Monday, March 3, 2014

My Reaction to the 86th Academy Award Ceremony

For the last few months, I gave myself a lot of work to prepare for Oscar Night. I had a ball doing it, and all that work for this blog led to last night. I am happy to report that Oscar Night went as normal as I thought it would. Out of the twenty four categories, I predicted twenty correct. That's a personal record for me, and that was a fun goal I made for myself. (Last year I predicted seventeen correct and I got fifteen correct the three years prior to last year.) Seeing how many predictions I can get right is the main draw for me. I don't know need 6000 Hollywood snobs telling me which movies were the best, I know in my heart that "Gravity" was my favorite film of last year and no golden statue can tell me otherwise. With that said, I am very happy "12 Years A Slave" won Best Picture. That film was one of my favorite films of last year and it just goes to show just how strong 2013 was as a cinematic year.

Which leads to my main gripe with last years ceremony. Its not just my humble opinion that states 2013 as a great year for movies. 2013 was one of the most popular, most well-received and best reviewed cinematic years of the new millennium. Which is why it shocks me that so few films were represented in last nights ceremony. We got nine nominations for best picture, and those nine films dominated all the other major categories. Sure, The Academy threw a nod or two to "Prisoners," a couple to "Blue Jasmine," one to "Before Midnight" and a couple more to "The Great Gatsby." But a record of 15-18 films were represented in all major categories last night. In years past, as many as forty films would be represented in those categories. For a year that was supposedly so well-received, its a tad disheartening that so few films were represented in the "most important night" for film.

Alas, based upon the nominees last night, I think the right people won. Both Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto gave career best performances, and they should have won. I know a lot of you are mad that Leo got beat by McConaughey, but honestly, we've seen better work from DiCaprio. Yes, we have. Yes, we really have. Don't argue, we have. Just re-watch "What's Eating Gilbert Grape?" or "The Departed" or "Shutter Island" or "The Aviator." His work in "The Wolf of Wall Street" doesn't hold a candle to those other four performances. I am equally happy that Nyong'o and Blanchett won for the supporting and leading actress last night. I figured Alfonso Cuaron would win for Best Director, but I am a little surprised "12 Years A Slave" beat it out for Best Picture. Still, I am happy that movie won overall. 

As far as my predictions go, I didn't call "12 Years A Slave" winning best picture, nor "Helium" winning best Short Film. Granted, I have never seen a short film and I have no idea how to get my grubby mitts on them. I merely guess in those categories each year and I just wasn't lucky enough last year. The only reason why I am kicking myself in the shin is for voting against "Gravity" for Sound Editing and Sound Mixing. I thought "Captain Phillips" might squeeze by in those categories, but they didn't. I should have known better, "Gravity" was a technical marvel and the Oscars clearly saw that. But sometimes, this ceremony is full of surprises and I have to cover all bases sometimes.

By and large, I thought Ellen Degeneres was a great host. Although, I will say that some of her jokes were taken a little too far. The pizza joke? It was a little much. The constant Tweeting? I mean, good grief, did Twitter secretly sponsor the Oscars? It sure seemed like it. Still, her good material outshines her bad material, and Ellen has always been really charming. She can spin something mediocre and make better than it was. I thought Seth McFarlane did an incredible job last year, but maybe I am biased because I am such a fan of his. With his hosting last year and Degeneres' hosting this year, The Academy has hit a two-year high with casting their host. I can only hope that continues in the future, nobody wants another James Franco-Anne Hathaway debacle.

So how did you all fair with your predictions? What did you think of the show? Did you like Ellen? Did you feel the right people won? Fire away on the comments section below!

My prediction Ballot:

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