March 1, 2014

My Oscar Predictions

In just about 24 hours, they'll start handing out a set of Oscars.  This year the contest is truly a contest, with knockout performances everywhere you look, so many that some couldn't make it into the top five (regarding Oprah and Forrest not making the cut, it's a better year to be African than African-American--not that that helped Idris much).  I'm predicting fabulous ratings for ABC.

I've only seen one of the nominated films and performances (that of Sandra Bullock in Gravity), but I won't let a little thing like that stop me from predicting how the Academy will vote (that's what I'm doing here, not expressing my own hopes).  Multiple factors are involved in the awarding of Oscars, and the singular all-around best is only part of it.  The winners are voted on by people, and human nature has been around a heck of a lot longer than those statuettes.

Here goes:

Best Picture:  Twelve Years a Slave.  Oscar loves historical movies, and while last year it went away from the norm when Lincoln lost to Argo, I still believe that Steve McQueen's painful and difficult to watch (which is why I haven't seen it yet) yet valuable and important film has a shot to win. If Gravity wins, there will be cries of foul similar to 1997, when a movie with superior special effects (Titanic) and a very ordinary plot won over an intricately plotted, stylish film (L.A. Confidential).  

Best Director:  The guy who directed Gravity.  Just a hunch.  I think this is the Academy's way of splitting the acclaim in a tightly contested field.  But I won't feel too sorry for Steve McQueen if he doesn't win this time; I believe there is an Oscar in his future.  Incidentally, the director of Gravity was born in Mexico, so a win by him would also represent an ethnic first.

Best Actor:  Matthew McConaughey.  I believe he picked up Golden Globe and the the SAG Award for his performance in Dallas Buyer's Club.  Besides, the Academy loves it when actors lose weight for a role (witness Robert DeNiro in Raging Bull and Tom Hanks in Philadelphia, both Oscar-winning performances).  A wild card:  Bruce Dern.  The Academy loves old actors at the end of long careers, bu they usually give these honors in the Supporting category.  Sometimes excellent performances do cancel each other out and a dark horse walks away with the gold (witness Judy Holliday winning Best Actress over Gloria Swanson in Sunset Boulevard (whom I thought should have won), Bette Davis in All About Eve, and Anne Baxter in All About Eve; and Joel Grey winning Best Supporting Actor for Cabaret over The Godfather triumvirate of Al Pacino, Robert Duvall, and James Caan). If the Academy splits over Matthew, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Leonardo DiCaprio, Bruce could slip in...    

Best Actress:  Cate Blanchett, simply because she seems to be the favorite.

Best Supporting Actor:  Jared Leto.  He played a transgender AIDS patient, a good role way for the Academy to show they're politically correct.  Did I mention they love it when an actor drops significant weight for a part?  Fortunately, their preference for old guys with long careers (I think this explains Samuel L. Jackson's Pulp Fiction loss to Martin Landau and Eddie Murphy's Dreamgirls loss to Alan Arkin) isn't an issue, since all of this year's nominees are fairly young.

Best Supporting Actress:  Lupita Nyong'o.  Jennifer Lawrence's momentum is building, but I think Lupita has a stronger shot.  She is quickly becoming a fashion icon, which is in stark contrast to her role as a slave and a silent nod the magnitude of her acting talents.

I'll check in after the awards tomorrow night to see how I did...and if you have any predictions, I'd love to hear them!