My Oscars Picks

This one of my favorite days of the year, and it should be for all fans of movies like myself, The Oscars (I know it is called the Academy Awards, but The Oscars sound a lot better, in my opinion). Each year I make my pics which movie, actor/actress, director, etc. is going to win, and after they announce the awards I either give them love mail, or hate letters (people enjoy my hate letters or rants) about it. This year i have to say is a great selection on movies. Not one movie earned my star rating of less than 3 stars, but most of the movies niminated have my rating of 4 to 5 stars. As for the actors/actress and directors, there really is no one that were snubbed of a nomination (maybe a few minor ones, but nothing as serious as Ben Affleck being snubbed of a Best Director nomination). I look at the Golden Globes movie winners and definitely use as a reference for my pics, and there has been cases where I agree with the Golden Globes more than the Oscars or vice versa. I have a good feeling this year I will agree with The Oscars more this year, especially when this year the Golden Globes snubbed Jonah Hill, and the Oscars didn’t. My picks for last year were pretty spot on (I got lucky with a few of them, can’t lie), and without further ado, here are my Oscar picks:

Best Picture

Philomena 3 Stars out of 5 (Hans’ Rating)
Nebraska 3 Stars
Dallas Buyers Club 3 Stars
Her 4 Stars
The Wolf of Wall Street 4 Stars
12 Years a Slave 4 Stars
Captain Phillips 4.5 Stars
American Hustle 5 Stars
Gravity 5 Stars

A couple snubs here where I couldn’t believe The Butler and Fruitvale Station were not even considered. Both movies are on my top 10 of best movies of 2013, but it is what it is. As I said before all the movies nominated were pretty decent movies, but only three of them really stands out to me and that is Captain Phillips, American Hustle, and Gravity. American Hustle I enjoyed the story, the 70’s vibe it gives, the acting and clothes, the humor, and that thrilling moment where they meet DiNiro’s character as Victor Tellegio, but the movie a movie to be the best they had to present something new, and American hustle didn’t really do that, but it was still enjoyable to watch. Both Gravity and Captain Phillips brought up the edge of your seat thrills, along with great acting and direction, what separates the two is that in Captain Phillips, the thrilling edge has lest in the last part of the movie. It got to a point where I’m like, all right, save this guy already. Gravity was thrilling, from beginning to end, you wasn’t sure if Bullock was going to make it or not. Plus the great special effects, and great acting by Sandra Bullock, I think this movie was the best of 2013. However, the Oscars love their history in movies and 12 Years a Slave is one getting a lot of buzz, but i’m sticking with my guns on this one. Gravity is one of those movies that really changes the way we see movies, and to me that what makes a great movie.

My Pick: Gravity (60% sure of it)

Best Director

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

All directors deserving of this nomination, but one director really stands out from the rest. That is Alfonso Cuaron for Gravity. The special effects, the sound and the sound mixing, the production design, the acting was all great and Cuaron made this movie as realistic for an astronaut in space as he can. Even real astronauts that actually went to space admitted that this movie is as real as it gets when you go to space. Cuaron created a masterpiece in this movie, and he deserves to win this Oscar. If anybody else wins it I will go on a rage, and question the relevence of the Oscars big time. Cuaron no question here. (Get use to me gushing over gravity in almost every category, I apologize in advance)

My Pick: Alfonso Cuaron- Gravity (100% sure of it)

Best Actor

Christian Bale – American Hustle as Irving Rosenfeld
Bruce Dern – Nebraska as Woody Grant
Leonardo DiCaprio – The Wolf of Wall Street as Jordan Belfort
Chiwetel Ejiofor – 12 Years a Slave as Solomon Northup
Matthew McConaughey – Dallas Buyers Club as Ron Woodroof

Three names pops out of these group of nominations, and that is Leonardo DiCaprio, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Matthew McConaughey. For Ejiofor he acted with a lot of passion for 12 Years a Slave, and I strongly believe if he was nominated in another year, he would probably have won it. The buzz I hear goes to Matthew McConaughey and for good reason. When you watch the movie, you will be deeply surprised how much weight he lost playing an AIDS victim in the 80’s, but honestly I don’t see how hard it is to also play a Texas sellman, cuz he is from Texas. So I don’t believe he will get on the podium and say, “All right, all right, all right.” I believe this will be the year for Leonardo DiCaprio, and it’s about time. He deserved before with The Departed, Blood Diamond, and even Inception. However, in his role in The Wolf of Wall Street you see a completely different role then what you are used to in past DiCaprio movies. He still gives a powerful and intense presence as he usually does, but with a twist of him being a perverted dog, high on drugs (especially that one scene with the potent Quaaludes), and down right maniacal. really shows no vulnerability at all. It’s time to honor his acting, in my opinion, and I believe this is the year.

My Pick: Leonardio DiCaprio- The Wolf of Wall Street (75% sure of it)

Best Actress

Amy Adams – American Hustle as Sydney Prosser
Cate Blanchett – Blue Jasmine as Jeanette “Jasmine” Francis
Sandra Bullock – Gravity as Dr. Ryan Stone
Judi Dench – Philomena as Philomena Lee
Meryl Streep – August: Osage County as Violet Weston

Meryl Streep just need to retire and give other ladies a chance to get nominated, but who can blame her. She knows how to pick good roles for herself to act in. Two ladoes come to my mind in great acting and they are Amy Adams and Sandra Bullock. Amy Adams has been nominated plenty of times, just can’t get over the hump in winning one. Even though she did a great job in American Hustle playing a scumbag with a British accent that hangs guys by their balls, but I’m sorry Amy Adams, not this year. To me Sandra Bullock deserves to win because how she showed how scared she was during the whole movie, how vulnerable she was, and how determined she was. I believe she’s more deserving to win this for Best Actress more than her winning role in The Blind Side. However, the buzz is for Cate Blanchett in Blue Jasmine. I’m not a fan of the movie, and her acting to me was good in spurts, especially showing how crazy she can be. However, most of the movie I see her as a spoiled former rich lady, to me that’s not a making for an Oscar winner, but I’m conceding to the buzz on this one.

My Pick: Cate Blanchett- Blue Jasmine (80% sure of it)

Best Supporting Actor

Barkhad Abdi – Captain Phillips as Abduwali Muse
Bradley Cooper – American Hustle as Agent Richard “Richie” DiMaso
Michael Fassbender – 12 Years a Slave as Edwin Epps
Jonah Hill – The Wolf of Wall Street as Donnie Azoff
Jared Leto – Dallas Buyers Club as Rayon

These nominees list is the greatest I’ve seen for one category. I can’t get mad for the Oscars snubbing Will Forte in this category for Nebraska. There are all deserving of it, and each one can win it. I give props to Barkhad Abdi for playing in his first movie role as a Somalian pirate, and this must be a dream for him, winning it or not. Bradley Cooper playing an obsessive cop is seeing Cooper acting at his best, and loved his 70’s hair. Michael Fassbender playing a very intense slave owner can give you chills no matter what race you are. Jonah Hill playing a very quirky stick broker, and you see an acting side of him that you haven’t seen before, and I’m proud of him for that. (Kudos to the Oscars for nominating him, I don’t know what the Golden Globes were thinking in snubbing him for McConaughey who was only in the movie for 5 minutes.) Lastly Jared Leto playing a transvestite who is also a victim of AIDS in the 80’s. With today’s politics for homosexual rights, it is a big deal.

My Pick: Jared Leto- Dallas Buyers Club (80% sure of it)

Best Supporting Actress

Sally Hawkins – Blue Jasmine as Ginger
Jennifer Lawrence – American Hustle as Rosalyn Rosenfeld
Lupita Nyong’o – 12 Years a Slave as Patsey
Julia Roberts – August: Osage County as Barbara Weston-Fordham
June Squibb – Nebraska as Kate Grant

Two actress are truely deserving of winning. One is Lupita Nyong’o playing an abused slave. the passion she puts in her role is a great spectacle to watch. However, Jennifer Lawrence in American hustle is really getting all the buzz, and well deserved. You see a different side of Lawrence you haven’t seen before, and was a vital part in making the movie, American Hustle, great. Lawrence is starting to become a personal favorite actress of mine, and love seeing her succeed, cuz she works hard in making her roles she acts in great.

My Pick: Jennifer Lawrence- American Hustle (100% sure of it)

Best Original Screenplay

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

Here’s my way of thinking in winning the Best Original Screenplay. First, it can’t be about something that happened in real life, cuz it’s not that original. So that takes away American Hustle and Dallas Buyers Club. Second, you have to come up with an original unique idea. Third, the movie has to present itself powerfuly, because of your writing and memorable quotes. The words paint the original story. To me the one that stands out is Her. Her paints a picture of the future, and writes about an idea in the future where people fall in love with and AI that is designed to help you. Spike Jonze loves to create movies that can really mess your mind and wonder about the future, and Her definitely did that to me. I give credit to Spike Jonze for that, and that’s why he is deserving of this award.

My Pick: Her-Spike Jonze (90% sure of it)

Best Adapted Screenplay

Before Midnight – Richard LinklaterJulie Delpy, and Ethan Hawke
Captain Phillips – Billy Ray
Philomena – Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope
12 Years a Slave – John Ridley
The Wolf of Wall Street – Terence Winter

My way of thinking for Best Adapted Screenplay is to get the book, and paint the visual picture for the audience on how the book is meant to be watched. Captain Phillips and 12 Years a Slave has definitely done that in my opinion. The movie that really brought out the most emotion, in my opinion, is 12 Years a Slave. You feel the emotion in Ejiofor as Solomon in his 12 years being kidnapped as a slave, and then finally being freed to go back to his family. That movie did bring in power, and that is because of great writing. That’s why I believe this will win it.

My Pick: 12 Years a Slave- John Ridley (75% sure of it)

Best Animated Feature Film

The Croods – Kirk DeMiccoChris Sanders, and Kristine Belson
Despicable Me 2 – Pierre CoffinChris Renaud, and Chris Meledandri
Ernest & Celestine – Benjamin Renner and Didier Brunner
Frozen – Chris BuckJennifer Lee, and Peter Del Vecho
The Wind Rises – Hayao Miyazaki and Toshio Suzuki

First off, I believe Monsters University was the Best Animated Feature of the year 2013, and it got snubbed. So I disagree with some of these nominees. However, Frozen did go back to their Disney roots with this movie. They brought back songs that are catchy, and you see every kid singing one of their songs. The Croods was a good movie as well, but kids are still talking about Frozen, and I’m sure this will win it.

My Pick- Frozen (100% sure of it)

Best Foreign Film

The Broken Circle Breakdown (Belgium) in Dutch – Felix Van Groeningen
The Great Beauty (Italy) in Italian – Paolo Sorrentino
The Hunt (Denmark) in Danish – Thomas Vinterberg
The Missing Picture (Cambodia) in French – Rithy Panh
Omar (Palestine) in Arabic – Hany Abu-Assad

No love for The Grandmaster? I guess not, haven’t seen any of these movies (not a big fan of foreign films). But heard some buzz on The Great Beauty.

My Pick: The Great Beauty (30% sure of it)

Best Documentary-Feature

The Act of Killing – Joshua Oppenheimer and Signe Byrge Sørensen
20 Feet from Stardom – Morgan NevilleGil Friesen, and Caitrin Rogers
Cutie and the Boxer – Zachary Heinzerling and Lydia Dean Pilcher
Dirty Wars – Richard Rowley and Jeremy Scahill
The Square – Jehane Noujaim and Karim Amer

No love for Blackfish? The only documentary I seen this year? (Not a fan of documentaries either.) So I’m guessing The Act of Killing might win it, cuz I like how the title of this movie sounds..

My Pick: The Act of Killing (20% sure of it)

Best Documentary- Short Film

CaveDigger – Jeffrey Karoff
Facing Fear – Jason Cohen
Karama Has No Walls – Sara Ishaq
The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life – Malcolm Clarke and Nicholas Reed
Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall – Edgar Barens

Hadn’t seen any of these either, so I’m going with the movie with the title that really catches my attention.

My Pick: Karama Has No Walls (20% sure of it)

Best Live Action Short Film

Aquel no era yo (That Wasn’t Me) – Esteban Crespo
Avant que de tout perdre (Just Before Losing Everything) – Xavier Legrand and Alexandre Gavras
Helium – Anders Walter and Kim Magnusson
Pitääkö mun kaikki hoitaa? (Do I Have to Take Care of Everything?) – Selma Vilhunen and Kirsikka Saari
The Voorman Problem – Mark Gill and Baldwin Li

Haven’t seen any of these either, so picking for the same reason as last category.

My Pick: Helium (20% sure of it)

Best Animation Short Film

Feral – Daniel Sousa and Dan Golden
Get a Horse! – Lauren MacMullan and Dorothy McKim
Mr. Hublot – Laurent Witz and Alexandre Espigares
Possessions – Shuhei Morita
Room on the Broom – Max Lang and Jan Lachauer

Haven’t seen any of these either, so picking on the same reason as the last category.

My Pick: Feral (20% sure of it)

Best Original Score

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

Honestly, I believe this year in this category is weak this year. No movie score nominated has really caught my attention. Not even John Williams in The Book Thief. I did like Saving Mr. Banks, but their score is based off the score of the movie Mary Poppins, so it really isn’t that original. So I’m going for the score of my favorite movie of 2013. (If you don’t know by now, you haven’t been reading this in it’s entirety.)

My Pick: Gravity- Steven Price

Best Original Song

Happy” from Despicable Me 2 – Pharrell Williams
Let It Go” from Frozen – Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez
The Moon Song” from Her – Karen Orzolek and Spike Jonze
Ordinary Love” from Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom – U2

Two songs come to mind real quick. “Happy” from Despicable Me 2 and “Let It Go” from Frozen. The” Happy” song  is sung by one of my favorite artists in Pharrell Williams, and I have to say, that song is really catchy and it snuck on me of singing this song out loud. I would love to see Pharrell Williams winning an Oscar, but the buzz is the “Let It Go” song from Frozen. It is also catchy, and I’m hearing kids everywhere singing this song.

My Pick: “Let It Go” from Frozen Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robin Lopez

Best Sound Editing

All Is Lost – Steve Boeddeker and Richard Hymns
Captain Phillips – Oliver Tarney
Gravity – Glenn Freemantle
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug – Brent Burge and Chris Ward
Lone Survivor – Wylie Stateman

All movies are deserving of the nominations, and this one is a close call. But, I have to go with Gravity, cuz their sound really made you jump out of your seat.

My Pick: Gravity- Glenn Freemantle (50% sure of it)

Best Sound Mixing

Captain Phillips – Chris BurdonMark TaylorMike Prestwood Smith, and Chris Munro
Gravity – Skip LievsayNiv AdiriChristopher Benstead, and Chris Munro
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug – Christopher BoyesMichael HedgesMichael Semanick, andTony Johnson
Inside Llewyn Davis – Skip LievsayGreg Orloff, and Peter F. Kurland
Lone Survivor – Andy KoyamaBeau Borders, and David Brownlow

Once again all deserving of being nominated, but this one I’m almost sure Gravity should take this one. Why? Just one scene I can tell you where you hear a faint scream from Sandra Bullock, and that scream gets bigger and bigger until, BLAM, you see her fly across the screen, and her scream starts to faint again. That is some great sound mixing if you ask me.

My Pick: Gravity- Skip LievsayNiv AdiriChristopher Benstead, and Chris Munro (75% sure of it)

Best Production Design

American Hustle – Judy Becker (Production Design); Heather Loeffler (Set Decoration)
Gravity – Andy Nicholson (Production Design); Rosie Goodwin and Joanne Woollard (Set Decoration)
The Great Gatsby – Catherine Martin (Production Design); Beverley Dunn (Set Decoration)
Her – K. K. Barrett (Production Design); Gene Serdena (Set Decoration)
12 Years a Slave – Adam Stockhausen (Production Design); Alice Baker (Set Decoration)

This one is a tough one, because Gravity, The Great Gatsby, and Her were all beautifully designed and created something that is a fantasy unto something real. One that really captivated my eye was Her. It showed a beautiful scenery of a future Los Angeles with skyscraper and everything. Also the way they used colors in this movie was visually stunning. I have to go with this one.

My Pick: Her- K. K. Barrett (Production Design); Gene Serdena (Set Decoration) (50% sure of it)

Best Cinematography

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

All movies are deserving of this nomination. However, for Best Cinematography a movie has to be visually captivating from beginning to end, and the only movie in this category that does that for me is Gravity.

My Pick: Gravity- Emmanuel Lubezki (I’m 75% sure of it)

Best Make-Up and Hairstyling

Dallas Buyers Club – Adruitha Lee and Robin Mathews
Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa – Stephen Prouty
The Lone Ranger – Joel Harlow and Gloria Pasqua-Casny

Am I the only one who still can’t believe a Jackass movie is nominated for an Oscar. (SMH) For Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa they did make Johnny Knoxville almost look like a real old man, but if people really looked at his face, you can tell it is fake. The Lone Ranger is nominated, cuz of johnny Depp as Tonto and his Native American war paint on his face. Dallas Buyers Club really had to work hard in showing how sufferable  it is dying from AIDS, and they really made Jared Leto look like a real transvestite. Meaning, facewise, he did look like a women. I have to give credit where credit is due.

My Pick: Dallas Buyers Club- Adruitha Lee and Robin Mathews (I’m 75% sure of it)

Best Costume Design

American Hustle – Michael Wilkinson
The Grandmaster – William Chang Suk Ping
The Great Gatsby – Catherine Martin
The Invisible Woman – Michael O’Connor
12 Years a Slave – Patricia Norris

This comes down to two movies. American Hustle for painting a picture of the 70’s with their wardrobe , and The Great Gatsby for painting a picture of the 20’s with their wardrobe. As crazy as it sounds it came down to hair, and one movie had it all. That’s why American Hustle deserves it.

My Pick: American Hustle- Michael Wilkinson (I’m 80% sure of it)

Best Film Editing

American Hustle – Jay CassidyCrispin Struthers, and Alan Baumgarten
Captain Phillips – Christopher Rouse
Dallas Buyers Club – John Mac McMurphy[12] and Martin Pensa
Gravity – Alfonso Cuarón and Mark Sanger
12 Years a Slave – Joe Walker

To me a great film editing that is not easy to do is making a film that seems it all happened at one shot even though it wasn’t. That is great film editing. Gravity did that exact thing with their editing, and deserves this credit.

My Pick: Gravity- Alfonso Cuaron and Mark Sanger (100% sure of it)

Best Visual Effects

Gravity – Tim WebberChris LawrenceDave Shirk, and Neil Corbould
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug – Joe LetteriEric SaindonDavid Clayton, and Eric Reynolds
Iron Man 3 – Christopher TownsendGuy WilliamsErik Nash, and Dan Sudick
The Lone Ranger – Tim AlexanderGary BrozenichEdson Williams, and John Frazier
Star Trek Into Darkness – Roger GuyettPatrick TubachBen Grossmann, and Burt Dalton

All movies are deserving of this nominations, but I believe Man of Steel should of gotten the nod over The Lone Ranger in this category. But, not even Man of Steel would’ve won it because Gravity set a new bar in special effects, and deserve to win it. I love that movie so much, and it not only deserve this recognition with the nominations, but it deserves to win. Fingers crossed.

My Pick: Gravity-  Tim WebberChris LawrenceDave Shirk, and Neil Corbould (I’m 100% sure of it)


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