The Espire Strikes Back!

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Dear readers, it’s that time of year when I return to contemplate the cinematic cream of the crop, but alas I found myself disillusioned, disappointed and disenfranchised.

But before I, as a black British woman, weigh in on why oh why Spike Lee is boycotting the Oscars when he just got one (creating less diversity at the Oscars as a reaction to less diversity within the Oscars seems odd to me)…

A moment of celebration

If, as is likely, Iñárittu takes home the Best Director Oscar it will be the 3rd consecutive win by a Mexican Director. That’s pretty cool.

Brie Larson is an excellent actress and I was super pleased that she may well take home the gold.

Roger Deakins – he ain’t gonna win (that’s 13 nominations without a win – take that Leo), but damn it I love it every single time he’s nominated. And I’m not the only one.

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OSCARS 2014… And our winners are…

best Picture Nominees 2014BEST PICTURE: American Hustle , Captain Phillips, Dallas Buyers Club, Gravity, Her, Nebraska, Philomena, 12 Years a Slave, The Wolf of Wall Street

PREDICTED WINNER LB – 12 Years a Slave – the most original and touching film I’ve seen in years. Truly  outstanding. I really wanted The Wolf of Wall Street to be better than it was and although it was an enjoyable way to spend 3 hours, it won’t and shouldn’t beat 12 Years a Slave to the gong.

PREDICTED WINNER ELC – 12 Years a Slave – What she said.  It is not only an important film, it is a mesmerizing film, combining direction acting and writing beautifully.  Audiences can’t fail to be moved by it, so it will be a truly deserved win.

That said usually the film with the most nominations wins this.  It was however averted with The Hurt Locker which enjoyed a similar level of acclaim as 12 Years a Slave.  I would actually consider Gravity a serious threat, as it is likely to get a lot of technical wins.

BEST ACTOR
Christian Bale in American Hustle
Bruce Dern in Nebraska
Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street
Chiwetel Ejiofor in 12 Years a Slave
Matthew McConaughey in Dallas Buyers Club

PREDICTED WINNER LB – Ok, I think he will get pipped by either Matthew McConaughey in Dallas Buyers Club or Chiwetel Ejiofor in 12 Years a Slave but I really want Leonardo DiCaprio to win for his portrayal of Jordan Belfort in The Wolf of Wall Street. Please read my post from May 2013 – Leonardo is long overdue an Oscar and he produced a stand-out performance in The Wolf of Wall Street. Jordan Belfort was charasmatic, enigmatic, funny, scary, disgusting and despicable.

PREDICTED WINNER ELC – I really want to make some of my predictions next week, after I’ve actually watched all of the films, but I am going to guess Matthew McConaughey.  His weight loss is remarkable, and he has never been nominated in the past and this is his best chance of a gong.  In another year both Leo and Chiwetel could have won this, so it’s very hard to have to pick a winner.  Leo could pull off an upset, just because he has been nominated so many times without a win. I was surprised that Tom Hanks in Captain Phillips didn’t get the Christian Bale nomination though.

BEST ACTRESS
Amy Adams in American Hustle
Cate Blanchett in Blue Jasmine
Sandra Bullock in Gravity
Judi Dench in Philomena
Meryl Streep in August: Osage County

PREDICTED WINNER LB – Cate Blanchett in Blue Jasmine. This was a case of the leading actress being better than the film and so I think Cate Blanchett deserves to get this. Very surprised though, that Emma Thompson has been overlooked for Saving Mr Banks.

PREDICTED WINNER ELC – Cate Blanchett.  Because she was fantastic. It’s an acting masterclass.

BEST DIRECTOR
David O. Russell for American Hustle
Alfonso Cuaron for Gravity
Alexander Payne for Nebraska
Steve McQueen for 12 Years a Slave
Martin Scorsese for The Wolf of Wall Street

PREDICTED WINNER LB – Steve McQueen for 12 Years a Slave. A truly outstanding film. A massive achievement for McQueen.

PREDICTED WINNER ELC – I would have liked to have seen a nomination for Paul Greengrass instead of David O’Russell (I didn’t hate American Hustle, but I just preferred so many others this year and don’t think it’s deserves the awards love it’s getting)

I want it to be Steve McQueen for 12 Years a Slave, although the commitment Alfonso Cuaron gave to Gravity is no small feat.  It’s a two horse race and ultimately I will go with whoever wins the Directors Guild of America award.  Best Picture and Best Director rarely go to the same person so I think Cuaron may edge it, although obviously I would be delighted if one of my favourite directors was the first Black winner of the Best Director Oscar. And you know he’s a Brit!

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Barkhad Abdi in Captain Phillips
Bradley Cooper in American Hustle
Michael Fassbender in 12 Years a Slave
Jonah Hill in The Wolf of Wall Street
Jared Leto in Dallas Buyers Club

PREDICTED WINNER LB – Difficult to separate my three main contenders – Barkhad Abdi in Captain Phillips, Michael Fassbender in 12 Years a Slave and Jonah Hill in The Wolf of Wall Street. I think Fassbender will get this one though for a chilling performance in 12 Years a Slave.

PREDICTED WINNER ELC – Where is Daniel Bruehl for Rush?  I would have much preferred him to be nominated than Bradley Cooper, which was a good but not stellar performance.  I am actually torn between Jared Leto and Barkhad Abdi for this one, but think the latter will win for being a newcomer with the ability to match Tom Hanks onscreen.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Sally Hawkins in Blue Jasmine
Jennifer Lawrence in American Hustle
Lupita Nyong’o in 12 Years a Slave
Julia Roberts in August: Osage County
June Squibb in Nebraska

PREDICTED WINNER LB – I did like Sally Hawkins in Blue Jasmine but I think this will go to Lupita Nyong’o in 12 Years a Slave. Her performance broke my heart.

PREDICTED WINNER ELC – In complete agreement with Laura.   Jennifer Lawrence was great, and her consistency as an actress is phenomenal, but she should not win here.  Also Oprah wasn’t nominated for the Butler which surprised me.  My secret hope is that she has just told everyone to vote for Lupita instead.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Before Midnight
Captain Phillips
Philomena
12 Years A Slave
The Wolf of Wall Street

PREDICTED WINNER LB – I think and hope that this Oscar will go to Philomena.

PREDICTED WINNER ELC – My favourites here are Before Midnight and 12 Years A Slave.  I think that Before Midnight deserves the recognition for the sheer amount of evolution the characters have been given and how natural the dialogue is.  12 Years A Slave  is fantastically compelling though and will doubtless triumph here.

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
American Hustle
Blue Jasmine
Dallas Buyers Club
Her
Nebraska

PREDICTED WINNER LB – I’ve not go round to seeing it yet but I’ve heard very good things about Dallas Buyers Club and so think this could triumph in this category.

PREDICTED WINNER ELC – I am traditionally useless at predicting the screenplay category – I hope Her wins.  I love the plucky contender and Spike Jonze has a wonderful original voice.

ANIMATED FEATURE FILM
The Croods
Despicable Me 2
Ernest & Celestine
Frozen
The Wind Rises

PREDICTED WINNER LB – Frozen or Despicable Me 2. The Oscar could probably go to any though as it’s really difficult to predict winners for the animated category. I’m going to plump for Frozen. Feel-good and subversive at the same time.

PREDICTED WINNER ELC – Frozen is fantastic. It’ll grab this one and Best Song if there is any justice. A playlist of  Best Song nominations is here: http://www.vulture.com/2014/01/all-the-best-original-song-oscars-nominations.html

CINEMATOGRAPHY
The Grandmaster
Gravity
Inside Llewyn Davis
Nebraska
Prisoners

PREDICTED WINNER LB – Gravity should definitely be recognised in this category. Cuarón’s space set feature film was the most original film of last year.

PREDICTED WINNER ELC – God I have just realised why Prisoners was nominated.  Roger Deakins is the most nominated Cinematographer without a win.  It gives me actual tears to know such a skilled cinematographer who should have won many times over will be overlooked again.  But it will of course go to Gravity.  It is continually dubbed “most realistic film about space”.  It should be a shoo in.

COSTUME DESIGN
American Hustle
The Grandmaster
The Great Gatsby
The Invisible Woman
12 Years A Slave

PREDICTED WINNER LB – I loved The Great Gatsby for this but I suspect that the Oscar will go to American Hustle.

PREDICTED WINNER ELC –  The Great Gatsby .  This category  tends to go to the showiest outfits.  Also I’ve not heard a thing about the Invisible woman, but surely that indicates a dearth of visible costume?!

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
The Act of Killing
Cutie and the Boxer
Dirty Wars
The Square
20 Feet from Stardom

PREDICTED WINNER LB – Ok, it’s the only one I know anything about but The Act of Killing should get the Oscar here.

PREDICTED WINNER ELC – I was sad to see that Stories We Tell was overlooked.  As with Laura I am going for the one I’ve heard of and heard wonderful things about.

FILM EDITING
American Hustle
Captain Phillips
Dallas Buyers Club
Gravity
12 Years A Slave

PREDICTED WINNER LB – Captain Phillips. Award-winning editing made for a thrilling edge of your seat experience.

PREDICTED WINNER ELC – 12 Years A Slave for no other reason than I can’t imagine that the best film would only win one category.

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
The Broken Circle Breakdown
The Great Beauty
The Hunt
The Missing Picture
Omar

PREDICTED WINNER LB – Admittedly, I’ve not seen any of these but I am really glad that Blue is the Warmest Colour wasn’t nominated here. I found it too long, self-indulgent and a chance for Kechiche to play out his own fantasies.

PREDICTED WINNER ELC – This is my favourite category and I always prefer all of these to most of the best film nominees.  As is usual when Mads Mikkelsen is in a film with a  wide release it gets and Oscar nomination, as yet I don’t think a film he’s in as won, but there is hope. The buzz around The Great beauty is pretty high so I will go for that, however just the fact that these films get wider recognition as a result of nomination makes me happy.

MAKE UP AND HAIRSTYLING

Dallas Buyers Club
Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa
The Lone Ranger

PREDICTED WINNER LB – Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa????? Really??? Dallas Buyers Club of course.

PREDICTED WINNER ELC – Best make up to make everyone look really, really ill,  some random Hollywood in joke I am just not getting and interesting makeup in a film no one cared for– Dallas Buyers Club it is.

PRODUCTION DESIGN
American Hustle
Gravity
The Great Gatsby
Her
12 Years A Slave

PREDICTED WINNER LB – American Hustle will probably pip the others to the post here.

PREDICTED WINNER ELC – A toughie, as there are many great accomplishments here. I’ll go for Gravity, because of the space detail.  Also my patriotism is high on this one, as this was done in the UK.

VISUAL EFFECTS

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

PREDICTED WINNER LB – Gravity, surely?

PREDICTED WINNER ELC – Gravity.

So do you agree?  Not all of the categories are here, but we’d love your thoughts and responses.  I will of course be putting my money where my mouth is, so I will update you on what I actually won!

LB & ELC