Grandmaster (2013): William Chang
The Invisible Woman (2013): Michael O’Connor

BLOTTER’s pick: American Hustle
Hollywood Academy pick: 12 Years a Slave

 

 Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling
Nominees:
Dallas Buyers Club (2013): Adruitha Lee, Robin Mathews
Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa (2013): Steve Prouty
The Lone Ranger (2013): Joel Harlow, Gloria Pasqua Casny

BLOTTER’s pick: Dallas Buyers Club
Hollywood Academy pick: Dallas Buyers Club

 

 Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score
Nominees:
The Book Thief (2013): John Williams
Gravity (2013): Steven Price
Her (2013): William Butler, Andy Koyama
Saving Mr. Banks (2013): Thomas Newman
Philomena (2013): Alexandre Desplat

BLOTTER’s pick: Her
Hollywood Academy pick: Gravity

 

 Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song
Nominees:
Despicable Me 2 (2013): Pharrell Williams(     “Happy”)
Frozen (2013): Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Robert Lopez(“Let It Go”)
Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom (2013): Bono, Adam Clayton, The Edge, Larry Mullen Jr., Brian Burton(“Ordinary Love”)
Her (2013): Karen O(“The Moon Song”)

BLOTTER’s pick: Frozen
Hollywood Academy pick: Frozen

 

 Achievement in Sound Mixing
Nominees:
Gravity (2013): Skip Lievsay, Niv Adiri, Christopher Benstead, Chris Munro
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013): Christopher Boyes, Michael Hedges, Michael Semanick, Tony Johnson
Captain Phillips (2013): Chris Burdon, Mark Taylor, Mike Prestwood Smith, Chris Munro
Inside Llewyn Davis (2013): Skip Lievsay, Greg Orloff, Peter F. Kurland
Lone Survivor (2013): Andy Koyama, Beau Borders, David Brownlow

BLOTTER’s pick: Gravity
Hollywood Academy pick: Gravity

 

 Achievement in Sound Editing
Nominees:
All Is Lost (2013): Steve Boeddeker, Richard Hymns
Captain Phillips (2013): Oliver Tarney
Gravity (2013): Glenn Freemantle
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013): Brent Burge
Lone Survivor (2013): Wylie Stateman

BLOTTER’s pick: Gravity
Hollywood Academy pick: Gravity

 

 Achievement in Visual Effects
Nominees:
Gravity (2013): Timothy Webber, Chris Lawrence, David Shirk, Neil Corbould
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013): Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton, Eric Reynolds
Iron Man 3 (2013): Christopher Townsend, Guy Williams, Erik Nash, Daniel Sudick
The Lone Ranger (2013): Tim Alexander, Gary Brozenich, Edson Williams, John Frazier
Star Trek Into Darkness (2013): Roger Guyett, Pat Tubach, Ben Grossmann, Burt Dalton

BLOTTER’s pick: Gravity
Hollywood Academy pick: Gravity


Documentary, Feature
Nominees:
The Act of Killing (2012): Joshua Oppenheimer, Signe Byrge Sørensen
Cutie and the Boxer (2013): Zachary Heinzerling, Lydia Dean Pilcher
Dirty Wars (2013): Rick Rowley, Jeremy Scahill
The Square (2013): Jehane Noujaim, Karim Amer
20 Feet from Stardom (2013): Morgan Neville

BLOTTER’s pick: 20 Feet from Stardom
Hollywood Academy pick: 20 Feet from Stardom

 

 Documentary, Short Subject
Nominees:
Cavedigger (2013): Jeffrey Karoff
Facing Fear (2013): Jason Cohen
Karama Has No Walls (2012): Sara Ishaq
The Lady In Number 6 (2013): Malcolm Clarke, Carl Freed
Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall (2013): Edgar Barens

BLOTTER’s pick:  The Lady in Number 6
Hollywood Academy pick: The Lady in Number 6

 

 Short Film, Animated
Nominees:
Feral (2012): Daniel Sousa, Dan Golden
Get a Horse! (2013): Lauren MacMullan, Dorothy McKim
Mr Hublot (2013): Laurent Witz, Alexandre Espigares
Possessions (2012): Shuhei Morita
Room on the Broom (2012) (TV): Max Lang, Jan Lachauer

BLOTTER’s pick: Possessions
Hollywood Academy pick: Get a Horse!

 

 Short Film, Live Action
Nominees:
That Wasn’t Me (2012): Esteban Crespo
Just Before Losing Everything (2013): Xavier Legrand
Helium (2013/II): Anders Walter
Do I Have to Take Care of Everything? (2012): Selma Vilhunen
The Voorman Problem (2012): Mark Gill

BLOTTER’s pick: Just Before Losing Everything
Hollywood Academy pick: That Wasn’t Me

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