Some things about the Oscars are to be expected,such as running overtime, acceptance speeches that run the risk of being cut off too quick and at least one bad outfit to point and laugh at.
However,we do get surprises every now and then and at this stage of the game,it's time to put our cards down on the table and place your bets,which is what I am doing today. Mind you, I am not guaranteeing anything,so don't be too fast to use my Oscar opinions as grounds for trying to win serious money at your local Oscar pool but I do have a decent record in predictions,so here we go:
THE YEAR OF THE MAT(THEW):
People seem to be in love with not only the struggles to make this movie(it took over ten years to get the financing for DBC and it was shot in 25 days) but McConaughey's turn from Hollywood leading man into solid character actor in small indie flicks over the years.
Top that off with the added bonus of doing great work in the current HBO series True Detective( and a small part in Wolf of Wall Street to boot),plus the whole "I lost a ton of weight for the role" bit and the Oscar is practically being gift wrapped for him. It is possible that the outstanding performance of Chiwetal Ejiofer in 12 Years a Slave or Bruce Dern's old school standard for Nebraska might edge MMC out but chances are, it will be a good day for Matt indeed:
As it was last year, it looks as if Best Director and Best Picture will be parting ways,as Alfonso Cuaron won the Directors Guild award for Gravity(which is a strong indicator of who will receive the Oscar in that race) and with Steve McQueen being a producer as well as director of 12 Years a Slave, voters may feel safe in giving him the Ben Affleck precedent prize.
The debate over these two categories being reflections of one another has been waged for some time now and it won't be ending with this new standard being set.
However, I have noticed during my time in Oscar watching that voters like to spread the wealth,as it were( or as I call it "throw a bone") to just about everyone who impressed them and since the consensus is that Gravity was a remarkable technical achievement and that 12 Yrs a Slave is an outstanding artistic triumph, so this is their way of playing fair:
DOING THE AMERICAN ACTING HUSTLE:
The only sure bet in the acting categories this year is that Lupita Nyong'o will win Best Supporting Actress for her harrowing work in 12 Yrs(and rightly so).
When it comes to Best Actress, I know that most think Cate Blanchett has it in the bag but I still feel that Amy Adams could claim that honor. If she doesn't, Bradley Cooper might snag a Best Supporting Actor nod right under Jared Leto's nose.
My reasoning is this; American Hustle has a lot of good will going for it and mainly due to the performances,with all of the four main players being up for Oscars. Since Jennifer Lawrence won last year and Bale is up against more than one juggernaut in his category, it may fall to one of the other two to score a win. As I said before,Academy voters like to throw bones to their favorites and they certainly like this movie a lot:
Another safe call is seeing "Let It Go" from Frozen take home the Best Song award and having Idina Menzel singing that glorious number on Oscar night is the cherry on the chilly song sundae.
However, my toes will also be tapping for "Happy",Pharrell Williams' delightful contribution to the Despicable Me 2 soundtrack. It's insanely infectious and really puts you in a good mood,regardless of the movie(which I have not seen,but then again I didn't see the first one either).
The song has hit the Billboard charts at number one this week and having a mainstream melody up for Oscar contention is something that used to be a regular part of the category which I'm happy to see return to the sing along status quo:
Hopefully,the show will be fun and while I would like someone more dynamic than Ellen as the host,it's understandable that after the Seth McFarlane follies last time,the show runners would want a more neutral presence at the podium. Don't get me wrong,she's nice and amusing enough but certainly not a Hugh Jackman or Neil Patrick Harris type of MC.
I haven't seen most of the nominated films(will be watching Nebraska over the weekend) but like many of my fellow movie goers, am looking forward to catching up to the cream of the crop over the coming months. Oscar glory may be fleeting but the films linger on in all of their glory for audiences of the future and beyond: