MovieBob - Intermission
MovieBob's 2014 Oscar Handicap

Bob "MovieBob" Chipman | 28 Feb 2014 17:13
MovieBob - Intermission - RSS 2.0
her-movie

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

American Hustle
Blue Jasmine
Dallas Buyers Club
Her
Nebraska

My bet: This will be the win for Her, which has been widely praised by critics and industry pros, but faces an uphill battle in all other categories because its central premise (a man enters into a romantic relationship with the Siri-esque artificial intelligence that runs his home computer network) is so outside the comprehension of The Academy's older, traditional ruling bloc. The writer's bloc, on the other hand, loves it's small-scale character pieces and writer/director Spike Jonze in general.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

Before Midnight
Captain Philips
Philomena
12 Years a Slave
The Wolf of Wall Street

I get the sense that Slave's name was stamped on this months ago.

BEST PICTURE

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

Despite the nine nominees, there's really only four films realistically competing for this prize: Wolf, Hustle, Slave and Gravity. The others are a good crop, but they're mostly just more "actor's films" reflecting the Academy membership's heavy slant in that direction.

Of those four, Gravity is the dark horse - the film that simply wouldn't be here if it weren't a major hit with two former winners in the cast. That also makes it a potential spoiler - until the various Guilds started voting, it was assumed that this was going to be another year of vote-splitting with Hustle pulling out a win as the "safe" universal second-choice while the others were too divisive (Wolf is too "dirty," Slave is too violent, too grim, too... well, black) and canceled each other out.

But Gravity's status as an audience fave and crowd pleaser (it was THE "gotta see it on the big screen!" movie last year) has worked in its favor, and as a hard sci-fi drama making bank with an over-40 female lead it possibly siphons off some of Slave's "make a statement" votes. My heart is with Wolf (real talk: whoever wins just becomes another Dances With Wolves "Stole Scorsese's Oscar" movies six months from now) while my money would be on Slave, but if an upset is in the offing Gravity would be the one.

gravity

BEST DIRECTOR

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

In my mind, the preferred outcome here is for Scorsese to win even though he likely won't take Best Picture; both because I think he deserves it and because it'll feel appropriate six months from now when the Cinephile Zeitgeist enshrines Wolf as the "should-have-won" of the year. However, that's probably not going to happen.

My sense is still that Best Picture is going to go either to Slave or Gravity (with the caveat that the "extremes" of both could split the vote and turn the otherwise non-starter Hustle into the default winner) and that if so whichever director's film "loses" there will win here. That means I lean toward Gravity here, because it's the most obviously a "director's film" in terms of its technical thrills.

RELATED CONTENT
Comments on