Being a movie analyst, the Academy Awards is my grand final. Monday morning our time (Sunday evening in Los Angeles) is the greatest day of the year. Marked on my calendar months in advance and being addicted to award shows, I start thinking of potential Oscar films in my sleep.
As a teenager, I was on a bus not far from my stop when the radio report playing over the speaker system for the enjoyment of passengers went to the news leading with the Oscar winners. Before the days when I watched live on Pay Television, it used to be repeated in full that night so avoiding the announcement of winners was a skill in itself. I was going to a mates house when the broadcast of winners made me crack, running down the aisle of the bus with fingers in my ears chanting,”lalalalalala”. The driver came to an emergency halt and I dived off into the clear air of oncoming traffic.
When I was even younger, I liked E.T as much as the next kid but disenchanted by favouritism, I walked around the school yard declaring, ‘The Winner is Tootsie’ over and over again. Dare I say it, movies were an obsession from a young age. One day, I’ll attend – either as part of international media or as a fan in the bleachers. Those selected to sit up in the stands are selected randomly from an open ballot. A girl I knew went the year Titanic won ‘everything’. The ceremony began, each person was given a cut patch of the carpet to take home.
This year is more difficult than I can remember to predict winners. Studying the form for an extended period and seeing most of the films in contention more than once, here are my honest thoughts. Use this guide for an edge with tipping the winners at your Oscar party, or for real as betting agencies have a market in all major categories. First tip, Ellen DeGeneres will spring into her second effort at hosting duties in what is sure to be a prestigious ceremony. Champagne in hand, suit on in the lounge room, bring on Monday.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR:
Barkhad Abdi – Captain Phillips
Bradley Cooper – American Hustle
Michael Fassbender – 12 Years a Slave
Jonah Hill – Wolf of Wall Street
Jared Leto – Dallas Buyers Club
Shane says: Jared Leto, brilliant in an honest gritty performance. It’s his to lose. Fassbender is a future winner while non actor Abdi may surprise in his terrifying debut.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS:
Sally Hawkins – Blue Jasmine
Jennifer Lawrence – American Hustle
Lupita Nyong’o – 12 Years a Slave
Julia Roberts – August, Osage County
June Squibb – Nebraska
Shane says: Jennifer Lawrence is indeed an it girl with talent – she will win. I’m a Hawkins fan, however Nyong’o is astonishing in an emotional movie. She may cause the upset. It’s nice to see Pretty Woman back in the limelight too.
David O’Russell – American Hustle
Alfonso Cuaron – Gravity
Alexander Payne – Nebraska
Steve McQueen – 12 Years a Slave
Martin Scorsese – Wolf of wall Street
Shane says: All worthy recipients for equally diverse films, it’s down to Gravity which must have been a tedious shoot and American Hustle achieving the rare feat of a director getting four lead acting nominations from his cast two years in a row. O’Russell to win, just.
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY:
12 Years a Slave
Wolf of Wall Street
Shane says: My love of Wolf aside, Before Midnight will be quoted by romantics for years to come. Philomena is truly an impressive little film but my feeling leans towards 12 Years a Slave. Heartfelt, horrendous, an unforgettable part of American history.
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY:
Dallas Buyers Club
Shane says: Her has addictive dialogue working against all odds as a unique quirky love story of man with computer, it’s what I have predicted since day one to win everything. Blue Jasmine a possible worthy winner in a difficult category.
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE:
Despicable Me 2
Ernest & Celine
The Wind Rises
Shane says: popular and competitive, this eclectic category is thankfully more respected than ever before. I loved The Croods while Frozen returned to the glory days of classic Disney animation, but The Wind Rises is truly a masterpiece from Japanese legend Hayao Miyazaki.
Amy Adams – American Hustle
Cate Blanchett – Blue Jasmine
Sandra Bullock – Gravity
Judi Dench – Philomena
Meryl Streep – August Osage County
Shane says: Cate Blanchett will do Australia proud. Flawless performance of multiple personalities is both hilarious and forlorn. Closing in may be Bullock, acting mostly alone dangling in front of a green screen conveying dread had solid impact. Deluxe female roles for Meryl, Judi and Amy will remain gratified losing in close up I’m sure.
Christian Bale – American Hustle
Bruce Dern – Nebraska
Leonardo DiCaprio – Wolf of Wall Street
Chiwetel Ejiofer – 12 Years a Slave
Matthew McConaughey – Dallas Buyers Club
Shane says: Dern a certified Hollywood legend deserved the recognition in a raspy role but won’t win, chameleon Bale also shines taking the place of Tom Hanks who surprisingly didn’t get a look in. DiCaprio should have won for What’s Eating Gilbert Grape in 1993, his Golden Globe win will have to suffice for now. It will go down to a former romantic comedy king and a long-time support actor captivating in a moving lead role both pouring heart into their performances. Ejiofer to pip McConaughey at the post.
Dallas Buyers Club
12 Years a Slave
Wolf of Wall Street
Shane says: Gravity and American Hustle have 10 nominations each, they hold up after repeated viewings and are solid from all angles, both are pure artistic visions of a varying kind, reasons what make cinema so joyous. The Academy like retold history so 12 Years a Slave will go close and Captain Phillips has the scope as a complete package that could sneak a shock win. Dallas Buyers Club, Nebraska, Philomena and Wolf of Wall Street cancel each other out, choc full of formidable terrific acting is their forte. Most inconceivable is Her, such as I adore this odd film, it won’t get within a gasping breath of Gravity which will take the honours behind a rampart American Hustle and it’s exploding science oven.
Shane suggests: Only one can win of two Australians up for costume design, Michael Wilkinson – American Hustle, Catherine Martin – The Great Gatsby. The bedazzling Gatsby sure to be the victor in a tight one.
Any other year the Frozen song, Let it Go would be a certainty but rock and roll hall of famers U2 will win for their Mandela song. Original score has my attention because of the inclusion of Star Wars maestro John Williams for The Book Thief, he has never written a bad piece of film music. Still, John may have to wait for the next Jurassic Park because the Gravity score mesmerises.
The worst film of last year and a Jackass movie are up for Oscars alongside an internationally applauded independent drama. In the vein of disbelief I had when quoting that Mickey Rourke may actually win an Oscar (which he almost did for The Wrestler) don’t adjust your eyes as The Lone Ranger and Bad Grandpa are up against Dallas Buyers Club in the best makeup / hair category. Johnny Knoxville had a tremendous turn in heaving prosthetics as the old obnoxious senior citizen and could win. Depp wore a dead bird as a hat during most of that atrocious western remake but did age in flashbacks, while McConaughy lost weight to alarming dangerous effect without much make up used until sickness took a hold of him. Knoxville if tenfold may give an unforgettable speech.
Shane A. Bassett