Awards season is here, dummies! The 86th Academy Awards are on Sunday, and your office pool prediction sheets are due freakin’ tomorrow! Since you don’t want to lose your $2 entry fee like you do every freaking year, you might as well try to go into the weekend with a decided schematic advantage. Luckily, our resident experts and prognosticators have glanced into the future to bring you all the answers. Check out some commentary from Joseph, Patrick and James M. and impress your friends and colleagues with fascinating talking points!
Best Motion Picture of the Year
[Nominees: American Hustle, Captain Phillips, Dallas Buyers Club, Gravity, Her, Nebraska, Philomena, 12 Years a Slave and The Wolf of Wall Street]
@PPPopcornPlayer: 12 Years a Slave wasn’t my favorite movie of the year, but it’s got everything the Academy loves to honor in a film. Director Steve McQueen has been snubbed in the past, and he’s an incredible director who really proves his mettle this time around. Plus, you know, white guilt.
James M.: Seriously, guys, I saw about four and a half movies in all of 2013, and one of them was Free Birds. What am I even doing here?
PICK: Unanimous: 12 Years a Slave
Achievement in Directing
[Nominees: David O. Russell, Alfonso Cuarón, Alexander Payne, Steve McQueen and Martin Scorsese]
@joesoldout: “I pay attention to the cinematic landscape and write about movies online, and I think someone other than Alfonso Cuarón will win this award,” said literally nobody on this planet or in its orbit. But then, we all thought Speilberg would win last year…
James M.: Uhm, Alfonso Cuarón, of course.
@PPPopcornPlayer: Team Alfonso Cuarón!
PICKS: Unanimous: Alfonso Cuarón.
Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role
[Nominees: Christian Bale, Bruce Dern, Leonardo DiCaprio, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Matthew McConaughey]
@joesoldout: If history has taught us one thing and only one thing, it’s that Leonardo DiCaprio will never win anything. In fact, here’s a portrait of Leo crying, made entirely of images of other people winning Academy Awards. It would be a gambler’s fallacy to assume this year must be his year. But I’m feeling lucky. Leo wins it.
James M: Let this evening be a benchmark in the unfolding McConaughey Renaissance, I say!
PICKS: Split: Leonardo DiCaprio and Matthew McConaughey.
Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role
[Nominees: Amy Adams, Cate Blanchett, Sandra Bullock, Judi Dench and Meryl Streep]
James M: Everyone else picked Cate Blanchett too, right?… Guys?
@joesoldout: Are those really the only choices? I guess Cate Blanchett will win, assuming anyone saw whatever movie it was she was in.
@PPPopcornPlayer: …Go Team Blanchett!
PICKS: Unanimous: Cate Blanchett.
Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role
[Nominees: Barkhad Abdi, Bradley Cooper, Michael Fassbender, Jonah Hill and Jared Leto]
@PPPopcornPlayer: Leto is a solid choice, but I gotta go with Jonah Hill, which is weird, because I never thought I would ever take him seriously as an actor… Or as a person.
James M.: It’s a shame this category isn’t “Most Likely to Tap Out of a Spontaneous Bar Fight.” At least then I’d have a solid guess.
PICKS: Split: Jared Leto and Jonah Hill.
Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role
[Nominees: Sally Hawkins, Jennifer Lawrence, Lupita Nyong'o, Julia Roberts and June Squibb]
@joesoldout: I don’t want to be the only jackass on the internet who says Lupita Nyong’o won’t win this one. Do you?
@PPPopcornPlayer: From what I hear through the grape vine, Lupita Nyong’o has got this one in the bag, and don’t worry Joe, you’ll always be a jackass to me.
James M.: According to the official scorekeeper at the Academy, Jennifer Lawrence has nearly as many “social mentions” (an AMPAS euphemism for “tweets”) as the next two actors combined… So, definitely Lupita Nyong’o.
PICKS: Unanimous: Lupita Nyong’o.
Best Animated Feature Film of the Year
[Nominees: The Croods, Despicable Me 2, Ernest & Celestine, Frozen and The Wind Rises]
James M.: If I am to gauge this category by a metric other than repetitive screenings of an animated feature by my several nieces, I should think The Wind Rises. However, I consider my nieces more reliable on the matter, and vote Frozen.
@joesoldout: As long as the majority of the voting happened before the first polar vortex, Frozen is the only choice.
@PPPopcornPlayer: As much as I’d like to give this one to Miyazaki, I’m going to have to agree with Jimbo and Joe and go with Frozen. After all, the Oscars aren’t about your favorite movie. They’re just about pissing everyone (except the winners) off.
PICKS: Unanimous: Frozen.
Best Foreign Language Film
[Nominees: The Broken Circle Breakdown, The Great Beauty, The Hunt, The Missing Picture and Omar]
@PPPopcornPlayer: Well, since I only speak American, I haven’t watched any touchy-feely Frenchy movies in years. That being said, The Great Beauty was a touching film and deserves to be recognized.
@joesoldout: Can I just assume Amour will win again? No? Damn. I guess I’ll go with The Great Beauty, because one of them has to win and it might as well be that one.
James M.: As a compelling narrative, stylishly executed, Omar wins the day, but I will gamble on this one and give my official nod to the mixed-media ingenuity of The Missing Picture.
PICKS: Split: The Great Beauty and The Missing Piece.
Best Documentary Feature
[Nominees: The Act of Killing, Cutie and the Boxer, Dirty Wars, The Square, 20 Feet from Stardom]
@joesoldout: 20 Feet from Stardom. This is a banner year for movies with numbers in their titles.
@PPPopcornPlayer: Great, mom and dad are fighting again. I guess I’m going to with The Square, just so I can be a unique snowflake.
PICKS: Split: The Act of Killing, 20 Feet from Stardom and The Square.
[Nominees: Before Midnight, Captain Phillips, Philomena, 12 Years a Slave and The Wolf of Wall Street]
@PPPopcornPlayer: I’m not sure I’m overly enthusiastic about any of the choices this year, so I’m just going to go with 12 Years a Slave and hope for the best.
@joesoldout: The bros of America are rooting for The Wolf of Wall Street, and the hopeless romantics are sure the winner will be Before Midnight. But since the Academy is full of old men with dead souls, let’s just give this one to 12 Years a Slave and call it a day.
James M.: You know, I haven’t yet decided what kind of a year this one’ll be for the Academy. The way I see it, we’re either looking at a [12 Years a Slave + American Hustle] big-movie blow-out, or a [Captain Phillips + Her] moment’s pause and hey-wait-what-now?
PICKS: Unanimous: 12 Years a Slave.
[Nominees: American Hustle, Blue Jasmine, Dallas Buyers Club, Her and Nebraska]
@joesoldout: Patrick may have told his phone he loved it, but he didn’t have raunchy cybersex with it. American Hustle will win, because David O. Russell presumably included the stage direction “Enter Amy Adams with some bomb-ass cleavage,” and I think the Academy really responded well to that.
PICKS: Split: Her and American Hustle.
Achievement In Music Written for a Motion Picture (Original Score)
[Nominees: The Book Thief, Gravity, Her, Philomena and Saving Mr. Banks]
@joesoldout: Interestingly, not a single movie this year actually had an original soundtrack. So the Academy nominated these films in hopes that maybe we wouldn’t catch on. Gravity will win, because it’s the default winner in every category that doesn’t have a clear frontrunner.
@PPPopcornPlayer: The Academy has a habit of giving this award either to movies I can’t remember the music from or movies with minimalist soundtracks, so I’m going with Gravity. For them it’s either less is more or John Williams.
PICKS: Unanimous: Gravity.
Achievement In Music Written for a Motion Picture (Original Song)
[Nominees: "Happy" (Despicable Me 2), "Let it Go" (Frozen), "The Moon Song" (Her) and "Ordinary Love" (Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom)]
James M.: Certainly, we’re turning a complete 180 from last year’s densely orchestrated Adele, but to me “The Moon Song” by Karen O. best compliments the movie with which it is paired. I will venture the guess.
@PPPopcornPlayer: Since everyone keeps shouting “Let It Go” at me, I have a feeling that Frozen is going to take this one, too.
@joesoldout: I honestly picked “Let It Go” before the others. I’m not just following the crowd. I’m an individual, damn it!
PICKS: Split: “Let It Go” and “The Moon Song”
Achievement in Production Design
[Nominees: American Hustle, Gravity, The Great Gatsby, Her and 12 Years a Slave]
@PPPopcornPlayer: Because nothing would make me more upset than hearing the words “Academy Award-winning film” associated with The Great Gatsby, I have a feeling it’s going to win.
@joesoldout: The Great Gatsby was better than people gave it credit for. Plus, Jay-Z has all the right Illuminati connections to make this happen.
James M.: A combination of art direction, set dressing and design, this category’s really all about world-building, and the winner tends to be the film that most thoroughly created a distinctive place for itself to unfold. Like it or not, I think that might be The Great Gatsby.
PICKS: Unanimous: The Great Gatsby.
Achievement in Makeup and Hair
[Nominees: Dallas Buyers Club, Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa and The Lone Ranger]
James M.: Knowing next to nothing about a lot of things—among them makeup and hairstyling—I can say little else but note that the award seems to go not to the film with the best makeup, per se, but to the most. If this holds true, this year’s a tricky one: it’s a shoot-out between the gent who grandpa’ed Johnny Knoxville (favored) and the duo that decorated Jared Leto. Sorry, Tonto!
@PPPopcornPlayer: Bad Grandpa, good makeup.
@joesoldout: I don’t know if I want to live in a world where a Jackass spinoff can be an Academy Award winner. It’s bad enough whenever things like this even get nominated (let’s take a moment to remember Norbit). If I am to believe that cinema can still be art, I have to go with Dallas Buyers Club.
PICKS: Split: Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa and Dallas Buyers Club.
Achievement in Costume Design
[Nominees: American Hustle, The Grandmaster, The Great Gatsby, The Invisible Woman and 12 Years a Slave]
@joesoldout: The Great Gatsby is going to win this. I would maybe like the Academy to show a little love to American Hustle here, since it’s going to have a tough time finding it elsewhere, but let’s be real: Gatsby had the most costuming, which translates to best in the eyes of the Academy.
@PPPopcornPlayer: [Sigh.] What I said earlier about The Great Gatsby.
PICKS: Unanimous: The Great Gatsby.
Achievement in Cinematography
[Nominees: The Grandmaster, Gravity, Inside Llewyn Davis, Nebraska and Prisoners]
@PPPopcornPlayer: If Gravity doesn’t win, then I’m going to eat my hat as a film critic, and I really like my hat.
@joesoldout: Come on, now. Gravity can’t win all the awards, can it? Let’s at least let Inside Llewyn Davis have just one moment of glory.
James M: Delbonnel framed Llewyn Davis superbly, but I strongly suspect that Lubezki has a lock on the Oscar for Gravity.
PICKS: Split: Gravity and Inside Llewyn Davis.
Achievement in Visual Effects
[Nominees: Gravity, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Iron Man 3, The Lone Ranger and Star Trek into Darkness]
@joesoldout: Two of the nominees are sequels not as good as the originals, one is a sequel that went largely ignored despite somehow making heaps of money, and one is perhaps the year’s biggest flop. Through simple process of elimination, Gravity will take this one.
@PPPopcornPlayer: As awesome as dragons and superheroes are (and they are awesome), this one is pretty much in the bag for Gravity. Mostly because half the American public got upset because they thought NASA actually let Alfonso Cuarón film in space, and, you know, Obamacare.
James M.: Despite strong contenders in the Visual Effects category, including that one with the animated Benedict Cumberbatch and that other one with the partially-animated Benedict Cumberbatch, I must cast my vote for Gravity this year.
PICKS: Unanimous: Gravity.
Achievement in Film Editing
[Nominees: American Hustle, Captain Phillips, Dallas Buyers Club, Gravity and 12 Years a Slave]
@PPPopcornPlayer: Look, I’m not saying Gravity was the the most impressive technical achievement of the year, or that it will have a lasting impact on cinema for decades to come… Oh wait, I’m saying just that. Just give it all the tiny statues already.
@joesoldout: My heart and my brain are both screaming for me to go with Gravity here, but my rebellious nature compels me to go with Captain Phillips. Some of the scenes were put together pretty masterfully.
PICKS: Split: Captain Phillips and Gravity.
Achievement in Sound Editing
[Nominees: All is Lost, Captain Phillips, Gravity, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug and Lone Survivor]
@joesoldout: Incidentally, in space, no one can hear your sound editing. Still, Gravity.
James M.: Every year I get the Sound Mixing wrong. Don’t bother with me!
PICKS: Unanimous: Gravity.
Achievement in Sound Mixing
[Nominees: Captain Phillips, Gravity, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Inside Llewyn Davis and Lone Survivor]
@joesoldout: In a fair and just world, Inside Llewyn Davis would win this award, if only because of this scene. But the world is a cold and callous place forever falling through an infinite void. Gravity wins.
@PPPopcornPlayer: Wait, that’s what mixing is? I thought that was editing. Uh… Gravity!
James M.: Yeah. No clue about the Sound Editing either.
PICKS: Unanimous: Gravity.
Best Animated Short Film
[Nominees: Feral, Get a Horse!, Mr. Hublot, Possessions and Room on the Broom]
@PPPopcornPlayer: Disney proved that it could actually still make animated movies without the help of Pixar recently. Since there is no Pixar nomination in this category, this one is all Disney. It’s going to be Get a Horse!.
@joesoldout: The smart money is on the horse movie, because it will remind most of the voters of their favorite moving pictures from the nickelodeons in 1907 and because it played before Frozen, which everyone saw. But I won’t be lured by cheesy century-old animation styles. The best of the bunch is Feral, but I’m rooting for the existential cynicism of Mr. Hublot.
PICKS: Split: Get a Horse! and Mr. Hublot.
Best Live Action Short Film
[Nominees: 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?) and The Voorman Problem]
@joesoldout: The Voorman Problem. More like The Boreman Problem. Next.
@PPPopcornPlayer: The Academy seems to hate reading subtitles, so I’m going to pick the only short on the list in English. It’s The Voorman Problem.
PICKS: Unanimous: The Voorman Problem.
Best Documentary Short Subject
Nominees: CaveDigger, Facing Fear, Karma Has No Walls, The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life and Prison Terminal: the Last Days of Private Jack Hall
@PPPopcornPlayer: The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life is about the world’s oldest Holocaust survivor, and she passed away right in the middle of voting. Odds say that will have a big impact on how the Academy voted this year.
@joesoldout: The Lady in Number 6. Like I said: It’s a banner year for movies with numbers in their titles.
James M.: I like that CaveDigger is one word.
PICKS: Split The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life and CaveDigger.
Who do you think will win the Stars & Popcorn Oscar pool?
- @joesoldout (Joseph Hunter) (67%)
- @Pppopcornplayer (Patrick Sessoms) (33%)
- James M. (0%)
Thank you for voting!