Friday, January 17, 2014

Oscar Oscar Oscar

You already know what I thought of last year.  Now come the Oscar nominations.  Who got picked?  Who got snubbed?  Who cares?

Let's look at the main categories.

Best Picture
American Hustle
Captain Phillips
Dallas Buyers Club
12 Years a Slave
The Wolf of Wall Street

Nine choices here (there could have been ten).  No surprise choices, though Her and Philomena weren't guaranteed.  What's missing?  Lee Daniel's The Butler, August: Osage County, Inside Llewyn Davis, Saving Mr. Banks, Fruitvale Station--all titles that are going to see a lot of snubs.  No Blue Jasmine, either, though it'll get other nods.

Best performance by an 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 

Bale and DiCaprio weren't shoo-ins, but not shocks either.  The shocks here are no Tom Hanks, no Robert Redford.  (Is the Academy getting younger?)  No Forest Whitaker or Joaquin Phoenix either.

Best performance by an actress in a leading role
Amy Adams, American Hustle 
Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine 
Sandra Bullock, Gravity
Judi Dench, Philomena
Meryl Streep, August: Osage County

The only slight surprise here is Amy Adams, though the Academy does like her.  They love Meryl Streep, and can't stop nominating her. In fact, everyone here has already been nominated.  Biggest snub by far is Emma Thompson. Also no Adele Exarchopoulus from Blue Is The Warmest Color (which the Academy ignored entirely).

Best performance by an actor in a supporting role
Barkhad Abdi, Captain Phillips
Bradley Cooper, American Hustle
Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave
Jonah Hill, The Wolf of Wall Street
Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club

Jonah Hill is becoming an Academy favorite. Who would have guessed. (He did his best work in Superbad but that's not what wins awards. For that matter, he wasn't bad last year in This Is The End, but that's not going to get nominated either.) Abdi a bit of a surprise, as since Hanks was snubbed for that film (and was also snubbed in this category for Saving Mr. Banks.).  Cooper also a bit of a surprise, since he wasn't as notable as his co-stars, but the Academy loves American Hustle and gave the actors a nomination in all the categories.  Missing--though no shock--are Will Forte, Daniel Bruhl and James Gandolfini. Leto will win, though this category--usually the best--seems a  bit less inspired than usual.

Best performance by an actress in a supporting role
Lupita Nyong'o, 12 Years a Slave
Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle
June Squibb, Nebraska
Julia Roberts, August: Osage County
Sally Hawkins, Blue Jasmine

Pretty much all the names expected here, though Sally Hawkins was far from guaranteed.  First supporting role nomination for Roberts (though her part could be called the lead, the filmmakers decided that's where Meryl goes).  Lawrence is young and already a favorite of the Academy.  Should be a good battle.  Some are saying Oprah got snubbed except I never thought she had much of a chance. Some thought Jennifer Garner had a shot, though she had the nothing role in Dallas Buyers Club.  Some believed Lea Seydoux had a chance but, as we've seen, Blue Is the Warmest Color simply wasn't on the Academy's radar. Some thought Scarlett Johansson's voice in Her had a chance, but that was never going to happen.

Best animated feature
The Croods
The Wind Rises
Despicable Me 2
Ernest & Celestine

The big snub here--Monsters University.  Rare a Pixar film doesn't make it, and this one deserved it.  Otherwise, no surprises, though I'm sure The Croods and Ernest & Celestine are happy to be here.

Achievement in directing
American Hustle, David O. Russell
Gravity, Alfonso Cuaron
Nebraska, Alexander Payne
12 Years a Slave, Steve McQueen
The Wolf of Wall Street, Martin Scorsese

This gives an idea of the favorites in best film, and the only slight surprise here is Nebraska, though the Academy likes Payne.  And Scorsese, shunned for so many years, has become the Meryl Streep of directors. No room for Spike Jonze or Paul Greengrass.  No Woodman, no Lee Daniel's, though I guess it had to be that way.

Adapted screenplay
Before Midnight, Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke
Captain Phillips, Billy Ray
Philomena, Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope
12 Years a Slave, John Ridley
The Wolf of Wall Street, Terence Winter
Just as the day is ending, Before Midnight gets a nominations.  The rest pretty much expected.
I like how the Academy is saying August: Osage County was good enough for a Pulitzer Prize, but not good enough for us.

Original screenplay
American Hustle, Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell
Blue Jasmine, Woody Allen
Dallas Buyers Club, Craig Borten and Melisa Wallack
Her, Spike Jonze
Nebraska, Bob Nelson

The Woodman gets another chance to snub the Academy.  The rest expected. Yet another snub for the Coen Brothers.

Best documentary featureThe Act of Killing 
Cutie and the Boxer 
Dirty Wars  
The Square 
20 Feet From Stardom 

A bit surprising not to see Blackfish or Stories We Tell.

Overall, it's looking pretty good for American Hustle, which got the most nominations at ten.  (Gravity also got ten nominations, though they were more for technical categories.)  12 Years A Slave got nine, which is pretty good, except a lot of pundits expected it would win the derby for most nominations.

As we get closer to the day, I'll give my predictions and/or choices for the winners.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Biggest surprise is no Hanks. He really deserved to win for Captain Phillips.

3:17 AM, January 17, 2014  

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