An Early Look at This Year's Upcoming Oscar Race + An Introduction
by Joey Magidson
August 23, 2013
For over 90% of the films released in a given calendar year, very little happens to them besides playing for a month or two in theaters before they get a second life on Blu-Ray/DVD. A select few, however, are able to make their mark as being "Oscar worthy" and can begin to aspire to make it through the grueling awards season. Most don't even come close, but the ones that do compete for those precious few Academy Award nominations and the acclaim that comes along with them. Why am I telling you this? Well, starting soon at FirstShowing, I'll be guiding you through the ins and outs of the awards season as part of the writing staff.
Who am I? Well, for those of you who've never heard of me before, my name is Joey Magidson (follow me @JoeyMagidson) and among other things, I'm an Oscar prognosticator. Over the past half dozen years or so I've been at The Awards Circuit as one of the Staff Writers, contributing reviews, conducting interviews, and yes, writing a lot about the Academy Awards. I've also worked with Oscar pundit Scott Feinberg during the awards season, and now I'm excited to be joining the team here at FirstShowing.
On a more personal note, I'm a lifelong New Yorker and resident of Brooklyn. I got my degree in Cinema and Cultural Studies from Stony Brook University what feels like a lifetime ago and actually begun my career at The Awards Circuit while still in school. Believe it or not, until I began making writing my full time occupation, I was actually in line to join the New York City Police Department and spent some time in the Academy. Trust me, the rough tactics that Harvey Weinstein uses in his Oscar campaigns don't compare at all to instructors for the NYPD!
What made me choose to pursue Oscar prognostication and film criticism as a career? I've always just loved movies, going back to early childhood. It didn't hurt that my grandfather was a projectionist and I got to go all the time for free, but something about the magic of the movies just got under my skin. I never especially had the urge to be a filmmaker, but I always wanted to write about movies. As I became more and more interested in film, I gravitated towards the Oscars and before I knew it, I was making my own predictions. From there, things just kind of snowballed.
If you want a sense of my cinematic tastes, my favorite film of all time is The Shawshank Redemption and I love everything Kevin Smith has ever done, but at the same time I have a real soft spot for coming of age stories and well done romantic dramedies. Other favorite films? Almost Famous, Chasing Amy, The Fountain and Leaving Las Vegas are high up there. In terms of filmmakers, Woody Allen might be my all time favorite, but directors like Darren Aronofsky, David Fincher, and Jason Reitman captivate me these days. Essentially, I love just about any good film out there, regardless of genre.
Now, the goal here is not just to talk about the Oscars and all of the other awards that come before it, but to try and put the season itself into some sort of context. I'd like to get into the situations that lead certain films and performances to succeed, but also to just discuss those films in a new light. For example, when an upcoming awards hopeful like American Hustle gets close to release, I might write about how director David O. Russell is seemingly getting closer and closer to awards season glory, as well as comparing the film itself to its cinematic cousins from last year (i.e. Argo in this particular case).
In short, I plan to talk a lot about the potential films that will be up for awards consideration between now and the end of the year. I won't always overtly mention Oscar, but my eye is certainly on those sort of flicks. In between, I'll be talking about what's happened in years prior as well as what still could come down the line. Also, expect some things specifically on certain actors/actresses/filmmakers along with some pieces on the upcoming film festivals of the year.
All that (and plenty more) will be coming your way, but for now as an introduction to Oscar prognostication, I figured I'd share my current 2013 predictions for the Academy Awards. Now, keep in mind how early it is (we're still five months from the nominations announcement on January 16th, 2014) and how much can change, but here in August, this is more or less how I see things (mostly sight unseen) shaping up in the six main categories:
1. American Hustle
2. Labor Day
3. Captain Phillips
4. The Monuments Men
5. 12 Years a Slave
6. Saving Mr. Banks
8. The Wolf of Wall Street
9. August: Osage County
10. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
1. David O. Russell - American Hustle
2. Jason Reitman - Labor Day
3. Paul Greengrass - Captain Phillips
4. George Clooney - The Monuments Men
5. Ben Stiller - The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
1. Matthew McConaughey - Dallas Buyers Club
2. Robert Redford - All is Lost
3. Bruce Dern - Nebraska
4. Chiwetel Ejiofor - 12 Years a Slave
5. Christian Bale - American Hustle
1. Amy Adams - American Hustle
2. Cate Blanchett - Blue Jasmine
3. Kate Winslet - Labor Day
4. Judi Dench - Philomena
5. Shailene Woodley - The Spectacular Now
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
1. Michael Fassbender - 12 Years a Slave
2. Steve Carrell - Foxcatcher
3. Josh Brolin - Labor Day
4. Tom Hanks - Saving Mr. Banks
5. Jeremy Renner - American Hustle
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
1. Oprah Winfrey - Lee Daniels' The Butler
2. Meryl Streep - August: Osage County
3. Jennifer Garner - Dallas Buyers Club
4. Sally Hawkins - Blue Jasmine
5. Jennifer Lawrence - American Hustle
Right now, don't over think these predictions (that's my job), but perhaps just make a quick note of them for comparison's sake as the year continues on. I'm excited to be joining the team here at FS and can't wait to start talking about all the year's possibilities with you all, so stay tuned! In the coming weeks I'm going to be trying to preview all of the main films hoping to contend for awards as well as the actors and actresses within them (Joaquin Phoenix from Spike Jonze's Her will be one of my first subjects). If last year is any indication, the Oscar season is going to be really exciting and unpredictable, so I'm thrilled to be your guide down the yellow brick road to Academy Award gold! Follow me at @JoeyMagidson for extra updates.