Reflecting on the 2016 Academy Awards

26 02 2017

This is the first year I haven’t live blogged the Oscars since 2009 (well, except for the year I got to sit along the red carpet). I thought I’d write something profound after a calm show but … THAT ENDING. What. Just. Happened.

Also, my ballot is horrendous, but that’s because I chose deliberately unsentimentally. So pleased to see two wins for “Manchester by the Sea.” That’s all I really needed tonight.

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Live Blogging the 2015 Academy Awards!

28 02 2016

 

11:01 P.M. Yes, I did get up to scream and cheer for that. What a fun surprise!

Rachel McAdams Michael Keaton Mark Ruffalo Spotlight

11:00 P.M. BEST PICTURE: “SPOTLIGHT

10:58 P.M. Leo even broke character there for a second to show feelings, whoa! Glad to see a great actor get his due. And you know it wouldn’t be Leo without a political bent to his speech.

10:55 P.M. BEST ACTOR: LEONARDO DICAPRIO, “THE REVENANT”

10:49 P.M. In case Brie Larson wasn’t already on my good side, she just got there permanently by thanking film festivals and moviegoers for the success of her film. Bravo!

10:48 P.M. BEST ACTRESS: BRIE LARSON, “ROOM

10:40 P.M. Didn’t Iñárritu have enough time to talk last year? Get him off the stage.

10:38 P.M. BEST DIRECTOR: ALEJANDRO G. INARRITU,THE REVENANT

10:31 P.M.Room” deserved a better intro than it got.

10:28 P.M. Wow, people were not too happy with “The Hunting Ground” losing. But at least Sam Smith brought it home with a good speech.

10:26 P.M. BEST ORIGINAL SONG: “WRITING’S ON THE WALL,” “SPECTRE”

Samuel L. Jackson Walton Goggins The Hateful Eight

10:22 P.M. BEST ORIGINAL SCORE: ENNIO MORRICONE, “THE HATEFUL EIGHT

10:15 P.M. Rachel McAdams and Kate Winslet crying are all of us. (And Chris Pine from last year.)

10:15 P.M. Wow. I’m so moved to witness a moment that can truly change the dialogue around sexual abuse in our culture.

10:10 P.M. I’m glad that some of my favorite films of the year – “Inside Out,” “Amy” and “Son of Saul” have won Oscars in their niche categories.

Son of Saul

10:08 P.M. BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM: “SON OF SAUL

10:05 P.M. BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT: “STUTTERER”

9:58 P.M. I miss Alan Rickman so much already!

9:56 P.M. Dave Grohl doing the In Memoriam is an odd choice.

9:53 P.M. Slay, CBI. The diversity and inclusion problem is bigger than the Oscars. Change is necessary at a more institutional level.

9:43 P.M. BEST DOCUMENTARY: “AMY

9:40 P.M. The “Mad Max” joke from Louis C.K. is how everyone is feeling right now.

9:40 P.M. BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT: “THE GIRL IN THE RIVER”

9:36 P.M. That was a very nice speech by Mark Rylance. I’m glad to see Spielberg guide another actor to victory. Hard to believe that’s only the second performance he’s directed to victory.

9:32 P.M. BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: MARK RYLANCE, “BRIDGE OF SPIES”

9:23 P.M. This is the quote that got me.

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9:22 P.M. Kate Winslet’s glasses are so badass that they need their own Twitter account.

9:13 P.M. So, yeah, I started crying during Pete Docter’s speech.

Inside Out

9:12 P.M. BEST ANIMATED FEATURE: “INSIDE OUT

9:10 P.M. Are they trying to make me cry with a “Toy Story” appearance…

9:09 P.M. When you go 6/6 and then drop 5 in a row…

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9:08 P.M. BEST ANIMATED SHORT: “BEAR STORY”

9:06 P.M. People proudly waving their money in the air out there…

9:00 P.M. Jacob Tremblay getting up to look at the “Star Wars” characters is what the world needs right now.

8:58 P.M. So is this our “surprise” of the night? Let’s hope there’s still some magic left for “The Big Short” to pull through in Best Picture…

Ava

8:56 P.M. BEST VISUAL EFFECTS: “EX MACHINA

8:55 P.M. Andy Serkis laying the groundwork to one day have the Academy recognize his incredible craftsmanship…

8:52 P.M. BEST SOUND MIXING: MAD MAX: FURY ROAD

8:50 P.M. Going to guess that there was an F-bomb in there.

8:49 P.M. BEST SOUND EDITING: MAD MAX: FURY ROAD

8:48 P.M. This is so sad.

8:40 P.M. BEST FILM EDITING: MAD MAX: FURY ROAD

8:38 P.M. Wait, there’s a special box for all the DPs to sit together? That’s awkward…

Tom Hardy Leonardo DiCaprio The Revenant

8:37 P.M. BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: “THE REVENANT

8:34 P.M. Lighten up, Leo! Lighten up like your belt made your jeans light!

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8:31 P.M. Does them playing “Live and Let Die” mean that J.Law will start dancing soon?

8:30 P.M. Leo and Iñárritu NOT amused by the bear joke.

8:27 P.M. And the announcer just talks right over Margot Robbie trying to pronounce the artists’ names.

8:27 P.M. Not the biggest fan of “Mad Max” but hard to argue with all these wins for its impeccable craftsmanship.

8:27 P.M. BEST MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING: “MAD MAX: FURY ROAD

8:25 P.M. My gosh, they are just blowing through these tech categories…

8:24 P.M. BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN: “MAD MAX: FURY ROAD

8:22 P.M. Sheesh, did they play off Jenny Bevan with “Ride of the Valkyries?”

8:20 P.M. BEST COSTUME DESIGN: “MAD MAX: FURY ROAD

8:19 P.M. Only Cate Blanchett could pull off giving a spiel like that on the go…

8:12 P.M. BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: ALICIA VIKANDER, “THE DANISH GIRL

8:08 P.M. I was worried there for a second that Kerry Washington was not going to get to talk…

8:02 P.M. What on earth was that Stacy Dash thing? Was she in on that joke?

7:53 P.M. YES YES YES “THE BIG SHORT.” The big win I wanted tonight.

The Big Short

7:52 P.M. BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: “THE BIG SHORT”

7:48 P.M. Mics are so hot, picking up every word of Charlize up there…

Spotlight

7:47 P.M. BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: “SPOTLIGHT

7:43 P.M. Awkward cutaway to Leo during joke using him…

7:38 P.M. To be honest, I thought the same thing about the Smith family crying sour grapes.

7:33 P.M. Opening montage not nearly as spectacular nowadays when I see them all the time on Vimeo/YouTube.

7:31 P.M. Well, that graphic was an interesting way to start.

6:36 P.M. Here’s my official ballot. Hoping against hope that “The Big Short” will prevail.

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6:29 P.M. Told myself I wasn’t going to live blog … but couldn’t resist. Stay tuned.





LIVE BLOGGING the 2014 Golden Globes!

11 01 2015

10:03 P.M.  3 for “Boyhood,” 2 for “The Theory of Everything” and “Birdman.”

10:01 P.M.  I love Meryl’s excited squeals for “Boyhood.”  Ethan Hawke and Ellar Coltrane just shared a beautiful hug behind everyone.

More Boyhood

10:0o P.M.  BEST PICTURE (DRAMA): “BOYHOOD

9:59 P.M.  This show needed more Tina and Amy.  Sigh.

9:55 P.M.  Glad to see Redmayne is not above fawning over all the incredible actors.  Sweet speech, charming guy.

Theory of Everything

9:53 P.M.  BEST ACTOR (DRAMA): EDDIE REDMAYNE, THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING

9:52 P.M.  Why is McConaughey speaking in that strange accent?!

Still Alice

9:51 P.M.  BEST ACTRESS (DRAMA): JULIANNE MOORE, “STILL ALICE”

9:46 P.M.  Wes Anderson naming off the names of HFPA members seems a little … um, awkward?  Maybe slightly culturally insensitive?

The Grand Budapest Hotel

9:45 P.M.  BEST PICTURE (MUSICAL/COMEDY): “THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL

9:43 P.M.  Channing Tatum’s fake tan seems a little overdone tonight.

9:39 P.M.  Michael Keaton’s son that he referenced in the speech, Sean Douglas, is a songwriter whose credits include Jason DeRulo’s “Talk Dirty.”  Umm … well, that’s probably paying the bills.

9:34 P.M.  Keaton thanks the HFPA for having a “comedy” category, but how much does it really celebrate comedies?!  Anyways, nice to see someone as articulate and underrated as Keaton get some recognition.

Keaton in Birdman

9:33 P.M.  BEST ACTOR (MUSICAL/COMEDY): MICHAEL KEATON, “BIRDMAN

9:25 P.M.  Richard Linklater: “We’re all flawed in this world, no one’s perfect.”

Linklater

9:24 P.M.  BEST DIRECTOR: RICHARD LINKLATER, “BOYHOOD

9:15 P.M.  Pretty sure McConaughey is sweating through his shirt.  His jacket was definitely off.

9:14 P.M.  George Clooney: “Thanks for keeping small films alive.”

9:12 P.M.  Props to Disney for getting a clip from “Tomorrowland” into the Clooney montage.

9:08 P.M.  Julianna Marguiles: “Has George ever asked you to tour a disaster area with him?” / Don Cheadle: “Yes, he invited me to the set of ‘The Monuments Men!'”

9:00 P.M.  Hard to believe that two-time Oscar winning actor Kevin Spacey is only just now winning his first Golden Globe.

8:55 P.M.  The backstage/hall cam is pretty awkward…

8:54 P.M.  “House of Cards” snubbed once again.  “The Affair” was horribly derivative in the one episode I watched.

8:46 P.M.  Well, maybe Maggie Gyllenhaal’s “The Honorable Woman” will have to go on my Netflix queue.  Here’s the link for anyone who wants to add it as well.  I enjoy the sibling love with her and Jake, and I especially love her shoutout to the “actual women.”  Basically, here’s my takeaway from tonight’s show:

Who Run the World

8:44 P.M.  Ok, is that how “Leviathan” is pronounced, all French like Lupita Nyong’o said it?  I assumed it was “Luh-vie-uh-than.”

Leviathan

8:43 P.M.  BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM: “LEVIATHAN

8:37 P.M.  But is there still money in the banana stand, Jeffrey Tambor?

8:35 P.M.  Don Cheadle is not in “House of Cards,” presenters.  But, I will say, I would love to see him guest star.

8:33 P.M.  Glad to see Jack Black giving love to the underappreciated Linklater.  I totally want to see “Bernie 2,” Jack, I stand with you.

8:32 P.M.  Didn’t hear any of the speech because my parents were talking…

Birdman

8:30 P.M.  BEST SCREENPLAY: “BIRDMAN

8:28 P.M.  Anyone else noting how much the people on stage are sweating?  The AC has to be broken or something…

Bill Hader in The Skeleton Twins

8:27 P.M.  No proclaiming that Hader and Wiig were the stars of “The Skeleton Twins?”  Come on…

8:26 P.M.  Ok, the North Korean jokes are getting old.  It’s just kind of insensitive and monotonous at this point.

8:22 P.M.  Full text of the George Clooney feminist joke, thanks to BuzzFeed.

“George Clooney married Amal Alamuddin this year. Amal is a human rights lawyer who worked on the Enron case, was an adviser to Kofi Annan regarding Syria, and was selected to a three-person U.N. commission investigating rules of war violations in the Gaza Strip. So tonight, her husband is getting a lifetime achievement award.”

8:21 P.M.  Patricia Arquette: “Meryl, thank you for giving me a hug, I hope your DNA transferred.”  Also, glad to see the winning women standing up for women of all varieties.

Arquette

8:19 P.M.  BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: PATRICIA ARQUETTE, “BOYHOOD

8:16 P.M.  When they said Channing Tatum was in three nominated films tonight, I thought it must have been a flubbed line.  But two of those were animated – “The Book of Life” and “The Lego Movie.”

8:14 P.M.  BEST ANIMATED MOVIE: HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2

8:13 P.M.  Kevin Hart: “I’m here for this, it’s not about ‘The Wedding Ringer.'”  Yeah, sure…

8:07 P.M.  Nice feminist moment for Amy Adams as she racks up back-to-back Golden Globe wins.  Not her best role or film, but she’s just so sweet and likable, darn it!

Amy Adams Big EYes

8:05 P.M.  BEST ACTRESS (MUSICAL/COMEDY): AMY ADAMS, BIG EYES

8:03 P.M.  Where are Tina and Amy?  MIA…

7:55 P.M.  That could not possibly have been more awkward cutting between the shot of John Legend’s wife and the cutaway to Prince.  “Selma is now,” said Common.  Glad to see he also expressed solidarity with the two NYPD officers slain in the line of duty.

Selma

7:52 P.M.  BEST ORIGINAL SONG: GLORY, “SELMA

7:50 P.M.  OMG – Prince!  What a look!

Theory

7:48 P.M.  BEST ORIGINAL SCORE: “THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING

7:43 P.M.  Too bad for Eddie Redmayne that the bomb that will be “Jupiter Ascending” drops on theaters as he’s trying to win an Oscar … Focus should ask WB to pull these trailers from awards broadcasts.

Jupiter

7:37 P.M.  Bummer to see Julia Louis-Dreyfus go down.  “Veep” is my favorite show … shameless plug.

7:35 P.M.  Great to see artists stand up and cheer for freedom of expression.

7:33 P.M.  Pretty shameless attempt to recreate the Ellen selfie…

Meryl

Needed more people to top Ellen…

Ellen

7:30 P.M.  I just realized that I totally forgot a category…

Best Animated Film:The Lego Movie” (alt. “How To Train Your Dragon 2“)

7:26 P.M.  Potentially the best speech ever from Billy Bob Thornton.  “You get in trouble for anything you say these days, so I’m just gonna say thank you.”

7:25 P.M.  Ouch for the “True Detective” shutout.  Have to say, I agree (even though I have not watched “Fargo”).  The show was overrated.

7:22 P.M.  Ok, these rapid-fire show descriptions are not helpful.

7:22 P.M.  Jennifer Lopez looking like she might have a wardrobe malfunction/nip slip.

7:17 P.M.  Glad Joanne Froggat is shedding light on the plight of sexual assault survivors.  This is such a great platform to spread awareness to important causes.  Bonus points for doing it without ranting or preaching.

7:14 P.M.  Miles Teller getting some nice notice in front of the entire industry.  And gotta love all the Jason Reitman love!

JK Simmons Miles Teller Whiplash

7:12 P.M.  BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: J.K. SIMMONS, “WHIPLASH

7:12 P.M.  So did they actually flub the teleprompter?  Was it actually spontaneous?

7:11 P.M.  Hello, Jennifer Aniston’s leg.

7:09 P.M.  Aaaand there’s the Bill Cosby joke.

7:07 P.M.  Would you rather, Linklater or Iñarritu?  “Once, five minutes per year” vs. “One take, two hours, no stopping.”  Brilliant.

7:06 P.M.  Tina Fey just dropped the mic for working women everywhere.  Bravo.

7:04 P.M.  A joke I could not type in real time – “Boyhood proves there’s still good roles for women over 40 when you get hired in your 20’s.”

7:03 P.M. Hi, Joaquin Phoenix!  You da man!

7:03 P.M. Back off Emma Stone, she’s gorgeous!

7:01 P.M. Starting off with jokes on the Sony hack and the leaked emails – great, I guess, since Angelina Jolie isn’t there.

6:55 P.M. Since I’m running short on time, I’ll just post projected winners with alternates – and save my should win/be nominated picks for the Oscars live blog!  Classic cliffhanger…

Best Picture (Drama): “Boyhood” (alt. “The Imitation Game“)

Best Picture (Musical/Comedy):Birdman” (alt. “Into the Woods“)

Best Actor (Drama): Eddie Redmayne, “The Theory of Everything” (alt. Benedict Cumberbatch, “The Imitation Game“)

Best Actor (Musical/Comedy): Michael Keaton, “Birdman” (alt. Joaquin Phoenix, “Inherent Vice“)

Best Actress (Drama): Julianne Moore, “Still Alice” (alt. Reese Witherspoon, “Wild“)

Best Actress (Musical/Comedy): Emily Blunt, “Into the Woods” (alt. Amy Adams, “Big Eyes“)

Best Supporting Actor: J.K. Simmons, “Whiplash” (alt. Edward Norton, “Birdman“)

Best Supporting Actress: Patricia Arquette, “Boyhood” (alt. Meryl Streep, “Into the Woods“)

Best Director: Richard Linklater, “Boyhood” (alt. Ava DuVernay, “Selma“)

Best Screenplay:Boyhood” (alt. “Gone Girl”)

Best Foreign Language Film: Ida” (alt. “Leviathan“)

Best Score:Interstellar” (alt. “Gone Girl“)

Best Song: Big Eyes from “Big Eyes” (alt. Glory from “Selma“)

Boyhood (2)

6:20 P.M. Well, running a little late due to packing, but I’m ready to start the constant glueing of my eyes to the TV and computer screen.  I’m looking forward to a hilarious ceremony that hopefully features some deserving winners!  I’m not necessarily pulling strongly for a single movie, so I guess I’m Team Boyhood.





LIVE BLOGGING the 2013 Academy Awards!

2 03 2014

12:00 A.M.  S0 7 Oscars for “Gravity,” 3 for “12 Years a Slave” and “Dallas Buyers Club,” 2 for “Frozen” and “The Great Gatsby” … and none for “American Hustle.”  The Oscars, so great and so cruel.

12:00 A.M.  Steve McQueen jumping up and down, how joyous!

11:59 P.M.  Seeing Paul Dano on stage makes me angry.

11:59 P.M.  Two years in a row of a split Best Picture/Best Director.  Wow.

11:58 P.M.  Two years too late for “Shame,” but still glad for Steve McQueen.

11:57 P.M.  Brad Pitt, now an Oscar winner.

Chiwetel Ejiofor

11:57 P.M.  BEST PICTURE: “12 YEARS A SLAVE”

11:54 P.M.  YES ALRIGHT ALRIGHT ALRIGHT!

11:52 P.M.  I think Woody Allen got more applause than God, yikes.

11:51 P.M.  I see Matthew McConaughey’s mom, the real star of “Bernie!”

Matthew McConaughey

11:50 P.M.  BEST ACTOR: MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY, “DALLAS BUYERS CLUB”

11:47 P.M.  Oh, Cate.  So classy.  And a beautiful dish on “Gravity.”  Muted applause on the mention of Woody Allen, eek.  Thank you so much for calling out Hollywood for not making movies about women and applauding intelligent audiences!

Cate Blanchett

11:44 P.M.  BEST ACTRESS: CATE BLANCHETT, “BLUE JASMINE

Cuaron

11:34 P.M.  BEST DIRECTOR: ALFONSO CUARON, “GRAVITY

11:29 P.M.  So “American Hustle” has now gone from once-frontrunner to completely blanked … it’s not going to win anything left.  GRR!  This reminds me of back in 2009 when “Up in the Air” lost Best Adapted Screenplay.

11:28 P.M.  Nice, short speech – poor Spike Jonze, he should be less humble!

Her Production Design

11:27 P.M.  BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: “HER”

12 Years a Slave

11:24 P.M.  BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: “12 YEARS A SLAVE”

11:18 P.M.  What an awesome speech to their daughters.  Here’s to EGOT for Bobby Lopez!

Let It Go

11:16 P.M.  BEST ORIGINAL SONG: “LET IT GO,” FROZEN

Gravity once more

11:14 P.M.  BEST ORIGINAL SCORE: “GRAVITY

11:07 P.M.  Also, they handled the Sarah Jones controversy nicely.  Forgot to mention.

11:02 P.M.  Ellen’s selfie broke Obama’s record for most retweets!

10:57 P.M.  Wow, we lost some incredible talent from the film industry this year.  Much of them too soon.

10:53 P.M.  In Memoriam, here come the tears…

10:46 P.M.  Of course, the first person on the Chris Evans-introduced montage is … Captain America.

Gatsby sets

10:44 P.M.  BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN: THE GREAT GATSBY

10:42 P.M.  Wonderful outfit change, Ellen.

10:34 P.M.  P!nk?!  What the heck?!

10:31 P.M.  THE FIRST OSCAR FOR ALFONSO CUARON!

Gravity Score

10:31 P.M.  BEST FILM EDITING: GRAVITY

10:29 P.M.  Two years too late for “The Tree of Life,” but about time Lubezki gets his Oscar!  (P.S. – Great shout-out by Bill Murray to the late Harold Ramis.)

Gravity Cinematography

10:27 P.M.  BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: “GRAVITY

10:26 P.M.  “Baby, you look like $146 million domestic.”  – Bill Murray, to Amy Adams

10:22 P.M.  Jared Leto giving the pizza to his mom!  Adorable.

10:22 P.M.  Brad Pitt, waiter of the year.

10:16 P.M.  What a beautiful speech by Lupita Nyong’o.  Everyone is so moved, including a teary-eyed Brad Pitt.  BRILLIANT!  Melissa Leo, shame on you.

Lupita

10:14 P.M.  BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: LUPITA NYONG’O, “12 YEARS A SLAVE”

GRAVITY

10:09 P.M.  BEST SOUND EDITING: “GRAVITY

10:07 P.M.  BEST SOUND MIXING: “GRAVITY

10:03 P.M.  THE MOST EPIC SELFIE EVER TAKEN!

9:56 P.M.  The tasteful simplicity of U2 and Karen O makes me realize just how tacky Pharrell was.

The gREAT bEAUTY

9:50 P.M.  BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM: “THE GREAT BEAUTY

9:43 P.M.  Seriously, why wouldn’t they show the dang Honorary Oscar winners in the crowd?  Ok, one shot of Angelina Jolie…

9:40 P.M.  YES TO THE FRANK UNDERWOOD ACCENT!

9:39 P.M.  Hooray for Darlene Love getting her big moment in the spotlight!  Standing ovation!

9:37 P.M.  BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: “20 FEET FROM STARDOM”

9:35 P.M.  I really want to see this short now.  Like, SO badly.

9:33 P.M.  BEST SHORT FILM (DOCUMENTARY): “THE LADY IN NUMBER 6”

9:31 P.M.  BEST SHORT FILM (LIVE ACTION): “HELIUM”

9:24 P.M.  I’m melting, “The Moon Song” is so adorable!

GRAVITY

9:22 P.M.  BEST VISUAL EFFECTS: “GRAVITY

9:18 P.M.  I spent the entire first half of the montage trying to figure out what the song in the montage was … it was the theme song from “Revolutionary Road.”  Ears, why didst thou fail me?

9:16 P.M.  Aww, his son!  Beautiful.

Frozen

9:15 P.M.  BEST ANIMATED FILM: “FROZEN

9:13 P.M.  BEST SHORT FILM – ANIMATED: “MR. HUBLOT”

9:04 P.M.  “American Hustle” should win!!!  Why did Harrison Ford sound so bored?!

Rayon

9:00 P.M. BEST MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING: “DALLAS BUYERS CLUB”

Gatsby

8:58 P.M.  BEST COSTUME DESIGN: “THE GREAT GATSBY

8:56 P.M.  Ellen to Jonah Hill: “No, I don’t want to see it.”  Dig this running gag.

8:53 P.M.  Time for a commercial break!  This is like watching “The Wolf of Wall Street” – overwhelming.

8:52 P.M.  Ok, Meryl Streep dancing … joyous.

8:51 P.M.  That hat … Pharrell … stop.

8:47 P.M.  Jim Carrey, you scare me.

8:46 P.M.  Ellen’s picture reminds me of her 2007 shenanigans…

8:45 P.M.  Nice of Leto to go shake Jonah Hill’s hand.  And love the shout-out to Ellen.  But best of all is his heartfelt tribute to his mother!  A beautiful speech that gets political but not too touchy.

Jared Leto

8:42 P.M.  BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: JARED LETO, “DALLAS BUYERS CLUB”

8:40 P.M.  “Possibilty #1: ’12 Years a Slave’ wins Best Picture.  Possbility #2: you’re all racists.” – Ellen

8:37 P.M.  “If you [J-Law] wins, I think we should bring you the Oscar!”- Ellen

8:36 P.M.  So jealous of Nicholas Hoult right now…

8:35 P.M.  “One of the nominees is ‘Her,’ and by ‘her,’ I mean Meryl Streep.” – Ellen

8:33 P.M.  “Movies offer us an escape.”  Gulp.  THEY OFFER SO MUCH MORE!

8:32 P.M.  Aww, June Squibb!  Come on, Ellen, that’s kind of mean…

8:30 P.M.  Ellen in pantsuit, called it.

8:23 P.M.  So close!

8:11 P.M.  The fashion winners, because obviously:

Lupita Nyong'o

JLaw red carpet

June Squibb

June Squibb is just too awesome!

8:03 P.M.  And once again, I have mistaken the ending of E!’s program for the start of the ceremony.  Classic!

8:00 P.M.  BEST PICTURE AND BEST DIRECTOR WHAT IT CAN’T BE TIME TO PREDICT THOSE NO NO NO

Gravity

Best Director

Will win: Alfonso Cuarón, “Gravity
Could win: Steve McQueen, “12 Years a Slave”
Should win: David O. Russell, “American Hustle”
Should be nominated: Sarah Polley, “Stories We Tell

The passion project 4 years in the making gives Cuarón an easy win.

Best Picture

Will win: “Gravity
Could win: “12 Years a Slave”
Should win: “American Hustle”
Should be nominated: “Spring Breakers”

I go “Gravity” because it’s going to win everything else, it’s never wise to split Best Picure/Director, and I think people might be over-manufacturing the whole need for “12 Years a Slave” to win.  I keep reading that people will not watch it.  So I give the edge to “Gravity.”

And in case you missed the thread running through this post, “Spring Breakers” should be making a huge appearance in these awards if justice had been served this year.

7:54 P.M.  Supporting categories – one easy, one that’s so tight I’m still agonizing about it.

Best Supporting Actor

Will win: Jared Leto, “Dallas Buyers Club”
Could win: Michael Fassbender, “12 Years a Slave”
Should win: Bradley Cooper, “American Hustle”
Should be nominated: James Franco, “Spring Breakers”

Leto wins this one easily.  Too bad for Fassbender and Cooper.

Best Supporting Actress

Will win: Lupita Nyong’o, “12 Years a Slave”
Could win: Jennifer Lawrence, “American Hustle”
Should win: Jennifer Lawrence, “American Hustle”
Should be nominated: Emma Watson, “The Bling Ring

I give Nyong’o the edge since J-Law won last year, and “12 Years a Slave” is more of a threat to win Best Picture.  But I honestly don’t know!

7:46 P.M.  Leading actor categories!  The time is coming, I can barely type straight!

6) Blue Jasmine

Best Actress

Will win: Cate Blanchett, “Blue Jasmine
Could win: Amy Adams, “American Hustle”
Should win: Cate Blanchett, “Blue Jasmine
Should be nominated: Berenice Bejo, “The Past”

No-brainer.  Maybe Adams surprises, but I don’t think it’s going to happen.  Amy Adams will win on her next nomination, I bet.

Best Actor

Will win: Matthew McConaughey, “Dallas Buyers Club”
Could win: Leonardo DiCaprio, “The Wolf of Wall Street
Should win: Bruce Dern, “Nebraska
Should be nominated: Robert Redford, “All Is Lost”

McConaughey walks away with this one … alright, alright, alright.

7:40 P.M.  Can’t believe I’m already at the screenplays!!!  Ahhh we’re getting close!

Bale Hustle

Best Original Screenplay

Will win: “American Hustle”
Could win: “Her”
Should win: “American Hustle”
Should be nominated: “Inside Llewyn Davis”

I’m hoping that David O. Russell gets his first Oscar win in this category, though Spike Jonze could get his first here too.  The love for “American Hustle” ran deeper than “Her,” so that broke the tie.

Best Adapted Screenplay

Will win: “12 Years a Slave”
Could win: “Philomena
Should win: “Philomena
Should be nominated: “Lone Survivor

The only no-brainer for “12 Years a Slave” of the night.

7:30 P.M.  J.Law just tripped on the red carpet!!! She’s my idol.

7:25 P.M.  Cate Blanchett’s a little out on a limb with that dress, but she still looks stunning.  Anyways, got to crank out more predictions!

Best Film Editing

Will win: “Captain Phillips
Could win: “Gravity
Should win: “American Hustle”
Should be nominated: “Spring Breakers”

Tom Hanks

I think the more traditionally edited “Captain Phillips” prevails here over the minimally edited “Gravity.”  But it could easily sweep the techs.

7:21 P.M.  Ok, finishing out the tech categories … I actually hadn’t even made up my mind before writing this, so here we go!

Best Production Design

Will win: “The Great Gatsby
Could win: “Gravity
Should win: “Her”
Should be nominated: “Inside Llewyn Davis”

I assume the opulence of “The Great Gatsby” wins out here, but I think “Gravity” or “Her” could surprise.

Best Costume Design

Will win: “American Hustle”
Could win: “The Great Gatsby
Should win: “American Hustle”
Should be nominated: “Her”

1) American Hustle

This is a bit of a guess.  I love what the threads of “American Hustle” said about the characters, though the more traditionally elaborate work on “The Great Gatsby” or “The Invisible Woman” could easily win.

7:08 P.M.  If only someone foreign had arrived for me to usher in my prediction for Best Foreign Film…

Best Foreign Language Film

Will win: “The Great Beauty
Could win: “The Hunt
Should win: “The Hunt
Should be nominated: “The Past”

9) The Hunt

As much as I’d love to see “The Hunt” happen, 21 months after I first saw it in Cannes, I think the Oscars are going to succumb to the opulence of “The Great Beauty.”  Funny, last year at Cannes it had no buzz upon its premiere…

7:06 P.M.  Jared Leto and June Squibb, officially dating – you heard it first on E!

7:05 P.M.  June Squibb, so adorable!

7:04 P.M.  Now that Naomi Watts has arrived, it seems like a good time to predict Best Hair and Makeup.  (Bit of a non-sequitur, but who cares?)

Best Hair and Makeup

Will win: “Dallas Buyers Club”
Could win: “Bad Grandpa”
Should win: “Dallas Buyers Club”
Should be nominated: “American Hustle”

I think voters will be too embarrassed to vote for one of the other two nominees.  “Dallas Buyers Club” seemed to have enough love across the board to score here.  Surprisingly, its makeup budget was $250.

7:00 P.M.  Ok, let’s get the “Gravity” awards – I mean, the technical awards – predicted.  P.S. Lupita Nyong’o, you are adorable.

Best Cinematography

Will win: “Gravity
Could win: “Inside Llewyn Davis”
Should win: “Gravity
Should be nominated: “12 Years a Slave”

Sandra Bullock in Gravity

Emmanuel Lubezki will finally get his due, redeeming his snub for “The Tree of Life.”  Maybe next year for Roger Deakins…

Best Visual Effects

Will win: “Gravity
Could win: no one
Should win: “Gravity
Should be nominated: “The Great Gatsby

Duh.

6:51 P.M.   Pharrell Williams … in shorts?!  What?!

Also, Cate Blanchett, why did you have to be so good that I can’t root unequivocally for Amy Adams?!  Ok, more predictions.

Best Animated Film

Will win: “Frozen
Could win: “The Wind Rises”
Should win: abstain
Should be nominated: “Monsters University

Another no-brainer.  Maybe Miyazaki love surprises, but “Frozen” is too big of a hit to deny.

Best Documentary Feature

Will win: “20 Feet from Stardom
Could win: “The Act of Killing
Should win: “The Square”
Should be nominated: “Stories We Tell

Similar to the above category, crowd-pleaser over intellectualism.  Still so bitter that “Stories We Tell” isn’t here.

6:40 P.M.  Jason Sudeikis and Olivia Wilde, still one of the more puzzling Hollywood couples.

6:34 P.M.  In keeping with the theme of sound, here are my predictions for the sound categories.

Best Sound Mixing/Editing

Will win: “Gravity
Could win: “Lone Survivor”
Should win: “Gravity
Should be nominated: “Spring Breakers”

I know these categories are separate, but “Gravity” is easily going to win them both.  (For those curious about the difference, sound mixing is the adjustment of sound levels and sound editing is the creation of sound.  At least I think…)

SoundWorks Collection: The Sound of Gravity from Michael Coleman on Vimeo.

6:28 P.M.  HOT DAMN AMY ADAMS!!!

6:26 P.M.  More music predictions as I hear Pharrell’s “Happy” in the Fiat commercial.

Best Original Score

Will win: “Gravity
Could win: “Philomena
Should win: “Gravity
Should be nominated: “Spring Breakers”

The sonic experience of “Gravity” will probably go for 3-for-3.  Maybe Alexander Desplat finally gets his moment in the sun (much needed since “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button“) but the time doesn’t feel right.

6:20 P.M.  So I just mistook Portia Di Rossi for Helen Mirren … yikes.  So how about another prediction?!

Best Original Song

Will win: “Let It Go,” Frozen
Could win: “Happy,” Despicable Me 2
Should win: “The Moon Song,” Her
Should be nominated: “Young and Beautiful,” The Great Gatsby

Mega-hit “Frozen” ought to run away with this category, which has two chart-toppers gunning for Oscar gold.  Though I’d love to see Karen O surprise and earn Spike Jonze his first Oscar.  (Maybe if the newest version was in the film, it would have had a better chance.)

6:14 P.M.  Viola Davis, so classy.  You rock.

5:53 P.M.  Come on, celebs, show up already!

5:41 P.M.  I’m going to go ahead and log my first set of predictions.  Might as well get the ball rolling.

Best Short Film (Live Action/Animated/Documentary)

Will win: “Helium,” “Get a Horse,” “The Lady in Number 6”

I made an effort to go see the shorts this year, but I was thwarted by bad weather.  These are the general consensus across the Internet.

5:38 P.M.  Watching Dave Karger dumb down his Oscar picks for the E! crowd is amusing.

5:30 P.M.  Time to start the Oscars LIVE BLOG!  The red carpet has begun on E!  (I’m a little later than normal this year, my apologies for anyone who was really hoping for extremely early coverage.)





The 2013 Oscar Nominations!

16 01 2014

Best Picture

  • “American Hustle”
  • “Captain Phillips”
  • “Dallas Buyers Club”
  • “Gravity”
  • “Her”
  • “Nebraska”
  • Philomena
  • “12 Years a Slave”
  • The Wolf of Wall Street

Best Director

  • Alfonso Cuaron, “Gravity”
  • Steve McQueen, “12 Years a Slave”
  • Alexander Payne, “Nebraska”
  • David O. Russell, “American Hustle”
  • Martin Scorsese, “The Wolf of Wall Street

Best Actor

  • 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”

Best Actress

  • Amy Adams, “American Hustle”
  • Cate Blanchett, “Blue Jasmine
  • Sandra Bullock, “Gravity”
  • Judi Dench, “Philomena
  • Meryl Streep, “August: Osage County”

Best Supporting Actor

  • Barkhad Abdi, “Captain Phillips”
  • Bradley Cooper, “American Hustle”
  • Michael Fassbender, “12 Years a Slave”
  • Jonah Hill, “The Wolf of Wall Street
  • Jared Leto, “Dallas Buyers Club”

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”

Best Original Screenplay

  • “American Hustle”
  • Blue Jasmine
  • “Dallas Buyers Club”
  • “Her”
  • “Nebraska”

Best Adapted Screenplay

Read on for my commentary on the nominations!

Big winners

American Hustle“American Hustle.”  It’s tied for the most nominations of the day with 10, further cementing its status as the one to beat for Best Picture.  It does have to share the title of nominations leader with “Gravity” since it missed out on what I assumed would have been a slam-dunk nomination for Best Makeup and Hairstyling.

David O. Russell.  Two years ago, there hadn’t been a movie nominated in all four acting categories since 1981.  Now, David O. Russell has directed two straight movies and two straight casts to achieve that feat … in back-to-back years, no less.  He’s nominated for Best Original Screenplay and Best Director; the man simply has to walk away with something this Oscar night.

“Dallas Buyers Club.”  Kicking the Coens out of Best Original Screenplay was quite a feat, but showing up in Best Editing over “The Wolf of Wall Street” or a film like “Rush?”  That’s a surprising show of strength.

“Nebraska.”  Alexander Payne making it 3-for-3 on Best Director/Best Picture nominations is certainly a feather in his cap.  Showing up in cinematography over “12 Years a Slave” is a surprise as well.

HerJonah Hill and Bradley Cooper.  I’d like to once again point out that if you’d told me four years ago that these two guys would be two-time Oscar nominees today, I wouldn’t have believed you.  Snaps for a remarkable career transition!

Amy Adams.  She stars in two Best Picture nominees and can now celebrate her first Best Actress nomination!  For those of you following at home, that’s five nominations for Adams in nine years.  It took Kate Winslet twelve years to get five nominations.  So a win has to be around the corner, right?

Megan Ellison.  Daughter of Oracle billionaire Larry Ellison, Megan has put her inheritance to good use by financing tricky projects that would otherwise be a struggle to make.  Today, she was rewarded with two Oscar nominations for “American Hustle” and “Her.”

“Blue Jasmine.”  Sally Hawkins getting a Best Supporting Actress nomination bodes will for Cate Blanchett’s win in Best Actress.  I thought for a second it might have popped up in Best Picture, but it was not to be.

My Best Picture predictions!  My projected lineup turned out to be the Academy’s lineup!  Granted, I found this year relatively easy to forecast.  Getting the number, though, is something that always worries me with the sliding field.

Big losers

Saving Mr. Banks“Saving Mr. Banks.”  Once considered a legitimate threat to win the “sentimental” Best Picture slot, the Disney biopic couldn’t even get a nomination for its leading lady Emma Thompson (who had racked up every necessary precursor to seemingly secure a spot).  In fact, its only mention came in Best Original Score.

“Captain Phillips.”  Not that it was every a real threat to win, but missing out in both Best Actor and Best Director to “The Wolf of Wall Street” means it’s probably not in the top 5.

Tom Hanks.  The two-time Oscar winner had been tipped to be a two-time nominee earlier this year.  Then, his prospects dwindled for “Saving Mr. Banks.”  But today, Hanks struck out with the Academy.  Guess it’s only Meryl Streep who gets nominated for everything.

“All Is Lost.”  A few months ago, people thought this would be a Best Picture contender.  Today, it managed to only net one nomination … in Best Sound Editing.  Robert Redford couldn’t crack the tight Best Actor field, which I did predict.  Sometimes, they aren’t as sentimental towards older actors as they’re made out to be.

“Inside Llewyn Davis.”  Guess the love for the Coen Brothers isn’t as deep as I thought.  I knew a Best Picture nomination wasn’t likely, but no recognition for their fantastic screenplay?  Robbed, I tell you, ROBBED!

Captain Phillips

“The Butler.”  Potential Best Picture spoiler?  Oprah Winfrey a lock for Best Supporting Actress?  WRONG.  Totally blanked.

“Spring Breakers” and “Stories We Tell.”  While my favorite movie of the year was also the most nominated, my #2 and #3 selections did not fare so well.  While the former was not expected to make any showing, Sarah Polley’s bold and brilliant feature should easily have scored a nomination for Best Documentary Feature.  But alas, it was snubbed.

“12 Years a Slave.”  Not a big loser, but not being the nominations leader makes its claim for Best Picture inevitability dubious.  It could have tied “American Hustle” and “Gravity,” but it missed out on what I assumed would have been a slam-dunk: Best Cinematography.





Oscar Moment: Final 2013 Predictions! (Part 2)

15 01 2014

Last night, I had a very stressful dream that involved me missing the official announcement of the Academy Award nominations.  I then scrambled all day to try and watch a video of the presentation to no avail.  So needless to say, I am very ready to find out who’s really in the running for this year’s Oscars!  Now, it’s time to reveal my predictions for the top categories.

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

  1. American Hustle
  2. Her
  3. Nebraska
  4. Blue Jasmine
  5. Inside Llewyn Davis

_DSC2097.tifThis may be the most stacked that the original category has been in a long, long time.  Usually, it’s adapted that is an embarrassment of riches and original that has a dearth of contenders. Not so much in 2013.

“American Hustle,” being at the forefront of the Oscar race, is probably the one to beat here.  “Her,” however, could steal it in the end.  Jonze’s incredibly original work took the Golden Globe, and it will likely find fans in the writers’ branch.  Then again, they didn’t embrace “The Master” last year … the moment you think you have the Academy pegged, they change.

“Nebraska” seems highly likely as well.  Even though the script was not written by Alexander Payne himself, the 2-time winner of Best Adapted Screenplay, the film still has his fingerprints all over it.  A nomination would still be likely even if the film wasn’t in Best Picture contention.

Blue JasmineAfter there, the race could go a number of ways.  I’m thinking writers’ branch stalwart Woody Allen will show up here for “Blue Jasmine.”  It’s one of his more acclaimed films in years, and Blanchett’s front-runner status in Best Actress has kept the film’s profile high.  Only twice has Allen’s script missed a nomination here when the movie features an Oscar-nominated performance.  He’s been nominated a whopping 15 times, so betting against him seems foolish.

“Dallas Buyers Club” is riding high off praise for its performances and may sail to a Best Picture nomination.  Even without a nod in the top category, I could see it popping up here, like last year when “Flight” displaced “The Master.”  (If you can’t tell, I’m still slightly bitter.)

There’s always a chance for a really left-field choice here, so who knows what could land a nomination?  Could it be Jeff Nichols’ “Mud?”  Nicole Holofcener’s “Enough Said?”  Oscar contenders likely to be on the outside looking in such as “Saving Mr. Banks,” “Fruitvale Station,” “The Butler,” or maybe even … Alfonso Cuaron’s “Gravity?”

I’m leaning towards the Coen Brothers’ “Inside Llewyn Davis,” another fantastic showcase of their talents and potentially one of the few chances the film has at recognition.  Though it’s been absent from the guilds, the Coens have always had fans in the Academy.  The writers branch has nominated their work five times, and residual respect ought to bring them through.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

  1. 12 Years a Slave
  2. Captain Phillips
  3. Philomena
  4. Before Midnight
  5. The Wolf of Wall Street

Before MidnightBest Picture nominees generally tend to dominate the field in Adapted, so “12 Years a Slave,” “Captain Phillips,” and “Philomena” have pretty much already punched their ticket.

The category usually recognizes a few more unique adaptations, like a “Borat,” “Children of Men,” or “In the Loop.”  This year, I think that slot goes to “Before Midnight.”  The previous installment in the most unlikely trilogy also received a nomination in Best Adapted Screenplay, and there’s no reason why I don’t think its sequel will repeat.  It’s debatable how “adapted” the story really is as it takes its basis from pre-existing characters, but that won’t work against it.  The unique collaboration between director Richard Linklater and actors Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke is worth rewarding in and of itself too for its uniqueness.

As for the last spot, I think “The Wolf of Wall Street” takes it even if the film misses out on a Best Picture nomination.  The only other competition is “August: Osage County,” which has proved divisive and controversial.  It’s also more of an actors’ movie, which works against the film when only writers determine its chances at a nomination here.

BEST DIRECTOR

  1. Alfonso Cuarón, “Gravity”
  2. Steve McQueen, “12 Years a Slave”
  3. David O. Russell, “American Hustle”
  4. Paul Greengrass, “Captain Phillips”
  5. Spike Jonze, “Her”

GravityLast year, the director’s branch threw everyone for a curve by excluding two former winners (Kathryn Bigelow, Tom Hooper) and omitting the director of the eventual Best Picture winner (Ben Affleck) to include a first-time filmmaker (Benh Zeitlin) and a director working in a foreign language (Michael Haneke).  I don’t think Best Director will have quite as many surprise this year, though.

Alfonso Cuarón seems likely for a nomination, if not the win at this point.  His “Gravity” is an undeniable testament to the skill and expertise of his direction.  Even if the Academy doesn’t want to give their top prize to a science-fiction movie, Cuarón could still take home this prize.  The man has been nominated as an editor and a writer previously, so respect runs deep through the organization.

Steve McQueen and David O. Russell, directors of the respective Best Picture shoo-ins “12 Years a Slave” and “American Hustle,” should also be safe.  Russell even managed a nomination in Best Director last year for “Silver Linings Playbook” despite being snubbed by the DGA.  He got the guild’s support this year, so he’s definitely a force to be reckoned with.

Paul Greengrass scored a lone Best Director nomination back in 2006 for “United 93” (perhaps the film would have been nominated in a field of more than 5) and seems likely to score another nod with “Captain Phillips.”  His steady direction is crucial to the film’s success, and though it’s out of the hunt for a win, I’d be shocked to see it passed over given the respect for Greengrass and the film.

ScorseseAs for the fifth and final spot in the category, the directors branch could nominate Alexander Payne for “Nebraska,” whose work was recognized by the Golden Globes.  Or they could give DGA nominee Martin Scorsese his first Best Director nomination since finally winning in 2006 for “The Departed.”  I really can’t tell which of these wildly different pieces will strike a chord with the eclectic directors.  My sense is that Payne, twice nominated here for “Sideways” and “The Descendants,” is more likely than Scorsese as “The Wolf of Wall Street” definitely has its detractors.

I’m inclined to think, though, that the directors will opt to give the final spot to Spike Jonze for “Her.”  It’s a film that represents a clear directorial vision and creation.  The movie is quirky and may not play well across the board to the Academy, but I think it should resonate with the directors.  They gave him a Best Director nomination back in 1999 for his directorial debut “Being John Malkovich,” so there’s no reason to think he shouldn’t be feted again.

BEST PICTURE

  1. American Hustle
  2. 12 Years a Slave
  3. Gravity
  4. Captain Phillips
  5. Nebraska
  6. Her
  7. Dallas Buyers Club
  8. The Wolf of Wall Street
  9. Philomena
  10. Inside Llewyn Davis

NebraskaWell, here, we are.  My final Best Picture predictions.  It’s down to “American Hustle” vs. “12 Years a Slave” vs. “Gravity” for the win; everybody else should just be happy to put “__ Oscar nominations including BEST PICTURE” on their DVD case.  I think “American Hustle” has the edge at the moment, but the upcoming guilds should provide a clearer picture of who is really on top.  After all, it’s those people whose opinions line up most with Academy voters.

“Captain Phillips” and “Nebraska” are also pretty much shoo-ins, collecting pretty much every major nomination necessary to secure a spot here.  (“Nebraska” missed with the DGA, but that’s not the end of the world in an expanded field.)  Again, neither looks like a threat to win here.

Aside from those five, however, it’s anyone’s guess as to how those other spots play out.  Several films have popped up with a blip on the radar, such as “The Butler” (SAG), “August: Osage County” (SAG), “Blue Jasmine” (PGA), “Fruitvale Station” (AFI), and “Rush” (HFPA).  Of these, I think only “Blue Jasmine” has the chance to surprise.  The Producers Guild is a significant voting body, and their nod of support should not be taken lightly.  But “Blue Jasmine” has been so quiet on the circuit otherwise compared to “Midnight in Paris.”  Woody Allen’s respect in the Academy is deep, too, so there’s always an outside chance for one of his movies.

For SAG ensemble nominees “The Butler” and “August: Osage County,” I don’t think their critical shortcomings can be overcome with this nomination.  While the actors may be the biggest component of the Academy, we’ve learned they are not large enough to power otherwise poorly-received films to Best Picture nominations in the era of the expanded field.  SAG ensemble nominees Nine” and “The Best Exotic Margiold Hotel” both faltered in their quest to be recognized in the industry’s top category, and the two aforementioned 2013 nominees will likely fare the same.

“Fruitvale Station” and “Rush” just never really caught fire in awards season, and I doubt that either can gin up the passion to gain the requisite votes for a nomination.

PhilomenaThat leaves us with several repeat offenders.  “Her” was a Golden Globe, BFCA, PGA, WGA, and AFI nominee.  Thought its quirkiness and boldness might not find favor with all Academy voters, it definitely has enough passionate supporters to at least gain a nomination.

“Dallas Buyers Club” was nominated for SAG ensemble along with BFCA, PGA, and WGA nominations.  The film seems to have a broad enough base of support, but there’s always a chance that the supporters aren’t very fervent.  I think it ought to be fine, though.

“The Wolf of Wall Street” is very controversial, as I’ve said nearly any time I’ve written about it, but the film seems to have hit its stride just when it counts.  Though it missed entirely with SAG, it’s been nominated by the DGA, PGA, WGA, BFCA, and HFPA.  I think all that support means a nomination is extremely likely, but anything could happen.

I think the Academy might end up with just those eight, which would be a shame given how incredible this year has been for film.  But if they nominate nine, I think “Philomena” would take the next spot.  It’s a sentimental crowd-pleaser right up the Academy’s alley, and it’s British.  There’s a sizable contingency of industry professionals from across the pond that vote for the Oscars, and they’ve been a crucial voting bloc that can often make a contender.  “Philomena” has wide support from BAFTA, HFPA, PGA, and WGA, which I expect means it has the capability of scoring a Best Picture nomination at the Oscars.

Inside Llewyn DavisAnd if they were to nominate ten, the smart money would probably be on PGA, BFCA, and AFI nominee “Saving Mr. Banks.”  The fact that it was not nominated by the Golden Globes and SAG, though, strikes me as odd.  Tom Hanks’ lack of traction in Best Supporting Actor, too, seems a sign of the film’s weakness.  “Philomena” seems to have the market cornered on the heartwarming movie of the year.  Maybe the industry is done with the self-congratulatory streak that powered “The Artist” and “Argo” to Best Picture wins.

Even though it was shockingly snubbed by the PGA and WGA, “Inside Llewyn Davis” was directed by the Coen Brothers.  Their status as Academy darlings simply cannot be understated, particularly after their wins in 2007 for “No Country for Old Men.”  In 2009, their “A Serious Man” managed to sneak into the Best Picture category with relatively little heat.  The next year, their “True Grit” wound up with a whopping 10 nominations, and the Coens displaced Christopher Nolan in Best Director.

“Inside Llewyn Davis” hasn’t been completely dead on the circuit, picking up nominations from HFPA, BFCA, and AFI.  It’s definitely a long shot, but don’t write the film off.  I think if any movie stands poised to stealthily crack the field, it’s this one.

Check back tomorrow morning when the nominees are announced to see how I did in predicting them, along with further commentary on the announcement!





OSCAR MOMENT: Final 2013 Predictions! (Part 1)

14 01 2014

Well, folks, hard to believe that we’ll have a fresh batch of Oscar nominations in less than 2 days. Where has the time gone? Seems like just yesterday that I was posting my first (and, sadly, my only) predictions that included Naomi Watts in the thick of the Best Actress race for “Diana.” But now that all the ballots are in, the jury is still out on how a few of the races will go.

Who is about to have a great wake-up call on Thursday? I sort through the acting races races below.

BEST ACTOR

  1. Matthew McConaughey, “Dallas Buyers Club”
  2. Chiwetel Ejiofor, “12 Years a Slave”
  3. Tom Hanks, “Captain Phillips”
  4. Bruce Dern, “Nebraska”
  5. Leonardo DiCaprio, “The Wolf of Wall Street

Bale HustleThe top 3 seem pretty secure to me.  There’s a slim chance of Hanks falling out simply because this isn’t his first rodeo and voters might want to give their vote to a fresher face.  But aside from frontrunners McConaughey and Ejiofor, very few of the top nominees are new to the game.

Oscar Isaac in “Inside Llewyn Davis” and Michael B. Jordan in “Fruitvale Station,” both gave great breakout performances.  Maybe in a less competitive year, they’d have broken through.  In 2013, I’d be shocked if they could crack this field.  It doesn’t help that neither movie seemed to gain much traction during precursor season.  Past winner Forest Whitaker for “The Butler” and past nominee Robert Redford for “All Is Lost” seem unlikely as well as both of their movies have not been heavily recognized on the circuit.

Christian Bale stands a chance of showing up here, especially after netting nominations from the Golden Globes, Critics’ Choice, and BAFTA awards for his electric work in “American Hustle.”  He’s won once off his only nomination, which feels like a huge injustice for his vast talents.  If there’s enough love for the movie, he could land a spot.  But losing at the Globes, which clearly loved “American Hustle,” indicates that love for his performance may be wide but not very deep.

Bruce Dern has campaigned his tail off for “Nebraska,” and it’s clear that he really wants to win.  The film has found plenty of fans, and it’s hard to see him missing out since he’s responsible for so much of its efficacy.  He’s been nominated by the triple crown of SAG, HFPA (Golden Globes), and BFCA (Critics’ Choice), yet that’s no assurance of an Oscar nomination these days.  It’s not shocking that he didn’t win the Golden Globe since the organization probably wanted the ultra-wattage of Leonardo DiCaprio up on stage.  The Academy goes back-and-forth on being sentimental for veterans of the craft; I don’t think they’ll be able to resist at least a nomination for Dern though.

Leo Wolf

Upon its release, I would have counted Leonardo DiCaprio out of the race for Best Actor.  But he’s been more active than ever speaking up for his movie, and it really pushed “The Wolf of Wall Street” into the conversation.  The late surge of momentum may not be enough to counter his omission from both SAG and BFCA – DiCaprio netted the precursor triple crown for “J. Edgar” but still found no love from the Academy in 2011.  The Globe win, however, gives me the sense that he’ll slide into a nomination.

It would be his first since “Blood Diamond” in 2006 … since then, he’s starred in “Revolutionary Road,” “Shutter Island,” “Inception,” “Django Unchained,” and “The Great Gatsby.”  This might very well be a nomination rewarding that whole string of excellent performances.

BEST ACTRESS

  1. Cate Blanchett, “Blue Jasmine
  2. Sandra Bullock, “Gravity”
  3. Judi Dench, “Philomena
  4. Emma Thompson, “Saving Mr. Banks
  5. Amy Adams, “American Hustle”

MerylBlanchett has this all but sealed up now.  It would take a major blunder on-stage for her to lose Best Actress at this point, but we all know that’s not going to happen.  It’s Cate Blanchett – she’s about the classiest actress around.

Bullock, Dench, and Thompson should all coast right in with no problem.  All 3 prior winners have been nominated by SAG, HFPA, and BFCA, and their films all have a sizable base of fans to pull them through.

The last bit of suspense in this category will come on nominations morning as we wait to see if it’s Meryl Streep for “August: Osage County” or Amy Adams for “American Hustle.”  Streep’s case is … well, she’s Meryl Streep.  The Oscars rarely pass up an opportunity to nominate her, but maybe the reflex will not be as strong now that she’s won the third Oscar for “The Iron Lady” two years ago.  She’s hit all the big precursors so far, scoring all the same major nominations as the previously mentioned actresses.  Her film, though, has not been particularly well-received.

Adams HustleAmy Adams is an Academy favorite herself though, racking up an impressive four Best Supporting Actress nominations in the past nine years.  She’s never been recognized as a leading lady, and a nomination here would send the message, “We’re working on getting you that Oscar win one day, Amy, we promise!”  Though she did not land a SAG nomination, she’s been recognized by the BFCA and BAFTA.  Moreover, she beat Meryl Streep for Best Actress at the Golden Globes.

It’s unclear if the Academy will love “American Hustle” as much as the HFPA did.  I feel pretty confident, though, that respect for Adams and the film she commands will overpower the impulse to give Streep her bazillionth nomination.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

  1. Jared Leto, “Dallas Buyers Club”
  2. Michael Fassbender, “12 Years a Slave”
  3. Barkhad Abdi, “Captain Phillips”
  4. Bradley Cooper, “American Hustle”
  5. Daniel Brühl, “Rush

AbdiWhile I remain hopeful that Fassbender can pull an upset, this category looks to be all Jared Leto.  He’s been taking everything in his path, and I don’t think that will stop until the Oscar.  For Fassbender, though, he should at least take solace in getting his first nomination without campaigning a bit.  (If he had to work so hard only to be denied recognition for his astounding work in “Shame,” then why bother lobbying anymore?)

Debut performances often fare well at the Oscars, especially in the supporting categories.  22 have been nominated for Best Supporting Actor, and I suspect that number will rise to 23 this week.  Barkhad Abdi’s first role ever as the lead Somali pirate in “Captain Phillips” has been highly praised and won him recogition from SAG, HFPA, BFCA, and BAFTA.  Especially given the praise that his film has received, I think a snub would be rather inconceivable at this point.

Though he wasn’t nominated by SAG, Bradley Cooper has collected every other key nomination for his work in “American Hustle.”  The film is beloved, and his performance is one of the best parts of the movie – hilarious but also heartily dramatic.  Two years ago, back-to-back Oscar nominations for the guy who was a staple of rom-coms like “Valentine’s Day” might have seemed an absurdity.  Now I see it as a practical inevitability.

Cooper HuslteCooper was passed over by SAG in favor of a posthumous recognition for James Gandolfini in “Enough Said.”  While he was certainly a beloved actor, Gandolfini was more revered for his television work than his film roles.  (“Killing Them Softly” was fantastic, just going to point out once again.)  The SAG nomination committee has plenty of television actors, and that may have accounted for his appearance.  Otherwise, he’s been spotty, picking up a nod from BFCA but not from the HFPA.  “Enough Said” really hasn’t been a big part of the Oscar conversation, and I think that will ultimately cost Gandolfini a slot in this line-up.

The final slot is likely to go to Daniel Bruhl, who I really shouldn’t be doubting as he’s racked up nominations from all significant precursors.  But aside from the Golden Globe Best Picture nomination for “Rush,” the film hasn’t really been lighting up awards season.  Bruhl’s work is solid but seems to draw no fervent support.  I could see him losing a spot to Gandolfini or even a left-field player like Tom Hanks in “Saving Mr. Banks” or Jonah Hill in “The Wolf of Wall Street.”  In my wildest dreams, James Franco’s brilliant work in “Spring Breakers” could trump Bruhl.  But I have to predict what seems predictable.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

  1. Lupita Nyong’o, “12 Years a Slave”
  2. Jennifer Lawrence, “American Hustle”
  3. June Squibb, “Nebraska”
  4. Oprah Winfrey, “The Butler
  5. Julia Roberts, “August: Osage County”

Nyong'oIt’s down to Nyong’o vs. Lawrence for the win here.  Though Lawrence prevailed at the star-powered Golden Globes, I still have my doubts as to whether she can swing back-to-back Oscar wins.  I think this category could also be a way for us to gauge on Oscar night which film will win Best Picture.  Both films are likely to need one acting victory, and Best Supporting Actress is the most probable place to earn it.  (Ejiofor has a shot for Best Actor, and that might pan out for the film.)

I think 84-year-old June Squibb is pretty much locked in for her fantastic performance in “Nebraska.”  She’s had all the requisite nominations leading up to the Oscars, and her film is well-liked too.

The last two slots, however, could go any number of ways.  Sally Hawkins got a Golden Globe nomination for “Blue Jasmine,” and the British contingency that got her a BAFTA nod could break her into the field here.  I have to wonder if “Blue Jasmine” is purely the Cate Blanchett show, however.  Scarlett Johansson’s vocal work in “Her” got her a nomination from the BFCA (it was ineligible at the Globes), but the Academy generally strays away from rewarding unconventional performances like that.  Maybe Sarah Paulson, silent on the trail so far, could shock and give “12 Years a Slave” its second nomination in the category.

RobertsMy guess is that the Academy will stick to some long renowned actresses to fill out the roster.  Oprah Winfrey surprisingly missed with the Golden Globes for “The Butler,” but she’s been touted by the BFCA, SAG, and BAFTA.  Even though the film has lost its buzz after it scored surprisingly well with the SAG, I think the Oscars will still want to give something to one of the few screen performances given by the cultural icon.

I think they’ll also be welcoming back Julia Roberts, who hasn’t been nominated since she won in 2000 for “Erin Brockovich.”  As previously mentioned, “August: Osage County” hasn’t been met with rapturous acclaim.  But it does have the support of the actors, who gave it a coveted Best Ensemble nomination at the SAG Awards.  If anything for the film is recognized, it will be the acting.  And Roberts, who many view as a co-lead, is the most likely to reap the goodwill.

Check back tomorrow to see my predictions for the writing/directing categories as well as the granddaddy of them all … BEST PICTURE!