With the Oscars only a few days away, it’s time to delve deeper into the juicy categories and pick some winners.
Best Foreign Language Film
The Broken Circle Breakdown (Belgium)
The Great Beauty (Italy)
The Hunt (Denmark)
The Missing Picture (Cambodia)
Who Will Win: The Great Beauty. Paolo Sorrentino has made a wonderful and bittersweet film about the life of a writer in modern Rome.
Who Should Win: The Great Beauty. It’s hard to choose between this and The Hunt, but at the end of the day I fell a little more in love with The Great Beauty.
Potential Upset: The Hunt. It deserves it nearly as much as The Great Beauty, a very strong film anchored by a great performance from Mads Mikklesen and a tight screenplay. Solid all around, I’d be more than happy if The Hunt won.
Snubbed: Kleber Mendonça Filho’s Neighboring Sounds/The Taviani Brothers’ Caesar Must Die
Best Adapted Screenplay
Before Midnight, written by Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, and Ethan Hawke
Captain Phillips, screenplay by Billy Ray
Philomena, screenplay by Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope
12 Years a Slave, screenplay by John Ridley
The Wolf of Wall Street, screenplay by Terence Winter
Who Will Win: The Wolf of Wall Street. Terence Winter created The Sopranos and Boardwalk Empire and while The Wolf of Wall Street isn’t the most deserving, his name will go a long way with Oscar voters. Keep in mind, the mess that was Django Unchained won last year while Tarantino’s more deserving Inglorious Basterds walked away empty-handed. Bullshit.
Who Should Win: Before Midnight. A fitting conclusion to an unlikely wonderful trilogy that is mature and thought provoking. This deserves it, a great example of “less is more”.
Potential Upset: 12 Years a Slave/Captain Phillips. Philomena doesn’t have a chance.
Best Original Screenplay
American Hustle, written by Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell
Blue Jasmine, written by Woody Allen
Dallas Buyers Club, written by Craig Borten & Melisa Wallack
Her, written by Spike Jonze
Nebraska, written by Bob Nelson
Who Will Win: Dallas Buyers Club. Academy voters will take the easy route and once again avoid the most challenging screenplays.
Who Should Win: Nebraska. Another example of “less is more”, Nebraska is simple, funny, and touching. A wonderful example of a strong little screenplay.
Potential Upset: Blue Jasmine. With all of the controversy surrounding Woody Allen it’s a long shot for him to win, but don’t put it past Academy voters to vote for it anyway.
Snubbed: Inside Llewyn Davis. The Coen Brothers can almost do no wrong at this point. It’s a simple screenplay but don’t let that fool you. It’s filled with their trademark humor and character and is solid all around. Fuckin’ American Hustle stole all the nominations.
Best Animated Feature Film
Despicable Me 2
Ernest and Celestine
The Wind Rises
Who Will Win: Frozen. Too much of a crowd pleaser and Disney’s best effort in a while. With the best song probably going to Despicable Me 2‘s “Happy”, Frozen will win this category.
Who Should Win: The Wind Rises. Miyazaki. That is the only reason you need.
Potential Upset: Ernest and Celestine. I haven’t seen this but one look at the trailer and it looks just as deserving as any of the others. What beautiful animation.
Snubbed: Ari Folman’s The Congress. While not fully animated, the animation sequences and story are thought-provoking and unique.
Best Documentary Feature
The Act of Killing
Cutie and the Boxer
20 Feet From Stardom
Who Will Win: The Act of Killing. A documentary unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. Surreal and haunting.
Who Should Win: The Act of Killing. Just watch it.
Potential Upset: The Square. A look at the 2011 Tahrir Square uprising in Egypt, strong buzz has surrounded the film since its release.
The Grandmaster, Philippe Le Sourd
Gravity, Emmanuel Lubezki
Inside Llewyn Davis, Bruno Delbonnel
Nebraska, Phedon Papamichael
Prisoners, Roger A. Deakins
Jesus, I’m not even gonna go with my tradition coverage for this one. All of these are deserving, it’s full of ridiculously talented individuals and gorgeous films. Based on Avatar‘s 2010 win for Best Cinematography (which was bullshit) I’d say the winner this year will be Gravity. It’s certainly more deserving when compared to Avatar, and I’d be happy if it won, but with competition like this it’s hard to say. Deakins’ work is always amazing, his work in Prisoners is nothing short of excellent. Nebraska and Inside Llewyn Davis are smaller and bit more under the radar, but the cinematography in both is no less wonderful. The Grandmaster is a long shot, but with Wong Kar Wai’s strong visual style and the gorgeous cinematography by Le Sourd, don’t count it out. What a category! Ridiculous competition.
Oscar Fun Fact: Christopher Plummer is the oldest Best Supporting Actor Oscar winner at 82 years old, when he deservedly won for 2011’s Beginners. If you haven’t seen the film, it’s worth watching for his performance alone. He lights up the screen.