Tuesday, February 25, 2014

2013 Oscar Winner Predictions: Directing and Writing

Yesterday, I looked atht e"below the the line categories - tomorrow will be acting, Thursday, Best Picture, but today is directing and writing.

5. Alexander Payne, Nebraska
For Him: At some point, Payne will probably win a Best Director Oscar. He already has two screenplay wins, and he has been nominated here on three straight films. They clearly love him.
Against Him: This just isn’t his year. He needed a breakthrough at some point, and it just never happened for him. So for the third straight time, we say wait until next time Alex.

4. Martin Scorsese, The Wolf of Wall Street
For Him: He’s Martin Scorsese! Yes, he has won before, and the others haven’t. But he is a living legend, and they clearly love him. The supporters of his film are passionate, and they’ll vote for him no matter what.
Against Him: Like Payne, it isn’t his year. He has not really been able to challenge the top three anywhere, and I don’t expect that to change on Oscar night.

3. David O. Russell, American Hustle
For Him: Three nominations in this category in just 4 years? It’s happened for Russell, who has gone from troublemaker to beloved insider in just a few years. To some, he’s way overdue a prize – and that may make him a vote siphoner from the two perceived frontrunners.
Against Him: Is anyone really going to say his work is in the same league as McQueen and Cuaron? Didn’t think so.

2. Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave
For Him: A highly respected filmmaker who has crafted a visually stunning film on a hugely important subject. It’s an embarrassment to the Academy that a black filmmaker has never won the best director Oscar and this could correct that. I think his film wins Best Picture, which usually means a Director Oscar.
Against Him: Is Cuaron’s technical achievement on Gravity just too much for the Academy to ignore, even if they award McQueen’s film? It was to the Globes and the Broadcast film critics and the BAFTAs.

1. Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity
For Him: He has crafted a technically dazzling film – obviously the single greatest technical achievement of the year. Even when something else wins Picture, he seems to be the choice for Best Director. He was respected before this film, but Gravity has vaulted him into the atmosphere (sorry).
Against Him: Do they like the film enough to give it best picture? Do they think his achievement is so much greater than McQueen’s that they’ll give him director, but still gives 12 Years Best Picture?

Who Will Win: The winner of the DGA award almost always takes Best Director – that was Cuaron, so he’s the safe bet - but I cannot shake the nagging feeling that McQueen is going to come from behind.
Who Should Win: Steve McQueen –
it’s great direction, that so easily could have gone wrong in any number of ways, but doesn’t.
Least of the Nominees: David O. Russell. Sorry, it’s true. American Hustle was a mess.

Adapted Screenplay
5. Before Midnight - Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke
For Them: This is the trio’s second nomination for their trilogy about young lovers who eventually start to get old. It is a singular achievement in American moviemaking, and deserves some love from the Academy.
Against Them: The screenplay nomination is that love. They haven’t nominated it for anything else, so they’re out of luck as winners.

4. Captain Phillips - Billy Ray
For Him: A tight, taut thriller that actually has more to say that it first appears. This type of screenplay is a lot harder than it looks.
Against Him: It probably doesn’t have the memorable moments they are looking for. Wins in this category typically go to films in contention for the big prize – and Captain Phillips really isn’t.

3. The Wolf of Wall Street - Terence Winter
For Him: A dizzying high wire act of a screenplay, that stretches on and on with one scene of excess after another. There are people in the Academy who LOVE this movie – and it’s not likely to win anywhere else, so perhaps it gets votes here.
Against Him: There are also people who HATE the film, and will vote for anything else rather than this one. From the beginning, Scorsese has reaped the praise for this film, and Winter has often not been mentioned.

2. Philomena - Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope
For Them: This is a chance to award the films star, Steve Coogan, for the movie in general. This is the safe choice for older Academy members – who really did seem to love this film.
Against Them: The film isn’t really in play for any other awards – that hurts its chance of winning here a great deal. Again, you have to be old to vote for this one.

1. 12 Years a Slave - John Ridley
For Him: He took a book from 150 years ago, and made it meaningful to today, while still matching the prose of Solomon Northup in the original. It has a huge cast of characters, and spans over a decade, but does so with ease. Of the three films highly in play for Best Picture, it’s the only one nominated here.
Against Him: Does the Academy respect the film more than love it? It cost Tony Kushner a well-deserved Oscar last year for Lincoln. The good news for him is there is Argo nominated here.

Who Will Win: 12 Years a Slave really doesn’t have much to worry about here.
Who Should Win: The Wolf of Wall Street
truly is awe inspiring, risk taking work.

Least of the Nominees: To me, Philomena was an average script elevated by great work by Judi Dench and Steve Coogan (in front of the camera).

Original Screenplay
5. Blue Jasmine - Woody Allen
For Him: He’s Woody Allen. He can do whatever he wants, and they still give him awards. He’s never shown up, and it doesn’t bother them. He created one of the most memorable roles of the year in Jasmine.
Against Him: He just won a few years ago for Midnight in Paris – and he’s the only one who got in for a screenplay for a film that isn’t a Best Picture contender. The ongoing scandal in his life will likely drive away a few voters as well. So he won’t win. Not that he cares.

4. Dallas Buyers Club - Craig Borten & Melisa Wallack
For Them: This was a surprise nomination – most thought it would be The Coens for Inside Llewyn Davis – but the pair snuck in for a film that was surprisingly well liked by the Academy. That could bode well for them.
Against Them: The film is probably on its way to two acting prizes – isn’t that enough for a film that really isn’t a player for Best Picture?

3. Nebraska - Bob Nelson
For Him: He wrote a perfect Alexander Payne screenplay despite the fact he’s obviously not Alexander Payne. The film is obviously well loved and obviously not winning elsewhere. This would be a nice award for the film.
Against Him: He’s a first timer, in a category that has two others who seem overdue. It’s a subtle screenplay, and subtle really isn’t what the Academy awards.

2. American Hustle - Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell
For Them: Of the three films seriously vying for the Best Picture win, this is the only one nominated here. Russell is unlikely to win Director – and after nominations for Directing The Fighter, writing AND directing Silver Linings Playbook and writing AND directing American Hustle, many will think he should win an Oscar. This is where they can do it.
Against Them: Her has won most of the precursors, so perhaps they’ll go there even if they like American Hustle more as a film. At the end of the year, American Hustle looked poised to pull off a few upsets in the major races – but the buzz has gotten really quiet on the film, and the backlash has come on stronger than for some of the other competitors.

1. Her - Spike Jonze
For Him: He has won some major prizes for the film already – more than any of his competitors – including the Golden Globes, Critics Choice and WGA award and he’s also the director of the film, so it’s a nice way to reward him for doing both on a film they obviously love. Considering he made his film debut in 1999 – with Being John Malkovich, which picked up an Oscar nomination for him, you can say he’s more overdue than Russell.
Against Him: The film skews a little young for the Academy. Some may think Jonze is overdue – but not as much as Russell.

Who Will Win: I think it’s a two horse race – but Her has the edge right now, as its quietly chugged along all season – but the older Academy base may be more comfortable with American Hustle. To me, it's a coinflip.
Who Should Win:
Spike Jonze really does step up his game with Her which is easily the most “original” screenplay this year.
Least of the Nominees: To me, Dallas Buyers Club was a good screenplay elevated by excellent acting.

No comments:

Post a Comment