Tag Archives: Oscar

Oscar Predictions – Tech Fields: Cameras, Costumes, Makeup, Design, and FX


Welcome to The Screen Life’s Oscar Predictions! This is part 2 in a 6-part series, in which you will find a quick breakdown of each category, accompanied by ranked predictions. Also be sure to check out the complete OSCAR PREDICTIONS page (in the menu up top), which will be continually updated throughout the week. This is your grand guide to this Sunday’s big night!

Best Cinematography

Gravity‘s Emmanuel Lubezki is long overdue. He has several nominations in his belt but no wins. Even with his amazing career, this is his best work to date. The film is the strongest contender for Best Picture, and it’s tech-work has swept everything so far. Oh and 3D movies have won this award 3 out of the last 4 years (and there was no 3D nominee the year Inception won.) This win is almost the surest thing of the night, but if there’s a spoiler, here’s how that might play out: Inside Llewyn Davis only got 2 nominations, despite its critical respect. This might be the best place to vote for it for those who think it deserves something. Black and white photography often has an advantage when it’s in play, and while Nebraska‘s lens-work is highly notable for more than just the medium, voters may just “vote for the B&W one.” Roger Deakins has more nominations without a win than any cinematographer, and just about any living person ever. But as its only nod, Prisoners won’t get him his first win. The Grandmaster is just happy to be here.

1. Gravity
2. Inside Llewyn Davis
3. Nebraska
4. Prisoners
5. The Grandmaster

Best Costume Design

In the tech categories “best” is often misinterpreted as “most”, and in Costumes (as in Production Design) there is now film with more on screen than the extravagant The Great Gatsby. Despite the film’s overall lukewarm (and that’s being kind) reception, it has been leading the charge. It has major competition, though, from huge Best Picture players and nomination leader. American Hustle is jam-packed with outlandish, scene-stealing disco-era threads. And 12 Years a Slave, while more modest, just surprised with a Costume Designers Guild Award. The Invisible Woman is full of the kind of great Victorian outfits that win here all the time, but did anybody actually see it? Again, The Grandmaster is just happy to be here. Also, let’s take a moment to remember that the best costume work of the year by far wasn’t even nominated: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire should be at the top of this list.

1. The Great Gatsby
2. American Hustle
3. 12 Years a Slave
4. The Invisible Woman
5. The Grandmaster

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

This should be pretty cut and dry. The Lone Ranger did have some quality work, but it was a box office failure. With the entire Academy voting on the category, movies that actually lose money are rarely rewarded. Bad Grandpa actually had very impressive makeup. The old man prosthetics not only looked authentic – Johnny Knoxville quite literally disappeared into his role – but were able to hold up to the brutality of the Jackass-style stunts. It could be a dark horse. But in the end, only one of these is a respected movie and a Best Picture nominee. Add to that the recent news that Dallas Buyers Club‘s impressive makeup work was done on an absolutely minuscule budget of only $250. If American Hustle‘s iconic hairdos were in the mix it might be a tighter race, but as it is, I think we have a pretty clear winner.

1. Dallas Buyers Club
2. Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa
3. The Lone Ranger

Best Production Design

This may be one of the most wide open races this year. Any one of these could conceivably win. All three major Best Pic contenders, and 4th strong nominee are duking it out, but again it seems The Great Gatsby’s opulence might have a slight edge. It won the Art Director’s Guild Award, along with Her and Gravity. But the latter 2 didn’t have to compete with Hustle or Slave. Slave might have a slight advantage there if Hustle loses votes to Gatsby. Personally I think the amazing near-future designs of Her should take this, but realistically it’s probably closer to the back of the pack. Gravity probably has the most subtle work in this arena, but even it could take the award in a sweep. This is a tough one!

1. The Great Gatsby
2. 12 Years a Slave
3. American Hustle
4. Her
5. Gravity

Best Visual Effects

And from wide open to completely closed, locked, bolted, and shuttered: This is by far the easiest category to call. This award was sealed within the first 10 minutes of Gravity’s first premier way back at the Telluride Film Festival. Nothing else even comes close, so ranking is a bit pointless. I would’ve put Pacific Rim at a distant #2, if it hadn’t been surprisingly and unfairly snubbed.

1. Gravity

7. Iron Man 3
8. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
9. Star Trek: Into Darkness
10. The Lone Ranger


Check out the other parts of the Oscar Predictions Series here:
Part 1 – Animated, Foreign, Doc, and Short Films
Part 2 – Technical Categories (Cinematography, Costumes, Makeup, Production Design, and Visual Effects)
Part 3 – Sound and Music
Part 4 – Storytelling (Editing and Screenplays)
Part 5 – Acting
Part 6 – Picture and Director

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Oscar Predictions – Animated, Foreign, Doc, and Short Films

frozen olaf in summer

Welcome to The Screen Life’s Oscar Predictions! This is the first in a 6-part series, in which you will find a quick breakdown of each category, accompanied by ranked predictions. Also be sure to check out the complete OSCAR PREDICTIONS page (in the menu up top), which will be continually updated throughout the week. This is your grand guide to Sunday’s big night!

Best Animated Feature

This might seem to be a done deal, and it probably is. But don’t be fooled; it’s far from the surest thing this year. Hayao Miyazaki is always a force to be reckoned with. He’s won here before, and he has more than hinted that The Wind Rises will be his last film. Meanwhile, The Croods has been doing some serious campaigning and has a lot of champions. (Same with Despicable Me 2, though that’s more for the song.) And Ernest and Celestine was one of the most pleasant surprises all year. Still, Frozen appears to be the long awaited return-to-form for Disney, who sill has yet to win this award. (Though you can be sure, if this category existed in their heyday of the 80’s and 90’s, they would’ve clean up!)

1. Frozen
2. The Wind Rises
3. The Croods
4. Ernest and Celestine
5. Despicable Me 2

Best Foreign Language Film

I have seen exactly ZERO of these movies, so I have to base my predictions solely on the precursors and prognosticators. The foreign film juggernaut of the season, Blue Is the Warmest Color, was ineligible. The next behind in terms of critics awards was The Great Beauty. But critics aren’t voting here, so the winner is likely to be something a little more accessible. The Hunt is the box office draw, with recognizable star Mads Mikkelsen, and The Broken Circle Breakdown is more of the smaller indie favorite.

1. The Hunt (Denmark)
2. The Broken Circle Breakdown (Belgium)
3. The Great Beauty (Italy)
4. Omar (Palestine)
5. The Missing Picture (Cambodia)

Best Documentary Feature

Again, like Foreign, I haven’t seen any of these. The Act of Killing has dominated the season so far, along with the snubbed Stories We Tell and (to a lesser degree) Blackfish. But it seems, again, the more accessible 20 Feet From Stardom has the upper hand here. I’ve heard only wonderful things about it, so there really is no reason to vote against it. As for the others, they all have won their share of precursors here and there, and honestly any one of them could conceivably take the prize.

1. 20 Feet From Stardom
2. The Act of Killing
3. The Square
4. Dirty Wars
5. Cutie and the Boxer

Best Short Film – Animated

This year, the short categories were opened up to the entire Academy. Before, voters had to prove they had seen all the films. But now, like most other categories, screeners were sent out to everybody, and voters are left on the honor system to watch them all. If they do, Disney’s Get a Horse! could suffer from the loss of 3D. That would be great for Mr. Hublot. I honestly don’t see any of the others winning this, though Room on the Broom has the star power. But the Disney film is by far the most recognizable and widely seen of the nominees. If voters just check the name they recognize and are most familiar with, it’s the likely winner. (See my reviews here.)

1. Get a Horse!
2. Mr. Hublot
3. Room on the Broom
4. Feral
5. Possessions

Best Short Film – Live Action

This is a tough call. The overall quality of this category is better than its animated cousin, which is unusual in my short experience. Recently English language films and comedies have had the advantage here, which could be a great sign for The Voorman Problem. But in the end, I think voters will agree with me that it feels a little stunted, which throws the field wide open for any of the others. And in a true head to head, I just don’t see how the powerful, amazing standout Just Before Losing Everything loses this race. (See my reviews here.)

1. Avant De Tout Perdre (Just Before Losing Everything)
2. The Voorman Problem
3. Pitääkö Mun Kaikki Hoitaa? (Do I Have to Take Care of Everything?)
4. Helium
5. Aquel No Era Yo (That Wasn’t Me)

Best Short Film – Documentary

Not only have I not seen any of these, I’ve never been able to catch any films nominated for Doc Short, EVER. Even after they began releasing the short programs to theaters almost a decade ago, the documentaries never made it beyond NY and LA. We here in the “flyovers” aren’t apparently aren’t worthy or smart enough to appreciate them. (Bitterness? What bitterness?) Honestly, few others have seen them either, so in this one category? Your guess is as good as mine. If you want to be a shade more informed, though, check out Kris Tapley’s rundown of the category here. One final quick note: The titular lady from The Lady in Number 6 just passed away on Sunday. Ballots are still out, so there could be a bit of either sympathy voting, or surge of recognizability.

1. The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life
2. Karama Has No Walls
3. Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall
4. Facing Fear
5. CaveDigger


Check out the other parts of the Oscar Predictions Series here:
Part 1 – Animated, Foreign, Doc, and Short Films
Part 2 – Technical Categories (Cinematography, Costumes, Makeup, Production Design, and Visual Effects)
Part 3 – Sound and Music
Part 4 – Storytelling (Editing and Screenplays)
Part 5 – Acting
Part 6 – Picture and Director

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GrabBag – Beetlejuice 2, ‘R’ Movies for Kids, and the Problem With ‘Let It Go’


It’s Friday! Boy, are you ever ready for this weekend. Starved for non-work-related internet surfing. The only thing you need is a bunch of links to check out. Well bully for you, because today’s GrabBag is a SUPER-SIZED barrel of web content, with 10 different links and videos. Time to pull up a seat, get your finger on that mouse, and GORGE!!!

  • It looks like Tim Burton and Michael Keaton are seriously considering doing Beetlejuice 2.
  • Christina Bianco does impressions of several famous divas singing “Let It Go”. These are hilarious, but she’s pretty terrific herself.
  • Speaking of “Let It Go”, Slate’s Dana Stevens has a problem with a small part of the sequence that she says contradicts Frozen‘s otherwise pro-feminist messages. I totally get her point, but honestly, if that’s your only problem with a movie that’s otherwise so much better an influence for young girls (and boys!) than 99.999% of the rest of pop culture? Let it go, Dana. (heh. heh. heh.)
  • Take a look at Rush‘s CGI effects side-by-side with real footage of Niki Lauda’s crash.
  • Dallas Buyers Club‘s Oscar-nominated (and likely winning) make-up work was all done on a budget of only $250. Wow. Just… wow.
  • Still confused by that “preferential ballot” the Oscars use for their Best Picture category? Still care? (Did you ever?) Here’s another really good explaination, courtesy of The Wrap’s Steve Pond…
  • Has The LEGO Movie (review coming soon) left you wanting more? Here are some great LEGO-ized posters for this year’s Best Picture nominees.
  • The always hilarious Onion reviews the new RoboCop movie…

Okay, okay, OKAY!!! That’s enough surfing for now, big clicker. Breathe. Save some room for next week. There’ll always be more…

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Review – Oscar Nominated Shorts 2014: Animation


A couple days ago I posted my reviews of this year’s Oscar Nominees for Live Action Short Film. The animated ones overall were slightly underwhelming in comparison, but there were a couple a very bright spots – the very brightest of which didn’t even get nominated.

Wait… what? I’ll explain later. For now, here are my ranked reviews for the 2014 Oscar nominees for Best Animated Short

5. Possessions (Japan/Japanese, 14 min)
A skilled handyman wandering through the woods in a storm seeks shelter in a seemingly abandoned shrine. The little hut is cluttered with various broken objects whose sprits haunt him until he fixes them. The premise is based on an old Japanese legend. Perhaps if I were more familiar with the legend or the culture from which it originated I would have gotten more out of this film. As it is the story seemed confusing and pointless. Many of the subtitles didn’t make much sense, and I can’t help but wonder if it was just a bad translation. Even so, the CGI was awkward and doesn’t blend well with the hand-drawn background. Overall, it just wasn’t that good. I quickly went from critical to bored.

4. Room on the Broom (UK/English, 26 min)
A witch and her cat ride around on their broom, stopping occasionally to take on more passengers, much to the cat’s increasing dismay. Like 2010 nominee, The Guffalo (and its not-nominated sequel The Gruffalo’s Child), this is a BBC production of a short children’s book, with a voice cast full of high profile names (Simon Pegg narrates). The problem with these films is they insist on using the original text, narrated word-for-word, with lots of pauses and dead space to fill out a half-hour TV slot. In doing so, they ruin the wonderful rhythm and rhyming scheme of that original text. The animation is skilled, and Broom in particular bests its formers with wonderful character work on the fantastically expressive cat. But the whole thing feels more like a glossy, expensive, yet over-long segment for Reading Rainbow.

3. Feral (USA/No dialogue, 12 min)
This is a beautiful hand-painted depiction of a feral child “rescued” from the woods and adopted by the hunter who found him. He is groomed for civilized life, but the grooming can only be skin deep. Though the story is clear enough, the telling is quite abstract. The screen is a series of gorgeous images that morph into one another, and each moment the imagery moves back and forth between concrete reality and symbolic dreamscape. The biggest potential pitfall with any work of abstract art is that it can have a tendency to sacrifice accessibility for expression. That’s somewhat the case here. The artistry that went into making this film is undeniable. But it wasn’t always entirely engaging or interesting.

2. Get a Horse! (USA/English, 6 min)
It was teased over a year ago as a long lost early Mickey Mouse cartoon. It turned out to be a new film blending traditional, grainy black and white animation with the most advanced and up to date 3D CGI. Mickey (voiced by some previously unused, archived recordings of Walt Disney himself) and his friends get into a chase that breaks through the screen and into the audience. Classic physics-bending cartoon hijinks ensue, with the help of modern technology to enable pranks the old Mickey would’ve never dreamed of. I loved this film when it screened in 3D before Frozen. In this program (and screeners sent to Oscar voters) it’s presented in 2D and loses a good deal of its technical appeal. Without that there’s not much of a story to prop it up (there never were in those old cartoons). Still, in 3D it’s a fantastic film.

1. Mr. Hublot (France/No dialogue, 12 min)
Mr. Hublot is fastidious shut-in with OCD, living in a fantastical steampunk/clockwork city populated by mechanical people. His world is turned upside-down when he rescues a stray robot dog that quickly grows too big and destructive for his perfectly ordered home. It’s an enormously sweet and touching little film. The characters are endearing and the design is stunningly beautiful. There are a couple times when a song comes in over a montage of events. The song is mixed a little too loud and feels a little distractingly out of place. But even so, it’s a sweet and enjoyable little ditty. This is my favorite of the animated nominees this year.

(It is not, however, my favorite of the year, as you’ll see below.)

HIGHLY COMMENDED – These programs often include a few other films that didn’t get nominated, in order to fill out a feature length slot. This year’s live action shorts were considerably longer on average, so that program stuck to the 5 nominees. But the animated program gave us a few others, including one that’s far and away better than everything else.

3-. A La Francaise (USA/No Dialogue, 7 min)
In 1700’s Versailles, all the rich, noble aristocracy are portrayed as hapless clucking chickens. It’s a pretty funny metaphor, but a simple one. There’s absolutely no depth here. Not much to say, really: reasonably enjoyable, and instantly forgettable.

3+.The Missing Scarf (Ireland/English, 7 min)
You’d be forgiven for thinking this is your standard children’s allegory about a cute little origami paper squirrel searching for his lost scarf, but you’d be oh so very wrong. In fact, it’s less of a story and more of a video essay on the nature of fear, with a final turn that’s surprisingly dark for adults, let alone any poor kids who might have been tricked into watching it. My mind kept thinking George Takei’s narration was going to rhyme or a least find a rhythm, but the fact that it never does only added to a certain level of discomfort that I’m pretty sure was intentional. It’s not a bad film at all, but watch at your own risk.

1+++!!!!!. The Blue Umbrella (USA/No Dialogue, 7 min)
Pixar is has been a staple in this category almost as often as it has in the Feature Animation. That the studio missed out on both this year is shocking and upsetting, but mostly for this one. It was paired with Monsters University in theaters, and while the latter was better than I expected, the former was the most wonderful thing on screen all night. In a photo-realistic city at night in the rain, a chance encounter between a blue and pink umbrella (the people carrying them are only seen by their matching galoshes) becomes a harrowing adventure, and ultimately a love story. Various objects in and around the street watch the proceedings with fantastic expressions created by ever so slightly bending already existing lines. The soundtrack is beautiful, and the story is incredibly touching. It’s the kind of film that’s so moving, so affecting, that I still get shivers up my spine even now, writing about it several days later. Despite whichever film wins the Oscar, this is in fact by far the Best Animated Short Film of the Year.



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Review – Oscar Nominated Shorts 2014: Live Action


A few years ago the Oscar nominated short films began releasing in theaters, in feature-length programs divided by category: Live Action, Animation, and Documentary. Ever since, I have made it a point to catch these often fantastic, under-appreciated little gems. The exception is the Doc Shorts which, to this day, still rarely make it outside of New York and LA. But if you’re lucky enough to live in a city with an independent theater, chances are you can catch the Live Action and Animated programs.

I recently sat down to both groups. Stay tuned later this week for my reviews of the animated films. Today I present my reviews, in ranked order, of the 5 films nominated for this year’s Oscar for Best Live Action Short.

(Note: “Short” film doesn’t necessarily necessitate “Short” reviews, but for ease of reading, I’ll keep these to a single paragraph each.)

5. Aquel No Era Yo (That Wasn’t Me) (Spain/English & Spanish, 24 min)
A Spanish couple, doing aid work in an unnamed war-torn region of Africa, encounter a group of child soldiers and their warlord. Soon they find themselves targets used for indoctrinating the newest youngest recruits. Like a French film reviewed further below, this shines a light on an important topic too often overlooked by the public. Unfortunately the heavy-handed style suffers from a chronic case of just-too-muchness. The occasional flashes-forward to a lecture hall provide occasional respite from the violence, but don’t exactly add much to the proceedings beyond a slightly awkward framing device. Some of the special effects are distractingly bad, as well. That said, some aspects of the film are very good, and I can see it gaining votes based on its social importance – perhaps even winning the Oscar. But I was too turned-off by its problems to appreciate any value that might have remained.

4. Helium (Denmark/Danish, 23 min)
A hospital janitor befriends a young terminal patient and raises the boy’s spirits by regaling him with tales of a fantastical alt-heaven called “Helium.” It’s quite touching, and the special effects are gorgeous. But it’s just a little too sappy to overcome the central cliché.

3. The Voorman Problem (UK/English, 13 min)
Martin Freeman stars as a psychologist called in to evaluate a prisoner (Pirates of the Caribbean’s Tom Hollander) who “believes” he’s a god. Those quotation marks are crucial to the film’s central gimmick. And it is a gimmick. It’s hilarious and well acted, but it’s a one-note joke. That’s not always a bad thing; I enjoy lots of joke-y shorts, including the Finnish film below. But there’s a well known “rule of threes” in comedy and storytelling. This film delivered its big turn on the second beat and ended, leaving an unfinished and unsatisfied feeling. In my opinion, the “problem” of the title is that it feels like only half of a great movie.

2. Pitääkö Mun Kaikki Hoitaa? (Do I Have to Take Care of Everything?) (Finland/Finnish, 7 min)
After oversleeping, a woman has to get her useless husband and kids ready to leave for a wedding. This fast-paced comedy piles on more complications every few seconds, to perfectly recreate that sense of frantic frustration that’s so familiar. Like The Voorman Problem this could be considered a one-note joke, but unlike that film this has the advantage of a clear beginning, middle and end, an endearing tone, and relatable characters. The film is light, some might even say slight, but it’s very enjoyable.

1. Avant Que De Tout Perdre (Just Before Losing Everything) (France/French, 30 min)
A mother is desperate to leave town with her kids, but first they must stop at the supermarket where she works to make some final plans. I want to tell you what they are doing and why, but the film so expertly adds information piece by piece, steadily building tension and suspense, that I don’t want to give too much away. Suffice it to say, this is a powerful film, made by extremely talented women, about an important topic too often relegated to “women’s issues”, but whose audience is and should be universal. Everyone needs to watch this. The skill and artistry involved in every aspect of the production is absolutely top notch, and the script is as good as any in this year’s feature races. This is not only the best short film of this race; it may be the best live action short I’ve seen since I began paying attention to these races nearly a decade ago.

And there you have this year’s Live Action Short field. Needless to say, this ranking is my own opinion. I will make actual predictions for the Oscar races sometime over the next month. (Though my experience lately is the films I like the best actually often end up winning.) Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for the Animation reviews coming up!

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Weekend Wrap-up: The Producers Keep It Interesting


This weekend the first two all-important film industry guilds announced their winners: the actors (SAG) and the producers (PGA). Next weekend the directors (DGA) will follow suit. Usually between these three a frontrunner emerges which goes on to take the top prize at the Oscars.

This race is one of the tightest in years, with essentially three frontrunners. Last week I predicted that each of those three would take one of the three main guild awards: American Hustle – SAG (ensemble), 12 Years a Slave – PGA, Gravity – DGA. It was a fairly wild guess, since that kind of thing never happens. One film always takes two, if not or all three, and then goes on to win Best Picture

On Saturday night SAG Awards (scroll to the bottom to see the complete list of winners) appeared to stick to the script. All their film winners were pretty well expected. Cate Blanchett and Jared Leto continued their respective steamrolls through Best Actress and Supporting Actor. They are the 2 surest bets for winning gold on Oscar night, as nobody has been able to beat them in any of the precursors. Matthew McConaughey continued to strengthen his frontrunner status for Best Actor. The biggest excitement was Lupita Nyong’o winner for her supporting performance in 12 Years over Jennifer Lawrence. But even that wasn’t really a surprise – the two have been neck and neck all season, and many pundits (not yours truly, though) think Lawrence will have a hard time winning back to back Oscars.

Hustle took Best Ensemble, as I and many others predicted. 12 Years surely provided stiff competition, but the former was the more obvious acting showcase. And in a very tight race, that was all that was needed to pull ahead for an award that honors the actors rather than the movie itself.

Still, the SAG ensemble very often goes to the eventual Best Picture Oscar winner, so without word yet from any one else in the industry, Hustle essentially took the lead. But in a race so tight anything could happen, literally that – “anything” – was about to.

The PGA awarded an unprecedented 2-film tie! If Hustle had been one of those two films it might have held onto its frontrunner status, but it wasn’t. Gravity and 12 Years split the prize. In a sense my prediction was correct that all three films would win a major guild award, but there was no way I could’ve imagined that would happen a week before the third would even announce.

Over the last 4 years the PGA (for comparison: the Best Picture Oscar is also awarded to a film’s producers) has become THE most predictive of the guilds, since they are the only ones besides the Academy to use a complex “preferential balloting system” (as opposed to a simple weighted ballot) to determine their winners. In this system getting 1st place votes is important, but so is getting 2nd and 3rd. So a winning film has to evoke passion in a much broader cross-section of voters. “Love-it-or-hate-it” films don’t weather this process well.

Given that complex process and the PGA’s 4,700 voting members, one would think a tie is statistically impossible to come by. Yet that’s what happened, and suddenly our best predictor is useless. (Ok, not useless, but you know…)

Of course now the DGA is the key. Whoever wins that will have 2 to everyone else’s 1, and will become considered the frontrunner. I still suspect that’s going to be Gravity. Alfonso Cuaron has been picking up director prizes more consistently than other film, making his film the safest bet. But at this point the race is so convoluted that even that safest bet wouldn’t necessarily be a safe bet.

That said, Oscar voting hasn’t even started yet. By the time they do, that frontrunner, however tenuous, will be known. AMPAS, just like everyone else, likes to rally behind a winner. Chances are the majority of voters will get behind the perceived leader, making it the de facto leader, and the eventual winner.

So, while it’s still early and I reserved the right to change my mind several times in light of new information, I am now prepared to make my first official Oscar Prediction of the season:

Gravity will win the Oscar for Best Picture.

Still, it could easily go any direction, and that’s what’s so exciting. That’s why I may be having the most fun I’ve had since I started paying attention to awards season more than 15 years ago. This is fantastic!

Here is the complete list of SAG and PGA winners. (Check them against my predictions here.)


Actor – Matthew McConaughey, “Dallas Buyers Club”
Actress – Cate Blanchett, “Blue Jasmine”
Supporting Actor – Jared Leto, “Dallas Buyers Club”
Supporting Actress – Lupita Nyong’o, “12 Years a Slave”
Ensemble – American Hustle

Actor, TV Movie or Miniseries – Michael Douglas, “Behind the Candelabra”
Actress, TV Movie or Miniseries – Helen Mirren, “Phil Spector”
Actor, Drama – Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad”
Actress, Drama – Maggie Smith, “Downton Abbey”
Actor, Comedy – Ty Burrell, “Modern Family”
Actress, Comedy – Julia Louis-Drefus, “Veep”
Ensemble, Drama – Breaking Bad
Ensemble, Comedy – Modern Family

Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture – Lone Survivor
Stunt Ensemble in a Comedy or Drama Series – Game of Thrones



Theatrical Motion Pictures -TIE- Gravity and 12 Years a Slave
Animated Theatrical Motion Pictures – Frozen
Documentary Theatrical Motion Pictures – We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks
Long-Form Television – Behind the Candelabra
Episodic Television, Drama – Breaking Bad
Episodic Television, Comedy – Modern Family
Non-Fiction Television – Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown
Competition Television – The Voice
Live Entertainment & Talk Television – The Colbert Report
Sports Program – SportsCenter
Children’s Program – Sesame Street
Digital Series – “Wired: What’s Inside” (http://video.wired.com/series/what-s-inside)
The Davie O. Selznick Achievement Award – Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli
The Norman Lear Achievement Award – Chuck Lorre
The Stanley Kramer Award – Fruitvale Station
Milestone Award – Bob Iger
Vanguard Award – Peter Jackson, Joe Letteri and Weta Digital
Visionary Award – Chris Meledandri

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Oscar Predictions


The Oscar nominations will be announced tomorrow morning. Bright and early at 5:38am Pacific (7:38am Central) Chris Hemsworth and AMPAS president Cheryl Boone Isaacs will deliver the news.

Or at least some of it. The live announcement (usually streamed online – I will update this page with a link tomorrow morning when I have it) is actually just the most major 9 categories. The rest are given in the form of a press release, and announced by most news outlets immediately after. Last year broke with tradition a little bit when Seth MacFarlane also announced Best Song live, presumably because he was one of the nominees. I don’t expect anything like that happening with Hemsworth.

Here are my final predictions for the nominations. My choices are based on a mix of the guilds and other precursors and following other awards watchers. (Kris Tapley, et al over at In Contention are some of the best in the field at predicting these things. Check out their predictions here.) There’s simply no way to predict the short categories so I pretty much skipped those, with the exception of one film I feel is guaranteed of a nomination (and probably an eventual win). I also listed one or two alternates for almost every category to help you with your own predictions.

What do you think? Any stupid choices or glaring omissions? Let me know in the comments!

Best Picture – There can be anywhere from 5-10 nominees, but I think the first 7 are pretty much locked.
12 Years a Slave
American Hustle
Captain Phillips
Dallas Buyers Club
If there are 8: The Wolf of Wall Street
If there are 9: Philomena
If there are 10: Saving Mr. Banks
Alternate: Blue Jasmine

Best Director
Alfonso Cuarón, Gravity
Paul Greengrass, Captain Phillips
Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave
Alexander Payne, Nebraska
David O. Russell, American Hustle
Alt: Spike Jonze, Her or Martin Scorsese, The Wolf of Wall Street

Best Actor
Bruce Dern, Nebraska
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street
Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave
Tom Hanks, Captain Phillips
Matthew McConaghey, Dallas Buyers Club
Alt: Robert Redfort, All Is Lost

Best Actress
Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
Sandra Bullock, Gravity
Judi Dench, Philomena
Emma Thompson, Saving Mr Banks
Meryl Streep, August: Osage County
Alt: Amy Adams, American Hustle

Best Supporting Actor
Barkhad Abdi, Captain Phillips
Daniel Brühl, Rush
James Gandolfini, Enough Said
Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave
Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club
Alt: Bradley Cooper, American Hustle

Best Supporting Actress
Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle
Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years a Slave
Julia Roberts, August: Osage County
June Squibb, Nebraska
Oprah Winfrey, The Butler
Alt: Octavia Spencer, Fruitvale Station

Best Adapted Screenplay
12 Years a Slave
Before Midnight
Captain Phillips
The Wolf of Wall Street
Alt: August: Osage County

Best Original Screenplay
American Hustle
Blue Jasmine
Inside Llewyn Davis
Alt: Gravity; Dallas Buyers Club

Foreign Film
The Broken Circle Breakdown
The Grandmaster
The Great Beauty
The Hunt
Alt: The Missing Picture

Original Song
Let it Go (Frozen)
Young and Beautiful (The Great Gatsby)
The Moon Song (Her)
Ordinary Love (Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom)
So You Know What It’s Like (Short Term 12)
Alt: Atlas (The Hunger Games: Catching Fire)

12 Years a Slave, Hans Zimmer
All is Lost, Alex Ebert
Gravity, Steven Price
Her, Arcade Fire
The Book Thief, John Williams
Alt: Saving Mr Banks, Thomas Newman

Animated Feature
The Croods
Ernest & Celestine
Monsters University
The Wind Rises
Alt: Despicable Me 2

12 Years a Slave
Inside Llewyn Davis
Alt: Captain Phillips

Costume Design
12 Years a Slave
American Hustle
The Great Gatsby
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
The Invisible Woman
Alt: Saving Mr. Banks

12 Years a Slave
American Hustle
Captain Phillips
The Wolf of Wall Street
Alt: Rush

Makeup and Hairstyling
American Hustle
Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa
The Lone Ranger
Alt: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Production Design
12 Years a Slave
American Hustle
The Great Gatsby
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Alt: Her; Saving Mr. Banks

Sound Editing
All Is Lost
Captain Phillips
Lone Survivor
Alt: Iron Man 3

Sound Mixing
All Is Lost
Captain Phillips
Inside Llewyn Davis
Lone Survivor
Alt: 12 Years a Slave; Iron Man 3

Visual Effects
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Iron Man 3
Pacific Rim
Alt: Star Trek Into Darkness

Documentary Feature
20 Feet from Stardom
The Act of Killing
The Square
Stories We Tell
Alt: Tim’s Vermeer

Documentary Short

Live Action Short

Animated Short
Get A Horse!

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