cwfilmbuff: (movies)
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For each category I'm putting what I think deserves the award in bold, what I think will win in italics, and the movies I haven't gotten around to seeing are struck.

Original Screenplay
  • American Hustle
  • Blue Jasmine
  • Dallas Buyers Club
  • Her
  • Nebraska

This category often goes to the movie that;s good, but too far outside the norm to win best picture, so Her is a safe bet. Which is good, since its smart and moving science fiction screenplay really is the best of the year.

Adapted Screenplay
  • Before Midnight
  • Captain Phillips
  • Philomena
  • 12 Years a Slave
  • The Wolf of Wall Street

12 Years a Slave does a great job adapting Northup's memoir, and will likely pick up this award along with a few others, but I thought the film's real strengths were in the directing and acting; in lesser hands the same script wouldn't have fared as well. Before Midnight, on the other hand, relies almost entirely on its screenplay, and the writing of that screenplay was more than enough to make it one of the year's best films.

Visual Effects
  • Gravity
  • The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
  • Iron Man 3
  • The Lone Ranger
  • Star Trek Into Darkness

The Iron Man and Star Trek films both looked better than their predecessors, as can be expected as technology and budgets increase, but more than anything on this list Gravity lived or died on its visuals, and the effects department more than met the challenge.

Sound Mixing
  • Captain Phillips
  • Gravity
  • The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
  • Inside Llewyn Davis
  • Lone Survivor

I think the use of sound to enhance both the sense of place and the urgency in Gravity can probably overcome the Academy's fondness for rewarding war movies in this category.

Sound Editing
  • All Is Lost
  • Captain Phillips
  • Gravity
  • The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
  • Lose Survivor

Gravity will probably take both sound categories, but the nearly dialog-free All is Lost had the most effective use of audio this year.

Live Action Short
  • Aquel No Era Yo
  • Just Before Losing Everything
  • Helium
  • Do I Have to Take Care of Everything?
  • The Voorman Problem

Just Before Losing Everything is one of the best films of any length to be released in 2013, and I would love to see it win. I think Helium probably has the edge though, with its lighter touch and more technical filmmaking. Do I Have to Take Care of Everything? is fun, but probably too slight compared to the others. The Voorman Problem falls apart at the end when its tone doesn't match its content. And Aquel No Era Yo was not one of, but the single worst movie I saw come out of last year. I'm angry that I spent half an hour of my life watching it, let alone that it was nominated for an Oscar.

Animated Short
  • Feral
  • Get a Horse!
  • Mr. Hublot
  • Possessions
  • Room on the Broom

Mr. Hubolt combines great visual world-building with a sweet and funny story, all of which tend to gain favor from voters in this category. While slightly less innovative visually (but still beautiful to look at), Possessions was the best overall movie in this category, and I would love to see it take home a statue. Room on the Broom was another fun entry from the makers of 2010-nominated The Gruffalo, but its pacing could have been tightened up. Feral had an interesting concept but didn't do enough with it. The more I think about Get a Horse! the less I like it; it's a film that can't decide if it's championing old-fashioned animation or decrying it, and wants the audience to cheer for a sadistic main character who keeps beating up on his opponent well after he's rescued his damsel-in-distress girlfriend.

Production Design
  • American Hustle
  • Gravity
  • The Great Gatsby
  • Her
  • 12 Years a Slave

Gatsby is a period piece with lavish sets, both of which work in its favor. Her, on the other hand, has much more interesting production design, with a lot of thought and work clearly going into the details of its near-future setting.

Original Song
  • Happy
  • Let It Go
  • The Moon Song
  • Ordinary Love

It will be very surprising if Let It Go doesn't win this one, but really the whole category is strong this year. Even the weakest of the nominees is still a better-than-average U2 song.

Original Score
  • The Book Thief
  • Gravity
  • Her
  • Philomena
  • Saving Mr. Banks

Gravity's use of music went a long way to heighten the suspense of an already suspenseful film, so even though it was occasionally over the top it has a good chance of winning tonight. My vote goes to Her though, not only for having great music, but for tying that music into the story in such an effective way.

makeup & Hairstyling
  • Dallas Buyers Club
  • Bad Grandpa
  • The Lone Ranger

I admittedly have only seen one of these, but my guess is that the realism of Dallas Buyers Club will fare better than gimmicky old-age makeup or failed attempts to make Depp look Native American.

Foreign Language Film
  • The Broken Circle Breakdown
  • The Great Beauty
  • The Hunt
  • The Missing Picture
  • Omar

The three of these I've seen are all incredible, and I highly recommend seeking them out if you haven't seen them, but The Great Beauty is far and away the best of the best. I'm still a little disappointed it wasn't nominated for Best Picture, but I'll be happy to see it win this one.

Editing
  • American Hustle
  • Captain Phillips
  • Dallas Buyers Club
  • Gravity
  • 12 Years a Slave

Both Gravity and 12 Years a Slave make great use of long takes, demonstrating the importance of knowing when not to cut, but 12 Years a Slave has the more conventional style of the two, which will probably help it with voters.

Documentary Short
  • CaveDigger
  • Facing Fear
  • Karama Has No Walls
  • The Lady in Number 6
  • Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall

The Lady in Number 6 had the best story of the nominees, so despite its weaknesses in narration and graphics it has the best chance of winning. I was torn between Facing Fear and Prison Terminal for my vote, as both have incredibly moving, well-made documentaries, but the filmmaking in Prison Terminal was just enough better that I settled on it as my favorite.

Documentary Feature
  • The Act of Killing
  • Cutie and the Boxer
  • Dirty Wars
  • The Square
  • 20 Feet From Stardom

There's a chance that the entertainment value of 20 Feet From Stardom will gain it some votes, but I think the impact of The Act of Killing's ending will be strong enough to put it over the top. Dirty Wars is the only weak link here, which is a shame because in the hands of a better filmmaker is would have been the most interesting story.

Director
  • David O. Russell
  • Alfonso Cuarón
  • Alexander Payne
  • Steve McQueen
  • Martin Scorsese

This is the major award Gravity will win instead of Best Picture. Cuarón and McQueen are the two frontrunners, but the technical challenges of Gravity will give it the edge. I would not be unhappy to see either of them win, or Payne, for that matter, but I'm voting for Gravity too.

Costume Design
  • American Hustle
  • The Grandmaster
  • The Great Gatsby
  • The Invisible Woman
  • 12 Years a Slave

The simplicity of 12 Years a Slave's costumes will probably hurt its odds, but they were entirely appropriate to the movie, both in matching the setting and in contrasting between the classes. Gatsby will likely win for being the most extravagant in its costuming, even if it didn't do as much to serve the movie.

Cinematography
  • The Grandmaster
  • Gravity
  • Inside Llewyn Davis
  • Nebraska
  • Prisoners

Another category where there's not a bad choice. My vote goes to Nebraska for beautifully capturing its setting and characters - not a frame of this movie isn't expertly composed. Of course I won't be at all upset to see Gravity win; Lubezki should have won the last three times he was nominated, so this will be long overdue. Deakins has also been passed over far too many times, but Prisoners, while great, isn't his best work, so I think he'll miss out again this year.

Animated Feature
  • The Croods
  • Despicable Me 2
  • Ernest & Celestine
  • Frozen
  • The Wind Rises

I almost voted for The Wind Rises based solely on Miyazaki's track record, but not having seen it I can't honestly pick it (this is what happens when you don't release your movie until two days before the Oscars). Frozen is a truly great movie, only held back by its annoying talking snowman, and I won't be unhappy to see it win (which it will, since The Wind Rises is it's only real competition and Disney, which distributes both, is backing Frozen). Especially since, not having seen Ernest & Celestine (this is what happens when you don't release your movie until a month after the Oscars), everything else I've watched in this category is terrible.

Supporting Actress
  • Sally Hawkins
  • Jennifer Lawrence
  • Lupita Nyong'o
  • Julia Roberts
  • June Squibb

There's a chance Lawrence could win this, but I think Nyong'o has the edge, and rightfully so.

Supporting Actor
  • Barkhad Abdi
  • Bradley Cooper
  • Michael Fassbender
  • Jonah Hill
  • Jared Leto

Leto's been winning everything in this category, and I don't see that changing tonight, but I just didn't find him convincing. Fassbender, on the other hand, brought amazing complexity to what could easily have been a cartoonish villain, making the character human in a way that made his actions even more reprehensible.

Lead Actress
  • Amy Adams
  • Cate Blanchett
  • Sandra Bullock
  • Judi Dench
  • Meryl Streep

Another case where momentum won't be broken; Blanchett is winning everything for her valiant attempts to save a weak script, and will continue to do so. I was much more impressed with Adams's performance, which highlighted a deep emotional range without becoming a caricature like some of her costars.

Lead Actor
  • Christian Bale
  • Bruce Dern
  • Leonardo DiCaprio
  • Chiwetel Ejiofor
  • Matthew McConaughey

McConaughy is the clear favorite here, in no small part because he's suddenly starting to show more descretion in which projects he takes. Not that his performance isn't good, but it's not nearly as good as Ejiofor's.

Best Picture
  • American Hustle
  • Captain Phillips
  • Dallas Buyers Club
  • Gravity
  • Her
  • Nebraska
  • Philomena
  • 12 Years a Slave
  • The Wolf of Wall Street

I'm not too upset that 12 Years a Slave will likely win, because it really is thoroughly excellent filmmmaking. But Her was such an intelligent, movie, and above all original film that I would love to see it take home the top prize.

Date: 2014-03-02 04:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] randomdreams.livejournal.com
Huh, Miyazaki's release timing does seem a bit weird. I presume that's handled by an american distribution company, and they could've delayed it a week to make it a 2014 contender.
based on this I'll have to watch Frozen.

Date: 2014-03-02 04:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] filmbuff.livejournal.com
Disney handles the American distribution of Studio Ghibli's movies, which is part of why I think Frozen has the advantage (they're more likely to campaign for their own work than something they nearly have the domestic rights to). I suspect it played in NY & LA to qualify last December, then once it was nominated they released it in late February to try to capitalize on the increased word of mouth.

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