Sunday, November 10, 2013

Oscar Update: 11/10/13

I haven't posted one of these updates in a while, but with some more new festival premieres (Out of the Furnace, Her, Saving Mr. Banks), and release date shifts (The Wolf of Wall Street), I figured that it was time for another Oscar update.

Anyways, The Monuments Men and Foxcatcher are out, and The Wolf of Wall Street is in. The Book Thief is a pretender and Out of the Furnace is a possible contender. 12 Years a Slave and All is Lost are performing strong at the box office and Gravity and Captain Phillips have maintained momentum. The September releases (Rush and Prisoners) have really fallen off. American Hustle still hasn't premiered yet. Saving Mr. Banks and Her made major waves in London and New York. And it turns out that The Counselor was never really a contender in the first place. So, let's take a look at what's going on in all of the categories.

BEST PICTURE

1. Gravity
2. 12 Years A Slave
3. American Hustle
4. The Wolf of Wall Street
5. Captain Phillips
6. Her
7. Inside Llewyn Davis
8. Saving Mr. Banks
9. Philomena
10. Lee Daniels' The Butler

I'm still not jumping on the 12 Years a Slave bandwagon. I have not seen the film yet, much to my chagrin, but I still think that it will be far too stark and intense for the Academy. The Academy is going to jump for the technological achievement before it jumps for the brutally true drama. Who knows, maybe American Hustle will blow us all away, or the older demographic will choose Saving Mr. Banks. Honestly, unless American Hustle, The Wolf of Wall Street or Lone Survivor truly show up as a frontrunner, we won't get a clear look at best picture until the Golden Globes.

BEST ACTOR

1. Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years A Slave
2. Robert Redford, All is Lost
3. Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club
4. Tom Hanks, Captain Phillips
5. Christian Bale, American Hustle

Early word has it that Christian Bale gives one of his best performances in Out of the Furnace, his dark new drama with director Scott Cooper. I think that he'll be even better in American Hustle. That's why I give him the edge over DiCaprio. But I don't see either winning. This is one of the most competitive years ever for Best Actor and it is far from the landslide that was last year when Daniel Day-Lewis won. I see Ejiofor getting the win right now, but Redford hasn't won an Oscar before and guilt could always come into play. Also, don't count out McConaughey or Hanks just yet.

BEST ACTRESS

1. Judi Dench, Philomena
2. Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
3. Emma Thompson, Saving Mr. Banks
4. Amy Adams, American Hustle
5. Sandra Bullock, Gravity

Right now, I see Dench with the most momentum right now. Weinstein doesn't have as many films this year to back, and with significant attention on Philomena and the overturned rating, I can see Weinstein putting most of his focus on Dench and her very good Best Actress chances. I don't think Blanchett can maintain momentum for this long, but Thompson, Adams and Bullock are legitimate contenders. Another close category here.

BEST DIRECTOR

1. Steve McQueen, 12 Years A Slave
2. Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity
3. David O. Russell, American Hustle
4. Martin Scorsese, The Wolf of Wall Street
5. Spike Jonze, Her

With my current pick of Gravity for Best Picture, I'm going with McQueen for best director. Right now, my thinking is this. The academy is either going to recognize the stark drama or the technological achievement for best picture, unless American Hustle or The Wolf of Wall Street really blow people away. Whichever film doesn't win best picture will win best director. That's why I have McQueen here right now.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

1. Tom Hanks, Saving Mr. Banks
2. Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club
3. Michael Fassebender, 12 Years a Slave
4. Bradley Cooper, American Hustle
5. Daniel Bruhl, Rush

Look, Jared Leto has a very legitimate chance in this category. He certainly could win. But Saving Mr. Banks looks like the ultimate Oscar picture. It's about Hollywood, it's sentimental, and it's got Tom Hanks. Hanks has received high marks for his portrayal of Walt Disney and I believe that the Academy will recognize him for this film. Plus, I don't see Saving Mr. Banks having a chance in many categories other than Best Costume Design.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

1. Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle
2. Lupita Nyong'o, 12 Years A Slave
3. Oprah Winfrey, Lee Daniels' The Butler
4. Margo Martindale, August: Osage County
5. June Squibb, Nebraska

This category hasn't changed much since September. I still think that Lawrence is going to dominate the screen in American Hustle and early reports say that she most certainly does. But I think that Lupita Nyong'o is going to be a force to be reckoned with. Like I previously said, I haven't seen 12 Years A Slave, but she's supposedly pretty powerful. And then Oprah has a shot, because she doesn't show up in films too often and her performance was pretty great in The Butler

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

1. Eric Singer and David O. Russell, American Hustle
2. Spike Jonze, Her
3. Joel and Ethan Coen, Inside Llewyn Davis
4. Alfonso and Jonas Cuaron, Gravity
5. Bob Nelson, Nebraska

This is a fantastic year for original films, and there were several original films that missed the cut (Out of the Furnace, All is Lost), but I think that it comes down to a battle between American Hustle and Her. Both have incredible screenwriters at the helm, and both films are going to be Oscar powerhouses. But I'm going with David O. Russell and American Hustle. I think that this year could be Russell's year to shine and I believe that he's going to take this one.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

1. John Ridley, 12 Years A Slave
2. Terence Winter, The Wolf of Wall Street
3. Billy Ray, Captain Phillips
4. Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope, Philomena
5. Peter Berg, Lone Survivor

For once, the adapted screenplay category isn't overly crowded, and it gives 12 Years a Slave and The Wolf of Wall Street room to do battle. One of those two films will win, I'm almost sure of it and I think that it depends on how much of a dent Wolf of Wall Street makes. But for now, I've got 12 Years A Slave.

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

1. Gravity
2. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
3. Pacific Rim
4. Star Trek Into Darkness
5. Man of Steel

I think that Gravity has this one locked up. The film has become renowned worldwide as a phenomenon based on its visual effects and the thrilling big screen experience that it offers. Who else is going to top this film?

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE

1. Frozen
2. Despicable Me 2
3. Monsters University
4. The Wind Rises
5. The Croods

Frozen has this one locked up. The reviews came in this week and they were almost universally positive and some were even calling this film one of Disney's best animated films. That's quite an achievement and I hope it is truly that good. I don't see anyone being able to beat this one.

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

1. Gravity
2. Prisoners
3. Rush
4. American Hustle
5. Out of the Furnace

I thought that Prisoners was the front-runner for a while with its dark, grim camerawork, but now it's clear that Gravity is leading this pack. The camerwork in that film is truly astonishing and I'll be shocked if it doesn't win.

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE

1. Hans Zimmer, 12 Years A Slave
2. John Williams, The Book Thief
3. Hans Zimmer, Rush
4. Steven Price, Gravity
5. Henry Jackman, Captain Phillips

Zimmer will win for either this or Rush and I think that his score for Slave wins.

BEST MAKEUP AND HAIR

1. American Hustle
2. 12 Years a Slave
3. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
4. Rush
5. Thor: The Dark World

Look at that hair and make-up. How can American Hustle not win, even if it sucks as a movie>

BEST COSTUME DESIGN

1. Rush
2. American Hustle
3. The Wolf of Wall Street
4. Lee Daniels' The Butler
5. Dallas Buyers Club

American Hustle will probably win, but I'm predicting Rush for now in a desperate hope for some love for that film. Not enough people saw it and it was such a fantastic film.

Best production design, editing, sound mixing, sound editing and song not included in current projections.

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