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Spoiler Alert: Oscar Picks

Image from Buzzfeed.com
Image from Buzzfeed.com

Every year, Academy of Motion Pictures of Arts and Science gives a self congratulatory pat on the back as they hand out awards for the best films of 2013. This year was the first year in awhile where I’ve actually seen the majority of the nominees (thanks Portland for having theaters that play these films) and since all the cool kids are doing it, here are my picks for what will win at this year’s Oscars.

Best picture

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

Of the films I’ve seen, the two that stuck with me are “12 Years a Slave” and “The Wolf of Wall Street”. Oscar voters in the past haven’t really given honors to comedies and I don’t think that “The Wolf of Wall Street” will be the first. “12 Years a Slave” though is a haunting and unnerving depiction of the most disgusting parts of America’s history. The Academy tends to lean towards dramas like “12 Years” and I think that it’ll win the biggest honor of the night. A real dark horse would be “Gravity”, but outside of its technical achievements, “Gravity” doesn’t have the depth that most of the other nominees have.

Best director

  • Steve McQueen — “12 Years a Slave”
  • David O. Russell — “American Hustle”
  • Alfonso Cuaron — “Gravity”
  • Alexander Payne — “Nebraska”
  • Martin Scorsese — “The Wolf of Wall Street”

Gravity is going to win this hands down. Most of the hype with Gravity is due to Cuaron’s use of space (literally) and this is going to be the biggest award it takes home.

Best actor

  • Bruce Dern — “Nebraska”
  • Chiwetel Ejiofor — “12 Years a Slave”
  • Matthew McConaughey — “Dallas Buyers Club”
  • Leonardo DiCaprio — “The Wolf of Wall Street”
  • Christian Bale — “American Hustle”

This is the hardest category to pick. We have so many different ways this could go. McConaughey could win for having a stellar 2013 with years of bad films in his filmography (a.k.a. Mo’Nique), Dern for being a seasoned verteran without ever winning an Academy Award (The Career Achievement Award), DiCaprio as Hollywood’s current golden boy who’s never won Best Actor and Ejiofor as the new guy on the street. Bale isn’t even in the conversation giving the weakest performance in this group. I’m going with Ejiofor because even though DiCaprio’s role will be more remembered, Ejiofor is phenomenal and deserves the big prize.

Best actress

  • Amy Adams — “American Hustle”
  • Cate Blanchett — “Blue Jasmine”
  • Judi Dench — “Philomena”
  • Sandra Bullock — “Gravity”
  • Meryl Streep — “August: OsageCounty”

Having not seen “Philomena”, “August: Osage County”, and “Blue Jasmine” and not being super impressed by Adams and Bullock, this is a hard pick for a different reason. I’m going with Blanchett because you really cant go wrong with her.

Best supporting actor

  • Barkhad Abdi — “Captain Phillips”
  • Bradley Cooper — “American Hustle”
  • Jonah Hill — “The Wolf of Wall Street”
  • Jared Leto — “Dallas Buyers Club”
  • Michael Fassbender — “12 Years a Slave”

I would like to see Hill win, but there’s too much buzz behind Leto for him to lose.

Best supporting actress

  • Jennifer Lawrence — “American Hustle”
  •  Lupita Nyong’o — “12 Years a Slave”
  • June Squibb — “Nebraska”
  • Julia Roberts — “August: OsageCounty”
  • Sally Hawkins — “Blue Jasmine”

Robbed at the Golden Globes, Nyong’o deserves and should win Best Supporting Actress.

Best original screenplay

  • “American Hustle” — David O. Russell and Eric Warren Singer
  • “Blue Jasmine” — Woody Allen
  • “Her” — Spike Jonze
  • “Nebraska” — Bob Nelson
  • “Dallas Buyers Club” — Craig Borten and Melisa Wallack

“Her” was such a cool and unique story and this will be the one category it has locked down.

Best adapted screenplay

  • “12 Years a Slave” — John Ridley
  • “Before Midnight” — Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke and Richard Linklater
  • “The Wolf of Wall Street” — Terence Winter
  • “Captain Phillips” — Billy Ray
  • “Philomena” — Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope

Best animated feature

  • “The Wind Rises”
  • “Frozen”
  • “Despicable Me 2”
  • “Ernest & Celestine”
  • “The Croods”

Even though “The Wind Rises” is supposedly Hayao Miyazaki’s last film (I don’t believe it since he’s retired several times by this point), it has to go to “Frozen.” The best Disney film since “Mulan,” “Frozen” is a complete package and a modern day classic.

Best music (original song)

“Frozen”: “Let it Go” — Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez
“Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom”: “Ordinary Love” — U2, Paul Hewson
“Her”: “The Moon Song” — Karen O, Spike Jonze
“Despicable Me 2”: “Happy” — Pharrell Williams
“Alone Yet Not Alone”: “Alone Yet Not Alone” — Bruce Broughton, Dennis Spiegel

I’ve listened to “Let it Go” over a 100 times and with Idina Menzel performing it at The Oscars, it’s a lock. If it had any competition, it would be “The Moon Song” since the academy decided to overlook every song from “Inside Llewyn Davis”.

Best music (original score)

“Gravity” — Steven Price
“Philomena” — Alexandre Desplat
“The Book Thief” — John Williams
“Saving Mr. Banks” — Thomas Newman
“Her” — William Butler and Owen Pallett

Of the many things going for “Her”, it’s music was up there. “Gravity” may win, but I think the music wins out for “Her”.

Best cinematography

“Gravity” — Emmanuel Lubezki
“Inside Llewyn Davis” — Bruno Delbonnel
“Nebraska” — Phedon Papamichael
“Prisoners” — Roger Deakins
“The Grandmaster” — Phillippe Le Sourd

Gravity will pick up all the technical categories since again, that’s the main hook of it.

Best costume design

“The Great Gatsby” — Catherine Martin
“12 Years a Slave” — Patricia Norris
“The Grandmaster” — William Chang Suk Ping
“American Hustle” — Michael Wilkinson
“The Invisible Woman” — Michael O’Connor

Even though the costumes are great in “Gatsby”, I’m guessing this goes to “12 Years a Slave”

Best film editing

“Gravity” — Alfonso Cuaron, Mark Sanger
“12 Years a Slave”– Joe Walker
“Captain Phillips” — Christopher Rouse
“American Hustle” — Jay Cassidy, Crispin Struthers and Alan Baumgarten
“Dallas Buyers Club” — John Mac McMurphy and Martin Pensa

Again, all the tech categories are going to “Gravity.”

Best makeup and hairstyling

“The Lone Ranger” — Joel Harlow and Gloria Pasqua-Casny
“Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa” — Stephen Prouty
“Dallas Buyers Club” — Adruitha Lee and Robin Mathews

As much as I would love to live in a world where a Jackass film wins an Acedemy Award, I don’t think that time is now and no way is “The Lone Ranger” walking away with it. This is going to “Dallas Buyers Club”.

Best production design

  • “12 Years a Slave” — Adam Stockhausen and Alice Baker
  • “The Great Gatsby” — Catherine Martin and Beverley Dunn
  • “American Hustle” — Judy Becker and Heather Loeffler
  • “Gravity” — Andy Nicholson, Rosie Goodwin and Joanne Woollard
  • “Her” — K.K. Barrett and Gene Serdena

It may have been a mess, but damn did “The Great Gatsby” have some great designs to the city and buildings. It may go to “Gravity”, but this should be between “Her” or “Gatsby” and I’m going with the latter.

Best visual effects

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

No way “Gravity” isn’t winning this.

Best sound mixing

  • “Gravity”
  • “Captain Phillips”
  • “Lone Survivor”
  • “Inside Llewyn Davis”
  • “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug”

Another lock for “Gravity”.

Best sound editing

  • “Gravity”
  • “All Is Lost”
  • “Captain Phillips”
  • “Lone Survivor”
  • “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug”

…And another lock for “Gravity”

As for the rest of the categories, I just don’t have the time of day to see a lot of these other films so I’M GOING TO GUESS!

Best short film, live action

  • “Aquel No Era Yo (That Wasn’t Me)”
  • “Avant Que De Tout Perdre (Just Before Losing Everything)”
  • “Helium”
  • “Pitaako Mun Kaikki Hoitaa? (Do I Have to Take Care of Everything?)”
  • “The Voorman Problem”

Best short film, animated

  • “Feral”
  • “Get a Horse!”
  • “Mr. Hublot”
  • “Possessions”
  • “Room on the Broom”

Best documentary short

  • “CaveDigger”
  • “Facing Fear”
  • “Karama Has No Walls”
  • “The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life”
  • “Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall”

Best foreign feature

  • “The Hunt” (Denmark)
  • “The Broken Circle Breakdown” (Belgium)
  • “The Great Beauty” (Italy)
  • “Omar” (Palestinian territories
  • “The Missing Picture” (Cambodia)

Best documentary feature

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

The Academy Awards take place this Sunday and people who would like to see my thoughts during the show, check out my twitter
@John_FN_Seiler for full coverage of the big show and see how right I was.