The Academy Awards – Who Should Win? 2016 Oscars

Predicting the Oscars has become a game of one or two major categories (this year Picture and Director surprisingly) and figuring out categories no one really knows (Live Action Short). You can find many “experts” to help with your Oscar pool.

Much more fun is to imagine if you had a voting ballot and select who you would vote for. Not who WILL win, but who SHOULD win.

Having seen all of the nominees for the awards below (except one), here are my choices if I could vote in the Oscars.

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Picture – Room was the best film of the year. I’ve heard it made people claustrophobic or uncomfortable or angry. I’ve heard it might not be better than the book. It was still the best picture of 2015.

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And The Oscar Nominees Should Be…

I have done really well on my annual attempt to see all the big Oscar nominees by show time (Sunday, February 28) – and even better to anticipate them by nomination time (Thursday, January 14). After seeing a great New York Times article listing who Manhola Dargis, A.O. Scott, and Stephen Holden thing the nominees should be, I decided to have a hand at my own list.

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From the Times, I learned how many films I still haven’t seen that are quite notable, even if they will be ignored the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science. They cite The Assassin, Experimenter, Results, Clouds of Sils Maria, Tangerine, 99 Homes, James White, The Diary of Teenage Girl, and two films I just never got around two seeing, Magic Mike XXL and Grandma. So for an amateur film buff, I might have done all right, but I have miles to watch.

Here are my thoughts on which Actors should be nominated based on the power and quality of their work. They ignore the Academy’s usual disdain for certain genres. They also don’t accept a lead role being positioned as supporting to help move an actor into a more winnable category.

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The Academy Awards – Who Should Win? 2015

This year there is supposedly suspense – Best Picture between Birdman and Boyhood; Best Actor between Michael Keaton and Eddie Redmayne.

But there is no suspense when you do the picking yourself.  Welcome to my picks for who I would vote for if I had an Oscar ballot. This is not who WILL win. This is who SHOULD win. Oscar voters are notorious for voting with their heart – for their favorite actors, to reward past performance, and to vote against films and filmmakers. I’m no better.

And unlike many Oscar voters, I’ve seen all the nominees in the Top 8 categories.

best-pic_3166072kPictureSelma – Although I picked The Grand Budapest Hotel as my favorite film of the year, Selma is a better choice for the “Oscar.” Yes, I’m a sucker for the pomp and circumstance of Oscar, the “importance” of it. If I wasn’t, I wouldn’t write a blog post about it.

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The Academy Awards – Who Should Win? 2014

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A good controversy makes for a good Oscar year. Sharp disagreements such as The King’s Speech vs. Social Network make for entertaining fodder. But this year has been disappointing. I liked all the movies nominated for the Big 8 awards. Some I like more, but I don’t even dislike any of them. The acting awards, while not always my personal selection, did just fine. It’s not a year of dramatic passions.

So welcome to my picks for who I vote for if I had an Oscar ballot. This is not who WILL win. For that see info on my Oscar pool at the bottom of the post. This is who SHOULD win. Oscar voters are notorious for voting with their heart – for their favorite actors, to reward past performance, and to vote against films and filmmakers. I’m no better.

Unlike some Oscar voters, I have seen the nominees for all 7 of the major awards.

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Oscar Stats 2014

I love Oscar Stats.

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  • Meryl Streep breaking her own record for nominations with 18.
  • That we might have to utter the words “Oscar Winner” and add “The Lone Ranger” after it.
  • 49th (!) Oscar nomination for John Williams (Soundtrack to The Book Thief) and he is still 10 shy of Walt Disney.
  • Cinematographer Roger Deakins looking to avoid going 0 for 11.
  • Jennifer Lawrence has her 3rd nomination at age 23 – the youngest to do so. (Teresa Wright was 24).
  • Gravity is only the 5th film to be nominated for all 7 technical awards. Titanic swept all 7. Master and Commander: The Far Side of the WorldHugo, and Life of Pi did not.

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Best Actor – Oscars 2014

academy-awards-actorI haven’t written in a while. But 2014 is all new. January, however, is a lost month since I’ll be away most of it. Therefore, I have been racing to see films in theaters in anticipation of the Oscar Nominations (January 16).

For the last bunch of years, I have successfully seen all the nominees for the big 8 awards before Oscar night. I have usually been nearly done by the nomination announcement because of good anticipation and because most of the big award nominees come from a cluster of films.

This year, if you can see just 15 films, you’ll cover nearly all of the contenders for the “big” (picture, director, 4 actors, 2 screenwriting) awards. There is always the outlier, but most of these awards come from a cluster of films.

The best picture nominees will almost certainly come from this group (order from Gold Derby)

  • 12 Years a Slave
  • Gravity
  • American Hustle
  • Captain Phillips
  • The Wolf of Wall Street
  • Inside Llewyn Davis
  • Nebraska
  • Saving Mr. Banks
  • Her
  • The Butler
  • Dallas Buyers Club
  • Philomena
  • Blue Jasmine
  • Fruitvale Station
  • August: Osage County

Seeing these 15 will also help take care of most acting awards. In Best Actor, the only legitimate exception is Robert Redford in All Is Lost. (To be totally honest, I must mention also, Idris Elba in Mandela, but that’s not really going to happen – the film has no traction)

For Best Actress, the actual nominees all come from these films. This is unusual as Best Actress usually pulls from a not otherwise nominated film (think Meryl Street in The Iron Lady). But if you want to see all touted candidates, you’d also need to see Blue Is the Warmest Color, Short Term 12, and Enough Said. If you want to use the top candidates at GoldDerby as a benchmark, you’d also need Labor Day, The Past, and Before Midnight, but that’s never never going to happen. No chance.

Supporting actors would need 4 more films for legit contenders (Rush, Spring Breakers, 42, Enough Said). Supporting Actress, this year, very unusually, is covered in the 15 above.

This post is about the Best Actors. Who is going to be nominated and who do I think were the best performances.

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My Best of LA

Knowing I was only going to be in my job in Southern California for 1 year, I tried to take advantage of living in a cultural and entertainment mecca. Whenever I could, I went and did “tourist-y” stuff and I covered a lot in 12 months.

IMG_1003 I did the fairly typical LA event from a concert at the Hollywood Bowl to a TV Show taping to Disneyland to catching the US Open of Surfing just a couple miles from my house. I got lucky in seeing 2 baseball games decided in the bottom of the ninth and 1 hockey game won on penalty shots (all for the home team). I met a few celebrities at events including George Takei at his musical Allegiance in San Diego.

IMG_0058I also was lucky enough to have a special opportunities not always available to the general public. I was given a tour of the live set of Franklin & Bash. I got a behind-the-scenes tour of the Jim Henson Studios. And I got lucky in realizing the Arrested Development Banana Stand was only  few minutes away one morning in LA.

But here are the best things I did…

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The Oscar Red Carpet Experience – The Oscar

IMG_1705Throughout February, there was apparently an Academy Award promotional campaign called the Oscar Roadtrip. Led by celebrities you have to look up to have any idea who they are – Ben Gleib and Angie Greenup – an actual Oscar statue was brought around the country and placed in people’s hands for maximum Twitter and Instagram low level marketing.

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Their last stop…the Red Carpet on Oscar night, of course. Around 10:30am, Ben and Angie appeared on the stage in front of my bleachers on the red carpet. The said this was the first time an Oscar statue had appeared on the red carpet. And that they were making further history as they would bring the Oscar into the bleachers. And if an idea is worth doing, it is worth doing big –  they were actually going to bring TWO Oscars into the bleachers.


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The Oscar Red Carpet Experience – Food and Gift Bag

Okay, celebrities are fine, but what about the food and freebies?

Here we go:

Breakfast – LA Bagels with cream cheese, Coffee

Drinks (all day) – Vitamin Water Zero (the red one), Coke, Diet Coke, Water

Lunch – Box lunches brought to us in the stands with either a turkey or roasted veggie sandwich, chips, chocolate chip cookie, and a red apple. It was quite tasty and filling.

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