Tag Archives: Academy Awards

2021 Oscar Nominations

It was a weird year for movies. When the world shut down, so did production, so far fewer movies were being shot because when they did keep filming, Robert Pattinson got Covid, and nobody wants that.

When movie theaters shut down, movies went directly to streaming, so Oscar made the unprecedented (and correct) decision to include films without theatrical releases in their body of contenders. That turned out to be a good idea since no one went to the theaters even when they opened back up.

They also widened the window of eligibility, which means that 14 months’ worth of movies were in the running. What does that mean for 2021? Will the 2021 eligibility calendar be just 10 months long? Will we forever push the eligibility deadline back to March to keep it at 12? That choice will have a bigger impact on what comes out when than you think. What it means for 2020 is that small films that you hoped would get notice—First Cow and Shirley, for example—still got swamped in the larger pool, and recency bias potentially helped voters forget about films that came out early in 2020. Let’s be honest, early 2020 feels like 1976 by this point.

It was just so long ago.

On the whole, though, we don’t have too many complaints about the Academy’s 2020 Oscar choices. Independent films just kicked all manner of ass this year.

Best Film

  • The Father
  • Judas and the Black Messiah
  • Mank
  • Minari
  • Nomadland
  • Promising Young Woman
  • Sound of Metal
  • The Trial of the Chicago 7

Thoughts:

Again, the Academy can potentially include 10 candidates. A film has to reach a low-end threshold of votes to be included, which is why those last couple of slots are usually left vacant. If we could fill them, Soul and First Cow would certainly have made this list.

Lead Actress

  • Viola Davis, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
  • Andra Day, The United States Versus Billie Holiday
  • Vanessa Kirby, Pieces of a Woman
  • Frances McDormand, Nomadland
  • Carey Mulligan, Promising Young Woman

Thoughts:

Killer lineup. It’s painful to see another year go by without acknowledging the sublime Elizabeth Moss, but honestly, this group is hard to complain about.

Lead Actor

  • Riz Ahmed, Sound of Metal
  • Chadwick Boseman, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
  • Anthony Hopkins, The Father
  • Gary Oldman, Mank
  • Steven Yeun, Minari

Thoughts:

These five performances are undoubtedly award worthy. But where is Delroy Lindo for Spike Lee’s almost completely overlooked Da Five Bloods? We probably would give him the Hopkins or Yeun spot, but we would definitely have made room for him.

Supporting Actress

  • Maria Bakalova, Borat Subsequent Movie Film
  • Glenn Close, Hillbilly Elegy
  • Olivia Colman, The Father
  • Amanda Seyfried, Mank,
  • Youn Yun-jung, Minari

Thoughts:

How great is it to see Youn Yun-jung on this list?! Close is the sentimental favorite because she has inexplicably never won an Oscar regardless of her 8 nominations and mind blowing talent, but please God please don’t let her win for the abomination that was Hillbilly Elegy.

Supporting Actor

  • Daniel Kaluuya, Judas and the Black Messiah
  • Sacha Baron Cohen, The Trial of the Chicago 7
  • Leslie Odom Junior, One Night in Miami
  • Paul Raci, Sound of Metal
  • LaKeith Stanfield, Judas and the Black Messiah

Thoughts:

It’s impossible not to note that there are three Black actors on this list—a historic moment and one worth celebrating. Most people assumed Chadwick Boseman would be on this list for his role in Da 5 Bloods. We’re wondering, though: if LaKeith Stanfield is a supporting actor, who was the lead in Judas and the Black Messiah?

We’d also loved to have seen Michael Stuhlbarg squeezed in here for his brilliant turn in Shirley, but to be totally honest, we loved all these performances and have no serious complaints. Just questions.

If Kaluuya doesn’t win, the Academy is wrong.

Director

  • Thomas Vinterberg, Another Round
  • David Fincher, Mank
  • Lee Isaac Chung, Minari
  • Chloe Zhao, Nomadland
  • Emerald Fennell, Promising Young Woman

Thoughts:

Regina King (One Night in Miami) and Aaron Sorkin (The Trial of the Chicago 7) are notable absences, and Vinterberg is the obvious surprise here. We’d have loved to see Kelly Reichardt get some love for First Cow, but that’s asking too much, we know.  

Adapted Screenplay

  • Borat Subsequent Movie Film
  • The Father
  • Nomadland
  • One Night in Miami
  • The White Tiger

Thoughts:

The White Tiger is a pleasant surprise. When you think of Borat Subsequent Movie Film, you don’t think of writing. You think of one guy riffing, and you’re so surprised that he isn’t murdered in front of you that you ignore the incredible amount of planning and, yes, writing that must go into it. Good for the writing pool of the Academy for seeing past that potential murder to take note.

Original Screenplay

  • Judas and the Black Messiah
  • Minari
  • Promising Young Woman
  • Sound of Metal
  • The Trial of the Chicago 7

Thoughts:

Not a ton of surprises here. We’d love to see Soul in this bunch, but we don’t know where we’d put it. 2020 was a bad year all around, but it was a great year for original films.

Documentary

  • Collective
  • Crip Camp
  • The Mole Agent
  • Octopus Teacher
  • Time

Thoughts:

Year after year, documentary feature gets to be a tighter and tighter race. In recent years there are more documentaries worthy of true consideration than there are features. We’d loved to have seen Boys State and/or Capital in the 21st Century on this list, but this is a smart group and its content and style run a big gamut. Smart money is probably on Collective because it’s also nominated for International Picture, but we’d give it to Time all day.

Animated

  • Onward
  • Over the Moon
  • A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon
  • Soul
  • Wolfwalkers

Thoughts:

It was an incredibly weak year in big screen animation, although Wolfwalkers was an incredible film that you should find and watch immediately. And Soul was quite possibly the best movie to come out in 2020, so at least it will get its due here.

Catch the 93rd annual Academy Awards Sunday, April 25th on ABC.

Fearless Oscar Picks

by Hope Madden and George Wolf

It fills us with glee to look back on a year brimming with so many great movies. Original movies, even! Jojo Rabbit—that was unique. The Farewell, Marriage Story, Knives Out, The Lighthouse, Parasite, The Souvenir, Uncut Gems, Us, Portrait of a Lady on Fire, The Last Black Man in San Francisco—it’s a long list, and not all of the entries made it as far as an Oscar nomination (unfortunate!). But they did make for a fascinating year.

We have only a handful of complaints about this year’s batch of nominees, but we really want to point out how impressed we are with the animation nominees: two excellent blockbusters (Toy Story 4 and How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World) plus three outstanding and entirely underseen animated gems (Missing Link, I Lost My Body, Klaus). Whenever the Academy leads people to find great films they might have missed, they’re doing their job.

On the whole we expect the 2020 awards to be somewhat predictable. Luckily, on the whole, we also think the awards will go where they should.

Our picks for Oscar, 2020:

Best Adapted Screenplay

  • Steven Zaillian, The Irishman
  • Taika Waititi, Jojo Rabbit 
  • Todd Phillips, Joker
  • Greta Gerwig, Little Women 
  • Anthony McCarten, The Two Popes

We begin with the one category that feels undecided. While we are semi-confident in our picks, we also think Jojo Rabbit could hop away with gold.

Should Win: Greta Gerwig, Little Women

Will Win: Greta Gerwig, Little Women

Best Original Screenplay

  • Rian Johnson, Knives Out
  • Noah Baumbach, Marriage Story
  • Sam Mendes, 1917
  • Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood
  • Bong Joon Ho, Parasite

Should Win: Bong Joon Ho, Parasite

Will Win: Bong Joon Ho, Parasite

Best Supporting Actress

  • Kathy Bates, Richard Jewell
  • Laura Dern, Marriage Story
  • Scarlett Johansson, Jojo Rabbit
  • Florence Pugh, Little Women
  • Margot Robbie, Bombshell

Although it would not break our hearts to see Scarlett Johansson win this one for her tender, lovely turn as mom to the cutest little Nazi ever…

Should Win: Laura Dern, Marriage Story

Will Win: Laura Dern, Marriage Story

Best Supporting Actor
  • Tom Hanks, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
  • Anthony Hopkins, The Two Popes
  • Al Pacino, The Irishman
  • Joe Pesci, The Irishman
  • Brad Pitt, Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood

Should Win: Joe Pesci, playing against type and delivering a quietly powerful turn that’s the heartbeat of Scorsese’s film.

Will Win: Brad Pitt, Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood. Good news – another top-notch acceptance speech!

Because we want to make you wait for it, and because you might need some help with other buckets in your poll…

Best Documentary

  • American Factory, Julia Riechert & Steve Bognar
  • The Cave, Feras Fayyad
  • The Edge of Democracy, Petra Casta
  • For Sama, Waad al-Kateab
  • Honeyland, Ljubo Stevanov

Here’s a fantastic category. Make it your mission to see each one of these films.

Should Win: Honeyland

Will Win: In a rare split decision, Hope predicts Honeyland; George predicts American Factory.

Best International Feature

  • Corpus Cristi (Poland)
  • Honeyland (North Macedonia)
  • Les Miserables (France)
  • Pain and Glory (Spain)
  • Parasite (South Korea)

Should Win: Parasite

Will Win: Parasite

Best Animated Feature

  • How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
  • I Lost My Body
  • Klaus
  • Missing Link
  • Toy Story 4

Should Win: Toy Story 4

Will Win: Toy Story 4, but really, we all win with this group of movies. But Toy Story 4 better win.

Best Cinematography

  • Rodrigo Prieto, The Irishman
  • Lawrence Sher, Joker
  • Jarin Blaschke, The Lighthouse 
  • Robert Richardson, Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood
  • Roger Deakins, 1917 

Should Win: Jarin Blaschke, The Lighthouse

Will Win: Roger Deakins, 1917

Best Original Song

  • “I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away” (Toy Story 4) — Randy Newman
  • “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” (Rocketman) — Elton John & Bernie Taupin
  • “I’m Standing With You” (Breakthrough) — Diane Warren
  • “Into the Unknown” (Frozen 2) — Robert Lopez & Kristen Anderson-Lopez
  • “Stand Up” (Harriet) — Joshuah Brian Campbell & Cynthia Erivo

Should Win: Elton & Bernie

Will Win: John & Taupin

OK, on to what you’re here for.

Best Actress

  • Cynthia Erivo, Harriet
  • Scarlett Johansson, Marriage Story
  • Saoirse Ronan, Little Women
  • Charlize Theron, Bombshell
  • Renee Zellweger, Judy

Should Win: Renee Zellweger, Judy

Will Win: Renee Zellweger, Judy

 Best Actor

  • Antonio Banderas, Pain and Glory
  • Leonardo DiCaprio, Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood
  • Adam Driver, Marriage Story
  • Joaquin Phoenix, Joker
  • Jonathan Pryce, The Two Popes

Should Win: We would not weep to see Adam Driver take this one home, but he won’t and we’re not that upset because Joaquin Phoenix was astonishing.

Will Win: Joaquin Phoenix

Best Director

  • Martin Scorsese, The Irishman
  • Todd Phillips, Joker
  • Sam Mendes, 1917
  • Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood
  • Bong Joon Ho, Parasite

Should Win: Bong Joon Ho makes a great case with his nearly perfect film.

Will Win: Sam Mendes, 1917

Best Picture

  • Ford v Ferrari
  • The Irishman
  • Jojo Rabbit
  • Joker
  • Little Women
  • Marriage Story
  • 1917
  • Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood
  • Parasite

Should: Parasite

Will: 1917

The 92 annual Academy Awards will be held this Sunday, February 9th, and aired live on ABC.

Nom Nom Nom 2019: Let’s Argue Again About the Oscars

Just eight best picture nominations this year and a list of contenders that clarifies what a kickass year 2018 was for female roles. Well done, chicas!

Do we have gripes? Well, honestly, not too many. Here’s the rundown.

SUPPORTING ACTRESS
This is a good list. Strong. Not a lot of bones to pick here. Our heart goes out to anyone trying to narrow this field down to a single winner. Wouldn’t have minded seeing Nicole Kidman (Boy Erased) or Thomasin McKenzie (Leave No Trace) get in, but how to make the room?

Amy Adams (Vice)
Marina de Tavira (Roma)
Regina King (If Beale Street Could Talk)
Emma Stone (The Favourite)
Rachel Weisz (The Favourite)

SUPPORTING ACTOR
We love Sam Elliott. Honestly, who doesn’t? Driver and Rockwell, too, and all were amazing in their respective films. But we would have had to leave them off in favor of Michael B. Jordan (Black Panther) and Lucas Hedges (Boy Erased). But no Timothee Chalamet for Beautiful Boy? That might be the biggest snub this year.

Mahershala Ali (Green Book)
Adam Driver (BlacKkKlansman)
Sam Elliott (A Star is Born)
Richard E. Grant (Can You Ever Forgive Me?)
Sam Rockwell (Vice)

LEAD ACTOR
Another solid list, although how the entire world ignored three insane performances from Joaquin Phoenix this year—You Were Never Really Here, Don’t Worry He Won’t Get Far on Foot, The Sisters Brothers—is beyond us. Please, please do yourself the favor and watch You Were Never Really Here. We’d have given him Mortensen’s slot, but we and the Academy disagree about that one particular film this year.

We would also have made room for Ben Foster (Leave No Trace) with a Malek/Dafoe coin flip.

Christian Bale (Vice)
Bradley Cooper (A Star is Born)
Willem Dafoe (At Eternity’s Gate)
Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody)
Viggo Mortensen (Green Book)

LEAD ACTRESS
We would have applauded nods for Elsie Fisher in Eighth Grade and Toni Collette for Hereditary, but holy cow, people, this is acting. This is the art and the craft, right here. No bones. No complaints. Just awe.

Yalitza Aparicio (Roma)
Glenn Close (The Wife)
Olivia Coleman (The Favourite)
Lady Gaga (A Star is Born)
Melissa McCarthy (Can You Ever Forgive Me?)

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Had hoped for Black Panther and Leave No Trace (in a whiplashed swing from “everybody saw” to “nobody saw”). Buster Scruggs was a surprise, but when is it ever a bad idea to nominate the Coens?

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (Joel and Ethan Coen)
BlacKkKlansman (Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz, Kevin Willmott, Spike Lee)
Can You Ever Forgive Me? (Nicole Holofcener, Jeff Whitty)
If Beale Street Could Talk (Barry Jenkins)
A Star is Born (Eric Roth, Bradley Cooper Will Fetters)

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
What we would have given to see Bo Burnham’s Eighth Grade get some love here. Where would we have put it? Honestly, only The Favourite and Roma are better written, but in our book, it certainly deserved the slot designated to the self-congratulatory Green Book.

The Favourite (Deborah Davis, Tony McNamara)
First Reformed (Paul Schrader)
Green Book (Nick Vallelonga, Brian Hayes Currie, Peter Farrelly)
Roma (Alfonso Cuaron)
Vice (Adam McKay)

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Don’t mind the overrated Shirkers not making it, but shocked not to see Won’t You Be My Neighbor? here.

Free Solo
Hale County: This Morning, This Evening
Minding the Gap
Of Fathers and Sons
RBG

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FEATURE
Um…Burning? Really, did you just forget?

Capernaum
Cold War
Never Looks Away
Roma
Shoplifters

CINEMATOGRPHY
We’re a little surprised not to see If Beale Street Could Talk or First Man included, but none of these are weak.

Cold War
The Favourite
Never look away
Roma
A Star is Born

ANIMATED
This is just a fight for second place after Spider-Verse.

Incredibles 2
Isle of dogs
Mirai
Ralph Breaks the Internet
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

DIRECTOR
Would have cheered for Lynne Ramsay (YWNRH), surprised not to see Bradley Cooper (A Star is Born) and disappointed not to see Ryan Coogler (Black Panther), but how great is it to see Pawel Pawlikowski make this list for his groundbreaking love story Cold War? Pretty great. (Also, Oscar likes black and white movies.)

Lee, Lanthimos and Cuaron, though, that is a trifecta we applaud until our hands ache.

Spike Lee (BlacKkKlansman)
Pawel Pawlikowski (Cold War)
Yorgos Lanthimos (The Favourite)
Alfonso Cuaron (Roma)
Adam McKay (Vice)

FILM
Only eight this year, which means we can wish for two without having to bump any. We wish for Eighth Grade and Hereditary. Then we’d bump Bohemian Rhapsody and admitted frontrunner Green Book in favor of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and You Were Never Really Here. There you go. We’ve dreamed up a nice list.

Black Panther
BlacKkKansman
Bohemian Rhapsody
The Favourite
Green Book
Roma
A Star is Born
Vice

The 91st annual Academy Awards will air Feb. 24th on ABC.





Fearless Oscar Predictions Here!

Rarely is the Oscar ticket quite so easy to fill out. This year’s set of nominees offers more clear-cut front runners across the board than most previous broadcasts, but the other aspect of note is that the actual quality of the work is tighter than in years past. In nearly every category, the likely winner is fairly simple to predict, but category after category we find ourselves saying that we’d be pretty pleased no matter the outcome.

The talent and work being recognized this year is that impressive.

Best Female in a Leading Role

Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water
Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Margot Robbie, I, Tonya
Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird
Meryl Streep, The Post

Will win: Frances McDormand

Should win: McDormand. Sally Hawkins, always wonderful, was amazing in The Shape of Water. We’re so happy Margot Robbie got the notice she deserves for I, Tonya. Saoirse Ronan will certainly win an Oscar or two at some point in her phenomenal career. Meryl Street—is Meryl Streep. But there is no denying McDormand’s fiery, fearless Mildred Hayes. The performance is a career high for one of the most talented and formidable performers working today.

Best Male in a Leading Role

Timothée Chalamet, Call Me by Your Name
Daniel Day-Lewis, Phantom Thread
Daniel Kaluuya, Get Out
Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour
Denzel Washington, Roman J. Israel, Esq.

Will win: Gary Oldman Darkest Hour

Should win: Timothee Chalamet. Or Oldman. Either way, we’re good. We’d take Daniel Kaluuya, to be honest. And you can never go wrong with Denzel Washington or Daniel Day-Lewis. No, this is an impressive set of performances right here, and while Oldman is a near shoe-in (for good reason, after a long and impressive career, for an impeccable performance), Chalamet’s turn announces a breathtaking talent and he may have outperformed them all.

Best Supporting Female

Mary J. Blige, Mudbound
Allison Janney, I, Tonya
Lesley Manville, Phantom Thread
Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird
Octavia Spencer, The Shape of Water

Will win: Allison Janney I, Tonya

Should win: Laurie Metcalf, although we will not weep when Janney takes the Oscar. Janney is a veteran character actor, one who leaves a mark on every single film, whether drama or comedy. She should have won at least one Oscar by now. But if, by chance (and it’s a long shot at best), Metcalf takes this one home for her fearless and faultless work as a piece-of-work mother in Greta Gerwig’s astonishing Lady Bird, well, we’ll be cool with that.

Best Supporting Male

Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project
Woody Harrelson, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Richard Jenkins, The Shape of Water
Christopher Plummer, All the Money in the World
Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Will win: Sam Rockwell Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Should win (GW): Rockwell

Should win (HM): Willem Dafoe. Too close to call for us, really, between Rockwell and Dafoe, two astonishing and under-appreciated American actors who should have several Oscars between them at this point. Rockwell’s racist volcano of a redeemable small-town cop gave the actor hundreds of opportunities to shine, but Dafoe’s understated, caring motel manager offers an emotional center of gravity for Sean Baker’s The Florida Project and we’d love to see him recognized.

Best Original Screenplay

The Big Sick, Emily V. Gordon & Kumail Nanjiani
Get Out, Jordan Peele
Lady Bird, Greta Gerwig
The Shape of Water, Guillermo del Toro, Vanessa Taylor
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Martin McDonagh

Will win: Martin McDonagh Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Should win: Pick ’em. Honestly, whether this award goes go McDonagh and his sharp observation on anger and compassion, or whether it goes to Greta Gerwig’s pitch-perfect coming of age tale Lady Bird, or Jordan Peele’s epic piece of social commentary Get Out, or Emily B. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani’s revelatory romantic comedy The Big Sick, or Guillermo del Toro and Vanessa Taylor’s monster love story The Shape of Water, there can be no complaint.

Best Adapted Screenplay

Call Me by Your Name, James Ivory
The Disaster Artist, Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber
Logan, Scott Frank & James Mangold and Michael Green
Molly’s Game, Aaron Sorkin
Mudbound, Virgil Williams and Dee Rees

Will win: James Ivory, Call Me by Your Name

Should win: James Ivory, Call Me by Your Name. Although we would cheer if the under-appreciated Mudbound picked this one up, there’s no denying the powerful storytelling in Ivory’s script and the way it drove Luca Guadagnino’s sumptuous direction.

Best Documentary Feature

Abacus: Small Enough to Jail, Steve James, Mark Mitten, Julie Goldman
Faces Places, JR, Agnès Varda, Rosalie Varda
Icarus,  Bryan Fogel, Dan Cogan
Last Men in Aleppo, Feras Fayyad, Kareem Abeed, Soren Steen Jepersen
Strong Island, Yance Ford, Joslyn Barnes

Will win: Faces Places

Should win: Of the nominees, Faces Places, but this year’s biggest snubs are in the documentary category. No love for either Whose Streets? or Jane? Wow.

Best Foreign Language Feature

A Fantastic Woman (Chile)
The Insult (Lebanon)
Lovelss (Russia)                                                                                    
On Body and Soul (Hungary)
The Square (Sweden)

Will win: The Square

Should win: The Square, by an eyelash over A Fantastic Woman.

Best Animated Film

The Boss Baby, Tom McGrath, Ramsey Ann Naito
The Breadwinner, Nora Twomey, Anthony Leo
Coco, Lee Unkrich, Darla K. Anderson
Ferdinand, Carlos Saldanha
Loving Vincent,  Dorota Kobiela, Hugh Welchman, Sean Bobbitt, Ivan Mactaggart, Hugh Welchman

Will win: Coco

Should win: Coco. It’s a pretty weak year in animated features, to be honest, so—like so many categories this year—the likely winner is pretty clear. Both Loving Vincent and Breadwinner are strong contenders, though no one saw either. Both Ferdinand and The Boss Baby are unworthy of the nomination. Coco is not Pixar’s strongest, and that can sometimes weigh too heavily on a film. You can’t put out a Toy Story or Up! every time, and Coco offers a touching, vibrant, skeleton-filled cultural extravaganza that is joyous to behold.

Best Director

Dunkirk, Christopher Nolan
Get Out, Jordan Peele
Lady Bird, Greta Gerwig
Phantom Thread, Paul Thomas Anderson
The Shape of Water, Guillermo del Toro

Will win: Guillermo del Toro

Should win (GW): Jordan Peele

Should win (HM): Any of them. This is the most gorgeous set of nominees we have possibly ever seen. We will celebrate no matter who wins because we adore every single one of these names: del Toro, Greta Gerwig, Jordan Peele, Paul Thomas Anderson and Christopher Nolan. In a wild variety of efforts—from taut, ensemble-driven war to period character studies to horror—the style, tone and detail in every one of these films showcases a master at the helm. Yes, it is a weird turn that Martin McDonagh didn’t get a nomination, but we wouldn’t drop anyone from this group.

Best Picture

Call Me by Your Name
Darkest Hour
Dunkirk
Get Out
Lady Bird
Phantom Thread
The Post
The Shape of Water
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Will win: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. In a dogfight with The Shape of Water, we think the compromise will be a director/film split decision.

Should win: So many great ones here, but we’ll say Dunkirk. (Or Get Out, or Lady Bird, or…)

The Academy Awards — again hosted by Jimmy Kimmel — will air live on ABC on this Sunday, March 4.





Let’s Talk Oscar Nominations…

By Hope Madden and George Wolf

2016 was a fairly weak, fairly bland year at the movies, but it still has surprises in store for us. Look at this…Suicide Squad is nominated for an Oscar! Okay, it’s for makeup and hairstyling – who knew that rolling around Hot Topic could translate to an Oscar nomination?

The official Academy Award nominations had few other surprises in store. La La Land racked up quite a haul of noms, most of which are likely to translate to statuettes. What’s the lowdown? Who should have made the list? Who shouldn’t have? Let us walk you through it.

 

Best Film

Arrival

Fences

Hacksaw Ridge

Hell or High Water

Hidden Figures

La La Land

Lion

Manchester by the Sea

Moonlight

Snubs: Zootopia, Jungle Book, The Witch, The Lobster, Jackie, Loving – there’s a bunch we’d have included instead of Lion, Hidden Figures or Hacksaw Ridge. Not that those are bad films – they are quite good. Just not as deserving.

 

Best Director

Denis Villeneuve, Arrival

Mel Gibson, Hacksaw Ridge

Damien Chazelle, La La Land

Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea

Barry Jenkins, Moonlight

Snubs: No question Mel Gibson is out of his league here. While Hacksaw Ridge was a fine piece of filmmaking, it almost works in spite of Gibson’s direction. He begins with a Hallmark card then descends into carnage few other filmmakers care to capture. But the performances and the genuine merit of the story keep the film interesting. It’s not the direction, which is why we’d have honored David Mackenzie and his glorious direction for Hell or High Water instead.

 

Best Actress

Isabelle Huppert, Elle

Ruth Negga, Loving

Natalie Portman, Jackie

Emma Stone, La La Land

Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins

Snubs: It’s hard to even form this sentence, but Meryl Streep should not be on this list. We know! Blasphemy! But the pool for Best Actress is rarely this deep, and Annette Bening (20th Century Women) Rebecca Hall (Christine), or Amy Adams (Arrival) would have been better choices.

 

Best Actor

Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea

Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge

Ryan Gosling, La La Land

Viggo Mortensen,  Captain Fantastic

Denzel Washington, Fences

Snubs: Not much to complain about here. The race is basically Affleck V Washington, with Affleck coming out on top, but we could have accepted Tom Hanks (Sully) or Nate Parker (The Birth of a Nation) in Garfield’s spot.

 

Best Supporting Actress

Viola Davis, Fences

Naomie Harris, Moonlight

Nicole Kidman,  Lion

Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures

Michelle Williams,  Manchester by the Sea

Snubs: Here’s a weird yet valid complaint: the smart money’s on Viola Davis to win, but how in the hell is this a supporting role? Not only is Davis the only female on the screen for 9/10 of Fences, she has more screen time than Denzel. It’s her story. She’s not just the lead actress, she’s the lead. And her performance is more than strong enough to take home the best actress Oscar.

 

Best Supporting Actor

Mahershala Ali,  Moonlight

Jeff Bridges,  Hell or High Water

Lucas Hedges, Manchester by the Sea

Dev Patel, Lion

Michael Shannon, Nocturnal Animals

Snubs: First of all, amen to Michael Shannon. We could not be more pleased to see him hit this list. And halleluiah to Mahershala Ali – the likely front runner in the category.

We’d have given Dev Patel’s slot to Shannon’s Nocturnal Animals co-star Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and Ben Foster outshined his full slate of talented co-stars in Hell or High Water. He deserves Jeff Bridges’s spot.

 

Original Screenplay

Taylor Sheridan, Hell or High Water

Damien Chazelle, La La Land

Yorgos Lanthimos and Efthimis Filippou, The Lobster

Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea

Mike Mills, 20th Century Women

Snub: This is a very solid and admirable list. Mike Mills’s 20th Century Women is brilliantly written and performed. We might swap him out, though, and give his spot to Robert Eggers’s The Witch.

 

Adapted Screenplay

Eric Heisserer, Arrival

August Wilson, Fences

Allison Schroeder, Theodore Melfi, Hidden Figures

Luke Davies, Lion

Barry Jenkins, Moonlight

Snubs: Hidden Figures and Lion were well put-together, lovely films. But in this year of searing, searching, brilliant writing, they have no place in this list. In their stead? Whit Stillman’s wicked and wonderful Love & Friendship and Tom Ford’s story within a story Nocturnal Animals.

 

Cinematography

Arrival

La La Land

Lion

Moonlight

Silence

Snubs: Chan-wook Park’s gloriously wrong The Handmaiden looked better than anything else that came out this year. It shouldn’t just be nominated, it should win. But it certainly should be perched in this category in Lion’s spot.

 

Foreign Language

Land of Mine

A Man Called Ove

The Salesman

Tanna

Toni Erdmann

Snubs: Again, where is the love for The Handmaiden? And the bigger surprise may be Elle, which nabbed a Best Actress nomination.

 

Documentary Feature

Fire at Sea

I Am Not Your Negro

Life, Animated

OJ: Made in America

13th

Snubs: Nope. Not a one. Every single one of these is required viewing. We’re hoping for some ties.

 

Animated Feature

Kubo and the Two Strings

Moana

The Red Turtle

Zootopia

My Life as a Zucchini

Snubs: No Finding Dory? We’re not sure that’s a snub, but it means no Pixar in this category, and we’ll call that a surprise.

We’ll have our official predictions a little closer to the Feb. 26th Oscar ceremony.





Fearless Oscar Predictions!

Get your ballots ready – it’s time to determine best bets and the losers who deserve better. Who will take home the gold hardware? Who should? Who will shine the brightest on the red carpet? We only care about two of those questions, so let’s see how we shake it out.

 

BEST PICTURE

The Big Short

Bridge of Spies

Brooklyn

Mad Max: Fury Road

The Martian

The Revenant

Room

Spotlight

Will Win: The Revenant
The Revenant has so much momentum going into Sunday, any other winner would be an incredible upset. We don’t see that happening.

Should Win (Hope): The Revenant
This was such a masterfully crafted epic that I cannot balk with its win, although I could just as easily celebrate the nod for Mad Max: Fury Road, Room, or Spotlight.

Should Win (George): Carol
That’s unlikely to happen since it wasn’t even nominated (shakes fist), so out of this group, I’m saying The Revenant by an eyelash over Mad Max: Fury Road.

 

DIRECTING

Adam McKay, The Big Short

George Miller,  Mad Max: Fury Road

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, The Revenant

Lenny Abrahamson, Room

Tom McCarthy, Spotlight

Will Win: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, The Revenant
Winning the best directing Oscar in consecutive years is rare, but the momentum says Inarritu will pull it off. With back to back wins from the Director’s Guild, an Oscar two-fer this Sunday seems likely.

Should Win (Hope):  Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, The Revenant
Inarritu’s vision and execution are breathtaking achievements and I could not find fault with this win, although the same can be said for George Miller and Mad Max: Fury Road.

Should Win (George): George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road
No doubt, The Revenant was a marvel of direction, but the way George Miller revitalized his own franchise with astounding visuals and breakneck action was damn near a miracle.

 

ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

Bryan Cranston, Trumbo

Matt Damon, The Martian

Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant

Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs

Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl

Will Win: Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
The surest bet this weekend.

Should Win Best Actor (Hope & George): DiCaprio
It can be hard to appreciate a performance that relies so little on dialog, but it is impossible not to see what DiCaprio was able to transmit with no more than 15 lines in English. He deserves the prize.

 

ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE

Cate Blanchett, Carol

Brie Larson, Room

Jennifer Lawrence, Joy

Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years

Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn

Will Win: Brie Larson, Room
Again, Larson couldn’t have more momentum, having picked up nearly every award along the road to the Oscars. We can’t imagine we’ll see an upset here.

Should Win (Hope): Brie Larson, Room
Larson conveys a mixture of torment and hope, love and grief that is so authentic it is almost too much to bear. She alone deserves this trophy.

Should Win (George): Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years
All the nominated performances are stellar, but Rampling was a master of understated humanity, with a final shot that’s fit for a time capsule.

 

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Christian Bale, The Big Short

Tom Hardy, The Revenant

Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight

Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies

Sylvester Stallone, Creed

Will Win: Stallone Stallone, Creed
He was as good as he’s ever been, yes, but this win will be more about heart than mind.

Should Win (Hope & George): Tom Hardy, The Revenant
Gather ye canned goods and duct tape while ye may, because the day Stallone takes an Oscar from the great Tom Hardy, the end is nigh.

 

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight

Rooney Mara, Carol

Rachel McAdams, Spotlight

Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl

Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs

Will Win: Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs
This may be the biggest toss up in the list, but Winslet – an Oscar favorite for good reason – seems to have Big Mo on her side.

Should Win (Hope): Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight
I’d give this one to Leigh, whose performance in The Hateful Eight proves her mettle as a comic actress and a performer who can take a beating – although a nod for Rooney Mara’s understated, aching performance in Carol would also deserve the attention.

Should Win (George):
Rooney Mara, Carol
I’ll go with Mara, in a squeaker rover JJL, for being the soul of a beautiful film anchored in love and longing.

 

WRITING (ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY)

Bridge of Spies

Ex Machina

Inside Out

Spotlight

Straight Outta Compton

Will Win: Tom McCarthy & Josh Singer, Spotlight
McCarthy’s magnificent integrity and humanity with a screenplay will finally be acknowledged.

Should Win (Hope & George): Alex Garland, Ex Machina
We will not complain if Spotlight takes home this award because the amazing Tom McCarthy deserves the nod, although we would personally go with Alex Garland’s psychosexual phenom Ex Machina.

 

WRITING (ADAPTED SCREENPLAY)

The Big Short

Brooklyn

Carol

The Martian

Room

Will Win: Charles Randolph & Adam McKay, The Big Short
It’s a tight category, but McKay and Randolph’s irate comical sensibility has impressed voters all along, and may carry them to gold.

Should Win (Hope): Emma Donoghue, Room                                                                               Adapting her own novel, Donoghue somehow managed the impossible in creating a hopeful, even wondrous tale of the single most horrific incident one could imagine. She’s pure magic.

Should Win (George): Todd Haynes, Carol
Haynes’s adaptation of Phyllis Highsmith’s novel The Price of Salt conveys the costs of love so profoundly it settles in your bones.

 

Chris Rock hosts the 88th Annual Academy Awards airs this Sunday at 8:30 on ABC.





And the Oscar Goes To….

We are thrilled to be able to co-host the Oscar Red Carpet Bash at the Drexel Theater this week. Please join us Sunday a the Drexel (2254 E.Main St.) Sample delicious wares from local restaurants and wear your fanciest duds or dress like someone in one of the nominated films for a chance at prizes. We’ll also be handing out prizes for trivia as well as for the closest predictor of the Oscar winners.

In case you’re on the fence, we thought we’d put together our own list of Oscar’s likeliest winners.

Best Picture

American Sniper
Birdman
Boyhood
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
Selma
The Theory of Everything
Whiplash

One of this year’s few tight races, the best picture contest comes down to one brilliantly told, magical tale told from the inside of celebrity versus one unrelentingly and somehow magically realistic picture of childhood. The push over the cliff for us are all the telltale awards in recent weeks from the Screen Actors, Directors and Producers guilds – all with Oscar pool overlap.

Should Win: Boyhood 

Will Win: Birdman

Got Snubbed: Nightcrawler

 

Best Director

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Birdman
Richard Linklater, Boyhood
Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Morten Tyldum, The Imitation Game
Bennett Miller, Foxcatcher

Whenever Best Picture’s a toss up, you can expect the nod for directing to be just as close a race. Oscar could split – one to Birdman, one to Boyhood – but we get the sneaking suspicion that one film will mop up the two top prizes.

Should Win: Richard Linklater, Boyhood 

Will Win: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Birdman

Got Snubbed: Ava DuVernay, Selma

 

Best Actor

Steve Carell, Foxcatcher
Bradley Cooper, American Sniper
Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game
Michael Keaton, Birdman
Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything

Here’s the only performing category with much of a race going on. The bet is between beloved veteran Michael Keaton for his fearless performance in Birdman against talented semi-newcomer Eddie Redmayne with his turn as Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything. It’s a close one, but not too close to call.

Should Win: George says: Bradley Cooper, American Sniper

Hope says: Michael Keaton: Birdman

Will Win: Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything

Got Snubbed: David Oyelowo, Selma; Jake Gyllenhaal, Nightcrawler

 

Best Actress

Marion Cotillard, Two Days One Night
Felicity Jones, The Theory of Everything
Julianne Moore, Still Alice
Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl
Reese Witherspoon, Wild

Here begin the easier calls to make. In a relatively weak field, Julianne Moore shines all the brighter regardless of the fact that the film Still Alice is not especially strong.

Should Win: Julianne Moore, Still Alice 

Will Win: Julianne Moore, Still Alice

Got Snubbed: Essie Davis, The Babadook

 

Best Supporting Actor

Robert Duvall, The Judge
Ethan Hawke, Boyhood
Edward Norton, Birdman
Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher
J.K. Simmons, Whiplash

In a year full of locks, no race is more of a foregone conclusion than this. Though we do feel badly for Edward Norton, sporting the very best performance of his impressive career, there’s really only one option.

Should Win: J.K. Simmons, Whiplash

Will Win:  J.K. Simmons, Whiplash

Got Snubbed: Josh Brolin, Inherent Vice

 

Best Supporting Actress

Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
Laura Dern, Wild
Emma Stone, Birdman
Keira Knightly, The Imitation Game
Meryl Streep, Into the Woods

This one may not be locked up quite as tight, but you can be pretty confident that Alabama Worley will finally get her justs.

Should Win: Patricia Arquette, Boyhood

Will Win:  Patricia Arquette, Boyhood

Got Snubbed: Viola Davis, Get On Up; Tilda Swinton, Snowpiercer

 

Best Original Screenplay

Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr. & Armando Bo   Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) 
Richard Linklater   Boyhood
E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman    Foxcatcher
Wes Anderson; Story by Wes Anderson & Hugo Guinness  The Grand Budapest Hotel
Dan Gilroy Nightcrawler

What an insanely great year for original screenplays! Truth is, you really can’t go wrong with any of these. There’s a good chance the award will go to Birdman in a huge awards-grab, but we think smart money is with another brilliantly crafted piece of writing.

Should Win: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Nicolas Giacobono, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr., Armando Bo, Birdman

Will Win:  Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel

Got Snubbed:  Ruben Ostlund Force Majeure; J.C. ChandorA Most Violent Year

 

Best Adapted Screenplay

Jason Hall  American Sniper
Graham Moore  The Imitation Game
Paul Thomas Anderson  Inherent Vice
Anthony McCarten  The Theory of Everything
Damien Chazelle   Whiplash

It’s another tight race and honestly, it wouldn’t surprise us if the Oscar went to any of these writers. Well, it might surprise us (pleasantly!) if Paul Thomas Anderson’s  Inherent Vice won, but otherwise, the field’s wide open.

Should Win: Damien Chazelle, Whiplash

Will Win:  Damien Chazelle, Whiplash

Got Snubbed: Paul Webb, Selma

 

Keep us honest – join us Sunday night at the Drexel and keep track of our hits and misses while you enjoy the Oscar broadcast, some delicious food and beverages, and win big prizes. For more information, visit www.drexel.net.

Hope to see you there!

 

 

 





Countdown: Who Wins the Oscars?

 

 

Sunday night, we invite you to join us at the Drexel Theatre, as we are once again pleased to host their annual Red Carpet Oscar Bash! You’ll have a chance to win great prizes if you can correctly pick the most winners, and on that note…here’s how we think the night will go:

Best Film

Will Win: 12 Years a Slave

American Hustle and Gravity are strong contenders, but we think voters will do the right thing and award this magnificent piece of filmmaking with its just due.

Should Win: 12 Years a Slave

Though the year offered a boon of wonderful, imaginative, powerful films, nothing quite compares to the meticulously created, absolutely visceral period piece.

 

Best Actor

Will Win: Matthew McConaughey in Dallas Buyers Club

McConaughey will be rewarded for turning a career’s worth of lazy rom-com roles into two of the most impressive years in any working actor’s career.

Should Win: Chiwetel Ejiofor in 12 Years a Slave

Unfortunately, McConaughey’s achievement will be at the cost of a phenomenal talent’s most blistering and brilliant performance, and hands down the best lead turn from an actor this year.

 

Best Actress

Will Win: Cate Blanchett in Blue Jasmine

From her opening moments as Jasmine, the wildly talented and uniquely versatile Blanchett owned the film and the audience.

Should Win: Cate Blanchett

Amy Adams is going to have to take home an Oscar one of these days, and her turn in American Hustle certainly deserves consideration, but Blanchett took a gift of a part and created an unforgettable character.

 

Best Supporting Actor

Will Win: Jared Leto in Dallas Buyers Club

Leto brings tenderness and tragedy to the belt-buckle-and-cowboy-hat tale Dallas Buyers Club with a beautifully dimensional performance, and his win is the second surest bet this awards season.

Should Win: Michael Fassbender in 12 Years a Slave

Fassbender will be ignored again by the Academy (who failed to even notice his devastating turn in 2011’s Shame), and that’s a shame in itself because his performance in 12 Years a Slave was more explosive, fearless and honest than anything he’s done, which is saying a lot.

 

Best Supporting Actress

Hope Says

Will Win: Lupita Nyong’o in 12 Years a Slave

She won the SAG, Golden Globe, and even the coveted Central Ohio Film Critics Association award for her work. Oscar will follow.

Should Win: Lupita Nyong’o

At first glance, Nyongo’s performance as field slave Patsy seemed a tad heavy handed, but as the character’s hellish existence is slowly revealed, we realize that this performer has found a way to make the unimaginable a reality.

George Says

Will Win: Jennifer Lawrence in American Hustle

Though it wouldn’t surprise me at all if Nyong’o does win, I just have a hunch that Lawrence (who also won a Golden Globe as American Hustle was in the comedy category) will prevail.

Should Win: Jennifer Lawrence

It really is a toss up, but I give JLaw the edge for stealing the movie right out from under the the best ensemble cast of the year. “Science oven” for the win!

 

Best Director

Will Win: Alfonso Cuaron for Gravity

This is a tough call. Basically, we think the best directing and best film nods will be split between Gravity and 12 Years a Slave. Last year, Ang Lee took the honor mostly for the technical/craftsman merits of his Life of Pi. We think Cuaron will receive the same treatment for the unarguably superior Gravity.

Should Win: Steve McQueen for 12 Years a Slave

It’s McQueen’s first dance with Oscar, and though his efforts in drawing performances, staging an epic, and keeping dusty old history as visceral and present as any other film this year are magnificent, we think the voters might side with Cuaron’s technical mastery.

 

Best Original Screenplay

Will Win: American Hustle

It’s a dazzling work of writing, heartfelt and character driven, funny and touching, full of excitement and spot-on with period. Plus, David O. Russell’s never cashed in on his 5 nominations, so it’s probably time.

Should Win: Her

Spike Jonze’s uncommon voice and vision turned out the year’s loveliest and most original love story, and the sheer uniqueness of the project deserves the Oscar.

 

Best Adapted Screenplay

Will Win: 12 Years a Slave

It’s simply the strongest contender.

Should Win: 12 Years a Slave

The ability to take a text more than a century and a half old, and from it create multi-dimensional characters and achingly relevant conflict, is a talent that needs to be recognized.

 

Enjoy the Oscars!





The 2014 Oscar Nominated Animated Shorts

The Academy Award nominations can drive you crazy between the snubs and the needless accolades. Some years are so bad, you may think you’ll never forgive them. But every year, however misguided their big ticket nominations, the academy does at least one wonderful thing. They draw attention to short films that would otherwise go unnoticed. Do yourself a favor and head to the Gateway Film Center to catch all fifteen of these magnificent short subject works of art, starting with five brilliant and varied animated features.

The nominations this year net a variety of styles and tones. The clear frontrunner for the Oscar is Disney’s Get a Horse, the 3-D short that accompanied their popular (and prescient!) Frozen. Director Lauren MacMullen’s six minute ‘toon is a joyous ode to animation history, bridging Disney’s past with its future by mixing archival Mickey Mouse animation with modern cinematic storytelling.

At the other end of the spectrum is Ferel, a shadowy, impressionistic tale of a wild boy found by a hunter and introduced to society. Smokey images in shades of grey underscore the story’s haunting nature.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s2vywZvg9uA

Equally haunted, though in a more literal and offbeat manner, is Shuhei Morita’s Possessions. A fix-it man travels, wares on his back, through a terrible storm. He takes shelter in an abandoned shack to witness the discarded items there come to life. It’s a lively, entertaining piece on a consume-and-discard culture.

Room on the Broom is a longer, stop-action style film aimed at a younger crowd. Simon Pegg voices the narration for the tale of a good hearted witch who never met a new friend she didn’t want to make, regardless of her cat’s preferences. It’s a sweet image of acceptance and family.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LjhF37MpUYs

The best of the bunch, though likely not to be the winner, is the appealing Mr. Hublot. In a clattery, mechanical future world, idiosyncratic Mr. Hublot lives alone with his OCD. His days are full – straightening picture frames, turning the lights on and off, on and off, on and off. Back to straightening frames – though he can’t help but hear that abandoned, barking puppy out there in the weather. Writer Laurent Witz, along with his co-director Alexandre Espigares, creates an endearing image of familial love and acceptance with this charmer.

Every one’s a winner regardless of the final vote. Catch them while you can.





Oscar Countdown: Snubs Galore

The Oscar nominations always cause a stir, what with the Academy’s glaring myopia when it comes to certain films. This year, the snubs were fewer and less harsh than in years past (like that year they totally ignored three of the best films of the year in Drive, Take Shelter and Young Adult, and failed to nominate the year’s best lead actress performances). We may never get over 2011.

Still, as always, there are some very curious omissions. Here we run down our 5 biggest gripes.

1. Inside Llewyn Davis

The magnificent Coen brothers’ immersive character study set in the unforgiving winter of the Greenwich Village folk scene garnered no love for its outstanding lead performance or its pristine screenplay or its rich and textured direction or even its music! That’s a lot of snubs for one film. It would certainly have been tough to find room for the wondrous Oscar Isaac in a leading actor field more crowded than most, and though the Coens are perpetual competitors for best director (by Oscar’s standards or anyone else’s), who would we bump this year? Scorsese? That’s a hard choice.

When it comes to original screenplay, we may have dumped Dallas Buyers Club in favor of Llewyn. There’s no question that we would have given it the best picture nod over Philomena.

 

2. Stories We Tell

The Academy had their heads up their asses with this one. In fact, there are a number of documentaries better suited to the award than this lineup suggests, but Sarah Polley’s deceptively complicated, brave and clever film cries out for recognition. Not only among the best documentaries of the year but one of the very best films overall, we would certainly have knocked Dirty Wars from the list in favor of Polley’s film. Truth be told, the only film in the category more deserving is The Act of Killing, so we’d have been fine with kicking any of the others to the curb to make room.

 

3. Her

The most imaginative and lovely film of 2013 went without acknowledgment in acting and directing, which is sinful. Our first order of business would be to get Scarlett Johansson a best actress nomination, even though the studio pushed her for supporting. Let’s be honest, regardless of the fact that she’s never onscreen, she plays one of two lovers in a love story. She’s the lead. And in a brilliant voice-only effort, she easily deserves Sandra Bullock’s spot. (In fact, we’d pick Johansson over Bullock, Streep or even Dench this year.)

Joaquin Phoenix should have edged out Leo (though we loved Leo’s work, it’s just a very tight race this year!). Director is as tight as actor, and while Alexander Payne and Martin Scorsese are 1) geniuses and 2) nominated for outstanding work this year, we’d have given one of their places to Spike Jonze for crafting a beautiful love story set in an unerringly crafted near-future, and doing so without a hint of cynicism or derivation.

 

4. Blue Is the Warmest Color

Apparently France couldn’t get off its cheese eating ass to get the film released in time for Oscar consideration, which is an absolute tragedy. The film should, by all accounts, boast two nominations, one for Best Foreign Language Film and another for Best Actress. The fact that Adele Exarchopoulos’s career-defining turn in this romantic drama will go unacknowledged is a crime.

 

5. And the Rest

We’d rather see Julie Louis-Dreyfus (Enough Said) for Best Actress than Meryl Streep. We know that sounds like heresy, but her performance in August: Osage County is so hyperbolic that it’s more exaggeration than acting. True, the weak direction of A: OC is most likely to blame, but the end result just doesn’t measure up.

We would also have given either Daniel Bruhl (Rush) or James Gandolfini (Enough Said) the nod over Jonah Hill for Best Supporting Actor.

 

For more on our Oscar picks, listen to George’s stint on the Sunny 95 (WSNY Columbus, OH) morning show.