Wednesday, January 15, 2014

My Oscar Predictions: 8 Categories, 45 Possible Nominees, One Girl

My Oscar Predictions: 8 Categories, 45 Possible Nominees, One Girl

It’s awards season! YAAAYYY-yeah no. There is something about awards season that just puts me off. Don’t get me wrong, I love awards shows to bits. Watching the Oscars, the Emmys, the Golden Globes, and the SAG awards is always something I look forward to, especially now that I am allowed to see most of the films nominated, but there is something about the industry calling out who is going to win weeks before the Oscars kind of sort of makes me not so excited. So really this year is just going to be the same old, same old. I can sen-wait? Every category pretty much wide open? You don’t say…
OK, in reality, this year I feel has been going really well. Sure, this year has been crowded and probably half of the movies and performances that deserve consideration (*cough* Mud *cough* Place Beyond the Pines *cough*) will be excluded, but really it’s been a great year with some great performances. Sure, the beginning of this year, and up until September, was full of crap, but with the amount of films that were incredible in the past four months, I feel like 2013 redeemed itself. The amount of Oscar contenders is at a high I have never seen before and today, I have decided to make a list of who I believe will get nominated this Thursday.
Here’s the thing: I haven’t seen most of these films. Hell, I’ve probably only seen 2. However, due to my excessive loitering on sites where they make their nomination predictions and having read several reviews for all of these films, I think I can make a good assumption of what will and won’t get nominated. I will be listing my nominations in alphabetical order and will be doing the following categories: Best Original Song, Best Animated Feature, Best Supporting Actor and Actress, Best Actor and Actress, Best Director, and Best Picture. These are all my sort of warped opinions so please, no hate. If you agree, awesome. If you don’t, that’s still awesome. Just don’t hate me. OK, enough rambling! Let’s get this show on the road! Here are my predictions for the 86th annual Academy Awards!

Best Picture
1.       12 Years a Slave
2.       American Hustle
3.       Captain Phillips
4.       Dallas Buyers Club
5.       Gravity
6.       Her
7.       Inside Llewyn Davis
8.       Lee Daniels’ The Butler
9.       Saving Mr. Banks
10.   The Wolf of Wall Street
Alternate: Nebraska
With a crowded year behind us, so many films should be on this list, however there is only 10 possible slots, so only 10 will make it. This year there has to be 10 nominees or, I don’t know, the world will end, so the chances for most of these films to be selected is high. 12 Years a Slave, American Hustle, and Gravity are sure things at this point due to the fact that every critic, movie specialist, and insider are in love with them and they have been nominated and/or won most of the big awards at this point. Lee Daniels’ The Butler may be able to ride its box office and critical success from August and its multiple nominations at the SAG’s to a nomination, and Captain Phillips’ awards attention should also lead to a nomination. Inside Llewyn Davis is what many are saying the best Coen Brothers film in a while and just the gravitas of the Coen Brothers name should get it a slot and The Wolf of Wall Street, despite its over-excessive nudity and drug use, is seen as another Scorcese classic so it is likely to get nominated. As for Saving Mr. Banks, Her, and Dallas Buyers Club, I wouldn’t count them out. Saving Mr. Banks is about freaking Walt Disney, and is apparently too good to pass up, Her is a great social commentary on how we use technology and despite how odd it is, it’s still a contender, and Dallas Buyers Club, which I personally counted out since it was apparently more an actor’s film, could sneak in there due to its surprise SAG nomination for Best Cast. Alternatives could be Philomena, which could upset after its Golden Globe nomination, August: Osage County, since it’s an ensemble cast film that stars Meryl Streep (aka Oscar bait), and most likely Nebraska, which has gotten so much buzz in the past month it could sneak in.

Best Director:
1.       Alfonso Cuaron-Gravity
2.       David O. Russell-American Hustle
3.       Martin Scorsese-The Wolf of Wall Street
4.       Paul Greengrass-Captain Phillips
5.       Steve McQueen-12 Years a Slave
Alternate: Alexander Payne-Nebraska
Confession: I didn’t know how directing worked until, like, 5 months ago. Yes, I’m pathetic since I do want to be an actress and I didn’t even know what a director does, but I’ll move on. This year, the directors of many of the big Oscar bait have been on the mark, but only 6 really deserve to make it on the ballot. My personal favorite here is Alfonso Cuaron, since 1) I have actually only seen Gravity and 2) the direction is flipping amazing. You don’t walk out of Gravity without mentioning the visuals or the cinematography and all of that is thanks to Cuaron. His only real competition is Steve McQueen, who’s dark films of sorrow and addiction are incredible, but maybe this is just Cuaron’s year. Never less, he at least deserves a nomination. Martin Scorsese is a legend and again, while The Wolf of Wall Street is graphic as hell, his style to it is flawless and deserves credit. Paul Greengrass is a wonderful director when it comes to real life situations (United 93 anyone?) and his work deserves so much more credit than it gets, and David O. Russell, who wins the award for best rhyming your name with the name of your movie, has a cool style that he brings to American Hustle and deserves at least a nod. As for my altenate Alexander Payne, who I do love, I would have put him here if only I could get through the damn trailer for Nebraska! Seriously, it just looks dull. I’ll probably see it but for now I’m not putting him in here.

Best Actor:
1.       Bruce Dern-Nebraska
2.       Chiwetel Ejiofer-12 Years a Slave
3.       Leonardo DiCaprio-The Wolf of Wall Street
4.       Matthew McConaughey-Dallas Buyers Club
5.       Tom Hanks-Captain Phillips
Alternate: Robert Redford-All Is Lost
This is an interesting category, mainly due to the fact that there are so few slots and SO MANY CONTENDERS. Just off the top of my head, along with my 5 and my alternate, you got Oscar Isacc in Inside Llewyn Davis, Christian Bale in American Hustle, Forest Whitaker in Lee Daniel’s The Butler, Michael B. Jordan in Fruitvale Station, Hugh Jackman in Prisoners, Joaquin Pheonix in Her, Idris Elba in Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, hell, if their movies didn’t flop so fantastically, I would count Michael Fassbender in The Counselor and Benedict Cumberbatch in The Fifth Estate in there. However, none of those incredibly talented men made it into my top 5 or even a sixth place slot. Sadly, their campaigning won’t pay off since 6 incredibly talented actors have split themselves from the pack. The only ones I can definitely see making it are Chwitel Ejiofer in 12 Years a Slave, Matthew McConaughey in Dallas Buyers Club, Tom Hanks for Captain Phillips, and Bruce Dern in Nebraska. Ejiofer gave an extremely powerful performance, and along with the fact that he is in the biggest film this awards season, he is a shoe-in for a nomination. McConaughey’s not only physical, but career transformation from silly rom-com guy to Oscar contender is great and his performance does deserve a nomination at least. Tom Hanks hasn’t been nominated since Cast Away and with a role as grand as this, along with the possibility of him not getting double nommed this year, he has a great chance of getting nominated, although winning might be a different story. Finally, the legend that is Bruce Dern has never won and has only been nominated once, and being in the twilight of his career, deserves at least a nomination. The last slot I feel is a toss-up between Robert Redford and Leonardo DiCaprio, and despite how much I love Redford, I’m giving it to Leo. The bridesmaid of the Oscars, he deserves a nom after last year’s shock of a snub, and even though he is a legend, Redford has won an Oscar. Sure it was for directing, but to me Leo, who has stretched his range so much in the past 20 years, deserves the nom.

Best Actress:
1.       Cate Blanchet-Blue Jasmine
2.       Emma Thompson-Saving Mr. Banks
3.       Judi Dench-Philomena
4.       Meryl Streep-August: Osage County
5.       Sandra Bullock-Gravity
Alternate: Adele Exarchopulos-Blue Is the Warmest Color
In a year filled with so many wonderful leading roles for women, like the Best Actor category, this one’s a tricky one to pinpoint. Sure, the amount of contenders is fewer, but there are still some pretty impressive contenders no less. However, the nominations for this one seem pretty easy to determine. The favorite this time around is Cate Blanchett. Blanchett is an incredible actress and when you combine an incredible actress with a script by the great Woody Allen, you’ve got a home run. Emma Thompson, who has become a favorite of mine in the past couple weeks, is apparently fantastic in Saving Mr. Banks and deserves a nomination. Dame Judi Dench, whose name I can’t say here without the dame part because really she deserves it, will also probably get a nomination for Philomena and Sandra Bullock, who is wonderful in Gravity and did better work in it than her Oscar winning work in The Blind Side, is Blanchett’s biggest competition. The only one I’m more concerned about is Meryl Streep. She is incredible, I know and I respect her so much, but the Academy does take a Streep break and with Amy Adams winning the Golden Globe for Best Actress Comedy and newcomer Adele Exarchopulos being a revelation in Blue Is the Warmest Color, we will see if Meryl get in.

Best Supporting Actor:
1.       Barkhad Abdi-Captain Phillips
2.       Daniel Bruhl-Rush
3.       Jared Leto-Dallas Buyers Club
4.       John Goodman-Inside Llewyn Davis
5.       Michael Fassbender-12 Years a Slave
Alternate: Bradley Cooper-American Hustle
Jared Leto’s going to win. There I said it! Seriously though, if you have seen Dallas Buyers Club or even just clips from Dallas Buyers Club, you would see how much dedication, physical and emotional, Leto put into his work. Being the only true lock in a hectic awards season, you can guarantee to see him at the Oscars. Then again, who knows, especially since Michael Fassbender gave an extremely terrifying and spine tingling performance in 12 Years a Slave? Fassbender, whos work with frequent collaborator Steve McQueen I’ve only read about, was snubbed in 2011 for Shame and being the fantastic actor that he is deserves a nomination and could be the only competition for Leto. I just realised that the role that will probably win this year is either a ruthless slave owner or a transgendered AIDS victim. Huh, who’d of known? Anyways, due to them both being Golden Globe and SAG nominees, Daniel Bruhl and Barkhas Abdi are probably going to get nominated, although they are underdogs in the big picture. And while many would say James Gandolfini in Enough Said or Bradley Cooper in American Hustle should take the final nominee, I feel like John Goodman, the king of snubbery, should get his first (yes first) nomination for Inside Llewyn Davis.

Best Supporting Actress:
1.       Jennifer Lawrence-American Hustle
2.       Julia Roberts-August: Osage County
3.       June Squibb-Nebraska
4.       Lupita Nyong’o-12 Years a Slave
5.       Oprah Winfrey-Lee Daniels’ The Butler
Alternate: Octavia Spencer-Fruitvale Station
This hasn’t been a great decade for supporting actresses has it? I mean, if you look at the last ten winners of this category, it hasn’t been spectacular. The winners have been great actresses, of course, but the roles have just been….well, meh. This year isn’t really an exception. It’s kind of a dull one, unless you ignore the giant three-way face-off between Oprah Winfrey, Lupita Nyong’o and last year’s winner for Best Actress, Jennifer Lawrence. Having seen The Butler, I do think Winfrey was really good, though if she wins it will be more because it’s Oprah. Nyong’o is apparently fantastic in 12 Years a Slave and I must say that if anyone should win, it should be her. Lawrence, sadly, seems to be the weakest link in the American Hustle cast and judging by some clips, she seems to be playing the character too broad and too over-the-top so if she wins, I feel like it would be a more of a wasted opportunity. Then again I haven’t seen the movie, so don’t take that opinion into too much consideration. As for the final two slots, I would love for Octavia Spencer to get another nomination, however I feel like Julia Roberts, who I don’t think is that great, and June Squibb, who seems pretty awesome in her part, will fill those slots.

Best Animated Feature:
1.       The Croods
2.       Epic
3.       Frozen
4.       Monsters University
5.       The Wind Rises
Alternate: Ernest and Celestine
This year was filled with sequels galore, and while that isn’t a bad thing, this year has been a weak one for animation. The animation may have been stunning and clever, but to me only a few really stood out due to both their stories and animation, since that’s what matters. I’ve only seen one of my predictions and my lengthy review of it is on here, but I do believe that Pixar will get another nomination for Monsters University. Yes, Monsters University isn’t a masterpiece and yes, it shouldn’t win, but come on, it was good enough for a nomination. The winner though will be Frozen. Having seen some clips, it does look wonderful and the animation is fabulous. It will be great to see Disney win its first Oscar for Best Animated Feature for what many would say is Disney’s speciality: a fairytale. Dreamworks has two contenders, but The Croods, with its bright animation and surprisingly good product, will get in. Epic is my wild card, because while it failed at the box office and may be seen as, well, not epic, it is a really lovely looking film and should get in. Finally, the final Miyazaki film, The Wind Rises, is a beautiful film with a beautiful story and beautiful animation that deserves a place in this category.

Best Original Song:
1.       I See Fire-The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
2.       Let It Go-Frozen
3.       The Moon Song-Her
4.       So You Know What It’s Like-Short Term 12
5.       Young and Beautiful-The Great Gatsby
Alternate: Please Mr. Kennedy-Inside Llewyn Davis
The final category I will be doing is, possibly, my new favorite. Having become a bit of a music junkie in the past couple months, I have really enjoyed listening to all 75 contenders for Best Original Song. And yes, before anyone gets mad, I did listen to Please Mr. Kennedy….today. Sorry OK! I agree, it’s brilliant, but I made the little collage things yesterday and I am on a tight schedule so I couldn’t change it. I would probably put it in instead of So You Know What It’s Like but I can’t so sorry. Anyways, I feel like the 5 I did originally choose are some of the best of the year. Let It Go is pretty much the song everyone remembers from Frozen and it is a grand number, so despite its loss at the Golden Globes, it could and should be nominated and win. The rest of my predictions are Golden Globe snubs, but they are much stronger than 3 of the Golden Globe nominees. I See Fire, while an underdog and unlikely being a nominee tomorrow, is my favorite song of the moment, with Ed Sheeran giving it his all and the guitar just sending chills down my spine. The Moon Song is a strange but gorgeous ballad with Karen O’s floaty voice taking us on a journey where “we’re here a million miles away.” Despite it being filled with expletives, So You Know What It’s Like is a fascinating like rap number that is unlike most of what is in the mainstream media. As for Young and Beautiful, it is the highlight of The Great Gatsby soundtrack and was sorely missed from the Golden Globes. All of these, along with Please Mr. Kennedy, deserve consideration.

Final Thoughts: These will probably be irrelevant by tomorrow morning, but it does not matter. I wanted to at least get this out before the nominations were announced, but really no matter what, I am happy with whoever gets nominated. This was a really great year for film and no matter what happens, the nominations will hopefully reflect that. As for what will come when the nominations are announced, well, that’s for another post…..

~Indie Princess

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