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Statuesque: 2014 Oscar Nominations

A lot of movie award ceremonies happen this time of year, but let’s be honest that the only one anybody really takes sferiously is the Oscars. This morning, ‘Thor’ star Chris Hemsworth and Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences president Cheryl Boone Isaacs announced the 2014 Oscar nominations. Although I didn’t personally get out to the theater much last year, that won’t stop me from giving some quick and very likely erroneous impressions.

Best Picture
  1. ’12 Years a Slave’
  2. ‘American Hustle’
  3. ‘Captain Phillips’
  4. ‘Dallas Buyers Club’
  5. ‘Gravity’
  6. ‘Her’
  7. ‘Nebraska’
  8. ‘Philomena’
  9. ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’

No surprises here. All of these movies were fairly well acclaimed, though I have seen some measure of backlash against all of them except ’12 Years a Slave’ (unless you count contrarian crackpot Armond White, who predictably trashed it). ‘Slave’ took home the Best Picture Golden Globe this week, and I expect will do the same for the Oscar. While I’m sure that it’s a very good and worthy film, the cynic in me can’t help but feel that its subject matter will guilt Academy voters into choosing it in fear of being labeled racists otherwise. That’s probably not fair of me to say at all, of course.

Best Director
  1. Alfonso Cuaron, ‘Gravity’
  2. Steve McQueen, ’12 Years a Slave’
  3. Alexander Payne, ‘Nebraska’
  4. David O. Russell, ‘American Hustle’
  5. Martin Scorsese, ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’

Regardess of what takes home Best Picture, I feel confident that the Academy will reward Alfonso Cuaron for the technical achievement of ‘Gravity’. This will probably be one of those rare years when the Director and Picture prizes are not locked in sync.

Best Actor
  1. Christian Bale, ‘American Hustle’
  2. Bruce Dern, ‘Nebraska’
  3. Leonardo DiCaprio, ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’
  4. Chiwetel Ejiofor, ’12 Years a Slave’
  5. Matthew McConaughey, ‘Dallas Buyers Club’

I think this is Chiwetel Ejiofor’s year, with an outside chance of Matthew McConaughey as a dark horse.

Best Actress
  1. Amy Adams, ‘American Hustle’
  2. Cate Blanchett, ‘Blue Jasmine’
  3. Sandra Bullock, ‘Gravity’
  4. Judi Dench, ‘Philomena’
  5. Meryl Streep, ‘August: Osage County’

The only one of these women who doesn’t already have an Oscar is Amy Adams. I think that’s about to change.

Best Supporting Actor
  1. Barkhad Abdi, ‘Captain Phillips’
  2. Bradley Cooper, ‘American Hustle’
  3. Michael Fassbender, ’12 Years a Slave’
  4. Jonah Hill, ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’
  5. Jared Leto, ‘Dallas Buyers Club’

Jonah Hill can now be called a two-time Oscar nominee. This is a strange world we live in. Regardless, Jared Leto has been so heavily buzzed recently for ‘Dallas Buyers Club’ that he looks like a lock to me.

Best Supporting Actress
  1. Sally Hawkins, ‘Blue Jasmine’
  2. Jennifer Lawrence, ‘American Hustle’
  3. Lupita Nyong’o, ’12 Years a Slave’
  4. Julia Roberts, ‘August: Osage County’
  5. June Squibb, ‘Nebraska’

The day ‘American Hustle’ opened, the first thing I heard about it was that Jennifer Lawrence was certain to nab a back-to-back Oscar. I’m not so sure anymore, but that wouldn’t surprise me. Personally, I’m rooting for Lupita Nyong’o, if only because she was utterly adorable on her appearance on ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live’ this week.

Best Animated Feature
  1. ‘The Croods’
  2. ‘Despicable Me 2′
  3. ‘Ernest & Celestine’
  4. ‘Frozen’
  5. ‘The Wind Rises’

This one is going to Disney’s ‘Frozen’. That’s clear to everyone, right? I mean, there’s an outside chance that the Academy might want to give Hayao Miyazaki a second Oscar since he’s announced his retirement, but the guy announces his retirement after every movie he makes, and I don’t remember ‘The Wind Rises’ even opening in theaters anywhere.

I’ve never heard of ‘Ernest & Celestine’ until now. What’s that about?

Best Foreign Language Film
  1. ‘The Broken Circle Breakdown’ (Belgium)
  2. ‘The Great Beauty’ (Italy)
  3. ‘The Hunt’ (Denmark)
  4. ‘The Missing Picture’ (Cambodia)
  5. ‘Omar’ (Palestine)

I heard some scoffing after ‘The Great Beauty’ won the Golden Globe. I don’t know enough about any of these movies to make a prediction here, though I’ve heard that ‘The Hunt’ is very good.

Best Original Screenplay
  1. ‘American Hustle’
  2. ‘Blue Jasmine’
  3. ‘Dallas Buyers Club’
  4. ‘Her’
  5. ‘Nebraska’

Best Original Screenplay is the category that the Academy uses as a token reward for movies that will not win anything else. It also often goes to oddball, inventive movies. I predict that Spike Jonze’s ‘Her’ will win this year.

Best Adapted Screenplay
  1. ’12 Years a Slave’
  2. ‘Before Midnight’
  3. ‘Captain Phillips’
  4. ‘Philomena’
  5. ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’

‘Before Midnight’ is an adapted screenplay? It’s not based on a book, play or any other medium. Are all sequels automatically adaptations?

I expect that this will either go to ’12 Years a Slave’ or possibly ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’, but I’m terrible at making Oscar predictions.

Best Makeup and Hairstyling
  1. ‘Dallas Buyers Club’
  2. ‘Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa’
  3. ‘The Lone Ranger’

Yes, folks, ‘Jackass’ has been nominated for an Oscar. Let the weight of that sink in for a moment.

You can find the rest of the nominees on the official Oscars web site. The ceremony will air March 2nd on ABC, hosted by Ellen DeGeneres.

Which films do you think will win this year? Were you surprised by any of the nominations? Were any movies snubbed that you expected to be nominated?

26 comments

  1. I’ve seen most of these, usually a rarity for me, as I tend to cram in movie watching just before the awards. While nothing is a lock, it’s hard for me to remember an instance when an actor transformed a mediocre role into something special as much as Jennifer Lawrence did in American Hustle, and if their’s justice and she doesn’t get excluded because the Academy doesn’t like giving back-to-back awards,she’ll easily get her second Oscar. I’d make the case that repeat viewings of this movie would point out significant flaws, and that the acting from Lawrence,Bale, and to a lesser extent Adams, really elevated this movie from good to very good. Maybe it’s me and I just don’t connect with Bradley Cooper, but I don’t see him in the running although he’s nominated, and with perhaps a different actor, this movie would have been even better.

  2. A month ago, I would have picked Bruce Dern for Best Actor…but I think buzz is starting to build for McConaughey – it also helps that he’s got the hottest/best show on TV from now through awards night. I’m predicting Matthew gets Best Actor.

  3. Drew

    Here are the two things that piss me off more than anything, about these particular nominations: Tom Hanks wasn’t nominated for his performance in Captain Phillips, and Paul Greengrass wasn’t nominated for directing Captain Phillips. ‘Phillips’ was nominated for Best Picture. Hanks’ performance and Greengrass’ direction were the two strongest aspects of it! How are they not nominated?!?!?! Greengrass’ direction was stellar! It was the second best directing achievement of the year, behind Cuaron for Gravity! Yes, it was even better than King Scorsese (My favorite filmmaker of all time) for ‘Wolf’ or David O. Russell, for ‘Hustle’. It’s arguable, which of those films is best, but Greengrass’ direction of Captain Phillips was superior to anything they accomplished on their respective films.

    • Josh Zyber
      Author

      That accent Hanks tried (and failed) to do in Captain Phillips locked him out of a nomination. I’m more surprised that the Academy didn’t throw him a nod for playing Walt Disney. The Academy LOVES it when really famous actors play other really famous historical personages, especially those connected to Hollywood history (e.g. Cate Blanchett in The Aviator, Michelle Williams in My Week with Marilyn, Robert Downey Jr. in Chaplin, Jessica Lange in Frances, Willem Dafoe in Shadow of a Vampire, etc.).

  4. Drew

    For Best Actor, Chiwetel has it in the bag. Poor Leo, I feel like he will go down as the greatest actor to never win the Academy Award for Best Actor.

  5. Drew

    Chris,

    He definitely toned it down, for ‘Captain Phillips’. Read through the ‘Phillips’ reviews. You’ll see almost every reviewer praising him for doing so.

  6. Chris

    Glad to hear about the Shaky-cam being reined in a little bit…the Bourne sequels almost made me nauseous at times.

  7. Drew

    Mike,

    There is no such business.

    This was changed, last year.

    Each year (until the rules are changed again), between 5-10 films will be nominated for Best Picture. This year, 9 films were nominated.

  8. Drew

    Josh,

    That’s your opinion. I believe you are wrong. He was as successful as he needed to be, with the accent. I’ve read just as many positive remarks about the accent, as I have negative ones. The bottom line is: His performance in ‘Phillips’ was outstanding. It was definitely deserving of a nomination. Have you even seen the film? If not, don’t just assume that he failed with the accent. Watch the film with an open mind, don’t determine beforehand that he fails to pull it off, and even if you think the accent is a failure, determine if his acting was good enough, in spite of that. I think you’ll discover that it was.

    • Josh Zyber
      Author

      I saw enough of him in the trailers to tell that his accent was horrid. Unless all of the clips of him in the trailers don’t actually appear in the movie, and his role in the finished movie was completely dubbed over by a different actor who does a better job, I stand by that opinion. :)

      Besides which, Hanks already has 84 Oscar nominations. He’ll be OK if the Academy skips him a year.

  9. Drew

    Well,there we have it,you haven’t even seen the film, and you’ve already made up your mind. There’s nothing more that can be said.

  10. Chris

    Hmmmm I actually wasn’t aware Hanks even attempted an accent in the film, I’ll be sure to check this one out on Blu-ray…

  11. Drew

    Was it stupid that 5 films were nominated for Best Picture, in 1950, when only about one tenth or fewer films were released? Going by your reasoning, if only five films should be nominated in 2013, only 1 film should have been nominated in 1950, and there would have been no vote. The simple fact of the matter is that there are way more films released during a calendar year, currently, than at any other time in history. If five films deserved to be nominated, during a year in which less than fifty films were released, why shouldn’t 5-10 films be nominated, during a year in which more than five hundred films were released? Look at it this way, if The Academy used your rules, there would be about 30 films nominated for Best Picture, during this mass saturation period in history. You should be happy that they have limited it to 5-10.

  12. Drew

    No, Mike, it’s not “9. 10. Whatever.” It’s literally nine. It could just as easily be six. We will probably see years where there are still only five films nominated.

  13. It doesn’t really matter if there are 5, 10, 20 or 30 Best Picture nominees. The only 3 you need to worry about this year are the ones that got nominated for Best Editing AND Best Directing:

    American Hustle
    Gravity
    12 Years a Slave

    Historically speaking if you pick up one (or both) of the other awards, you’re also going to get Best Picture. I think the last time it didn’t happen was when GLADIATOR won Best Picture, but TRAFFIC got Best Director and Editing.

  14. Hey Josh, “Ernest & Celestine” is a French-Belgian animated movie with an absolutely adorable art style. I’m not saying this because it’s a semi-Belgian movie. Check some screenshots; it really is super cute. Fuzzy and warm. Like a live children’s book. Tomax and Xamot will love it.

    Of course, I AM saying ‘The Broken Circle Breakdown’ needs to win. Chauvinism for the win. We’ll lose to ‘Jagten’ or ‘La grande bellezza’, however. I’m just glad ‘The Grandmaster’ didn’t nab “our” nomination. That would have been a scandal.

  15. Drew

    Shannon,

    Thank you. That was my point all along. No matter how many nominees there are, we all know that it’s always going to boil down to 2-3 that are legitimately in the running.

  16. Josh. BEFORE MIDNIGHT is in the Adapted category simply because it’s a sequel. IE, because it’s “based on” characters that were previously created. Though the Academy is not the WGA and will recognize non-WGA projects, I think it’s the WGA rules that set this up. For a related story, look up the (still active?) lawsuit over THE EXPENDABLES where Millennium doesn’t want to have to continue paying the writer of a script Sly used to create the series. Essentially, no matter what Sly does with the franchise, it’s always “based on” other material. Oddly enough, sequels alone create the same scenario because there was a script before that created material.

    Also, re: the Boston accent, I get it — it’s laughable at the beginning, especially, but Hanks should have earned his nomination for the last 10-15 minutes of the movie. Powerhouse material. But other than New England natives like us, I doubt it would bother anyone.

    Cheers.