Thursday, February 27, 2014

Eimer's 2014 Academy Award Picks

It's Oscar time. This failed screenwriter will be drinking a 40-ounce of Mickey's Malt Liquor and sulking like the jealous bastard writer that I am at all the celebrities and fanfare going on out West. (Sob!) So, just in time for the Red Carpet, I'm giving you my personal choices for Sunday's extravaganza.

If you've read my Top 10 movies of 2013, then you'll know my true favorites of the year. However, the Academy Awards are a different beast. Lots of politics involved in these choices my friends.

That said, going by various articles, mumblings on geek sites, awards handed out thus far and my personal knowledge of how the Academy has voted in the past, I'm giving you my educated guesses on the big winners. So, here you go!

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

I think Gravity will win. Personally, I would give it to The Wolf of Wall Street. That was the most fun I’ve had in a theater in a long time - besides (of course) The Lego Movie.

Best director
Steve McQueen -- "12 Years a Slave"
David O. Russell -- "American Hustle"
Alexander Payne -- "Nebraska"
Martin Scorsese -- "The Wolf of Wall Street"

Director’s Guild already gave Cuaron this title, so I’m not bucking the odds on this one. Besides, he did a great job. And I've loved his past work (Y Tu Mama Tambien, Prisoner of Azkaban and Children of Men). If he doesn’t win, I’d give it to Russell or McQueen.

Best actor
Bruce Dern -- "Nebraska"
Chiwetel Ejiofor -- "12 Years a Slave"
Leonardo DiCaprio -- "The Wolf of Wall Street"
Christian Bale -- "American Hustle"

McConaughey is on a roll this year. He’s hitting his stride. Plus, all the weight loss aside, he did a great job in this film. And is doing an even better job in True Detective. However, if it was up to me, I would give it to DiCaprio. I loved his performance in Wolf, but he’s not going to win.

Best actress
Amy Adams -- "American Hustle"
Judi Dench -- "Philomena"
Sandra Bullock -- "Gravity"
Meryl Streep -- "August: Osage County"

Although I heard good things about Dench, Blanchett owned her character in Blue Jasmine. She made her up from scratch. Great acting, all around actually in this film, even from the Dice man.

Best supporting actor
Barkhad Abdi -- "Captain Phillips"
Bradley Cooper -- "American Hustle”
Jonah Hill -- "The Wolf of Wall Street"
Michael Fassbender -- "12 Years a Slave"

I loved Abdi in Phillips, but since he’s a first-time actor, he may not be acting - if you know what I mean. It could just be the way he acts all the time in real life. That’s why I think Leto for the win. Seems like the Academy likes actors who dress up as the opposite sex. Or maybe I'm wrong.

Best supporting actress
Jennifer Lawrence -- "American Hustle"
Lupita Nyong'o -- "12 Years a Slave"
June Squibb -- "Nebraska"
Julia Roberts -- "August: Osage County"

Everyone loves Lawrence, but I’m going with Hawkins here. Again, just like Blanchett, she owned her role and created this quirky character out of thin air.

Best original screenplay
"American Hustle" -- David O. Russell and Eric Warren Singer
"Blue Jasmine" -- Woody Allen
"Nebraska" -- Bob Nelson
"Dallas Buyers Club" -- Craig Borten and Melisa Wallack

I’m a Jonze fan. And although I haven’t seen this film (yet), the screenplay has to be one of the reasons that it’s getting accolades. Right? Right? Plus, I just like his entire body of work, thus far. By the way, did you catch Jonze's small performance in Wall Street, and last year's Moneyball?

Best adapted screenplay
"Before Midnight" -- Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke and Richard Linklater
"The Wolf of Wall Street" -- Terence Winter
"Captain Phillips" -- Billy Ray
"Philomena" -- Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope

Going to give this one to Ridley for 12 Years ... just because. Although 'Before Midnight's' dialogue was pretty cool (well, my wife didn’t think so, but I did!)

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

It’s Frozen. Although DM2 could sneak in and pull an upset.

Best foreign feature
"The Broken Circle Breakdown" (Belgium)
"The Great Beauty" (Italy)
"Omar" (Palestinian territories)
"The Missing Picture" (Cambodia)

Haven’t seen any of them, but I’m going with The Hunt, because it sounds cool. And has a 93% approval rating on

Best music (original song)
"Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom": "Ordinary Love" -- U2, Paul Hewson 
"Her": "The Moon Song" -- Karen O, Spike Jonze
"Despicable Me 2": "Happy" -- Pharrell Williams

When all else fails in this category, go Disney. So, I will just do that.

Best music (original score)
"Philomena" -- Alexandre Desplat
"The Book Thief" -- John Williams
"Saving Mr. Banks" -- Thomas Newman
"Her" -- William Butler and Owen Pallett

Thinking about Gravity for this one. Science-Fiction. Great Film. Moving Score. Sound like another familiar film?

Best cinematography
"Inside Llewyn Davis" -- Bruno Delbonnel
"Nebraska" -- Phedon Papamichael
"Prisoners" -- Roger Deakins
"The Grandmaster" -- Phillippe Le Sourd

I pick Roger Deakins every year and he never wins. So, let’s go with someone else. Now hopefully Deakins will win. He’s very deserving. I mean, check out his body of work in imdb. But, I picked Lubezki for a reason ... Space is cool to look at.

Best costume design
"12 Years a Slave" -- Patricia Norris
"The Grandmaster" -- William Chang Suk Ping
"American Hustle" -- Michael Wilkinson
"The Invisible Woman" -- Michael O'Connor

Let’s give The Great Gatsby a little love with Martin's beautiful costume designs in effortlessly recreating the 1920’s look. 12 Years a Slave and American Hustle may also win though.

Best documentary feature
"20 Feet From Stardom"
"The Square"
"Cutie and the Boxer"
"Dirty Wars"

I was hoping Blackfish would have been nominated for Best Doc. That said, this film getting the most buzz heading into Sunday. You can catch it on Netflix streaming. And it’s not that bad of a film either.

Best film editing
"Gravity" -- Alfonso Cuaron, Mark Sanger
"12 Years a Slave"-- Joe Walker
"American Hustle" -- Jay Cassidy, Crispin Struthers and Alan Baumgarten
"Dallas Buyers Club" -- John Mac McMurphy and Martin Pensa

I love the editing of Captain Phillips. It’s that popular documentary look that's all the rage--and has been done many times before (see Bourne movies, Zero Dark Thirty, Black Hawk Down, etc.) But, I'm a sucker. I think it totally worked for this movie.

Best makeup and hairstyling
"The Lone Ranger" -- Joel Harlow and Gloria Pasqua-Casny
"Dallas Buyers Club" -- Adruitha Lee and Robin Mathews

Hey, if Norbit can win, then Bad Grandpa can win. Right?

Best production design
"12 Years a Slave" -- Adam Stockhausen and Alice Baker
"THE GREAT GATSBY" -- Catherine Martin and Beverley Dunn
"American Hustle" -- Judy Becker and Heather Loeffler
"Gravity" -- Andy Nicholson, Rosie Goodwin and Joanne Woollard
"Her" -- K.K. Barrett and Gene Serdena

I’m going with The Great Gatsby on this just because. Personally, I love the 20’s look and feel that the movie created. Any of these films could win actually.

Best visual effects
"The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug"
"Star Trek Into Darkness"
"Iron Man 3"
"The Lone Ranger"

Hands down, Gravity. Although ‘The Hobbit’ could sneak in. Loved me some Smaug.

Best sound mixing
"Captain Phillips"
"Lone Survivor"
"Inside Llewyn Davis"
"The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug"

Hands down, Gravity. Although ‘Captain Phillips’ could sneak in.

Best sound editing
"All Is Lost"
"Captain Phillips"
"Lone Survivor"
"The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug"

Hands down, gravity, although ‘All is Lost’ could sneak in with it's quiet dialogue and heavy aquatic sound effects.

Best short film, live action
"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"

Haven’t seen any of them, let’s go with The Voorman Problem.

Best short film, animated
"Mr. Hublot"
"Room on the Broom"

I’ve chosen Get a Horse because it harks back to the old Mickey animations of yore (Steamboat Willie anyone?). Heck, it looks like it came out of that time, which is interesting to see. The animators almost had to break some of their own animation style to create the antiquated animation look and feel. It was probably pretty hard to create. That said, Feral and Mr. Hublot could also win. But, personally, I liked Get a Horse.

Best documentary short
"Facing Fear"
"Karama Has No Walls"
"The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life"
"Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall"

Let’s go wiith Cavedigger because it’s about a crazy artist who creates art in caves that he has personally dug himself. Crazy, right?

Welp, that’s it. Be on the lookout for a round-up of my wins and losses on Monday. Oh, and enjoy the Oscars.

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