Oscar Nominations 2014: Names and Postmortem

E: Okay, interesting.  I didn’t do badly, though never as well as I would have liked. You know what that was?  A pretty massive blood-letting for the awards darlings of the 90s.

One of my favorite movies gets totally dissed, another does well.  Let’s get to it.

Supporting Actor  4/5

I said: Barkhad Abdi, Daniel Bruhl, Bradley Cooper, Michael Fassbender, Jared Leto

Oscar Nominated: Barkhad Abdi, Bradley Cooper, Michael Fassbender, Jonah Hill, Jared Leto

Daniel Bruhl becomes the Mila Kunis of 2014; he was nominated everywhere but at the Oscars.  And Hill is a little bit of a surprise – as I noted in my write up, his name has always been out there, yet he hadn’t managed to secure even a single precursor nomination.  None of this is shocking, though – I had a feeling Bruhl wouldn’t make it, and I’m not at all surprised James Gandolfini didn’t get in either.

Supporting Actress 4/5

I Said: Jennifer Lawrence, Lupita Nyong’o, Julia Roberts, June Squibb, Oprah Winfrey

Oscar Nominated: Sally Hawkins,Jennifer Lawrence, Lupita Nyong’o, Julia Roberts, June Squibb

When Hawkins name was announced first, you could hear an audible gasp in the room.  Who would be left off the list in her favor?   You could hear the shocked muttering when Squibb was awarded her first nomination.  No Oprah?  In my write up I noted Hawkins as the first runner up, but thought that Oprah should still hold on.  I should have been paying more attention to the BAFTA noms.

Actor 3/5

I Said: Bruce Dern, Chiwetel Ejiofor,T om Hanks, Matthew McConaughey, Robert Redford

They Nominated: Christian Bale, Bruce Dern, Leonardo DiCaprio, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Matthew McConaughey

Well.  I said it was a 7 man race for 5 slots.  I correctly identified the 7 men.  But yikes; I wasn’t expecting both men in boats to sink.  Robert Redford I knew was vulnerable, but I wasn’t expecting Tom Hanks to get completely shut out.  From the moment they called Christian Bale’s name, I knew it was trouble – but again, I wasn’t expecting to lose Hanks too. I guess he’s much too yesterday for today’s voters; perhaps Dern feels fresher because he was never a megastar on the level of Redford and Hanks.  Move over, stars of yesteryear!  Hello to the leading men of today.  I understand All is Lost is pretty damn fantastic, and I’m sorry it’s gotten no play except a nod for sound editing.  (I’m especially sorry that it’s Golden Globe winning score didn’t even receive a nomination! ) And not that it should be about this, but I can’t help thinking of the opportunity to attract viewers lost here.  It seems clear that the Academy didn’t like Captain Phillips as much as the public did.

Actress 4/5

I Said: Cate Blanchett, Sandra Bullock, Judi Dench, Meryl Streep, Emma Thompson

They Nominated: Amy Adams, Cate Blanchett, Sandra Bullock, Judi Dench, Meryl Streep

For the last several days, I’ve been going over it in my mind.  Adams or Streep, Adams or Streep.  Pretty much as soon as I posted yesterday’s predictions, I became convinced I was wrong.  It was going to be Adams.  I was giving too much credit to the power of Streep.  It’s popular not to like August:Osage County.  Her Globe win and BAFTA nomination showed that Adams was in the ascendant.  So when they called Adams name first, I knew I’d leaped in the wrong direction.

So yeah, I said it was a six woman race for the five slots. Except I just wasn’t expecting the person she bumped off to be Thompson rather than Streep!  I adore Emma Thompson, I adored her as P.L. Travers, and I was so excited to see her both in front of the camera and also getting attention for being there. My heart just broke a little bit.  Saving Mr. Banks, one of my absolute favorite movies of the year, has been almost entirely shut out.  This isn’t a John Hawkes level snub, since Thompson never had a chance at beating Blanchett, but it’s still a big one.

Best Director: 4/5

I Said: Alfonso Cuaron, Paul Greengrass, Steve McQueen, David O. Russell, Martin Scorsese

Oscar Nominated: Alfonso Cuaron, Steve McQueen, Alexander Payne, David O. Russell, Martin Scorsese

Like I said, it’s clear that the Academy is just not that into Captain Phillips.  Note about Russell?  Not only has he been nominated in this category two years in a row, he’s managed to get an actor nominated in all four categories 2 years in a row.  I’m going to have to do some research to see if that’s ever happened before.  It’s really quite an amazing feat.  This marks his 3rd directing nomination altogether, and his second screenwriting one as well.  Steve McQueen owns a bit of Oscar history as well, becoming as expected only the third director of African descent to win a nomination, and the first African British director.  Good on you, Steve.

Alexander Payne’s inclusion is hardly the most shocking thing the directing branch has ever done, even if he wasn’t my first alternate.  These are all solid, obvious choices.   When you have five directing nods and 9 Best Picture nominees, none of it’s really that shocking.  Cuaron, Russell and McQueen still contend for the win.

Best Picture 8/9

I Said: 12 Years a Slave, American Hustle, Captain Phillips, Gravity, Her, Nebraska, Philomena, Saving Mr. Banks, The Wolf of Wall Street

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

Well, hey, at least I called the number right!  Dallas Buyers Club was one of my two alternates.  In fact, I swapped it out at the last minute with Saving Mr. Banks, because to be honest, I still can’t imagine 5% of the Academy not seeing and loving this movie.  I don’t know anyone who’s seen it who didn’t flat out love it.  But I should have known that the untruthiness campaign had succeeded; maybe the Academy voters just decided not to watch it.  And I did know it was risky to put three movies about women onto that list.  I can’t say I’m sorry to see Dallas Buyers Club here, though, because it’s truly an amazing film which I also loved; both make my current top five. I just wish it had bumped off something else.  It does turn out that the Academy likes Captain Phillips at least a little bit, though.

In other news, early favorite Inside Llewyn Davis is indeed shut out, garnering only a single nomination for cinematography.  Fruitvale Station was entirely shut out.  August: Osage County received only the two acting nominations.  On the other hand, notorious flop The Lone Ranger snuck in with Make Up and Visual Effects, box officer winner The Hobbit picked up 3 technical nods, Bruce Lee’s biopic The Grandmaster garnered a pair of nods for Cinematography and Costumes, Leonardo DiCaprio’s other greed centered drama The Great Gatsby managed the expected nominations for Production Design and Costumes,  Frozen and its signature song “Let It Go” both received nods.  Blackfish didn’t secure a nomination (sometimes the documentary branch seems to think that any film that receives relative box office success or press attention then doesn’t need a nomination) but 20 Feet From Stardom happily did.

From a geeky librarian standpoint, it’s interesting to see where different organizations come down on alphabetizing 12 Years a Slave.  Sometimes you see it properly placed first, because it starts with a number and not a letter; sometimes you see it alphabetized under T even though the 12 isn’t written out as twelve.

So there we are!  You know what to do, movie fans – it’s time to go out and see the best movies of the year!  What I love about following the Oscars is that it pushes my out of my comfort zone, forces me to seek out movies that I wouldn’t imagine I’d like but often end up loving. Check here for a complete list of nominees.  But don’t let Oscar be the only arbiter of worth!  Look for well reviewed movies like Saving Mr. Banks, All is Lost, The Butler, Short Term 12, Fruitvale Station, Blackfish and Inside Llewyn Davis as well!  And happy viewing.

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2 comments on “Oscar Nominations 2014: Names and Postmortem

  1. Wow, E! You’re good. 🙂

    • E says:

      Aw, thanks. It’s funny – I got more wrong than I’d like, but most of the surprises weren’t even in exactly what I got wrong. Like, it’s not so much a shock that Amy Adams made it but that she knocked out Emma Thompson rather than Meryl Streep, and it’s more surprising that both Christian Bale and Leonardo DiCaprio got nominations than it is that either of them got one. But I guess that’s what’s fun about the nominations – the surprise of it. There are far fewer surprises when it comes to winning the actual award.

      Do you have any favorites among the nominees? Stuff you’re looking forward to seeing?

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