Cocktails And Movies’ Boozy Ballot ’14 – Oscar Edition

BY TIM BARLEY AND MIKE REYES

Time to get ready for Sunday, golden Sunday with our Oscar picks!

Cocktails and Movies Oscars 2014Oscar Night! That one big night of the year us film geeks can sit around a television and berate the action like a sports fan debates the ref on game day. All at once a shining symbol of excellence, and a reminder that American Hustle might have been a loosely veiled adaptation of Oscar Voting season, set in the true life story of the Abscam sting in New Jersey. There will be favorites. There will be snubs. There will be blood! Ok, maybe not blood, but there will definitely running mascara and foundation. And there will be drinking right here in the Cocktails and Movies offices.

In preparation for the excitement of Hollywood’s big night, we here at Cocktails and Movies would like to share our own picks for the top winners of the top honors of the evening. And boy, do we have A LOT to say, folks. So pull up a chair, and your Oscar Ballots, as we might have some inside tips for you to pick the winners.

Let’s start off with the big one:

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

Mike:
What Will Win: American Hustle
What Should Win: Gravity

I haven’t finished watching all of this year’s films, so I can’t peg a personal favorite 100%. What I CAN do though is peg out three films likely to be down to the wire: 12 Years A Slave, Gravity, and American Hustle. The former, despite being the front runner, just isn’t enough of a “crowd pleaser” to win over a preponderance of the judges. The middle pick is a dark horse, considering how the Academy and Sci-Fi pictures get along. The latter is the sweet spot of recognizable faces, decent box office pull, and historical/social relevance. For the record though, out of all of the films I’ve seen from this years’ pack, Gravity has my heart behind it 150%.

Tim:
What Will Win: 12 Years a Slave
What Should Win: 
Nebraska

I’ve seen all the films with the exception of Philomena, and by far I found Alexander Payne’s Nebraska to be the most complete film full of great story, dialogue, acting and direction with a beautiful cinematography to go along with it. I understand that everyone loves American Hustle, but just can’t say it had even performances, or was really well put together. It’s very possible that Gravity could match its director win (expected).

– C&M-

Best Actor in a Leading Role
Christian Bale (American Hustle)
Bruce Dern (Nebraska)
Leonardo DiCaprio (The Wolf of Wall Street)
Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave)
Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club)

Mike:
Who Will Win: Leonardo DiCaprio
Who Should Win: Same

This year has come down to two performances: Matthew McConaughey as a slightly modified version of his charming self in Dallas Buyer’s Club, and Leonardo DiCaprio as an all out economic psychopath in The Wolf of Wall Street. Both were excellent performances that deserve the talk they’ve earned, but Leo’s not only long overdue, but really went all out with his performance as Jordan Belfort. Channeling (and even looking like) a young Jack Nicholson throughout the 3 hour run time, he really keeps the film moving through both the peaks and valleys of its lengthy run time.

Tim:
Who Will Win:
Matthew McConaughey
Who Should Win: Bruce Dern

It’s pretty obvious that Matthew McConaughey has arrived this year and has turned into a serious actor with some serious chops. And, it’s a great performance. Still, maybe because I am still mesmerized by Dern’s performance in Nebraska, that I still find it the most memorable. With minimalist effort, he is able to capture a man whose dreams have all been left behind… in Nebraska.

– C&M-

Best Actress in a Leading Role
Amy Adams (American Hustle)
Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine)
Sandra Bullock (Gravity)
Judi Dench (Philomena)
Meryl Streep (August: Osage County)

Mike:
Who Will Win: Amy Adams
Who Should Win: Judi Dench / Sandra Bullock

Cate Blanchett was once talked about as a lock for this award, but something tells me with the recent unpleasantness surrounding her director’s personal life, anyone with the title Blue Jasmine attached to their name is going to suffer. That said, Amy Adams is probably the next best choice, as American Hustle seems to be making itself known as a force to be reckoned with in terms of acting nominations. Which is sad, because not only was Sandra Bullock amazing throughout her performance in Gravity, but Judi Dench shone with such emotional weight and proper comedic timing in Philomena.

Tim:
Who Will Win: Cate Blanchett
Who Should Win: Cate Blanchett

There’s an almost certain possibility that this will be Cate’s to lose. This is your only “lock” and put all your money on it.

– C&M-

Best Actor in a Supporting Role
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)

Mike:
Who Will Win: Jared Leto
Who Should Win: Same

Jared Leto has been around acting for a while, with some roles here and there that have spiked critical interest. This is the first one since Requiem for a Dream that’s really put him on the map, and it looks like all signs are pointing to him taking home a well deserved trophy.

Tim:
Who Will Win: Jared Leto

Who Should Win: Jared Leto

This is your only other lock. Jared Leto’s performance was a transformation we haven’t seen since Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight. Simply impressive.

– C&M-

Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Sally Hawkins (Blue Jasmine)
Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle)
Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave)
Julia Roberts (August: Osage County)
June Squibb (Nebraska)

Mike:

Who Will Win: Jennifer Lawrence/Lupita Nyong’o

Who Should Win: Same

Honestly, this is probably going to be a good indicator of which film goes home with the top prize this year. These two flicks, and these two women, have been breathing down each other’s necks in the race to the finish. Whomever wins might be a good sign that the other film has taken home the top prize.

Tim:
Who Will Win: Jennifer Lawrence
Who Should Win: June Squibb

Find me a better old wife/mother who is tired yet true to her husband and son, with no filter and the fortitude to stand her ground and I’ll scoff at you and say “June Squibb.” Her turn as Bruce Dern’s wife is one of the funniest, most hidden heartfelt  performances I’ve seen in a long time. But, look for JLaw to get her second consecutive award Sunday night.

– C&M-

Best Animated Feature
The Croods (Chris Sanders, Kirk DeMicco, Kristine Belson)
Despicable Me 2 (Chris Renaud, Pierre Coffin, Chris Meledandri)
Ernest & Celestine (Benjamin Renner, Didier Brunner)
Frozen (Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee, Peter Del Vecho)
The Wind Rises (Hayao Miyazaki, Toshio Suzuki)

Mike:
What Will Win: Frozen
What Should Win: The Wind Rises

Hayao Miyazaki is an absolute genius when it comes to animation, and his final film is that of The Wind Rises. I want to say that that’s the film that will win, being a wonderful cap to a career of distinction and beauty, but the popular opinion is that an overrated Disney movie will take this prize. I’m sorry, but Disney will probably have another Frozen movie for you all to drool over. Let’s give Miyazai-san a nice send off for what I’ve heard is a beautiful, moving film.

Tim:
What Will Win: Frozen
What Should Win: Despicable Me 2

Admittedly, I haven’t seen a lot of these, so I’m going with the one I did see. Plus, I can’t stop giggling with the fireman minion saying, “bee-doh, bee-doh, bee-doh.”

– C&M-

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

Mike:
What Will Win: Gravity
What Should Win: Same / Prisoners

Gravity is the hands down champ for this, and other technical categories. And it damn well should be, as the film is a beautiful modern marvel of film-making. However, a win for the criminally underrated Prisoners would be completely cozy for me, because Roger Deakins should be filming everything under the Sun. But if you need any convincing that Gravity isn’t a shoo-in, watch that opening long take again and try to argue with me.

 

Tim:
What Will Win: Gravity
What Should Win: Nebraska

You all know my love for this beautiful film, but it’s hard to go against the move that is going to probably win best director.

– C&M-

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

Mike:
Who Will Win: Alfonso Cuaron
Who Should Win: Same

Cue the Clooney-esque remark of “I guess I”m not winning Best Picture tonight, am I?” Which is a damned shame.

Tim:
Who Will Win: Alfonso Cuaron
Who Should Win: Alfonso Cuaron

I think that Alexander Payne did a great job and Steve McQueen deserves huge recognition, but Cuaron has his masterpiece here.

– C&M-

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

Mike:
What Will Win:  12 Years A Slave
What Should Win:  The Wolf of Wall Street / Philomena

Again with the Academy apologies, only this time 12 Years is going to get its apology. Which is a shame, because Terence Winter weaves some wonderful magic with profanity in Wolf, and the Coogan/Pope camp made some beautifully heartbreaking (and at times, really funny) hay out of a film that could have easily been a smarmy tear-jerker. Instead, it was a sincere tear-jerker.

Tim:
Who Will Win: 12 Years a Slave
Who Should Win: 12 Years a Slave

There is no doubt that this solemn work turned out to be a masterpiece of filmmaking on an already produced story. It far exceeds the others.

– C&M-

Best Original Screenplay
American Hustle (Eric Warren Singer, David O. Russell)
Blue Jasmine (Woody Allen)
Dallas Buyers Club (Craig Borten, Melisa Wallack)
Her (Spike Jonze)
Nebraska (Bob Nelson)

Mike:
What Will Win: Nebraska
What Should Win:  Not Sure Yet

It’s so hard to pick out a personal winner for this category without seeing most of the nominees. However, Alexander Payne films usually fare well with Screenplay wins, The Descendants being the last proof to that pudding.

Tim:
Who Will Win: American Hustle
Who Should Win: Her

I loved Nebraska (have I said that yet), but Her was a special, odd, thought provoking screenplay that Jonze is known for.

Will It Be An Entertaining Show?

Mike:

Honestly, I’m falling asleep just thinking about how bloated this show is going to be. Zadan and Meron need to resign and let someone with a background in entertaining take over. Like whoever is in charge of the Golden Globes. Seriously, I effing enjoyed the Golden Globes this year, and they ended on time!

Tim:

Yeah, I’m kind of bored already. Rumor has it there’s a celebration of 75 years of Wizard of Oz… zzzzzzzz. Look, this can’t be as fun as the Golden Globes, and it will struggle as it always does. Our only hope is that McConaughey likes up a burner like Wooderson and has some fun…

Will Ellen Pull This Off?

Mike:

No. With all due respect, Ellen DeGeneres is the most white bread performer you could ask to host this show, and it’s all because people thought Seth McFarlane was misogynist. All because of an obvious joke at his own expense, with backing from Charlize Theron and Jennifer Lawrence.  This, World, is why we can’t have nice things.

Tim:

I honestly don’t really care. Look, I like movies and I like cocktails or I wouldn’t have made this into a thing, but awards shows? If I’m not invited to the, they bore me. Like baseball games.

On A Scale of 1 to Hipster-geddon, How Annoying Are The Musical Performances Going To Be?

Mike:

I can practically hear the ukulele’s tuning, and my drink being refilled numerous times.

Tim:

It’d be great if we could get songs like “Lose Yourself,” or “It’s Hard Out there for a Pimp” or the beautiful “Falling Slowly,” but nope, we’re stuck with this year’s nominees.

So, that’s happening on Sunday.