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Oscars Eve 2014


Five of the top contenders from this year's awards.
Five of the top contenders from this year’s awards.

I’ve often written about the Oscars in the past, and haven’t said much about it this year. So now, on the night before the big show, here’s some thoughts on this year’s crop of movies that are nominated:

Best Picture

I’ve seen three out of the nine nominees this year — Gravity, American Hustle and Her. Given where I am and how hard it is to get the movies, this isn’t a bad score for me, but I suspect it probably won’t be any of those movies, even though I expect they will all win something.

But the most likely candidate is of course 12 Years a Slave. It has everything Oscars want — serious subject matter, top writing, directing, performances. Perfect Oscar material. I will see it — and it’s likely in that category of “see it because it’s good, but never see it again”, because it’s just that kind of intense movie.

Best Director

Should it be a shoe-in for Steve McQueen for 12 Years? You’d think so especially if Picture goes as above, but it wouldn’t be the first time that the top prizes were split, and in the lead up this year Alfonso Cuaron has won many times for Gravity even if Gravity couldn’t get Best Picture. And it might just be Cuaron — I think the directors that vote for this are so impressed by the all-round creative/technical achievements in Gravity that they want to give him the top prize. Really only two candidates have a chance in this one, it could go either way.

Best Actor

This seems reasonably open, though with a slight favourite. After starting to watch True Detective on TV this week, it strikes me that Matthew McConaughey might just win the Best Actor Oscar and Best Drama Acting Emmy in the same calendar year. I haven’t seen Dallas Buyers Club, but the “great physical transformation” is what Oscar voters have always loved, and what is probably going to land him the prize.

Best Actress

Now I’ve seen Gravity, and I loved Sandra Bullock in the role, and it’s rare for a role to so singularly define a movie, so I would love to see her win for that. But it seems like Cate Blanchett will win for Blue Jasmine — and that’s fine with me too 🙂 “Our Cate” is thoroughly brilliant and thoroughly deserving. You probably can’t rule out Amy Adams for American Hustle entirely (in another year she might have won this, and will eventually win for something), but it’s probably Cate’s year.

Best Supporting Actor

See McConaughey above — it seems the slight favourite in this category is Jared Leto for Dallas Buyers Club. Another incredible physical transformation and “all encompassing” role.

Best Supporting Actress

Much harder to say for this one. Some would say Jennifer Lawrence in American Hustle — a small but crucial and flashy role written just for her, but Lupita Nyong’o in 12 Years a Slave may have some critical and popular momentum to be the classic unknown upset winner in this category.

Writing categories

A personal favourite of mine and this year I hope the winners are clear. John Ridley seems undoubtedly the winner for Adapted Screenplay for 12 Years a Slave and while I haven’t seen that work he’s done a lot of good things over time (including some comics even). And since I’ve seen it, if Spike Jonze can get anything for Her, it seems most likely it will be Best Original Screenplay. Her is a brilliantly written movie, measured and humanistic science fiction that is such a rarity. Filmed science fiction is almost never about people and relationships, but Her pulls it off so well.

Technical Categories

This is where Gravity will most likely clean up. Visual Effects for sure, and probably sound and editing and other related areas. All the way.


Being the first year in quite a while that a Pixar movie isn’t even nominated, I think it’s likely that Frozen will win — and deservedly so. I took my boys to see this in January, and despite being superficially “girlish”, we were all very impressed. Loved to hear Kristin Bell singing for really the first time, and it’s a wonderful twist on the classic “Disney Princess” story. It seems likely that “Let it Go” from the movie will win for Original song as well.


So I’ll have to see how it all goes… as always I’m at work when the show is on (live on free to air here this year I see), but I’ll watch some of the stupidly late replay in the night. Don’t know if I’ll “keep it secret” or not, but it’s always good to leave a few of the awards till later. Or maybe just record it for once and see… It’s always a show I enjoy.

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