Monday, February 24, 2014

Stephen A. Mikalik, Academy Voter

I do not own the above image. Copyright Warner Bros. Pictures.  All Rights Reserved.
Best Picture
1. Gravity
2. Her
3. 12 Years a Slave
4. The Wolf of Wall Street
5. Nebraska
6. Captain Phillips
First, I believe only movies I give ****1/2 or more deserve to be Best Picture.  So, Dallas Buyers Club, American Hustle & Philomena are out.  My 3-6 are actually my personal 6-9 for the year.  As great as the nearly everything in Her was, Gravity, after a second viewing, holds up physically & emotionally.
Best Actor
Christian Bale (American Hustle)
Bruce Dern (Nebraska)
Leonardo DiCaprio (Wolf of Wall Street)
*Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave)
Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club)
This was way closer of a race than I thought it would have been.  DiCaprio & Ejiofor were the heart & souls of their movies, but without the perfect subtlety from Ejiofor, 12 Years A Slave would have been almost unwatchable.
Best Actress
Amy Adams (American Hustle)
*Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine)
Sandra Bullock (Gravity)
Judi Dench (Philomena)
Meryl Streep (August: Osage County)
Like I said, everything in Gravity held up the second time, with Bullock at the forefront.  But, who are we kidding, Blanchett put on a clinic this year.
Best Supporting Actor
Barkhad Abdi (Captain Phillips)
Bradley Cooper (American Hustle)
*Michael Fassbender (12 Years a Slave)
Jonah Hill (Wolf of Wall Street)
Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club)
In any other year, I could have voted for any 4 of these guys (sorry, Bradley).  In fact, as I was typing this, I changed my mind.  I changed from Leto to Fassbender.  The middle-of-the-night confrontation by lantern did it for me.
Best Supporting Actress
Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle)
*Lupita Nyong'o (12 Years a Slave)
Julia Roberts (August: Osage County)
June Squibb (Nebraska)
Sally Hawkins (Blue Jasmine)
As close as the race appears to be, in my mind, there is no debate.  Nyong'o is pitch perfect in the last half of 12 Years A Slave.
Best Director
Martin Scorsese (The Wolf of Wall Street
David O. Russell (American Hustle)
*Alfonso Cuarón (Gravity)
Alexander Payne (Nebraska)
Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave)
If only one of my votes could count, it would be here.  If any little bit of Gravity was off, the entire movie crumbles.  Cuarón. Was. Perfect.
Best Adapted Screenplay
John Ridley (12 Years a Slave)
Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke & Richard Linklater (Before Midnight)
Terence Winter (The Wolf of Wall Street)
Billy Ray (Captain Phillips)

Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope (Philomena)
12 Years is great, but my goodness, I gotta give my personal #1 of 2013 something.  So why not give it to its best (and only nominated) element.
Best Original Screenplay
David O. Russell and Eric Singer (American Hustle)
Bob Nelson (Nebraska)
*Spike Jonze (Her)
Craig Borten & Melisa Wallack (Dallas Buyers Club)
Woody Allen (Blue Jasmine)
Not going to mince words: Only two of these scripts are Oscar-worthy.  My pick and Nebraska.
Best Animated Feature
The Wind Rises

Despicable Me 2
The Croods
Ernest & Celestine
Only saw three of these.  Not an anime guy and foreign stuff barely comes to Pittsburgh.  DM2 sucks and The Croods starts off terribly before ending up ok.  Frozen was the lone bright spot in the animation world last year.
Film Editing
American Hustle
Captain Phillips
Dallas Buyers Club
12 Years a Slave
Seamlessness is a thing of beauty.
Best Song
"Alone Yet Not Alone" (Alone Yet Not Alone)
"Happy" (Despicable Me 2)
*"Let It Go" (Frozen)
"The Moon Song" (Her)
"Ordinary Love" (Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom)
No explanation necessary.  Best movie song since "Falling Slowly".
Best Original Score
John Williams (The Book Thief)
Steven Price (Gravity)
Alexandre Desplat (Philomena)
Thomas Newman (Saving Mr. Banks)
*William Butler and Owen Pallett (Her)
Gravity is close, but Her was consistently fantastic throughout.
Best Cinematography
Philippe Le Sourd (The Grandmaster)
Emmanuel Lubezki (Gravity)
*Bruno Delbonnel (Inside Llewyn Davis)
Roger Deakins (Prisoners)
Phedon Papamichael (Nebraska)
Gravity was mostly special effects.  Inside Llewyn Davis is mostly spectacular.
Costume Design
*American Hustle
The Grandmaster
The Great Gatsby
The Invisible Woman
12 Years A Slave
Best element of the most nominated movie.  Easily.
Makeup and Hairstyling
The Lone Ranger
Dallas Buyers Club
*Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa
Don't really care.  So why not?!
Production Design
American Hustle
The Great Gatsby
*12 Years a Slave
Toughest decision.  Again, Gravity was mostly digital.  This was all real.
Sound Editing
All is Lost
Captain Phillips
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Lone Survivor
Where's Rush?
Sound Mixing
Captain Phillips
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Lone Survivor
Inside Llewyn Davis
Seriously, where's Rush?!?!
Visual Effects
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Iron Man 3
The Lone Ranger
Star Trek Into Darkness
Like I said, everything had to be perfect.  These had to be the most perfect.  They were.

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