Kate (mskatej) wrote,

The Oscars 2014: rankings, predictions and commentary

This year I decided I would make it my mission to watch all the Best Pic Oscar nominees which I don’t normally do but for once I was quite interested in seeing them all. Not that I’ve ever been good at predicting these things (mostly because I don't care very much about award shows) but I’ve ranked each category in order of personal preference and bolded who I reckon will win.

Best Actor in a Leading Role

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

Leo OD'ing on quaaludes and teaching himself to crawl is my scene of the year. Bar none. Nothing else made me laugh quite that hard and not even just at the time, but afterwards, whenever I thought about it. I'm laughing right now. That's how funny this scene is. For that reason alone I'm rooting for Leo to win the Best Actor gong, even though I highly doubt he will. His is such an in-your-face, scene stealing, charismatic, hilarious and fully committed performance that it has stuck with me far more than, say, Christian Bale’s amusing but forgettable turn in American Hustle, or Chiwetel Ejiofor’s fantastic, dignified turn in 12YAS.

Best Actress in a Leading Role
1. Judi Dench (Philomena)
2. Sandra Bullock (Gravity)
3. Amy Adams (American Hustle)
4. Meryl Streep (August: Osage County)
5. Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine)

Praying to the gods of television that the Woody Allen scandal will mean Cate won't win this one but i doubt they're listening to me. I personally found her performance mannered and inhuman, much like the film, and I think she's a wildly overrated actress. Also (the normally great) Meryl was insufferable in Osage County so I'll be very disappointed if she takes it. DAME JUDY FOREVER.

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

I couldn't pick between Abdi and Leto, who were both captivating, so they're my first equal and I realise now that my predictions are all based on the Baftas because I genuinely have no idea how the academy will vote in this very difficult category. I even liked Jonah Hill (a LOT atually) which is interesting because he was also my favourite thing about This is the End. Am I becoming a Jonah Hill fan?

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

I enjoyed aspects of American Hustle at the time without loving it. Unlike Silver Linings Playbook which I found moving, I didn’t particularly engage with Hustle, (even finding it kind of boring for much of it) but I did absolutely adore J-Law’s hilarious performance and thought she pretty much stole the movie.

Best Adapted Screenplay
1. Before Midnight (Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke)
2. Philomena (Steve Coogan, Jeff Pope)
3. The Wolf of Wall Street (Terence Winter)
4. Captain Phillips (Billy Ray)
5. 12 Years a Slave (John Ridley)

How is Before Midnight an adapted screenplay? What the fuck was it adapted from? I call bullshit. [EDIT: Thanks to brunettepet and wiki I have an answer to this question: The Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay is one of the Academy Awards, the most prominent film awards in the United States. It is awarded each year to the writer of a screenplay adapted from another source (usually a novel, play, short story, or TV show but sometimes another film). All sequels are automatically considered adaptations by this standard (since the sequel must be based on the original story)]. Prediction based on nothing other than that I think Wolf won't do all that well and so they might throw it a bone by giving it a writing award.

Best Original Screenplay
1. Nebraska (Bob Nelson)
2. Dallas Buyers Club (Craig Borten, Melisa Wallack)
3. Her (Spike Jonze)
4. American Hustle (Eric Warren Singer, David O. Russell)
5. Blue Jasmine (Woody Allen)

It's a fucking travesty that Inside Llewyn Davis is not on one of the screenplay lists (and it'd be my pick if it were), or on any other list I've included here. It got a cinematography and a sound mixing nod and that's it. :|

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

Philomena made me sob my face off and is wonderful, Dallas Buyers Club is also extremely moving and bosts yet another fantastic McConaughey performance, Captain Phillips is both suspenseful and devastating, Nebraksa is surprisingly funny and touching, Her is original and interesting and I wanted to like it more, and American Hustle shouldn't even be on this list.

12 Years will no doubt scoop the gong but it was not my cup of tea at all. Much to admire (the cinematography, the addressing of a little-represented and important subject), very little to enjoy – and I prefer to enjoy films. Unrelentingly harrowing is not the way to my heart. The title tells you all you need to know because that’s the plot right there: it's an endurance test and there is little pleasure to be had. So while the acting in the film is very good all round I’m afraid I can’t get excited about any of the nominees winning in their category.

I loved The Wolf of Wall Street. A lot more than I expected to and I'd be pretty happy for it to win Best Picture. But then I have a soft spot for comic stories about degenerate assholes (I’m an Always Sunny in Philly fan from way back remember), and I’m particularly fond of well-done drug-related humour, of which this film has plenty. It’s a film that makes me smile when I think about it, and it’s a film I’d like to see again one day, which is something I can’t actually say about my #1 pick for BP:

Gravity. This is what going to the movies is all about: a tightly constructed spectacle, at once heart-wrenching, terrifying, awe-inspiring and exhilarating , with a superb central performance by a bona-fide movie star who holds our attention for the full 90 minutes (OMG I LOVE HOW SHORT IT IS WHY AREN’T THERE MORE 90 MINUTE MOVIES). I was on that journey with her, every step of the way – even the implausible bits felt real because her emotional reaction to everything that happened to her was exactly how I would expect a real human being to react (which I might add cannot be said for Cate Blanchet's scenery chewing turn in BJ). I’ll forgive the slightly overwrought tragic backstory, and the near-drowning at the end (which made me laugh out loud because really? After all that she’s going to drown?) because here is a great movie that, finally, uses 3D technology exactly right, and that tells an old-fashioned story in a way that feels fresh and exciting. Not necessarily a masterpiece but an extraordinary achievement nonetheless.

What about you guys?
Tags: film
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