Friday, February 28, 2014

Writing: Adapted and Original Screenplay

Taking a step away from the best films in their genres for a moment, I'll take a look at screenplays. The delay is largely due to Before Midnight which presented a couple of logistical issues. The first being that it was the third film in a trilogy of which I'd not been exposed as of yet. The second being that I had roped someone into watching them with me, so scheduling was a bit trickier. We finished just in time, though, so let's take a look at the screenplay nominees.

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

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Foreign Film and Live Action Short

I'm literally beginning to write this post in tears as I deleted over 2,200 words on my two favorite categories. With any luck, analyzing these another time will be more productive than the first time.


Anyway, that puts me behind on my already overfull schedule, but I think I can still make it. I had decided to put the short form live action films with the foreign films for a few reasons. Firstly, they're almost all foreign (one is English and from the UK). Secondly, I didn't want to pair them with the best picture nominees as that'd be both a really long post and slightly distracting from the grand finale. So let's get to it. I had the pleasure of catching the short films at the Detroit Film Theater and supposedly you can now see them on demand from iTunes and Amazon. That's not quite as true as they'd have you believe, so you'll have to do a bit of scrounging to find what you may.

The 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?)
  • The Voorman Problem

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Documentaries: Feature and Short Subject

I start a serious bout of writing that will optimally conclude with the Best Picture article on Saturday. I'm doubling up the short films with their closest feature length category, so, while I'll still be putting out an article a day, I'll be covering ten films instead of five. I'm also going to combine adapted and original screenplay, and best picture of course has nine nominees. Over the next five days, I should be writing about forty-nine films.

What was I thinking when I wrote this schedule?

I had the pleasure of catching the short films in the theater, but many of them are available as of today online, so you're not too late. Maybe.

The nominees for documentary short subject are

  • CaveDigger
  • Facing Fear
  • Karama Has No Walls
  • The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life
  • Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall

Sunday, February 23, 2014


Directing is a category I thought I maybe knew a fair bit about before I started really delving into the technical categories. Now, I feel like I either know way more or way less as I see just how much all those other things are under other players' control. Let's see how this goes. The nominees up are:

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

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Lead Actress

Let's not use the Android app for blogger anymore. It evidently doesn't like me and deleted the beginnings of this post twice. It seems sad to me that for both the men and the women, there's so much overlap in the films that carry lead acting nominations with those that carry supporting acting. I'm more upset here because I saw some roles I definitely thought should be nominated over at least some in the current batch. So who was nominated?
  • Amy Adams in American Hustle
  • Cate Blanchett in Blue Jasmine
  • Sandra Bullock in Gravity
  • Judi Dench in Philomena
  • Meryl Streep in August: Osage County

Friday, February 21, 2014

Supporting Actress

I had a beautiful little write-up going along, but the Blogger Android app doesn't save as you go, so bye bye. I have a really hard time writing things twice, but we'll try. It's better than trying to go out to eat in a city that doesn't know what a frickle is! Now that we have the boys out of the way, onto the ladies.

  • Sally Hawkins in Blue Jasmine
  • Jennifer Lawrence in American Hustle
  • Lupita Nyong'o in 12 Years a Slave
  • Julia Roberts in August: Osage County
  • June Squibb in Nebraska

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Lead Actor

I've had some technical difficulties over here involving massive data loss that has precluded my watching of Blue Jasmine. As such, supporting actress will have to wait, and instead, we'll wrap up the men today. If you're wondering why I'm writing up the acting before other awards, I think it's pretty simple: while each actor is massively important, I think that they're simply not the most important category behind best picture. I'd rather see a movie written by an amazing screenplay author or a film to which a great director is attached than I would a movie starring a really good actor. Beyond that, I think that, like best picture, the animated, documentary and foreign films are all more important than single actors; so, too, are the shorts.

Or maybe I just haven't gotten to seeing everything else yet. You decide.

So who's up?

  • Christian Bale in American Hustle
  • Bruce Dern in Nebraska
  • Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street
  • Chiwetel Ejiofor in 12 Years a Slave
  • Matthew McConaughey in Dallas Buyers Club

Monday, February 17, 2014

Supporting Actor

I can't even begin to say how disappointed I am in this year's supporting actor nominees. Last year was a quite solid year with Philip Seymour Hoffman, Tommy Lee Jones and Christoph Waltz and a couple other good nominees. Two years prior to that Christian Bale and Geoffrey Rush delivered amazing performances.

And here we go again nominating Jonah Hill again. Ugh. Stop it.

  • Barkhad Abdi in Captain Phillips
  • Bradley Cooper in American Hustle
  • Michael Fassbender in 12 Years a Slave
  • Jonah Hill in The Wolf of Wall Street
  • Jared Leto in Dallas Buyers Club 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Music: Original Score and Original Song

I like to listen to music. I date musicians. I have gone to the symphony and to concerts. For that, I don't know a thing about music in a technical or professional sense. I have not predisposition, inclination, or aptitude.

But I'm going to write anyway. How's that for selling it?

The films with nominations

Original Score

  • The Book Thief 
  • Gravity
  • Her
  • Philomena 
  • Saving Mr. Banks
Original Song
  • Alone Yet Not Alone (nomination revoked
  • Despicable Me 2
  • Frozen
  • Her
  • Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

Friday, February 14, 2014

Costume Design

I can only write so many posts ahead of time, so now I'm writing from the road.  I hope you'll forgive the greater amount of mistakes, fewer sceencaptures, and perhaps shorter form. Time will tell just how much I enjoy writing on a tablet; my current feeling is that I don't.

Today I'm going to look at costume design which I took some delight in. The films garnering nominations are

  • American Hustle
  • The Grandmaster
  • The Great Gatsby
  • The Invisible Woman 
  • 12 Years a Slave

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Sound Editing and Sound Mixing

Hah! I finished that last article about film editing at 723 words. Remind me never to say I don't know anything and won't have much to talk about again!

Since I don't know anything about sound editing or sound mixing, I'm going to lump them together. Even still, it shouldn't take too long. As you'll see, there's a lot of overlap.

Sound Editing:
  • All is Lost
  • Captain Phillips
  • Gravity
  • The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
  • Lone Survivor
Sound Mixing
  • Captain Phillips
  • Gravity
  • The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
  • Inside Llewyn Davis
  • Lone Survivor

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Film Editing

Keeping in line with cinematography and the visual arts we'll go straight into Film Editing. I always start off saying that I don't know much about what I'm talking about and that the post will be short. I'm not going to do that here, though, because then the posts seem to spiral out of control. I'd like to not write a thousand words on this category. The nominated films are:
  • American Hustle
  • Captain Phillips
  • Dallas Buyers Club
  • Gravity
  • 12 Years a Slave
There are a number of films I'm surprised didn't get a nomination here: Her, Nebraska, Prisoners, and Wolf of Wall Street. In the end, though, none of them deserve to take home the award, so it isn't terribly important.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014


When I did my first Oscar Quest in 2011, I had zero idea of what cinematography entailed, and I wish I had stumbled across this before the awards rather than after. My understanding of cinematography has certainly grown in the years since as I've linked it more and more to my still photography knowledge. As such, I'm excited to take a stronger (if still critically underinformed) look at the category than I've been able to in the past.

The nominated films:
  • The Grandmaster
  • Gravity
  • Inside Llewyn Davis
  • Nebraska
  • Prisoners

Monday, February 10, 2014

Visual Effects

The films carrying nominations for the Visual Effects category are
  • Gravity
  • The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug
  • Iron Man 3
  • The Lone Ranger
  • Star Trek: Into Darkness
These films can be roughly categorized into a few different ways. Here I'm going to separate them into realism (Gravity), high-gloss fantasy (Iron Man 3, Star Trek), and rugged fantasy (The Hobbit, The Lone Ranger).

Friday, February 7, 2014

Makeup and Hairstyling

Between finally watching Dallas Buyers Club and Inside Llewyn Davis, I have finished a good number of categories and will hopefully have something daily from here until the awards show. Today, we start this run with Makeup and Hairstyling for which the nominees worked on
  • Dallas Buyers Club
  • Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa
  • The Lone Ranger
This is certainly no class like last year's which carried Les Misérables, the critically overlooked Hitchcock, and that year's Hobbit film. I'm not even sure where to start with this year's selections as each film feels rather narrowly focused and not terribly impressive.