Musings on 2019 Oscars nominations

Well it’s one of those mornings that cinephiles always wait for year after year… the morning Oscar nominations are announced. I for one don’t go out of my way to wake up early to see it live, but when I woke up, of course I immediately tried to see who’s shortlisted.

Right away I noticed that it’s perhaps the most diverse lineup of nominees… though it’s by no means perfect. The Academy’s more-inclusive picks would likely keep those #OscarsSoWhite hashtags at bay… at least for now.

So here are some obligatory random comments (good & bad) about 2019 nominations:

• Not a single female directors nominated?? 😦

The UN Women twitter pic above is downright disheartening, especially since I think there are a bunch of worthy films from female directors… Josie Rourke with Mary, Queen of Scots and Debra Granik with Leave No Trace, among others. While you’re at it, check out my interview with Debra on making the film.

Granik directing Thomasin McKenzie in LEAVE NO TRACE

Netflix is becoming even more of a force to be reckoned with… rivaling big studios in raking in nominees. It’s got 15 nominations thanks to Alfonso Cuarón’s ROMA leading with 10 nods, including the coveted Best Picture. How awesome that first-time actress Yalitza Aparicio got a nod in Best Actress, she’s apparently a preschool teacher who didn’t know much about the film industry and barely spoke any English at the time. [Note to self: gotta watch ROMA this weekend!]

Speaking of a Foreign Language film that’s highly-personal to the filmmaker AND set in black & white, glad to see COLD WAR getting recognition with 3 Oscars, including Best Director for Paweł Pawlikowski.


I LOVE this sultry, intensely-passionate romance drama, which was inspired by the love story of Pawel’s own parents!

Whoa! Sixth nominations!! I thought her performance as Lynne Cheney in VICE (once again co-starring with Christian Bale) was terrific. Sadly I don’t think this is Amy Adams‘ year yet, I’m convinced Regina King will take home the statuette.

Happy to see documentary filmmaker Bing Liu getting an Oscar nom on his first film Minding The Gap, wow! I got to meet him last year when he received an award from MSPIFF, here he is with Minnesota’s own film legend Al Milgrom. I actually missed his film at the fest, that’s one I gotta watch real soon!

I know there’ll be all kinds of people hating on Black Panther getting a nomination. But you won’t be hearing it from me. I think it’s well-deserved… a masterful work by director Ryan Coogler that made it so much more than a superhero movie. I highly doubt it’ll actually win Best Picture though, but it’s already made history for being nominated. Oh and with seven nods, I have a feeling it’ll win a couple forBest Costume Design (Ruth E. Carter) and Best Production Design (Hannah Beachler). How awesome would it be if both black women win in those categories!!

It’s no surprise Bradley Cooper is an Academy’s favorite, but I thought he deserved a Best Director nod as much as his acting one. Can you believe it he’s been nominated for an Oscar four times?? Just like his former co-star Amy Adams though, I don’t think this is his year to win an acting Oscar.

Where’s Won’t You Be My Neighbor? for Best Documentary??? The Mister Rogers biopic seems poised to be shortlisted… it certainly one of the most moving films I’ve seen all year! I’d say that’s one of the biggest snubs this year.

I know some people are outraged that If Beale Street Could Talk and First Man didn’t get more love. Barry Jenkins and Damien Chazelle were each other’s biggest rival two years ago with Moonlight & La La Land, and I heavily championed Moonlight to win. But this year, I wasn’t as in love with If Beale Street Could Talk though I find it far more moving and memorable than First Man. So no, no complaints from me that neither one of those movies get a nod.

Now I haven’t even seen You Were Never Really Here but based on what I read so far, sounds like Joaquin Phoenix AND writer/director Lynne Ramsay are both snubbed this year.

I have to catch up on three Best Picture nominees… BlacKkKlansman, Bohemian Rhapsody and Roma. Of the five I have seen, my least favorite is actually The Favourite [gasp!] Now, I didn’t hate the movie [please don’t resort to hyperbole like the rest on social media], I just don’t think it was as great as the critics made it to be and I actually find it irritating at times. My friend Cindy just did a post about it which highlights some of the things that bothered me. I do think all three actresses are terrific playing such hard-to-root-for characters. I’m especially thrilled to see Olivia Colman finally getting the recognition she deserved!

Olivia Colman in The Favourite

My last comment is on a highly controversial movie Green Bookwell, I’m glad it got nominated! I’ve mentioned it on my Top 10 list post that I see this movie as a beautiful story of friendship set during the dark times in American South ripe with racial discrimination. I’m also thrilled to see Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali each get an acting nod! I’ll be torn between Viggo and Christian Bale in the Best Actor race… my gut says this will be Bale’s year to get another Oscar.

Well, there are more that could be said about this year’s nominees but if I continue, I’ll never post this thing.


The 91st Annual Academy Awards will air on Feb. 24 on ABC.


Well, everyone’s got an opinion. What are your thoughts on the Oscars nominations?

The obligatory Oscar 2018 predictions post: Who will win & who should win

Are you ready for the Oscars this weekend? Well like tax season, it’s not like we have a choice, it’s here whether we care about it or not. Well, it’s the year I have to do TWO filings, thanks to our short film Hearts Want, my hubby and I have to file business (LLC) tax on top of our personal one :\

What a year it has been for the film industry… I’m especially thrilled there are more discussions (that’s the start anyway before real change can take place) about women’s role and contributions that often constantly get overlooked. Before I get into more of that, check out this article on The Hollywood Reporter where THR commissioned A-list artists, sculptors and designers to reinterpret the coveted gold statuette for the #MeToo era. These are so cool, I especially LOVE #3, 11 and 12.

Jimmy Kimmel is back as the host of the 90th Oscars, I certainly hope he’d be entertaining. Check out the video of him poking fun of that crazy Best Picture mix-up, I certainly remember that moment as clear as day. Well mostly I remember how upset I was when I heard La La Land instead of the rightful winner, Moonlight! (you can see my reaction in last year’s Oscars blog recap)

Honestly, even though it’s Oscar week, I hadn’t really been thinking much about the Oscars. I didn’t even get a chance to see many of the Oscar-nominated films I’ve missed, though I did see The Breadwinner, which is one of the animated films nominated. Suffice to say, I think the nom is well deserved!


Anyhoo, I’m not predicting ALL of the categories though, and given that I haven’t seen ALL of the nominees, some predictions are merely based on what I’ve read and general buzz of the films/talents. Per tradition, I have my picks for who I think will win and the one I want to win. Click on this handy Oscar ballot from Vanity Fair if you want to see the full nominees.

So here we go:

BEST PICTURE

Who will win: The Shape of Water
Who should win: The Shape of Water

Every year I have one film I’ll be rooting for. Last year it was Moonlight (which deservedly won) and this year it’s The Shape of Water. A film that swept me off my feet and one I can’t wait to see again. Like my personal favorite I championed back in 2016, Mad Max Fury Road, it’s such a singularly unique film that’s spectacularly-crafted all around. So yeah, with 13 nominations, plus a Producers Guild Awards & Directors Guild Award win already in the bag, this Guillermo del Toro’s film is surely the one to beat.

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BEST ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

Who will win: Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour
Who should win: Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour

I feel like this could very well be the year Oldman gets his due. He’s such a stellar actor that I’m astonished he’s only been nominated one other time before, which was in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. Like McDormand, he’s won SAG, Golden Globes and BAFTA this year and Oscars always love actors portraying real life personas. I’ve only seen Daniel Day-Lewis’ performance in Phantom Thread in this group, and there’s a chance they might give it to him since it’s supposedly his last role before he retires from acting. If it’s not Oldman’s year again, I actually would rather see Timothée Chalamet just based on what I’ve read about his performance so far.

BEST ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE

 Who will win: Frances McDormand,
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Who should win: Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water

No doubt Frances McDormand is the frontrunner in this category, and her odds are strong here having won the Golden Globes, SAG, BAFTA and a slew of other awards. She is a fantastic actress and I’m glad she’s getting a meaty role here that merits all the praise.

I do have a soft spot for Hawkins’ emotional performance as a mute janitor in love with a sea creature in The Shape of Water. It’s such a sweet, poignant yet bold performance that tugs my heartstrings unlike anything I’ve seen this year. It made me think of Joaquin Phoenix’s performance in Her, which is also about an unconventional love story.

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BEST ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Who will win: Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards
Who should win: Richard Jenkins, The Shape of Water

Though I really want Jenkins to win this one, I certainly wouldn’t be upset if Rockwell win it. Most likely he would given he’s swept every other major award like Golden Globes, SAG, Critics’ Choice and BAFTA. He’s a consistently good actor, but like his co-star McDormand, doesn’t always get the credit he’s due. I have heard great things about Christopher Plummer so he might prove to be the upset of the night, especially given the short time span he had replacing Kevin Spacey in All the Money in the World.

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BEST ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Who will win: Allison Janey, I Tonya
Who should win: Lesley Manville, Phantom Thread

I’m always glad to see character actors finally getting the recognition they deserved. So in this category, I’ll be happy with whomever walk away w/ the statue. My absolute favorite is Octavia Spencer, who always enliven everything she’s in, but despite her tremendous performance in The Shape of Water, I have to hand it to Lesley Manville. Her astute performance in Phantom Thread is simply amazing, an incredibly nuanced and quiet style of acting that is so difficult to pull off. It may not be flashy, but understated can be oh so unforgettable.

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BEST DIRECTOR

Who will win: Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk
Who should win: Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water

This is a really tough category to predict. The Academy seem to always give Best Picture and Best Director to two different films, so either The Shape of Water wins Best Picture or del Toro will get Best Director, but not both. Dunkirk is an amazing accomplishment mostly because of the way it’s directed, taking something that could’ve easily been a run-of-the-mill war action film into something cutting edge and a movie-going experience like no other. Paul Thomas Anderson could be the upset in this category, and though I admired Phantom Thread but not in love with it, I do think it’s an exquisitely-crafted filled with stunning attention to detail.

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BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

Who will win: Blade Runner 2049
Who should win: Blade Runner 2049

I feel like every year I keep predicting that Roger Deakins will win and once again I was let down. He’s now on his 14th nominations (come on Academy!!), I mean what more visual mastery does the man have to produce to finally win this thing??! I am thrilled that this year we finally have a woman join the rank as a nominee in cinematography (Rachel Morrison for Mudbound), and she might as well be the wild card in this category. But as much as I love seeing a woman breaking new ground, I really, really wish Deakins would NOT walk away empty handed again.

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BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM

Who will win: Coco
Who should win: The Breadwinner/Loving Vincent

I think Pixar just might snatch the big win here, though I personally would rather see the female-directed, female-led The Breadwinner, a poignant tale about a young girl pretending to be a boy in war-torn Afghanistan. Loving Vincent is groundbreaking in that it’s the first fully painted feature film. It took a team of 125 painters to create 65,000 frames made of oil painting on canvas, using the same technique as Van Gogh. That’s impressive filmmaking in itself and it’s quite a beautiful film.

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BEST COSTUME DESIGN

Who will win: Phantom Thread
Who should win: Phantom Thread

This is the only category I’m rooting for Phantom Thread to win. And for a film that’s practically a love letter for the art of costume design, I’d think this is a shoo in. The attention to detail for each piece by Mark Bridges is exquisite, it’s almost every dress on Vicky Krieps tells a story, you could say the costumes are a character in itself in this film.

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BEST MUSIC (ORIGINAL SCORE)

Who will win: The Shape of Water
Who should win: The Shape of Water

This is Alexandre Desplat’s eighth nomination and he’s already won one for Grand Budapest Hotel in 2015. But his ethereal, romantic score is absolutely magical. It’s as magnificent and otherworldly as the film, a perfect complement to the beautiful visual and story. It’s my fave score amongst the nominees by far, and one of my faves of the year. My second favorite would be Phantom Thread, followed by Dunkirk.

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BEST MUSIC (ORIGINAL SONG)

Who will win: This Is Me, Greatest Showman
Who should win: Mighty River, Mudbound


The only one I have actually listened to is This Is Me, and it seems it has a pretty good chance of winning despite the song writers have already won for La La Land last year. It seems in terms of its message, it resonates well in the #MeeToo era, and it IS a catchy tune. I really don’t know who I’d want to win since I haven’t listened to the others, but for argument’s sake, how cool would it be to see Mary J. Blige win this? She has already broken ground as the first person to be nominated for acting and music in the same year for Mudbound!

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BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN

Who will win: The Shape of Water
Who should win: The Shape of Water

Oh man, this is this year’s Fury Road for me hands down. Though each nominee deserved its place for its amazing production design, this fantasy romance truly transport you to the Cold War era. Having just been to the del Toro’s exhibit at Museum of Arts in Minneapolis, here’s a filmmaker whose invested painstaking detail to create the universe in each film he created. I love this article how The Shape of Water transformed Ontario into 1960s America.

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VISUAL EFFECTS

Who will win: War for the Planet of the Apes
Who should win: War for the Planet of the Apes

I just realized Dunkirk wasn’t nominated in this category but Kong Skull Island was, huh?? Well, amongst the nominees, I am rooting for the excellent War for The Planet of the Apes. They should’ve created a special category for Andy Serkis for his spectacular mo-cap work! I’d have loved to see this amongst Best Picture nominees even, it’s THAT good. So I’d settle for it to win this category, as it truly deserved it.

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WRITING (ADAPTED SCREENPLAY)

Who will win: Call Me by Your Name
Who should win: Logan

As a writer, the screenplay category is actually the toughest for me to predict. Though I haven’t seen it yet, I feel like Call Me by Your Name has the strongest shot of winning, given James Ivory’s practically an esteemed figure in the industry. I do admire the fact that Logan managed to score a nomination given the Academy’s usually ignore the comic-book genre. Well, I’m glad it did as it’s an amazing script about a scarred hero finding redemption. It felt more like a Western Noir than a superhero film, an emotional storytelling that’s concerned with character/story than mere spectacle.

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WRITING (ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY)

Who will win: Three Billboards
Who should win: Lady Bird

I am ashamed to say I have only seen The Shape of Water out of the five nominees. So this prediction is purely based on what I’ve read so far, and Martin McDonagh seems to have a pretty strong chance of winning this. Of course I’d love to see a woman win this category, and it’s very likely Greta Gerwig will win for her screenplay rather than her directing work.

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I have a feeling this year there might not be a single film that’ll sweep all of the awards, but if that happens, I hope that’ll be The Shape of Water!


I LOVE Oscar trivia!

The GoldDerby site has compiled some interesting tidbits about this year’s nominations. Here are a few of my favorites …

  • Love LOVE Octavia Spencer in practically everything, including ‘The Shape of Water’

    Octavia Spencer‘s nomination for The Shape of Water makes her the first performer to earn three Best Supporting Actress Oscar nominations in a single decade since Cate Blanchett did so in the 2000s.

  • Though Jordan Peele is not the first time an African-American director is nominated for their directing work (he’s the 5th), he IS the first African American to be honored with a trifecta nominations at the Oscars with Best Picture, Best Directing and Best Original Screenplay for Get Out!
  • Speaking of firsts, Dee Rees is the first African-American woman to be recognized for her screenwriting work for Mudbound in the Best Adapted Screenplay category!
  • Another ‘first’ for Mudbound, as DP Rachel Morrison became the first woman ever nominated for Cinematography!
  • And most people knew this already… Meryl Streep is an actor with the most nominations overall. Her work in The Post marks her 21st nomination, wow!

So that’s it folks. I’m only predicting 15 out of the complete 24 categories. We’ll see how many I’d get wrong Sunday night 😉

Ok, so what are some of your Oscar winner predictions for this year?

The obligatory Oscar predictions post: Who will win & who should win

Oscars2016

Well, it’s that time of the year again… tax season and the Oscars. We’re in fact doing our taxes just before I worked on this post. Both are unavoidable and obligatory, well for most of us blogging/writing about movies anyway.

This is the first year I’m actually looking forward to the opening monologue more than the main event. I can’t wait to hear what Chris Rock‘s going to say about the whole diversity issue. But hopefully the whole thing won’t be too heavy handed and we get to see him poke fun at a bunch of celebs, as to be expected.

ChrisRock

To be honest with you, even though it’s Oscar week, I hadn’t really been thinking much about the Oscars. In fact, I hadn’t been seeing anything Oscar-related the past couple of weeks, though we wanted to see Shaun of the Sheep movie last night, which was nominated for Best Animated Feature but there’s a connection issue so we watched another episode of Jessica Jones instead.

oscar-ballot-2016I’ve posted my thoughts on the nominations, but now that the big event is near, I thought I’d pick who will and SHOULD win the Oscars this year. I’m not predicting ALL of the categories though, just the ones that I have actually seen. Click on this handy Oscar ballot from EW.com if you want to see the full nominees.

So here we go:

BEST PICTURE

Who will win: The Revenant

Who should win: Mad Max: Fury Road

No doubt The Revenant is the frontrunner this year in many categories, but once the dust of award season’s settled I think Fury Road is one people will remember more in the end. It’s such a singularly unique film that’s spectacularly-crafted all around.

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ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

Who will win: Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant

Who should win: Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant

Even without having seen his performance in full as I have yet to see the film, I think it’s safe to say this is Leo’s year.

Leo_Brie
Methinks we’ll see a repeat of Leo-Brie pairing in the leading performance category

ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE

 Who will win: Brie Larson, Room

 Who should win: Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn

Having won pretty much every other award in this category, I think Brie will be this year’s Jennifer Lawrence. I still want to see Ronan win it though, as I think Ronan’s understated performance leaves a more lasting impression to me. It’s not a flashy role which takes an astute performer to pull it off so beautifully.

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ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Who will win: Sylvester Stallone, Creed

Who should win: Tom Hardy, The Revenant

I had been championing Stallone from the get go and I’m not surprised he’s the frontrunner in this category. However, part of me thinks that Hardy’s been overlooked in general despite his astonishing performance in no less than three films: Legend, Mad Max: Fury Road and The Revenant, which I read is just as compelling as Leo’s and that his character is actually more complex in the film.

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ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Who will win: Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs

Who should win: Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs

I have only seen two performances in this category and I for one don’t think Rachel McAdams is THAT great to be nominated. I mentioned before that I actually wished for Kristen Stewart to be recognized for Clouds of Sils Maria instead of McAdams. So I’ll pick Winslet in this lot as I was impressed by her performance.

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DIRECTING

Who will win: Alejandro González Iñárritu, The Revenant

Who should win: George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road

I’m going to borrow Variety‘s Justin Chang’s reasoning for what he called ‘a tour de force visual storytelling’… “[Miller] gave us far more than just a master class in how to block, frame, shoot and edit action.” Amen to that, let’s hope he’s properly recognized.

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CINEMATOGRAPHY

Who will win: The Revenant

Who should win: Sicario


Fury Road
and Sicario are both spectacularly shot. But I give Sicario the edge because Roger Deakins’ visual mastery has been overlooked time and time again. This is his thirteen nominations with not a single win so far. I read this article on Deakins and his approach to his work and how his imagery is done to serve a larger purpose is why he is such a legend.

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ANIMATED FEATURE FILM

Who will win: Inside Out

Who should win: Anomalisa

Though I wasn’t blown away by the story of Anomalisa, I think it deserves to win for being such a unique piece of art. It’s one of the most lifelike claymation and the story is unconventionally dark and moody for this genre.

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COSTUME DESIGN

Who will win: Mad Max: Fury Road

Who should win: Cinderella

I think Fury Road has won many awards in this category and I certainly won’t be fuming if they win again at the Oscars. But I’d LOVE to see Sandy Powell win in either category, especially Cinderella, given the incredible amount of gowns she has to design. I’m more enamored by Cate Blanchett’s dresses, though of course Cinderella’s sparkly ballgown in iconic in its own right.

CInderellaCostumes

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MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING

Who will win: The Revenant

Who should win: Mad Max: Fury Road

I think Leo’s severe flesh wounds from the bear attack will likely garner a win for the makeup artist. But the look of the characters in Fury Road is simply astonishing and unforgettable.

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MUSIC (ORIGINAL SCORE)

Who will win: The Hateful Eight

Who should win: Sicario

One can’t deny the masterful work of Ennio Morricone, who like Deakins have never won a single Oscar for an individual piece of work (he did won an honorary Oscar in 2007). But I was blown away by Jóhann Jóhannsson’s score in Sicario, which adds so much tension and dread to the film.

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MUSIC (ORIGINAL SONG)

Who will win: Writing’s On The Wall, Spectre

Who should win: Till It Happens To You, The Hunting Ground


Anything other than Sam Smith’s song please!! I think the melody of Writing’s on the Wall is fine but the song w/ his whiny voice is more like writhing against the wall. I actually just listened to Lady Gaga’s song Til It Happens To You and it’s a powerful one on an important subject.

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PRODUCTION DESIGN

Who will win: Mad Max: Fury Road

Who should win: Mad Max: Fury Road

war_rig_FuryRoad

It’ll be Fury Road hands down in this category. I mean, the set pieces of Fury Road is unlike any other film I’ve seen. The vehicles alone are incredible, as you can see in this top 10 list. They actually built every single one of those, instead of relying on CGI effects.

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VISUAL EFFECTS

Who will win: Mad Max: Fury Road

Who should win: Ex Machina

Ava_ExMachina

I certainly won’t have any qualms if Fury Road wins again in this category. But I was thrilled to see the ‘little film that could’ Ex Machina, with its $15 mil budget get in the race. I’d love to see it win this thing because it’s a visually spectacular film that looks more expensive than it is. The look of the robot Ava alone is so unique in a plethora of robot movies in Hollywood. This film also happens to boast the first female nominee in the visual effects category in more than a decade!

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WRITING (ADAPTED SCREENPLAY)

Who will win: The Big Short

Who should win: The Big Short

The Big Short won best adapted screenplay at the Writers Guild Awards and also took the top prize at the Producers Guild Awards, so I’d think it has a big chance of taking home the Oscar. It’s really an unconventional take of a financial crisis, but the risk paid off. I wouldn’t mind The Martian or Brooklyn winning either, esp. the latter.

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WRITING (ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY)

Who will win: Spotlight

Who should win: Spotlight

I was simply blown away by this meticulous, sharp and understated film. Powerful without resorting to sensationalism or emotional manipulation. This is my second pick after Mad Max: Fury Road to win Best Picture, and if it won in this category, it’ll have a major chance of winning the top prize.

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I have a feeling this year there might not be a single film that’ll sweep all of the awards, but if that happens, I hope that’ll be Mad Max: Fury Road!

So that’s it folks. I’m only predicting 16 out of the complete 24 categories.We’ll see how many I’d get wrong tomorrow night 😉


Ok, so what are some of your Oscar winner predictions for this year?

Counting down to 87th Academy Awards – Winner Predictions + various Oscar tidbits

Happy Oscar Weekend everybody! To those who give a ballyhoo about Oscars or award season in general, hang in there, award season is almost over 😉

I usually feel like Oscar ceremony sneaked up on me, but this year I’m glad it’s finally here! Part of it is really so we can all move on, but I’m also curious who’d finally win the top honors. It’s the cinematic Superbowl, the one big *sporting* event for those who don’t care about sports, such as yours truly. It’s an amusing diversion really, so I never get too riled up when things don’t go my way [as is often the case]. Mild rants are warranted though, and that’s just part of the fun & frivolity of it all.

I was scouring the interweb and found some nifty Oscar-related stuff, so I thought I’d share ’em before I get to my predictions.

Check out THR’s illustrative cover with all the Best Picture nominees done in Oscar statuette’s style.

THR_OscarCover

 

THR has been running the Brutally Honest Oscar Ballot series, revealing a glimpse into a few of the Academy voters’ thoughts on the race.


My favorite Oscar expert in the blogosphere, Josh @ Cinematic Spectacle posted 10 Things to Know Before the Oscar Ceremony


So apparently they’re making an Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in L.A.? Check out the building rendering here. IMDb presents a special look at Oscar history in support of that upcoming museum:


 Now this is pretty mind-boggling stuff. The Wall Street Journal posted this INTERACTIVE MAP of the major Oscar nominees. Basically it shows data of social media (mostly Facebook) conversation about the nominated films, actors and actresses and which movies and people are winning the FB Oscar “conversation” from Jan. 1 to Feb. 16.

If they were the Oscar voters, American Sniper and Bradley Cooper would’ve won by a landslide!

OscarInteractiveMap


If you’re like me and you haven’t seen ALL of the Best Picture nominees yet, well, Mashable has this handy guide as to WHERE to catch up with 7 essential films.


OscarPredictions

Well, with only 24 hours to go, I still have three more films I haven’t seen yet from the Best Picture nominees. I wanted to see Whiplash but it’s not available to rent yet on iTunes, so we saw The Theory of Everything instead. In any case, here are my predictions:

Best Picture
American Sniper
Birdman
Boyhood
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
Selma
The Theory of Everything
Whiplash

Who will win: Boyhood
Who should win: Birdman
Ok so I haven’t seen Boyhood yet but I really have a hard time imagining that it’d top Birdman for me.

Best Director
Alexandro G. Iñárritu – Birdman
Richard Linklater – Boyhood
Bennett Miller – Foxcatcher
Wes Anderson – The Grand Budapest Hotel
Morten Tyldum – The Imitation Game

Who will win: Richard Linklater
Who should win: Alexandro G. Iñárritu
Ok so Linklater’s effort was incredibly ambitious so I have to give him kudos for that. But what Iñárritu did is just as unconventional and spectacularly creative.

Best Actor
Steve Carell – Foxcatcher
Bradley Cooper – American Sniper
Benedict Cumberbatch – The Imitation Game
Michael Keaton – Birdman
Eddie Redmayne – The Theory of Everything

Who will win: Eddie Redmayne
Who should win: Michael Keaton
Ok I’m glad I finally saw Redmayne’s performance last night and he was impressive. Yet I’m still rooting for Keaton for many reasons. One of them is the fact that his role is the only one that’s not based on a real person and yet he’s able to create such an affecting and authentic performance.

Best Actress
Marion Cotillard – Two Days One Night
Felicity Jones – The Theory of Everything
Julianne Moore – Still Alice
Rosamund Pike – Gone Girl
Reese Witherspoon – Wild

Who will win: Julianne Moore
Who should win: Rosamund Pike

Best Supporting Actor
Robert Duvall – The Judge
Ethan Hawke – Boyhood
Edward Norton – Birdman
Mark Ruffalo – Foxcatcher
J.K. Simmons – Whiplash

Who will & should win: J.K Simmons
If Simmons is as good as everyone’s been saying – and the praise seems unanimous –then he ought to win. He’s done such great work in his career in various supporting roles. However, I can’t lie that I wish either Ruffalo or Norton would get it.

Best Supporting Actress
Patricia Arquette – Boyhood
Laura Dern – Wild
Keira Knightley – The Imitation Game
Emma Stone – Birdman
Meryl Streep – Into the Woods

Who will win: Patricia Arquette
Who should win: Anyone but Meryl please! Other than that, I think Keira Knightley did a smashing job and 2015 has been quite a year for her playing against-type roles.

Best Cinematography
Emmanuel Lubezki – Birdman
Robert Yeoman – The Grand Budapest Hotel
Lukasz Zal and Ryszard Lenczewski – Ida
Dick Pope – Mr. Turner
Roger Deakins – Unbroken

Who will & should win: Emmanuel Lubezki
Poor Mr. Deakins, the Susan Lucci of cinematographers with 12 nominations and not a single win yet. But what Lubezki did in Birdman is so magnificent and inventive.

Best Adapted Screenplay
American Sniper
The Imitation Game
Inherent Vice
The Theory of Everything
Whiplash

Who will win: The Theory of Everything
Who should win: The Theory of Everything
Having just seen this last night, I do think Anthony McCarten did an excellent job adapting Jane Hawking’s memoir.

Best Original Screenplay
Birdman
Boyhood
Foxcatcher
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Nightcrawler

Who will & should win: Birdman
No contest here, it’s one of the most imaginative stories in recent memory.

Best Make Up and Hair Styling
Foxcatcher
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Guardians of the Galaxy

Who will win: Foxcatcher
Who should win: The Grand Budapest Hotel
They certainly did an amazing job w/ Steve Carell’s face in Foxcatcher but I didn’t care for the makeup for Ruffalo and Tatum there. ‘Grand Budapest’ did a stellar job overall IMO.

Best Original Score
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
Interstellar
Mr. Turner
The Theory of Everything

Who will win: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Who should win: The Imitation game
I LOVE both Alexandre Desplat’s scores this year, but I give The Imitation Game a slight edge as it perfectly captures both the intelligence and the emotional aspect of the story.

Best Original Song
“Everything Is Awesome” from The Lego Movie
“Glory” from Selma
“Grateful” from Beyond the Lights
“I’m Not Gonna Miss You” from Glen Campbell…I’ll Be Me
“Lost Stars” from Begin Again

Who will win: Glory
Who should win: Lost Stars
As Selma has no chance in winning Best Picture, it’s very likely the Academy would give this win as a *consolation* prize.

Best Animated Feature
Big Hero 6
The Boxtrolls
How to Train Your Dragon 2
Song of the Sea
The Tale of Princess Kaguya

Who will win: Song of the Sea
Who should win: Big Hero 6
I’m torn between How to Train Your Dragon 2 and Big Hero 6, I’d be happy with either win.

Best Production Design
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
Interstellar
Into the Woods
Mr. Turner

Who will & should win: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Best Visual Effects
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Guardians of the Galaxy
Interstellar
X-Men: Days of Future Past

Who will win: Interstellar
Who should win: Interstellar

Best Documentary
Citizenfour
Finding Vivien Maier
Last Days of Vietnam
The Salt of the Earth
Virunga

Who will win: Citizenfour
Who should win: Citizenfour

Best Costume Design
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Inherent Vice
Into the Woods
Maleficent
Mr. Turner

Who will & should win: The Grand Budapest Hotel

 


So what do you think of these Oscar tidbits and predictions, folks?

Musings on Oscar’s Best Picture Nominations… and My Predictions

Hello and welcome to the eve of the Oscar nominations or Oscar night, namely the night only Hollywood folks and movie buffs give a damn about 🙂 Truthfully I almost forgot about the Oscar nominations if it weren’t for the Classical NPR station I listened to during rush hour traffic. They actually ran a special program called ‘Roll Credits’ where they played some Oscar-nominated scores, including one from The Big Country that’s on my top five list from Gregory Peck films.

All kinds of predictions have been circulating all over the place, and I’ll get to that later, but before that I just want to share some Best Picture history/trivia I learned recently. Now, out of a total of 24 categories given out at the Academy Awards, the one on everyone’s mind is which film is going to win Best Picture?’ That’s why it always came on last as people’d want to stick around to find out which movie take top honors.

The big question this year is…

How many Best Picture nominees will there actually be??

As you know, a couple of years ago, Oscar expanded the Best Picture nominees from 5 to 10. Now there’s yet another mind-boggling qualifying system… A film must receive at least 5% first place votes in the nominating process to qualify as one of the 5 to 10 nominees (per hitfix.com) so there might be somewhere between 5-10 Best Picture nominees this year.

Here’s just a brief history of the Best Picture category specifically, thanks to AMC Filmsite:

The Oscars®, have been presented annually since 1927 (the first awards ceremony was held in May 1929) by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS).

The Best Picture category has been identified with a variety of names over the years: Outstanding Picture, Outstanding Production, Outstanding Motion Picture, Best Motion Picture, and Best Picture.

For the 1927/28 through the 1950 Awards, the nomination and ‘Best Picture’ Oscar went to the production company or studio that produced the film. [For example, Gone With The Wind‘s Best Picture Oscar was officially presented to Selznick International Pictures, not to David O. Selznick.] Thereafter, the ‘Best Picture’ Oscar was given to the producer(s).

The ever so fascinating—as well as discombobulating—tidbits about Best Picture nominees is the genre biases:

Most Likely to Be Nominated (or Win) For Best Picture: Serious dramas or social-problem films with weighty themes, biopics (inspired by real-life individuals or events), or films with literary pretensions are much more likely to be nominated (and win). Glossy, large-scale epic productions with big budgets (of various genres) often take the Best Picture prize.

Least Likely to Be Nominated (or Win) For Best Picture: Action-adventures, family-oriented animation, “popcorn” movies, suspense-thrillers, science-fiction, superhero films, horror, comedies (including teen comedies), Westerns, foreign-language films, and spy thrillers are mostly overlooked, as are independent productions and children’s films (although there have been a few exceptions).

Miscellaneous Trivia on Best Picture category:

  • The Private Life of Henry VIII (1933) was the first non-US made film to both earn a Best Picture nomination, and win an Oscar of any sort (Best Actor for Charles Laughton, in this case). The first non-Hollywood (foreign-made) film to win Best Picture was Laurence Olivier’s Hamlet (1948).
  • Only two novels that were made into films have won both the Best Picture Oscar and the Pulitzer Prize: Gone With The Wind and All the King’s Men
  • As I was researching about The Macomber Affair over the weekend, I found out from this Leonard Maltin site that the first film ever to win Best Picture Oscar, Wings, a silent film about WWI pilot starring Clara Bow and Gary Cooper, is NOT available on DVD. That’s a shame isn’t it?
  • In recent times since the advent of modern box-office tabulations, Best Director-winning Kathryn Bigelow’s The Hurt Locker (2009) was the lowest-grossing Best Picture winner of all time. Its domestic gross earnings were $12.6 million at the time of its nomination, and only $14.7 at the time of its award.
  • Precious (2009) was the first-ever Best Picture nominee to be directed by an African-American filmmaker, Lee Daniels.
  • Oh and get this: Wings was also the only silent film to win ‘Best Picture’ … would this year the Oscar ‘come full circle’ if you will, with The Artist?

Anyway, I could go on and on as I love movie trivia, so I invite you to check out the comprehensive Oscar history on AMC Filmsite.

So, here are my best guess of Best Picture Nominees, just for the fun of it really as I haven’t seen everything that might considered. But hey, I won’t let that stop me 🙂 I just take a wild guess that there’ll be eight nominees, so here goes (in alphabetical order):

  1. The Artist*
  2. The Descendants
  3. Bridesmaids
  4. The Help
  5. Hugo
  6. Midnight in Paris
  7. Moneyball
  8. The Tree of Life
Wildcards:
  • Drive
  • Martha Marcy May Marlene
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
  • The Ides of March
  • Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

*
The Artist is the one I’m rooting for this year and I have a feeling it just might be the picture that’ll sweep the Oscars this year.



Any thoughts on Oscar or Best Picture noms specifically? Feel free to make your own predictions before the nominees are announced tomorrow morning at 8:30 AM eastern time.

Everybody’s chattin’ about Oscar — so who will bring home the gold naked statuettes?

The climax to 2011 award season is upon us. The 83rd annual Academy Awards, will air live this Sunday, Feb. 27, at 8 p.m. ET. All the stars are busy getting their frocks/tux ready, every inch of their body from head to toe polished, and make sure every single line on their faces all Botox-ed up. Not only the stars are all dolled up. Apparently it’s time for a new red carpet this year for the Kodak Theater this year (the carpet is changed every other year), all 500 ft of that red nylon carpet has been treated just so to make sure the stars don’t trip on them or that the dye don’t rub off on the stars’ shoes (oh no, they can’t have that happen to their precious Louboutins!)

Boy am I glad I get to just sit back and relax in the comfort of my basement watching the glitz and hullabaloo unfolds. In my second year of being a movie blogger, I have been paying more attention to the movies nominated and thus it’s almost a requisite that I watch the Oscars. I always thought the telecast generally are quite ho-hum, but hopefully this year, it has at least a potential to be less predictable. I mean, just having two of Hollywood young royalties James Franco and Anne Hathaway will be interesting to watch. Neither are strangers to the Academy, Franco is among this year’s noms and Hathaway was nominated in 2008 for Rachel Getting Married, and both certainly have screen presence. Franco is probably the one I’m most curious about as he’s known to be quite candid and admirably non-chalant about stuff. According to THR, he apparently scoff at Ricky Gervais’ suggested monologue for him, saying “He did his award show and he bombed. Why is he trying to get in on ours?” Atta boy!

There’s also the big question on everyone’s mind: Will Banksy show up?? For those unfamiliar with the bloke, he’s the elusive British underground graffiti artist whose debut film Exit Through the Gift Shop is up for Best Documentary Oscar. Not sure if he would since apparently the Academy refused to let him attend in disguise for fear of impostors gatecrashing the ceremony (per Guardian)

Anyhoo, less than 72 hours to go, I thought I’d chime in on my winner predictions and who I’m rooting for. Below is a list of all the nominees with the bold red one as my predicted winners. Here goes:


Best Picture Oscar Prediction:

  1. 127 Hours
  2. Black Swan
  3. Inception
  4. The Kids Are All Right
  5. Toy Story 3
  6. The Social Network
  7. The King’s Speech
  8. The Fighter
  9. True Grit
  10. Winter’s Bone

Comments: I think the Best Picture award will come down the two movies: The King’s Speech and The Social Network. One represents convention and tradition while the other is as contemporary as they come. While ‘defining’ a generation is perhaps a bit hyperbolic, it certainly represents how this generation communicate and function in today’s world. You’ve perhaps read my battle argument in Ross vs Ross’ Fight Club article, so you know I’m rooting for the monarch movie. At the same time, I won’t cry foul if The Social Network wins.


Best Director Oscar Predictions

  • Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan
  • Joel & Ethan Coen, True Grit
  • David Fincher, The Social Network
  • Tom Hooper, The King’s Speech
  • David O. Russell, The Fighter

Comments: Though Hooper did a wonderful job with The King’s Speech, I’m actually not rooting for him to win this. Fincher’s done a lot of great movies, and managed to make a film about an uncharismatic individual and a social utility web site I hardly use surprisingly engaging and even suspenseful! My gut says this is Fincher’s year.


Best Actor Oscar Predictions

  • Colin Firth, The King’s Speech
  • James Franco, 127 Hours
  • Jeff Bridges, True Grit
  • Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network
  • Javier Bardem, Biutiful

Comments: This is the least predictable of this year’s noms. I’d be VERY surprised if Firth didn’t win. Not to discredit the others’ performances, but Firth really was a revelation as the stuttering monarch, though lots of people would argue that his performance in A Single Man was even more deserving to win. Thus I think he’ll be pulling a Russell Crowe (who won for Gladiator but should’ve won for The Insider the year before) and finally take home the naked gold statue. Oh, guess what, Burger King has asked Firth to design his own burger! (Thanks for the tip John) Apparently the Brit admitted to being a fan of the tasty snack, whaddayaknow!


Best Actress Oscar Predictions

  • Annette Bening, The Kids Are All Right
  • Nicole Kidman, Rabbit Hole
  • Jennifer Lawrence, Winter’s Bone
  • Natalie Portman, Black Swan
  • Michelle Williams, Blue Valentine

Comments: Though I haven’t seen her performance, I’ve read enough about all the buzz on Portman to make the call. Plus, hearing Darren Aronofsky’s acceptance speech on her behalf at BAFTA makes me go ‘wow,’ she must have done a tremendous job!


Best Supporting Actor Oscar Predictions

  • Christian Bale, The Fighter
  • John Hawkes, Winter’s Bone
  • Jeremy Renner, The Town
  • Mark Ruffalo, The Kids Are All Right
  • Geoffrey Rush, The King’s Speech

Comments: I’ve always on Bale’s corner from the start, I mean he’s been passed over so many times it’s not even funny! In fact, the reason I’m excited for the Oscar this year is because finally the Academy wise up and recognize his performance. I’d say anyone else but him winning would be an upset (especially Renner!), though I can’t deny how tremendous and highly affable Geoffrey Rush was as Lionel Logue. But he’s got his Oscar and has been nominated numerous times, so this ought to be Bale’s year.


Best Supporting Actress Oscar Predictions

  • Amy Adams, The Fighter
  • Helena Bonham Carter, The King’s Speech
  • Melissa Leo, The Fighter
  • Hailee Steinfeld, True Grit
  • Jackie Weaver, Animal Kingdom

Comments: Steinfeld is the ‘upset’ potential people are talking about this year, that is if this year’s youngest nominee, 14-year old Hailee will indeed win for Best Supporting Actress. To me, age shouldn’t be a factor if the performance merits it and in her case, it does. It’s amazing to watch her carry the Coen’s western and holds her own against Jeff Bridges and Matt Damon. So even though in my first Oscar reaction I was rooting for Melissa and Helena, I have a feeling the Academy might side w/ Hailee. If she did, she won’t be the youngest ever to win, Tatum O’Neal was merely 10 years old when she won in 1973 and Anna Paquin was 11 when she won 20 years later (per Wiki)


Best Animated Feature Oscar Predictions

  • How To Train Your Dragon, Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois
  • The Illusionist, Sylvain Chomet
  • Toy Story 3, Lee Unkrich

Comments: This is such a no-brainer! I mean, if this is good enough to be nominated in the overall Best Picture then it automatically implies it’s the best among any other animated movies that are nominated, duh! I haven’t seen The Illusionist yet, but I adore Dragon, but I think the Pixar flick is nothing less of a masterpiece that deserves to take top honors.


Well, that’s all the categories I’m taking a stab at predicting. Now, who else caught Oscar fever this week?

Click image to check out facts about the golden statuette
  • Well, before you do anything, if you haven’t done it already, vote for your favorite to win @ The Best Picture Fight Club over at Metro UK site
  • Mad Hatter over @ Dark of the Matinee and Andrew @ Encore Entertainment have been dissecting the Oscar noms for the past few weeks
  • Univarn @ Life in Equinox picks his top ten best from last year, see how his list fares w/ the Academy’s
  • ScarletSp1der shared some interesting facts about the Oscars and teamed up with his friend Andrew in predicting the winners
  • Castor and the gang @ Anomalous Material posted their final look at who to expect to see up on stage this coming Sunday
  • Sam @ Banana Oil Movies weighs in on award season and her predictions of the Oscars
  • Luke @ Cynicritics also has his predictions on who he thinks will win
  • Not everyone’s into this whole award stuff obviously, Richard @ Celluloid Zombie lists five things why  the Oscars leave him cold
  • And finally, Andy at Fandango Groovers asks ‘What’s the point of the Oscars?

Will you be watching this Sunday? Well, feel free to share your own thoughts and predictions about the Oscars.

Counting down to Oscar 2010: FlixChatter’s Predictions

Hello folks, just a day away until the biggest movie event of the year! Normally I don’t even bother to ponder much about this event until 6pm Sunday night when I actually sit down on my couch and watch the festivities. But as this is the first year I observe award season as a movie blogger, I thought it might be fun to join in the Oscar prediction game, even if it’s just to see how my picks stack up (or how far off they’ll be) come tomorrow night. I know I said in my Oscar musings post last month that I wasn’t going to do my predictions, and that I was hoping to see all the nominated flix. Well, as of tonight, I’ve only seen seven out of the 10 Best Picture noms, but I’ve read quite a bit about all of the movies – as well as the actors – nominated to hopefully make an educated guess 😉

Below are ten categories I’m taking part in, and the one in bold are my predictions, which aren’t necessarily the ones I’m rooting to win:

1. Best Picture

  • Avatar
  • The Blind Side
  • District 9
  • An Education
  • The Hurt Locker
  • Inglourious Basterds
  • Precious
  • A Serious Man
  • Up
  • Up in the Air

I’m rooting for: Inglourious Basterdsa masterpiece-level of work for a director I normally am not a huge fan of, but this film truly exceeds my expectation in many levels that it actually knocked District 9 out of my fave released last year. I really enjoyed Avatar, but the weak script/dialog makes me think it doesn’t deserve to win Best Picture. As I’ve said before about The Hurt Locker, I thought it was a decent movie but not exactly a groundbreaking film. At the same time, I won’t be fuming if it indeed win as Kathryn Bigelow would be making history as the first female director to take home a Best Picture Oscar out of four that have ever been nominated in 81 years. It remains to be seen if the recent controversies surrounding the film will hurt its Oscar chances or not.

2. Best Director

  • James Cameron (Avatar)
  • Kathryn Bigelow  (The Hurt Locker)
  • Quentin Tarantino (Inglourious Basterds)
  • Lee Daniels (Precious)
  • Jason Reitman (Up In The Air)

I’m rooting for: Quentin Tarantino – that’s just how highly I thought of Basterds. But Cameron comes close as his extraordinary vision and decade-long of hard work making Avatar is really something to be admired.

3. Best Actor

  • Jeff Bridges (Crazy Heart)
  • George Clooney (Up in the Air)
  • Colin Firth (A Single Man)
  • Morgan Freeman (Invictus)
  • Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker)

I’m rooting for: Jeff Bridges – I’m not terribly impressed with the two performances I’ve seen (Clooney and Renner), and though I have not seen Crazy Heart, I think Bridges is a fine actor who’s been nominated five times. It’d be great to see him gets his dues.

4. Best Actress

  • Sandra Bullock (The Blind Side)
  • Helen Mirren (The Last Station)
  • Carey Mulligan (An Education)
  • Gabourey Sidibe (Precious)
  • Meryl Streep (Julie and Julia)

I’m rooting for: Bullock & Streep (tie) Ok, this is a tough one because I’ve only seen both of their performances out of the five, and it’s probably going to come down to these two. Bullock played against type and delivered a compelling performance in The Blindside, but Streep was also phenomenal as Julia Child. But if I have to absolutely choose, I’d go with Bullock as Streep has her two Oscars and we’ve probably seen equally great performance – if not better – out of her before this one.

5. Best Supporting Actor

  • Matt Damon (Invictus)
  • Woody Harrelson (The Messenger)
  • Christopher Plummer (The Last Station)
  • Stanley Tucci (The Lovely Bones)
  • Christoph Waltz (Inglourious Basterds)

I’m rooting for: Christoph Waltz hands down. He’s really one of the major factors why the movie works, and the fact that he’s swept off every other award this year is an indication. I am tickled pink to see Christopher Plummer being singled out here though, we know this hard-working actor has done amazing work in the past. I can’t believe he’s been in 180 projects (movies & TV), though I’ll always remember him as Capt. Von Trapp.

6. Best Supporting Actress

  • Penelope Cruz (Nine)
  • Vera Farmiga (Up in the Air)
  • Maggie Gyllenhaal (Crazy Heart)
  • Anna Kendrick (Up in the Air)
  • Mo’Nique (Precious)
I’m rooting for: Mo’Nique Though I have not seen her performance (other than from the trailers), I’m basing my opinion on what I’ve read about it. Sounds like her terrifying portrayal of an abusive single mother is really buzz-worthy. Besides, out of the two performances I have seen, I don’t think I can pick between the equally-compelling work of Farmiga and Kendrik. Both actresses impressed me (I’d even say they earn their noms more so than Clooney did).
….
7. Best Original Screenplay
  • Quentin Tarantino (Inglourious Basterds)
  • Mark Boal (The Hurt Locker)
  • Pete Docter and Bob Peterson  (Up)
  • Oren Moverman and Alessandro Camon  (The Messenger)
  • Joel and Ethan Coen  (A Serious Man)

I’m rooting for: Inglourious Basterds

8. Best Adapted Screenplay

  • Nick Hornby (An Education)
  • Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell  (District 9)
  • Jesse Armstrong and Armando Iannucci  (In The Loop)
  • Geoffrey Fletcher – (Precious)
  • Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner – (Up in the Air)

I’m rooting for: District 9I love this movie for its unusual plot, it’s definitely not a run-of-the-mill alien storyline delivered in such a fresh way. If they win this, it’d make up for Sharlto Copley not being nominated despite his noteworthy performance in his debut film.

9. Best Art Direction

  • Avatar
  • The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
  • Sherlock Holmes
  • The Young Victoria
  • Nine
I’m rooting for: Avatar
10. Best Visual Effects
  • Avatar
  • District 9
  • Star Trek
I’m rooting for: Avatar

Ok folks, care to share your predictions? Anyway, stay tuned for my Oscar highlights post Monday morning like I did for the Golden Globes.