Tuesday, November 26, 2013

November Oscar Predictions: or, my last blind predictions of the year!


So, next month shit gets real.  December will bring the real awards of the season, with critics announcing their picks every day of the week for about eight weeks, with the Globes and the BFCA announcing their nominees before the month’s end.  Predictions will really start to shape up, the races will start to get clearer and contenders we are taking for granted are going to start to emerge. 

Egos will get stroked, backtracking will be had by prognosticators who don’t want to be seen as championing a dud and FYC’s will be insane.


So let’s explore the contenders a little more this month.  It’s the last chance we’re going to have to blind predict, because once the critics start narrowing down the pool, things are going to get a lot more predictable.  Sure, there may always be those Jackie Weaver surprises on nomination morning, but in a few weeks we’re going to find out Daniel Day-Lewis and our Ang Lee and hopefully we’ll get another Ben Affleck (the prospect of this being Oprah has me all sorts of giddy with excitement).  There are obvious pros and cons to so many of the potentials and some are looking stronger with each passing day (Squibb), while others are gaining steam as a darkhorse potential (Hawkins) and still others have fallen off completely (Diaz).  Didn’t mean to concentrate solely on Supporting Actress, but it is one of the more interesting races this year.

But we’ll get to that in a bit.


BEST PICTURE

I think we can all agree that 12 Years a Slave and Gravity are about as locked up as you can get for this category (and many others).  At the end of the day, unless American Hustle turns out to be the movie of the year, the battle will come down to the two of these films for the win.  Most everything else has been seen, evaluated and don’t really pose a threat to the gold.  Her could surprise, but subject matter will most likely hold it back from being completely embraced by AMPAS, despite the ‘masterpiece’ level reviews it’s been getting.

The film needs to get nominated first, and I’m not sure it’s happening.

The questionmarks we have here include The Wolf of Wall Street, American Hustle and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.  There have been a few screenings, but not much has been said about the films (no formal reviews yet) and while tweets have surfaced for American Hustle, you can’t really read too far into those.  The Wolf of Wall Street isn’t even finished yet, but the studio gave it a release date and even submitted a category for the Globes (it’s going ‘Comedy/Musical’) so they have faith it’s going to be finished on time.  I’ve had more faith than most in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, based solely on my gut instinct that it’s going to be a HUGE holiday hit and is going to rake in the money, and sometimes in an expanded field, you make room for something like that.

The year also brought us some early contenders that made a big splash with some of the festivals and garnered reviews that have kept them in the conversation.  Fruitvale Station continues to be speculated as Harvey Weinstein’s main pony in this Oscar race, and we all know what that means (PIMPED OUT) and usually he gets what he wants.  Woody Allen remains relevant with Blue Jasmine, which has at least one nomination (and possible win) locked up and Before Midnight, while seemingly dead at the moment, has rabid fans and passion gets you #1 placement.  I’m not even going to entertain the idea that Mud has a chance.  That’s just reaching people.  Let’s be realistic here.

Then there is AMPAS catnip lurking around every corner.  Nebraska got a somewhat tepid response out of Cannes, despite winning an award for Dern, but recent reviews have been quite good, and Dern and company are really desperate for Oscar attention.  It is also Payne, who has had success from Oscar in the past, and it is shooting to the right demographic for nominations.  Lee Daniels’ The Butler (do I have to call it that?) didn’t get universal praise, but it got enough to be a contender despite my reservations, and it has Oprah, who is bound to campaign like CRAZY.  I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if she reboots her talk show just for awards season so that she has the world’s attention and can talk about her Oscar chances.  The film is also showing up everywhere, and Whitaker is having a great year and is campaigning.  There are some people who really love this, and Oscar does like to nominate stuff like this often.  Saving Mr. Banks is about Walt Disney (sort of) and is already getting nice ink.  Some are even calling it the darkhorse for the actual Oscar here.  I’ve been heavy on its chances for a while.  It just makes a lot of sense.  And then you have Philomena, which has become that surprise threat and may actually be a bigger pull for Weinstein, especially since he has a shot at getting an actual win out of it (Dench).

Some of the assumed heavy hitters this year flailed (Rush, August: Osage County) and some came on really strong (Captain Phillips) and still others rested somewhere in the middle and leave one wondering where it could go (All is Lost, Dallas Buyers Club).

But for me, two of the biggest questionmarks are Blue is the Warmest Color and Inside Llewyn Davis.  Their reception right out of Cannes was really strong, but they do have some serious hurdles in the Oscar game.  Inside Llewyn Davis is a Coen Brothers film, and they are hot with Oscar right now, but the studio is so small and this feels like one of their lighter contenders that won’t factor in anywhere outside of here and screenplay, and with so many strong contenders making a play here, could it be forgotten or ignored?  Have you heard anything about this movie since Cannes?  Sure, prognosticators bring it up, but anyone else?  On the other hand, EVERYONE is talking about Blue is the Warmest Color.  Sure, they are talking about the fights on the set and the allegations made by the actresses against their director, but talk is talk and when the film has these kind of raves (the best reviews of the year?) it could wind up being a serious contender.  It also has the fact that it could make a play in the acting fields going for it.  Sure, Amour is NOT the rule and so no one should try and compare the two (especially when Amour was far more tailored to Academy taste), but foreign films can break into Oscar’s ballot, and an expanded field couldn’t hurt.

So, where does that leave us?

12 Years a Slave
American Hustle
Captain Phillips
Fruitvale Station
Gravity
Lee Daniels’ The Butler
Nebraska
Philomena
Saving Mr. Banks
The Wolf of Wall Street

Who’s going to win?  Right now I’d place my bets with Gravity, but it’s really a toss-up between the top two contenders and could go either way at this point.

DIRECTOR

Really, it makes no sense to consider directors who are not directing films that are represented in the Best Picture lineup.  I debated last year that the lone director statistic was not dead entirely and that it could come back, and I even used PTA as an example (predicting for a while that he’d make the list while his film, The Master, was snubbed).  Ultimately, Michael Haneke debunked my assumption when he was nominated alongside his film, Amour.  Haneke could have been a lone director nominee (and for a split second I thought he was about to prove my theory that everyone else seemed to call me crazy about) and yet, he didn’t. 

Seriously though, if anyone is going to get a lone director nomination this year, it’ll be someone like Kechiche.

But, for the sake of these predictions I’m just going to throw that out the window and discuss the ten directors who I predict are carrying their films to Best Picture.

Coogler, Cuaron, Daniels, Frears, Greengrass, Hancock, McQueen, Payne, Russell, Scorsese.

Of the films in this mix, three of them belong to Harvey Weinstein, and I have a feeling that he’ll at least get one of them nominated.  I’ve stood by Coogler for most of the year so far, waning slightly here and there, but I’m back to being in his corner.  I honestly cannot see Frears making it in, despite the crowd pleasing aspect of the film and the fact that it is becoming a surprise contender in a lot of categories.  Still, the film doesn’t feel like a top five contender, and you kind of need to be there to get in unless your direction is extremely showy.  I also don’t see The Butler as a top five contender, and while it may wind up being Harvey’s biggest push this year, I see him throwing considerable weight behind Fruitvale Station.  It’s not like any of them have a chance to win here.

Then you have previous nominees like Greengrass, Payne, Russell and Scorsese.  Scorsese is a safe bet considering his track record.  They love him, and he’s hot right now.  He’s not as hot as Russell (who is on the streak of his career), but he’s hot.  Russell is standing in a good position, but so little is really known about his film right now.  They should be pimping him out entirely (he needed Harvey this year), and I’m skeptical a tad about the nature of the film itself.  I really thought this was going to be his year, but with Cuaron and McQueen setting their sights on the actual Oscar, is AMPAS going to be quick to nominate him again when he hasn’t a shot at the gold?

Or does he?

Of these ten, four are newbies and six would be returning.  The two newbies are already out in front (way in front) and there is bound to be at least two returning nominees so I’m pondering where this is going to go.  Could Greengrass, despite BEING the movie in many ways, find himself snubbed?  Does Russell’s hot streak end here?  Will Lee Daniels be the first African American director to get TWO Directing Oscar nominations?

I hope not.

So right now I’m thinking:

Coogler
Cuaron
Greengrass
McQueen
Scorsese

Who’s going to win?  Right now, I’m leaning towards Cuaron.  Gravity is such a director’s movie, and he is a master of his craft.  It could easily go to McQueen if his film ultimately sweeps, but right now I’m thinking that Gravity will appeal more to the masses as a whole and perform a mini sweep at the Oscars.

FILM EDITING

So, we all know that this particular category is notorious for predicting Best Picture, and throwing in a flashy contender here and there.  Even the laziest editing can get a nomination here if it is perceived as a frontrunner in the Best Picture category (The Descendants) and still, a film like Brokeback Mountain gets snubbed.

In other words; your guess is as good as mine.

Still, there are a number of films that look to have a great shot here, whether I agree with them or not.  Gravity, while containing many long tracking shots, was very brisk and filled its 90 minute running time with necessity.  Captain Phillips had almost an hour on Gravity, and yet it never felt that long.  Those sharp edits were crucial to maintaining the tension, and it paid off in spades.  Then you have 12 Years a Slave, which is resting alongside Gravity as the Best Picture frontrunner, and so unless it gets Brokeback treatment (which could happen), I see the film snagging a nomination here as well.

But that’s three out of five, and we still have a slew of films contending for a spot.

What about American HustleThe Wolf of Wall StreetThe Secret Life of Walter Mitty?  All of these films seem probable (American Hustle especially looks flashy) and yet they also have clear detractors.  And then you have Rush, which doesn’t look like much of a contender in other categories and yet, the editing is the film’s most lauded aspect.  And I’m still debating Fruitvale Station, which truly deserves one (so streamlined, so focused) and could squeeze in here if Harvey pushes it heavily and some of the year end contenders fail to ignite with AMPAS.

So, for now:

12 Years a Slave
Captain Phillips
Gravity
Rush
The Wolf of Wall Street

Who will win?  I don’t really know here.  I could see Gravity winning in a sweep, and yet I’m thinking that Captain Phillips could find its only win here.  For now, I’m going with Gravity, but that could change.

SCREENPLAY

So, pretty much, unless you’re a film by James Cameron or Darren Aronofsky, if you are a Best Picture nominee then your screenplay is getting a nomination.  It doesn’t look like either of them has a film in contention this year, so are we looking at 10/10 this year?  In all honesty, based off the ten films that I have predicted, this could very well be an even split and our ballots could look like this:

Adapted
12 Years a Slave
Captain Phillips
Lee Daniels’ The Butler
Philomena
The Wolf of Wall Street

Original
American Hustle
Fruitvale Station
Gravity
Nebraska
Saving Mr. Banks

I don’t think this is happening, or at least I hope not.  That being said, I think that this is pretty close to happening.  In fact, the only film I have a hard time seeing being much of a threat here is Gravity, despite being the Best Picture frontrunner at the moment.  The script is far too simple and is honesty the easiest target for the naysayers.  The rest of the nominees look like the type of films that would need to score here in order to snag a Best Picture nomination, so snubbing any of them seems off (despite the fact that I really don’t want to get on this Nebraska bandwagon).  That leaves one spot open for Blue Jasmine, Her or Inside Llewyn Davis.  There was a point during the year when I would have considered all three of them strong contenders and now they are all fighting for a filler nomination.

My gut tells me that Her is most likely here, but my head is telling me that both the Coens and Woody have a better shot all around.

DECISIONS!

With Adapted Screenplay, it’s a little easier since all five contenders in Best Picture seem likely.  The only one I contest ATM is The Butler, and that’s mostly because I really see it as a fringe contender at best and don’t want to admit that it is going to do better than I think it will.  If I take it out, that leaves one space for Before Midnight or Blue is the Warmest Color.

Again, I’m stumped.

For now, this is what I’m predicting:

ADAPTED
12 Years a Slave
Before Midnight
Captain Phillips
Philomena
The Wolf of Wall Street

ORIGINAL
American Hustle
Fruitvale Station
Her
Nebraska
Saving Mr. Banks

Who will win?  Right now, I think it’s safe to say that 12 Years a Slave has the Adapted Oscar in the bag.  Original is harder to judge.  If American Hustle goes over well, this could be where they reward it, but I really think that Fruitvale Station could prevail here as well, since this is the only category where it could have a smidgen of a chance at winning.  Then again, I could even see Her winning, even without the Best Picture nomination.  For now, I’ll go with Fruitvale Station, but I do agree that a lot of that is bias and wishful thinking.

SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Well, all I know is that Cameron Diaz isn’t happening.  How funny would it be if she pulled a Nicole Kidman/Paperboy scenario and started getting nominated left and right only to wind up Oscar snubbed.  Apparently, the performance is just trashy enough, and despite the film’s dismal reception, people are still anticipating possible Globe love for the actress, sine the Globes have loved her plenty before.

Speaking of The Globes, another perennial favorite could wind up double nominated, and that is Scarlett Johansson, who is winning raves for her vocal performance in Her (as well as a win in Rome) as well as great ink for her sassy performance in Don Jon.  I expect her to snag at least one nomination from the Globes, but I’m not sure for which (I tend to lean towards Don Jon).  With that said, Her seems to be the performance that could garner her an Oscar nomination, and that would be epic for more that on reason.  First, she’s Scarlett Johansson and it’s about time she gets an Oscar nomination, but secondly, it would be the first time a vocal performance was ever nominated for an Oscar.

Please make this happen.

Harvey Weinstein has his fair share of contenders in this category.  In fact, they are coming out of the woodwork.  August: Osage County has Julia Roberts and Margo Martindale vying for a spot.  Category confusion could fuck Roberts, but if Roberts succeeds in being campaigned in Supporting, it’ll fuck Martindale.  They aren’t both getting in for a film that no one likes.  Harvey also has Octavia Spencer, who has been sitting pretty on the buzz she generated at Sundance.  I didn’t particularly care for her myself (Diaz was so much better in the same film), but the whole ‘suffering mother’ character has often done very well with Oscar.  His biggest horse though, is obviously Oprah.  Not only is she the biggest lock in this category for the nomination, she’s also staring down that Oscar win with all the powers of the heavens.

But he can’t monopolize this entire category, can he?

American Hustle could surprise as a double nominee here, if the reviews are strong and they demote Adams.  Lawrence looks stellar, but could it be too soon for her to return to Oscar’s ballot?

And then we have a handful of newbies all experiencing some great notices.  First, I think we can all write Lupita Nyong’o’s name onto our prediction ballot, since right below Oprah, she’s the only real lock.  Her reviews are too strong and her character too sympathetic (and her film too lauded) for her to miss here.  Her co-star, Sarah Paulson, is also having a great year, and love for the film could spill over into a nomination for her as well.  Sally Hawkins stars alongside the Lead Actress frontrunner, Cate Blanchett, and really colors the film so beautifully.  She could ride Blanchett’s coattails to a nomination herself, if the film sparks frenzy with voters.  June Squibb is also experiencing a year to remember, and her foul mouthed wife to the film’s protagonist seems to be everything this category was made for.

And I honestly think we all may be underestimating Lea Seydoux.  I mean, if people are placing Adele Exarchopolous at #1, wouldn’t they be doing the same for Lea, and if that is the case, wouldn’t she be in a great position here as well?

So, at the moment, I’m placing my bets with:

Scarlett Johansson/Her
Lupita Nyong’o/12 Years a Slave
Octavia Spencer/Fruitvale Station
June Squibb/Nebraska
Oprah Winfrey/Lee Daniels’ The Butler

Who will win?  Right now, I’m guessing that Oprah takes home every televised award, but my gut tells me that if Scarlett can get this nomination, she’ll be a MAJOR threat to the actual gold.

SUPPORTING ACTOR

Honestly, the best thing about this category right now is that there are no locks and anyone can be snubbed and really anyone can get nominated.  Even the top tier boys with killer reviews aren’t secure, as one could be seen as too brutal and the other stars in a film that isn’t destined to be a major Oscar player.

So what the hell do we make of this category?

First, let’s take a look at the playing field.  First, you have the pretty boy newbies with startling reviews.  I think that every prognosticator at the moment as Michael Fassbender and Jared Leto in their top two spots.  The reviews, the characters, the unbridled passion for the performances SHOULD be enough to get them nominated.  Honestly, I could see either one snubbed (at this point, since the season really isn’t underway yet), but they are the two safest bets for now.

Next you have a handful of veterans who are vying for attention.  Tom Hanks is playing Walt Disney, Harrison Ford is in some film no one remembers and yet still wants to campaign for himself.  Chris Cooper has the standout male performance in a film all about vagina.  And then we have James Gandolfini, who sadly passed earlier this year, but leaves on a stellar performance that is garnering a lot of love, attention and buzz.

But we’re not through.

We have previously nominated ‘young Hollywood’ shooting to up their nomination tally.  Jonah Hill has the scene stealing role in The Wolf of Wall Street, Jeremy Renner and Bradley Cooper are fighting for their scenes in American Hustle and Jake Gyllenhaal came out of nowhere with his co-lead role in Prisoners.  All of them (sans Renner) have gotten their fair share of buzz, and Gyllenhaal has already picked up an award.

And what about Daniel Bruhl, who reviews were remarkably good, or Barkhad Abdi, who goes toe to toe with Tom Hanks in Captain Phillips (and he’s also campaigning his ass off).  Either one could be a darkhorse threat at this point.  Steve Coogan is also a serious player right now, and if Philomena strikes gold with AMPAS, he’ll ride that train.

I don’t even want to talk about George Clooney right now.

So, for now I’m going to predict:

Barkhad Abdi/Captain Phillips
Michael Fassbender/12 Years a Slave
James Gandolfini/Enough Said
Jonah Hill/The Wolf of Wall Street
Jared Leto/Dallas Buyers Club

Who will win?  Right now, I have a strong feeling that this is going to be Jared Leto’s year.  That character is just dripping with ‘GIVE ME OSCAR’ and I don’t think it’ll be a contest.  The only person I can see taking this outside of Leto would be Gandolfini, and that would be only if the swell of sympathy comes over voters.  He could actually take the SAG, and if he does…watch out.

LEAD ACTOR

This is probably the hardest category to get straight because there are so many STRONG contenders for, not only the nomination, but the win.  In fact, I could see a narrative for a win for five, possibly six different actors, and then there are a slew of performances that are bound to generate critical support and nominations, but ultimately no chance of a win.

Narrowing this down to five actors is really, really hard.

First, I think the only true LOCK for the nomination at this point is Chiwetel Ejiofor.  This makes me extremely happy, since I was down on his chances based solely on how I thought the film would go over, and so I’m really happy that I was wrong about 12 Years a Slave and that Ejiofor is Oscar bound.  He may not win (although he most certainly could) but his nomination shouldn’t be contested. 

After Ejiofor, there are five names that also could form a narrative to a win.  Robert Redford has some of the best reviews of his career, and some of the best of the year in question.  He’s a vet, and a beloved one at that, and his performance is said to be a staggering feat of emotional and physical exhaustion, so that could play well into voters hands.  Bruce Dern is another vet who has a strong narrative to actually win, especially since this may be the last chance he’ll have.  He’s also campaigning his ass off for this.  He wants it really bad.  If he were going Supporting, I’d say that he’d be a lock for the actual win, but here he may struggle to get the nomination.  Then you have the two pretty boys, Matthew McConaughey and Leonardo DiCaprio, both of which are in very baity films this year.  McConaughey has the more typical Oscar gimmick going (weight loss, AIDS, biopic), while DiCaprio has a more relaxed looking film, but the change of pace for him could play in his favor, and the Scorsese factor certainly helps.  It also doesn’t hurt that he’s a three time Oscar nominee who is seen as due by many.  Then you have Joaquin Phoenix.  I honestly think we could all be underestimating him.  I’ve had him flirting with the top five since the trailer broke, and I still have him in my top six.  He is considered one of the greatest actors of his generation, he’s been nominated three times as well, and his tortured genius is the kind of actor who earns boatloads of respect.  It doesn’t hurt that his film is considered a masterpiece.  My only fear is that this will go the way of The Master, garnering respect but little support.

But it doesn’t end there.  There are still a few contenders who I don’t think have a shot at the win, but who I feel have strong chances at a nomination.  Tom Hanks is probably second in line, right behind Ejiofor, when it comes to ‘locked for the nomination’.  His reviews were ecstatic (and wholly justified) and if he had not already won twice, I’d say he’d be a serious threat to the Oscar.  Michael B. Jordan is Harvey’s main horse in this race (despite having Whitaker, who could still happen), and even though his age could work against him, he IS Fruitvale Station, and if the film is embraced as I predict it will be, he has to make it in, right?

This category is so incredibly tight.

Right now, I’m predicting:

Leonardo DiCaprio/The Wolf of Wall Street
Chiwetel Ejiofor/12 Years a Slave
Tom Hanks/Captain Phillips
Michael B. Jordan/Fruitvale Station
Robert Redford/All is Lost

Who will win?  I still think that this looks like DiCaprio’s year, if The Wolf of Wall Street makes a splash with Oscar like I predict it to.  Something could be said for DiCaprio, Ejiofor and Redford, but right now I think that DiCaprio will take it in the end.

LEAD ACTRESS

It’s crazy to me how every truly strong contender here is already an Oscar winner.  I can’t imagine a lineup consisting of sole Oscar winners, and yet how can you not place your bets with Blanchett, Bullock, Dench, Streep and Thompson?  They have the reviews or status or both and they have the buzz that is flooding the forums these days, so looking elsewhere is hard, especially when elsewhere is a long stretch. 

And by long stretch I mean LONG STRETCH.

I mean, who is there?  Julie Delpy’s film had a lot of buzz going in, but it has faded considerably and would need a major boost to be in contention for more than a screenplay nod.  Brie Larson and Greta Gerwig are too indie and Adele Exarchopoulos could be too foreign.  After them, you have Amy Adams, but she isn’t getting standout ink for American Hustle, and that always a bridesmaid, never a bride aspect of her career is starting to get old.

So who do we predict?  Does the polarizing nature of Streep’s performance place her in danger for a snub?  Does the overwhelming ‘overdue’ status placed on Adams make her a frontrunner?  Does the fact that Blanchett is so far out in front make this category prime for a serious shakeup?  Does the fact that Adele has the best reviews on ANYONE this year outweigh the fact that she plays a French lesbian?

Right now, I’m thinking:

Cate Blanchett/Blue Jasmine
Sandra Bullock/Gravity
Judi Dench/Philomena
Adele Exarchopoulos/Blue is the Warmest Color
Emma Thompson/Saving Mr. Banks

Who will win?  Logic says that this will be very hard for Blanchett to lose, and yet I could easily see Bullock pull out in front if Gravity becomes our Best Picture frontrunner.  For now though, I’m staying with my Dench prediction.  It just feels like the right time for her, and if she nabs the BAFTA and the SAG, she’s in the home stretch.

COSTUME DESIGN

Surprisingly, this category seems so bare this year.  I mean, it’s so bare that The Great Gatsby and Oz: The Great and Powerful still look like really safe bets for a nomination, and may even be the two that duke it out for a win.  With so many films either tanking or moving, we may find some room in here for foreign fare (Blancanieves or The Grandmaster) and maybe some smaller films (The Invisible Woman) and what about the contemporary amazingness that is The Bling Ring?

Still, there are some strong contenders in the traditional vein of Oscar.  12 Years a Slave, American Hustle and The Butler seem likely, and Saving Mr. Banks could become one of those sweeping films that gets snatched up in many categories.  The Hobbit is back for another round, but I feel like love for this is waning considering that it feels like so much of the same thing.

And I’m still not sure what to make of The Book Thief.

For now I’m thinking:

12 Years a Slave
American Hustle
Blancanieves
The Great Gatsby
Oz: The Great and Powerful

Who will win?  Right now, I can’t see anything by The Great Gatsby winning here, but I wouldn’t count out American Hustle, if it becomes a contender elsewhere.

CINEMATOGRAPHY

This is one of my favorite categories year after year, not necessarily because of who Oscar embraces (do they ever get it right?) but because of the bounty of riches (shades, textures, diversity) that each year brings us.  This year is no exception.  I haven’t even seen most of what Oscar would consider nominating, and I’m already having a tough time narrowing down my own list. 

The Fisti battle is going to be brutal this year.

While films like To the Wonder and The Bling Ring and Upstream Color and Only God Forgives certainly deserve the attention, Oscar won’t bat an eyelash in their direction, so we’ll have to look elsewhere for prognosticating purposes.

I think it’s pretty safe to say that Gravity is a lock here.  12 Years a Slave might as well be too.  After that though, I could see this going many different ways.  Best Picture contenders like American Hustle, Her, Nebraska, Captain Phillips and The Wolf of Wall Street could all contend, and Nebraska itself has that ‘black and white’ gimmick that Oscar loves.  But other films have been garnering attention for their use of lighting and framing devices.  Prisoners has vet Deakins behind the lens and Rush, despite waning reviews, has been singled out in this particular area.  One should never count out the Coen’s here, and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty looks visually alluring.

Right now I’m thinking:

12 Years a Slave
Captain Phillips
Gravity
Prisoners
Rush

Who will win?  It isn’t even a contest.  Gravity will walk away with this in the one of the easiest wins of the night.

ART DIRECTION

Much like Costumes, there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot to choose from here.  I’m wondering if Gravity and Captain Phillips will unfairly factor in here.  Sometimes I feel like these categories forget what designates real art director (or cinematography for that matter).

Right now I’m predicting:

12 Years a Slave
American Hustle
The Great Gatsby
Saving Mr. Banks
Oz: The Great and Powerful

Who will win?  I’m going with The Great Gatsby for now, but things could change.  It just seems like the showiest entry, and they often like showy.

MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING

This could go so many different ways, and yet this category is so hard to nail down.  It changes all the time and there aren’t enough precursors to get a handle on where the masses are voting.  There are so many choices this year too, depending on how the Academy decides to vote.  And there are always the obvious choices that get snubbed.

In other words; who the fuck knows?

With Foxcatcher out and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty apparently not up to snuff in this category, I’m thinking that Rush is for sure safe for a nomination.  After that though, I’m at a loss.  Do we get a slew of Fantasy/Sci-Fi films in (Hobbit, Oz, Star Trek) or does the Academy choose something pretty (Great Gatsby, American Hustle) or are we going with transformative work (Dallas Buyers Club, Mandela, 12 Years a Slave)?

Right now, I’m predicting:

12 Years a Slave
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Rush

Who will win?  I’m really not sure.  Rush just doesn’t feel like a winner to me, so for now I’m thinking that this is one for 12 Years a Slave to pick up.

VISUAL EFFECTS

There seems to be a bounty of possibilities in this category, and yet it all seems so wrapped up already.  I mean, like Life of Pi last year, nothing is beating Gravity, so we have a slew of possible nominees with no shot of winning. 

Oscar has fawned all over anything LOTR and Iron Man before, so they are probably safe.  But after that you have all these summer blockbusters that may have faltered with reviews but slayed with visuals.  Elysium, Man of Steel, Oz: The Great and Powerful, Pacific Rim, Star Trek into Darkness and Thor: The Dark World are all serious contenders here.

And I’m still pretty bullish on The Secret Life of Walter Mitty’s chances here.

I’m thinking:

Gravity
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Iron Man 3
Pacific Rim
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Who will win?  Gravity.

SOUND EDITING & MIXING

I’ve been pretty vocal about not completely understanding how to predict these.  Mixing, I know, has to do with blending of sounds after the fact while editing has to do with sounds created on the set (or something like that) and that editing mostly favors the action side of filmmaking while mixing seems to favor films that contain music or films that have a lot of obvious ‘manufactured’ sounds.

I’m talking out of my ass, so for now I’m just going to predict:

Editing:
Captain Phillips
Gravity
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Pacific Rim
Rush

Mixing:
Captain Phillips
Frozen
Gravity
Inside Llewyn Davis
Rush

Who will win?  I’ve said since the beginning, but Gravity still feels like a winner in BOTH these categories, especially after seeing the film.  The aural aspects of the film are just as important to the overall experience as the visual, and this film is a technical juggernaut waiting to happen, so I wholly expect this to snag everything humanly possible.

ORIGINAL SCORE

This is a hard category to gage without seeing where the precursor love falls, and then even then it usually shifts to whatever films are getting the most traction.  I mean, who ever saw a nomination for The Hurt Locker here, and yet it happened.  This is also the category that LOVES to fawn all over the vets, so expect to see Newman and Williams show up once or ever twice here based on name alone.

I also love how the Globes almost NEVER match up with Oscar.  They tend to shoot for the stars.

I’m placing bets on:

12 Years a Slave (Zimmer)
The Book Thief (Williams)
Gravity (Price)
Philomena (Desplat)
Saving Mr. Banks (Newman)

Who will win?  I really think that Price has this in the bag, considering how important Gravity’s score is to the atmosphere of the film, but rumblings on the web have labeled it the worst aspect of the film (what are they smoking) so I’m dubious as to whether or not Desplat will finally get his win.  I’m going with Gravity for now, but the tides may change.

ORIGINAL SONG

Every Oscar prognosticator knows that this category is a mess, always, but with the rule change requiring five nominees, it gets a little easier to at least predict one of these right (remember back in 2011, when no one predicted the TWO nominees correctly?).  The hard thing is figuring out which surprise nominee is going to pop up and what ‘obvious’ contender is getting the shaft.

I also wonder if Young and Beautiful will be deemed ineligible, and if that happens I’ll be crying my eyes out!

For the moment:

Ernest & Celestine’s Song from Ernest and Celestine
Let it Go from Frozen
The Moon Song from Her
You and I Ain’t Nothin’ No More from Lee Daniels’ The Butler
Young and Beautiful from The Great Gatsby

Who will win?  Let it Go is a beautiful ballad and really shines as one of Disney’s best, so I think they can win this is the film winds up being the frontrunner in the Animated category.

ANIMATED FILM

It’s so funny, because we have two locked up entries (the obvious ones at that) thanks to Pixar and Disney putting out films this year, but after that it seems like a complete wasteland of films to choose from, most of which don’t seem worthy of a nomination.  When this happens, we get little seen foreign films that pop up in this category, and I foresee that happening here, but even with those in the mix that still leaves a fifth spot that looks open for ANYONE to snag.  Will it be a sequel or a poorly received original?  I’m praying (and predicting) the sequel (since it’s the only one that is worthy).

So for now:

Despicable Me 2
Ernest and Celestine
Frozen
Monsters University
The Wind Rises

Who will win?  With a few reviews tricking in, I’d have to say that Frozen looks to be a deserving winner (maybe not the MOST deserving) and with the horrible Disney snub last year, I foresee Disney hitting a home run here, especially since Pixar always wins and won last year for a film no one really remembers. 

FOREIGN FILM

Josh ranked the possible candidates last month, and since no one really knows until precursors start giving all their wins to Blue is the Warmest Color (which is ineligible) and then we still won’t know, I’m going to pretty much go along with his ranking, since it seems the most logical placement at this point (I only predict ONE film not in his top five).

So, I’m guessing:

Chile (Gloria)
Denmark (The Hunt)
Iran (The Past)
Romania (Child’s Pose)
Saudi Arabia (Wadjda)

Who will win?  My money is on Wadjda, which has garnered raves and has been toted as the one to beat by many prognosticators on the web, as long as it was eligible, and it is so I’m predicting that.


Despite the fact that the semi-finalists have been announced for the short films, I’m not predicting them yet.  It is too early, I’ve seen none of them, and I want to try and see a few before predicting (or at least read about them so I know their subjects).  I’ll predict them soon enough though! 

9 comments:

  1. What a nice inspiration for films I still need to see this year. They're many, definitely, so I can't really say I'm able to predict anything. I think that Gravity is going to take a handful of awards though, deservedly.

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  2. Oh, and I forgot to say: I really, really, really want James Franco to be nominated for Best Supporting Actor. He nailed that role.

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    1. Franco was exceptional, and I'm no fan so I was blown away with how much I loved his performance. I expect him to appear at the Spirits this afternoon, so there is that!

      I still have so much to see. I've only seen like 39 films this year, but that's how it goes when you have three kids. Much like 2012 (which I didn't finalize awards for until this past July), it'll be mid-2014 before I've seen everything of note.

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  3. Thanks for the link, man! :)

    Fantastic write-up! I hope your version of the Oscars comes true. I'd love to eat my words on Blue is the Warmest Color. :P And a DiCaprio win would be wonderful.

    Just think: If Steve Coogan's producer credit holds up, he has a shot at being a triple nominee for Philomena! Who saw that coming? He could easily get 2 nods at least.

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    1. Coogan...I never expected him to become a thing. We'll see if he does. Three time nominee...does that mean he'll win something?

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    2. Nah, I think he has the best shot at nods for Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay, but even those could fall through. Don't see him winning anything.

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    3. Oh, I don't either...I was being somewhat sarcastic. It's still weird to think that he could wind up a three time Oscar nominee in one year.

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  4. I can not wait for Oscar next year, and hope to god that Gravity would be nominated for more than a dozen category and wiped them all! This year is all about Gravity, i hope! Frozen deserve to win in Animation and Original song. And please give Leo the oscar the dude deserve!!! :(

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    1. I agree. At this point, I'm all for Gravity winning everything, especially director. They OWE Cuaron!

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