No way am I an expert in the Oscars. But I do enjoy them a lot. In a movie fan sort-or-way, the best way to celebrate the movies is that one event where Hollywood deems who they thought is the best of their crop in the past year. The movie calendar year of 2013 has shaped up to be one of the most interesting Oscar races known in quite some time. Take note that I’m just a measly commentator who is also trying to understand how all of these things work. So if you disagree, you have the right to. But as a common movie fan (and Oscar fanatic, I love to read Academy related literature and I casually read the usual blogs) I’d like to share my current understanding of the Oscar race all the way here in Manila, far away from the magical world of Hollywood. Why not, right? It’s only three weeks till the Oscars and I can proudly boast that I’ve seen all of the nominees (excluding the shorts, documentary and foreign language films).
Hollywood Goes Nasty.
Oscar is always synonymous to “scandal”. In recent memory, there has always been a few things (true or untrue) being thrown around, especially in these last few weeks leading to the Academy Awards where members are voting for their “favourite films”. Scandals upon scandals have been pouring out as rival studios, executives, movie stars and personalities are vying for what they think is the best of the best of Tinsletown. This year, we’ve had the huge Woody Allen molestation scandal (which may affect Cate Blanchett’s chances in Best Actress), “The Wolf of Wall Street’s” glorification of Jordan Belford’s crimes, and “Philomena’s-The-Chuch-is-Evil” scandal. But more on those when we reach their respective categories. But when zooming out and looking at the bigger picture, the only thing that seems to be untouched by any major scandal (apart from the Academy’s close-mindedness about maybe voting for the film) is Steve McQueen’s luscious “12 Years a Slave”. Which I think, will probably take the Best Picture award, as of now.
Its biggest competition? Probably everything. Though “12 Years a Slave” seems to have everything going for them – a historical moment with the first possible Best Picture winner by a black filmmaker, a wonderful cast, a truthful story – it still doesn’t seem to be enough. This is one of the first years in recent memory where Best Picture is possibly the hardest category to predict, statistically speaking. In Oscar predicting, you’ve got to look at the various awards bodies and Hollywood guild groups to see the general consensus of what may be seen as the Best Picture of the Year. Last year’s “Argo” won the Directors Guild Award (DGA) for Ben Affleck, The Screen Actors Guild Award (SAG), the British Academy Award (BAFTA) and the Golden Globe, to name a few, so it was an obvious no brainer. But this year, it seems that the race is all over the place.
Firstly, “American Hustle” took the Globe and SAG, with “Gravity” taking the DGA and Producers Guild Award (PGA) tied with “12 Years”. Just a few days ago, “Captain Phillips” (which was assumed to be out of the race with the omission of lead star Tom Hanks out of the Best Actor category) had a serge of momentum when it won the Editors Guild Award and the very important Writers Guild Award. So what will win Best Picture? Though “12 Years” is presumed as frontrunner, don’t count out “Hustle” and “Gravity” which are evident crowd pleasers, but have their own roads to overcome. I’m personally rooting for my favourite of the year, “Wolf of Wall Street”, but a “12 Years a Slave” win is very welcome to me for its historical relevance, plus it’s a great film. Can’t say the same for “Argo” last year though. Only time will tell. Right now I’m predicting:
BEST MOTION PICTURE OF THE YEAR:
WILL WIN: “12 Years a Slave”
POSSIBLE SPOILER: It’s anyone’s game, but possibly “Gravity”.
SHOULD WIN: “12 Years a Slave”…just because…
WISHFUL THINKING: “The Wolf of Wall Street”
Cate the Great, Woody Allen and Mia Farrow join the race.
Early in the race, it seemed like a no brainer for Cate Blanchett to win her second Oscar, this time for Best Actress for her role in Woody Allen’s “Blue Jasmine”. Blanchett really seemed to be unstoppable – sweeping the critics and precursor awards and having most of Hollywood royalty adore her for her good work ethic and brilliant performances. But right after her victory in the Golden Globes (where they also honoured Allen with a Lifetime Achievement award), Allen’s ex-partner and star of 12 of his films Mia Farrow, rehashed 21 year old allegations that Woody Allen molested their adoptive daughter Dylan at the age of 7. The media went crazy as Dylan posted an open letter online, with Allen fighting back. Who’s in the middle of this? Cate Blanchett. Farrow also brings up the past as she continues to wreck Allen’s reputation by reminding us all that he married his adoptive daughter Soon-Yi, causing them to break up. Who’s in the middle of this? Cate Blanchett. Allen has expressed his dismay over the fact that Farrow is bringing movie stars into a family issue. However, I personally don’t think this’ll effect Cate’s chances. She clearly has the superior performance over everybody (the most Oscar friendly at least), and her classy attitude over the whole thing has people singing her praises. And if you look back on history, the Academy still nominated Allen back in 1993 for his screenplay “Husbands and Wives” when the scandal was fresh. Though we’ll never know who’s telling the truth, I think Hollywood will team with their most beloved. It’s still her Oscar, I’ll put my money on it.
BEST ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE:
WILL WIN: Cate Blanchett, “Blue Jasmine”
POSSIBLE SPOILER: It’s either Bullock or Adams because they’re in Best Picture frontrunners. Adams most likely though, if she wins the BAFTA.
SHOULD WIN: Cate, all the way.
WISHFUL THINKING: Cate’s a personal choice, so her.
Golden Boys of Past and Present (Still Without Gold).
The Best Actor race is as heated as it will ever be. With the resurgence of Matthew McCounauhey’s career the last two years, it seems like general consensus for a win in “Dallas Buyers Club” may be happening. But let’s not count out Oscar-less Leonardo DiCaprio for his turn in “The Wolf of Wall Street”. Though a lot of cinema fans are really wishing for a Bruce Dern win (he’s a beloved actor from Hollywood’s olden days), we’ve got to wake up and smell the coffee. This is really a race between two of the most popular actors of our time. We’ve got the newly established McCounauhey and Leonardo DiCaprio, who has been under the spotlight for at least 20 years now. But here’s where the Oscar race gets tricky: the two never battled it out in a single category. Both won Best Actor in the Globes for their respective categories in Comedy (Leo) and Drama (Matthew). McCounaghey won the SAG only because “The Wolf of Wall Street” wasn’t seen by a lot of SAG members yet (so Leo wasn’t nominated), but McConaughey was snubbed by the BAFTAS (meaning he doesn’t have the support of the British members of the Academy). But who has the edge? Right now McCounaghey because of the SAG win, but if Leo wins the BAFTA (which I think he will)….he’ll win the Oscar. If Ejiofor takes it (being that he’s British) then it’s McCounahey’s to loose. DiCaprio hasn’t campaigned this much for a film, and it’s a Scorsese film, so will they finally give in a Lead Oscar to a Scorsese leading man again ala De Niro back in 1980? Maybe, maybe not. I don’t believe all the controversy that Academy members resent the film for glorifying the illegal actions of true life “Wolf” Jordne Belfort. If they did then why does it have nominations for Picture, Director, Actor, Supporting Actor and Screenplay? Those are all major categories. Don’t underestimate Leo this time around.
BEST ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE:
WILL WIN: McConaughey or DiCaprio (depends on whether or not Leo wins the BAFTA)
POSSIBLE SPOILER: Bruce Dern, because Hollywood love’s a veteran.
SHOULD WIN: Leo.
WISHFUL THINKING: Leo.
The Girls on Cold Fire.
Clearly, it’s Jennifer Lawrence vs. Lupita N’yongo for Best Supporting Actress, two Hollywood sweethearts that have great things going for them. N’yongo’s performance in “12 Years a Slave” is fresher, true Oscar bait, and is considered by some as the heart and soul of the movie. Not to mention she’s a trained actress, an eloquent speaker and a true fashion queen in the recent red carpets. Lawrence, on the other hand is the recent Hollywood “It-Girl” that everyone loves and wants to make their new best friend. Together, with great personalities and a lot of promise create…THE MOST BORING RACE EVER. Funny how things work out like that. Right now, I think N’yongo’s gonna win. Lawrence isn’t campaigning, and she’s campaigning hard. But who knows? Will Hollywood’s love affair with their most recent Best Actress (for “Silver Linings Playbook”) continue this year? Maybe. We’ll see on BAFTA night. Lawrence won the Globe which is irrelevant when we look at N’yongo’s SAG win, but the Oscar is full of surprises. Are they ready to honor Jennifer Lawrence with another Oscar? I hope not, cause she’ll probably have more deserving performances in the future.
BEST ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE:
WILL WIN: Probably Lupita.
POSSIBLE SPOILER: Jennifer Lawrence.
SHOULD WIN: I thought Lawrence was better (not by much) but Lupita should win to represent the “12 Years” ensemble of wonderful acting all together.
WISHFUL THINKING: No one, really. I’m fine with either…
30 Seconds to Oscar.
It’s a no brainer, Jared Leto will win the Oscar for “Dallas Buyers Club” for Best Supporting Actor. Even after being snubbed by the BAFTA and the recent backlash by the LGBT community regarding his portrayal as the transexual Rayon, in the film. It doesn’t seem like he has much competition in the category. He’s got quite the narrative going for him. He left Hollywood for a six year period after the flop of his last film, he became somewhat of a rock God, he went through a crazy body transformation which the Academy loves, and so on and son on. He’s a shoe-in in my opinion, a well deserved shoe-in. Unless something drastic happens in the next few weeks, I only see Barkhad Abdi of “Captain Phillips” taking it, only because the Academy seems to love the film, even with the omission of the legendary Tom Hanks as the lead character. Cooper won’t win, Fassbender doesn’t seem to care to win (and that’s kind of important), and Jonah Hill is just lucky to be nominated.
BEST ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE:
WILL WIN: Jared Leto.
POSSIBLE SPOILER: Barkhad Abdi.
SHOULD WIN: Jared Leto.
WISHFUL THINKING: I really want Leto to win, but I’d love to see a surprise in this category just to stir things up.
This crop of Director nominees seem so awesome. All visionaries in their own right. Though I’d love a Martin Scorsese win, that seems impossible. Though it would be so awesome to see the legend win again before his time with Oscar is up. But an Alfonso Cuaron win for “Gravity” seems to be most likely. He won the Globe and DGA (plus the film won the PGA giving it the Best Picture edge…Oscar hardly likes splits between Picture and Director, statistically speaking), and most likely to win the BAFTA after McQueen. I don’t want Russell or Payne to win because this is hardly their best work. But I wouldn’t mind a McQueen win because of its historical significance. Whether or not “Gravity” will win Best Picture, Cuaron will win Director.
WILL WIN: Alfonso Cuaron
POSSIBLE SPOILER: Steve McQueen
SHOULD WIN: Martin Scorsese or Cuaron because their films are truly spectacles.
WISHFUL THINKING: SCORSESE, just because I’m a fan boy.
So there you have it. I’ll probably be posting another one of these after the BAFTA ceremony. But whether or not you got insight or not with my post, I hope that you enjoyed reading my person view on this year’s Academy Awards. Only time will tell the true winners, really.