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Friday, February 21, 2014

2014 Oscar Not So-Late Predictions


Been distracted with the Winter Olympics but what I like the most is over so it is time to turn my attention back to the Oscars and do some predictions in a year that it is NOT easy to guess what Academy members will do as suspect will be very different from what I like.

Was reading the Mojo Box Office figures and can tell that the movie that benefited more from the nomination is none other than American Hustle (!) which is kind of surprising for me as movie has a very appealing cast, for teenagers, young adults and the not so-young. So go figure what the "nomination effect" really does as the movies that really need a push do not get a significant one.

One important thing pops in my mind, this year we have a different kind of Awards Season that could influence the Oscar race. All started with major film critics' groups that had "ties" for the first time since many years. Yes, this year I believe that Oscar could "surprise" us with ties and more than believing, I am hoping will happen as there are some categories were a tie will please many and will be completely understandable.

Have to spend a paragraph to remind you that Academy voters are mainly old, men, white, and living in Los Angeles. So if you are not like them, it is probable that the nominations and awards will not be the ones you will choose, so if you decide to watch the Oscars will NOT be because who wins what but to enjoy a "good" entertaining TV show. That is why producers go beyond their way trying to produce a show to people who do not care much for movies and/or winners but care to be entertained with "celebrities", jokes and some music. Still, there is an "endangered species", people like me (lol) that enjoy great cinema and "still" enjoys the Oscar show for entertainment but most of all, to find who wins what.

Since I'm sort of sarcastic better to go directly to my predictions.

Best Picture

From the nine movies in competition the ones that I favor with a positive review are 12 Years a Slave, Dallas Buyers Club, Gravity, Philomena and the biggest positive surprise of the season: Nebraska. Did not enjoyed much American Hustle, Captain Phillips, Her and The Wolf of Wall Street. So it's no surprise if I still believe that the best from the bunch is 12 Years a Slave and IF any of the first three wins will be alright for me. IF any of the last four wins I will be extremely disappointed and yes, will be upset for a while (lol).

Will Win: 12 Years a Slave
Could Win: Gravity
Should Win: 12 Yeas a Slave, Dallas Buyers Club or Gravity.

Best Animated Feature Film

We all know that Frozen is going to win which is a great shame as truly do not understand what the movie has that is so good to be honored with an Oscar. I believe this award should go to a movie that has Great/Outstanding animation to tell a great story that appeals to the young and older. If that would be true then you have to discard The Croods, Despicable Me 2 and Frozen; plus The Wind Rises that's more for adults. Then you will only have one contender Ernest & Celestine.

Will Win: Frozen
Should Win: Ernest & Celestine

Foreign Language

Why Oscar does not have a tie? Especially for this category, a tie will be the most democratic solution as who could choose between fantastic The Hunt and outstanding The Great Beauty? Two very different movies, one appealing to our melancholy and the other to our moral emotions and precisely because what each movie appeals is why The Hunt is doom and The Great Beauty will win. Sigh. Melancholy touches older people, especially those who are familiar with Fellini -as most Academy members surely are- and Paolo Sorrentino's Fellini homage will prevail from a morally charged pedophile suggested story in The Hunt.

Will Win: The Great Beauty
Could Win: The Broken Circle Breakdown (if votes are split and a third rises)
Should Win: tie between The Great Beauty and The Hunt

Directing

Me and my own problems with directing. Sigh. Yes as many of you watch a movie because actors, I watch movies because directors and nowadays is becoming very difficult in American/English-speaking cinema as is not easy to understand what directors are doing in full visual effects movies. Last year Life of Pi helped me to understand some more but Gravity is still confusing for me as what I find really outstanding, unique, in the trend to fast evolution are the many inventions and creations (most tech specs) to make possible the tension in film plus the actors performance.

All of the above to say that we all know that Alfonso Cuarón will win the category and I will still be confused trying to find the reason why he won. Sigh. Yes, you know it by now, my choice is excellent Steve McQueen that since his first movie has shown incredible directing skills.

Will Win: Alfonso Cuarón
Should Win: Steve McQueen

Actress in a Leading Role

Nobody doubts that this is Cate Blanchett year and IF she doesn't get the Oscar I will be VERY disappointed with the oblique Academy members that mix professional and personal lives. Yes there are strong rumors, high buzz about Woody Allen personal life influencing Cate Blanchet professional life, which I find atrocious but very possible as most Academy members live in Los Angeles and are much exposed to Celebrity gossip, at least more than you and me. Sigh. Blanchett performance is outstanding and out of the ordinary in many levels.

Then you have pundits calling for Amy Adams winning. Absolutely unacceptable as not only Adams "stole" the nomination spot from much deserving Emma Thompson but I did NOT enjoy her performance AT ALL in American Hustle and please recall that I have appreciated her great performances in movies NOT related to David O. Russell. As a matter of fact I believe that Amy Adams and Christian Bale were strong casting mistakes, perhaps with a different type of actors movie would have been different and more appealing.

Will Win: Cate Blanchett (It is an emotional decision)
Could Win: Amy Adams (NO WAY!!!)
Should Win: Cate Blanchett

Actress in a Supporting Role

Allow me to share that I did enjoy all five performances, some more than the others BUT the one performance that jumps out of the ordinary ABSOLUTELY is what Jennifer Lawrence did in American Hustle. She is the only reason I continued watching American Hustle and believe it or not, did not complained about film. She pops-out of the screen with her fantastic performance.

But later in the Oscar race another actress has been getting much more attention as she is being heavily promoted as Red Carpet darling. Yes I'm talking about Lupita Nyong'o. She did an acceptable performance in 12 Years a Slave BUT this film is nothing about females as ALL female roles disappear in the jungle of great performances by male actors. 12 Years a Slave is a Male/Men/Testosterone movie and most actors give outstanding performances no matter how small their role is.

Will Win: Jennifer Lawrence (HAS TO - okay is an emotional decision)
Could Win: Lupita Nyong'o (Academy members like to honor newcomers with this award)
Should Win: Jennifer Lawrence (This young actress does a highly superior performance when compared to other nominees and should NOT be "punished" for doing blockbuster movies.)

Actor in a Leading Role

Do not understand what Christian Bale and Leonardo DiCaprio are doing in this category as their characters were not pleasant BUT their performance made them unwatchable; Bruce Dern was a pleasant positive surprise (now understand why he won the Cannes Palme d'Or) and yes, I do not mind at all if Chiwetel Ejiofor or Matthew McConaughey win as both delighted us with great performances. This another category were a tie will please many, including me.

Will Win: Matthew McConaughey
Could Win: Leonardo DiCaprio (Awful performance)
Should Win: Chiwetel Ejiofor

Actor in Supporting Role

We all know that this year the award HAS to go to one -and only one- impressive performance by Jared Leto. Probabilities tell us that he will and the big surprise will be IF Academy members decide to vote otherwise because the "racy" movie theme and the character Leto performs. There is another great performance, Michael Fassbender but believe this is not his year and know he will get an Oscar sooner than later.

Will Win: Jared Leto
Could Win: Barkhad Abdi (Gosh he barely acted! and recall that I enjoy performances by non-actors)
Should Win: Jared Leto

That's all. Next week will do my "very late" predictions that will include ALL the categories. Hope you had fun reading at least as much fun as I had writing.

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