Sunday, February 23, 2014

My Oscar Picks

Movies are one of my biggest media passions. Film have taught me so much and the Oscars are always an exciting time for me. One film always seems to win in all their nominations (The Matrix, Usual Suspects, Ed Wood, and the record-holder The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King). This year there will be two!... The Great Gatsby for production design and costume design and Frozen for song, animated film, and, in a way, animated short.

Gravity will win big in the technical categories. I’m amazed by the nomination tally of Meryl Streep (August: Osage County), the acting record-holder at 18, and music composer John Williams (The Book Thief), the overall current leader with 49 (Walt Disney still has the record at 59…and was recently played by Tom Hanks in nominee Saving Mr. Banks).

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) nominated the following films for this year’s 86th Academy Awards (a.k.a. Oscars) ceremony and here are my picks for the winners (pick your winners in my annual contest!):

Best Picture: Gravity
Yes, look for multi-talented George Clooney to grace the stage at the end of the ceremony even though he did not get an individual nomination this year. Gravity joined Avatar and Up as the only 3-D nominated films.

Best Director: Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity)
The Director’s Guild of America winner takes home Oscar gold.

In acting, this year’s nomination group include eight first-time nominees and a clean sweep for the second year in a row for a David O. Russell film.

Best Actor: Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyer’s Club)
His slew of recent quality roles definitely add to his chances to win and become only the fourth male acting pair (with Leto) to win.

Best Actress: Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine)
She absolutely amazed me in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. A double nominee for the same role (Elizabeth) in two different films and supporting actress winner in The Avaitor for her amazing portrayal of four-time leading actress Oscar winner Katharine Hepburn. A well-deserved win…finally.

Best Supporting Actor: Jared Leto (Dallas Buyer’s Club)
This first time nominee comes back to Hollywood and wins…or so the standard story goes. Basically just an amazing performance.

Best Supporting Actress: Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave)
The first-time nominee wins for an amazing films that cuts to the complexity of mankind’s good and evil acts.

Best Original Screenplay: Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell (American Hustle)
American Hustle will miss out in the acting categories (with great representatives in each one), but all that energy should funnel into this win.

Best Adapted Screenplay: John Ridley, 12 Years a Slave
Talented writer, novelist, playwright, and producer gets the win in a closely contested category with several Best Picture nominees originating from adapted works.

Best Animated Film: Frozen
Disney’s domination continues with a well-rounded modern masterpiece.

Best Score: Gravity
Steven Price makes a memorable, harrowing, and compelling musical work that equals the acting, visuals, and filmmaking mastery.

Best Song: “Let It Go” (Frozen)
The night’s musical highlight performance from the amazing Idina Menzel gets the win.

Best Cinematography: Gravity
Fellow Cuaron crew member Emmanuel Lubezki (Children of Men) wins. Roger A. Deakins (Prisoners) will have to wait for his well-deserved statuette.

Best Visual Effects: Gravity
Groundbreaking results from a strong and patient production process that wanted to get it right instead of rushing into theaters.

Best Foreign Film: Italy, The Great Beauty, Paolo Sorrentino, director

Best Documentary Feature: 20 Feet From Stardom

Best Production Design: The Great Gatsby

Best Costume Design: The Great Gatsby

Best Editing: Gravity

Best Makeup and Hairstyling: Dallas Buyer’s Club

Best Sound Editing: Gravity

Best Sound Mixing: Gravity

Best Animated Short:  Get a Horse!

Best Documentary Short:  The Lady in Number 6

Best Live-Action Short:  The Voorman Problem

The Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2013 will be presented on Oscar Sunday, March 2, 2014, at the Dolby Theatre® at Hollywood & Highland Center® and televised live on the ABC Television Network.

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