02 March 2014
  Oscar predictions...
Only a few more hours left until the most unwatchable four hours on television, that for some reason I anticipate all year long, and where they present awards to a handful of people who were preordained as winners weeks--if not months ago. Here are my predictions.

supporting actor: 
Will win... Jared Leto is the likely winner here, but the supporting actor category has thrown in some curve balls lately. that being said, i predict that this will be the only category of the night to result in any type of upset. Barkhad Abdi for the win.
Should win... Jared Leto did some undoubtedly great work in Dallas Buyers Club, and I couldn't be happier for his acting comeback.
My five... Jared Leto, James Franco (Spring Breakers), Matthew McConaughey (Mud), Tom Hanks (Saving Mr. Banks), Barkhad Abdi

supporting actress:
Will win... This is likely to be one of the closest categories of the night, but something tells me that Jennifer Lawrence is walking away with Oscar #2 tonight. Nobody will be shocked if Lupita N'yongo wins, but I think it is just too easy to check off the eminently likable Lawrence when filling out Oscar ballots this year.
Should win... Jennifer Lawrence elevates everything she is in, and she is one of the best things in American Hustle.
My five... Jennifer Lawrence, Oprah Winfrey (The Butler), Lupita N'yongo, Margo Martindale (August: Osage County), Sarah Paulson (12 Years a Slave)

Will win... The McConaissance has truly swelled over the last two years, and it is simply Matthew McConaughey's turn to win an Academy Award. He has waited in line long enough, and he won't go home empty handed. Poor Leonardo DiCaprio.
Should win... For me it is a virtual tie between Matthew McConaughey and Leonardo DiCaprio, but I give the edge to McConaughey if only because of Mud, The Wolf of Wall Street, Killer Joe, The Paperboy and The Lincoln Lawyer.
My five... Matthew McConaughey, Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hanks (Captain Phillips), Christian Bale and Miles Teller (The Spectacular Now)

Will win... I love Cate Blanchett, but I hate this category. Blanchett gave the most bizarrely wooden performance of her career in Blue Jasmine. Never once for a moment is it possible to suspend disbelief that you are watching a character and not an actor. She should be picking up a Razzie tonight, not an Oscar.
Should win... Amy Adams gave my single favorite performance of the year in American Hustle. I was so glad to see her nominated, but it would have been really great to see her win as well.
My five... Amy Adams, Judi Dench, Meryl Streep, Emma Thompson (Saving Mr. Banks), Shailene Woodley (The Spectacular Now)

original screenplay:
Will win... I don't think anyone really knows what film is going to take away the original screenplay Oscar, but I say that a bunch of writers will be moved by a movie about writing, and Her will edge out American Hustle in the end.
Should win... My vote would go for American Hustle. The best written characters of the year.
My five... American Hustle, Spring Breakers, The Bling Ring, Mud, The Place Beyond the Pines

adapted screenplay: 
Will win... 12 Years a Slave is destined to take this award by default. It's too easy to check off the presumed front runner. Too bad it is nowhere near the best writing of the year.
Should win... The best writing of the year hands down goes to Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke for Before Midnight. I wish I could write like that.
My five... Before Midnight, The Spectacular Now, Catching Fire, Philomena, Captain Phillips

Will win... Alfonso Cuarón broke new ground, practically creating outer space out of nothing. For the second year in a row, it looks like there will be a picture/director split
Should win... Alfonso Cuarón. Can't wait to see what he does next.
My five... Alfonso Cuarón, Martin Scorsese, Richard Linklater (Before Midnight), David O. Russell (American Hustle), Harmony Korine (Spring Breakers)

Will win... Gravity
Should win... The Wolf of Wall Street
My five... The Wolf of Wall Street, Prisoners, The Bling Ring, Her, Spring Breakers

Will win... Gravity
Should win... The Broken Circle Breakdown
My five... The Broken Circle Breakdown, Nebraska, Gravity, Philomena, Saving Mr. Banks

production design: 
Will win... 12 Years a Slave
Should win... The Great Gatsby
My five... The Great Gatsby, American Hustle, Catching Fire, Saving Mr. Banks, August: Osage County

Will win... 12 Years a Slave was preordained as this year's best picture winner months and months ago. It certainly wasn't my favorite film of the year, but at least it isn't Lee Daniels' 12 Years a Slave. Thank goodness for small favors.
Should win... Of the nine nominated films, I have no problems checking off American Hustle on my Oscar ballot. That being said, the year's best film was Before Midnight
My five... Before Midnight, American Hustle, Gravity, The Wolf of Wall Street, The Spectacular Now
  My Top 10 of 2013
One year. 10 films. Here we go.

10. Spring Breakers... Starring a bevy of Disney Channel starlets and made by a director known for his signature sexualization of teenagers, on its surface, Spring Breakers looks like nothing more than an attractive MTV-inspired bauble. But what Harmony Korine actually managed to accomplish here in his best movie to date is a sardonically clever allegory of youth, celebrity, wealth and the modern ritual of spring break itself. Plus James Franco is the best he has ever been.

9. Broken Circle Breakdown... Devastating. This Belgian best foreign film nominee stayed with my days after I viewed it. The tragedies that these characters face seem so real, I almost dread watching it a second time. The terrific bluegrass score alone, however, is sure to reel me back.

8. Philomena... I have always been underwhelmed by Stephen Frears' films, from The Grifters to The Queen. This wasn't the case with Philomena. Watching Philomena Lee's journey to find her long lost son, I think I experienced practically every emotion imaginable--in just a two hour span. That's a good movie.

7. Captain Phillips... There are moments in Captain Phillips that I wasn't crazy about (most notably the brief, but perhaps too obvious interchange at the beginning between the captain and his wife) but the movie's realism makes it impossible to look away from the screen. One of Tom Hanks' best performances ever.

6. The Wolf of Wall Street... I think this is Martin Scorsese's best film since Casino. A pretty seamless production of monumental scale that pretty much shows why Scorsese is one of the best filmmakers working today.

5. The Spectacular Now... Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley are not only part of the newest generation of great actors, they may in fact be leading the charge. The scene is The Spectacular Now where the pair hang at a bar with Teller's father is one of my favorite moments in film of 2013. I can't wait to see what these two do next.

4. Gravity... Alfonso Cuaron without a doubt broke new ground with me, if not with film itself in bringing Gravity to the screen. This is the first movie driven by computer effects that I have ever enjoyed. He successfully created a scene in space, making you forget that these actors never actually left a sound stage.

3. Catching Fire... The rare sequel that surpasses the original. The screenplay for Catching Fire focuses on all the right elements of the book, discards the elements that deserve to be discarded and leaves you desperate for the next installment. The most entertaining movie of 2013.

2. American Hustle... My number one and two picks are essentially a tie. It is almost impossible to decide which is my favorite between these two very different films. David O Russell continues his streak with American Hustle. The best ensemble of the year. One of the best screenplays of the year. You could watch it again and again.

1. Before Midnight... Richard Linklater's "Before" trilogy absolutely must be standard viewing for anybody who loves movies. These films provide such brilliant insight into the evolution of a relationship that it is difficult to remember that Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke aren't married in real life. I pray that we get another update on the state of this couple in another decade's time
Luke and John talk about movies

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