The Oscar monologues, Part one: Dan Lybarger

February 28, 2014

I have just realized I have been making this this is more of a chore than it needs to be. So I’m just going to cut and paste the emails my Oscar panelists sent me. No formatting. No videos. No production work at all. I’m a busy person. The first one is from our guy Dan Lybarger.

Dear Philip:

Picking who will win the Oscars is almost as agonizing for me because I have a history of humiliating myself with some of my picks. But because you’ve asked nicely, I’ll try again.

Back in 1992, I wrote my predictions in the UALR Forum for who would win the little gold men and got most of them wrong. Ever since, I’ve been hesitant to make public guesses for how the Oscars would go. I was happy to participate in Oscar parties (where I’ve played drinking games and Oscar-bingo), but have been unwilling to go on-record and admit that I might not know as much about movies as I’ve pretended to do.

Best Picture
◦ 12 Years a Slave
◦ Gravity
Considering how things have gone with the guild votes and with Oscar’s history of going with historical dramas like Schindler’s List, I think 12 Years a Slave is the most likely winner. Gravity might sneak in simply because of its astonishing technical achievements.

Best Actor in a Leading Role
◦ Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club)
◦ Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave)
With all the physical deprivations McConaughey suffered for Dallas Buyers Club, he’s a likely winner. Ejiofor has a really good shot as well.

Best Actress in a Leading Role
◦ Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine)
◦ Amy Adams (American Hustle
Blanchett is a favorite, but some voters may think it’s Adams’ turn after all the nominations she’s received previously.

Best Actor in a Supporting Role
◦ Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club)
I’d give it to Michael Fassbender, but Leto’s probably going to win. He did a

Best Actress in a Supporting Role
◦ Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave)
◦ Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle)
Lawrence steals the show in American Hustle, but the odds are against a double win.

Best Animated Feature
◦ Frozen (Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee, Peter Del Vecho)

Hollywood generally likes what the public likes (Casablanca beat out movies with more prestigious pedigrees), and the public seems to love this one. Come to think of it, so do I. The Wind Rises may not be vintage Miyazaki, but even lesser Miyazaki is stunning.

Best Cinematography
◦ Gravity (Emmanuel Lubezki)
◦ Prisoners (Roger A. Deakins)
Lubezki may have this one, but Deakins, who has a long history of great looking films is due for a statuette.

Best Director
◦ Gravity (Alfonso Cuarón)
◦ 12 Years a Slave (Steve McQueen)
As with last year’s The Life of Pi, the winner will probably be acknowledged for the sheer technical difficulty. That said, Best Picture and Best Director usually go together.

Best Documentary Feature
◦ The Act of Killing (Joshua Oppenheimer, Signe Byrge Sørensen)

This is an amazing film, and it redefines what a documentary can do.

Best Foreign Language Film
◦ The Hunt (Denmark)
I’ve only seen The Hunt, but it’s a terrific film. I’ll probably be wrong on this one.

Best Visual Effects
◦ Gravity (Tim Webber, Chris Lawrence, Dave Shirk, Neil Corbould)

Best Adapted Screenplay
◦ 12 Years a Slave (John Ridley)
This might be tricky because Ridley raised some hackles by going against the Writers strike in 2007. That said, I think the quality of his work will win out.

Best Original Screenplay
◦ Her (Spike Jonze)
I’m going by how the guild awards have gone. Jonze’s imaginative world will probably win out.

OK, Philip. I’ve put myself up for humiliation. Are you happy now?

I’m sure the readers will love taunting me for being the Karl Rove of movie pundits.

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