Oscar Nominations 2014

Oscar

Oscar

The nominations are in for this year’s Academy Awards.  I’ve put an asterisk next to each movie that I have seen already.  Hit the jump to get the full list and my comments and predictions.


BEST PICTURE:
*12 Years a Slave
*Captain Phillips
*Gravity
*Philomena
*The Wolf of Wall Street
*Nebraska
*American Hustle
*Dallas Buyers Club
*Her

Like last year, there are nine nominees out of the possible ten.  I did a bit better this year in my watching habits, having already seen all of them this time around.  Of the nominees, my personal favorite is Her but I don’t think it’s going to win the Oscar.  From the start of awards season among critics groups’ awards through the recent Golden Globes, 12 Years a Slave is the clear favorite here and what I am putting my money on for best picture.

BEST DIRECTOR:
*David O Russell – American Hustle
*Alfonso Cuaron – Gravity
*Alexander Payne – Nebraska
*Steve McQueen – 12 Years a Slave
*Martin Scorsese – The Wolf of Wall Street

This is a really tough one to call.  I skipped this category in fact as I wrote the rest of this article and I still haven’t made up my mind.  I’m going to go with a gut feeling and give it to Martin Scorsese but it truly could go to any of these directors – perhaps even the dark horse Alexander Payne since Nebraska is getting so much positive attention from The Academy.

BEST ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE:
*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

Hmm, no Tom Hanks here?  Everyone on this list did a fantastic job in their respective roles and I don’t see there being one obvious front runner.  My vote will go for Matthew McConaughey though as he obviously threw himself into the part so thoroughly and so far distances himself from his previous life as a romcom star.  It’s a masterful performance that is more attention getting than the others on this list.

BEST ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE:
*Cate Blanchett – Blue Jasmine
*Amy Adams – American Hustle
*Sandra Bullock – Gravity
*Judi Dench – Philomena
*Meryl Streep – August Osage County

This, I think, is an easy one.  Cate Blanchett has been leading the pack since early in the year with her performance as the titular character in Woody Allen‘s latest.  Judi Dench and Meryl Streep both deserve recognition for especially amazing performances as well.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR:
*Bradley Cooper – American Hustle
*Barkhad Abdi – Captain Phillips
*Michael Fassbender – 12 Years a Slave
*Jonah Hill – The Wolf of Wall Street
*Jared Leto – Dallas Buyers Club

What?  Tom Hanks is still not here?  It seemed likely that he would have shown up somewhere between his two buzzed about performances this year as the titular Captain Phillips and the one and only Walt Disney.  I guess times are changing.  Would you have ever guessed that we would be uttering the phrase “Two time Oscar nominee, Jonah Hill“?  Like McConaughey, he’s proven that there is more to him than being a mini Seth Rogen.  He’s not quite there though.  While I would like to see Abdi win this one, I think it will be musician Jared Leto joining his Dallas Buyers Club costar in recognition of his transformative role.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS:
*Jennifer Lawrence – American Hustle
*Lupita Nyong’o – 12 Years a Slave
*Sally Hawkins – Blue Jasmine
*Julia Roberts – August Osage County
*June Squibb – Nebraska

Seriously, who doesn’t love Jennifer Lawrence?  Everyone else here delivered some great, memorable performances, but Lawrence is on everyone’s mind right now, and she really was the best thing about American Hustle.  I’m giving the win (which will be her second in a row) to J-Law.

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM:
*Despicable Me 2
*Frozen
*The Croods
Ernest & Celestine
*The Wind Rises

What?  No Pixar here?  How unusual.  I mean, Monsters University wasn’t their best, but it was by no means their worst either.  It was pretty darn good in fact.  It feels a bit odd to snub it here, but it doesn’t matter – Disney‘s triumphant return to form, Frozen is a pretty safe bet for the winner, I think, though I do really want to see the sweet looking French tale of the unlikely friendship of a bear and mouse.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY:
Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke – Before Midnight
*Billy Ray – Captain Phillips
*Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope – Philomena
*John Ridley – 12 Years a Slave
*Terence Winter – The Wolf of Wall Street

I haven’t seen Before Midnight but it doesn’t strike me as a strong contender here.  The others are all very strong, though it’s a little surprising to see Philomena here just because it didn’t have quite the buzz as some.  Personally I think Billy Ray should win for the masterful portrayal of the true life events behind Captain Phillips but the steam that 12 Years a Slave has built up will probably propel it to another win here.

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY:
*Eric Warren Singer and David O Russell – American Hustle
*Woody Allen – Blue Jasmine
*Craig Borten & Melisa Wallack – Dallas Buyers Club
*Spike Jonze – Her
*Bob Nelson – Nebraska

There is no film here that stands out as a sure winner or a sure loser, but none is more original than one of my favorites of the year, which is Spike Jonze‘s HerSo that is my pick here.

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM:
The Great Beauty (Italy)
*The Hunt (Denmark)
The Broken Circle Breakdown (Belgium)
The Missing Picture (Cambodia)
Omar (Palestine)

I’ve only seen The Hunt out of these five.  The Great Beauty won the Golden Globe and I hear great things about The Broken Circle BreakdownI don’t know anything about the other two.  Just going off the fact that The Great Beauty has already won a big award, I’ll have to go with that one.

BEST ORIGINAL SONG:
*Let It Go – Frozen
*Ordinary Love – Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
Alone Yet Not Alone – Alone Yet Not Alone
*Happy – Despicable Me 2
*The Moon Song – Her

Considering I don’t even really remember the other songs on this list, the fantastic Let it Go is my choice for winner here.

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE:
*The Book Thief
*Gravity
*Her
*Philomena
*Saving Mr Banks

I don’t have any strong opinions on this one, but the way original music from Mary Poppins is incorporated into the score of Saving Mr. Banks is pretty spiffy, so lets give it to that one.

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE:
*The Act of Killing
*Cutie and the Boxer
Dirty Wars
The Square
*20 Feet from Stardom

Two of my favorite documentaries – Black Fish and Tim‘s Vermeer are not here.  As much as I liked 20 Feet from Stardom and the oddball story of Cutie and the Boxer, I think this award will go to the provocative (and rather bizarre) The Act of Killing.

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT:
CaveDigger
Facing Fear
Karama Has No Walls
The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life
Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall

Having not seen any of these, I am going to guess the winner of the best short documentary will be the one with longest title.

BEST FILM EDITING:
*American Hustle
*Captain Phillips
*Dallas Buyers Club
*Gravity
*12 Years a Slave

Film editing is one of those categories that because I don’t understand it all that well, it’s hard to judge.  Cinematographically, American Hustle has a lot going for it, especially the opening scene.  I am not as big of a fan of this movie as everyone else seems to be (though I still enjoyed it), but it seems likely it will at least win something, and it seems edited quite well so I’ll give it this one.

BEST MAKE-UP & HAIRSTYLING:
*Dallas Buyers Club
Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa
*The Lone Ranger

How is American Hustle not on this list?  And really, now we have to hear “from the team that brought you the Oscar nominated, Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa”?  It’s like something that would happen in Idiocracy.  I’ll give it to Dallas Buyers Club for the transformation of Jared Leto.

BEST SHORT FILM (ANIMATED):
Feral
*Get a Horse!
Mr Hublot
Possessions
Room on the Broom

Only saw one of these, but the 2D 3D hybrid Get a Horse! that played in front of Frozen is exactly the kind of homage to film that would get the votes here.  This ode to classic Disney that moves the animation studio into the future is a safe enough bet in my book.

BEST SHORT FILM (LIVE ACTION):
Aquel No Era Yo (That Wasn’t Me)
Avant Que De Tour Perdre (Just Before Losing Everything)
Helium
Pitääkö Mun Kaikki Hoitaa? (Do I Have to Take Care of Everything?)
The Voorman Problem

Didn’t see any of these but The Voorman Problem apparently features Martin Freeman so I’ll choose that one.

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN:
*American Hustle
*Gravity
*The Great Gatsby
*Her
*12 Years a Slave

I didn’t like the film at all, but there’s no denying that the production design (whatever that is exactly) of The Great Gatsby is pretty phenomenal.

BEST SOUND EDITING:
*All Is Lost
*Captain Phillips
*Gravity
*The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
*Lone Survivor

The sound is almost a character unto itself in Gravity so that’s what I’m going with.

BEST SOUND MIXING:
*Captain Phillips
*Gravity
*The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
*Inside Llewyn Davis
*Lone Survivor

Please, please, someone explain to me how sound editing and sound mixing are different enough to need two categories?  Because I really liked the soundtrack, I’ll give this one to Inside Llewyn Davis but I still don’t know how it is different than sound editing.

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS:
*Gravity
*The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
*Iron Man 3
*The Lone Ranger
*Star Trek Into Darkness

If Gravity doesn’t take this award home, there is something seriously wrong.  It’s back in theaters – go see it on the biggest screen possible while you still can.

BEST COSTUME DESIGN
*American Hustle
The Grandmaster
*The Great Gatsby
*The Invisible Woman
*12 Years a Slave

Oh, there’s American Hustle.  I know the Academy tends to like historical costumes, but how can you ignore the outfits in American Hustle? Amy Adams makes sure you can’t.

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
The Grandmaster
*Gravity
*Inside Llewyn Davis
*Nebraska
*Prisoners

This is tough.  I’d like to give this one to Prisoners since it didn’t get anything else and was an overlooked film this year, but I don’t think it’s going that way.  Nebraska I personally feel is overrated and just because it’s in black and white doesn’t mean it should win this award.  Gravity will probably take this one just because of how incredible it looks.

There you have it.  Thoughts?  How many of my opinions are wrong?