At long last, it's time for my final Oscar predictions. I'm going to keep things slightly light on the commentary, since we've been discussing this so much, there's really not much left to do but plant your feet firmly in one direction or the other. I'll quickly be giving some analysis for the major categories, but much of what I've said remains true from my post-nomination predictions. A number of races are likely over, but a handful of the big ones are definitely up for grabs, which has me both excited and nervous. There's never been a year where I've expected to do worse with my predictions that this, but that's the sign of a tight race.
It's almost time for awards season to come to an end with The 86th Academy Awards coming this Sunday. We've had endless analysis from predicting who will get the nominations to who will end up taking home the prize, not to mention Joey Magidson letting us know what he thinks should win the Oscar, whether they were nominated or not. Now Vulture has delivered some Oscar analysis of their own, but in a very unique way. They've put together some pie charts breaking down each of the Best Picture winners, for example, how much of The Wolf of Wall Street was a Girls Gone Wild movie and stuff like that. Look!
The 86th Academy Awards are this weekend, and we hope you've been paying attention to all our awards coverage throughout the week. As we head into Oscar weekend, Graphic artist Geminianum has put together some pretty cool posters, inspired by the work of Saul Bass, that honor some of this year's Best Picture nominees. While the best ones are for Gravity, 12 Years a Slave and Captain Phillips, I'm not a big fan of the Dallas Buyers Club piece that uses real pictures from the movie (though it's inspired by The Man with the Golden Arm), or The Wolf of Wall Street poster that takes a cue from West Side Story, but cheaply uses the falling Don Draper from the "Mad Men" opening titles. Check out the posters below!
"We saw some beautiful things here... some things we'll never forget." Let's kick off the Oscar weekend with something a bit fun. Annapurna Pictures, started by youngster Megan Ellison, has been producing some of the best films of the past two years. Looking back they've released an Annapurna: Year Two video called the 2014 "Hustle" Reel, looking back at Spike Jonze's Her and David O. Russell's American Hustle. I love Her and was a fan of Hustle. This also includes clips for Spring Breakers and The Grandmaster, two more Annapurna films which were released in 2013. The video (with the music "Firewater" by Django Django) was edited by our old friend Kees van Dijkhuizen, behind many retrospectives of years past. Enjoy!
It's once again time for some Academy Advocacy ladies and gentlemen, and one of the final ones for the season! But rather than delivering the normal awards opinions and whatnot today, this one will be a little more personal as I'll be dictating what I think actually deserves to win in all of the major Oscar categories. I won't be limiting it to the official nominees either, so these picks will vary quite a bit from what voters are choosing this week. We all have our preferred candidates, and I'm no exception, so below you'll be seeing who and what I would have voted for, as opposed to the choices that Academy members made. In some cases, they're actual nominees, though in other cases, I've gone off the ballot. More below!
It's the annual cinephile challenge - trying to impress your friends by recalling all 85 of the Best Picture Oscar winners of past right as we get close to this year's Academy Awards. Can you do it? To help you on your quest, a new infographic has surfaced for 2014 profiling all 85 of the previous Best Picture winners as circular icons. It presents a particularly sleek look at each of the winners, making us think a bit differently about some of them. Perhaps some are the best way to identify the film. Whatever the case, it's a good way to get us in the Oscar mood as we near the big ceremony this weekend. There's even a look at 2013's noms.
Each year at the Sundance Film Festival, folks like myself try and pick out which, if any, of the movies making their debut in Park City could become Oscar contenders later in the year. In 2013, I attended the indie film festival so I can attest to the Oscar buzz starting for something like Fruitvale Station screened. Ironically, none of the movies from Sundance 2013 made the cut for Best Picture, but screenplay nominee Before Midnight premiered there along with four of the five Best Documentary Feature nominees. But maybe some films from the 2014 Sundance Film Festival could get Oscar love. The question is, which ones?
There's a theory of mine that's been in my head for a couple weeks now, and it's not going to be a popular one, but I also hope it doesn't come true. As much as many of my colleagues are looking to a potential shutout for American Hustle (though Jennifer Lawrence is looking pretty good for Best Supporting Actress), I think that 12 Years a Slave could be just as likely for that fate. Now, I'm not saying it should or that it will happen, but there's just as much of a chance for a 12 Years a Slave shutout as for American Hustle, so it's worth considering. Either one could join Captain Philiips, Nebraska, Philomena, and/or The Wolf of Wall Street as the Best Picture nominees that wind up going home empty-handed.
Last year, we saw some adorable kids reenact the 2013 Best Picture nominees like Argo, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Zero Dark Thirty, Django Unchained and Lincoln. This year it's CineFix who rounded up some kids to act out scenes from this year's Best Picture nominees. Though the scenes are straight-up reeanactments, the kids are super cute and make it worthwhile, especially when they're wearing big fake wigs and beards. American Hustle, Captain Phillips, Her, Gravity, The Wolf of Wall Street and more get the kid adaptation treatment, and the way they fit 12 Years a Slave into the mix is just perfect.
Since Interstellar doesn't arrive until November this year, director Christopher Nolan isn't up for any Academy Awards for the ceremony coming up on March 2nd. However, that hasn't stopped him from accepting an Oscar this year. This past weekend, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences handed out their Scientific & Technical Awards, which honor those who make the real movie magic possible behind the camera. At the ceremony, Nolan accepted an Academy Award of Merit dedicated to "those who built and operated film laboratories, for over a century of service to the motion picture industry." Watch his speech!
During the vast majority of awards seasons, there's this dastardly little thing that goes on as the Oscar ceremony gets closer and closer. Almost without a fail, a major contender is hit with a smear campaign that seeks to damage or destroy their chances of taking home a prize. They're not always successful, but they always seek to make life harder for a frontrunner, or any contender really. Thankfully, this year there's a refreshing lack of sabotage. And having no shenanigans has made for the closest Best Picture race in recent memory. While we're still in this relatively innocent time, I wanted to bask in this smear-less season a bit.
Simply sublime. With the 2014 BAFTA Awards officially announced tonight, lead by 12 Years a Slave and Gravity, we can also reveal the artwork for the Best Film nominees, now a tradition for these awards. The artwork this year, printed as part of the BAFTA Awards brochure, is by British artist La Boca and features five distinct poster designs for this year's nominees: Steve McQueen's 12 Years a Slave, which just won Best Film, David O. Russell's American Hustle, Paul Greengrass' Captain Phillips, Alfonso Cuarón's Gravity and, as the fifth and final poster, Stephen Frears' Philomena. All must see - catch the art below.
Time to celebrate even more big wins for Gravity and 12 Years a Slave to follow up the Golden Globes. This weekend in London, the BAFTA (or British Academy of Film and Television Arts) held their annual show, the BAFTA Awards, honoring the finest in film and television from 2013. This year's set of winners focused mainly on three movies which took home most of the awards: Gravity winning Outstanding British Film (despite the obvious) plus Best Director, McQueen's 12 Years a Slave winning Best Film + Chiwetel for Best Actor (finally!), with American Hustle taking home a couple wins, too. Gravity also nabbed Best Score.
As another film festival comes to an end, it's time to celebrate and commemorate with the announcement of the awards. The 64th Berlin Film Festival just ended (my own mini recap here), and the winners were announced at the Closing Ceremony, including the winner of the coveted Golden Bear for Best Film. That top prize was given to a Chinese film titled Black Coal, Thin Ice, starring Liao Fan and directed by Diao Yinan. Among the winners were Richard Linklater, who picked up a prize for Best Director of Boyhood, as well as Wes Anderson's Grand Budapest Hotel winning the Grand Jury Silver Bear prize. More below.