The 88th Academy Awards are officially in the books! Last night’s ceremony, in which Spotlight took home the coveted Best Picture trophy, was both fun and thoughtful thanks to Chris Rock’s excellent hosting abilities, and saw the Oscars distributed among a variety of films. I broke my multi-year streak of correctly predicting 16 awards, but unfortunately my prognosticating talent failed me as I went in the wrong direction, calling only 15 this year. In a year where the nominees generated a lot of controversy throughout the industry, the evening itself was relatively uncontroversial despite its sharp criticism of Hollywood, perhaps because the criticism was so obviously warranted. But even the ultimate winners, surprises and all, made generally few waves and were instead greeted mostly with nods of acceptance. But there’s still plenty to talk about, so read on for my thoughts on the winners, the host, and the show itself.
If you were going to vent about the Oscar snub that bothers you the most, there are plenty of popular options from which to choose. You might still get riled up thinking about how Shakespeare in Love beat Saving Private Ryan for best picture, that Forrest Gump won out over Pulp Fiction, or that Brokeback Mountain lost to Crash. Perhaps you’re indignant that Peter O’Toole never won an Oscar, or that Leonardo DiCaprio is still waiting for his. You could have a particular category that always manages to disappoint you, like Best Original Song does for me. Or maybe you’re just baffled that films like Around the World in 80 Days or Oliver! could have been marked among the best films of all time while something as influential as Star Wars was passed over. But given 88 years of Academy Awards history, you probably would not choose to object to the victory of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, arguably the most popular film to ever with the Oscar for Best Picture. But to me, the best film of 2003 was a different long-titled film adaptation of a popular book series about men at war: Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World.
Once again, it’s time for Oscar predictions. I did pretty well last year, getting 16 correct once again (that seems to be what I always get [seriously, I didn’t even have to edit this sentence]). There are some tight races this year, but also a few sure things, so it’s bound to be an interesting evening. I can’t wait to see how Chris Rock tackles the shocking lack of diversity among the nominees. And while awards shows always seem fairly out of touch with popular opinion, I’ll always be a fan of the Oscars. So read on for my (dicey) predictions, as well as my picks if I could hand out the statues as I see fit. And then let me know who you think will be a big winner Sunday night!
Best Short Film, Live Action:
Prediction: Ave Maria
My Pick: N/A
Best Short Film, Animated:
Prediction: Sanjay’s Super Team
My Pick: Sanjay’s Super Team
The 88th Academy Award nominations will be announced tomorrow morning, with the ceremony scheduled for February 28th, hosted (for the second time) by Chris Rock. 2015 was a pretty good year for movies, both the big box-office smashes and the smaller films, and as always I have some things I want to see from tomorrow’s nominations. These are not predictions, but simply films I’d like to be recognized in certain categories were this an ideal world. I’ve split them up into nominees that are at least possible versus ones that I know have no conceivable chance. So read on for my Oscar nomination wish list, and then leave me a comment and let me know what you hope to see!
(Note: This is a fictional creative thinking exercise, inspired by hours of contemplation of which animated performances have been most worthy of attention over the years. This feature imagines that a Best Voice Performance category was added to the Oscars following Beauty and the Beast’s nomination for Best Picture at the 64th Academy Awards. I’ll cover the hypothetical nominees and winner from one year of animated performances.)
Enthusiasm for voice acting was high following the 78th Academy Awards, which presented the most diverse slate of nominees the category had ever seen, ending in a win for a widely respected performer on his third nomination. The return of Pixar to the fray with Cars, starring 10-time Oscar nominee Paul Newman helped lend some star power and prestige to the race, while two roles in the same film from Robin Williams assured his presence in any debate about potential nominees. However with every two steps forward comes another step backwards, and when the nominees were announced they were met with a combination of shock, confusion, and in some cases outrage and the bizarre choices, once again bringing the category’s very existence into question.
Once again, it’s time for Oscar predictions. I did pretty well last year, getting 16 correct once again (that seems to be what I always get), but there are some tight races this year, and I didn’t make it to nearly as many of the nominees as I would have liked. I make no promises that any of these will be correct, with the exception of a few seemingly done deals, but read on for all of my predictions and personal picks for this year’s Oscars. Tomorrow night should be lots of fun with Neil Patrick Harris as the host!
(I realize this is very late, getting it just a day before the Oscars, and that I haven’t updated the blog as much recently as I would have liked. I hope that will change going forward, and I thank you for your patience.)
Best Short Film, Live Action:
My Pick: N/A
Best Short Film, Animated:
My Pick: Feast
With the Academy Award nominations due to be announced tomorrow morning, most movie blogs and websites are busy trying to predict what names will be called before dawn. I don’t have the expertise to join them, nor have I seen enough films to really get a sense of how things will shake out. However, despite my feeling that 2014 was a bit of a dud at the movies, I still have some nominations I’d like to see in the morning. I’ve broken them down below into three general categories based on their likelihood, with some seemingly locks for a nomination, others possible but less likely, and others that will never happen no matter how much I want them to.
(Note: This is a fictional creative thinking exercise, inspired by hours of contemplation of which animated performances have been most worthy of attention over the years. This feature imagines that a Best Voice Performance category was added to the Oscars following Beauty and the Beast’s nomination for Best Picture at the 64th Academy Awards. Each week I’ll cover the hypothetical nominees and winner from one year of animated performances.)
The Best Voice Performance category at the 77th Academy Awards was considered something of a letdown. All five nominees came from only two films, and the winner was neither unexpected nor particularly exciting. However, 2005 proved to be a much more diverse year for voice performances. Pixar wouldn’t be releasing a new film, but both Dreamworks and Disney both had new movies to contribute. One film in particular, Madagascar, seemed to be gunning for nominations by recruiting a high profile cast of comedians of who featured prominently in its advertising campaign even before the film was released. However, no one could have predicted the variety and quality of the performances that would eventually earn nominations.
Last night’s Academy Awards ceremony was a big step up from last year’s. Of course, everyone knew Ellen Degeneres would do a better job than Seth MacFarlane, but she really knocked it out of the park last night. While I wouldn’t want her to host every year (because it would get stale), I would fully support bring her back every other year to host, until she doesn’t want to do it anymore. As for the winners, the very deserving 12 Years A Slave won best picture, as the major categories went to the frontrunners. As for my predictions, I only went 16/24 (the same as last year), as most of my predicted upsets never panned out. I feel sorry for the person who was linked to my blog yesterday searching for “86th academy awards expert picks,” because they probably lost their Oscar pool if they used me as a guide.
Ellen started things off in her usual style, making some killer jokes while also keeping things light and fun. Continue reading