The Oscar monologues, part III: Jennifer Boulden

February 28, 2014

Jennifer Boulden is a writer, interactive marketing strategist, PR person, and incorrigible Oscar geek.

Best Picture

◦ Gravity – They say it’s a 3-way race between Gravity, 12 Years a Slave, and American Hustle. I’d give it to Slave myself, but Gravity has all the requisite precursor awards and that “Best Picture feeling,” including an underwhelming script. It’s also going to be a much more appealing screener for the Academy members than 12 Years a Slave and has even in the name more gravitas than American Hustle.

Best Actor in a Leading Role

◦ Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club) – I’m a McConaughey fan from way back when, but this year he’s on fire like never before, earning respect and accolades at every turn. He’s earned it several times over. Alright, alright, alright.

Best Actress in a Leading Role
◦ Amy Adams (American Hustle) – The smart money says this will go to Cate Blanchett, but I’m thinking we may get an upset here. Adams is the only nominee in this category who has not won an Oscar, and the Academy loves her silly. This is her 5th nomination in 8 years, and I would not be surprised to see her finally win, particularly since Blanchett’s a bit tainted with the Woody Allen controversy. Adams is to my mind the weakest link in American Hustle, but when has that actually stopped someone from winning an Oscar?

Best Actor in a Supporting Role
◦ Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club) – Leto’s won more than 30 awards so far this season and I can’t see him stopping before taking home a little golden man. Fantastic performance and the industry loves to award a newly bankable attractive young star.

Best Actress in a Supporting Role

◦ Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave) – This one’s almost a toss-up between the lovely and amazing Yale Drama alumna Nyong’o, who tore up both the screen and the red carpet this year, and Jennifer Lawrence, who is not only everyone’s BFF and the 2013 Best Actress winner, but is tip-top of the A-List right now. I’m going with Nyong’o because I think they will want to give 12 Years a Slave more than one major award, and Nyongo’s been breathtaking.

Best Animated Feature

◦ Frozen (Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee, Peter Del Vecho) – It’s the hummable mighty-girl charmer of the year, and the industry has more to gain from awarding Disney’s team than from celebrating the legendary Hayao Miyazaki’s last film, The Wind Rises.

Best Cinematography

◦ Gravity (Emmanuel Lubezki) – Much as I love the criminally overdue Roger Deakins (I’d like to name a child, or at least a cat, after him), there’s no way anyone but Lubezki is winning this. Can you imagine Gravity without those visuals? No. No, you cannot.

Best Director

◦ Gravity (Alfonso Cuarón) – Cuaron’s a living legend, a 6-time Oscar nominee, who has not previously won, has nearly swept the precursors, and directed the biggest spectacle of the year with groundbreaking special effects in service of an edge-of-your-seat character study that made more than a quarter of a billion dollars. He’ll win.

Best Documentary Feature

◦ The Square (Jehane Noujaim, Karim Amer) – This documentary about Tahrir Square feels the most timely of the nominees, and has the simplest name. This could go to any of them, though, particularly the crowd-pleasing 20 Feet from Stardom or the morally complex and fascinating The Act of Killing.

Best Foreign Language Film

◦ The Great Beauty (Italy) – I want to predict The Broken Circle Breakdown because it’s soundtrack is all Belgian bluegrass, but never bet against a great Italian beauty, especially when it really is one.

Best Visual Effects
◦ Gravity (Tim Webber, Chris Lawrence, Dave Shirk, Neil Corbould) – This team put every one of us in space. Next.

Best Adapted Screenplay
◦ 12 Years a Slave (John Ridley) – Being based on an almost-forgotten memoir of an actual slave helps. So does being riveting writing. I love the other nominees, but I can’t see any but 12 Years taking this one. I’d say the dark horse spoiler would be the likeable Philomena.

Best Original Screenplay

◦ Her (Spike Jonze) – Tough category, but Jonze is a writer’s writer, and the writers love him. Plus, as a headline writer I know says, “Always vote for the candidate with the shortest name.”

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