The Academy Awards

Here you will find my thoughts on the Oscars, ranging from the show itself to the fashions and most importantly, what I think of the nominations.

2013 Oscar Nominations

This year I have decided to post a summary of the Oscars and my predictions for everyone who might want to throw an Oscar party.  What?  You never heard of such a thing?  Really???  I feel like I have been part of such such I was 10 years old!  Seriously though, everyone that loves movies should love the Oscars.  I know a lot of cynical people out there will fuss and say that award shows like the Oscars is excessive.  You know what: it’s Hollywood!  This is not some art noveau fest in the south of France.  This is not a rustic town in the Pacific north-west overrun with skiers and celebrities.  This is (in a word) GLAMOROUS.  Hollywood throws a party each year to honor the greatest achievement in film of that year, which I think it the grandest award show of all.  The Golden Globes are nice, but this is the crème de la crème.   I can tell you some fine memories of mine of the past years and who my favorite hosts have been, but alas there is NOT enough room here for that!   I even love trivia about the Oscars!  I am THAT kind of a fan!  (I just did a count, honey: Bob Hope was host 17 times!  Johnny Carson did it 5 times, while Billy Crystal did it 9 times (so far).) So, with all that said, I sincerely hope that all of you movie-lovers are gearing up for the most glamorous night in America while I provide you with a little insight of this cinema hound.  Maybe it will help you with your Oscar picks come the night of the party?  Here’s to the best of 2013!

BEST PICTURE

This award is always the last of the night, and this year we have some real heavy-weights.  The largest of these contenders are “Les Miserables” and “Lincoln” (both of which I have now reviewed).  “Argo” is here as well – that’s the Ben Affleck picture about a CIA scheme to fake a sci-fi film to rescue people out of the Middle East when some terrorist regime has taken over the country.  If you cannot tell, I don’t really care about “Argo”.  I’m sure it is a worthwhile film, and I hear that Affleck is pretty darned good as a Director, but if the Director wasn’t nominated then my feeling is that the film doesn’t stand a chance in this category.  Along those lines we also have “Zero Dark Thirty” – the Kathryn Bigelow directed tale of the decade-long man hunt for Osama Bin Laden.  Again, while it may be a great movie, Bigelow wasn’t nominated which means this one is DOA.  Now, “Les Mis” falls into this category as well since Tom Hooper was left out of the Director race.  However, it is a powerhouse of a film and Oscar likes the musicals.  “Life of Pi” found its way here and Ang Lee got a Director nomination.  Unfortunately, Oscar doesn’t like Ang very much (see here “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”).  Therefore, hedge your bets on “Lincoln”.

BEST DIRECTOR

Beasts of the Southern Wild” – the Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans flick – may be the favorite here.  The director is Benh Zeitlin.  As I said, Ang Lee is nominated for “Life of Pi” but Oscar has snubbed him before and I see no reason why it should not be the case once more.  “Silver Linings Playbook” director David O. Russell gets a nod here, but that will be all.  He may be respected and very much liked in the community but the Academy will look right by him this year for certain.  Why?  That would be because of Speilberg waiting in the wings with “Lincoln”.  This film is too big and Oscar looks so good in his hands!  Hands down – Spielberg wins.

BEST ACTOR

Have you ever seen a category filled with ALL previous Oscar winners?  That’s like Meryl Streep going up against herself in 5 different roles!  Well, believe it or not, that’s what we have this year.  Hoffman, De Niro, Waltz, Arkin, and Jones are all worthy of their nominations (proven by their previous wins if nothing else).  However, Philip Seymour Hoffman is here form a film that I am completely unfamiliar with:  “The Master”.  That hurts his chances right there.  Waltz may be good in “Django Unchained” but I am not sure that the Academy will lean towards the violence of the film in light of the current air of the country.  Guns are a very bad subject these days, and I think the Academy will vote down anything that celebrates/features them.  Arkin may sneak in here with “Argo” – I haven’t seen the film but come on!  Who doesn’t love Alan Arkin?  However, my bet is on Tommy Lee Jones from “Lincoln”.  Not only does he look the part incredibly well, but he was at his Tommy Lee Jones best in that film!

BEST ACTRESS

Anne Hathaway for her awesome portrayal of Fantine in “Les Miserables” is my pick here.  It’s a tough call though – because Sally Field as Mary Todd Lincoln in “Lincoln” was pretty phenomenal too.    Anne went through a great transformation to become the innocent-turned-prostitute in one of the most tragic roles an actress could ever play.  It’s heartbreaking.  Sally Field also underwent a transformation to play the outspoken-if-imbalanced First Lady.  Let’s not forget – as if we could – the Academy likes her! (They really, really like her!)  The rest of the nominations I cannot speak to, but I can say that it doesn’t matter.  These are the ONLY two choices here.  Their performances are too great to be overlooked, and with the number of nominations these two films have in other categories, it increases their odds of winning.

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM

Yeesh!  “Brave” is up against “Wreck-It Ralph”, while “Para-Norman” is up against “Frankenweenie”.  Okay, so what does this mean?  Well, Tim Burton brings us “Frankenweenie” and he won for “The Nightmare Before Christmas” (justly so).  “Para-Norman” is brought to us by the same animators who brought us “Coraline” which won in 2010.  Meanwhile, “Brave” is by Pixar, which is owed by Disney, who produced “Wreck-It Ralph”.  I don’t have to explain how many Oscars are represented by these companies, do I?  I have no idea who will win this category!!!  All I can say is that if the Academy goes for artistic merit, then “Brave” will win.

OTHER CATEGORIES

I cannot speak to all the nominees (yet) but I can say from my lengthy experience of watching the Oscars, here are my predictions of wins.  BEST MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING:Les Miserables” goes up against “The Hobbit”.  It will be a close call but Lisa Westcott and Julie Dartnell will win for “Les Mis”.  What happened to “Lincoln” here?  BEST COSTUME DESIGN:Les Misérables” designer Paco Delgado will edge out Joanna Johnston (“Lincoln”) for the win here.  BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY:Life of Pi” gets it here with Claudio Miranda – although it is up against the work of esteemed Janusz Kaminski (“Lincoln”).  Tough call, but I still say “Life of Pi”.  BEST FILM EDITING: Michael Kahn may take this one for “Lincoln”, just because I KNOW there were 6 other hours of film shot that now lies on the editing room floor!  BEST MUSIC (Original Score): I don’t know about this one so much, but I normally go with John Williams (“Lincoln”)…because he’s John Williams…and he normally wins.

(Lastly) BEST MUSIC (Original Song)

Yikes!  This is a difficult choice.  Here’s what I know: Oscar goes to either a heavy favorite in this category or is something VERY eclectic.  From what I have heard, “Skyfall” (“Skyfall”) Music and Lyric by Adele Adkins and Paul Epworth has a lot of hype going for it.  I specifically heard one critic say that Adele has brought back the glory of the Bond theme song.  That’s big…because those Bond songs have won SEVERAL Oscars.  For the eclectic choice, there is “Everybody Needs a Best Friend” (“Ted”) by Walter Murphy and Seth MacFarlane.  If the Bond song doesn’t get it, this one easily could.  Then again, this year is different because of one other song: “Suddenly” (“Les Misérables”) by Claude-Michel Schönberg, Herbert Kretzmer, and Alain Boublil.  Those are the brilliant minds behind the musical of “Les Mis” in the first place!  So, I don’t know if I would count them out.  Do I think it is a ringer?  Nope, not even close.  I just don’t want to overlook it as a potential winner.

So, that’s it for my picks for the major categories.  I hope you all enjoy some caviar and spray cheese on the couch, toast with Moet in a plastic flute, and keep the dog hair off your gowns.  Enjoy the Academy Awards however you can!  And I now have the “Oscar” song by Billy Crystal now stuck firmly in my head.  “Oscar, Oscar….”

..and that’s it for this edition of THE REEL VOICE

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