Oscars 2013
March 2, 2014, 9:46 pm
Filed under: film

What I think will win and should win — and a few random comments. It was, as has been widely noted, a very good year. I remember in 2005 being pretty nonplussed, after the awards, by Million Dolllar Baby, thinking that it was pretty good, but that Hollywood should be able to produce  ten or so films that good in a year, and a few a good bit better. Last year was the sort of thing I had in mind

Best original screenplay: Will win – American Hustle, because people like the film a lot, and the screenplay, while baggy, is part of the reason. Should win — Her, because it is  remarkable and fresh.

Best adapted screenplay: 12 Years a Slave should and will win. Its use of voice and idiolect is remarkable.

Best cinematography: Gravity should and will win. I’m really interested by the debate about whether CGI is changing what best cinematography can or should mean,  whether the category should be split and so on. This will, after all, be the fifth year in a row the award has gone to something very heavy on the CGI (previously: Avatar, Inception, Hugo, Life of Pi: short titles seem to rule) and that’s not the only way of achieving true excellence in cinematography. But this is such a starting achievement, by a cinematographer that everyone already knows is terrific, that for this evening let’s put all that aside.

Best editing: Genuinely hard. The experts at In Contention seem pretty sure that it will be Captain Phillips, and it did win at the ACE awards. To my ignorant outsider eyes  that seems a bit of a stretch for a film people did not like enough to get Paul Greengrass or Tom Hanks (who was amazing) nominated. So I’m going to say Gravity both should and will win. But I’m probably wrong on the second.

Best score and best song: Steven Price Should and will win for Gravity, a terrific piece of work.  I continue to think that it is truly weird that Hans Zimmer didn’t get nominated for 12 Years, but there we go. Let it Go will win and should win best song (maybe if I’d seen Happy in context I’d feel different – but hey, it’s a belting well-built show tune with a good message and fractals too)

Best performances by actors, supporting and leading roles: Will win, Jared Leto and Matthew McConaughey, according to everyone I read. Should win, Chiwetel Ejiofor and, especially, Michael Fassbender. That said, Bruce Dern was utterly superb; I’d in no way think it wrong if he won, and both McConaughey and Ejiofor will be back.  It’s not that I don’t like Dallas Buyers Club (though I didn’t think it was spectacularly good, partly because it felt a bit too white-saviour-y) or that I am unmindful of, or unmoved by, the narrative of the very welcome McConaissance. It’s just that the others impressed me more.

Best performances by actresses, supporting and leading roles: Will win, Cate Blanchett and Lupita Nyong’o, who also both should win.

Best hair and makeup: Dallas Buyers Club both ways, because who’s going to vote for the opposition?

Best short and feature length animation: Get a Horse and Frozen will win, and that’s fine by me. That said I wish the Greenwich Picturehouse would show the whole slate of contenders for the shorts like it used to, so I could have a better informed opinion.

Best short live action, best short documentary — haven’t seen any of these (see above). Both The Voorman Project and Helium sound good bets for live action: let’s be parochial and say The Voorman Project. The Lady in Number 6 seems a sure bet in the short documentaries.

Best visual effects: Need you ask? As predicted before, Gravity. (Still can’t imagine why Pacific Rim was passed over in favour of Star Trek for a nomination, but that’s by the by.)

Best sound mixing and editing: Gravity for both, should and will.

Best costume design and production design: Smart money seems to be on Great Gatsby for both these, which seems to me to be awarding quantity not quality. I would give costumes to American Hustle — an area where it truly excelled — and production design to Her, because it was integral to the film’s success.

Best picture in a foreign language and best documentary feature: I have been very remiss in my viewing in these categories. I am willing to believe that The Great Beauty is good and will win; for reasons of affection I am going to suggest that Broken Circle Breakdown should. I think for reasons of not being a downer 20 Feet from Stardom will win best documentary [UPDATE: originally forgot to say that I thought Act of Killing should win]. I wish Tim’s Vermeer had been nominated.

Best Picture: 12 Years a Slave should and will win (for a bit more on should, see this post). I wouldn’t feel differently about this if Inside Llewyn Davis had made the list — but I continue to think it a travesty that it didn’t. People say, and they may be right, that the Academy doesn’t like losers. But that ignores how powerfully the film deals with bereavement and grief, as well as and in parallel to loserdom.

Best Director: Alfonso Cuaron. Say no more.

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