The Bock’s Office: Oscar Sunday is a fun day
February 27, 2014
The time is nigh for the red carpet crowd as the 86th annual Academy Awards approaches, promising a night of glitz and glamour for folks in love with a little golden man named Oscar.
Some recipients are all but a certainty, but there always are surprises in store in every category, so here's my breakdown of how the night probably will go.
Let's start with the awards that I never have and most people have no idea how to gauge, because of a lack of availability of documentaries, shorts or what differentiates greatness in sound design from the merely adequate.
In other words, your guess is as good as mine, folks.
Best Documentary Feature — "The Act of Killing"
Best Documentary Short Subject — "The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life"
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Best Live Action Short Film — "Avant Que de Tout Perdre (Just Before Losing Everything)"
Best Animated Short Film — "Feral"
Best Sound Editing — "Gravity"
Best Sound Mixing — "Gravity"
Now we get into territory where you can tell how the trends of previous awards ceremonies as well as the honors presented by movie industry societies, guilds and other groups could affect the outcome. Still, anything can happen …
Best Editing — Alfonso Cuarón and Mark Sanger, "Gravity"
A technical achievement like "Gravity" is likely to win a lot of trophies for behind-the-scenes work. Although it may not sweep the night in all 10 categories, it's a pretty good bet on this one.
Best Cinematography — Emmanuel Lubezki, "Gravity"
See the above commentary and double the sentiment.
Best Makeup and Hairstyling — Adruitha Lee and Robin Matthews, "Dallas Buyers Club"
You've got to love the fact that Johnny Knoxville's saggy turkey neck from "Bad Grandpa" is included among the nominees, but voters likely will go more for the makeup techniques that make an HIV patient look convincingly emaciated and give a man who's becoming a woman just the right amount of androgyny.
Best Original Score — Steven Price, "Gravity"
Price's tense score has garnered a lot of praise, but he's going up against heavy hitters John Williams for "The Book Thief," Thomas Newman for "Saving Mr. Banks" and Alexandre Desplat for "Philomena." First-time nominees William Butler and Owen Pallett — "Her" — may just be able to split the vote in their favor over the veterans.
Best Original Song — Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, "Let It Go" from "Frozen"
The Academy received criticism when it revoked the nomination of the titular tune from the Christian faith-based movie "Alone Yet Not Alone." You can't blame them for trying so hard to lobby for it, but either way, it didn't stand a chance against the Disney powerhouse sung by Idina Menzel.
Best Visual Effects — Tim Webber, Chris Lawrence, David Shirk and Neil Corbould, "Gravity"
In case I haven't made my point yet, consider the fact that a film about regular astronauts is up against a superhero, a dragon, a Western legend and the USS Enterprise. Yeah, it's still the best.
Best Costume Design — Patricia Norris, "12 Years a Slave"
Period pieces are always the favorite here, and Norris' clothing of the antebellum American South just edges out the fashions of the gawdy 1920s and '70s in "The Great Gatsby" and "American Hustle," respectively. But, don't count out the story of the wife of Charles Dickens in "The Invisible Woman" or the martial arts marvel "The Grandmaster."
Best Production Design — Catherine Martin and Beverly Dunn, "The Great Gatsby"
Bringing F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel to life in terms of design is a worthy endeavor even if the film itself isn't.
Best Foreign Language Film — "The Great Beauty"
This entry from Italy has echoes of Federico Fellini and other filmmakers from the country and has a good shot at winning, but pictures from Belgium, Denmark, Cambodia and Palestine certainly are in the race.
Best Animated Feature — "Frozen"
The odds are heavily in favor of Disney's latest fairy tale, but less mainstream cartoons like "Ernest & Celestine" and "The Wind Rises" could prove to be a dark horse.
Best Adapted Screenplay — John Ridley, "12 Years a Slave"
Billy Ray may have gotten recognition from his fellow writers for "Captain Phillips," but the true saga of Solomon Northup, along with Ridley's fine treatment, are more likely to elicit votes.
Best Original Screenplay — Spike Jonze, "Her"
The quirkiest of all the entries also is the one that seems destined to take the win thanks to Jonze's typically atypical look at love. Pretty impressive for someone going up against someone like Woody Allen, whose nod for writing "Blue Jasmine" brings his total tally of nominations to two dozen.
Best Supporting Actress — Lupita Nyong'o, "12 Years a Slave"
It's between Nyong'o and Jennifer Lawrence, and as amazing as J. Law was as the neglected wife of "American Hustle," the virtual unknown who almost stole the show of "12 Years a Slave" gave a stronger performance.
Best Supporting Actor — Jared Leto, "Dallas Buyers Club"
Leto has taken home most of the major acting awards so far as the tragic transgender individual who pitches in to help AIDS patients, and there's no reason to think he won't win one more. It doesn't hurt that his competition is far less sympathetic: a plantation owner, an amoral stockbroker, a pirate and a dimwitted FBI agent.
Best Actress — Cate Blanchett, "Blue Jasmine"
Out of all five nominees, none was so lost in their character as Blanchett as the self-centered, neurotic mess of "Blue Jasmine." Amy Adams may have a chance for her work as the manipulative heroine of "American Hustle," but it doesn't seem likely.
Best Actor — Chiwetel Ejiofor, "12 Years a Slave"
Matthew McConaughey has dominated many of the awards shows so far for his work in "Dallas Buyers Club," but Ejiofor seems primed to come from behind. Of course, if we're to believe a photo leaked earlier this month, Leonardo DiCaprio's already got it in in the bag.
But wouldn't it be just like "The Wolf of Wall Street" to lie to you?
Best Director — Alfonso Cuarón, "Gravity"
Just as Ang Lee did with "Life of Pi" last year, so did Cuarón with the science fiction smash hit that proved immensely entertaining and inventive. The fact that he received the top prize from the Directors Guild of America didn't hurt either.
Best Picture — "12 Years a Slave"
The Golden Globes, Critics' Choice Awards and BAFTA Awards all deemed it the best of 2013, and out of all nine nominees, it truly does have the best chance to win the biggest honor of Oscar night. However, let's keep in mind that last year gave us a huge shock when the name "Argo" was called to conclude the evening, proving there is no 100 percent certainty.
No matter what or whom you're rooting for, enjoy the show.
Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com.
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