AND THE WINNER IS . . . GREENBEAN’S OSCAR PICKS

Before we begin, let me humbly remind you that I picked the winner for the last two years (Argo, The Artist) as well as most of the other categories.  So, having reminded you of that, let’s get straight to the prognostication, shall we?  If you like, you can detour here and read my synopsis of the best picture nominees if you click here or for an analysis of Oscar’s psychological state when choosing these films click here.

Best Picture

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

The winner will be 12 Years A Slave.  It has to be.  Philomena and Nebraska are tied for runner up and I would not be mad if either of them won or even if Gravity or Captain Phillips won.  However, I think in the end, 12 Years a Slave was the best movie of them all.  Her is creepy and Dallas Buyers has too many problems with the overall production.  If Wolf or Hustle win I will be very, very angry.

Actor

  • Christian Bale (Hustle)
  • Bruce Dern (Nebraska)
  • Leonardo DiCaprio (Wolf)
  • Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years)
  • Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers)

The winner will be Matthew McConaughey.  More than any other actor I’ve seen in years, McConaughey was able to make me forget I was watching a movie and make me think I was watching a documentary of the real person.  Bravo Mr. McConaughey.  Bravo.

As an aside, I wonder if Leo DiCaprio will ever again portray someone who is not rich and powerful.  That seems to be all he plays these days.

Actress

  • Amy Adams (Hustle)
  • Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine)
  • Sandra Bullock (Gravity)
  • Judi Dench (Philomena)
  • Meryl Streep (August:  Osage County)

The Winner will be Judi Dench.  Her only real competition on this list is Bullock who did a great job in Gravity, but this is Dench’s year.  Streep’s portrayal of the matriarch in August:  Osage County was overplayed and caricatured.  Blanchet was good in Blue Jasmine but not Oscar worthy and Amy Adams was not even the most impressive actresses on her own set.  Dench needs to win to make up for the snub she and Skyfall got at the Oscars last year.

Supporting Actor

  • Barkhad Abdi (Phillips)
  • Bradley Cooper (Hustle)
  • Michael Fassbender (12 years)
  • Jonah Hill (Wolf)
  • Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers)

The winner will be Michael Fassbender.  Fassbender is a superb actor who conjures great intensity with his eyes and posture.  His portrayal of the cruel slave owner was breathtakingly evil.  Leto and Abdi are close seconds.  Hill and Cooper have no shot.  I personally hope that Jonah Hill’s moment of glory is just about up.  I do not like him.  Besides, Fassbender sports an awesome beard and that is worth a lot of votes right there.

Supporting Actress

  • Sally Hawkins (Blue Jasmine)
  • Jennifer Lawrence (Hustle)
  • Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years)
  • Julia Roberts (August:  Osage County)
  • June Squibb (Nebraska)

The winner will be Julia Roberts.  It is a tight three-way race between Roberts, Lawrence, and Squibb but I think in the end Roberts will pull it out.  I don’t see how Oscar can give an award to Lawrence, 23 years old, two years in a row.  Squibb was wonderful in Nebraska, but she was overshadowed by Dern.  By contrast, Julia Roberts swiped August out from underneath Meryl Streep and that is not easy to do, so she will win the Oscar.

Director

  • Steve McQueen (12 Years)
  • David O. Russell (Hustle)
  • Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity)
  • Alexander Payne (Nebraska)
  • Martin Scorsese (Wolf)

The winner will be Alfonso Cuaron.  He will win much for the same reasons that Ang Lee won last year.  His film was eye candy from top to bottom and he made a one woman science fiction movie interesting and profitable.  His only real competition is McQueen.  However, in the end, I think it will be Cuaron.

You can be sure that Sunday night I will be watching the Oscars live, and probably tweeting out live during the show.  I do hope Ellen does a better job than that awful man from last year.

Picture from thewrap.com

2014 OSCAR BEST PICTURE PREVIEW

What was the best movie of 2014?

As you might imagine I have some definite ideas about that question, but before I attempt to answer it let me first tell you a little of how I perceived the 9 nominees.  To see what Greenbean thought of previous years films, click here, here, here, and here.  To see my analysis of why Oscar picked these films this year click here and to see what my predictions are click here.

oscars-2014-nominees

For now, let us take these in alphabetical order.  I’ll try to be brief, or as brief as possible.

12 Years A Slave–I think this film has a very real possibility for winning best picture.  The story arc is powerful and the acting, across the board, is outstanding.  My only complaint, and it is a tiny one, is that I prefer linear movies.  I love flashbacks, but I don’t really like starting me at the middle, taking me back to the front, and then when the film catches up to the beginning I think it must be the end yet we are no where near resolution.  I wonder, though, if the seriousness and the historical urgency the film has for contemporary culture might not hinder its chances of winning.

American Hustle–I hated this film.  There is not a single character in it I like or identify with.  By the time the credits roll I want them all to go to jail for a very long time.  There are two redeeming factors for this movie, however.  The first one is Jennifer Lawrence.  She is such a fantastic actress that she steals every scene she is in.  I think she could win another Oscar, this time for best supporting actress.  The second redeeming factor was the fashion in the movie.  As a child of the 70s I dig the retro hair and clothing.

Captain Phillips–This movie was very good and compelling.  The logical procession of the narrative maintains storytelling tension throughout.  Tom Hanks was really given the shaft by not being nominated for best actor because his performance was masterful and understated.  He played the role perfectly.  I do not think it will or can win, but I like it.

Dallas Buyers Club–Matthew McConaughey is the beginning and the end of this film.  His performance was powerhouse and disturbing, which is what it had to be.  The movie does a great job of capturing this time in history and the confusion which existed about AIDS amongst both the homosexual and heterosexual communities.  The movie fails, though, in the pacing and the development of other characters.

Gravity–Beautiful movie.  The images are amazing and the production quality is out of this world.  Sandra Bullock has the very difficult task of making us care about a character’s plight all by herself with no supporting cast to speak of, and she pulls it off.  Oscar has a historical heritage of neglecting sci-fi and space films in general so I don’t think it can win best picture, however Cuaron will probably win best director.

FUTURE FASHION FAILS
FUTURE FASHION FAILS

Her–The movie Her makes two predictions about the not too distant future.  The first one is that in the future computers will have unique personalities that evolve over time.  The second prediction is that men’s fashion will be in a terrible slump.  I had such a hard time focusing on the film because the clothes that all the male characters wear are appalling.  It is also a creepy movie.  I think Spike Jonze is trying to tell us a tale about technology and the human need for authentic relationship, but for some reason the movie kept reminding me Soylent Green.  This movie does prove the point, made so terribly in last year’s The Master, that if you need someone to portray a sexually deviant and creepy man, Joaquin Phoenix is your guy.

Nebraska–I loved this movie.  It is slow developing, in black and white, and not very flashy.  It is the opposite of American Hustle and The Wolf of Wall Street.  This will be added to my favorite lists of movies about aging (along with The Bucket List, Gran Torino, Red) that I recommend to younger people.  I also think that if a teacher were teaching adults (this is not a kid friend film) about the 5th Commandment–Honor your father and mother, that he or she would do well to just put this movie on and push play.

Philomena–Oh my, this movie surprised me.  I wasn’t expecting to like it, but I did, a lot.  It has a good dose of British humor and that dryness that we Americans love so much without being snooty.  This movie is not snooty at all.  It dares to ask serious theological questions and doesn’t try to give answers.  I love that in art.  I also adored the faith that Philomena had despite the failures of her church.  That is the Christian message indeed, that our personal relationship with the Lord is where salvation is found.

The Wolf of Wall Street–Debauchery.  Materialism.  Evil.  This movie is 3 hours of sin with nothing to like.  It shares the attribute with American Hustle that there was not a single character I liked.  I can’t understand why this movie was even nominated, other than the flash and influence of Scorsese, DiCaprio, and the fact that the only thing that interests Hollywood more than itself is rich power brokers.  This movie indulges itself not only with one pornographic scene after another but also with endless inflated dialogue and ego.  A prime example of the ego is the length of the movie.  Had it been cut in half it would have been a much better film.  The more I think about it, PBS Frontline would have done better with the material.  If this movie wins best picture it will mean that Oscar has gone insane.