Oscar is here. Celebs, newbies, rising stars and movie execs have the heebie-jeebies. It’s award season. The classy peeps say things like, “It’s not about winning, it is an honor just to be nominated.” Yeah, sure. Everyone knows about the money boost and accolades that come with getting the gold at the big kahuna of awards: the Oscars.
What’s titillating this year is the colossal competition. In years past, nominations were either meh or yawn — made up of the best we had to choose from at the time. Not so with this year’s talent.
Let’s analyze. It was inevitable we’d see some egregious snubs, but we also have a good crystal ball for what we’ll see on March 2 at the 86th Academy Awards ceremony. Jan. 12 through Jan. 18 gave us some pretty helpful hints in the form of the Golden Globes (GG), the Critics’ Choice Awards (CC) and the Screen Actors Guild Awards (SAG). And there was also the Academy’s announcement of this year’s nominees. Here’s our breakdown for the big night.
The closest race is between “American Hustle,” chosen as best comedy by GG and SAG, and “12 Years a Slave,” best drama by GG and CC. But let’s not discount the power of “Gravity,” which received 10 Oscar nominations. It could be the first sci-fi movie to win.
Snubbed: “Inside Llewyn Davis” and thank goodness. I hated that film. It was slow, dull, depressing and there was no character arc. Llewyn was the same flat note throughout. The incessant oohing and ahhing from some critics seemed like a bad case of “The Emperor’s New Clothes.”
Things are looking mighty good for Cate Blanchett for her turn in Woody Allen’s “Blue Jasmine.” She was chosen by GG, CC and SAG for best dramatic actress. She has serious competition in Sandra Bullock (for “Gravity”) and Meryl Streep (for “August: Osage County”).
Snubbed: Emma Thompson, “Saving Mr. Banks.” Streep was even surprised that Thompson was left out. “I was really shocked,” she told Ellen DeGeneres. I’m a fan of Thompson but all of the tweets about Disney being a misogynist soured me on that film, and besides that I nearly choked on the saccharine.
Matthew McConaughey (for “Dallas Buyers Club”) deserves the win. It was a tour de force. If it were not for his amazing talent in this demanding role, I would say Leo DiCaprio deserves to win for “The Wolf of Wall Street.” Leo does deserve it, but so does Christian Bale for “American Hustle” and Chiwetel Ejiofor for “12 Years a Slave.” I can’t even discount Bruce Dern because his performance in “Nebraska” is Oscar-worthy too. I have now named all five nominees. See what I mean? Nearly impossible to choose this year. I’ll go with McConaughey, who won GG, CC and SAG.
Snubbed: Forest Whitaker, whose performance was A+ in “Lee Daniels’ The Butler.” Tom Hanks was phenomenal in “Captain Phillips,” and Robert Redford was sadly left out for his turn in “All Is Lost.”
Best Supporting Actress
I have three words: Jennifer Lawrence wins. In “American Hustle,” Amy Adams was fun, but Lawrence ran everybody over with a truck. GG are on her side. Now, there is a slight chance of upset by newcomer Lupita Nyong’o for “12 Years a Slave.” She’s Oscar-worthy and the mostly white Academy might be feeling shame for their evil ancestors. Besides that, Lupita was the best-dressed actress at the GG in her daring and stylish red gown. She won the hearts and votes of CC and SAG.
Snubbed: Oprah Winfrey, who plays Whitaker’s wife in “Lee Daniels’ The Butler,” was dissed by the Academy. Honestly, though, it was not a demanding a role except for one scene where she slaps her son silly for dissing dad. She was good but she wasn’t awesome, and this year awesome matters.
Best Supporting Actor
Some of the best turns this year fall into this category. Barkdad Abdi as the Somalian pirate in “Captain Phillips,” Bradley Cooper in “American Hustle,” Michael Fassbender in “12 Years a Slave,” but I’ll have to go with Jared Leto for “Dallas Buyers Club.” His heartbreaking performance won over the GG, CC and SAG, and dammit he deserves it. The tragedy for me is that Jonah Hill deserves the Oscar, too. If only he were running at a different time; I’d give it to him hands down.
Snubbed: John Goodman makes a habit of stealing movies from leading men in cameos. He blew me away in “Inside Llewyn Davis.” He sucked every eyeball towards him and never let go in every moment of his sparse screen time. Woody Harrelson in “Out of the Furnace” chewed up the scenery like a wood chipper. He was scary. The Academy has stayed far away from that film. Sad. It was so good. But now it is embroiled in a lawsuit with a Native American tribe. Daniel Bruhl was thought to be a possibility for the little-seen movie about Formula 1 racing, “Rush.”
There’s lots of high hope for Alonso Cuarón for “Gravity.” Almost the entire movie takes place in space via CGI, so it could be Cuarón is getting a little too much credit. Don’t get me wrong, it’s good. Cuarón was the choice for GG and CC. As you know, SAG only votes on actors. Personally, I want Scorsese to go home with the Oscar for “The Wolf of Wall Street.” He had the most demanding job of all the directors. He also picked the best acting talent, then wove it into a seamless, ruthless, albeit long, unflinching head rush. David O. Russell is another force to consider for his much-loved, totally entertaining masterpiece “American Hustle.” As with the lotto, hey, you never know.
Snubbed: Woody Allen got nary a nod for “Blue Jasmine,” but I’m not devastated. It really wasn’t the brilliant director’s best. Without Cate Blanchett it could’ve bombed. I can’t help but wonder if voters have seen the vicious tweets flying around about Allen, but the accusations are nothing new. Spike Jonze was snubbed for “Her,” but was that unjust? I think not. With so much competition this year, that film wasn’t up to snuff. Paul Greengrass got slighted for a phenomenal job with “Captain Phillips.” Most surprising is Lee Daniels for “Lee Daniels’ The Butler,” which has been completely ignored by the Academy.
Who do you think was snubbed? And who will win the Oscars?