My Oscar Picks

Well, it’s not like I can do so much freaking Oscar reviews without doing a quick prediction. These predictions will have the same format as my Razzie predictions, with my top three picks for every category, except the ones which I haven’t checked out because they didn’t have any Best Picture Nominees (Categories with an “*” are categories in which I’ve seen less than three of the nominated movies). Also, if any movie that I did not watch wins their respective category, that movie will be added to my seemingly never-ending queue of reviews.

Honestly? I just look at the trophy and see a golden novelty dildo.

Best Visual Effects:

  1. Gravity
  2. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
  3. Star Trek Into Darkness

This one is pretty much a no-brainer. While Benedict Cumber-Dragon was amazing and J.J. Abrams lens-flared Star Trek into beautiful oblivion (I’m hoping that nonsense I just pulled out of my ass makes sense to somebody), Gravity had some of, if not the most  the most, beautiful visuals I’ve ever seen in my seventeen years of watching movies.

Best Film Editing:

  1. Gravity
  2. 12 Years a Slave
  3. American Hustle

I’m still not entirely sure how one critiques editing, so admittedly, this category is kind of a crapshoot for me.

Best Costume Design* 

  1. 12 Years a Slave
  2. American Hustle

American Hustle could beat out 12 Years, because it did have a pretty fantastic costume design team, or whatever (And Amy Adams’ necklines sure help), but I think that the latter’s  costumes were just a little bit better.

Best Makeup and Hairstyling*

  1. Dallas Buyers Club

I’m shocked that American Hustle wasn’t nominated for this category, but honestly Dallas Buyers Club should win this award, based solely on the work they did with Jared Leto.

Best Cinematography*

  1. Gravity
  2. Nebraska

I’m kinda surprised that Nebraska was nominated for this category, because I really didn’t like the choice of black-and-white colouring, but whatevs. Gravity should and will win, anyways.

Best Production Design

  1. 12 Years a Slave
  2. Gravity
  3. American Hustle

Assuming that “Production Design” means “film sets and such”, I’d give it to 12 Years, mainly for the stunning contrast between the natural beauty of Louisiana and the brutality of the subject matter.

Best Sound Mixing/Editing

  1. Gravity
  2. Captain Phillips
  3. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug 

Yes, I know I mixed the categories of Best Sound Mixing and Best Sound Editing, but a) It’s pretty much the same movies, and b) I don’t know what the fuck the difference between sound editing and sound mixing is supposed to be.

That said, Gravity‘s soundtrack was downright gorgeous.

Best Original Song (I Haven’t seen most of these movies, but the songs are on YouTube, so all’s good.)

  1. “Let it Go” from Frozen
  2. “Ordinary Love” from Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
  3. “The Moon Song” from Her 

Let’s face it, Disney songs are pretty much the bomb. Keep in mind that this is coming from somebody who thinks that any song off London Calling is the pinnacle of Western Civilization.

Best Original Score

  1. Gravity
  2. Her
  3. Philomena

Like I said, Gravity‘s score is fantastic. I liked Hers’ soundtrack too, but Philomena‘s just seemed nondescript to me.

Best Animated Short Film, Best Live Action Short Film, Best Documentary-Short Subject, Best Documentary-Feature, Best Documentary Film, Best Foreign Language Film, Best Animated Feature Film

I  haven’t seem any of the movies nominated for these, because a) Honestly, these are the least interesting categories to me and b) While I actually love animated movies, there’s no way I’m going to a theater filled with screaming eight-year olds to watch Frozen.

Best Writing-Adapted Screenplay

  1. 12 Years A Slave
  2. The Wolf of Wall Street
  3. Captain Phillips 

I didn’t find any of these scripts to be legendary, per se, but they were still pretty damn great. It could really go any way.

Best Writing-Original Screenplay

  1. American Hustle
  2. Dallas Buyers Club
  3. Her

I wonder if I could somehow develop David O. Russell’s amazing dialogue-writing ability without also developing his crippling douchiness…

Best Supporting Actress

  1. Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years a Slave
  2. Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle
  3. June Squibb, Nebraska

Holy shit, I son’t think you could have picked three cuter nominees for this category.

Pictured: The Axis of Adorable.

Jennifer Lawrence is my favourite actress, and June Squibb was awesome too, but there’s just no way they match up to Mexican-born Kenyan Actress Lupita Nyongo’s film debut.

Best Supporting Actor

  1. Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club
  2. Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave
  3. Barkhad Abdi, Captain Phillips

Fassbender played Edwin “Evil Incarnate” Epps to perfection, and Somali actor Barkhad Abdi was awesoome in his debut, but they just had bad luck this time, going up against Jared Leto as the tragic Rayon.

Best Actress

  1. Sandra Bullock, Gravity
  2. Amy Adams, American Hustle
  3. Judi Dench, Philomena

I think that Cate Blanchett is gonna win, considering the love she got at the Golden Globes, but I loved Sandra Bullock.

Best Actor

  1. Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club
  2. Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave
  3. Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street

Man, does Leo ever have bad luck getting easy opponents on Oscar ballots, huh?

I had to pretty much flip a coin to decide who I thought was better between McConaughey and Ejiofor. All I can say is that I hope I don’t have to type either of their names again until next Oscar season, at least.

Best Director

  1. Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity
  2. Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave
  3. Martin Scorsese, The Wolf of Wall Street

I’m not that big of a director guy, but you don’t have to be one to know that Cuaron did a fantastic job with Gravity.

Best Picture

  1. 12 Years a Slave
  2. Dallas Buyers Club
  3. Gravity

Just read my review of 12 Years a Slaveit’ll tell you all you need to know.

Oscar Movie Review: American Hustle

There’s one in every Oscar class.

Every year, in every group of Best Picture nominees, there is at least one movie that is divisive, that may be critically or popularly unloved, yet, it gets the nomination for the Big Prize. Sometimes, this scrutiny may be deserved (In the case of The Tree of Life, for instance). In others, it may not be (Winter’s Bone comes to mind). This year, the most divisive movie on the ballot is a David O. Russell-directed movie that is up for ten Academy Awards, and has broken the record for the lowest necklines in film history.

This is actually the smallest amount of cleavage that Amy Adams displays in this movie. I’m dead serious.

American Hustle

Directed by: David O. Russell

Produced by: Charles Roven, Richard Suckle, Megan Ellison

Written by: Eric Warren Singer, David O. Russell

Genre: Crime Drama, Dark Comedy

Starring: Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Renner, Jennifer Lawrence (Be still, my beating heart!!!)

Other actors: Louis C.K., Jack Huston, Michael Pena, Robert De Niro

Oscar Nominations: Best Picture,Best Director, Best Actor (Christian Bale), Best Actress (Amy Adams), Best Supporting Actor (Bradley Cooper), Best Supporting Actress (Jennifer Lawrence), Best Writing-Original Screenplay, Best Production Design, Best Costume Design, Best Film Editing

Plot: In 1978, highly successful con artist Irving Rosenfeld (Bale) and his mistress, the equally intelligent Sydney Prosser (Adams), are at the top of their game, making oodles of money off the desperate, and, in Rosenfeld’s words, doing whatever it takes to survive. Unfortunately for them, they are caught in the act by ambitious FBI agent Richie DiMaso (Cooper).  Richie takes a liking to Sydney (Or rather, Sydney’s English alter-ego, “Edith Greensley”) and recruits Irving and “Edith” to help him fight white-collar crime, specifically, by helping him arrest four people.

I only had two problems with the plot. My first problem is with the ending (Which I’ll discuss at the end of this “Plot” section, in order to avoid spoiling it for people). My second problem was how muddled the plot was at the beginning. The dialogue was  being presented so quickly that I didn’t catch everything that was being said, and was pretty much just watching it for the performances. However, I did catch on eventually, and it really is quite an engrossing plot.

*SPOILER BEGINS HERE*

Now, while most of this movie was damn near perfect, there was one thing that didn’t sit well with me for one little bit. That would be the ending. I didn’t like how mayor Polito being incarcerated, the Mob being let off scot-free and Richie having his career ruined were presented alongside an (Admittedly, quite funny) scene between Irving, Sydney and Richie’s wife, Rosalyn as part of a “happy ending”.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I realize that the movie made it pretty clear that not everybody was getting out with their lives intact. But this “unhappy ending” seemed all out of whack. I felt kind of unsure what to feel when the movie cut from Richie sobbing in despair when he realizes he’s been conned, to mayor Polito being led away from his family by the police and then, suddenly, to everybody laughing about Jennifer Lawrence being in a neck brace. In my opinion (And remember, I wouldn’t know how to execute this, I’m just an armchair critic at this point), they should have had a much more melancholic ending scene with Irving, Sydney and Rosalyn. You don’t ruin the lives of two sympathetic characters, and then pretend that it’s the end of a buddy comedy.

*SPOILER ENDS HERE*

Acting: The acting in this movie is downright incredible. I’ll get into it a little more later, but these actors were PERFECTLY cast for their roles. Christian Bale is excellent, as are Cooper and Jeremy Renner (As the idealistic, yet somewhat naive, mayor of Camden, New Jersey). I wasn’t a fan of Amy Adams in Man of Steelbut she is fantastic and damn sexy in this film. Even the smaller parts in this movie (Louis C.K., Robert De Niro, etc.) are played exceptionally well.

However, the best performance, in my humble opinion, comes from the lovely Jennifer Lawrence, who plays Bale’s highly intelligent, yet mentally unstable wife. She strikes the perfect balance between being clearly not O.K., but also hilarious, and even sympathetic. J-Law has displayed, once again, why she is my favourite actress.

What Oscar nominations does it deserve?: 

  • Best Film Editing: Sure, I guess. The movie flowed very well from one scene to the other, though, as I mentioned before, it seemed kind of muddled at the beginning.
  • Best Costume Design: Yeah, for sure. The costumes had me reminiscing about the seventies right away… which is an impressive feat, considering I was born in ’96. Also, cleavage.
  • Best Production design: See “Best Costume Design”.
  • Best Writing-Original Screenplay: Absolutely. This screenplay was both intelligent and hilarious.
  • Best Supporting Actress (Jennifer Lawrence): YES.
  • Best Supporting Actor (Bradley Cooper): Cooper did a fine job as Richie DiMaso, but honestly, I think I preferred Jeremy Renner as mayor Polito.
  • Best Actress (Amy Adams): Absolutely.
  • Best Actor (Christian Bale): Yeah, sure. This is is the first Christian Bale movie in a long time in which I hadn’t been imagining him in a Batman costume and a fucked-up voice box.
  • Best Director (David O. Russell): He may be a bit of a douche, but yes, Russell deserves the nomination.
  • Best Picture: I highly doubt that it will (Or should) win the award, but it deserves every bit of that nomination.

Overall Rating: 8.5/10