Nothing too surprising here, so that means I should be wrong.
12 Years a Slave
Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club
Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club
Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years a Slave
So I was reading an article about The Oscars and misogyny and it was pretty all over the place, to be honest, but the comments of course became even more so and ventured into the territory of “men are just better at stuff than ladies” pretty quick.
Normally, I’d just roll my eyes but this…
I was thinking of this last night when I realized that Anne Hathaway and Jennifer Lawrence’s combined age is younger than both male actor winners ages. But this seems to be a recent trend as most of the winners in the 80’s were over 35.
Over the same period, the youngest actor was Adrien Brody at 29, still the record for the youngest lead actor Oscar, and the next youngest, Jamie Fox, was 37.
Is this objectification, as the post suggests, or that “older” women don’t get good leading roles in Hollywood, even in prestige pics?
Best picture of the year
This has been a strange year, but an exciting one. After about a decade of no surprises, this is the first year when at least 4 movies have a shot at winning. Aside from being my favorite of the bunch, Argo is a movie about movies, which Oscar loves.
Performance by an actor in a leading role
Daniel Day-Lewis in “Lincoln”
Performance by an actress in a leading role
Jennifer Lawrence in “Silver Linings Playbook”
Emanuelle Riva has a shot, and probably deserves it, but where as the Actor category tends to often be a lifetime achievement award, Actress loves to focus on young actresses who have been in blockbusters but “play ugly” or in some way messed up and Lawrence fits all of those.
Performance by an actor in a supporting role
Christoph Waltz in “Django Unchained”
This is the closest category of the night and often the category where a surprise is a guarantee. It’s made more difficult in that all of the noms have won before. Jones would seem to be the pick, but often voters seem to pick the best or must likable character, and that would be Waltz.
Performance by an actress in a supporting role
Anne Hathaway in “Les Misérables”
A mathematical lock, the strongest since Portman for Black Swan, considering she does everything a person needs to do in order to win a Sup. Actress Oscar.
The rest after the breakRead more
My money’s on Anne Hathaway, who I would pick in just about any fight, and Daniel Day-Lewis who would play such a convincing tiger that the tiger would try to mother it.
Billy Crystal’s trademark movie intro was fun. But his song and dance number was painful. I saw Tony Bennett earlier and wondered “why is he there?” I guess it was so that someone there would actually know what songs Billy was parodying.
Crystal wasn’t terrible (his Sammy Davis blackface was), but the show wasn’t interesting. When Chris Rock presented he gave some of the show’s best lines and reminded us how safe and humorless the Oscars have gotten.
The biggest problem with the show was the concept, which seemed to be, “hey, remember how fun it was to go to the movies?” It came off about as subtle and artistic as a grandma asking “why don’t you call anymore?” After the bizarre: “hey, here’s a bunch of movies that were popular 15 years ago” montages, I was expecting an anti-piracy message.
It was cruel to have the Muppets, who weren’t able to perform, introduce the random Cirque du Soliel performance. I mean did the Oscars really feel the need to shore up the Francophone, interpretive dance, and fans of tights demographic?
The random stars talking about movie memories took up a lot of time and seemed, like the montages, a commercial for movie-going. Meanwhile, the awards themselves felt rushed. Ocatavia Spencer was cut off too soon, as were a number of other speeches that could have been interesting. And while the honorary awards were cut a few years back for time, these were often the most moving moments, and how awesome would it have been had Oprah been given an actual Oscar stage (seriously, imagine the speech that could have been) instead of a quick “oh, and this happened.”
The Oscars also should not have started with the “technical” categories. Though Lubezki got robbed the most in cinematography, giving credence to my theory that most Oscar voters probably turned Tree of Life off after 10 minutes.
The biggest surprise of the night was Streep’s win over Davis. Aside from Hugo’s win in cinematography and The Artist being a rare Best Picture winner to not win editing, those were about the only surprises.
This is a 100% lock.
Jean Dujardin, “The Artist”
This is the closest of the major awards. George Clooney makes logical sense, he’s a well regarded actor who probably gave the best performance of the group. But, Dujardin has the Robert Benigni factor.
Viola Davis, “The Help”
Up until the critic’s awards this too was up in the air, but it’s a done deal for Viola.
Best Supporting Actor:
Christopher Plummer, “Beginners”
Both a lifetime achievement award and the best in a surprisingly weak field.
Best Supporting Actress:
Octavia Spencer, “The Help”
Usually this is the major category that provides the most surprises. Bejo could ride a wave of Artist love, but Spencer played the kind of character that Oscar loves in this category.
Michel Hazanavicius, “The Artist”
Oscar rarely divides Best Director and Best Picture. The occasions that happens are if the race is close (1998) or to reward a director for a film considered too out there for Best Picture. The latter could help Malick, who’s never won, but really this is between Hazanavicius and Scorsese. It’s too bad that Marty won his lifetime achievement/pity award for the middle of the road The Departed otherwise this would be his to lose. Instead, this is going to Hazan…the French dude.
Best Foreign Language Film:
"A Separation" (Iran)
Really, unless there is some insane nonsensical political backlash, this is by far the best and best liked of the nominees.
Best Adapted Screenplay:
Alexander Payne and Nat Faxon & Jim Rash, “The Descendants”
Get ready for some Oscar met-humor on Community. Probably the best script of any film this year, The Descendants should win. There is, however, a big chance for Moneyball here because has Aaron Sorkin ever lost anything before?
Best Original Screenplay:
Woody Allen, “Midnight in Paris”
This could very well go to The Artist for a number of reasons, most important being that everyone knows that Woody won’t show up, and sometimes voters vote for the speeches. However, this is often the consolation price category and since it looks like voters like Midnight and Paris and it doesn’t have a chance in any other category, and for being Field of Dreams for writers, Midnight in Paris probably will win.
Best Animated Feature Film
Beneficiary of a weak field and Johnny Depp.
Best Art Direction:
It’s won all of the industry awards in this category so it should continue here.
"The Tree of Life"
This could be where The Artist pulls off its biggest upset. Cinematographers love B&W photography, and War Horse and Hugo could take votes from Tree of Life. It depends how many people walked out or turned off the movie.
Best Sound Mixing:
Usually this goes to large action films or war movies. So, War Horse would seem to have a leg up here over Hugo.
Best Sound Editing:
Most people don’t know the difference in the categories. Drive could win just for the visceral memory of the elevator scene.
Best Original Score:
"The Artist," Ludovic Bource
Best Original Song:
"Man or Muppet" from "The Muppets," Bret McKenzie
This is a tough one. WE could very well pull an upset.
Best Documentary Feature:
"Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory"
Best Documentary (short subject):
Best Film Editing:
"The Iron Lady"
Best Animated Short Film:
"The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore"
Best Live Action Short Film:
Best Visual Effects
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2"
I’m going with an upset here. I really don’t see Harry Potter walking away empty handed from the technical categories. I think it may pick one up either here or in Makeup. This could very well go to Planet of the Apes for it’s motion Capture, but outside of that it wasn’t too FX heavy.
The ceremony seems to have taken all sorts of measures to cut the fat, and since most of the winners won’t speak much English, I expect this year’s ceremony to only go over by 2 minutes.
Here are some of Oscar nominated films from this past year and what things about them bugged me. Note, I did not see two of this year’s Best Picture nominees primarily because I knew they would bother me: The Help, I saw it when Morgan Freeman was in it, and Incredibly Loud and 9/11 because the kid in it had a terribly annoying way of speaking in the trailers (either “hey I’m trying to be profound” or “I’m over-compensating to hide my British accent”) and Stephen Daldry, but also the kid. I didn’t see War Horse because I didn’t get around to it, and from the trailers wondered how I’m going to survive 2 1/2 hours of a Spielberg boy and his horse movie.
Hugo: A lovely film, but I had to get past the fact that it committed two major violations of my movie rules. First, and this took me a while to get past, why are Parisians speaking in British accents?!?! I get that it’s short hand for both the past and any place outside of America but this, from the guy who let Willem Dafoe speak like Willem Dafoe while he played Jesus? Come on, Marty, give me a break. Second, it had a character wake up twice during a dream sequence. This is an offense of the highest level in my book. Luckily, this film had me in its grasp by this point, but the multi-dream sequence wake up/fake-out never works.
Moneyball: This movie made me feel for the A’s and I’m a life-long Giants fan, so it did a ton right for a Baseball movie that shows the inner-workings of Baseball without making a lot of small errors that would make a baseball fan like me frustrated. I did have one problem: the song. It’s a nice touch, but it’s a big anachronism. I kept thinking: “why did Lenka steal her song from rom Billy Beane’s awkward daughter?”
The Descendents: Yes, Shaggy was in this movie (not the reggae superstar, Matthew Lillard). But my major problem for a movie about Hawaii and colonialism there really weren’t any Hawaiian actors in it.
Midnight in Paris: As Ned Flanders once said about Woody Allen: “You know, I’d like his movies if it weren’t for that nervous guy that’s always in them.” This time around it’s almost distractingly obvious that Owen Wilson is just playing Woody Allen, but it’s not Owen’s fault. He’s just the latest, and one of the more successful people to have played Woody. It’s just this screenplay is so about Woody that I kept trying to play the movie in my head with Woody superimposing Owen.
The Artist: I thought Midnight in Paris was the movie about time slipping? Here is my rather large conceptual problem with this film, a film I really enjoyed and have no problem with it winning its inevitable Oscar: how can a film who’s entire concept is to express a time period through that period’s technology and film language expressly reference two films from classical Hollywood? What do I mean? It’s hard for me to see the conceit that this is a silent film, when it borrows the breakfast montage from Citizen Kane (1941), and uses a musical cue from Vertigo (1958).
EW did a report which found that while 9 of the last 25 Best Actress nominees were nude in their winning roles, that if the current favorite Viola Davis wins she will be the only Actress in the last 25 years (the last since Cher) to have won an Oscar and has never done a nude scene.
Now, not all nudity is sexual, it is important to make that distinction. However, compare that stat, that only one actress in the last 25 years has NOT been nude on screen compared to the actor category? And that the Oscars are more often than not given for a body of work, it seems that the 77% male Oscars think that it is a requirement that all female actors be naked, while at the same time, along with the MPAA, freaking out any time a male counterpart goes nude.