Oscar Noms Recap

The nominations are in, the tears have been shed, the tweets have been ALL CAPS, and somewhere Oprah is planning her own awards ceremony. What a time to be alive.

I’m proud to say that I got 76/107 predictions correct. I’m not so proud to say that Jonny Diaz beat me 83/107… In light of that and since we have ~all the feelings~ we have decided to co-write this post celebrating the beginning of our favorite holiday: Oscar season.

Hi Jonny.

JONNY: Hi Dany! I’m just going to take this moment to rub in the fact that I beat you, and then we don’t have to mention it again. I WON. SUCK IT.

Okay, now on to the nominees…

Best Picture

  • American Hustle

  • Captain Phillips

  • Dallas Buyers Club

  • Gravity

  • Her

  • Nebraska

  • Philomena

  • 12 Years a Slave

  • The Wolf of Wall Street

JONNY: 9/9
DANY: 8/9

JONNY: Some general thoughts first: This is one of the more competitive years that I can remember. Going into the nominations announcement, there were 12-13 movies with realistic shots at a Best Picture nomination, and there was a TON of uncertainty for the 4-5th spot in most categories. I’m surprised at the complete no-show for both Rush and The Butler, two movies that seemed like they were right in the Academy’s comfort zone. Ditto for the lack of recognition for Saving Mr. Banks and Inside Llewyn Davis – the Academy usually eats up anything about the artistic process, especially with the might of Walt Disney and the usual respect for the Coens behind them, respectively. Given their poor showing on the precursor trail though, it wasn’t a surprise, sadly.

On the positive side, the Academy’s love affair with David O. Russell and Alexander Payne hasn’t subsided, with American Hustle and Nebraska both having stronger showings overall than I thought they would. Kudos to the Academy for embracing the challenging work of Her, 12 Years a Slave, and The Wolf of Wall Street, and my favorite movie of the year, Gravity.

DANY: Well said. I agree, I thought Inside Llewyn Davis and Rush would have been right up the Academy’s alley. Inside Llewyn Davis was the only one I got wrong on my predictions. And Rush was a fantastic film. I was disappointed to see it so snubbed. I wasn’t such a big fan of The Butler, at least the ending ruined the film for me a bit. But I would have expected maybe some acting nods, at least for Oprah. And how boring will the show be now that Emma Thompson got nothing for Saving Mr. Banks? I kinda wanted to see her throw her heels off the Oscar stage too…

On the other hand, I love that Her and Wolf received so much attention. They’re so borderline that I thought the super conservative Academy might not give them the recognition they deserve. So kudos to that.

Best Director

  • Alfonso Cuaron – Gravity
    1st Nomination

  • Steve McQueen – 12 Years a Slave
    1st Nomination

  • David O. Russell – American Hustle
    3rd Nomination

  • Alexander Payne – Nebraska
    3rd Nomination

  • Martin Scorsese – The Wolf of Wall Street
    8th Nomination – 1 Win

JONNY: 3/5
DANY: 4/5

JONNY: This is a relatively safe lineup for the usually adventurous directors’ branch. What happened to the group that nominated Benh Zeitlin and Michel Haneke last year? I expected, like most, that Paul Greengrass would make it in for his excellent work on Captain Phillips, and that the directors would recognize Spike Jonze for his sublime directorial vision on Her, but instead they honored Scorsese for continuing to push the envelope at 71, and defaulted to Payne. Scorsese is obviously a legend and Academy favorite, and Payne and Russell have now both been nominated for their last three consecutive films, an impressive feat. Payne is lucky to be nominated for what I consider a mediocre effort, but Russell has an obvious shot for the win, given how well American Hustle was received, but to me, the two newcomers, Cuaron and McQueen, are the stars of this lineup. Though American Hustle is clearly an idiosyncratic Russell film, it could have done with some more focus, in my opinion. 12 Years a Slave and Gravity were both excellently crafted films whose success was entirely dependent on their directors’ visions. To me, Cuaron and McQueen are head and shoulders above the rest.

DANY: Uuuughh Benh Zeitlin, crying about it. Beasts of the Southern Wild was one of my favorite films from last year. But yeah Paul Greengrass was the only one I got wrong on these. And I’m still surprised about it because I thought Captain Phillips was easily one of the best films of the year. No surprise on Scorcese or Russell but I agree that Cuaron and McQueen are the ones who will (or at least should) take this win.

Granted, I still haven’t seen Nebraska but Payne is a brilliant director so I’ll take Jonny’s word for it.

Also, I would love for Cuaron to win and thank his mom in Spanish again like he did at the Globes cause that was the cutest thing I’ve ever seen.

Best Supporting Actress

  • Sally Hawkins – Blue Jasmine
    1st Nomination

  • Jennifer Lawrence – American Hustle
    3rd Nomination – 1 Win

  • Lupita Nyong’o – 12 Years a Slave
    1st Nomination

  • Julia Roberts – August: Osage County
    4th Nomination – 1 win

  • June Squibb – Nebraska
    1st Nomination

JONNY: 4/5
DANY: 4/5

JONNY: The big story here is the absence of the big O. Oprah won an Honorary Oscar two years ago (for humanitarian work) despite her real lack of film work, so obviously she’s an Academy favorite. However, she fell victim to The Butler fading away in the final stages of campaigning, and was replaced instead by Sally Hawkins, who did beautiful work opposite Cate Blanchett in Blue Jasmine. I’m thrilled to see subtlety triumph over star power and scenery chewing (though I did like Oprah’s performance, and predicted her, for the record). Julia Roberts gave what I think is the best performance of her career in August: Osage County, but it’s a leading role, so she doesn’t belong here. June Squibb made the most of her one note character in Nebraska, but this race is clearly between America’s BFF JLaw’s wild scene-stealing performance in American Hustle and Lupita Nyong’o’s devastating debut in 12 Years a Slave. Jennifer Lawrence is already the youngest performer to ever receive 3 acting nominations, and a win would make her only the fifth person in history to win back-to-back acting awards, and the youngest two-time winner ever. Too much too soon? The Academy may be reluctant to throw so much high praise on such a young performer, which is why I think Nyong’o has a real shot for the win. One of these two excellent performances in a Best Picture frontrunner will take home the trophy, but as of now it’s hard to tell which of the two it will be. Lawrence won the Globe, but Nyong’o took home the Critics’ Choice. SAG will likely point towards the eventual winner.

DANY: I’m dying to see August: Osage County, but Julia Roberts wasn’t a surprise at all. I didn’t see Sally Hawkins coming (I had guessed Oprah), though I absolutely loved her role in Blue Jasmine. And since I have yet to see Nebraska, I can’t comment on June Squibb.

In my opinion, it’s going to come down between Lupita and JLaw. I hope Jonny’s right, and the Oscar goes to Lupita. Nothing against Jennifer Lawrence, but if we’re solely basing it on the two performances from this year, there’s no comparison. I mentioned on my Globes post how, while I enjoyed Lawrence’s performance and think she’s a great actress, Lupita Nyong’o truly deserves it.

Best Supporting Actor

  • Barkhad Abdi – Captain Phillips
    1st Nomination

  • Bradley Cooper – American Hustle
    2nd Nomination

  • Michael Fassbender – 12 Years a Slave
    1st Nomination

  • Jonah Hill – The Wolf of Wall Street
    2nd Nomination

  • Jared Leto – Dallas Buyers Club
    1st Nomination

JONNY: 4/5
DANY: 4/5

JONNY: This is the acting category that I’m least excited about. All good performances, to be sure, but nothing that really compares to the work being done in the lead categories, with the exception of Michael Fassbender, who was brilliantly visceral in 12 Years a Slave. Barkhad Abdi was great in his acting debut, holding his own against Tom Hanks at his best, and Jonah Hill continues to make a career out of being the funny sidekick to huge movie stars in great movies. Bradley Cooper, along with Amy Adams, was my American Hustle MVP, but he doesn’t hit the depths that Fassbender or Leto reach in their performances. Leto is heartbreaking in Dallas Buyers Club, a movie that the Academy as a whole really liked, and should easily walk away with a win on Oscar night.

DANY: I’m so sad Bruhl didn’t get a nomination for Rush. I had him down over Jonah Hill. If I had to guess, I’d say Jared Leto will take this category. Again, looking at just performances, his role really went above and beyond any of his contender. Though if it doesn’t go to Leto, my second pick would be Michael Fassbender. His terrifying performance in 12 Years shook me to my core, and a win wouldn’t be at all surprising. But this is definitely the least exciting of the acting categories. Sorry guys, the ladies got this year down.

Best Actress

  • Amy Adams – American Hustle
    5th Nomination

  • Cate Blanchett – Blue Jasmine
    6th Nomination – 1 Win

  • Sandra Bullock – Gravity
    2nd Nomination – 1 Win

  • Judi Dench – Philomena
    7th Nomination – 1 Win

  • Meryl Streep – August: Osage County
    18th Nomination – 3 Wins

JONNY: 4/5
DANY: 5/5

JONNY: Though I’m super excited for Amy Adams to get her first leading nomination for her best-in-show performance in American Hustle, my heart weeps for Emma Thompson, who really elevated Saving Mr Banks, and is such a delightful awards show presence. I thought Adams would get in, but foolishly bet against Streep, thinking that Thompson was safe. Dame Judi was just fine in Philomena, but her character is so subdued that she pales in comparison to the others. Streep’s monster matron Violet Weston is a role that devastated me on stage. She hams it up a bit, but it’s still every bit the masterful performance we’ve come to expect from Meryl. Sandra Bullock quite literally carried almost every frame of Gravity with nothing but her own performance, and her presence here is well-deserved (and somewhat validates the Academy’s widely criticized decision to award her for The Blind Side).

Though Amy Adams, as the only non-winner in the category, remains a threat to win, especially if American Hustle sweeps, this category belongs to Cate Blanchett, whose modern take on Blanche Dubois in Blue Jasmine is nothing short of flawless. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime performance, and Blanchett knocks it out of the park. Absolutely brilliant work.

DANY:  I’ll take a moment to gush about how happy I am that I hit all of these. Though I’ll miss Emma Thompson, there was so much talent coming from female performances this year it was always going to be a hard one to predict. My guess is Amy Adams or Cate Blanchett, but I would love to see it go to Amy. Both performances were brilliant but Amy’s role stands out in American Hustle. Compared to the rest of the cast, I enjoyed her performance the best (and that’s saying something when you’re acting alongside Bradley Cooper and Christian Bale).

Again I haven’t seen Philomena either (I know I’m the worst…) But even in a category with Meryl Streep and the Academy’s sweetheart Sandra Bullock (whom I adore), I’m somewhat semi-confident it will come down between Adams and Blanchett (don’t quote me on this.)

Best Actor

  • Christian Bale – American Hustle
    2nd Nomination – 1 Win

  • Bruce Dern – Nebraska
    2nd Nomination

  • Leonardo DiCaprio – The Wolf of Wall Street
    4th Nomination

  • Chiwetel Ejiofor – 12 Years a Slave
    1st Nomination

  • Matthew McConaughey – Dallas Buyers Club
    1st Nomination

JONNY: 4/5
DANY: 3/5

JONNY: Easily the most competitive of the four acting categories this year – no matter what the outcome, several great performances were going to get left out. Unfortunately for Tom Hanks and Robert Redford there are only 5 spots, and their men at sea didn’t make the cut. Redford did zero campaigning, but I have no explanation for Hanks missing on what many consider a career-best performance. Bale, fresh off his recent win, riding the coattails of American Hustle’s success, is just along for the ride, but each of the other four have strong cases for the win. Dern is a beloved industry veteran, and has been ruthlessly campaigning for the win. The sympathy/nostalgia votes are his, for a performance that should resonate with older voters. DiCaprio gives the performance of this life, and is clearly deserving, but unfortunately for the legions of the internet, Wolf is too controversial to gain traction with the full Academy. Ejiofor gives an incredibly moving performance, but the favorite has got to be McConaughey, who has been quietly stringing together several critically acclaimed performances for the last few years, and hits a career best in Dallas Buyers Club. It could go any of the four ways, but as of now, McConaughey is the frontrunner.

DANY: TOM HANKS THOUGH. TOM. HANKS. NO. HOW. Did they not SEE Captain Phillips or… ?! Tell me the last scene didn’t just… UGH. NO.

Now that that’s out of my system, this was a very competitive category and in these cases, it all comes down to the campaigning. Robert Redford blamed Roadside Attractions for his snubs and he might have a point when you look at the campaigning for Dallas Buyers Club or Nebraska. Christian Bale was the biggest surprise. Fine performance, but nothing compared Tom Hanks’ Captain Phillips.

It’s going to come down to Dern, McConaughey, and DiCaprio. And though I so badly want my baby Leo to win (plz God plz) it won’t be easy. Both McConaughey and DiCaprio got the Globes so it will be interesting to see the outcome.

To sum up, TOM HANKS. UGH.

JONNY: Post-nominations, pre-ceremony is the most exciting time of the year. Phase two campaigning is ruthless, and since the ceremony is so late this year (ugh thanks Olympics) there’s plenty of time for momentum to swing. American Hustle looks like the clear winner of the first stage, as it surprised as the nominations leader. But Gravity and 12 Years a Slave are still very much in this race. It’ll be interesting to see how SAG, DGA, PGA, and WGA come out. No matter how it happens, I’m looking forward to beating you again in phase two!

DANY: You wish. You’ve beat me the last two years, so the odds are in my favor. But yes these next few weeks are by far the most exciting and we shall be counting down in tears and tweets.

Until next time!

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One response to “Oscar Noms Recap

  1. Pingback: American Sniper Roundtable | dany vasquez·

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