Sorry ’bout It

15 Jan

Well, I can’t believe I’m writing this, but it’s time for me to ‘fess-up. After covering the Oscars almost religiously for 30 years or more, long before such things as blogs, I will actually be out of the loop during tomorrow’s announcement of this year’s nominees. Not only am I in the midst of a family crisis  that’s almost movie-like in its extraordinary circumstances, I will put in a full 8 hour day tomorrow, followed by convocation activities that will keep me on campus until at least 8:00 p.m. Of course, I’ll have time to check the Internet to at least peruse the official list of contenders, but I won’t be able to write a word about any of it until Friday evening; however, I’ll give it my all when I get the chance, and I’ll also be covering this weekend’s SAG awards as per usual.

I don’t expect too many surprises tomorrow morning, but the Academy often throws something unexpected into the mix, either the out-of-nowhere inclusion–for better or worse–or the eye-opening snub.

I full well expect American Hustle, Gravity, and 12 Years a Slave to dominate the Best Picture race.  For some reason, I think American Hustle, by virtue of its strong cast, or Gravity, because of its technical brilliance, will earn the most nods though it’s not my style to predict the number of nods any film might garner. Fruitvale Station and Lee Daniels’ The Butler are strong contenders as well.

For Best Actress, Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine) seems invincible, but she’ll be joined by four other nominees anyway, and they will surely include Sandra Bullock (Gravity) and Judi Dench (Philomena).  Emma Thompson (Saving Mr. Banks) and Amy Adams (American Hustle) appear well-positioned, but Meryl Streep (August: Osage County) is, quite obviously, a huge Academy favorite.  Personally, I’d love to see Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Enough Said) in the race, but that’s not the direction the course has taken so far.  Way, way out on the periphery are Brie Larson (Short Term 12) and Lake Bell (In a World…).

For Best Actor, I have two faves, and they are Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club) and Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave). I still haven’t caught up with Nebraska starring Bruce Dern, another probable nominee. Tom Hanks (Captain Phillips) looks solid too. Other than that, there are a few question marks, such as Robert Redford (All is Lost), Michael B. Jordan (Fruitvale Station), Idris Elba (Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom), and Forest Whitaker (Lee Daniels’ The Butler). I don’t think Hugh Jackman (Prisoners) has much of a chance anymore. Leonardo DiCaprio (The Wolf of Wall Street) might make the cut as a possible spoiler.

For me, the Best Supporting Actor and Actress races begin and end with Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club) and Lupita Nyong’0 (12 Years a Slave), respectively. A nice touch would be the likes of June Squibb (Nebraska) and James Gandolfini (Enough Said). I think Julia Roberts is the best thing about August: Osage County, but I also think positioning her as a Best Supporting Actress candidate is a bit of cheat. If her character is not the equal of the one played by La Streep, she is surely no less than a second lead, but of course the same can be said of the late Gandolfini; after all, he  is the male romantic lead in a hetero love story.

I’ll give Gravity all its due in the world. Technically, it’s unsurpassed among this year’s slate; however, I still hope Oblivion isn’t locked out of the race entirely. It’s a gorgeous piece of cinema that deserves to be celebrated in Oscar’s official history book.

Okay, now the wait begins….

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