Monday, March 3, 2014

Oscar winners

So I failed at Oscar predicting again. I always try to predict upsets. I can't help it.

But this is a very satisfying bunch of winners (other than The Act of Killing losing Best Documentary).

Here are the 24 newest Oscar winners. It doesn't validate films, it it not a confirmation of artistry. It is just an award, but it does become an easily accessible historical document, it alters careers (mostly for the better, although not always) and it does sell movie tickets. I mean, if more people now feel peer pressure to watch the harrowing and important 12 Years a Slave, I won't be complaining.

Other than the obvious significance of 12 Years in making plain the horrors of the slave trade (when films like Gone With the Wind had presented a sugar-coated version that was far more convenient to believe), Benedict Cumberbatch summed it up so brilliantly on the red carpet - the slave trade is very much still alive, and in many ways it's bigger (and smaller) than ever. Other than the fact that this is a beautifully made, heart-wrenching film, it really is an important film. Even if it just starts the conversations.

Ultimately, Gravity was the big winner of the night, going home with 7 naked gold men
12 Years a Slave, meanwhile, took home only 3
Dallas Buyers Club nabbed 3 as well
Frozen took 2
The Great Gatsby landed 2 more for the Luhrman-Martin household
And American Hustle was the night's biggest loser, losing each of its 10 nominations

(Incidentally, there are Oscars travelling all over the world - to Mexico (Alfonso Cuaron & Emmanuel Lubezki), England (Steve McQueen), Kenya, sort of (Lupita Nyong'o who was born in Mexico but is of Kenyan descent), Australia (Cate Blanchett & Chatherine Martin) and, of course, Italy (La Grande Bellezza)). I remember what a big moment it was for South Africa when Charlize Theron did her victory tour back home, so - well done, bunch of other countries!

Best Picture: 12 Years a Slave
Best Director: Alfonso Cuaron - Gravity
Best Actress: Cate Blanchett - Blue Jasmine
Best Actor: Matthew McConaughey - Dallas Buyers Club
Best Supporting Actress: Lupita N'yongo - 12 Years a Slave
Best Supporting Actor: Jared Leto - Dallas Buyers Club  
Best Original Screenplay: Spike Jonze - Her
Best Adapted Screenplay: John Ridley - 12 Years a Slave
Best Editing: Alfonso Cuaron & Mark Sanger - Gravity
Best Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki - Gravity
Best Production Design: Catherine Martin & Beverley Dunn - The Great Gatsby
Best Costume Design: Catherine Martin - The Great Gatsby 
Best Hair & Make Up: Adruitha Lee & Robin Mathews - Dallas Buyers Club
Best Original Score: Steven Price - Gravity
Original Song: Kristen Anderson-Lopez & Robert Lopez - Let it Go (Frozen)
Best Visual Effects: Tim Webber, Chris Lawrence, David Shirk & Neil Corbould - Gravity
Best Sound Mixing: Skip Lievsay, Niv Adiri, Christopher Benstead & Chris Munro - Gravity
Best Sound Editing: Glenn Freemantle - Gravity
Best Foreign Language Film: La Grande Bellezza (The Great Beauty)
Best Animated Feature: Frozen
Best Documentary Feature: 20 Feet from Stardom
Best Live Action Short: Helium 
Best Animated Short: Mr Hublot
Best Documentary Short: The Lady in Number 6

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Last-minute Oscar predictions

Best Picture: American Hustle (Because Gravity / 12 Years splits the vote Day-Lewis / Nicholson style)
Best Director: Steve McQueen - 12 Years a Slave (Sasha Stone has a point - when it comes to Best Pic / Director splits, the movie everyone "likes" gets Picture, the film everyone "respects" takes Director)
Best Actress: Cate Blanchett - Blue Jasmine (in the bag and overdue)
Best Actor: Matthew McConaughey - Dallas Buyers Club (he's earned it, made himself overdue in just two years, and was on TV being brilliant in True Detective through much of the voting period)
Best Supporting Actress: Jennifer Lawrence - American Hustle (this should be her first. She deserves it, but I would be thrilled if Lupita N'yongo takes it instead)
Best Supporting Actor: Jared Leto - Dallas Buyers Club (they clearly love the film, what with upset nominations in screenplay and editing. Would be happy if Barkhad Abdi upset though)
Best Original Screenplay: American Hustle
Best Adapted Screenplay: 12 Years a Slave
Editing: Captain Phillips
Cinematography, Sound Mixing, Sound Editing, Visual Effects & Original Score: Gravity
Costume Design & Production Design: The Great Gatsby (it would be kinda rad if Costumes went to American Hustle)
Make Up: Dallas Buyers Club
Foreign Language Film: The Great Beauty (upset: The Broken Circle Breakdown)
Documentary: The Act of Killing
Animated Feature: Frozen (although it should be The Wind Rises)
Original Song: Happy - Pharrell Williams - Despicable Me 2

I didn't see any of the shorts. Bummer.