It’s that time again. The Academy hands out their picks for best of every category. They can select 10 films for best picture, but apparently could find only nine worthy of the crown. The pictures span history, deep drama, AIDS, hijacking, swindle and a celestial exploration of the human spirit, untethered in space.
Observations. Although the themes are familiar and tightly bunched, the styles and settings are nicely varied. My overarching take is that Gravity overwhelmes all the others for technical achievement. I’m predicting a mini-sweep for Gravity in the technical categories and the film’s director for being able to successfully stitch it together. The softer, more artistic awards will be sprinkled across the vast field based on the individual effort and ultimate impact they contributed (screenplay, song, etc.) on the film as a complete work. Four of the nine best picture nominees have one word titles. with another two managing to use only two words. The Wolf of Wall Street has no chance.
A decade or more ago I was a whiz at picking these. I would have seen all of them in the theater, many twice. Read Variety each week and closely followed the pop discussions found in the likes of Entertainment Weekly. Much of that study time has been re-purposed by a busy career, fatherhood and being a husband. No complaints from me.
Since my extremely active involvement in film has been reduced, my record of wins has become uneven but that doesn’t deter me from making predictions. Let the annual ritual begin.
Picture: 12 Years a Slave
Director: Alfonso Cuarón for Gravity
Actor: Matthew McConaughey for Dallas Buyers Club
Actress: Amy Adams for American Hustle
Actor in a Supporting Role: Barkhad Abdi for Captain Phillips
Actress in a Supporting Role: Lupita Nyong’o for 12 Years a Slave
Original Screenplay: American Hustle
Adapted Screenplay: 12 Years a Slave
Animated Feature: Frozen
Film Editing: Gravity
Visual Effects: Gravity
Sound Editing: Captain Phillips
Production Design: The Great Gatsby
Original Score: Alexandre Desplat for Philomena
Original Song: Let it Go from Frozen
Costume Design: The Great Gatsby
One more thing. Can we please stop complaining about how long the awards show runs?