Welcome our newest contributor, Steve Palizzi! You can also hear our podcast with Oscar predictions…
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And for our dissection after the Oscars, Sheri rejoins us along with Aaron Lebovic and Collin Ward…
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I have a confession. I haven’t seen all the movie in all the categories. I haven’t even seen all the movies nominated for Best Picture. Am I embarrassed? Not really. I figure I’m no different from most of the American public who are making predictions, and I’m certainly no different from most of the voting members. Heck, I won the Detroit Free Press Oscar Derby a number of years ago with limited viewing exposure. If you can forgive me for these transgressions, then read on.
Best Picture: I loved Gravity. I found it suspenseful, thrilling, creative, and visually stunning. Surprisingly, I willingly paid an extra $2 to see it in 3D, and I’m glad I did. Throughout the movie, I didn’t move from my seat for fear of being untethered and floating away. I was in a space vacuum where I couldn’t even hear the noisy popcorn crunchers who always manage to pick a spot behind me. But during 12 Years a Slave, I got restless. I knew if I got up for a restroom break that I’d have no problem picking up when I returned. As long as I didn’t leave during an anticipated emotional scene, I’d be fine. 12 Years a Slave was emotional, but it was familiar territory. Gravity, on the other hand, was cutting edge. My pick and prediction goes to Gravity.
Best Director: The Oscar for best director typically follows the movie…assuming they’ve both been nominated. (Sorry Ben Affleck.) Therefore, Alfonso Cuaron is my prediction (and pick).
Best Actor: Showing his acting chomps in film (Bernie ), TV (True Detective ), and indie (Mud ), Matthew McConaughey is standing out for being more than the shirtless Dallas in Magic Mike. Prediction and pick goes to Matthew McConaughey.
Best Actress: Amy Adams was captivating as Syndey in American Hustle, and it wasn’t just because of her plunging neckline. Her performance is Oscar worthy, but she’s going against Cate Blanchett who also deserves an Oscar for her performance in Blue Jasmine. Personally, I wouldn’t be upset if either of them won the award, but Blanchett has had momentum since Blue Jasmine was released, and she has kept that momentum. My prediction: Cate Blanchett.
Best Supporting Actor: Michael Fassbender gave a remarkable portrayal of a cruel and volatile slave owner. If he walked away with an Oscar, I wouldn’t cry foul. That being said, I’m predicting Jared Leto. The Academy leans toward unique characters, embracing their oddities and idiosyncrasies. Combine a transgender AIDS patient with stellar acting and the result is my prediction for Jared Leto.
Best Supporting Actress: Jennifer–everyone loves you, and even though enough of them won’t give you their vote, they’ll still give you their love. Your performance of Roselyn is nothing to be ashamed of. As I said about Amy Adams and Michael Fassbender, I’d be ecstatic if you walked away with another statue. But America is leaning toward a new It girl for this year and someone to share the limelight with you. My pick follows the BAFTA (Jennifer Lawrence) instead of Lupita Nyong’o who seemed a bit histrionic at times. (I’m just saying.) However, my prediction is Lupita Nyong’o.
Best Adapted Screenplay: Your challenge–Find a book in the library that is 160 years old and not known by anyone, blow off the dust, and breathe fresh life into it as a new medium. If you can do it, then you’re worthy of my vote. Pick and Prediction: 12 Years a Slave.
Best Cinematography: Based on the success Life of Pi had last year, along with the fact that I swore I was in space with Sandra Bullock, this prediction and pick is easy: Gravity.
Best Animated Feature Film and Best Original Song: Suffice it to say that if you wager on Frozen and “Let It Go”, you won’t lose money. But you won’t make much either. Odds lean decisively toward these two as do my predictions and picks.
Best Foreign Film, Documentary, and Animated Shorts: I really did want to see them…or some of them…or even just one….but I didn’t. So I’m skipping these.
Best Production Design: As an English major, I’m an effete snob when it comes to my favorite American novel, The Great Gatsby. For that reason, I didn’t–and won’t ever–see anyone’s interpretation of the book. It’s all too firmly set in my imagination. But there’s one chapter from the novel (Chapter 3) when Nick receives a hand-written request from Gatsby to “attend his ‘little party’ that night.” And I’ve always felt I needed help to fully visualize the magnitude of such an event. So I took a peak of a few party scenes in the movie. Kudos Martin and Dunn. My prediction and pick: The Great Gatsby.
Best Costume Design: Hmmm… None of the nominees depict historical costumes in France or Asia, so I’m not too confident this year. Are the 70’s “historic” enough? If I pick American Hustle , am I a sexist pig who’s been influenced by revealing dresses? But the 20’s seems too easy to replicate. (After all, my students were able to throw together costumes for our speakeasy party). What about The Invisible Woman ? Well, I wonder, if the costumes were so noteworthy, then why could I still see the woman? Having my arm twisted, my pick is American Hustle but my prediction is The Great Gatsby.
Best Original Screenplay: I really enjoyed American Hustle, but I think it was more for the overall talent of the cast than it was for the story. For me, Nebraska was a tightly written journey that gave new insight through the quest motif. It’s been months since I watched Nebraska and I’m still reflecting back on it. If I could vote, I’d mark my ballot in favor of Nebraska. But, because Her came out late in the year, I haven’t gotten around to seeing it yet. So I’ll base my prediction on a respectable source (Kevin Walsh of My Media Diary) who speaks of this film’s merits: Her.
Anything in the technical field: Gravity
As I confessed at the start, I’m making my picks and predictions based on the limited movies I’ve seen and what I’ve read and heard. Like most movie chair prognosticators, sometimes I’m right, sometimes I’m wrong, and sometimes I’m shocked by the results. And like you, that is what I most enjoy about the Academy Awards. That and the winners’ utter dismay when the music cuts into their rambling acceptance speech.