Knee-Jerk React: OSCAR NOMINATIONS 2014

Here is the full list of Oscar nominations, and some quick thoughts from Sean and I. Spoiler: it was good, AND bad!

BEST PICTURE
12 Years a Slave
American Hustle
Captain Phillips
Dallas Buyers Club
Gravity
Her
Nebraska
Philomena
The Wolf of Wall Street

Sean: I feel like Best Picture went pretty much as expected.  We got a slate of 9 nominees, which has been their trend ever since the rule change.  It’s nice to know that Wolf of Wall Street is a player in this race, but without an editing nomination (more on that later) there is no way it can win, despite dominating the top categories.  I’m glad that Saving Mr. Banks missed here and that Hollywood decided even a film celebrating them was too hamstrung and sappy.  At this point I’m thinking that Gravity has the upper hand here.  I know that American Hustle also got 10 nominations, but I think the Wolf love is going to cancel out any of the top awards the film might have gotten.  I just don’t see people who love Wolf voting for American Hustle, even if they did like it.

David: I basically agree. Really happy to see Her included as well, though some of the longer long shots (Inside Llewyn Davis, Fruitvale Station) would have made a lot of bloggers happy. Looks like Nebraska and Philomena got the “old folks vote” that would have normally gone to Banks. But most importantly, there’s nothing here that makes you tear your hair out. That’s an achievement in itself.

 

BEST ACTOR
Christian Bale (American Hustle)
Bruce Dern (Nebraska)
Leonardo DiCaprio (Wolf of Wall Street)
Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave)
Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club)

Sean: Poor Robert Redford.  The living legend is obviously meant to never receive an Oscar for acting.  This is pretty surprising considering coming out of Cannes HE was the one to beat!  It’s amazing how much the race can change in a few short months.  I’m over the moon for Leonardo DiCaprio’s nomination.  I just didn’t expect it to happen, despite it being the best work of his career.  They have passed him over for many nominations that I thought were a given.  Tom Hanks missing here is a surprise as well.  I guess Christian Bale’s combover was more impressive work to the Academy at large.

David: Color me shocked and appalled about the absence of Hanks. There was so much buzz about his performance (particularly his final scenes) that I think Oscar-watchers will be puzzling over this one for a while. The finger of blame probably goes to Bale, who is really good — don’t get me wrong — but it goes to show that you can never underestimate showiness and a funny hairdo. And yes, DiCaprio’s inclusion is wonderful and validating.

 

BEST ACTRESS
Amy Adams (American Hustle)
Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine)
Sandra Bullock (Gravity)
Judi Dench (Philomena)
Meryl Streep (August: Osage County)

Sean: The shock here is obviously that Emma Thompson is missing.  They must have really HATED Saving Mr. Banks.  I didn’t like the movie, but I thought she was excellent and a nomination would have been much deserved.  But they went on an American Hustle acting love fest here.  And GOD FORBID Meryl Streep not be nominated.  Her work in August: Osage County is easily the worst work of her career.

David: Haha, “worst?” That’s up for debate. But while I’m not that surprised that Streep is here, it’s unfortunate that Thompson became the odd woman out. I don’t know how hard Harvey Weinstein has been campaigning for Philomena for it to get the nominations it did, but Judi Dench is this category’s biggest surprise.

Sean: Really, Judi Dench was a shock for you?  She’s managed a nomination in just about every precursor. Harvey knew Philomena was his one big shot at gold, but it aint gonna happen.

David: Well, not really a “shock,” but everyone else felt like a sure thing.

 

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Barkhad Abdi (Captain Phillips)
Bradley Cooper (American Hustle)
Michael Fassbender (12 Years a Slave)
Jonah Hill (Wolf of Wall Street)
Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club)

Sean:  Bradley Cooper managed to con his way in here.  Jonah Hill is probably the biggest surprise though, considering he hasn’t gotten much precursor love.  I was completely against his nomination for Moneyball, but I’m on board for this one.  Scorsese used Hill’s comedic gifts to wicked effect.  But lets be honest, Jared Leto is the only possible outcome here come Oscar night.  I’m very disappointed that the Academy passed over their last chance to nominate the late great James Gandolfini for Enough Said.

David: I don’t mind Cooper being here, and I’m a little surprised Daniel Brühl didn’t sneak in for Rush. Really happy about Barkhad Abdi, though. He was fantastic.

 

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle)
Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave)
Julia Roberts (August: Osage County)
June Squibb (Nebraska)
Sally Hawkins (Blue Jasmine)

Sean: Julia Roberts commits category fraud, or rather Harvey Weinstein does it for her.  So much ACTING happening in that film, it shouldn’t be a surprise that voters ate up the performances.  I’m incredibly happy for Sally Hawkins this morning, such a great undervalued performance finally getting its due next to the unstoppable Blanchett.  With American Hustle picking up nominations in every single acting category it’s gotta win somewhere.  I think Lawrence will take her second Oscar for this half-baked role. Sorry Lupita Nyong’o.

David: It better not be that easy for Lawrence. And, uh — Oprah’s not here!  That’s one of the larger shocks of the morning. Interesting that Blue Jasmine had enough support for multiple acting nominations but not one for Best Picture, and it looks like The Butler has been shut out entirely.

Sean:  For a minute I actually forgot about Oprah, which is pretty surprising considering how much I loved her work in the film!  The Butler itself?  I’m glad it was shut out everywhere else.

David: Also worth mentioning, for the second-consecutive year a David O. Russell film has landed a nomination in all four acting categories. It was cute last year, now it’s just annoying.

 

BEST DIRECTOR
Martin Scorsese (The Wolf of Wall Street
David O. Russell (American Hustle)
Alfonso Cuarón (Gravity)
Alexander Payne (Nebraska)
Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave)

Sean: SCORSESE MADE IT!!!!  So now we know that if the Academy was back to its old system of 5 nominees in Best Picture, Wolf would have been there.  He doesn’t have a shot in hell of winning, but its nice just to see his name up there.  I didn’t expect that Alexander Payne would make it here after all for Nebraska, but they do love him.

David: YAY, SCORSESE! However, I’m almost immediately bummed by Paul Greengrass’s snub. The surprise here is Payne, whose film clearly had much more overall support. Oh well.

 

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
John Ridley (12 Years a Slave)
Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke & Richard Linklater (Before Midnight)
Terence Winter (The Wolf of Wall Street)
Billy Ray (Captain Phillips)
Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope (Philomena)

Sean: This is EXACTLY what i was expecting.  No surprises here, but glad to see Terrence Winter make it for his edgy work on Wolf.  Also very happy for Before Midnight, though I wish its stars could have made it into the acting categories.

David: No complaints, unless you count my beloved (and under-seen) Short Term 12 not finding its way in. There’s Philomena again. Silver linings everywhere for the Weinstein company.

 

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
David O. Russell and Eric Singer (American Hustle)
Bob Nelson (Nebraska)
Spike Jonze (Her)
Craig Borten & Melisa Wallack (Dallas Buyers Club)
Woody Allen (Blue Jasmine)

Sean:  The surprise here is that the Coen brothers are missing for Inside Llewyn Davis.  The film didn’t get much love in general this morning.  Woody Allen gets his millionth screenplay nomination for Blue Jasmine, and a richly deserved one at that.  American Hustle might triumph here since I don’t think it has a shot at Picture or Director any longer, but the Academy may also go the way of the Globes and decide to reward Spike Jonze for his work on Her.

David: Yeah, I’m more than a little surprised that the Coens didn’t make the cut. Jonze’s nomination was never in doubt, I like to think he can really give Hustle a run for its money.

 

BEST FOREIGN FILM
Denmark, The Hunt
Belgium, The Broken Circle Breakdown
Italy, The Great Beauty
Palestine, Omar
Cambodia, The Missing Picture

Sean: Another year that I haven’t seen any of the foreign language film nominees.  Even living in a strong film market like Chicago, the foreign films come and go so quickly that if you aren’t paying attention you miss them. Some never show up at all.  Some of these are on Netflix though, so I’m hoping to catch a few of them before Oscar day.

David: Before anyone gets annoyed about the absence of Blue Is the Warmest Color, it wasn’t eligible. For now, I believe The Hunt has the edge.

 

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
20 Feet from Stardom

The Act of Killing
Dirty Wars
The Square
Cutie and the Boxer

Sean: The two films I thought were frontrunners in this category, Blackfish and Stories We Tell, didn’t even make the cut.  The Academy has a long history of ignoring largely celebrated documentary work.  They did include The Act of Killing, which will probably take the award.  It’s ended up on the top of many a top 10 list this year.

David: You can’t forget 20 Feet From Stardom, which is a legitimate crowd-pleaser.

 

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
The Wind Rises

Frozen
Despicable Me 2
The Croods
Ernest & Celestine

Sean: Two foreign animated titles make the cut and we are all the better for it.  I can’t wait to catch up with what is reportedly Miyazaki’s last film, The Wind Rises.  If they want to honor him again before he calls it quits this is their last chance, so Rises could be a possible spoiler.  But I’m still expecting Frozen to easily take this.

David: Frozen will and should, but COME ON — where is Monsters University? You thought The Croods was better, Academy? Really? REALLY? THE CROODS?!?

 

BEST SONG
“Alone Yet Not Alone” (Alone Yet Not Alone)
“Happy” (Despicable Me 2)
“Let It Go” (Frozen)
“The Moon Song” (Her)
“Ordinary Love” (Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom“)

Sean:  Who did Lana Del Rey piss off in Hollywood?  “Young and Beautiful” seemed like an obvious gimme nomination. ugh.

David: Who or what is “Alone Yet Not Alone?” I’ve never even heard of that. This category is, once again, a total joke. Cool to see “The Moon Song,” though. Frozen FTW.

Sean: I was hoping you could answer that question… Did we miss something?

David: According to IMDB, it’s a thing about colonists and native Americans in 1755. Looks terrible.

 

ORIGINAL SCORE
John Williams (The Book Thief)
Steven Price (Gravity)
Alexandre Desplat (Philomena)
Thomas Newman (Saving Mr. Banks)
William Butler and Owen Pallett (Her)

Sean:  The one place they decided they liked Saving Mr. Banks enough to nominate it.  I’m most happy to see Her’s score present here.

David: Yeah, how about that? Oscar-nominated The Arcade Fire! Curious that Hans Zimmer’s score for 12 Years isn’t here, but it wasn’t going to win anyway. With Golden Globe winner Alex Ebert (All Is Lost) also snubbed, Steven Price SHOULD win this in a walk.

Sean:  12 Years a Slave is missing two nominations that I thought it had in the bag – this and cinematography.  That spells trouble.

 

CINEMATOGRAPHY
Philippe Le Sourd (The Grandmaster)
Emmanuel Lubezki (Gravity)
Bruno Delbonnel (Inside Llewyn Davis)
Roger Deakins (Prisoners)
Phedon Papamichael (Nebraska)

Sean:  This is a solid and diverse set of nominees.  Roger Deakins will lose yet again.  I guess if he really wants to win one of these guys he’s just going to have to shoot a film in 3D.

David: 12 Years is missing? That actually really upsets me. It really does. Ugh.

 

FILM EDITING
Jay Cassidy, Crispin Struthers and Alan Baumgarten (American Hustle)
Christopher Rouse (Captain Phillips)
John Mac McMurphy and Martin Pensa (Dallas Buyers Club)
Alfonso Cuarón and Mark Sanger (Gravity)
Joe Walker (12 Years a Slave)

Sean:  How in the world was The Wolf of Wall Street passed over here?  So American Hustle could make it in for completely ripping off Thelma Schoonmaker’s editing style?  This category is a joke this year.  The only two that deserve to be here are Gravity and Captain Phillips.

David: Definitely pouring one out for my girl Thelma. It’s kind of a travesty. I’m also not totally sure what Dallas Buyers Club is doing here, but it’s a sign of overall support that could make things really interesting moving forward. Fun fact: since the category’s addition in 1934, only NINE films have won Best Picture without a Best Editing nomination. It’s a bigger bellwether than Best Director.

 

COSTUME DESIGN
American Hustle
The Grandmaster
The Great Gatsby
The Invisible Woman
12 Years A Slave

Sean: The Great Gatsby can’t lose here or in production design.  It just wont happen.  Interesting to see The Grandmaster make it here and in cinematography.  Was it eligible for Foreign Film?

David: Oh, I bet Gatsby will lose. Heh.

Sean: DAVID! I know I stand alone with Gatsby, but don’t take away the little joy I will get on Oscar night…maybe…(sigh)

 

MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING
The Lone Ranger
Dallas Buyers Club
Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa

Sean:  Well… there’s this….

David: Hahaha, what the heck? I can’t even. Not even Hustle for those sweeping up-do’s? Congratulations, DBC.

Nathan: Jackass would be a great headline. I’m rooting for it. Three-Six Mafia won an Oscar, I’m just sayin’.

 

PRODUCTION DESIGN
American Hustle
Gravity
The Great Gatsby
Her
12 Years a Slave

Sean:  I’m very happy to see Her’s subtle, but striking work honored here.  But again, nothing is going to beat Gatsby here unless they go nuts for Gravity or Hustle.

David: I’m gunning for Her. There was an article on Vulture about all those design decisions, and I think it’s got a lot of play.

 

SOUND EDITING
All is Lost
Captain Phillips
Gravity
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Lone Survivor

SOUND MIXING
Captain Phillips
Gravity
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Lone Survivor
Inside Llewyn Davis

Sean:  These are actually a great set of nominees.  Really strong work from all.  Gravity is gonna sweep through most of the crafts. Glad to see Inside Llewyn Davis make it in for Mixing, but there is usually one “musical” in the mix so it’s not much of a surprise.

David: Yep, these are pretty much spot-on. Glad to see Hobbit getting some love, though all of these are (as you say) a foregone conclusion for Gravity.

 

VISUAL EFFECTS
Gravity
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Iron Man 3
The Lone Ranger
Star Trek Into Darkness

Sean:  Gravity.  GravityGravity.  As much as I would like to see Smaug take something home come Oscar night… I mean GRAVITY.

David: Yeah. But. As far as nominations go, you’re really going to tell me Iron Man 3 was better than Pacific Rim?

 

LIVE ACTION SHORT
Aquel No Era Yo (That Wasn’t Me)
Avant Que De Tout Perdre (Just Before Losing Everything)
Helium
Pitääkö Mun Kaikki Hoitaa? (Do I Have to Take Care of Everything?)
The Voorman Problem

ANIMATED SHORT
Feral
Get a Horse!
Mr. Hublot
Possessions
Room on the Broom

DOCUMENTARY SHORT
CaveDigger
Facing Fear
Karama Has No Walls
The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life
Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall

Sean:  Luckily every year in Chicago they show the shorts in theaters starting a month before the ceremony.  I’ll attempt to catch up with them then.

David: The only one of these I’ve seen is Disney’s Get a Horse!, which is much more impressive on a technical level than as storytelling. These categories are a crapshoot, as always.

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