Rhodes + Krassner's (drum roll please) Oscar Picks of 2014!!!
This could be the first year Nick ended up seeing more films than Katy - but she still saw most of them, and both of them have a lot to say so….
THE BALCONY IS NOW OPEN!
John Ridley ("12 Years a Slave")
Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke & Richard Linklater ("Before Midnight ")
Terence Winter ("The Wolf of Wall Street ")
Billy Ray ("Captain Phillips")
Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope (“Philomena”)
Katy: I would love-love-love to see Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke & Richard Linklater win for "Before Midnight .” That was one of the best films I've seen all year, I actually loved the whole trilogy, so that’s my SHOULD win. Since that won’t happen, it’s likely John Ridley WILL win for “12 Years a Slave.”
Nick: I was pleasantly surprised by “Wolf of Wall Street,” and thought it was a terrific screenplay; however, I agree with you Kathryn that “12 Years a Slave” WILL win. “12 Years” was a book, and this film brings it to life on the screen in the most remarkable and brutal way. It’s my WILL and SHOULD win.
David O. Russell and Eric Singer ("American Hustle")
Bob Nelson (“Nebraska")
Spike Jonze (“Her")
Craig Borten & Melisa Wallack ("Dallas Buyers Club")
Woody Allen ("Blue Jasmine")
[Katy and Nick won’t bore you all with their Woody Allen debate but…]
Katy: It would be too hard for me, and likely, the members of The Academy, to support Woody Allen this year for “Blue Jasmine," so he seems to have no shot. I would love to see Spike Jonze win for “Her,” and think he WILL win, too. It was more than unique, the film was other-worldly.
Nick: This is the only category where I would like to see every single nominee win. I think all five of these nominees are pretty extraordinary, and feel that they have each brought something unique to the screen. However, without any shadow of a doubt, I think “Her” WILL and SHOULD win. It’s out there on its own as far as creativity goes, and I was hugely disappointed that the BAFTA’s ignored the film. I don’t think Oscar will.
FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
Denmark, "The Hunt"
Belgium, "The Broken Circle Breakdown"
Italy, "The Great Beauty"
Cambodia, "The Missing Picture"
[Katy didn’t see any of these films, so she is abstaining from a vote.]
Nick: I am not in much of a better position than Katy is because I’ve only seen one of the films, but I think I’ve seen THE one. Unfortunately for me, the nominees in this category open in London close to the Awards, and don’t stay in the theatre very long. I am planning to see them all on DVD however.
I think “The Great Beauty” from Italy WILL and SHOULD win. It is a wonderful film about getting older, and it's done exquisitely. A nod to Fellini caught my eye ("La Dolce Vita”), as well as the visuals and the acting. One of the most touching films I have seen this year. However, I reserve the right to change my SHOULD win after I see the other movies
"The Wind Rises"
"Despicable Me 2"
"Ernest & Celestine"
Katy: “Frozen”-“Frozen”-“Frozen”-“Frozen”-“Frozen”-“Frozen” [This one’s for you, Tanner!]
Nick: I second (or 7, as the case may be) Katy’s choice. “Frozen” is going to win, it seems inevitable. In my opinion, there wasn’t an animated movie that touched me like in other years - “Wall-E,” I am looking at you.
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
"20 Feet from Stardom"
"The Act of Killing"
"Cutie and the Boxer"
[Nick didn’t see any of these films, so he is abstaining from a vote.]
Katy: As someone who works in the music industry, I can’t help but put my support behind the terrific “20 Feet from Stardom.” I think it WILL and SHOULD win. It makes you think about what it’s like to literally be twenty feet from stardom, the eternal second banana if you will. If you haven’t seen it, put it on your “Must Watch” list!
BEST ORIGINAL SONG
“Happy” from “Despicable Me 2”
Music and Lyric by Pharrell Williams
“Let It Go” from “Frozen”
Music and Lyric by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez
“The Moon Song” from “Her”
Music by Karen O; Lyric by Karen O and Spike Jonze
“Ordinary Love” from “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom”
Music by Paul Hewson, Dave Evans, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen; Lyric by Paul Hewson
Nick: I would like to see U2 win - it’s hope for all of us when they win something, you know what I mean? I was happy to see them win the Golden Globe award, and think they have a real shot at the Oscar. Pharrell is on such a high right now with both "Get Lucky” and “Blurred Lines," so it wouldn’t surprise me at all if “Happy” won the prize. I also thinks “Let it Go” has captured a lot of the voters, making this a tough category for me to call. I think U2 SHOULD and WILL win, but I won’t be surprised if “Let it Go” gets it.
Katy: Nicholas is hedging his bets! I agree, more or less. I think “Let it Go” should win because it has captured the hearts of a lot of people, young and old. However, the couple that wrote this song are not as well known as U2, nor is singer Idina Menzel as recognizable as Bono, so if an older voter doesn’t really listen to the song, and just picks based on recognition, I think U2 will win. I don’t think it’s the greatest U2 song, and I am a big, big fan, but I do think the fact that the band knew Mr. Mandela, and he died this year, may push their song to the top of the heap. That’s it - U2 is my WILL win and “Let it Go” is my SHOULD win.
Sally Hawkins ("Blue Jasmine”)
Jennifer Lawrence ("American Hustle”)
Lupita Nyong'o ("12 Years a Slave”)
Julia Roberts ("August: Osage County”)
June Squibb (“Nebraska")
Katy: If you remember last year, I was all up in a knot about Anne Hathaway’s stampede toward Oscar glory. Thankfully, there is no Anne this year, so I relaxed when making my choice. That being said, it wasn’t easy. According to pundits, it’s a dead heat between Jennifer Lawrence for “American Hustle” and Lupita Nyong’o for "12 Years a Slave.” I think it’s going to be Lupita. She embodies what is a traditional choice for Best Supporting Actress - an ingenue. In addition, I feel like the only person who actually saw “August: Osage County,” so I can officially say that Julia has no chance. I would be shocked if the Academy gave back to back awards, no matter how deserved, to some one as young as Jennifer Lawrence, so I think that cancels her out. I would love to see June Squibb win for “Nebraska,” or even Sally Hawkins, who was incredible in “Blue Jasmine,” but I think the Academy has to give an acting prize to “12 Years a Slave” and this will be it. My SHOULD win is Sally Hawkins, my WILL win is Lupita Nyong’o.
Nick: I loved Sally Hawkins in “Blue Jasmine,” but she isn’t going to win, Kathryn. I would love to see Jennifer Lawrence win for “American Hustle,” I don’t think it matters if she won last year, I loved her performance. She is my SHOULD win, but I agree with you: Lupita WILL win for all the reasons you said. She was quite subtle and extraordinary, and her performance warrants an award.
Barkhad Abdi ("Captain Phillips”)
Bradley Cooper ("American Hustle”)
Michael Fassbender ("12 Years a Slave”)
Jonah Hill ("The Wolf of Wall Street”)
Jared Leto ("Dallas Buyers Club)
[What is super sad here is that just last year Phillip Seymour Hoffman was a nominee for “The Master.”]
Nick: This is a tough one. This is one of the best categories in the whole race, as all of the nominated the actors were just amazing in their roles. In any other year, Bradley Cooper could have won for “American Hustle," but he has some pretty stiff competition. I don’t think enough people got behind “Captain Phillips,” so there won’t be much support for Barkhad, though he won the BAFTA. Jonah Hill has a real subtly to him that is surprising, he was great in “Wolf of Wall Street.” Michael Fassbender was pretty terrific, he elevated “12 Years a Slave” another 40% in my opinion; the character was so awful and great at the same time. However, Jared Leto WILL win and SHOULD win - the Academy likes transformations - and he was so believable as a transgender female in “Dallas Buyers Club." I’d be happy to see him win, it’s Jared’s year.
Katy: Jared Leto is totally going to take the prize for “Dallas Buyers Club”- no question. He has - no shame in it - been campaigning the whole award season. And he was great. I wouldn’t mind if Michael Fassbender wins for “12 Years a Slave” - he played a vile character, but was so incredible. Another great choice would also be Barkhad Abdi for “Captain Phillips,” especially since he has come out of nowhere and held his own with Tom Hanks (major snub there!). I loved Bradley Cooper in “American Hustle,” I agree that in another award season, he’d be the one to beat, but no matter, Jared is as sure of a sure thing as there is on March 2nd. Jordan Catalano in the HOUSE!
Amy Adams ("American Hustle”)
Cate Blanchett ("Blue Jasmine”)
Sandra Bullock ("Gravity”)
Judi Dench ("Philomena”)
Meryl Streep ("August: Osage County”)
Katy: I think the best, and most difficult role, was Amy Adams in “American Hustle.” Her character was so many different things to different people and she knocked all the facets of this character out of the park. She is my SHOULD win. However, it doesn’t seem that she’s this year’s popular candidate, so Cate Blanchett, who was definitely incredible in “Blue Jasmine,” WILL win.
Nick: I agree with you, Kathryn, that Amy Adams was magnificent in “American Hustle,” and it was an award winning performance - but the competition is so tough this year. Cate was just so great in “Blue Jasmine," and the fact of the matter is that Woody Allen wrote a better role for Cate Blanchett than any other actress this year. Plus, Cate is officially Duran Duran’s “Best Actress," so , of course, I must choose her. She shines so brightly, no matter what the film, she is always so compelling, you can’t take your eyes off her. She WILL and SHOULD win.
Christian Bale ("American Hustle”)
Bruce Dern ("Nebraska”)
Leonardo DiCaprio ("The Wolf of Wall Street”)
Chiwetel Ejiofor ("12 Years a Slave”)
Matthew McConaughey ("Dallas Buyers Club")
[Remember how last year, Daniel Day Lewis was a no-brainer for “Lincoln” - well the same holds true for Matthew McConaughey for “Dallas Buyers Club.”]
Nick: I know I am repeating myself, but each one of these performances were so strong. I don’t remember a year where there were so many great ones. I thought Leo was a tour de force in “Wolf of Wall Street” - I can see how his relationship with Scorsese is developing, and how it’s working for him as an actor. “Wolf” is a long film, and he held the screen the whole time. Christian Bale - who is definitely one of the best “Bat”- men - chooses so well. His physical transformation in “American Hustle” alone should make him a winner. Unfortunately for him, Matthew McConaughey lost more weight for “Dallas Buyers Club” than Christian gained! Matthew’s performance was the best of the year, pretty much faultless, and with a great supporting cast, he was really able to give himself entirely to the role. I am happy to see Matthew win. He WILL and he SHOULD.
Katy: I can’t get past the ethics that are involved in supporting “The Wolf of Wall Street,” so there goes my vote for Leo. And although Chiwetel Ejiofor was amazing in “12 Years a Slave,” to the Academy, he is a “new" actor. Some critics are saying the Academy will award Bruce Dern for his body of work with an Oscar for “Nebraska," but it WILL be Matthew McConaughey who reaps the reward for changing his career trajectory over the past few years. He WILL win, though if I was choosing, it would be Christian Bale’s astounding transformative performance in “American Hustle” that SHOULD win.
David O. Russell ("American Hustle”)
Alfonso Cuarón ("Gravity”)
Alexander Payne ("Nebraska”)
Steve McQueen ("12 Years a Slave”)
Martin Scorsese ("The Wolf of Wall Street ")
[Always a confounding category. How can someone be the BEST Director but then the movie not win for Best Film?]
Nick: In a normal year, “American Hustle” would have been hard to beat. The styling, the costumes, the cinematography, the script, the acting…it was all there, you couldn’t have a better ensemble! Everything is right about it.
In “Gravity” you have a movie that has the most remarkable technical achievement that Hollywood has seen since “Avatar.” While it is almost absurd to balance that against the brutality and bravery of “12 Years a Slave,” both “ 12 Years” and “Gravity” push “American Hustle” to the side. Unfortunately, “Nebraska” is too small a film to really be in contention, and while Scorsese should always win, as far as I am concerned, and I loved “The Wolf of Wall Street,” it sadly won’t even be on the map. Alfonso Cuarón won the Golden Globe, he won the BAFTA, and “Gravity” is a stunning achievement. He WILL win. My SHOULD win would be Steve McQueen for “12 Years a Slave.”
Katy: I agree with everything Nick has said - it seems to be a race between Steve McQueen for “12 Years a Slave” and Alfonso Cuarón for “Gravity.” I am is going to go with Alfonso for the WILL win and, in all reality, SHOULD win too.
"Dallas Buyers Club”
"12 Years a Slave”
"The Wolf of Wall Street"
Nick: What an eclectic group! I would love to see “Her” win this category [in another universe.] It’s so unique, and while it might be a bit flawed, in my heart, I love innovators and I love Spike. Back to reality though: I would be shocked if “Gravity” wins Best Picture, I think “12 Years a Slave” WILL win and SHOULD win because of the type of film that it is. It’s very hard to watch but it’s fantastic.
Katy: I think it’s a four film race: “12 Years a Slave,” “Gravity,” “Dallas Buyers Club” and “American Hustle.” To me, of those four films, “American Hustle” was the best of that lot - a great story that was never boring, with amazing performances across the board (Jeremy Renner was snubbed!). It kept you riveted and on your feet. But it won’t win, nor will “Dallas Buyers Club,” which had strong male performances but not the world’s greatest execution. The top prize will go to either “Gravity” or “12 Years a Slave”... I am going out on a limb here - I think “Gravity” is going to take it. It was an unrivaled achievement in film-making.
We’d love your feedback, and hopefully, one of us will get at least half of our picks right! Keep your eye out for some Oscar night tweets (and maybe some input from Nick) from @askkatybook on Twitter.
The 86th Annual Academy Awards is this Sunday (March 2nd) evening. We will be watching!