Newman’s Oscars

By SAM NEWMAN

ABC Studios

ABC Studios

Glitz and glam, actors and actresses, nominees and winners, the Academy Awards is the undisputed award show of awards shows.  Ellen DeGeneres returns to the stage as host for the second time since 2006.  With an especially intense race this year for the top award categories, Sunday night’s Oscars could go to any one and any movie.  Here is your guide to who’s going to win and who’s going to lose (in my opinion, of course):

Best Picture

(Picture is a fancy way of saying film, and film is a fancy way of saying movie!)

Will Win: 12 Years a Slave

What: Solomon Northup, a free black man from upstate New York, is abducted and sold into slavery. 12 Years a Slave follows his journey as he fights to survive the harsh conditions inflicted by his owners and the unexpected kindness found in a chance meeting with a Canadian abolitionist.

Why: Emotional and traditional

Who: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, and Brad Pitt.

Should Win: Gravity

What: On her first mission to space, Dr. Ryan Stone, a brilliant medical engineer faces disaster when debris from a destroyed Russian satellite separates her from her spaceship.  The film follows Dr. Ryan Stone as she struggles to survive in space.

Why: While this is an emotional thrill ride with amazing special effects, the majority of the voters in the Academy are over the age of 60 and therefore do not recognize special effects as award-worthy (yet!).

Who: Sandra Bullock and George Clooney

Best Actor

Will Win: Matthew McConaughey

What: Dallas Buyers Club – In 1985 Dallas electrician and hustler Ron Woodroof works around the system to help HIV/AIDS patients get the medication they need after he is diagnosed.

Why: His performance is the culmination of his 20-year career. McConaughey also lost over 50 pounds to play the part, and the Academy often rewards actors who go through massive physical challenges for their roles. Matthew McConaughey is back, and there is no better way to celebrate his return to the spotlight than with an Academy Award!

Should Win: Leonardo DiCaprio

What: The Wolf of Wall Street, based on the true story of Jordan Belfort, chronicles the protagonist’s rise to wealthy stockbroker living the high life to his fall involving crime, corruption, and the federal government.

Why: IT’S TIME!  After being repeatedly snubbed by the Academy including last year’s performance in Django Unchained, I think the Academy should deliver Leonardo DiCaprio his first Oscar.

Best Actress

Will Win: Cate Blanchett

What: Blue Jasmine – Jasmine French used to be on the top of the heap as a New York socialite, but is now returning to her estranged sister in San Francisco utterly ruined. Jasmine tries to recover as she struggles with her haunting memories of a privileged past bearing dark realities. Unfortunately, it all proves a losing battle as Jasmine’s narcissistic hang-ups and their consequences begin to overwhelm her. In doing so, her old pretensions and new deceits begin to foul up everyone’s lives, especially her own.

Why: She is amazing. It’s a Woody Allen film, and the director is known for giving his female actresses extremely complicated, funny, and intelligent characters. In fact, the majority of Woody Allen’s leading women have received Oscar nominations.

Should Win: Sandra Bullock
Sandra Bullock in "Gravity"

Sandra Bullock in “Gravity”

What: Gravity

Why: Sandra Bullock is the only person on screen for two thirds of the movie. Her minute facial expressions deserve a reward of their own, and Bullock should be honored for just allowing the director, Alphonso Curon, to get that close to her face with a camera.  She is outstanding.

Best Supporting Actor

Jared Leto in "Dallas Buyers Club"

Jared Leto in “Dallas Buyers Club”

Will Win: Jared Leto

What: Dallas Buyers Club

Why: First of all, he plays a woman. Secondly, he plays a woman. And finally, he plays a woman (and very well, I would add).

Should Win: Jared Leto

Best Supporting Actress

Will Win: Jennifer Lawrence

What: American Hustle – A con man, Irving Rosenfeld, along with his seductive “British” partner, Sydney Prosser, is forced to work for a wild FBI agent, Richie DiMaso, who pushes them into a world of Jersey power brokers and Mafia crime.

Why: She’s Jennifer Lawrence. (Enough said!  Rent it now on demand.)

Should Win: Jennifer Lawrence 

Best Director

"Gravity"

“Gravity”

Will Win: Alphonso Curon

What: Gravity

Why:  Besides the 10 minute continuous shot at the beginning of the film as the satellite is blown up, Alphonse Curon deserves to win this Academy Award because this film takes a simple idea and makes it a masterpiece. A two hour emotional journey during which one feels as if the oxygen is being sucked out of the room.  (In my defense I only felt that way because I hadn’t eaten for a few hours.)

Should Win: Alphonso Curon

See above.

 

While I could continue with descriptions of each category and winner, I will save you the struggle of caring about Best Sound Mixing by just listing the categories and my predictions below:

Joaquin Pheonix in "Her"

Joaquin Phoenix in “Her”

Best Original Screenplay: Her

Best Adapted Screenplay: 12 Years a Slave

Best Foreign Language Film (haven’t seen any of them, so it’s just a guess): The Great Beauty (Italy)

Best Documentary Feature: The Square

Best Animated Feature: Frozen

(From left to right) Chiwetel Ejiofor and Michael Fassbender in "12 Years a Slave"

Chiwetel Ejiofor, left,  and Michael Fassbender in “12 Years a Slave”

Best Cinematography: Gravity

Best Film Editing: Gravity

Best Costume Design: American Hustle

Best Production Design: The Great Gatsby

Best Original Score: Gravity

Best Original Song: “Let It Go” (Frozen)

Best Visual Effects: Gravity

Bradley Cooper in "American Hustle"

Bradley Cooper in “American Hustle”

Best Sound Mixing: Gravity

Best Sound Editing: Gravity

Best Makeup and Hairstyling: JackAss Presents: Bad Grandpa (No joke!)

Best Animated Short: Get a Horse

Best Live Action Short: The Voorman Problem

Best Documentary Short: The Lady in Number 6

With performances from Pharrell Williams, P!nk, U2, Idina Menzel, and Bette Midler, as well as presentations by Amy Adams, Daniel Day-Lewis, Robert De Niro, Kerry Washington, Zac Efron, Viola Davis, Benedict Cumberbatch and many more, the 86th Annual Academy Awards airs at 8:30 p.m. this Sunday, March 2nd on ABC.

If you are unable to view the above trailers, click here.

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