Oh Oscar. When will you ever learn? When will I ever learn? It’s like a negligent father who keeps messing up and making the wrong choices, yet year on year we keep returning to the annual self congratulatory romp in Hollywood. Every year the Oscars get us to mumble begrudgingly: “Well done Hollywood, you deserve it”. Remember this is the very same establishment that rejected Citizen Kane, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and most recently and seriously, Inception from being recipients of (alarmingly) the highest award cinema has to offer. No, Hollywood is benevolently above our petty cries for cinematic justice and somehow, we abide.
Something I learnt from Film Crit Hulk was that one should take the Oscars with a pinch of salt and that, crucially, if you replace “Best” with “Most” then the Academy’s decisions seem less baffling. Here’s a quote:
THERE OLD ADAGE ABOUT OSCARS AND THAT YOU “SWITCH THE WORD ‘BEST’ WITH ‘MOST.’” AFTER SEEING VOTING PROCESS UP CLOSE HULK TELL YOU IT ABSOLUTELY TRUE.MOST ACTING. ALWAYS THE BIG BOMBASTIC PERFORMANCES WIN. VOTERS LOVE TANGIBLE EVIDENCE LIKE ACTOR PUTTING ON WEIGHT OR “GOING UGLY.” EVEN EXTREME EXAMPLES OF METHOD ACTING WILL DO. OR PERHAPS MOST COSTUME DESIGN. PICK YOUR PERIOD PIECE DU JOUR! MOST SCEENWRITING. PICK MOVIE WITH MOST MEMORABLE DIALOGUE, IGNORING CHARACTER MOTIVATION AND STORYTELLING 101 STUFF. JUST THE STUFF AVERAGE MOVIE-GOER KNOWS THE WRITER DID. HECK, EVEN MOST PICTURE WORKS. LOOK HOW MANY FLAWLESS FILMS HAVE LOST TO THE MOST EPIC ONE (MOST OBVIOUS L.A. CONFIDENTIAL VS. TITANIC). AND TITANIC AT LEAST HAVE SOME KIND HISTORICAL RELEVANCY. THERE REASON SO MANY OTHER BEST PICTURE WINNERS NO GO ON BECOME HISTORICAL GREATS. – FILM CRIT HULK
In case you haven’t guessed, you should go read Hulk’s stuff, he is infinitely more intelligent and more linguistically prolific than I.
None of this, however, will prevent me from presenting my 100% legitimate and official 2014 Oscars Predictions! (In the major categories). I’ll add my opinionated corpse to the pile of punters who reckon they know better than the out of the loop – and loopy – Oscar voters. So hop on board, it’s about to get real.
Prediction: 12 Years A Slave
As I said in my review of 12 Years A Slave, it is head and shoulders above the rest, and if the Oscars has any cinematic (and moral) judgement then it will win. Nonetheless, I still think that Gravity is a close contender I would not be surprised if it did win and if it did, it would be the first ever Sci-Fi to win the award. That’s Shia LaBeouf levels of shocking right there.
As good as The Wolf Of Wall Street is, realistically it doesn’t have a chance against 12 Years and Gravity. I say this because of the heckling it received during a screening for Oscar voters, a heckling mainly perpetrated by more conservative voters. The same – minus the heckling – goes for Nebraska, I loved it to pieces but it’s simply not as good as the main two. Captain Phillips and Dallas Buyers’ Club are also both good films, but aren’t cut out to compete with the rest of the big boys and girls.
I must mentioned that I haven’t seen Philomena or Her but the latter is out on Friday in the UK, so I will report back with my findings and update this post.
And come on, American Hustle is just lightweight in comparison to rest of them.
Prediction: Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity.
McQueen is the other big contender, but I think the “most” directed film is Gravity. As with best picture, I wouldn’t be surprised if McQueen did take the statue home. Additionally, he would be the first ever Turner prize winner and black person to win as well. It’s definitely close between them, but Cuaron edges it out for me.
Prediction: Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers’ Club
It has to be doesn’t it? As I said in my review, his performance brings decent film up into the stratosphere and thus creates something very memorable, and it’s mostly due to McConaughey’s barnstorming performance. However, as is the case with most categories, those 12 Years lot are knocking at the door and Ejiofor’s strong and balanced role as Solomon Northup holds the film’s narrative effectiveness together.
Bruce Dern was great in Nebraska, a standout element in a fantastic film. And then we get to Leonardo DiCaprio. Oh Leo. I fear that the golden statuette will elude him once more (unless he gets it as part of some lifetime achievement package like Scorsese), but that’s no matter – tomorrow he will run faster, stretch his arms out farther…And one fine morning.
And as talented as Christian Bale is, like most things Hustle, he doesn’t stand a chance.
Prediction: I’ve had a mare
Now here’s where I’ve been a bit naughty and a tad lazy. Out of all the nominees I have only seen Amy Adams in American Hustle and Sandra Bullock in Gravity, both of which I wouldn’t tip for Oscar glory. I have heard a considerable amount of buzz for Cate Blanchett’s performance in this years’ Woody Allen film Blue Jasmine though, as well as good things about Judy Dench.
This time, I won’t stick my neck out and leave my prediction up to your imagination.
Best Supporting Actor
Prediction: Michael Fassbender, 12 Years A Slave
In my opinion, Michael Fassbender is the premier actor in the world, I don’t actually remember a performance in which he wasn’t one of the best aspects about it (think about Prometheus or X-Men: First Class). Along with vintage performances like Bobby Sands in Hunger or Brandon in Shame. His performance in 12 Years is the icing on the cake and well, I suppose the whole cake as well. Eat that.
Truth be told though, it is between him and Jared Leto. Leto’s turn as the transgender Rayon in Dallas Buyers’ Club was one of the, if not the, most blown away and proven wrong I’ve been all year about a performance. However, Fassbenders’ Epps was truly the most terrifying entity to hit the silver screen this year.
I’d like to have a big shout out to Barkhad Abdi for his excellent role in Captain Phillips and more than holding his own against veteran Tom Hanks , really great to see him nominated.
Best Supporting Actress
Prediction: Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years a Slave
My naughtiness does not escape me for this, because I haven’t seen Blue Jasmine or August: Osage County.
Out of the three remaining though, it’s hard to call. All of them have a good chance to win. Everybody’s darling Jennifer Lawrence brought comedy and much needed depth to a very limited “supporting” role, June Squibb earnestly tired-of-life wife role was one of the unexpected comedy (and dramatic) highlights of the year. But Lupita Nyong’o will probably win. I’ve almost run out of superlatives, but she was just noticeably better than the others. Trust me, I have a blog.
Best Adapted Screenplay
Prediction: 12 Years a Slave
Surprise surprise, 12 Years a Slave is one of the main contenders again. Both 12 Years and Wolf are equally deserving, if it were me, I would give it to The Wolf of Wall Street but I have a feeling that on the night 12 Years will yank it from Marty’s hands.
Naughty note number 3: I haven’t seen Philomena or Before Midnight, my apologies, I’ve only heard great things about both of them.
Best Original Screenplay
Nebraska Nebraska Nebraska. Please! It was funny, heart-warming, serious and just damn enjoyable from start to finish and most importantly, wonderfully written.
I haven’t seen Her or Blue Jasmine (perhaps I should get round to watch Blue Jasmine if it’s been nominated for so much).
Best Animated Feature: Frozen
Best Documentary Feature: The Act of Killing
Best Song: ‘Let It Go’ from Frozen
Best Foreign Film: The Hunt
Official “Why Did You Forget That” Award: Upstream Colour
What do you think? Am I utterly incompetent, or messianic in my wisdom? Would anyone care to fill me in on the films I have missed (please not Her, I will see it soon, please don’t spoil) and how they stack up to my predictions?