Ignoradamus 2014

Time, again, for me to stick my neck out and attempt to predict the winners of the 2014 Academy Awards!

Last time I did this my predictions were largely a disaster. This year they will probably be equally, spectacularly, and embarrassingly wrong…but I can’t help myself. Just like last year, I’ve cut out some categories, like best short film and best foreign film, because I honestly haven’t been bothered to watch any of the nominated entries.

Deserved?

I know, I know, I’m a slacker film buff.

Anyway, I’ve split my predictions into three categories this year, making them quicker for you to browse and understand (especially for those of you who read this blog for the pictures and GIFs, rather than the silly words I have to share.). I’ll be laying out the films I think will win, should actually win (but likely won’t), and should really win (but were criminally not even even nominated this year!). We start at the bottom and work our way to the top…

Best Sound Editing

So…not much diversity in this first one. I’m entirely on board with the Academy’s position on Glenn Freemantle’s sound editing for Gravity. It’s rather fantastic, and subliminally (but integrally) makes the film as powerful as it is. So, do we have a more split decision on the next one?

Best Sound Mixing

Hmmm…this is awkward. Carry on…

Best Production Design

Ah, here we go! Alright, so it’s somewhat safe to say that The Great Gatsby, as with so many of Baz Luhrman’s films, will be greatly rewarded for going above and beyond in the costume department. Well, that’s because his films are almost always draped around the costumes. They’re also not very subtle, which is why I’d personally love to see K. K. Barrett and Gene Serdena win for their precise, calculated, futuristic updates to the Apple-inspired world of Her. A future I can believe in rather than a past I know is being romantically misrepresented, that’s what I prefer.

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

This one’s weird, because there are no obvious choices at all. It’s anyone’s guess, between Bad Grandpa; an irritating Jackass movie with some prosthetics, The Lone Ranger; an awful film with some courageous but bizarre makeup choices, and Dallas Buyer’s Club; which…um…makeup, seriously? What, cause of Jared Leto? Good lord.

Well, I did actually find Johnny Depp’s look in The Lone Ranger to be the most interesting thing in the film, so what the hell…I’d vote for that one, myself. However, the Academy has stupidly and predictably overlooked Evil Dead. As always, snobbish Academy voters brush off horror films as “vile nonsense”. Well, I’m here to say that Evil Dead had the most outrageous, splashy, shocking, fun, and fleshy gore effects I’ve seen in years. If Bad Grandpa can be up there, so should Evil Dead! Don’t be this stupid again next year, guys!

Best Visual Effects

I’ll be stunned if this one comes out any differently. Truly…stunned!

Best Original Song

Can anyone name or sing the other nominated songs this year? I can’t.

Best Original Score

Steven Price will likely nab an Oscar for this one. The soundtrack to Gravity is not only inspiring to listen to, but drives the movie forward in both a symbolic, scientific, and emotional way. However…

The Hans Zimmer score for Rush was undeniably better. I’m a sucker for blood-pumping, testosterone-inducing, action scores. Hans Zimmer is the master of them, and I can’t pretend that the score for Rush alone didn’t have me wholeheartedly invested in the outcome of the film.

Best Costume Design

Blah blah blah Great Gatsby blah blah Great Gatsby blah! Boring! Of the nominated costume designers in this category, the only truly deserving winner is Michael Wilkinson for American Hustle. Few films are remember specifically for their costumes, much less could you dress up as one of the characters for a costume party. I have no doubt, however, that I couldn’t don Christian Bale’s outfit and glasses without being recognised as Irving Rosenfeld.

And yet…the great overlooked achievement in costume design this year goes to Michael Wilkinson…but for another film; Man of Steel. There was an endless wave of problems with Man of Steel, but costume design was certainly not one of them. I loved Superman’s new look, as well as the updated vision of Kryptonian fashion. A more believable and impressive alien-ware was of tremendous importance to this franchise.

Best Documentary Feature

There’s been nothing but praise for The Act of Killing, due in large part of Werner Herzog’s attachment to the project. It was an interesting documentary and, considering the competition, deserves the prize it has coming to it. This year’s docco-snub, unfortunately, is Sarah Polley’s Stories We Tell.

While a filmmaker documenting the story of her own family seems very self indulgent, the love and nostalgic delight she injects into her process makes it nothing but necessary viewing. By marrying outstandingly convincing 8mm film recreations and actual modern video interviews, Polley blurs the lines between reality and fantastical memory. It’s a production choice that beautifully reflects the title and triggers us to re-examine our own memories.

Best Editing

I was tempted to predict that Gravity would snatch this one off the podium, but the more I thought about it the more indefensible it seemed. Gravity is a film that was perfectly planned out from the beginning. There isn’t really any editing to do…is there?

Therefore, I’m taking a stab at 12 Years a Slave…but I’m still rather unsure about it. Personally I’d like to give it to Captain Phillips‘ Christopher Rouse. The sheer amount of footage that Paul Greengrass must have made him wade through is enough to earn him a sympathy Oscar.

Yet, that’s nothing compared to the petrol-greased speed and ferocity that Dan Hanley and Mike Hill fuelled Rush with. Come to think of it…no one I know has seen this movie, and that really bothers me. It’s really good.

Best Animated Feature

Knock Knock. Who’s there? The Oscar goes to. The Oscar goes to who? The Croods!

Dr. Evil laugh

Best Cinematography

Anyone who has ever tried to light a scene in front of a blue/green screen will know exactly how hard it is to make the foreground and background look as if they truly belong to one another. For that, Emmanuel Lubezki should not only get an Oscar, but deserves the entire guild of cinematographers on their knees in front of him. Worshipping…I mean! Not…not that. Anyway, for my pick…

Yes, I’m going back to Rush. Anthony Dod Mantle found more ways to shoot a Formula One car than I could ever have imagined were possible. Front, back, overhead, underneath, exterior, and interior shots are just the basics for this guy. It’s by far the most impressive automobile racing photography you will ever see. And see it you should!

Best Adapted Screenplay

12 Years a Slave will probably walk away with the award for best adapted screenplay, on account of it being an “issues” movie with historical significance. It is, however, not the best adapted screenplay in the bunch. The Delpy, Hawke, Linklater trinity who perfectly crafted Before Midnight in their own image need to be recognised. Their time and effort has payed off in a beautiful film that touches firmly upon the seminal mounds and fissures of an aged relationship. Now it should also pay off in the form of a fucking award!

Best Original Screenplay

I have a lot of faith in Spike Jonze’s original take on the computer-human relationship movie (yes, it’s a surprisingly big genre). Considering that the script for Her deviates from convention at every possible turn and has so much to say about human interaction, it just might end up being the Academy’s number one choice! Go Her!

Best Actor Supporting Role

Jared Leto’s rendition of a transexual in Dallas Buyer’s Club is a near-certain lock for this one, but I’d love to see Captain Phillips‘ Barkhad Abdi up there. It would be a heartwarming win for a total newcomer and an important message about the importance of new blood from a painfully exclusive club like Hollywood.

I, however, totally fell in love with John Gallagher Jr.’s performance in Short Term 12. Chemistry galore! As a straight man, I have no shame in admitting that…I’d cuddle up to him.

Best Actress in Supporting Role

Speaking of total newcomers, Lupita Nyong’o is probably the most pleasant surprise for everyone this year. For me, she easily outshines Chiwetel Ejiofor in 12 Years a Slave, and deserves the Oscar that I think in all likelihood she’ll end up receiving. It’s always possible that Jennifer Lawrence could steal it undeservedly, but…well, there we go.

Now, I know some people out there may hate me for this, because it seems like a very meat-headed choice, but I was completely captivated by Margot Robbie’s performance in The Wolf of Wall Street. She completely nails the accent and attitude of a “so-beautiful-she-can-have-anything-she-demands” New York gold digger. Had I not known better, I would never have believed that she was a Neighbours-spawned Aussie. Talk about a chameleon! Give her the statue, dammit!

Best Actor Leading Role

So Matthew McConaughey is on an unbeatable roll these days, and it’s quite an impressive “rags to riches” story…in as much as an already rich famous person can start to make his own industry take him seriously. It will, in all likelihood, culminate with an Oscar. But who do I think should win?

I’m split, honestly, between McConaughey and DiCaprio. Were it up to me, I would have given Matt the Oscar already for his eerie work in Killer Joe, and then we could avoid this mess completely. However, I have to go with the internet goblins on this one…Leonardo DiCaprio deserves his Oscar, fair and square. I don’t know that his performance necessarily warrants the ultimate award, but he’s done such tremendous work in the past and gone completely unnoticed…hat I think his time has come.

The actor who easily gave the best performance this year was Daniel Bruhl in Rush. Have I told you to see Rush enough times yet? Go see it! You’ll thank me, I know you will. Bruhl does such an dead-on impression of the real Niki Lauda that it gives me chills. Indistinguishable mimicry is a rare and wonderful thing to observe in films these days. It’s a true art.

Best Actress in a Leading Role

Cate Blanchett is officially the Godzilla of this year’s awards season. Nothing can stop her.

Sandra Bullock, on the other hand, gets no real recognition for carrying a 100 million dollar sci-fi epic almost entirely by herself. I think it’s a remarkable achievement, and should make everyone who ever wrote her off eat a cereal box full of their own words. Bullock is a wonderful actress, and deserves more roles worthy of her talents.

The real stand out female performance this year, though, is Scarlett Johansson as Samantha in Her. Someone who’s thespian contributions are often overshadowed by her looks, Johansson managed to create a living, believable, and loveable character using only her voice. I was as smitten with, connected to, and aroused by Samantha as Joaquin Phoenix was. So crucial to the film, and yet so negligently overlooked by the Academy. It’s really sad.

Best Director

Although I would love for Alfonso Cuaron to win it, I feel like the academy is far too aware of the historical impact of 12 Years a Slave to let anyone but Steve McQueen walk home with the Best Director Oscar. If he wins, incidentally, he will be the first black director to ever win the award. That’s something to be mindful of.

Perhaps there will be an Argo-esque split, with Cuaron winning Director and 12 Years a Slave winning Best Picture, but either way…

Best Film

12 Years a Slave wins Best Picture. Or “Best Film”, as I stupidly called it.

Picard facepalm

Can’t be bothered changing it now. “Best Film” it is!

I’m desperately hoping, against all odds, that Gravity wins and officially becomes the first science fiction film ever to achieve the main prize. It’s such a tremendous cinema experience, it deserves the award and then some. In years to come, people will remember Gravity…and, dare I say it, they will soon forget 12 Years a Slave. Controversial? Maybe, but true. Slave is a good film, but not a great one. Gravity is a great film, and an important one! It’s important to the industry as a whole; a modern 2001: A Space Odyssey. Do the right thing, Academy, do the right thing!

– Rant Over!

One thought on “Ignoradamus 2014

  1. Pingback: Ignoradamus 2014 Volume 2 | Cinema Rant

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