Oscars: And the winner is? - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

Oscars: And the winner is?

The  Oscars are lining up to be one of the best with enigmatic host Ellen DeGeneres returning, top-notch performances by U2, Idina Menzel, Pharrell, Karen O., Pink, and Bette Midler, and more than a few categories that have remained unpredictable.

But as we move into crunch time, both I and fellow entertainment Post-Examiner Mark McCarver are doing our best to pick out the winning ballot, as well as note a few movies of 2013 that were overlooked. I’m not putting money down, but I do have a few theories behind my choices:

Best Picture

Though I don’t fully recommend either of the films, 12 Years a Slave and Gravity are neck and neck in this race and one of them is pretty much guaranteed to win the top honor of the night. While many, including Mark, are placing their bets on the latter, I think the fact that it lacks a complete story will give Slave the boost it needs to pull ahead. But what about Dallas Buyers Club? If ever there was a dark horse, that would be it.

12-years-a-slave-posterWho will win: 12 Years a Slave

Who should win: Dallas Buyers Club

Who should’ve been nominated: Lone Survivor

Best Leading Actor

It’s been pretty clear from the start that the Best Actor trophy belongs to the much deserved McConaughey but leaving Tom Hanks out of the category, a legitimate contender, was a terrible misstep.

Who will win: Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club)

Who should win: Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club)

Who should’ve been nominated: Tom Hanks (Captain Phillips), Idris Elba (Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom)

Best Leading Actress

Although both her film and director have met scrutiny as of late, Cate Blanchet will walk away with her second Academy Award come Sunday night.

Who will win: Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine)

Who should win: Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine)

Who should’ve been nominated: Emma Thompson (Saving Mr. Banks), Naomi Harris (Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom), Greta Gerwig (Frances Ha), Julie Delpy (Before Midnight)

Best Supporting Actor

To be honest, I was completely pulling for Barkhad Abdi in this category until I saw Dallas Buyers Club and was swayed by Jared Leto’s powerful performance. I would agree with Mark that Abdi gives a tremendous performance, but the first-time actor just can’t quite measure up with all of his contenders.

dallas-buyers-club-poster-570x844Who will win: Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club)

Who should win: Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club)

Who should’ve been nominated: Daniel Brühl (Rush), Kevin Kline (Last Vegas)

Best Supporting Actress

Leading up to the Oscars, Lupita Nyong’o has won all the awards that “matter,” but co-nominee Jennifer Lawrence carries with her both a great performance and a near indomitable fan base. I agree with Mark that out of the two, Lawrence deserves to win however, the subject matter Nyong’o, a first time actor, deals with, will give her the edge. It’s June Squibb’s unexpected and hilarious performance that I’d ultimately like to see honored.

Who will win: Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave)

Who should win: June Squibb (Nebraska)

Best Director

Alfonso Cuarón did pull some good strings together to create Gravity and he’ll likely be the winner, but the plot of his movie suffers too much at the hands of technical genius. David O. Russell doesn’t direct a flawless picture, either, but it’s new and attention grabbing and it’s obvious he put a lot of thought into the storyline.

GravityIMAXdontletgoBlackfloatpostbigWho will win: Alfonso Cuarón (Gravity)

Who should win: David O. Russell (American Hustle)

Who should’ve been nominated: Paul Greengrass (Captain Phillips), Jean-Marc Vallée (Dallas Buyers Club), Peter Berg (Lone Survivor)

Best Original Screenplay

I like to think of ‘”original” as meaning the screenplay is both inventive and plausible as a feature-length film. Though Mark and many others completely fell in love with Her, it’s a bit too absurd and stretched out to be a great movie. Bob Nelson’s screenplay for Nebraska both reinvents the road trip story and moves along without missing a beat until it’s final ride into the sunset.

Who will win: Her

Who should win: Nebraska

Best Adapted Screenplay

12 Years a Slave has been labeled the contender but its screenplay, along with The Wolf of Wall Street’s, is sloppy and neither succeed at being a well-balanced movie.

Who will win: 12 Years a Slave

captain-phillips-posterWho should win: Captain Phillips

Who should’ve been nominated: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, Lone Survivor

Best Animated Feature

The competition is frozen out. There. I said it.

Who will win: Frozen

Who should win: Frozen

Who should’ve been nominated: Monsters University

Best Foreign Language Film

Who will win: The Great Beauty

Who should win: The Great Beauty

Who should’ve been nominated: The Past

Best Documentary Feature

The Act of Killing is the favorite in the category but it’s 20 Feet From Stardom that’s the truly insightful and entertaining documentary of the bunch.

actofkillWho Will win: The Act of Killing

Who Should win: 20 Feet from Stardom

Best Production Design

Who will win: Gravity

Who should win: American Hustle

Who should’ve been nominated: Lone Survivor, Saving Mr. Banks, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Best Cinematography

Who will win: Gravity

Who should win: Nebraska

Who should’ve been nominated: Dallas Buyers Club

Best Costume Design

Who will win: The Great Gatsby

american-hustle-posterWho should win: American Hustle

Best Film Editing

Who will win: Gravity

Who should win: Dallas Buyers Club

Who should’ve been nominated: Lone Survivor, Saving Mr. Banks, Philomena, Before MIdnight

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

And when the nominees are announced, we’ll all die a little seeing in print that Jackass now has ties with the Academy.

Who will win: Dallas Buyers Club

Who should win: Dallas Buyers Club

Who should’ve been nominated: American Hustle, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Best Original Score

The score of Saving Mr. Banks is cheery and nostalgic- but like Mark, the greater percentage of Academy voters probably smiled more at the lack of sound then “Let’s Go Fly a Kite.”

Who will win: Gravity

Saving-Mr-Banks-Movie-PosterWho should win: Saving Mr. Banks

Who should’ve been nominated: Captain Phillips

Best Original Song

I have to confess that I found myself humming the catchy “Let it Go” while writing this and made a last minute switch but “Ordinary Love” is a powerful song and I think, in the end, the star power behind it (U2) and its ties to the late, great Nelson Mandela will see it pull ahead.

Who will win: “Ordinary Love” from Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

Who should win: “Let It Go” from Frozen

Best Sound Editing

Who will win: Gravity

Who should win: Lone Survivor

Best Sound Mixing

The sound mixing of Lone Survivor made the extended combat sequence of the film truly remarkable and realistic but alas, Gravity seems to be an unstoppable force.

Who will win: Gravity

lonesurvivorWho should win: Lone Survivor

Who should’ve been nominated: Saving Mr. Banks

Best Visual Effects

Will win: Gravity

Should win: Gravity

Best Animated Short

The mouse house rules, Mark.

Who will win: Get a Horse!

Who should win: Get a Horse!

Best Live Action Short

Who will win: That Wasn’t Me

Who should win: Just Before Losing Everything

Best Documentary Short

Seriously, nothing can top Number 6’s 39 minutes of pure inspiration.

Who will win: The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life

Who should win: The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life

About the author

Eric Miller

Eric Miller is a marketing professional with experience in creative writing, journalism and corporate communications. He has been writing in some way, shape, or form for nearly all his life with plans to eventually publish a novel or screenplay. He is also an entertainment enthusiast with the latest news on movies, pop-culture, and events. A born and bred resident of the Baltimore Metropolitan area, he enjoys visiting the Inner Harbor as well as traveling the country, watching movies, and experimenting with mixed drinks. He is currently a member of the Sundance Institute, American Film Institute, and Maryland Film Festival. Contact the author.

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