Thursday, February 27, 2014

Who's going to win the golden bastard?


It has finally come to this!  The season is over and on Sunday night we will be tuned in to see if all our prognosticating, time-consuming tracking, movie watching and shamelessly campaigning has paid off.  Are we going to see our favorites win?  Are our predictions going to prove accurate?  Did we fall flat on our faces once again?

I've paid closer attention this year to the race than I have in any season past, so I hope to GOD that this worked.  Between keeping track of every award given, reading a slew of reviews, watching as many films as I could and even exploring some categories I rarely get to indulge in (like the shorts and the documentaries) I feel like I can make some informed predictions.

But watch Sunday go and debunk my methods and prove that no one really ever knows anything.

So let's look at this category by category.


BEST FILM


It’s pretty obvious at this point that this race has narrowed itself down to three films; 12 Years a Slave, American Hustle and Gravity.  Only one can win though (we’ll, there could be a PGA style tie here, but that is extremely unlikely) and so the question is, what will?  If we are judging from a purely ‘who won the most’ angle, it would appear that 12 Years a Slave has this in the bag.  It’s won PGA, BAFTA, BFCA and the Globe, not to mention 20+ critics wins for Best Film.

But quantity isn’t everything.

American Hustle has won SAG, which is an ensemble mention but is usually a good indicator of a film’s support, especially since 12 Years a Slave was also up for that award.  Hustle has also won NYFCC, which is a pretty big get, and it has a larger Oscar pedigree (that cast and director all on a real Oscar hot streak right now).

And then you have Gravity, which is the earliest release and yet possibly has the most passionate fans.  It also has the most potential for a serious Oscar sweep.  Besides grabbing some important wins like LAFCA and PGA, it also has an upwards of seven Oscar wins nearly locked down, including Director, which says a lot.

12 Years a Slave is considered the ‘important film of the year’ and is touted by many as being the most deserving film nominated, but backlash DOES happen, and one cannot discount that.  It doesn’t help that McQueen in particular seems pretty disgruntled every single time he loses or his film loses to something else (the Globes were a disgrace to his face) and while he has passionate supporters, a sour face and cost you votes.  It also doesn’t help that he’s probably third in line for the Directing Oscar, leaving a space for more #1 votes to go to his film’s two adversaries.  Still, 12 Years a Slave does feel like the film that could win on subject alone, taking home one or two other awards.

But for a film this big, three Oscar wins seems really…light?

I know that on paper it looks like 12 Years a Slave has this in the bag, but I see the tide shifting a little and have a feeling that this is going to play out differently.

Predicted Winner:  Gravity
Alternate:  12 Years a Slave
Dark Horse Upset:  American Hustle

BEST DIRECTOR


Like Best Picture, this is obvious a three way race, except there is pretty much a clear answer as to who is going to win.  Alfonso Cuaron is rightfully winning everything.  Not only does he have BAFTA, BFCA, Globe and DGA on his mantel, but he also has taken home the majority of the critics wins.  Granted, he lost a few important ones (NYFCC) to McQueen, but McQueen hasn’t picked up any of the televised awards.  Russell is in this on name value, and actually could get some major traction because of that.  This is his third consecutive nomination, and he is well liked and peaking (Oscar wise) right now.  He’s on a major hot streak and so he could get a slew of votes.  That being said, Cuaron’s work has been lauded and praised by everyone this year and is seen as a major cinematic accomplishment. 

He’s not losing.

Predicted Winner:  Cuaron
Alternate:  Russell
Dark Horse Upset:  McQueen

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY


I’m not sure what to make of this.  If 12 Years a Slave wins Best Picture, it’ll take this rather easily.  This would be its easiest win, but I’m not so sure that the win itself is an easy one.  Captain Phillips has the WGA, but 12 Years a Slave was not eligible.  Philomena has the BAFTA, but that film was undeniably British and wasn’t going to win anything else.  The Wolf of Wall Street has the NBR, but that means nothing.  Before Midnight has quite a few critics’ wins, but this is its only nomination, so it’s probably out of luck here.  Still, it has passion, and that amounts for something, especially in these kind of races with no real frontrunner.  Captain Phillips underperformed on nomination morning, but since then has been winning a lot from the guilds, so maybe it’s garnering support because of the snubs.

Predicted Winner:  12 Years a Slave
Alternate:  Captain Phillips
Dark Horse Upset:  Before Midnight

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY


This is a two film race, and honestly I have no idea how this will turn out.  Her has won everything it was up for, from BFCA, Globe (which was a combined category) and WGA, but American Hustle took the BAFTA (Her was not nominated) and has been gaining steam.  It is also in the running for Best Picture, which Her is not.  With Russell out of reach of the Directing Oscar, this could be the way to finally give him the Oscar they’ve been dying to give him.

But I have such doubts.

Predicted Winner:  American Hustle
Alternate:  Her
Dark Horse Upset:  Nebraska

LEAD ACTOR


There is a lot of heated debate over whether or not Matthew McConaughey is actually going to win the Oscar this year.  I kind of love it, because I called his Oscar win last year when this film was being talked about and then went on to even doubt his nomination and call his nomination filler with no shot at the win until he started winning…EVERYTHING!  My personal feelings on the performance aside (I don’t think he was that great), he is the CLEAR frontrunner right now and most likely going to win the Oscar.

But he’s not locked up, and here is why.

First off, Leonardo DiCaprio is nominated.  That may not mean much on the outset, but when you think about it, it means a lot.  He’s considered due, been raved for his performance and is WORKING IT campaigning like crazy.  He has the Globe and BFCA Comedy trophies snatched up as well.  Sadly though, his BAFTA loss is a big deal.

That being said, Ejiofor won the BAFTA (McConaughey was not nominated) and stars in the film everyone is talking about.  Is 12 Years a Slave really going to win Best Picture while its lead actor and director are both going to go home empty handed?  Ejiofor also has the most critics’ wins (although McConaughey has his fair share as well), but I fear that sour face is hurting the entire 12 Years a Slave camp, except for the always humble and luminous Lupita Nyong’o.

But, Dallas Buyers Club really overperformed on nomination morning, with Editing and Screenplay noms that were unexpected.  McConaughey is certainly primed and ready for his Oscar speech.

But I wouldn’t put money on him.

Predicted Winner:  McConaughey
Alternate:  DiCaprio
Dark Horse Upset: Ejiofor

LEAD ACTRESS


We don’t even have to talk about this at all.

Predicted Winner:  Blanchett
Alternate:  No one
Dark Horse Upset:  No one

SUPPORTING ACTOR


Jared Leto has been steamrolling through the critics and televised awards, losing only BAFTA to Abdi of all people.  It’s pretty clear that he is taking the Oscar, but unlike Blanchett, his steamroll could be upset.  A few things could stand in his way.  First off, his character is gay, and gay characters don’t always fare well with Oscar.  That being said, when they are suffering from AIDS they do.  Second, McConaughey being the STAR and a very likely Lead Actor winner could work against him.  Are there really going to be TWO acting winners from Dallas Buyers Club?  Third, he’s firstly a musician, which is being used all over the internet to discredit his chances here.  Is he taken seriously enough as an actor to win an Oscar?  Then again, there was Mo’Nique (did ANYONE ever take her seriously before that Oscar?) and Leto has been winning everything she did.

But really, the thing that works most in Leto’s favor is that there is no clear alternative.  BAFTA wouldn’t even hand Fassbender a win, and Abdi is far too unknown and too unrewarded to make a dash for the Oscar.  Cooper could have factored in, had he won the BAFTA, because his film is in the running for Best Picture and this is his second nomination, but he’s been pretty much a non-entity all season.

So, all debate aside, we all know who is winning this (and so deservedly as well).

Predicted Winner:  Leto
Alternate:  Cooper
Dark Horse Upset:  Abdi

SUPPORTING ACTRESS


This has been so clearly a two person race since the very beginning that deciding who the winner is going to be is kind of like drawing straws.  Lawrence has NYFCC, BAFTA and the Globe, while Nyong’o has LAFCA, SAG and BFCA.  One could try and debate the importance of these wins all day, but at the end of the day it could go either way.

Nyong’o has a few things working for her.  She has passion, the newbie status, the narrative and the film being a frontrunner with her as the clear choice for acting award being chief among them.  But Lawrence is also a newbie (and a current ‘it’ girl at that), has the passion and a fiery role that demands attention.

I think the one thing to keep in mind is that if Jennifer Lawrence had not won the Oscar last year, EVERYONE would be predicting her for the Oscar.

So really, how much stock do you put into her Oscar win being a detractor?

Predicted Winner:  Lawrence
Alternate:  Nyong’o
Dark Horse Upset:  I honestly forgot anyone else was nominated.

FILM EDITING


The Oscar frontrunner usually has first dibs at this, unless the race is monopolized by flashy cuts, and this year Gravity has pretty much taken everything, everything except the ACE, which is a big deal (that went to Captain Phillips).  I don’t think American Hustle (which also took an ACE award, in comedy) is going to pose a threat here, unless AMPAS goes crazy for the film and hands it BP and Director.  So, for my money, it’s between the two flashy ‘dramatic’ films, and I think Gravity is just going to SLAY in these technical categories.

Predicted Winner:  Gravity
Alternate:  Captain Phillips
Dark Horse Upset:  American Hustle

COSTUME DESIGN


The Great Gatsby has very flashy and rewarded threads, and it looks like a safe bet for the Oscar win as well, but sometimes these categories can shift for Oscar, especially when a BP contender has come out in need of some validation.  I think that American Hustle or even 12 Years a Slave could pose a threat for Gatsby’s win here, and even something like The Invisible Woman shouldn’t be wholly discarded, because it is pretty much Academy porn.  Still, Gatsby is flashy as fuck and has been the go to choice in this category all season, so I don’t think it’ll lose.  It may stumble elsewhere (like Production Design) but this is probably a pretty safe bet.

Predicted Winner:  The Great Gatsby
Alternate:  American Hustle
Dark Horse Upset:  The Invisible Woman

CINEMATOGRAPHY


This was sewn up when it was announced that Gravity was going to be released in 3D, and despite my personal feelings about this (it is not deserved as it is mostly CGI), I am not blind to the fact that this is happening.

Predicted Winner: Gravity
Alternate: Inside Llewyn Davis
Dark Horst Upset: Prisoners

ART DIRECTION/PRODUCTION DESIGN


Again, Gatsby has been steamrolling here, but this category in particular can be tricky.  Remember last year’s shocking Lincoln win, ever the likes of Les Miserables or the gorgeous Anna Karenina (which was expected to win)?  Lincoln was absolutely nothing special, and yet it was a BP frontrunner that was bound to lose and so they threw a consolation prize it’s way.  I’m wondering if 12 Years a Slave could take this in the same manner.  It could be seen as a way to up its win tally for those who want it to take BP and have that selection validated, and it could also be seen by those who are voting elsewhere in BP as a way to still honor the film itself.

I mean, is Gatsby really going to win two Oscars?

Predicted Winner:  12 Years a Slave
Alternate:  The Great Gatsby
Dark Horse Upset:  American Hustle

MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING


Who the fuck knows.

Predicted Winner:  The Lone Ranger
Alternate:  Dallas Buyers Club
Dark Horse Upset:  Bad Grandpa

VISUAL EFFECTS


Like Lead Actress, there is no need to talk about this one.

Predicted Winner:  Gravity
Alternate:  None
Dark Horse Upset:  None

SOUND EDITING/MIXING


I’m notoriously bad at trying to predict these nominations, but by this time in the year it’s usually pretty easy to find the film that is going to win here.  I’d pretty much put all my money on Gravity taking both of these, with a slight chance that Captain Phillips takes Sound Editing, but that is pretty slight.  Sure, they could go action HEAVY and try to throw a bone at The Hobbit, but a huge part of Gravity’s overall experience is the way that sound is used, manipulated and then NOT used, so I really think it’s pulling in both wins, and deservedly so.

And yes, I’m predicting one film takes both.

Predicted Winner:  Gravity
Alternate:  Captain Philips
Dark Horse Upset:  The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

ORIGINAL SCORE


I’ve been pretty bullish on Price winning this award since the very beginning, since I think his score is the best of the year and really made Gravity such a well-rounded experience.  The fact that it’s biggest threat to the win (12 Years a Slave) is out of the running, and the Globe winner (All is Lost) was snubbed makes this almost too easy to predict…which is why I’m wondering if this is going to go another route altogether.  Price is far from locked here, since he hasn’t won everything I expected him too, but he does have BAFTA and BFCA, which counts a lot, especially when the only other score in contention to  have won anything is Her, and Arcade Fire isn’t winning an Oscar for a score that didn’t sweep (Ross + Reznor won CLEARLY because they won everything).

Predicted Winner:  Gravity
Alternate:  Philomena
Dark Horse Upset:  The Book Thief

ORIGINAL SONG


If ‘Let it Go’ loses, I’m going to throw shit at my television.

Predicted Winner:  Let it Go
Alternate:  Ordinary Love
Dar Horse Upset:  Alone Yet Not Alone Happy

ANIMATED FILM


This should be locked up, with Frozen taking all of the important precursors (BAFTA, Globe, PGA) but The Wind Rises was not eligible for half of those, and it also has a TON of critics wins.  That being said, in order for The Wind Rises to snag an Oscar, it really needed to have no strong alternative, and Frozen has become in many ways THE movie of the year, so I can’t see it losing.

Predicted Winner:  Frozen
Alternate:  The Wind Rises
Dark Horse Alternate:  Despicable Me 2

FOREIGN FILM


Blue is the Warmest Color!  Oh, wait…no it’s not eligible.  And now we have a conundrum.  There are three films that are barking at this Oscar win, and only one will take it.  The Broken Circle Breakdown feels like an Oscar movie.  I haven’t seen it, but from what I read and from what friends who have seen it have said, it is a very politically ‘correct’ type film that pushes itself on the audience in a way that Oscar usually responds to.  The Hunt has a serious following, and is a remarkable film and could very well win this, but right now it seems like the tide has shifted in the favor of The Great Beauty.  It’s been a while since Italy has won the Oscar here, and the film’s reviews are astonishing.  It also just won the Globe and the BAFTA, and while that doesn’t necessarily mean anything, it also has the buzz right now, which means something.

Predicted Winner:  The Great Beauty
Alternate:  The Hunt
Dark Horse Alternate:  The Broken Circle Breakdown

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE


All I have to say is that I don’t think The Art of Killing deserves to win, nor do I think it is going to.  It is too hard, too offputting to actually rake in a win here.  That being said, I don’t think that 20 Feet from Stardom has this on lock either.  The film has taken the BFCA, but there are usually some surprised here, especially when there isn’t a clear frontunner (and both The Act of Killing and the unnominated Stories We Tell had more critics’ wins).  The real question is, if there is a surprise win…what will it be?  Judging on content alone, you’d think it would be either Dirty Wars or The Square, but Cutie and the Boxer is endearing enough to snag quite a few #1 votes as well.

Predicted Winner:  20 Feet from Stardom
Alternate:  The Square
Dark Horse Upset:  Cutie and the Boxer

And then that brings us to the shit that is really, really hard to predict…the shorts!

LIVE ACTION SHORT


I’ve seen all of these actually, but I’m trying really hard not to let my personal preference to cloud my judgment here.  Still, it’s hard because I have never followed these races in-depth and so predicting a winner is difficult for me.  For me, the clear best here is Just Before Losing Everything, and it has won the most, but it is also the longest film here and one of the heaviest emotionally, and from what I gather they tend to go for lighter fare.  I would have pegged this as a race between Just Before Losing Everything and the clunkier yet powerful (and topical) That Wasn’t Me, but something tells me that The Voorman Problem is going to take this.  It is acidic, witty and starry. 

Predicted Winner:  The Voorman Problem
Alternate:  Just Before Losing Everything
Dark Horse Upset:  That Wasn’t Me

DOCUMENTARY SHORT


I’ve seen none of these, and while some are available online, I just haven’t had the time to indulge.  That being said, it seems the consensus here is around The Lady in Number 6 taking this on subject alone, especially since the subject herself recently died at the age of 110.  After that, I’m semi clueless, but I have some blind speculations.

Predicted Winner:  The Lady in Number 6
Alternate:  CaveDigger
Dark Horse Upset:  Karma Has No Walls

ANIMATED SHORT


I’ve only seen Get a Horse, but I have to say that I have a feeling that is going to win.  I was planning on trying to track down the rest of these (as I was with Documentary Short) but that just wasn’t possible.  There seems to be some buzz surrounding Mr. Hublot, but with the overwhelming popularity of Disney this year, I have a feeling the crowd pleaser will snag Disney another win.

Predicted Winner:  Get a Horse
Alternate:  Mr. Hublot
Dark Horse Upset:  Feral

Happy Sunday, bitches!

4 comments:

  1. My God, I'm gonna get so drunk watching that boring ceremony if Lawrence wins/Matt loses.

    I really hope Gravity wins BP, it's such a fantastic movie.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I just hope everything I predicted is correct so I can brag to the high heavens that I was right ;-)

      Delete
  2. Great stuff man! It feels like so many scenarios are possible. Does Gravity really win 7 or 8 Oscars, including Best Picture? Does Hustle go home empty-handed? Does 12 Years get shutout? Can Leo pull an upset? What about a Sally Hawkins spoiler? I'm so pumped!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Pizza, beer and the Oscars = the PERFECT Sunday night!

      Delete