Saturday, March 01, 2014

What About the Oscars?

We're almost there - everyone seems to be posting something, so why not me? As usual, I admit I am not going to watch the show - I can barely muster any interest in the voting and winners.... But it does give me an excuse to post my own favorites in the various categories. So off we go, right?

Best Picture:

So one of my top 5 got a nomination - and stands a pretty good shot at a win. I skipped a couple of the best picture nominations without a good reason (Gravity say) - but... of the ones I saw - 12 Years... is the best - I hope it wins. I didn't love Nebraska, but it's not a bad film - but pretty hard to see it winning. Same for Her, I suppose. I hope 12 years wins - and think that's as likely as anything.

My Top 5:
1. Inside Llewyn Davis
2. Act of Killing
3. 12 Years a Slave
4. Blue is the Warmest Color
5. Beyond the Hills


It's been noted that since the academy expanded the best picture nominations, they have severely restricted the number of films nominated for any major awards - so - the five nominees are all best picture nominees as well. Annoying, as it does tend to squeeze out some of the alternatives, I think. (They start to show up in cinematography I noticed.) Anyway - I do hope McQueen wins, because that was a great film and he did a superb job. Cuaron seems to stand a good chance, and though I didn't actually see it - that's my fault, not his; I suspect this is a justifiable pick.

My Top 5:
1. Coen Brothers
2. Steve McQueen
3. Christian Mungiu - Beyond the Hills
4. Miguel Gomes - Tabu
5. Olivier Assayas - Apres Mai


Of the nominations - shoot: I can't complain about any of them. Wouldn't feel too bad about any of them winning, though a couple stand out - Ejiofor should win I suppose; people seem to think McConaughey is the favorite - I can't complain if he does. Dern would be a nice pick, though he won't get it.

My Top 5:
1. Chiwetel Ejiofor
2. Bruce Dern
3. Mads Mikkelson - The Hunt
4. Matthew McConaughey
5. Toni Servillo - The Great Beauty


Of these nominees, I only managed to see 1 - Amy Adams. I hope not. She's fine, but American Hustle is a mediocre and weird film, miscast high and low, including her. Blanchett? why not - she's the consensus favorite, so - fine. My not seeing any of these American actresses is a rather marked contrast to the extraordinary slate of actresses in foreign films (and a few smaller American films) I saw last year, a slate that goes on quite a ways beyond the 5 below...

My Top 5:
1. Greta Gerwig - Frances Ha
2. Adele Exarchopolous
3. Christina Flutur - Beyond the Hills
4. Amy Acker - Much Ado About Nothing
5. Rin Takanashi - Like Someone in Love

Supporting Actor:

Usually, if Michael Fassbender is nominated, he should win. This is no exception. At least until the academy starts nominating Michael Shannon for things. But meanwhile, off in Coen Brothers land, John Goodman steals another picture.

My Top 5:
1. John Goodman - Inside Llewyn Davis
2. Fassbender
3. Gerald Peary - Computer Chess
4. Jared Leto
5. Paul Giamatti - 12 Years a Slave

Supporting Actress:

I saw three of these - Jennifer Lawrence, Lupita Nyong'o and June Squibb. Lawrence had no business being nominated, she's the weakest part of a rather badly put together and cast film. The other two are first rate. Squibb, in a just world, would win; the Oscars are seldom just - I have no idea who will win. The cynic in me says Lawrence. I hope it's Squibb or Nyong'o.

My Top 5:
1. June Squibb
2. Lupita Nyongo'o
3. Gaby Hoffman - Crystal Fairy
4. Amy Adams - Her
5. Carey Mulligan - Inside Llewyn Davis

Original Screenplay:

I saw 4 of the 5; of the ones I saw, I would pick Her, with Dallas Buyers' Club justifiable. Nebraska's script was solid, but a bit too obvious some of the time; American Hustle wasn't bad, but - I dunno. Not a fan. Woody Allen, of course, I'm back on my one in 7 plan, after getting suckered into a couple off year films. I wonder if you can guess, o reader, what film I have at the top?

My Top 5:
1. Inside Llewyn Davis
2. Frances Ha
3. Like Someone in Love
4. The Hunt
5. Enough Said

Adapted Screenplay:

This category actually has a film not nominated for best picture - an upset in itself. I would give the prize to 12 Years a Slave - I don't know if that is going to win, though I suppose it's got a good chance.

My Top 5:
1. 12 Years a Slave
2. Before Midnight
3. In the House
4. Blue is the Warmest Color
5. Much Ado About Nothing

Music or Score:

I don't know; of the nominations - my god: I've only seen Her. So, I guess, whatever. My own choices - I admit, I find the "original score" concept a bit underwhelming - I tend to think of music in film in terms of how the music is used. Songs or original scores or adapted music, it's all the same - it;s how it is deployed. Anyway - it's a category I'm always surprisingly unsure of... but here goes anyway:

My Top 5:
1. Inside Llewyn Davis - I suppose this is inevitable
2. I Used to be Darker - another backstage musical, and a fine one
3. A Band Called Death - I'm not sure what I'm after in this category, but I might as well bring in the documentaries - Death was damned good.
4. Frozen - not the greatest music, but very cleverly used, a neat idea
5. Much Ado About Nothing - cause I remember it...


The nominees in this category come fairly close to actually matching what was on the screen this year. They are all fine choices. I suspect Gravity wins, because it's the most gimmicky - but you have some interesting films here. Points to the academy... There were lots of great looking films last year to choose from.

My Top 5:
1. Tabu
2. Inside Llewyn Davis
3. Nebraska
4. The Great Beauty
5. Computer Chess (cinematography should not just be about beauty - it should be about the most effective use of photography in a film - and the hideous video of this film is very effective. It's very funny, for one thing, and making cinematography funny is an accomplishment in itself.)


I saw two of these, and probably should have seen a couple more - Great Beauty and The Hunt are both excellent - The Hunt probably the better film.

My Top 5:
1. The Act of Killing
2. Beyond the Hills
3. Blue is the Warmest Color
4. a Touch of Sin
5. Apres Mai


I saw one of the nominees - I don't think The Act of Killing has a chance, but you can see what I thought of it. I don't know if I can justify a top 5 - though I saw more than 5. Might as well, right?

My Top 5:
1. The Act of Killing
2. 56 Up
3. Stories We Tell
4. A Band Called Death
5. Tim's Vermeer (though I don't know if it was actually released anywhere last year...)

And some of the other categories:

Never mind the academy, I guess. I liked - Upstream Color... The Grandmaster... An oversimplification of Her Beauty (often an exercise in editing...) As well as many of the films I have listed in categories above. But I did want to work those in somewhere.

The Wind Rises just made it here last week - I am going to see it tomorrow. I assume it is the best and should win on principal. Probably won't. I liked Frozen, certainly - Despicable Me 2 was quite good as well. From Up on Poppy Hill was a lovely film as well...

I don't know what the academy is up to - there was a Kiarostami film in the theaters last year. And A Wong Kar-wei film... and films like Upstream Color and A Touch of Sin and Inside Llewyn Davis and Computer Chess all did great things with sound. What can I say?


Sam Juliano said...

Just saw this late and after the fact, Weeping Sam, but great to see that your taste is as exquisite as ever. By now we all know the way the program has gone, and all things considered they did a better job than usual in giving out the awards. I am a huge 12 YEARS A SLAVE fan so I was pleased on that count, but I really would have liked to see Bruce Dern cop the prize myself. Too bad Brie Larson for SHORT TERM 12 wasn't nominated for Best Actress.

weepingsam said...

I found most of the choices quite good - though there were a lot of performances that should have been there. The actress categories were probably the most noticeable, since when I was making the lists, I kept coming up with so many that should have sen there.