Friday, February 14, 2014

86th Academy Award Predictions Pt. 1

It’s that time again that all of the film lovers gather together to see who or what will win. The 86th Academy Awards to celebrate the film year of 2013 and what a year it was. Lots of good movies ranging from all sorts of genres.

Best Picture

12 Years a Slave

American Hustle

Captain Phillips

Dallas Buyers Club





The Wolf of Wall Street

What Will Win: 12 Years a Slave

Steve McQueen’s film about Solomon Northrup’s journey as a freed man who is tricked and later sold to slavery is truly one of the most visceral films of 2013. Especially in the way it showcases the brutality of slavery without going overboard as well as creating some striking visuals that matches up to Northrup’s experience. It’s definitely the film to beat though it’s really going to be a tough race since there’s some strong nominees in the category.

What Should Win: Her

Spike Jonze’s film definitely redefines the concept of the romantic-comedy since it is about a lonely man who falls for a computer operating system. Setting it into a futuristic world, it’s a film that bends all sorts of genres yet somehow manages to mesh it with something that is very human and touching. Especially as it’s not afraid to be funny or sentimental at times where it is about a film about love.

Dark Horse: Philomena

Stephen Frears’ drama about a journalist helping an Irish woman find her long-lost son that she was forced to give up for adoption by nuns many years ago is a really touching and heartwarming film. Yet, it’s the nominee that doesn’t have a strong profile in comparison to its other nominees so it’s definitely the long shot.

Best Director

Alfonso Cuaron-Gravity

Steve McQueen-12 Years a Slave

David O. Russell-American Hustle

Martin Scorsese-The Wolf of Wall Street

Alexander Payne-Nebraska

Who Will/Should Win: Alfonso Cuaron-Gravity

What Alfonso Cuaron achieved in Gravity is really unlike anything that had been done in cinema where he created a film set entirely in outer space where it’s about survival. Much of it involves a lot of long, gazing shots including shots from Sandra Bullock’s point of view as she is spinning around in outer space as it plays into the sense of the unknown. It’s really an astonishing piece of work and certainly puts Cuaron in the vanguard of the best filmmakers working today.

Dark Horse: Alexander Payne-Nebraska

Alexander Payne is definitely one of American cinema’s best filmmakers working right now as Nebraska definitely ranks up there with some of his best work. While it doesn’t have some of technical brilliance of Cuaron and Martin Scorsese, the flashiness of David O. Russell, nor the starkness of Steve McQueen. Payne is known for his unique approach to humor as well as play into the idea of men trying to find themselves in whatever journey they’re in that is coupled with lovely visuals and engrossing themes about aging and the bond between fathers and sons.

Best Actor

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

Who Will Win: Matthew McConaughey-Dallas Buyers Club

Matthew McConaughey’s performance as a homophobic, decadent, and immoral man who becomes afflicted with the AIDS virus is definitely an amazing performance as it showcases McConaughey showcasing his range as an actor. While it does display much of his charm, there’s also the physical transformation that he takes to play into his illness as it’s really McConaughey at his finest.

Who Should Win: Leonardo DiCaprio-The Wolf of Wall Street

There is probably no one that deserves an Oscar more than Leonardo DiCaprio as he goes all out times 11 in his role as Jordan Belfort. Not only does he make this extremely vile and greedy individual so fun to watch but it’s DiCaprio at his funniest. Especially in the now infamous Lemmon Quaaludes scene along with some of the one-liners and antics that he displays on film as it’s certainly a performance for the ages.

Dark Horse: Bruce Dern-Nebraska

Bruce Dern is a veteran in the world of film as he hadn’t had a leading performance in many years. Thank goodness for Alexander Payne to give him the chance to play the role of a cantankerous old man who tries to go to Nebraska to collect what he believes is a million dollar prize money. It’s one that is full of humor but also one that is touching since it is a man trying to do something with his life that has meaning in his old age.

Best Actress

Amy Adams-American Hustle

Cate Blanchett-Blue Jasmine

Sandra Bullock-Gravity

Judi Dench-Philomena

Meryl Streep-August: Osage County

Who Will/Should Win: Cate Blanchett-Blue Jasmine

Cate Blanchett’s performance as a woman who once had it all only to lose everything and live with her sister in San Francisco is a very chilling performance from Blanchett. Especially as it’s one that is comical at times but also very sad to showcase a woman ravaged by what she’s lost and how desperate she is to get it all back only to lose sight of reality.

Dark Horse: Judi Dench-Philomena

Judi Dench’s performance in the titular role is certainly one of her finest and most sensitive. Even as it’s one that is so full of joy as she brings in a lot of laughs but also moments that are very heartbreaking to watch. It’s one that is very radiant as it showcases Dench at her most brilliant.

Best Supporting Actor

Barkhad Abdi-Captain Phillips

Bradley Cooper-American Hustle

Jonah Hill-The Wolf of Wall Street

Michael Fassbender-12 Years a Slave

Jared Leto-Dallas Buyers Club

Who Will Win: Jared Leto-Dallas Buyers Club

Jared Leto’s performance as a transgender prostitute who would aid Ron Woodruff in his plans to get unauthorized medicine for AIDS-stricken people is definitely a big surprise. Especially as Leto, like McConaughey, had to go into a physical transformation of his own as his character is also inflicted with AIDS as he brings a charm and wit to the role that makes him very engaging as well as an equal to McConaughey.

Who Should Win/Dark Horse: Barkhad Abdi-Captain Phillips

Barkhad Abdi is a newcomer who had never been in a film yet his performance as the lead Somali pirate who hijacks a commercial freighter ship is truly unforgettable. Even as he manages to go toe-to-toe against Tom Hanks while adding a complexity to his character that is unlike most antagonists where Abdi allows the man to be a bit sympathetic to his plight. It’s definitely a major breakthrough though Abdi’s chances against more well-known actors is a total long-shot.

Best Supporting Actress

Sally Hawkins-Blue Jasmine

Julia Roberts-August: Osage County

Lupita Nyong'o-12 Years a Slave

Jennifer Lawrence-American Hustle

June Squibb-Nebraska

Who Will Win: Jennifer Lawrence-American Hustle

Jennifer Lawrence’s performance as the unpredictable yet wild wife of a con artist is certainly the kind of performance that can be described as Oscar-bait. While it is an enjoyable and certainly wild performance, it’s one that has also attracted criticism where it’s the kind of stuff that will win Oscars.

Who Should Win: Lupita Nyong’o-12 Years a Slave

Another newcomer that is in the Oscar race, Nyong’o’s performance as a young slave who is the object of sick affection for her slave master is truly a haunting performance. Especially as she is this young woman who has only known being a slave as she becomes a friend of Solomon Northup. It’s a performance that is just entrancing and really unforgettable as a win would elevate her career.

Dark Horse: June Squibb-Nebraska

June Squibb’s performance as Bruce Dern’s wife is truly hilarious as it’s really a breakout performance for the character actress. Especially as her character is a woman trying to deal with her husband’s journey as she would have to defend him when other family members ask him for money.

Best Original Screenplay

American Hustle-Eric Singer & David O. Russell

Blue Jasmine-Woody Allen

Her-Spike Jonze

Nebraska-Bob Nelson

Dallas Buyers Club-Craig Borten & Melisa Wallack

Who Will/Should Win: Spike Jonze-Her

Spike Jonze’s script has a premise that could never work on paper yet he manages to infuse it with a lot of life in the dialogue and structure for the script. Especially in the creation of the character of Samantha as this operating system that feels sort of real as it also explores the idea of loneliness and love as it’s truly one of the most inventive scripts in the past few years.

Dark Horse: Craig Borten & Melisa Wallack-Dallas Buyers Club

The story that was created, as it was inspired by true events, is certainly an engaging story about a man who hustles his way to ensure that he and others stricken with AIDS get to live longer. It is one that is quite inspiring but it is dealing with some serious competition against the other nominees.

Best Adapted Screenplay

Before Midnight-Richard Linklater, Ethan Hawke, & Julie Delpy

Captain Phillips-Billy Ray

12 Years a Slave-John Ridley

The Wolf of Wall Street-Terence Winter

Philomena-Steve Coogan & Jeff Pope

Who Will Win: John Ridley-12 Years a Slave

John Ridley’s screenplay is certainly a triumph for not just the way it plays into the 12 years of Solomon Northup’s life. It also showcases of how a man of great intelligence forces himself to not to act smart or stand up for himself and other slaves in order to survive. It’s a script that plays into that story as well as a look into slavery before the American Civil War.

Who Should Win: Richard Linklater, Ethan Hawke, & Julie Delpy-Before Midnight

The screenplay for Before Midnight is a continuation of the Before film series where Richard Linklater and actors Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy tell the story of Jesse and Celine’s relationship as they’re in their 40s. Even as they deal with all of the things they have to do as adults and parents to children where it’s not just a script that is romantic but also very real in the way couples act when there’s compromises that have to be made.

Dark Horse: Steve Coogan & Jeff Pope-Philomena

As one of the co-stars of the film, Steve Coogan creates a very compelling screenplay with Jeff Pope that plays into this woman’s journey to America with a journalist as it explores not just the cruelty that the Catholic church had done. It’s a film that also explores faith as it doesn’t try to criticize the Catholic church as the heart of the story is a woman finding her son and the man trying to help her. It’s probably not likely to win due to the competition it’s facing.

Best Animated Film

The Croods

Despicable Me 2

Ernest & Celestine


The Wind Rises

What Will/Should Win: Frozen

With Pixar studios not in the running for this year’s Oscar race for animation films, that isn’t going to stop one of its owners in Disney Animation to get the crown as Frozen isn’t just another of Disney Animation’s big hits but also considered one of its best. Not only in its take on Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen has the Disney Animation team do something more to the story but also blend it with lots of dazzling visuals and some top-notch musical numbers.

Dark Horse: The Croods

While the caveman-inspired story might be more well-known against a few of its nominees, it’s definitely the real long shot as it’s considered to be one of Dreamworks Animations more inferior films. Especially as it’s more comical and family-friendly in what it wanted to be though its story didn’t wow some of its critics.

Best Foreign-Language Film

The Broken Circle Breakdown-Felix Van Groeningen (Belgium)

The Missing Picture-Rithy Panh (Cambodia)

The Hunt-Thomas Vinterberg (Denmark)

The Great Beauty-Paolo Sorrentino (Italy)

Omar-Hany Abu-Assad (Palestine)

What Will Win: The Great Beauty

Paolo Sorrentino’s story about a man reflecting on his life at the age of 65 is considered to be a great tribute to the Italian cinema of the past. Especially as it blurs the lines between fiction and reality as it is widely considered to be one of the great films to come from Italy in recent years.

What Should Win: The Hunt

Thomas Vinterberg’s haunting story about a schoolteacher being accused of molesting a child is definitely considered a return to form for the Danish filmmaker. Even as he got the services of Mads Mikkelsen in the lead role as it explores not just lies but how a man’s life can be ruined by it as he nearly loses everything.

Dark Horse: The Missing Picture/Omar (tie)

Picking this is tough because here are two films from two filmmakers who have been revered in the international film festival circuits as both of their films were given prizes at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival’s Un Certain Regarde section. While Rithy Panh’s The Missing Picture is a documentary film and Hany Abu-Assad’s Omar is a dramatic feature with very little details on both films as they’re going to get more exposure in the coming months.

Best Documentary

The Act of Killing-Joshua Oppenheimer & Signe Byrge Sørensen

Cutie and the Boxer-Zachary Heinzerling & Lydia Dean Pilcher

Dirty Wars-Richard Rowley & Jeremy Scahill

The Square-Jehane Noujaim & Karim Amer

20 Feet from Stardom-Morgan Neville

What Will Win/Should Win: The Act of Killing

Joshua Oppenheimer’s documentary about a famed Indonesian death squad re-enacting the executions they created from different perspectives showcases a harsh yet intriguing world that reveres these men as heroes. It’s a film that is visually-entrancing at times but also disturbing in the way this military group applaud these men as heroes as they try to make sense of their actions.

Dark Horse: Dirty Wars

Richard Rowley’s investigation into the cover-up of murders committed by soldiers is another film about war that’s been covered in the past several years as it showcases more sides that happened in battle. Though war documentaries aren’t anything new, it’s likely that this film will be the long-shot because it’s another war documentary.

(End of Pt. 1)

Pt. 2

© thevoid99 2014


s. said...

I really don't think DiCaprio deserves Oscar. I think too much of how awesome the movie is, is attributed to him and people forget about other factors - he is not the only person that made this movie great.

Also Lawrence's momentum is pretty much gone so I can't see any way she is winning for AH. It's gonna be Lupita.

Chris said...

Solid predictions! My favorites of the 9 best pic I’ve seen are Wolf and Gravity. Her and 12Y are not out here yet. Agree Dicaprio should win, though McConaughey is also deserving. The Great Beauty is admirable for the visuals, but The Hunt I agree is the better film.
Do you know Kate Bush’s Deeper Understanding? I heard the lyrics (and video with Robbie Coltrane) are comparable to Her (2013). From 1989 album The Sensual World is probably the best version of the song:

Unknown said...

Great Great predictions you have there. I would love to see Leo get the award because he does deserve it. But so does Matthew. Argggggg. I disagree about Sati's comment that Lawrence's momentum is gone. That doesn't matter to Oscar voters and I still think she is going to win. Even if she deserves to or not.

thevoid99 said...

@Sati-I think Leo is one of the reasons why the film is so good as I think Scorsese and everyone else did a great job though a win for Leo is a win for the film.

@Chris-I haven't heard a lot of stuff from Kate Bush. Sorry.

@Jason H.-I think Lawrence will win but I think there's other women that deserve it more.

Alex Withrow said...

I kind of wish someone other than McConaughey would win actor. I’d LOVE to see Leo pull out a surprise. Never gonna happen though.

Ohh man, I really do not hope Lawrence wins Supporting Actress. I’m team Lupita all the way.

thevoid99 said...

@Alex Withrow-I'm pulling for Lupita as well. I'm also hoping for Leo to win.