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2014 Oscar Predictions/Results

Okay, folks. Dolby Theatre is all set to light up for the Oscars in precisely one week. Now that the votes have been cast and all the other major awards have been handed out, it’s time to fill out our predictions for who’s going to win. I’ll be setting down my picks for the record, but with minimal commentary. I’ll be saving my thoughts for the big night of March 2nd, when I do my annual liveblog of the event in red text. I hope you all will join me here as the night unfolds. In the meantime, here are my Oscar picks for each category.

P.S. Just so you know, I’ve been very consistent in correctly guessing two out of three. I’m shooting for three out of four this year, so we’ll see what happens.

So, the big night is here. I tuned in two hours early expecting to see a waterlogged red carpet, only to find that the rainclouds came and went just before. Such a pity they decided to take the tents down, but then we can’t have anything interesting happen during the pre-show, can we?!

Also, ABC says that the Oscars start at 4:00 PST even though there’s still another hour and a half of pre-show to go. Lying bastards. Then again, at least E! makes an effort to bring in fashionistas, professional interviewers, and people who are generally experts at the shallow Hollywood lifestyle. Compare that to ABC, whose Red Carpet staff is made of the Today Show anchors, who are qualified solely by their single-digit IQs. Seriously, these idiots smile so much and ask such inane questions that I doubt a single one of them has a central nervous system.

I know a lot of people out there care about what the stars are wearing and how the celebrities look, but I’m sorry, I honestly don’t care less. Never could. Still, at least Ryan Seacrest is good enough to occasionally bring up what the actors are working on next. I didn’t even hear about The Lost City of Z or Carol until his respective interviews with Benedict Cumberbatch and Sally Hawkins, and I’ll be very interested to hear more from both films.

Also, word from the producer of 50 Shades of Grey: That film has wrapped production. I can’t wait to see the reception for that movie, because I REALLY doubt the American public knew what it was asking for with that one.

At the time of this typing, it’s 5:10 PST. And I’m already getting a headache from how many times I’ve facepalmed. The ceremony cannot come here soon enough.

***

So the night starts off by introducing Ellen DeGeneres without ceremony or a splashy entrance. At least they’re not wasting any more time. And DeGeneres doesn’t waste any time rambling herself into the ground. Then again, everyone knows that hosting the Oscars is a thankless gig, so I’m willing to cut her some slack. Also, rambling incoherently is DeGeneres’ schtick, and the Oscars tend to fail so hard when the hosts go outside the Academy’s comfort zone (see: Chris Rock, Seth MacFarlane, etc.).

Incidentally, I don’t see an orchestra. Are they phoning it in like they did last year?

Best Supporting Actor

Should Win: Barkhad Abdi, Captain Phillips

Will Win: Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club

Did Win: Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club

This disappoints me. The other nominees did so much more for their respective movies. Still, Leto did a superb job with a subpar character, I’ll grant him that. He’s a very good actor and an all-around talented guy, not to mention a completely unpredictable nutbar. We’ll see where his career goes from here.

Also, I love how many words they had to censor out during the nominee clips. We’ll be seeing a lot more of that as the night goes on, I’m sure.

***

And now we get a movie montage. So it’s gonna be one of those Oscar nights, huh? Looks like we’re in for a long and boring night here, folks. Still, at least we get performances of the Original Song nominees, and nominees that are worth listening to. This category is famine or feast every year, and praise the movie gods that this is a feast year.

Best Costume Design

Should Win: Catherine Martin, The Great Gatsby

Will Win: Catherine Martin, The Great Gatsby

Did Win: Catherine Martin, The Great Gatsby

The Academy went the predictable route on this one, but I don’t begrudge them for that in this case. Gatsby was a mediocre film, but the costume design was easily tied with DiCaprio for the best part about it.

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Should Win: …*sigh* Stephen Prouty, Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa

Will Win: Adruitha Lee and Robin Mathews, Dallas Buyers Club

Did Win: Adruitha Lee and Robin Mathews, Dallas Buyers Club

I hate to say it, but Bad Grandpa really was the more deserving winner. Putting on that age makeup repeatedly, making it durable enough to last through all those stunts, and making it convincing enough to hold up under close scrutiny in uncontrolled scenarios was a Herculean feat. Also, most of the “makeup” in Dallas Buyers Club consisted of McConaughey’s weight fluctuation. Then again, I’m glad I live in a world in which Jackass doesn’t have an Oscar.

***

Is it just me or do Kim Novak and Matthew McConaughey look stoned out of their goddamned minds?

Best Animated Short Film

Should Win: No preference

Will Win: Get a Horse!

Did Win: Mr. Hublot

Well, this was a shocker! I guess the Academy didn’t want to just hand the award to Disney this year. If I was a producer on Frozen, I’d be sweating right now.

Best Animated Feature

Should Win: Frozen

Will Win: Frozen

Did Win: Frozen

Aaaaaaaand Frozen still pulls it off. Disney hasn’t had a non-Pixar win for a long time, so I’m sure they’re thrilled.

Best Visual Effects

Should Win: Tim Webber, Chris Lawrence, David Shirk, and Neil Corbould, Gravity

Will Win: Tim Webber, Chris Lawrence, David Shirk, and Neil Corbould, Gravity

Did Win:  Tim Webber, Chris Lawrence, David Shirk, and Neil Corbould, Gravity

I’m still pissed that Lone Ranger got nominated over Pacific Rim. More importantly, this win absolutely went to the right movie. Gravity was such an ambitious, groundbreaking, immersive movie that the VFX absolutely deserve recognition.

Best Live-Action Short Film

Should Win: No preference

Will Win: The Voorman Problem

Did Win: Helium

Best Documentary Short Film

Should Win: No preference

Will Win: The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life

Did Win: The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life

I love how the Oscars have these short film categories. The short film deserves far more recognition as a unique branch of cinema and a springboard for new talent. Also, it shakes up an Oscar betting pool very nicely.

***

It’s nice how they’re keeping the acceptance speeches short. You can tell that they’re really working to keep the running time down, which might help explain why DeGeneres’ bits are so short and minimalist. But they’re still not short enough.

Best Documentary Feature

Should Win: 20 Feet from Stardom

Will Win: 20 Feet from Stardom

Did Win: 20 Feet from Stardom

This one was a nail-biting toss-up between 20 Feet from Stardom and The Act of Killing. It was a choice between the edgy intellectual choice or the crowd-pleaser, and the Academy could’ve gone either way. I can’t comment on The Act of Killing, but 20 Feet was a delightful movie and I’m thrilled to see it win. They even brought out Darlene Love to chew up the scenery, in the film’s spirit of giving recognition to underappreciated singers.

Best Foreign Film

Should Win: No preference

Will Win: The Great Beauty

Did Win: The Great Beauty

I’m so sorry I didn’t see a single one of these nominees, but they all look wonderful. If nothing else, I’m glad that The Grandmaster didn’t get nominated for this one, the overrated piece of crap.

***

Yeah, that’s pretty much exactly what I’d expect a U2 song about Mandela to sound like. *yawn* Also, say what you will about Seth MacFarlane, but he was far and away more ambitious than DeGeneres. It’s gotten so bad that she needs to get the other famous people in the audience for an assist. And it’s still not funny. Like Twitter jokes are still edgy.

Best Sound Mixing

Should Win: Skip Lievsay, Greg Orloff, and Peter F. Kurland, Inside Llewyn Davis

Will Win: Skip Lievsay, Niv Adiri, Christopher Benstead, and Chris Munro, Gravity

Did Win: Skip Lievsay, Niv Adiri, Christopher Benstead, and Chris Munro, Gravity

Interesting how Skip Lievsay got multiple shots at the award, and both for such worthy entries. Such a pity sound engineers aren’t listed in movie trailers, or Lievsay’s name might have a lot of pull. In a perfect world.

Best Sound Editing

Should Win: Glenn Freemantle, Gravity

Will Win: Glenn Freemantle, Gravity

Did Win: Glenn Freemantle, Gravity

Oh, yeah. Such a great night for such a great movie.

Best Supporting Actress

Should Win: Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years a Slave

Will Win: Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years a Slave

Did Win: Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years a Slave

An Oscar win for her very first role, and well-deserved. Brava. I have no idea where she’ll go from here, but I expect she’ll have an easier time than Gabourey Sidibe did (and yes, I know Sidibe didn’t win, but the point stands). We’ll see Nyong’o at the Oscars next year, if nothing else. Kudos are also due to Sally Hawkins and June Squibb, both of whom were the unsung heroines of their respective films.

***

Pizza jokes, Twitter jokes, and unfunny costume changes. This is what they hired DeGeneres for? My patience for her is quickly wearing thin. There’s being safe and there’s being unfunny. There are running jokes, and then there are gags that get worn into the ground. There’s joking about celebrities, and there’s using celebrities as a crutch to make the jokes work. DeGeneres is better than this and she should be doing better.

Best Cinematography

Should Win: Emmanuel Lubezki, Gravity

Will Win: Emmanuel Lubezki, Gravity

Did Win: Emmanuel Lubezki, Gravity

YES! YES! Oh, AMPAS, all is forgiven. This Oscar was long overdue, and I’m so happy that I can finally bury the grudge over the Tree of Life snub. I’m sorry that Roger Deakins got denied yet again, but I’ve no doubt that he will eventually win for a much worthier effort.

Also, even if Bill Murray took FOREVER to announce the winner, his Harold Ramis shout-out was very sweet.

Best Editing

Should Win: Alfonso Cuarón and Mark Sanger, Gravity

Will Win: Alfonso Cuarón and Mark Sanger, Gravity

Did Win: Alfonso Cuarón and Mark Sanger, Gravity

Epic single-take shots that shouldn’t be physically possible FTW!

***

Whoopi Goldberg is delivering a great introduction to the Wizard of Oz tribute. Why isn’t she hosting this year? Hell, I would’ve preferred P!nk; though she’s interesting and unorthodox, she at least knows how to put on a show. Also, they bring on Judy Garland’s kids — one of whom is Liza freaking Minelli — and they just sit there in the audience? WTF? Though to be fair, at least DeGeneres’ Glinda gag was a rare show of effort. Kind of strange how they had so much more time to prepare for this ceremony and it still feels half-baked.

Best Production Design

Should Win: Andy Nicholson, Rosie Goodwin, and Joanne Woollard, Gravity

Will Win:  Catherine Martin and Beverley Dunn, The Great Gatsby

Did Win: Catherine Martin and Beverley Dunn, The Great Gatsby

See my above comments about the Costume Design win.

***

Kinda strange how the superhero montage found space for Rocky and both Karate Kids, as well as Beasts of the Southern Wild and a shit-ton of Man of Steel, but there was nothing about the Christopher Reeves version. How the flying fuck did that happen?!

***

Hal Needham should’ve gotten way more recognition from the Oscars before he died. Also, it’s kind of strange that the applause tapered out after James Gandolfini. Are they muting the applause for the telecast? If so, I’m very grateful for that. It’s bad enough that we have to look back and remember all the times we’ve grieved since the last Oscars.

So the live musical tribute is apparently a tradition now. All well and good, but couldn’t we have Bette Midler singing while more tribute graphics play through? You know, save us all some time and keep things moving?

***

Yeah, it looks like they’re piping in the orchestral music again this year. Boo.

Then Jamie Foxx comes on and shows just how low the bar for comedy has been set tonight.

Best Score

Should Win: William Butler and Owen Pallett, Her

Will Win: Stephen Price, Gravity

Did Win: Stephen Price, Gravity

Inside Llewyn Davis got disqualified because it cribbed from so many existing folk songs, yet the movie about Mary Poppins gets a score nomination? Fucking bite me. Funny enough, Price just got hired to write the score for Ant-Man, so now that film can claim an Oscar-winning composer.

Best Original Song

Should Win: Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, “Let It Go” from Frozen

Will Win:  Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, “Let It Go” from Frozen

Did Win: Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, “Let It Go” from Frozen

For me, this was always going to be a contest between “Happy” and “Let it Go.” On the one hand, “Let it Go” has lyrics that are quite hokey and melodies that are terribly simple (however soaring), but it fits the Disney musical style. Plus, Idina Menzel does such a phenomenal job selling the emotion in every line that it’s easy to ignore the song’s faults. Compare that to “Happy,” which offers supremely tight musicianship and a fantastic beat over Pharrell’s smooth vocals. “Let it Go” is the song you want to sing along with, but “Happy” is the song that makes you want to get up and dance.

There’s no question in my mind that “Happy” is objectively the better song, but that’s in large part because it has so little to do with the film it came from. No one who didn’t know better could possibly connect “Happy” with Despicable Me 2, which is why it stands so well on its own. Compare that to “Let it Go,” which is so inextricably tied with one of its films most pivotal moments that the song is a huge reason why Frozen works as well as it does. Since the Oscars are supposed to be about quality in movies, and this category is supposedly about how music benefits film, that’s why I gave the edge to “Let it Go.” I’m glad to see it win, and the EGOT win is a huge score, but why wasn’t Idina Menzel up there taking part in that adorable acceptance speech?

Pharrell came out of 2013 with four Grammy wins out of seven nominations, and some of the year’s biggest Billboard hits. He’ll be fine. Man can wear pants without shins to the Oscars, he doesn’t have a damn thing to prove.

***
Fun thought: I’m left wondering what it would be like if the Oscars was hosted by Patton Oswalt. Or anyone else, because this pizza running joke IS STILL NOT FUNNY!!!

Best Adapted Screenplay

Should Win: Terence Winter, The Wolf of Wall Street

Will Win: John Ridley, 12 Years a Slave

Did Win: John Ridley, 12 Years a Slave

Yeah, because apparently all the humor, drama, and F-bombs in Wolf of Wall Street wasn’t the least bit awards-worthy. Whatever. At least Ridley seems like a good guy, his acceptance speech was nicely humble, and his work certainly wasn’t bad.

Best Original Screenplay

Should Win: Spike Jonze, Her

Will Win: Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russel, American Hustle

Did Win: Spike Jonze, Her

Wow! The Academy went with the refreshingly original idea full of humor, heart, and brains? What a pleasant surprise! I dearly wish this film could’ve gotten more Academy love, but at least it’s something. And an Oscar for Spike Jonze is not a bad thing. Also, I find it hilarious that the cast and crew of Bad Grandpa get to claim an Oscar-winner among their number after all!

Best Director

Should Win: Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity

Will Win: Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity

Did Win: Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity

And the award goes to a master filmmaker. Fantastic.

Incidentally, I’m glad Sidney Poitier got one more chance on the Academy stage. No disrespect, but it looks like he might not be with us for much longer.

Best Actress

Should Win: Sandra Bullock, Gravity

Will Win: Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine

Did Win: Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine

I’ve been saying it since I first saw the picture, but she damn well earned this one. I would’ve been fine with a win for Bullock, but this is great. So let’s just say that Bullock got the win a few years early, hm? Incidentally, I do love it when the winners give shout-outs to their fellow nominees. That’s humility. That’s class. Oh, and the call for more female-centric movies with the claim that they make money? That’s awesome.

Best Actor

Should Win: Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street

Will Win: Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club

Did Win: Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club

I don’t care how many times I have to say it, guy won for the wrong movie. Such a damn pity that no one else saw his far superior turn in Mud. It’s hard for me to begrudge this win — the guy’s paid his dues and he’s turned his career around with phenomenal speed. But McConaughey has merely paid his dues. Leo DiCaprio’s dues were signed, sealed, delivered, cashed, and spent a long time ago. What the fuck does he have to do, huh?

Incidentally, I think it would be worth getting a time machine if I could go back ten years or so, bring several magazines with me saying “Matthew McConaughey wins Best Actor” and hand them out to random people on the street.

Best Picture

Should WinGravity

Will Win: 12 Years a Slave

Did Win: 12 Years a Slave

So Gravity wins a whole ton of awards and 12 Years a Slave takes Best Picture. It’s hard for me to be too upset about this. Brad Pitt gets his long-overdue Oscar, the big trophy goes to so many people who physically, mentally, and emotionally broke themselves making this picture, and Gravity still gets the lion’s share of the awards. This is a good outcome. And anyway, though I personally think Gravity is the better picture, 12 Years a Slave is still damn good as well.

TOTAL GUESSED: 21/24

So ends this year’s Oscars. The winners were great, the ceremony was half-assed, and Ellen DeGeneres should never be allowed to host again. If nothing else, there needs to be a moratorium on running gags for all future Oscar ceremonies.

Thank you all for joining me this evening. I’m out.

4 Comments

  1. Comment by Beth C:

    Thanks for the thoughtful ( and delightfully accurate!) commentary. 🙂

  2. Comment by Curiosity Inc.:

    Bless your heart for reading along. Here’s hoping you won your Oscar betting pool!

  3. Comment by Terry Cullen:

    You’re completely wrong about DeGeneres. I really don’t get the hate, here.

  4. Comment by Curiosity Inc.:

    Her opening monologue was okay. But going through the rest of the show with running jokes about pizza and Twitter was just plain lazy.

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