Okay I know you’re all excited to get to the nominees and my reactions. And if you’re not, then just don’t read it. This is exciting! It’s about movies! Movies are exciting!
Fine, I’m getting really overwhelmed myself, but Jesus, the Oscar nominees are here! And they’re not confusing like they usually are!
And I’m starting to sound pretty ridiculous, so this is the end of my intro. Here’s your nominees, my thoughts:
12 YEARS A SLAVE
DALLAS BUYERS CLUB
THE WOLF OF WALL STREET
I’ve seen six out of these nine–everything but Her, Nebraska, and Philomena. So glad to see a movie as outstanding as The Wolf of Wall Street getting attention, especially when it was labeled as pornography by everyone who saw it. Gravity, I thought was overrated, but I think it was obvious that it was going on the list of noms. Dallas Buyers Club, I’m genuinely surprised about. I thoroughly enjoyed the movie, but there were so many other, better movies this year. Captain Phillips, I’ll leave it at, it was my number one for the year for quite some time. As for American Hustle, I decided halfway through that movie that I’d be preordering it on Blu-ray. Now as for 12 Years a Slave, that one pretty much cancels out every other nomination. Unless the Academy has something against its realistic–therefore, brutally violent–account of slavery, it’s the obvious winner this year.
Snubs I’ve actually watched: Before Midnight, Side Effects, What Maisie Knew
Surprised they aren’t on the list: August: Osage County, Inside Llewyn Davis, Saving Mr. Banks
American Hustle – Amy Adams
Blue Jasmine – Cate Blanchett
Gravity – Sandra Bullock
Philomena – Judi Dench
August: Osage County – Meryl Streep
I have to say, I was sincerely impressed with Sandra Bullock in Gravity. And it took me at least half the film to go crazy over Amy Adams’s performance, but I don’t know if either’ll win, since Judi Dench and Meryl Streep are up on this list. And word around the movie community says they’re going to be beaten by Cate Blanchett anyway, so…damn it, I need to see Blue Jasmine.
Snubs: Greta Gerwig in Frances Ha, Julie Delpy in Before Midnight
American Hustle – Christian Bale
Nebraska – Bruce Dern
The Wolf of Wall Street – Leonardo DiCaprio
12 Years a Slave – Chiwetel Ejiofor
Dallas Buyers Club – Matthew McConaughey
I haven’t seen Nebraska yet, but I liked Christian Bale quite a bit in American Hustle. The other three is where I’m in a quandary. Huge Leonardo DiCaprio fan here, and not only do I think he’s never given a better performance in a Martin Scorsese movie, his acting in The Wolf of Wall Street demonstrates the role of a lifetime. I have to think that he has a chance at getting his first Oscar, after over two decades of a career. But then there’s Chiwetel Ejiofor, whose performance in 12 Years a Slave I respect on so many levels. He takes the movie by the scruff of the neck and makes it that much more of an emotional experience. Now on to Matthew McConaughey. I’m not a fan of his pre-2013 career in romantic comedies and whatever. But his 2013 career has been outstanding, with Mud and a supporting character in The Wolf of Wall Street. As if those weren’t transformative roles, he was at the top of his game in Dallas Buyers Club, and it’s clear that we would never have expected that role from this actor, not to mention, so well performed. So I guess I really have no clue who I want or who will win. I’m stuck!
Snubs I’ve actually watched: Ethan Hawke in Before Midnight, Tom Hanks in Captain Phillips
Surprised they aren’t on the list: Oscar Isaac in Inside Llewyn Davis
Best Supporting Actress
Blue Jasmine – Sally Hawkins
American Hustle – Jennifer Lawrence
12 Years a Slave – Lupita Nyong’o
August: Osage County – Julia Roberts
Nebraska – June Squibb
Two words: JENNIFER…LAWRENCE. There ya go.
Snubs: None. You just don’t screw with J-Law.
Best Supporting Actor
Captain Phillips – Barkhad Abdi
American Hustle – Bradley Cooper
12 Years a Slave – Michael Fassbender
The Wolf of Wall Street – Jonah Hill
Dallas Buyers Club – Jared Leto
You know, I really don’t know what the hell all the fuss is over Barkhad Abdi. Honestly. He didn’t leave in impression on me. Tom Hanks did, and he’s not nominated. I thought it was just because Barkhad Abdi had no prior career that he was getting all this attention, but apparently not. Tom Hanks would be nominated in a normal year, particularly in one of his overrated roles, you know? Just so happens that the one I actually like him in…I’d better shut up. I’m happy to say that I’ve actually seen everything in this category. I’d rank it with even increments from 4 to 3 to 2 in a top 5, with #4 being Michael Fassbender (whose character I hated, but didn’t exactly remember like I did Ejiofor’s), #3 being Jonah Hill (whose performance was another Moneyball…okay this one was a comedy, but he doesn’t usually do black comedy, or biographies), and #2 being Bradley Cooper (his performance speaks for itself). But let’s be honest. Jared Leto’s a bigger giveaway than Jennifer Lawrence or 12 Years a Slave.
Snubs: None that I can think of, actually…
Gravity – Alfonso Cuarón
12 Years a Slave – Steve McQueen
American Hustle – David O. Russell
Nebraska – Alexander Payne
The Wolf of Wall Street – Martin Scorsese
I have a feeling that Cuarón’s gonna take this one home. I have a feeling, and no problem. I liked how he directed it, just the movie isn’t the classic all you guys and your dogs were raving about. 12 Years a Slave, otherwise, will bring McQueen its directing award. If it were my personal choice, I’d give it to either David O. Russell or Martin Scorsese. It’s always the director’s fault if I’ve determined halfway before the movie (or earlier) that I will, without a doubt, preorder it on Blu-ray, and that happened with both American Hustle and The Wolf of Wall Street for me. Though I’d probably end up giving it to Scorsese, out of sympathy, because it took him so long to get a directing win and he still only has…uno. Look at that David O. Russell, he’s Hollywood’s spoiled brat director! The Fighter, Silver Linings Playbook, and American Hustle have, like, every award going for them! And guess what? Last year, his American Hustle was the first film since Reds (1981) to earn nominations in not the Big Five, but the Big Seven: Best Picture, Director, Screenplay, and all four acting categories. Now he’s done it again, just one year later! (And J-Law and Bradley Cooper are still nominees!)
Snubs I’ve Actually Watched: James Wan for The Conjuring, Paul Greengrass for Captain Phillips
Surprised They Aren’t on the List: Joel & Ethan Coen for Inside Llewyn Davis, Woody Allen for Blue Jasmine, Spike Jonze for Her
Best Animated Feature
Despicable Me 2
Ernest & Celestine
The Wind Rises
Let’s be honest. There weren’t very many animated movies this year (not many great ones, I should say). I haven’t even heard of Ernest & Celestine, and there’s only three American films on this list (unless Ernest & Celestine is American, which I’d be surprised by). But I have heard that Frozen‘s one of the best Disney animated movies since The Lion King, and I did truly enjoy Despicable Me 2.
Snubs: none that I know of
Best Original Screenplay
American Hustle by Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell
Blue Jasmine by Woody Allen
Dallas Buyers Club by Craig Borten & Melisa Wallack
Her by Spike Jonze
Nebraska by Bob Nelson
I’ll cut to the chase. Dallas Buyers Club shouldn’t be in this category. I mean I liked it, but the writing was so formulaic, and the structure was so forced. Especially when we were tracking Ron Woodroof’s (the main character) first thirty days with HIV, in the very beginning of the film. It kind of affected the pacing. On the other hand, it’s nice to see Blue Jasmine (or any Woody Allen film) get some love. Nebraska, I’m dying to see if it’s as well written as any Alexander Payne movie. And if Her beats my number one here (American Hustle!!!), like it did to that and 12 Years a Slave at the Golden Globes, I’ll let out a pre-planned war cry.
Best Adapted Screenplay
Before Midnight by Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke
Captain Phillips by Billy Ray
Philomena by Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope
12 Years a Slave by John Ridley
The Wolf of Wall Street by Terence Winter
I’m not sure if having seen Philomena would add to the angst here or not, but this category is really tight. It’s even more so than the Best Actor category, and god, was that one full of hard decisions. Before Midnight was outstanding. I seriously hope it wins, if any of the four, but in saying that, I feel three holes in my heart, one for each of the three I’m looking over in the category. Still, watching that one back to back to back with its predecessors (Before Sunrise and Before Sunset) made it even more beautiful. It’s one of the best threequels I’ve ever seen. Captain Phillips has a good chance at winning. This is a different writer than the one who wrote United 93, but he seems to know Paul Greengrass’s docudrama style just as perfectly. 12 Years a Slave could be held back only by John Ridley’s past with similarly themed movies. Cough, cough, Red Tails, which was (much unlike 12YAS) one of the worst written screenplays you could find in its year. Similarly, I think there’s something holding back Terence Winter too, though I loved that screenplay, as well. It’s that he’s worked on TV for a number of years (The Sopranos, Boardwalk Empire). I shiver to think that someone along the way might dismiss it as a TV movie that was mistakenly produced for theaters.
Best Production Design-Set Decoration
American Hustle – Judy Becker-Heather Loeffler
Gravity – Andy Nicholson-Rosie Goodwin and Joanne Woollard
The Great Gatsby – Catherine Martin-Beverley Dunn
Her – K.K. Barrett-Gene Serdena
12 Years a Slave – Adam Stockhausen-Alice Baker
Well that relieves me of my one worry this season. The Great Gatsby got some love from the Academy. I didn’t love it, but it was a beautiful movie, and I’m glad they’re not overlooking it where it was most outstanding. I’d vote for that one, personally. Close behind would be American Hustle, Gravity, and 12 Years a Slave. All beautiful movies, though I apply that word to 12YAS with extreme caution (it’s also a disgusting movie).
Snubs: Star Trek Into Darkness
The Grandmaster – Philippe Le Sourd
Gravity – Emmanuel Lubezki
Inside Llewyn Davis – Bruno Delbonnel
Nebraska – Phedon Papamichael
Prisoners – Roger A. Deakins
I really want Gravity to take home this award, but I have a feeling the Academy will look over its 2001: A Space Odyssey grandeur and go for Inside Llewyn Davis, if not Nebraska. Note of interest: I must see Prisoners, now that I know it’s from my favorite cinematographer. Look him up if you don’t recognize that name; he’s done some really gorgeous movies.
Snubs: Man of Steel, Now You See Me, The Conjuring, Side Effects, 12 Years a Slave, American Hustle, Star Trek Into Darkness
Best Costume Design
American Hustle – Michael Wilkinson
The Grandmaster – William Chang Suk Ping
The Great Gatsby – Catherine Martin
The Invisible Woman – Michael O’Connor
12 Years a Slave – Patricia Norris
My god, this is tough! All outstanding costumes, and I can’t even make a biased choice, because both my favorite decades (of those I haven’t lived through of course) are represented here! Let’s make it a 70s-20s tie. American Hustle and The Great Gatsby would be my choices. I have no earthly idea what’ll win, but if I had to guess, I’d say Hustle or 12 Years a Slave.
Snubs: I was about to put down The Wolf of Wall Street, but I didn’t want people protesting. The award does require wearing clothes, and it seems like that was a good 50% of the movie.
Best Documentary Feature
The Act of Killing
Cutie and the Boxer
20 Feet from Stardom
Haven’t seen any, so no comment.
Snubs: Room 237
Best Documentary Short Subject
Karama Has No Walls
The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life
Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall
I honestly haven’t heard of any of these.
Best Film Editing
American Hustle – Jay Cassidy, Crispin Struthers and Alan Baumgarten
Captain Phillips – Christopher Rouse
Dallas Buyers Club – John Mac McMurphy and Martin Pensa
Gravity – Alfonso Cuarón and Mark Sanger
12 Years a Slave – Joe Walker
Hands down, 12 Years a Slave. Runner-up would have to be American Hustle.
Snubs: Don Jon
Best Foreign Language Film
The Broken Circle (The Broken Circle Breakdown, Belgium, co-produced with the Netherlands, language: Flemish)
The Great Beauty (La grande bellezza, Italy, co-produced with France, language: Italian, also Japanese, Spanish, Chinese)
The Hunt (Jagten, Denmark, co-produced with Sweden, language: Danish, also Polish)
The Missing Picture (L’image manquante, Cambodia, co-produced with France, language: French)
Omar (Omar, Palestine, language: Arabic, also Hebrew)
I haven’t seen any of these. Shame on me.
Surprised they aren’t on the list: The Past (Le passé, France, language: French, also Persian), Blue Is the Warmest Color (La vie d’Adèle – Chapitres 1 et 2, France, co-produced with Belgium and Spain, language: French)
Best Hair and Makeup
Dallas Buyers Club – Adruitha Lee and Robin Matthews
Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa – Stephen Prouty
The Lone Ranger – Joel Harlow and Gloria Pasqua-Casny
I’m kind of surprised that The Lone Ranger made its way to the Oscars and really surprised that Bad Grandpa did. But I’ve only seen Dallas Buyers Club, which likely deserves the award.
Snubs: Um, American Hustle!
Best Original Score
The Book Thief – John Williams
Gravity – Steven Price
Her – William Butler and Owen Pallett
Philomena – Alexandre Desplat
Saving Mr. Banks – Thomas Newman
I really enjoyed Steven Price’s score for Gravity. But since my boy John Williams is on the list, I’ll be rootin’ for him.
Snubs: I don’t know, but I have to say, they should’ve just gone ahead and created a “Best Soundtrack” category. American Hustle, Anchorman 2, and The Wolf of Wall Street applied such great songs so well, they’d be in such competition!
Best Original Song
Alone Yet Not Alone – “Alone Yet Not Alone” by Joni Eareckson Tada
Despicable Me 2 – “Happy” by Pharrell Williams
Frozen – “Let It Go” by Demi Lovato
Her – “The Moon Song” by Karen O
Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom – “Ordinary Love” by U2
I truly hate any music that’s post-2000, so I’ll be rooting for the one artist here that’s been around since the times of really good music (and has made really good music): U2.
Best Animated Short Subject
Get a Horse!
Room on the Broom
I really don’t care, to be honest.
Best Live Action Short
Aquel No Era Yo (That Wasn’t Me)
Avant Que De Tout Perdre (Just Before Losing Everything)
Pitaako Mun Kaikki Hoitaa? (Do I Have to Take Care of Everything?)
The Voorman Problem
Again, I don’t exactly care.
Best Sound Editing
All Is Lost – Steve Boeddeker and Richard Hymns
Captain Phillips – Oliver Tarney
Gravity – Glenn Freemantle
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug – Brent Burge
Lone Survivor – Wylie Stateman
I’m kinda stuck between Gravity and Captain Phillips, but it’ll have to be Gravity. Also, if you’re for The Hobbit…
And just so I don’t get sued, know that this is a joke, not a threat. If you don’t see how, please watch The Big Lebowski. Your life will change.
Best Sound Mixing
Captain Phillips – Chris Burdon, Mark Taylor, Mike Prestwood Smith and Chris Munro
Gravity – Skip Lievsay, Niv Adiri, Christopher Benstead and Chris Munro
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug – Christopher Boyes, Michael Hedges, Michael Semanick and Tony Johnson
Inside Llewyn Davis – Skip Lievsay, Greg Orloff and Peter F. Kurland
Lone Survivor – Andy Koyama, Beau Borders and David Brownlow
Same tie, but I’m led to go with Captain Phillips on this one. As a side note, if you’d go with The Hobbit, then…yeah, you got it, you got it.
Best Visual Effects
Gravity – Tim Webber, Chris Lawrence, Dave Shirk and Neil Corbould
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug – Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton and Eric Reynolds
Iron Man 3 – Christopher Townsend, Guy Williams, Erik Nash and Dan Sudick
The Lone Ranger – Tim Alexander, Gary Brozenich, Edison Williams and John Frazier
Star Trek Into Darkness – Roger Guyett, Patrick Tubach, Ben Grossmann and Burt Dalton