The 86th Oscar nominations were revealed, Thursday, January 16, 2014. The list of top nominations is attached. There were a few upsets and surprises. Here is my assessment.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science is comprised of 6000 voters. Each year starting in November an election campaign begins with gimmicks, special screening's, extra releases of film's which are targeted to the elite Hollywood voters to garner votes. Of course, this is all political as with any nomination for an event, project or race. Think of marketing for a new car, electronics or running for an office etc. - advertising and marketing plus word of mouth always plays strongly when swaying peers. In this case, a specific movie, actor or actress might be incredible though if not promoted heavily and in a favorable light, the movie, actor or actress is out of the race. "The Wall Street Journal", (They Could Have Been Contenders, Too) January, 17, 2014, states that many of the voters do not see all the films. Therefore, it is possible voting is based on what they have heard, read or chatted about with a friend. Sound familiar? Each year the ballots are sent out in December and are sent back to Price Waterhouse in the beginning of January to be tabulated.
As always a major motion picture needs to produce a profit just like any other successful business in the land. Many films, not all, have several known and bankable stars rather than one actor leading an unfamiliar cast. The studios are hedging their bets on having a cast of several heavy hitters (American Hustle, Wolf of Wall Street) or several new actors with a well known star (Captain Phillip's with Tom Hanks) versus a completely new and unfamiliar crew. Yet, confusingly, whether a film is profitable or not doesn't always mean that the film will be nominated. For instance, Savings Mr. Banks, is profitable yet was not nominated in any category. Saving Mr. Banks, which is a heart warming movie about the author, P.L. Travers, (Emma Thompson) who wrote Mary Poppins is a bitter, stubborn and extraordinarily unmovable woman which makes the movie funny, emotional and a tear jerker leaving the audience in stunned silence during the credits. The movie is well liked by moviegoers and Thompson is brilliant in the film. Disney Studios focused on the traditional themes of family with familiar plots without violence or sex and it is profitable. Go figure. The cost of the film was $31M and to date Saving Mr. Banks has made $59M in the U.S. and $66M worldwide. Disney has recouped the cost of the picture plus grossed and additional $31M. Another win for Disney is the film Frozen which has made $298M in tickets sales with a global total of $640M. In other words, Michael Eisner, CEO, Disney Studios, might be laughing all the way to the bank.
Which brings us back to the primary point, marketing, advertising and word of mouth is what motivates the 6000 voters to say yeah or nay to any film or actor and actress. Aside from the 6000 voters, for me - what makes an unforgettable film?
THREE Important Components
- Witty dialogue, believable Acting and a well thought out and executed - Script
- Memorable? Do I think about it after the movie? Is the film thought provoking?
- MOST IMPORTANTLY - Would I watch the film again? Yes, I do love to watch movies over and over....
If - YES to all three then - for me - this is a winning film!
Other Oscar Scandals & Shockers
Not Nominated for Best Actor: Tom Hanks who had two shots, one with Captain Phillips and the other with Saving Mr. Banks. Frankly, this is a wise decision. The category this year has some extraordinary performances. While, Hanks was good in both films, he wasn't the best in this category.
Not Nominated for Best Actor: Robert Redford in All is Lost. Redford was extraordinary in this film though there were approximately two lines. In other words, only a charismatic actor could carry off this role. Redford, a movie star, held the audience in his hands from start to finish. No one else today has the gravitas to like Robert Redford. The film as grossed only $8M to date and is not a hit amongst the movie seekers.
Not Nominated: The Butler (2013) - Even with an all star cast this film was nixed at the Golden Globes and Oscars.
Not Nominated: Inside Llewyn Davis (2013) - Have not seen this film. Can't wait to see the three tabby cats used to play the cat in the film. Will have to see and report back.
Best Actresses Nominations: The average age for actresses is 55, which is great news for the bevy of fabulous actresses in Hollywood. Amy Adams (American Hustle) Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine), Sandra Bullock (Gravity), Judi Dench (Philomena) and Meryl Streep (August: Osage County). Blanchett is amazing but Adams also is tremendous in her role and has a strong shot at the Oscar. However, my bet is on Blanchett as she was completely nuts in the film and oddly familiar. I have not seen August: Osage County. I can't wait to see it because Streep's character is so shockingly mean and vicious in the trailers. This is exactly the behavior I find the most vile in our current culture - people with no filters or boundaries! They say whatever they want to without thinking about the results or how it might hurt another person.
Best Actor Surprise Nomination: Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street. Hopefully, he will take home the gold in March. The best performance of the year.
Best Film - Her (2013): Surprised this film is nominated in the Best Picture of 2013 category. The premise is a bit strange and have heard that this is a terrible film. Of course, I need to see it before I give it my final opinion. When the word on the street is that it is not good - I want to run for the hills. After all, I want to be entertained or moved emotionally and not spend money foolishly.
NOTE: American Hustle and Gravity each received 10 Oscar nominations.
- Best Picture: Wolf of Wall Street (2013) - It is over the top and has racy scenes, which seem to upset a few though the acting is superb.
- Best Actor: Leonardo DiCaprio (Wolf of Wall Street)
- Best Actress: Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine)
- Best Supporting Actor: Need to see a couple more films
- Best Supporting Actress: Jennifer Lawrence
- Best Director: Steve McQueen - 12 Years a Slave
Best Funny Scene (Edited film clip): Mathew McConaughy - Humming in Wolf of Wall Street
Best Actor Hair: Christian Bale - (American Hustle)
Best Actress Hair: Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle)
Best Teeth: Jonah Hill (Wolf of Wall Street)
Best Fashion: Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine)
86th Oscar Nominations
Bold is My Prediction of the Academy Voters to WIN
March 2, 2014
Dallas Buyers Club
The Wolf of Wall Street
12 Years a Slave
Christian Bale, American Hustle
Bruce Dern, Nebraska
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street
Matthew McConaughy, Dallas Buyers Club
Chiwetel Ojiofor, 12 Years a Slave
Amy Adams, American Hustle
Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
Sandra Bullock, Gravity
Judi Dench, Philomena
Meryl Streep, August: Osage County
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Barkhad Abdi, Captain Phillips
Bradley Cooper, American Hustle
Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave
Jonah Hill, The Wolf of Wall Street
Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Sally Hawkins, Blue Jasmine
Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle
Lupita Nyong'o, 12 Years a Slave
Julia Roberts, August: Osage County
June Squibb, Nebraska
Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity
Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave
Alexander Payne, Nebraska
David O. Russell, American Hustle
Martin Scorsese, The Wolf of Wall Street