The 86th Academy Awards Results

Oscar

Oscar

Last night the awards season culminated with the big one – The Oscars.  The 86th Academy Awards show was, contrary to some naysayers, a lot of fun.  Lets take a look at some of the highlights, lowlights, and my predictions vs the actual winners.

You may remember back in early January I made my Oscar predictions the day that the nominees were announced.  I could have waited until I had a chance to see more of the films and taken into account what films were winning what awards as the season progressed but that feels like cheating to me.  I did make a couple changes for my final official predictions yesterday, but for the purposes of this article, we will go off  the predictions that were made on what I knew about the nominees on the day they were nominated and my gut feeling on them.  I saw a lot more of the nominees prior to their nominations this year, so I felt pretty good about most of my predictions at the time.  How’d I do?  Read on to find out.

Best Picture
My Prediction: 12 Years a Slave
Winner:  12 Years a Slave

Absolutely no surprise here.  There was some possibility that Gravity could take it, but 12 Years has dominated all year long.  Though it wasn’t my favorite of the bunch, there’s no denying that it is a powerful piece.

Best Actor
My Prediction: Matthew McConaughey
Winner: Matthew McConaughey

All right, all right, all right!  Nearly as unlikely a few years ago as Jonah Hill becoming a two time nominee, McConaughey has reinvented himself and delivers a passionate career high performance in Dallas Buyers Club.

Best Actress
My Prediction: Cate Blanchett
Winner: Cate Blanchett

I still don’t like Blue Jasmine all that much, but Blanchett’s performance is so good that it obviously stuck in voters’ minds all the way from early 2013.  This was another obvious one with chances that someone else would take the prize slimmer than Dallas Buyers Club leads.

Best Supporting Actor
My Prediction: Jared Leto
Winner: Jared Leto

Once again, this was an easy choice.  Personally I think Barkhad Abdi deserved the award for his inspired debut role in Captain Phillips but it was always going to be Leto.

Best Supporting Actress
My Prediction: Jennifer Lawrence
Winner: Lupita Nyong’o

I originally thought that J-Law had a shot at back to back awards, but as the season went on, I realized that it was most likely going to be Nyongo’o whose emotional performance in 12 Years a Slave has been matched by her emotional acceptance speeches.

Best Director
My Prediction: Martin Scorcese
Winner: Alfonso Cuaron

Not sure why I originally thought it would be Scorcese, but with the fact that Cuaron so precisely kept Gravity on course despite existing mostly in his head before post production is quite impressive and not a surprising win.

Best Foreign Language Film
My Prediction: The Great Beauty
Winner: The Great Beauty

I didn’t see this one, but it’s won plenty of awards this year, so it’s not a surprise, though I’ve seen some foreign films that are probably better than it that didn’t get any attention at all, like Wadjda.  Check it out.

Best Adapted Screenplay
My Prediction: 12 Years a Slave
Winner: 12 Years a Slave

When in doubt, guess 12 Years a Slave or Gravity.  Obviously Gravity wasn’t eligible for this category, so there you go.

Best Original Screenplay
My Prediction: Her
Winner: Her

I had my doubts about this one.  Even though I fully believed that Her deserved this honor, it just didn’t get the attention of other films.  In the end, though, my gut was right, and a truly original film took the prize home.

Best Animated Feature Film
My Prediction: Frozen
Winner: Frozen

Even if you don’t follow movies at all, this was probably the biggest no brainer of the year.  Unless you’ve been living under a rock, it’s impossible to ignore how popular this new Disney princess movie has become.  Audiences and critics love it, and it’s been all the more a phenomenon due the fact that I don’t think most people expected it to be that great.  Despite some imbalanced marketing and trailers, it drew enough people into theaters though to capture them with its magic and make for some incredible word of mouth.

Best Production Design
My Prediction: The Great Gatsby
Winner: The Great Gatsby

Didn’t like this movie, but it had great atmosphere and set design, that’s for sure.

Best Cinematography
My Prediction: Gravity
Winner: Gravity

Once again, a CGI heavy film takes home this award.  There are sure to be purists who are upset by this, when what is on screen is mostly virtual, but for all the flaws this movie has, the way it looks and the expert way it is filmed screams innovation and excellence like nothing else.  It looks fantastic and was an easy lock for this category.

Best Sound Mixing
My Prediction: Inside Llewyn Davis
Winner: Gravity

My mistake here was thinking Gravity couldn’t win everything.

Best Sound Editing
My Prediction: Gravity
Winner: Gravity

There may not actually be sound in space, but that doesn’t stop the sound from being an integral part of this intense story.

Best Original Score
My Prediction: Saving Mr. Banks
Winner: Gravity

Though the sounds were great, the score is not something I would want to just listen to on its own, something that, to me, is important in this category.  Saving Mr. Banks had some highly creative music and probably deserved this award more than Gravity, but it was Cuaron’s night.

Best Original Song
My Prediction: Let it Go
Winner: Let it Go

Seriously, the biggest upset of the year would have been if Let it Go did not win this one.  Have you been on the internet lately?  You can’t scroll down facebook for five minutes without coming across some new creative cover of this emotional tune.

Best Costume Design
My Prediction: American Hustle
Winner: The Great Gatsby

I know the Academy tends to gravitate towards older fashion in this category, but the outfits in American Hustle are just so outrageously appropriate, I thought it had this category in the bag.  Oh well, way to be unpredictably predictable, Academy.

Best Documentary Feature
My Prediction: The Act of Killing
Winner: 20 Feet from Stardom

I immensely enjoyed 20 Feet from Stardom, the untold stories of backup singers, but the provocative The Act of Killing seemed more controversial and compellingly important, I thought it would have won.  They’re both worth seeing.

Best Documentary (short subject)
My Prediction: Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall
Winner: The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved my Life

My prediction was based on name alone.  Who watches short documentaries?

Best Film Editing
My Prediction: American Hustle
Winner: Gravity

Once again, my mistake was thinking that Gravity wouldn’t walk away with everything at the end of the night (sans the big one).  It’s not that the editing wasn’t superb, I just thought voters might get tired of voting for the same movie so many times.

Best Makeup and Hairstyling
My Prediction: Dallas Buyers Club
Winner: Dallas Buyers Club

Easy to predict this one.  With an almost non-existant budget, McConaughey and Leto are transformed back and forth from sickly weaklings to healthy people and from male to female, and back again.  Some of it was the actors commitment to the roles, losing an unhealthy amount of weight, but with filming out of sequence, the amazing transformations required an expert makeup team.  Incredible work here.

Best Animated Short Film
My Prediction: Get a Horse!
Winner: Mr. Hublot

I predicted the only one I had seen would win.  Now I want to watch Mr. Hublot because it looks fantastic.

Best Live Action Short Film
My Prediction: The Voorman Problem
Winner: Helium

I still haven’t seen any of the nominees.  I heard Martin Freeman was in one so I gave it my vote.  One of these days I will see the shorts before the Oscars, somehow.

Best Visual Effects
My Prediction: Gravity
Winner: Gravity

I know a lot of people don’t think Gravity is that great of a movie.  And they might have a lot of valid points.  That doesn’t stop it from looking amazing on the big screen due to mind blowing computer created effects that push the envelope from #10 to one of those manilla ones.  Of the many accolades this film collected last night, this is one I would certainly not deny it.

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So, how did I do?  Fourteen out of Twenty-Four improved my results from last year a bit, and for the record, my revised predictions brought that number up to sixteen, giving me two thirds correct.

Some more thoughts:  Ellen was pretty great.  Is it possible to not smile while she’s doing her thing?  The Oscars felt more personal, less of a big showstopping setpiece with her at the helm, which was a good thing.

Order pizza for the audience from a real delivery place?  Hilarious!

Really John Travolta?  Adele Dazeem?  Apparently he struggles with dyslexia. But scientologists don’t believe that’s a real thing anyway, so get the name right of the well known person you are introducing (Idina Menzel).

One of the greatest selfies ever taken, and the most retweeted tweet ever twaught by a putty tat or anyone else…

Not that it should be the focus, but the attire almost seemed pretty dull this year for some reason.

As George Takei pointed out, Jared Leto had better hair than any of the women there.