Oscars 2014 Recap

everythingisawesomeWe survived! With the telecast clocking in at just over 38 hours, it became a bit of a slog, but we’ve all come out the other side just fine, except maybe Idina Menzel’s face, which is surely starting to slough off from the acid secreted by John Travolta’s hands.

We’ll take things in sections, because order must be imposed in all things, even Oscar blogging. Continue reading

Oscar Bowling 2014

Here are my picks in one place, ranked by my confidence in them. If you get the number of points associated with each category, it adds up to a perfect 300. I will not get 300, but I will always try to get close.

 

24 Supporting Actor: JK Simmons
23 Supporting Actress: Patricia Arquette

22 Actress: Julianne Moore
21 Documentary: CitizenFour
20 Foreign: Ida
19 Actor: Eddie Redmayne
18 Original Song: Glory
17 Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki
16 Production design: Grand Budapest Hotel
15 Visual Effects: Interstellar
14 Costume design: Grand Budapest Hotel
13 Makeup and Hair: Grand Budapest Hotel
12 Animated Feature: How to Train Your Dragon 2
11 Film editing- Boyhood
10 Original Score- Theory of Everything
9 Sound Editing: American Sniper
8 Sound Mixing: Whiplash
7 Documentary short: Crisis Hotline
6 Live action short: The Phone Call
5 Director: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu
4 Picture: Boyhood
3 Adapted Screenplay: Whiplash
2 Original Screenplay: GBH
1 Animated short: Feast

Oscar Predictions 2014: Who the Hell Knows

BirdmanSo to continue with the predictions, we’ve already covered all the safe ground. Now we verge out into The Complete Unknown. We’ll break them into two categories for this post; they’re all pretty equally up in the air, but there are pretty clearly the ones that people care about, and… everything else.

Everything Else

Film Editing

American Sniper Joel Cox and Gary D. Roach
Boyhood Sandra Adair
The Grand Budapest Hotel Barney Pilling
The Imitation Game William Goldenberg
Whiplash Tom Cross Continue reading

Oscars Predictions 2014: The Easy Ones

grandbudapesthotelLast year, I had a whole week of predictions in every category, and it was awesome. This year, the ceremony is in two days and I still haven’t seen two of the freaking Best Picture nominees. You win some, you lose some. It’s obviously not stopping me from blogging anyway, since as we all know, actual quality has a vague and inconsistent correlation with the Oscar winners anyway.

There will be three total posts: this one, with the first half of the annotated picks, then the rest of the annotated picks, and then on Sunday I’ll post my actual picks list so you have it in one convenient place to mock me with. Continue reading

Oscars 2014 Nomination Reactions

grandbudapesthotelHoo boy has it been a morning (ahem… three days ago. This may have sat as a draft for longer than I meant). Pretty disappointing all around, to be honest, so let’s take it bit by bit. As with the Golden Globes, we’ll divide this in four categories this time, along the twin axes of Surprise vs. Not Surprise and Good vs. Bad.

Quick note: as a reminder, as a general rule, you cannot complain about something being a snub if you can’t also say who should have gotten the spot instead.

Unfortunately, the category of Unexpected and Bad easily has the most notes, so let’s start there and get it out of the way: Continue reading

Oscars 2014: Nomination Predictions

theoryofeverythingIt’s that time again! Today and tomorrow are the most exciting days of the awards season year. Today is the day of posting wild speculations on who’s going to get nominated, and tomorrow we already get to see if we were right. The Oscars themselves are great, but it’s also the end. This is the high point of the season, with the maximum number of possibilities still in play. Whee!

Best Picture

Let’s start off with a bang. As I said a bit in the Golden Globes prediction piece, the two frontrunners are Boyhood and Birdman, with the addition here of Selma. Both of the British Mid-Century Genius Biopics have held on strongly, and Grand Budapest Hotel has gotten so much traction that it’s hard for me to not imagine it getting a nomination. Foxcatcher has been getting pushed hard, it feels like. As we all remember, there can be between 5 and 10 nominations in this category. I am sure the following films are getting nominated. Continue reading

Foxcatcher

FoxcatcherFoxcatcher is the true(ish) story (more details on that later) of Mark and Dave Schultz, Olympic wrestlers, and John du Pont, of The du Ponts (as they say repeatedly), a weird old super rich dude with an inexplicable interest in the sport.

Like Captain Phillips last year, this is the kind of real-life story that can accidentally be “spoiled” by googling (while you can’t necessarily spoil real life, you can spoil the plot of a movie, which this has now become). To that end, I’ve put the spoilery bits behind a link after this general section.

Foxcatcher confuses stillness with tension, and slowness for suspense. Lack of dialogue does not automatically mean we’re waiting with bated breath for the next word. Steve Carell is delivering this supposedly revolutionary performance as John du Pont, but he talks so slowly and the rest of the movie moves just as fast. If you were interested, I suppose it could be an effective use of silence, but mostly for me it was just boring.

Contributing to the general boredom factor is the lack of a cohesive plot. It feels episodic, and it doesn’t lead up to anything. There was a point about 3/4 through the movie when I realized that if I didn’t already know that something really dramatic was supposed to happen at the end, I wouldn’t have had a reason to watch anything that happened so far. It kind of ebbs and flows in terms of interest; it seems like the World Championships and later the Olympics are supposed to be key points, but they fall flat. If the parts in between are supposed to be the key points, well, then that completely failed to get off the ground at all.

At one point, Mark (Channing Tatum) says to his brother Dave (Mark Ruffalo), about his (Mark’s) tenure with John du Pont: “You and I both know I can’t stay here.” and my entire reaction was “Wait, why?” I didn’t feel like anything had happened to warrant such a statement of “Obviously something is wrong.” Perhaps the movie thought it was being subtle, but I feel like it just failed to do anything at all.

The acting is good, but Steve Carell is the least interesting part. Channing Tatum is better, I think, and it feels like he could have been a lot more interesting with more to actually do. Mark Ruffalo steals the show, for me. He’s awesome.

Not Recommended

Review continues with spoilers after the jump. Continue reading