Oscars picking competition, anyone?


As the bright young things – and not so bright, or so young – get their final waxes, body wraps, facials, fillers and frock adjustments, I invite you to take part in the annual lottery that is tipping the Oscar winners. I offer my tips below. Let me know yours before the show.

Cliff took this pic.
Cliff took this pic.

Best Picture

  • 12 Years a Slave
  • American Hustle
  • Captain Phillips
  • Dallas Buyers Club
  • Gravity
  • Her
  • Nebraska
  • Philomena
  • The Wolf of Wall Street

I loved Gravity, even though George Clooney wasn’t in it that long and doesn’t exactly look his best in a spacesuit. People also worry about its lack of plot. I was more worried about Sandra Bullock’s heavy breathing. Reminded me of Kate Winslet in Titanic. Anyway, I don’t think Gravity will win. Or Titanic. Hollywood loves noble, so I’m going with 12 Years a Slave.

Matthew McConaughey, as we used to know and love him Picture by Vintage Gazette
Matthew McConaughey, as we used to know and love him
Picture by Vintage Gazette

Best Actor

  • Christian Bale (American Hustle)
  • Bruce Dern (Nebraska)
  • Leonardo DiCaprio (Wolf of Wall Street)
  • Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave)
  • Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club)

The Academy loves a career revival and actors who suffer for their art. Romantic comedy lead reinvents himself as serious actor. Tick. And loses 25 kilos for the role. Tick. Here’s your Oscar, Matthew McConaughey.

A colleague asked me to say something nice about Leo. So here goes… He… He … Nuh, can’t do it.

She won an Oscar for this? Picture by RSmagazine
She won an Oscar for this?
Picture by RSmagazine

Best Actress

  • Amy Adams (American Hustle)
  • Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine)
  • Sandra Bullock (Gravity)
  • Judi Dench (Philomena)
  • Meryl Streep (August: Osage County)

This is the award Cate Blanchett should have won 15 years ago but Gwyneth Bloody Paltrow stole it and gave a crap speech. Order will be restored. The only person that can stop Cate from winning this time round is Woody Allen.

Best Supporting Actor

Jared Leto by NRK P3
Part-time actor, full time indie rock god, Jared Leto.
Picture by NRK P3.
  • Barkhad Abdi (Captain Phillips)
  • Bradley Cooper (American Hustle)
  • Michael Fassbender (12 Years a Slave)
  • Jonah Hill (Wolf of Wall Street)
  • Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club)

Career revivals don’t come bigger than this. Jared Leto acts so little these days one magazine referred to him as an ‘indie rocker turned actor’. He too lost a stack of weight. And played a transgender woman. And has lovely eyes. Can not be beaten.

Lupita Nyong'o. Picture by gdcgraphics.
Lupita Nyong’o.
Picture by gdcgraphics.

Best Supporting Actress

  • Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle)
  • Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave)
  • Julia Roberts (August: Osage County)
  • June Squibb (Nebraska)
  • Sally Hawkins (Blue Jasmine)

Julia Roberts deserves something for coming up with 57 ways of saying “Eat the fish”. If Jennifer Lawrence wins, she’ll join an elite groups of actors —  including Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn and Tom Hanks — to win two consecutive gold blokes. But my money’s on newcomer Lupita Nyong’o to win Best Supporting Actress. And Best Frock.

Best Director

  • Martin Scorsese (The Wolf of Wall Street)
  • David O. Russell (American Hustle)
  • Alfonso Cuarón (Gravity)
  • Alexander Payne (Nebraska)
  • Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave)

Even though getting George Clooney to float off into oblivion was a very poor directorial choice, Alfonso Cuarón gets my vote for making space seem so, like, you know, atmospheric.

Please guys. Can we stop at three? Picture by Nocturne
Please guys. Can we stop at three?
Picture by Nocturne

Best Adapted Screenplay

  • John Ridley (12 Years a Slave)
  • Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke & Richard Linklater (Before Midnight)
  • Terence Winter (The Wolf of Wall Street)
  • Billy Ray (Captain Phillips)
  • Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope (Philomena)

Anything but the self-indulgent twaddle that was Before Midnight. I’d love to think Philomena could pull off a win here because Steve Coogan would make a very entertaining speech but I think it’ll be another one for 12 Years a Slave.

Best Original Screenplay

  • David O. Russell and Eric Singer (American Hustle)
  • Bob Nelson (Nebraska)
  • Spike Jonze (Her)
  • Craig Borten & Melisa Wallack (Dallas Buyers Club)
  • Woody Allen (Blue Jasmine)

American Hustle gave its ensemble cast some ripper lines, like “She was the Picasso of passive-aggressive karate.” Whatever that means. Gets my vote.

Best Foreign Film

  • Denmark, The Hunt
  • Belgium, The Broken Circle Breakdown
  • Italy, The Great Beauty
  • Palestine, Omar
  • Cambodia, The Missing Picture

Isn’t there always a film called Omar in this category? Italy is my favourite country of the ones listed here, so I’m going with The Great Beauty. Informed commentary this.

Tahrir Square, where the Arab Spring sprang. Picture by Hossam el-Hamalawy
Tahrir Square, where the Arab Spring sprang.
Picture by Hossam el-Hamalawy

Best Documentary Feature

  • 20 Feet from Stardom
  • The Act of Killing
  • Dirty Wars 
  • The Square 
  • Cutie and the Boxer

Egypt could use a win right now. So I’m going for The Square, as much as I like the sound of 20 Feet from Stardom. 

Best Animated Feature

  • The Wind Rises
  • Frozen
  • Despicable Me 2
  • The Croods
  • Ernest & Celestine

I haven’t seen Frozen yet which makes me a Very Bad Parent but I suspect it will clean up here. See how I neatly dodged all the ice and cold puns? I could have said Frozen will ice its opposition, or put its competition out in the cold. But I didn’t go there.

Film Editing

  • American Hustle
  • Captain Phillips
  • Dallas Buyers Club
  • Gravity
  • 12 Years a Slave

Can’t see Gravity going down in any of these sorts of categories. Boom-tish.

Pouting because of the Oscar snub
Pouting because of the Oscar snub

Best Song

  • Alone Yet Not Alone” (Alone Yet Not Alone)
  • “Happy” (Despicable Me 2)
  • “Let It Go” (Frozen)
  • “The Moon Song” (Her)
  • “Ordinary Love” (Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom)

How is Lana Del Ray not nominated for Young and Beautiful from Gatsby? Awesome song. Happy is an ear worm that makes my face ache. The Moon Song just sounds like all kinds of wrong. I’m going with Let It Go, which is about as blah as a song can get, but it’s the earnest kind of ditty that always does well here.

Come on. Like I wasn't going to work in a picture of Clooney? Picture by Mark Mathosian.
Come on. Like I wasn’t going to work in a picture of Clooney?
Picture by Mark Mathosian.

Best Original Score

  • John Williams (The Book Thief)
  • Steven Price (Gravity)
  • Alexandre Desplat (Philomena)
  • Thomas Newman (Saving Mr. Banks)
  • William Butler and Owen Pallett (Her)

Sandra Bullock getting George Clooney alone in a spaceship has to be the best score of the year, so I’m going with Gravity.

Best Cinematography

  • Philippe Le Sourd (The Grandmaster)
  • Emmanuel Lubezki (Gravity)
  • Bruno Delbonnel (Inside Llewyn Davis)
  • Roger Deakins (Prisoners)
  • Phedon Papamichael (Nebraska)

Gravity. For the 15-minute unbroken opening shot, the techy brilliance and the sheer wowness of the imagery. And George Clooney. No contest.

American Hustle by Cristina BaltaretuCostume Design

  • American Hustle
  • The Grandmaster
  • The Great Gatsby
  • The Invisible Woman
  • 12 Years A Slave

American Hustle deserves an honourable mention for strategic use of Hollywood tape. How Amy Adams didn’t fall out of each and every one of her outfits is a feat probably worthy of a special effects nomination as well. But for sheer lushness, elegance and floaty drape drape — and because Catherine Martin is an Aussie — I’m going with Gatsby.

Makeup and Hairstyling

  • The Lone Ranger
  • Dallas Buyers Club
  • Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa

Why are there only ever three movies nominated in hair and makeup? And why is one of them a Jackass flick? I read that Dallas Buyers Club makeup artist Robin Matthews had just $250 to work with for this movie and borrowed cornmeal and grits from her mum to give Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto that sick pasty look. That wins for me.

Production Design

  • American Hustle
  • Gravity
  • The Great Gatsby
  • Her
  • 12 Years a Slave

Gatsby, Gravity, Gatsby, Gravity. 

Gatsby it is.

Gravity by Lester Public LibrarySound Editing

  • All is Lost
  • Captain Phillips
  • Gravity
  • The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
  • Lone Survivor

Gravity will rise above the competition in these techy awards. And I should be writing newspaper headlines.

Sound Mixing

  • Captain Phillips
  • Gravity
  • The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
  • Lone Survivor
  • Inside Llewyn Davis

See above. Just the first sentence anyway.

Visual Effects

  • Gravity
  • The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
  • Iron Man 3
  • The Lone Ranger
  • Star Trek Into Darkness

Absolute no brainer. Gravity. It had all that space stuff. And techy brilliance. And five years of planning. And George Clooney’s a wonderful visual effect to have in any movie.

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

The Voorman Problem. For no particular reason except it’s an intriguing title. Hard to say it without doing a rabbit impersonation. Try it.

An Oscar for Mickey? Picture by Doug Kline.
An Oscar for Mickey?
Picture by Doug Kline.

Short Film, Animated

  • Feral
  • Get a Horse!
  • Mr. Hublot
  • Possessions
  • Room on the Broom

Retro’s so hot right now. And what’s hotter than retro Mickey? Get a Horse!

Documentary Short Subject

  • 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

Purely on title, The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life. Sounds uplifting.

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