2014 Awards Season: Oscars Understand the Gravity of the Situation

Gravity poster

The Oscar nominations were announced this morning and there are some surprises mixed in with the predictable results. Gravity and American Hustle led the way with ten nominations each while 12 Years a Slave was right behind with nine. The fact that 12 Years a Slave wasn't the leader is the first of the surprises.

The categories and nominations are...

BEST PICTURE

DIRECTING

BEST ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE

BEST ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

BEST ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

BEST ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

BEST WRITING - ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

BEST WRITING - ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

BEST DOCUMENTARY - FEATURE LENGTH

BEST DOCUMENTARY - SHORT FILM

  • CaveDigger
  • Facing Fear
  • Karama Has No Walls
  • The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life
  • Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall
SHORT FILM - LIVE ACTION

  • Aquel No Era Yo (That Wasn't Me)
  • Avant Que De Tout Perdre (Just Before Losing Everything)
  • Helium
  • Pitääkö Mun Kaikki Hoitaa? (Do I Have to Take Care of Everything?)
  • The Voorman Problem
SHORT FILM - ANIMATED

  • Feral
  • Get a Horse!
  • Mr. Hublot
  • Possessions
  • Room on the Broom
BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN CINEMATOGRAPHY

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN PRODUCTION DIRECTING

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN COSTUME DESIGN

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN MAKEUP

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN VISUAL EFFECTS

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN EDITING

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN SOUND EDITING

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN SOUND MIXING

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN MUSIC - ORIGINAL SCORE

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN MUSIC - ORIGINAL SONG

Notes and Reactions...

Going category by category, my initial reactions were.

    Best Picture:

  • I think 12 Years a Slave is the favorite here, but American Hustle isn't that much of an underdog.
  • I'm glad Gravity earned a nomination, but I think its genre will kill its chances. It's a cerebral Sci-fi film, but it is still a Sci-fi film.
  • Directing:

  • This is a two-person race. Alfonso Cuaron will win for Gravity if the voters can get over the fact that it is Sci-fi. Steve McQueen will win for 12 Years a Slave otherwise.
  • David O. Russell might win, if American Hustle becomes the big winner and carries him as part of a wave.
  • Best Actress in a Lead Role:

  • This is Amy Adams's fifth nomination in under a decade. However, she hasn't won yet and she's an underdog this year. Granted, she could win if that aforementioned American Hustle wave builds.
  • On the other hand, most people think Cate Blanchett is the heavy favorite to win for Blue Jasmine.
  • Best Actor in a Lead Role:

  • I really want Chiwetel Ejiofor to win for 12 Years a Slave, but I think Matthew McConaughey has taken the lead.
  • Actually, I really want Bruce Dern to win for Nebraska, but he's a long shot.
  • Best Actor in a Supporting Role:

  • Jared Leto is the favorite to win for Dallas Buyers Club, but I think this could be an upset as Michael Fassbender has a legitimate shot to win for 12 Years a Slave.
  • Best Actress in a Supporting Role:

  • Looks like a two-woman race between Lupita Nyong'o for 12 Years a Slave and Jennifer Lawrence for American Hustle. I think the former has the lead over the latter, mainly because the latter won last year.
  • Original Screenplay:

  • David O. Russell and Eric Warren Singer will likely win for American Hustle, but Spike Jonze could upset and win for Her.
  • Adapted Screenplay:

  • John Ridley is a pretty safe bet to win for 12 Years a Slave.
  • Feature-Length Animated Film:

  • This is a two-way race between Frozen and The Wind Rises, with the latter the sentimental favorite.
  • The Croods got a nomination, but not Monsters University? Really?
  • Foreign Language Film:

  • This is a notoriously difficult category to predict, but the evidence suggests The Great Beauty is the favorite.
  • Documentary: Feature Length:

  • The Act of Killing appears to be the favorite while 20 Feet from Stardom has a good chance as well.
  • If you asked people yesterday who the favorite was, it would have been Sarah Polley for Stories We Tell, but she wasn't even nominated.
  • Documentary: Short Film
    Short Film: Live Action
    Short Film: Animated

  • These three categories are notoriously difficult to predict. It will take a bit of research to come up with even an educated guess.
  • Cinematography:

  • When it comes to the technical categories, things get a lot harder to predict. Gravity appears to be the favorite here, mainly because 12 Years a Slave was thought to be the film's biggest competition, and it wasn't even nominated.
  • Art Direction:

  • This category usually goes to films that recreate the past, like 12 Years a Slave, or have a unique setting that is hard to recreate, like Gravity.
  • That said, The Great Gatsby did both. It had to recreate the 1920s and had to do so in an incredibly garish way. It will likely win.
  • Costume Design:

  • Likewise, this category comes down to recreating the past in an understated way, 12 Years a Slave, or in an over-the-top way, The Great Gatsby. I think the latter wins this time.
  • Makeup:

  • Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa earned an Oscar nomination for hair and makeup, but The Great Gatsby didn't? Really?
  • I guess Dallas Buyers Club is the favorite, but mainly because the favorite wasn't nominated.
  • Visual Effects:

  • It's not often you have a Best Picture nominee in this category. Gravity should win.
  • Editing

  • Gravity is one of the best movies of the year, but because it is Sci-fi, it is likely a long-shot for Best Picture. That said, it could clean up in the technical categories, including this one.
  • Sound Editing:

  • Every single year, I have to research the difference between the two sound categories. It's like I have a hole in my brain where that information is supposed to be stored. If I'm correct, Sound Editing is for sound effects, while Sound Mixing is for placing those effects in the audio track to maximize the effect.
  • ... Yes, I cut and paste that part from last year. It saves time.
  • Gravity again.
  • Sound Mixing:

  • And again.
  • Original Score:

  • I thought 12 Years a Slave would win here, but it wasn't nominated. I think that leaves Gravity as the favorite.
  • Original Song:

  • "Let It Go" from Frozen looks like the overwhelming favorite here. "Happy" from Despicable Me 2 is likely the second choice, so animated films produced the top two choices.

- C.S.Strowbridge


Date posted: 2014-01-16