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.

The-Oscars-2014-Best-Actor-DI-DI-to-L10.jpg

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.

Continue reading

Advertisements

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.

Continue reading

Oscar Nomination – Some Stats on the Rare Big 7!

side_oscarThe Oscar Nominations nominees are always full of surprises and excitement. I particularly love the records of the Academy Awards. The Hollywood Reporter lists a number of the landmarks this year, which are as fascinating as baseball stats to many. However, I love baseball stats.

Note: Stats are not a statement of quality of the film. I just like the quirkiness.

A few that stand out:

  • We have the youngest and oldest Best Actress nominees in Quvenzhane Wallis from Beasts of the Southern Wild at age 8 (6 when filmed) and Emmanuelle Riva from Amour at 85 although they aren’t the youngest/oldest in all acting categories.
  • Pity (?) poor Greg Russell of Skyfall – his 16th nominating as a sound mixer with no wins yet. But he isn’t the worst either – Kevin O’Connell, also a sound mixer, has 20 nominations with no wins.
  • The surprise Best Directors category didn’t include 3 of the 5 people nominated by the Director Guild of America (DGA) which usually matches up perfectly. They both had Spielberg (Lincoln) and Ang Lee (Life of Pi). But the DGA had Ben Affleck (Argo), Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty), and Tom Hooper (Les Misérables). The Academy substituted Michael Haneke (Amour), David O. Russell (Silver Linings Playbook), and Benh Zeitlin (Beast of the Southern Wild). This puts a serious dent in both Argo and Zero Dark Thirty’s Best Picture chances. See details in Erik Lundegaard’s blog post.

But I think there is a much bigger deal…

Continue reading