Working, working, working. That’s been the story here, and every time I think about writing a post for this blog I go, “Nah. Too much trouble. Not enough to say.” Plus, I’d been writing post after post about the movies I’d seen in the run-up to the Oscars and after seeing them all I was tapped out.
But now it’s a week until the Oscars and I’m in countdown mode, the Oscars being my Super Bowl. I’ll be having people over as usual and have decided not only which movies and performances I think will win but also what the dinner menu will be. Which do you want first?
Fine. The movies. This has been a tough year to predict. After watching what other voting groups have done (Golden Globes, SAG, WGA, DGA, BAFTA, etc.), there’s really no clear Best Picture winner, only hunches. And with the individual performances the momentum has swung so many times it’s made my head hurt. That said, here’s how I see the big awards rolling out…….
Best Actor: Matthew McConaughey. He was so good in “Dallas Buyers Club” and “Mud,” has worked the awards circuit hard and rounded up a lot of good will for his shift from rom-com hunk to serious actor. And he’s getting such great reviews for his performance in HBO’s “True Detective,” which I’m loving, by the way, that I think he’s the one to beat. Runner-up: Chiwetel Ejiofor for “Twelve Years a Slave.” In any other year Christian Bale would have won for “American Hustle,” but not this time. And while Bruce Dern is a sentimental favorite, I think McConaughey’s weight loss for “Dallas Buyers Club” will seal the deal. Academy voters love weight loss/gain for a role. As for Leo DiCaprio in “Wolf of Wall Street,” don’t make me laugh.
Best Actress: Cate Blanchett. She’s as close to a lock as there is. Not everyone loved “Blue Jasmine” and there’s been a late campaign to say her performance was merely an imitation of her Blanche DuBois in “Streetcar Named Desire.” And then there’s the “Will the Woody Allen/Dylan Farrow mess turn voters against her” murmurings. I say she wins and gives a great acceptance speech to boot.
Best Supporting Actor: Jared Leto. Another lock for his turn in “Dallas Buyers Club.” Maybe. Lately, I’ve been wondering if Barkhad Abdi from “Captain Phillips” might sneak in, especially after he won the BAFTA. I’m still pissed off that Tom Hanks wasn’t nominated for that film. (Leo stole his spot. Grrr.) But in the end I think Abdi was terrific but his nom was one of those “It’s great to be nominated” things and Leto will win.
Best Supporting Actress: Lupito Nyong’o. Her Patsy in “Twelve Years a Slave” was so memorable and heartbreaking that while Jennifer Lawrence is the “It” girl right now and was great fun in “American Hustle,” she won last year and…Well, it’s a horse race between these two and I think Nyong’o will edge her out. Honorable mention goes to June Squibb for “Nebraska.” She was a kick and I loved her, but….
Best Director: Alfonso Cuarón. All the Academy members I’ve spoken to have cited Cuaron’s technical wizardry in “Gravity” and his audacity to make a film with basically one character in it – in space, no less – and pull it off. I defer to them. I didn’t love the movie, but whatever. To me it’s a tough category because Steve McQueen (“Twelve Years a Slave”) and David O Russell (“American Hustle”) have been getting a lot of love too.
Best Documentary: “20 Feet from Stardom.” Okay, it’s the only one of the nominees that I actually saw, but I loved it. I thought about seeing “The Act of Killing” because it might really win, but it’s supposed to be so gruesome that I passed.
Best Foreign Film: “The Great Beauty.” I’m filing this one under protest because my favorites in foreign language weren’t even nominated. “Blue Is the Warmest Color” was ineligible and “The Past” was snubbed. Boo.
Best Picture: “Twelve Years a Slave.” By far the toughest category to predict and I hesitated before typing my pick. I probably enjoyed “American Hustle” the most. No, wait. “Captain Phillips” was my fave among this bunch. And I really, really liked “Her.” There’s been a late surge for “Gravity” and I suppose it could win. But in the end I think “Twelve Years a Slave” was a powerful story told in an unflinching way, and it deserves the statue. It was too long – some of the close-ups seemed to last forever – but I’m picking the film. I just am.
As a writer, I should include the two big ones for writers, but the Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Original Screenplay awards are simply too close to call. I can’t do it. May the best man (I wish there had been a woman in this group) win.
Next up: my dinner menu for Sunday night.