Part III: Don’t Shoot Me, I’m the Cinematographer

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Oscar Predictions: Part III – Don’t Shoot Me, I’m the Cinematographer!

Part three of The People’s Critic’s Oscar predictions begins the major film awards.  These predictions will be for six very different categories: Documentary Feature, Animated Film, Foreign Language Film, Original Screenplay, Adapted Screenplay, and everybody’s favorite – Cinematography. 

13.  Best Documentary Feature – Nominated films are:

The Act of Killing
Cutie and the Boxer
Dirty Wars
The Square
20 Feet From Stardom

Generally, the winning documentary has more than spunk and spirit.  Many documentaries are made yearly since they are easy to produce and cheap to make.  The key is content, pacing, accuracy, and perspective.  Unfortunately my favorites, Blackfish and Tim’s Vermeer, were snubbed!  Consequently, I’ve never been more underwhelmed by this category.  Several of this year’s nominees feel more like propaganda than anything else.   The swift and breezy Cutie and the Boxer will likely be overlooked for some of the flashier films.  The intriguing back-up singer exposé, 20 Feet From Stardom is an early favorite.  However, it will most likely collapse under the weight of provocative films like the 8 year long project, The Act of Killing or the bleak and frankly unbelievable Dirty Wars, which suggests Obama has a secret army and that his “drone” administration is responsible for killing and even targeting large numbers of civilians abroad.  Really?    

The Peoples Critic Selection for who WILL win: The Act of Killing
Who SHOULD win: 20 Feet From Stardom

14.  Best Animated Feature Film – Nominated Films are:

The Croods
Despicable Me 2
Ernest & Celestine
Frozen
The Wind Rises

First given in 2001, Best Animated Feature Film is the newest of all 24 categories in the modern Academy Awards.  During these twelve years, a Pixar Studio film has won this Oscar seven times, including last year with Brave.  In fact, the studio has only lost once when one if its films was nominated (2006’s Cars lost out to Happy Feet).  This year Pixar failed to get a nomination with its tame but fun film, Monsters University.  This opens the lane wide for Disney Studios to swoop in and earn an Oscar for its fresh and enjoyable fairy tale, Frozen.  What could stand in the way for Disney is the fact that legendary animator and writer, Hayao Miyazaki’s final animated film, The Wind Rises is also nominated.  This will be a close one, but as this category grows up, so might its winners. 

The People’s Critic Selection for who WILL win: The Wind Rises
Who SHOULD win: Frozen

15.  Best Foreign Language Film – Nominated films are:

The Broken Circle Breakdown (Belgium)
The Great Beauty (Italy)
The Hunt (Denmark)
The Missing Picture (Cambodia)
Omar (Palestine)

Last year, this category was so easy to pick.  Amour accomplished what only seven other films had ever done before it: get nominated for both Best Foreign Film and Best Picture making it a shoe-in for this category.  The Cannes Film Festival favorite and perhaps best known foreign film this year, Blue is the Warmest Color, was ineligible for a nomination in this category since it did not premier in its native France until after the deadline.  Thus, this year we have a real race.  However, the film that beat Blue is the Warmest Color for the Golden Globe is nominated here, swaying me in that direction.

 The People’s Critic Selection for who WILL win: The Great Beauty
Who SHOULD win: The Great Beauty

16.  Best Original Screenplay – Nominated films are:

American Hustle – David O. Russell
Blue Jasmine
– Woody Allen
Dallas Buyers Club
– Craig Borten and Melisa Wallack
Her
– Spike Jonze
Nebraska
– Bob Nelson

As a writer (or to put it more modestly, one who appreciates writing), the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay has a special significance.  While only one of these films made The People’s Critic’s List of the Top Ten Films of 2013, three more of them would have if they had wide releases in the ACTUAL YEAR OF 2013!  Furthermore, this is the category that has most notably snubbed a deserving film in Inside Llewyn Davis.  Ironically, the one film that did not and would not make my top ten list is the one that probably will win this award regardless of my choice for who obviously should.  American Hustle does have a powerhouse of a script and with Russell still searching for his first Oscar, he’ll probably barely edge out Jonze who is on that first Oscar quest as well. 

The People’s Critic Selection for who WILL win: American Hustle
Who SHOULD win: Blue Jasmine but Her is a worthy one as well!

17.  Best Adapted Screenplay – Nominated films:

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

This is the award that combats the old adage, “the book was way better than the movie.”  Generally, these films are the rare few who challenge and overcome that too often reality.  A notable accomplishment is certainly that Terence Winter successfully wrote the script with the most f-bombs and got an Oscar nomination for it!  I’d have had my money on Tarantio to earn that distinction.  Last year Tony Kushner’s brilliantly written script for Lincoln won because it elevated an otherwise routine biopic.  This year, John Ridley penned another brilliantly written biopic and it became a far better film than Lincoln could ever have dreamed.  David O. Russell should feel relieved that he wrote his own script this year.   

The People’s Critic Selection for who WILL win: 12 Years a Slave
Who SHOULD win: 12 Years a Slave

18.   Best Cinematography – Nominated Films are:

The Grandmaster
Gravity
Inside Llewyn Davis
Nebraska
Prisoners

Cinematographers are the directors of photography who oversee decisions on camera and lighting concerns.  To excel at this requires the talent of an artist and the technical knowledge of a director.  This year’s group makes for a tough category.  Deakins’s latest film, Prisoners marks his 11th nomination without a win.  His work on Prisoners earned that film its only nomination.  This should certainly be a consideration in choosing a winner since repetitive nominations in this category are not easy to get, but well earned when they happen.  It is also interesting to see Deakins up against a Coen Brothers film, since he has shot nine films for them.  Last year Deakins lost to Claudio Miranda’s stunning Life of Pi. Sadly, Deakins is probably going to lose to another visual juggernaut, Emmanuel Lubezki’s Gravity. 

The People’s Critic Selection for who WILL win: Gravity
Who SHOULD win: Inside Llewyn Davis (Sorry Roger)

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