Sunday, March 09, 2014

The 86th Annual Academy Awards

Well, the Oscars were a week ago today and time just slipped away from me, but here I am with a list of this year’s winners and nominees (for posterity I guess…) and a few comments on the ceremony:

2014 best picture nomsBest Motion Picture of the Year
12 Years a Slave (2013)

American Hustle (2013)
Captain Phillips (2013)
Dallas Buyers Club (2013)
Gravity (2013)
Her (2013)
Nebraska (2013)
Philomena (2013)
The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role
Matthew McConaughey for Dallas Buyers Club (2013)

Christian Bale for American Hustle (2013)
Bruce Dern for Nebraska (2013)
Leonardo DiCaprio for The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
Chiwetel Ejiofor for 12 Years a Slave (2013)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role
Cate Blanchett for Blue Jasmine (2013)

Amy Adams for American Hustle (2013)
Sandra Bullock for Gravity (2013)
Judi Dench for Philomena (2013)
Meryl Streep for August: Osage County (2013)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role
Jared Leto for Dallas Buyers Club (2013)

Barkhad Abdi for Captain Phillips (2013)
Bradley Cooper for American Hustle (2013)
Jonah Hill for The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
Michael Fassbender for 12 Years a Slave (2013)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role
Lupita Nyong'o for 12 Years a Slave (2013)

Sally Hawkins for Blue Jasmine (2013)
Jennifer Lawrence for American Hustle (2013)
Julia Roberts for August: Osage County (2013)
June Squibb for Nebraska (2013)

Best Achievement in Directing
Alfonso Cuarón for Gravity (2013)

Steve McQueen for 12 Years a Slave (2013)
David O. Russell for American Hustle (2013)
Martin Scorsese for The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
Alexander Payne for Nebraska (2013)

Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen
Her (2013): Spike Jonze

American Hustle (2013): Eric Warren Singer, David O. Russell
Blue Jasmine (2013):
Woody Allen
Nebraska (2013):
Bob Nelson
Dallas Buyers Club (2013):
Craig Borten, Melisa Wallack

Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published
12 Years a Slave (2013): John Ridley

Before Midnight (2013): Richard Linklater
Captain Phillips (2013):
Billy Ray
Philomena (2013):
Steve Coogan, Jeff Pope
The Wolf of Wall Street (2013):
Terence Winter

Best Animated Feature Film of the Year
Frozen (2013)

The Croods (2013)
Despicable Me 2 (2013)
Ernest & Celestine (2012)
The Wind Rises (2013)

Best Foreign Language Film of the Year
The Great Beauty (2013): Paolo Sorrentino(Italy)

The Broken Circle Breakdown (2012): Felix Van Groeningen(Belgium)
The Missing Picture (2013): Rithy Panh(Cambodia)
The Hunt (2012): Thomas Vinterberg(Denmark)
Omar (2013): Hany Abu-Assad(Palestine)

Best Achievement in Cinematography
Gravity (2013): Emmanuel Lubezki

Inside Llewyn Davis (2013): Bruno Delbonnel
Nebraska (2013): Phedon Papamichael
Prisoners (2013):
Roger Deakins
The Grandmaster (2013):
Philippe Le Sourd

Best Achievement in Editing
Gravity (2013): Alfonso Cuarón, Mark Sanger

12 Years a Slave (2013): Joe Walker
American Hustle (2013):
Alan Baumgarten, Jay Cassidy, Crispin Struthers
Captain Phillips (2013):
Christopher Rouse
Dallas Buyers Club (2013):
Martin Pensa, John Mac McMurphy

Best Achievement in Production Design
The Great Gatsby (2013): Catherine Martin, Beverley Dunn

12 Years a Slave (2013): Adam Stockhausen, Alice Baker
American Hustle (2013):
Judy Becker, Heather Loeffler
Gravity (2013):
Andy Nicholson, Rosie Goodwin, Joanne Woollard
Her (2013):
K.K. Barrett, Gene Serdena

Best Achievement in Costume Design
The Great Gatsby (2013): Catherine Martin

American Hustle (2013): Michael Wilkinson
12 Years a Slave (2013):
Patricia Norris
The Grandmaster (2013):
William Chang
The Invisible Woman (2013):
Michael O'Connor

Best Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling
Dallas Buyers Club (2013): Adruitha Lee, Robin Mathews

Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa (2013): Steve Prouty
The Lone Ranger (2013):
Joel Harlow, Gloria Pasqua Casny

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score
Gravity (2013): Steven Price

The Book Thief (2013): John Williams
Her (2013): Will Butler, Owen Pallett
Saving Mr. Banks (2013):
Thomas Newman
Philomena (2013):
Alexandre Desplat

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song
Frozen (2013): Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Robert Lopez("Let It Go")

Despicable Me 2 (2013): Pharrell Williams( "Happy")
Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom (2013): Bono, Adam Clayton, The Edge, Larry Mullen Jr., Brian Burton("Ordinary Love")
Her (2013): Karen O("The Moon Song")

Best Achievement in Sound Mixing
Gravity (2013): Skip Lievsay, Niv Adiri, Christopher Benstead, Chris Munro

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013): Christopher Boyes, Michael Hedges, Michael Semanick, Tony Johnson
Captain Phillips (2013):
Chris Burdon, Mark Taylor, Mike Prestwood Smith, Chris Munro
Inside Llewyn Davis (2013):
Skip Lievsay, Greg Orloff, Peter F. Kurland
Lone Survivor (2013):
Andy Koyama, Beau Borders, David Brownlow

Best Achievement in Sound Editing
Gravity (2013): Glenn Freemantle

All Is Lost (2013): Steve Boeddeker, Richard Hymns
Captain Phillips (2013):
Oliver Tarney
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013):
Brent Burge
Lone Survivor (2013):
Wylie Stateman

Best Achievement in Visual Effects
Gravity (2013): Timothy Webber, Chris Lawrence, David Shirk, Neil Corbould

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013): Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton, Eric Reynolds
Iron Man 3 (2013):
Christopher Townsend, Guy Williams, Erik Nash, Daniel Sudick
The Lone Ranger (2013):
Tim Alexander, Gary Brozenich, Edson Williams, John Frazier
Star Trek Into Darkness (2013):
Roger Guyett, Pat Tubach, Ben Grossmann, Burt Dalton

Best Documentary, Feature
Twenty Feet from Stardom (2013): Morgan Neville

The Act of Killing (2012): Joshua Oppenheimer, Signe Byrge Sørensen
Cutie and the Boxer (2013):
Zachary Heinzerling, Lydia Dean Pilcher
Dirty Wars (2013):
Rick Rowley, Jeremy Scahill
The Square (2013):
Jehane Noujaim, Karim Amer

Best Documentary, Short Subject
The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life (2013): Malcolm Clarke, Carl Freed

Cavedigger (2013): Jeffrey Karoff
Facing Fear (2013):
Jason Cohen
Karama Has No Walls (2012):
Sara Ishaq
Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall (2013):
Edgar Barens

Best Short Film, Animated
Mr Hublot (2013): Laurent Witz, Alexandre Espigares

Feral (2012): Daniel Sousa, Dan Golden
Get a Horse! (2013): Lauren MacMullan, Dorothy McKim
Possessions (2012):
Shuhei Morita
Room on the Broom (2012) (TV):
Max Lang, Jan Lachauer

Best Short Film, Live Action
Helium (2014):
Anders Walter

That Wasn't Me (2012): Esteban Crespo
Just Before Losing Everything (2013):
Xavier Legrand
Do I Have to Take Care of Everything? (2012):
Selma Vilhunen
The Voorman Problem (2012):
Mark Gill

oscar 2014So overall Gravity was the big winner, sweeping 7 categories, even though 12 Years a Slave took home the top prize.  I have to premise that I have not seen ANY of this year’s nominees, I know, I know, shame on me.  I just can’t seem to have the will to drag myself to the theater anymore.

I still love movies enormously, and I’ve got quite the backlog to review at the moment, but the theater experience has soured for me.  Last year I went exactly twice, and only once in the evening, and the people around me were noisy talking, or shuffling around, or handling some kind of food, whether it be candies or popcorn.  Just annoying all around.

Anyway, back to the Oscars!!  I actually enjoyed the ceremony, the second by this producing team that hopefully will be back for more, since they seem to have a good understanding of what needs to be done to please as many Oscar watchers as possible (as evidenced by the rising number of viewers both last year and this).

Ellen DeGeneres was a great host.  She was funny, engaging, and very professional and relaxed in likely the most demanding hosting gig in the world.

Many winners had interesting, touching, and/or funny speeches, like Lupita Nyong’o, Jared Leto, and Mr. and Mrs. Lopez, winners for the Best Original Song, even though the song from Frozen was arguably the least deserving of the 4, with Pharrell Williams’ Happy being my strong favorite, given its irresistibility.

The speech the left me disappointed was actually Matthew McConaughey’s.  It was nothing but a praise to himself and his beliefs over the years, totally ignoring the movie, the role, and the real life references of the movie that ultimately brought him to the most sought after stage in the world.  He never mentioned AIDS, the politics around it, the people who died of AIDS, the suffering, etc…  That’s not good form when your movie clearly had a social issue message to tell and especially when your costar had won his own Oscar just a couple hours earlier and gave a wonderful speech, touching, global, and respectful.  Tsk tsk tsk.

In keeping with last year’s choice, the awards were clumped together whenever possible, thereby keeping the pace moving and allowing for more skits by the host (which were all very funny and all worked very well) and showcases, whether they be actually playing the nominated songs (always a good choice), showing montage clips (always my favorites), or having special guests, like Pink with her wonderful rendition of Over the Rainbow in tribute to the 75th anniversary of the release of The Wizard of Oz (although why weren’t Judy Garland’s children, including Liza Minnelli, invited on the stage is anyone’s guess) and the always fabulous Bette Midler, singing her classic Wind Beneath My Wings.

I’m obviously very glad Italy won the Best Foreign Language Film again after so many years (hopefully I’ll be able to see it at some point) but I felt like Kim Novak’s appearance fell a little flat.  I also wasn’t a fan of the decision to keep the audience from clapping for their favorites during the In Memoriam segment of the show.  If you feel like clapping for a lost artist or friend, what’s wrong with that?  Sure, some people get no applause and sometimes it feels sad, but the majority of the people remembered haven’t been active in Hollywood for years or decades, so it’s only logical that they don’t have many fans in the current crowd.  On the other hand, having great artists that everyone knows like James Gandolfini and Philip Seymour Hoffman receive no applause felt a lot worse.

Finally, a shot-out to the many handsome dudes that always make the show a tad more interesting.  In no specific order, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Brad Pitt, Zach Efron, Channing Tatum, Jared Leto, Matthew McConaughey, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Bradley Cooper.  They were ALL awesome!

And here’s a behind the scenes video from Ellen herself: