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2014 Oscar Nominations (First Impressions)

Here we go again, folks. Though the world seems quite eager to burn the yearbooks on 2013, AMPAS still saw fit to announce this year’s crop of Oscar nominees. Though I haven’t yet gotten around to seeing all of them (I just got back from a week’s vacation; how’s that for timing?), I still have some opinions worth a cent or two. So here we go.


Best Picture

  • “American Hustle” Charles Roven, Richard Suckle, Megan Ellison and Jonathan Gordon, Producers
  • “Captain Phillips” Scott Rudin, Dana Brunetti and Michael De Luca, Producers
  • “Dallas Buyers Club” Robbie Brenner and Rachel Winter, Producers
  • “Gravity” Alfonso Cuarón and David Heyman, Producers
  • “Her” Megan Ellison, Spike Jonze and Vincent Landay, Producers
  • “Nebraska” Albert Berger and Ron Yerxa, Producers
  • “Philomena” Gabrielle Tana, Steve Coogan and Tracey Seaward, Producers
  • “12 Years a Slave” Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Steve McQueen and Anthony Katagas, Producers
  • “The Wolf of Wall Street” Nominees to be determined

Philomena and Nebraska managed to beat out Inside Llewyn Davis. I did not see that coming. Even more baffling is that the Coens’ picture didn’t get enough votes to take that wide-open tenth spot. How the hell did that happen?!


  • “American Hustle” David O. Russell
  • “Gravity” Alfonso Cuarón
  • “Nebraska” Alexander Payne
  • “12 Years a Slave” Steve McQueen
  • “The Wolf of Wall Street” Martin Scorsese

Wow, I guess that new partnership with Annapurna worked out really well for Russell. He and Payne each get another nomination and another loss. Gravity and 12 Years a Slave both have way too much heat, and I’m sure a few Academy voters still feel that Scorsese hasn’t been given his due. I’ll be interested to see how the DGA awards shape up this year.

Actor in a Leading Role

  • Christian Bale in “American Hustle”
  • Bruce Dern in “Nebraska”
  • Leonardo DiCaprio in “The Wolf of Wall Street”
  • Chiwetel Ejiofor in “12 Years a Slave”
  • Matthew McConaughey in “Dallas Buyers Club”

McConaughey got the right nomination for the wrong movie. Why the hell am I the only filmgoer in all the world who seems to care about Mud? As for Bruce Dern, I’m pleasantly surprised to see him listed here. In fact, I’m glad to see Nebraska get so many nominations, not that it stands a chance of winning very many of them. None of the other nominees are shockers, though I am curious as to why Tom Hanks didn’t get nominated. Between Captain Phillips and Saving Mr. Banks, the Academy had plenty of opportunities to keep their Hanks crush going, yet no dice. I guess all those nominations for Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close was a bridge too far. Also, I’m sure a lot of people will be pissed that Joaquin Phoenix didn’t get nominated for Her, especially after his previous snub for The Master. But I haven’t seen Her yet, so no comment.

Actor in a Supporting Role

  • Barkhad Abdi in “Captain Phillips”
  • Bradley Cooper in “American Hustle”
  • Michael Fassbender in “12 Years a Slave”
  • Jonah Hill in “The Wolf of Wall Street”
  • Jared Leto in “Dallas Buyers Club”

Jared Leto’s been getting all the buzz because of his Golden Globe win and his strange character, but I’d honestly rather see the award go to any of the other candidates. Nothing against Leto, but his fellow nominees all have him outclassed. In particular, nothing would please me more than to see Abdi get the award for knocking it so far out of the park in his debut role. He doesn’t realistically stand a chance, but still.

Actress in a Leading Role

  • Amy Adams in “American Hustle”
  • Cate Blanchett in “Blue Jasmine”
  • Sandra Bullock in “Gravity”
  • Judi Dench in “Philomena”
  • Meryl Streep in “August: Osage County”

Streep won her third Oscar only two years ago, and now she’s nominated for her fourth? Yeah, NO. I don’t even need to see the movie to know she’s not going to win another one so soon. The cards are all lining up for Cate Blanchett right now, and I’m entirely cool with that. I only wish the Academy voters had dug a little deeper for Brie Larsen’s heartwrenching turn in Short Term 12 before deciding that Streep was the bottom of the barrel.

Actress in a Supporting Role

  • Sally Hawkins in “Blue Jasmine”
  • Jennifer Lawrence in “American Hustle”
  • Lupita Nyong’o in “12 Years a Slave”
  • Julia Roberts in “August: Osage County”
  • June Squibb in “Nebraska”

Hawkins, Squibb, and Nyong’o were the secret weapons of their respective films, and I’m glad to see that they’re all getting recognition. Lawrence is America’s sweetheart right now, but I doubt she’ll win for her second consecutive Russell pic. Things are looking good for Roberts’ second score, but I’d much rather see one of the other three get it. If nothing else, I’ll be interested to see which clip they play for Squibb.


  • “The Grandmaster” Philippe Le Sourd
  • “Gravity” Emmanuel Lubezki
  • “Inside Llewyn Davis” Bruno Delbonnel
  • “Nebraska” Phedon Papamichael
  • “Prisoners” Roger A. Deakins

The Grandmaster made the cut?! It seems I was the only one who thought that picture looked like crap. Roger Deakins is LOOOONG overdue for his statuette, but let’s be honest: This wasn’t his best work. I know that’s not saying much and Prisoners still looked great, but the point stands. The other nominees also had some fine camerawork, but this win has to go to Lubezki. Gravity had some groundbreaking camerawork, and the Academy still owes him for that Tree of Life snubbing.

Film Editing

  • “American Hustle” Jay Cassidy, Crispin Struthers and Alan Baumgarten
  • “Captain Phillips” Christopher Rouse
  • “Dallas Buyers Club” John Mac McMurphy and Martin Pensa
  • “Gravity” Alfonso Cuarón and Mark Sanger
  • “12 Years a Slave” Joe Walker

I’m a little disappointed that Rush didn’t make the cut, but this is still a fine list.

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

  • “Before Midnight” Written by Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke
  • “Captain Phillips” Screenplay by Billy Ray
  • “Philomena” Screenplay by Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope
  • “12 Years a Slave” Screenplay by John Ridley
  • “The Wolf of Wall Street” Screenplay by Terence Winter

Writing (Original Screenplay)

  • “American Hustle” Written by Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell
  • “Blue Jasmine” Written by Woody Allen
  • “Dallas Buyers Club” Written by Craig Borten & Melisa Wallack
  • “Her” Written by Spike Jonze
  • “Nebraska” Written by Bob Nelson

I notice that Gravity got so many other nominations, but isn’t listed here. Huh.

Documentary Feature

  • “The Act of Killing”Joshua Oppenheimer and Signe Byrge Sørensen
  • “Cutie and the Boxer” Zachary Heinzerling and Lydia Dean Pilcher
  • “Dirty Wars” Richard Rowley and Jeremy Scahill
  • “The Square” Jehane Noujaim and Karim Amer
  • “20 Feet from Stardom” Nominees to be determined

I won’t hold my breath for 20 Feet from Stardom (The Act of Killing has some phenomenal buzz), but it was the only nominee I actually saw, and it’s such a wonderful movie.

Documentary Short Subject

  • “CaveDigger” Jeffrey Karoff
  • “Facing Fear” Jason Cohen
  • “Karama Has No Walls” Sara Ishaq
  • “The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life” Malcolm Clarke and Nicholas Reed
  • “Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall” Edgar Barens

Animated Feature Film

  • “The Croods” Chris Sanders, Kirk DeMicco and Kristine Belson
  • “Despicable Me 2” Chris Renaud, Pierre Coffin and Chris Meledandri
  • “Ernest & Celestine” Benjamin Renner and Didier Brunner
  • “Frozen” Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee and Peter Del Vecho
  • “The Wind Rises” Hayao Miyazaki and Toshio Suzuki

OH, THANK GOD. I was so worried we’d have another Wreck-it-Ralph/Brave situation on our hands, yet Pixar somehow failed to get a nomination this year. Even worse, Monsters University and Planes both somehow lost out to mediocrities like The Croods and Despicable Me 2. That had to hurt. Frozen is obviously the one to beat this year, but I’d keep an eye on Miyazaki.

Short Film (Animated)

  • “Feral” Daniel Sousa and Dan Golden
  • “Get a Horse!” Lauren MacMullan and Dorothy McKim
  • “Mr. Hublot” Laurent Witz and Alexandre Espigares
  • “Possessions” Shuhei Morita
  • “Room on the Broom” Max Lang and Jan Lachauer

Short Film (Live Action)

  • “Aquel No Era Yo (That Wasn’t Me)” Esteban Crespo
  • “Avant Que De Tout Perdre (Just before Losing Everything)” Xavier Legrand and Alexandre Gavras
  • “Helium” Anders Walter and Kim Magnusson
  • “Pitääkö Mun Kaikki Hoitaa? (Do I Have to Take Care of Everything?)” Selma Vilhunen and Kirsikka Saari
  • “The Voorman Problem” Mark Gill and Baldwin Li

Foreign Language Film

  • “The Broken Circle Breakdown” Belgium
  • “The Great Beauty” Italy
  • “The Hunt” Denmark
  • “The Missing Picture” Cambodia
  • “Omar” Palestine

I’m so ashamed that I didn’t see a single one of these movies. I’ve heard good things about The Hunt, however. I also notice that Blue is the Warmest Color didn’t get a nomination, can’t imagine why.

Production Design

  • “American Hustle” Production Design: Judy Becker; Set Decoration: Heather Loeffler
  • “Gravity” Production Design: Andy Nicholson; Set Decoration: Rosie Goodwin and Joanne Woollard
  • “The Great Gatsby” Production Design: Catherine Martin; Set Decoration: Beverley Dunn
  • “Her” Production Design: K.K. Barrett; Set Decoration: Gene Serdena
  • “12 Years a Slave” Production Design: Adam Stockhausen; Set Decoration: Alice Baker

Costume Design

  • “American Hustle” Michael Wilkinson
  • “The Grandmaster” William Chang Suk Ping
  • “The Great Gatsby” Catherine Martin
  • “The Invisible Woman” Michael O’Connor
  • “12 Years a Slave” Patricia Norris

The Invisible Woman is a movie about Charles Dickens, starring and directed by Ralph Fiennes. It only qualifies because it got a limited release last Christmas, and it won’t see a wide release until this February. God, I hate this backhanded awards positioning bullshit.

Makeup and Hairstyling

  • “Dallas Buyers Club” Adruitha Lee and Robin Mathews
  • “Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa” Stephen Prouty
  • “The Lone Ranger” Joel Harlow and Gloria Pasqua-Casny

I’m hoping that Dallas Buyers Club will pull through by default. The Lone Ranger can’t win, because Johnny Depp’s Tonto getup doesn’t deserve the least bit of dignity, and the Jackass crew can’t be Oscar winners (even though they have the best entry by far) because the universe would promptly implode. Also, I shudder to think what stunts they’d pull with the statuette.

Visual Effects

  • “Gravity” Tim Webber, Chris Lawrence, Dave Shirk and Neil Corbould
  • “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton and Eric Reynolds
  • “Iron Man 3” Christopher Townsend, Guy Williams, Erik Nash and Dan Sudick
  • “The Lone Ranger” Tim Alexander, Gary Brozenich, Edson Williams and John Frazier
  • “Star Trek Into Darkness” Roger Guyett, Patrick Tubach, Ben Grossmann and Burt Dalton

Music (Original Score)

  • “The Book Thief” John Williams
  • “Gravity” Steven Price
  • “Her” William Butler and Owen Pallett
  • “Philomena” Alexandre Desplat
  • “Saving Mr. Banks” Thomas Newman

Music (Original Song)

  • “Alone Yet Not Alone” from “Alone Yet Not Alone” –Music by Bruce Broughton; Lyric by Dennis Spiegel
  • “Happy” from “Despicable Me 2” — Music and Lyric by Pharrell Williams
  • “Let It Go” from “Frozen” — Music and Lyric by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez
  • “The Moon Song” from “Her” — Music by Karen O; Lyric by Karen O and Spike Jonze
  • “Ordinary Love” from “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom” — Music by Paul Hewson, Dave Evans, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen; Lyric by Paul Hewson

What the hell is “Alone Yet Not Alone,” and why does it have a spot where Inside Llewyn Davis should be?

Sound Editing

  • “All Is Lost” Steve Boeddeker and Richard Hymns
  • “Captain Phillips” Oliver Tarney
  • “Gravity” Glenn Freemantle
  • “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” Brent Burge
  • “Lone Survivor” Wylie Stateman

Sound Mixing

  • “Captain Phillips” Chris Burdon, Mark Taylor, Mike Prestwood Smith and Chris Munro
  • “Gravity” Skip Lievsay, Niv Adiri, Christopher Benstead and Chris Munro
  • “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” Christopher Boyes, Michael Hedges, Michael Semanick and Tony Johnson
  • “Inside Llewyn Davis” Skip Lievsay, Greg Orloff and Peter F. Kurland
  • “Lone Survivor” Andy Koyama, Beau Borders and David Brownlow

Rush doesn’t get a nomination for sound mixing?! Seriously, what the fuck?!


The Oscars have been delayed this year, on account of the Winter Olympics, so look for the ceremony to hit the Dolby Theatre this coming March 2nd. Until then, I’ll keep on caring about the Academy Awards so you don’t have to.


  1. Ping from Aaron Hawkins:

    So The Lone Ranger got a nomination for visual effects but not Pacific Rim?!

  2. Ping from Curiosity Inc.:

    You know, I thought something was missing. And yes, that’s a complete fucking sham. Come to think of it, where’s Ramin Djawadi’s nomination for the score?!

  3. Ping from Anonymous:

    Yeah the music was pretty awesome. Also Pacific Rim should have been nominated for one or both of the sound categories.

  4. Ping from Unknown:

    Just curious I read a synopsis you did of captian Phillips. And do you know the role of an executive producer? Kevin spacey was NEVER UO OR IN CONSIDERATION FOR THAT ROLE.. Please before you write blogs and blast them everywhere check your facts. Thank you

  5. Ping from Curiosity Inc.:

    I’m not sure why you left this comment here instead of in the Captain Phillips blog post, but okay. If you have any more information as to how and why Kevin Spacey was brought on as an exec-producer, I’d be delighted to hear it.

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