Oscars – We Got it Right!
On 1st March, 2014 we came up with an article predicting the winners of The Academy Awards this year. We had divided our predictions into two categories, the Should Wins and the Could Wins. The Should Wins, we felt were the ones which deserved to win the most, and the Could Wins were the ones which we felt were the second favourites or equally good ones and the ones which might spring a surprise. Today, The Oscars took place, and we got our predictions right in all but two categories.
Here, we break it down for you.
1. Best Picture – 12 Years A Slave. It was in our Should Win category and it did win. The film is a harrowing tale based on the true story of Solomon Northup, who was kidnapped and forced into slavery. It was a film made with so much brutal honesty, that it stopped being a film and became a life experience. One of the most deserving Best Picture candidates if there ever was one. And we are relieved that it won. Talking about relief, there is a lot of that in store in the next few categories.
2. Best Director – Alfonso Cuaron for Gravity. This was a no brainer. It takes a lot of guts to make a film based completely on a Space disaster and populate it with two characters only !! It was Cuaron’s brilliant story telling abilities and the technician in him that managed to pull it off, and with such finesse. His trademark long takes have become a part of Film lore now, and this award will only add to his already exciting reputation.
3. Best Actor In A Leading Role – Matthew McConaughey for Dallas Buyers Club. This was a victory which gave us a lot of relief as well. Because going into the award, there was a lot of talk about Leonardo DiCaprio getting it, who we felt, just didn’t deserve it this year, because Matthew’s performance as Ron Woodroof, an AIDS patient on the verge of death, was spellbinding. His physical and mental transformation for the character needs to be seen to be believed. His trademark “ AWRIGHT AWRIGHT AWRIGHT “ line after receiving the award made our day !!
4. Best Actress In A Leading Role – Cate Blanchett for Blue Jasmine. Again, an award that gave us relief. This was a career defining role for her, and by far the best in the year, which also boasted of brilliant performances from the likes of Meryl Streep in August, Osage County and Sandra Bullock in Gravity. But Cate in Blue Jasmine was in a league of her own. There were talks about the Academy giving her the snub, because of the scandal surrounding the film’s brilliant director Woody Allen, and had that happened, it would have been a matter of terrible injustice. That’s why it was a huge relief for us when Daniel Day Lewis took her name. The award is also a pat on the back of Woody Allen for being the best in the world when it comes to writing and directing Women.
5. Best Actor In A Supporting Role – Jared Leto for Dallas Buyers Club. We were extremely sure about Leto winning. If Matthew was the heart of Dallas, Leto was its soul. His performance as the transsexual Rayon was exceedingly mesmerizing and harrowing at the same time. Kudos to the jury for not fiddling with a sure shot winner.
6. Best Actress In A Supporting Role – Lupita Nyong’O for 12 Years A Slave. Now this is something that we completely got wrong. Our should win performance was Sally Hawkins for Blue Jasmine and our could win performance was Jennifer Lawrence for American Hustle. We still maintain that Sally should have won, but Lupita’s victory hasn’t disappointed us in any way.
7. Best Adapted Screenplay – John Ridley for 12 Years A Slave. This was in our could win category, mainly because we felt this was the only category where Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf Of Wall Street could have won. And since the jury at the Academy tends to go with a more famous name at times, we had mixed feelings about 12 Years A Slave winning, despite having the belief that it was the best screenplay of the year. That’s why, we were extremely happy when it did win the award.
8. Best Original Screenplay – Spike Jonze for Her. This again was in our could win category. Our first choice was Woody Allen for Blue Jasmine. But Spike’s victory makes us equally happy, because Her certainly had the most innovative screenplay of the year.
9. Best Foreign Language Film – The Great Beauty (ITALY). This we were sure about as well. Paolo Sorrentino’s ode to Italian and French filmmakers of yore and to life itself, was a brilliantly crafted film. The Academy does spring a few surprises in the foreign film category from time to time, but we were very happy that 2014 wasn’t the year of unpleasant surprises.
10. Best Animated Feature – Frozen. This again was a no brainer. Despicable Me 2 was very close to being the best in the year gone by, but Disney’s Frozen was quiet simply the most delightful animated feature, and the most deserving winner.
11. Best Documentary Feature – 20 Feet From Stardom. Along with Supporting Actress, this is the only other category that we got wrong. And we still feel that The Act Of Killing should have won. Maybe, the maker’s decision to market the film using Torrentz became an issue with the jury, because the subject of real life political killers confessing on camera is a far better subject than backup singers. Not too miffed though, as 20 Feet wasn’t a bad film by any means, just not as good as The Act Of Killing.
12. Best Cinematography – Emmanuel Lubezki for Gravity.
13. Best Editing – Alfonso Cuaron and Mark Sanger for Gravity.
14. Best Sound Mixing – Skip Lievsay, Niv Adiri, Christopher Benstead and Chris Munroe for Gravity.
15. Best Sound Editing – Glenn Freemantle for Gravity.
16. Best Visual Effects – Tim Webber, Chris Lawrence, Dave Shirk and Neil Corbould for Gravity.
Technical awards are tricky to decide on, but for all the categories mentioned above, Gravity was our unanimous choice. And we were sure about its victory, not because we are brilliant judges, well, maybe we are, but mainly because Gravity was made with so much attention to detail in every department, that it became very easy for us to come to a decision.
17. Best Production Design – Catherine Martin and Beverley Dunn for The Great Gatsby.
18. Best Costume Design – Catherine Martin for The Great Gatsby.
For both the categories mentioned above, The Great Gatsby was our could win choice. Our first choice was American Hustle. We felt both were equally deserving, but since Hustle fared better overall compared to Gatsby, the academy might lean towards the more successful of the two. Ultimately, the right decision was made.
19. Best Original Score – Steven Price for Gravity. Another could win. Another equally deserving work, when compared to our should win choice, Her and another considerably satisfying result according to us.
20. Best Original Song – “Let It Go” from Frozen. Our first choice was “Ordinary Love” from Mandela and “Let It Go” was in our could win category. And we feel that Bono and U2 were perhaps a little more deserving than Kristen and Robert Lopez. The way we see it, at least a song that we thought was second best ended up winning !!
21. Best Makeup & Hairstyling – Adruitha Lee and Robin Matthews for Dallas Buyers Club. Could win again !! Very little difference between our should win choice, Jackass Presents – Bad Grandpa and the winner. We are happy though, to see another award for the brilliant film Dallas Buyers Club.
All in all, it was a satisfying Oscar for us. The deserving people won, Ellen DeGeneres did a very commendable and hilarious job at hosting the biggest event in Hollywood. She also gave us one of the best group selfies ever !! We also got to see Daniel Day Lewis on stage and if we take statistics into account, then we got 19 out of our 21 predictions right. 90.5 % accuracy !! Nostradamus, anyone ? It was a brilliant Oscar for us, and we hope, for you as well. And let’s hope 2014 turns out to be as good or even better a year as 2013 was for the quality and variety of International Cinema.