Thursday, January 16, 2014

Oscar Nomination Reactions

First thing first – I went 78 for 107 in my Oscar predictions, which is 73% - which is about normal for me in the nominating round – perhaps a little low.

Biggest Surprises – Snubs

The two big “snubs” that stand out to me is Tom Hanks missing for Captain Phillips and Oprah Winfrey missing for Lee Daniels’ The Butler. There were signs that Winfrey may miss – the lack of a Globe nomination mainly, but still I thought her star power would be enough to get her into the race. Instead, they went with Sally Hawkins for Blue Jasmine. I prefer Hawkins performance, so I’m not upset. Hanks on the other hand is truly stunning. The Academy clearly liked Captain Phillips – it got 6 nominations, including Picture, Supporting Actor and Adapted Screenplay, but somehow Hanks (and director Paul Greengrass, who I had also predicted) did not get in.

The film that shocked me the most with a weak showing was Saving Mr. Banks. I suppose all the media attention against the film really did hurt it. No Picture, or Actress or Supporting Actor or Screenplay nominations – just one for Score.

Robert Redford and James Gandolfini were the other performances I predicted that didn’t make the cut – neither is shocking, as they were both in a fight for one of the final spots in their categories, and they simply went with someone else.

The documentary race held a few surprises – snubbing Stories We Tell and Blackfish in favor of Cutie and the Boxer and Dirty Wars. Expect this to be talked about A LOT in the coming weeks.

Perhaps the most ridiculous snub (for me) today was Monsters University not getting in to the animated film race. No, it’s not as good as Pixar’s best – it’s still clearly better than The Croods and Despicable Me 2. Mind boggling. The only one that comes close is Sean Bobbit not getting nominated for cinematography for 12 Years a Slave – absolutely ridiculous.

Biggest Surprises – Inclusions

Christian Bale getting nominated for American Hustle is probably the biggest single surprise. His precursor support had been weak – but obviously the Academy loved American Hustle A LOT – as both Bale, and Amy Adams, who I had not predicted, got into the lead races, and Bradley Cooper –who I did predict for Supporting Actor, but wasn’t 100% sure he would get in did. David O. Russell becomes (I believe) the first director to have two films nominated in all four acting categories – and amazingly, he did it in back-to-back years.

Philomena clearly benefitted from the downfall of Saving Mr. Banks – getting the best picture spot I thought would go to Banks. I was surprised my just much support Dallas Buyers Club got – I did predict it to get a Best Picture nomination – but it getting a screenplay nod as well as editing were things I didn’t expect. Alexander Payne getting in for Director was a nice surprise -  but it did come at the expense of Jonze and the Coens. I suspected that one of these three could sneak in.

The Grandmaster picked up two well-deserved nominations for cinematography and costume design that I didn’t see coming. The fact it got those two makes it somewhat surprising it didn’t get into the Foreign Language race.

Most Pleasant Surprise

I was surprised by just how big the support for The Wolf of Wall Street was. It certainly gained momentum in the last few weeks, but I wasn’t sure if the normally conservative Academy would go for a film this controversial. But nominations for Picture, Director, Actor, Supporting Actor and Adapted Screenplay mean they liked it. Not sure why it didn’t get any “below the line” nominations, but they obviously loved it.

Least Pleasant Surprise

I knew Inside Llewyn Davis, my favorite film of the year, was in danger of being overlooked in the Best Picture category. Still, I never thought it would be overlooked for Screenplay – the writers have always liked the Coens more than any other branch. This just rubs a little salt in the wound – no Picture, Director or Actor nominations either. It was somewhat expected, but disappointing nonetheless.

Biggest Single WTF Moment

Has anyone heard of the movie Alone Yet Not Alone which got an Original Song nomination? No, me either. It does have an IMDB page, but as far as I can tell, no critics reviews.

And that’s all for now. Before Oscar night I will post my winner predictions as well as a post on who SHOULD win given the nominees. Let’s hope Phase II isn’t as ugly as last years was. When things get that bad, it puts a damper on the whole season for me.

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