ENJOY THE MOVIES
I'm sure you everyone out there is shocked to know that as much as I love the Oscars (the results of which can be found here) and more or less everything that comes with it (including my paycheck, of course), the show itself is something that I think could stand to be improved in many ways. Yes, the Oscar telecast can more often than not leave something to be desired, regardless of who you are, even if everyone involved in the production of the show always has their hearts in the right place. Some years we have better shows than others, with the same going for the winners for that matter, but I can't ever remember watching the telecast and thinking that they absolutely nailed it, and I know I'm not alone in thinking this way.
As you may have noticed in my most recent and final Oscar predictions, I didn't provide any commentary on the "below the line" Academy Award categories. Besides wanting to get to the actual predictions, I wanted to save some room for a full piece in regard to the technical categories. The techs are often the hardest to predict, especially the shorts. Yes, there are guilds to consider, but in many ways the Academy voters are never more unpredictable than when considering the non-major awards. Sometimes they go in interesting directions, other times they pick one film and vote for it everywhere they can. The fun thing here is how open many of these races are, which goes along with how unpredictable this year's Oscar ceremony may be.
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 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!
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.
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.
With the Oscar nominations set in stone (save for one retraction), it's time for some new predictions! Obviously, my final set of predictions from January didn't completely match up with what happened, but it wasn't totally wrong. About 70% of my predictions were right, so that's not bad. Basically, I've done better but I've done worse too, so now that we're focusing on who and what might actually win, I'm aiming to totally nail this part of the season. We're mostly done with the precursors, consumption of the outcomes is basically done, so now it's just a matter of figuring out what members of the Academy will do. More below!
No, my advocacy pieces are not done yet! In fact, there's a whole new flavor to them at this juncture, as I try to make the case for certain nominees to become winners now. I'll be doing that soon enough, but in the meantime, refer back to my article on Her for a hopefully strong case as to why that movie deserves to win something. Right now though, I want to take Oscar voters to task a bit. No, not for almost completely ignoring Inside Llewyn Davis like I warned that they could in my other advocacy piece, but for the films that they did actually totally ignored. Consider this my look at the movies that voters themselves should have taken a much closer look at. These are the misfit movies on an island all by themselves, far away from the nominated likes of Best Picture contenders like 12 Years a Slave, American Hustle, and Gravity.
Hot on the heels of the 86th Academy Award nominations, the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) handed out their prizes at the annual awards show, hoping to influence their cohorts that vote for the Oscars, followed quickly by the Producers Guild of America (PGA). Considering that the actors' branch of the Academy is the single largest voting branch and producers often are Best Picture bellwethers, these are influences worth considering While SAG doesn't make or break anyone in the race, it can help boost an already strong contender to a winner. However, the PGA does often predict a surefire Best Picture winner. More below!
After basically a full year of obsessing over who and what may or may not get nominated for an Academy Award, I know have my answers, for better or for worse. The 86th Academy Award nominations were announced this morning, and there's a healthy mix of the pleasing and the puzzling. You can compare the list to what my final predictions looked like, but my focus here is going to be on what the biggest snubs and surprises were during the Oscar nomination announcement. There were some genuine shocks, some heartbreaking snubs and even some pleasant surprises, so I think there's less to complain about than usual.
After pleading to the Academy to honor Her, this time I'm hoping to bring more attention to an awards contender that seems to be fading fast. We're a few days out from the Oscar nominations now, and it's quite possible that the Academy could be about to majorly snub Inside Llewyn Davis in a number of categories. At the 71st Golden Globe awards, the film went home empty handed, and while there was stiff competition, it's still a shame. As such, I wanted to step forward to make sure that Oscar voters know that they're committing a cinematic crime if they ignore the Coen Brothers' latest triumph. I've written about it before and am thrilled to do so again now since this is the first Coen flick that I've fallen in love with.