Sunday, March 2, 2014


Best Picture
Will Win: Gravity.
Should Win: Captain Phillips  Gravity.
This is the closest Oscar race I can remember—Gravity vs. 12 Years a Slave.  Usually by now there is one clear favorite, and possibly a candidate for a potential upset, but it looks like the semi-professional Oscar prognosticators are genuinely split here.  Marking the difference to me: I've seen several instances of Hollywood types embracing Gravity in a special sort of way that's not being extended to 12 Years.

Of the nine nominees, I ranked Captain Phillips just a little higher than Gravity.  But I'm going to say Gravity deserves to win for the sheer technical achievement of its production.

Best Actor: Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club.

Best Actress: Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine.

Best Supporting Actor: Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club.
Best Supporting Actress: Lupita Nyong'o, 12 Years a Slave

Best Director: Alfonso Cuarón, Gravity

Best Original Screenplay

Will Win: American Hustle (David O. Russell and Eric Singer)
Should Win: Her (Spike Jonze).
I came really close to going the other way on this—Her definitely deserves it much more than Hustle—but with 10 nominations, I feel like the Academy wants to give Hustle something, and if it doesn't win here, it will go home empty-handed. (Gatsby has it all over Hustle in Costumes and Production Design.)

Best Adapted Screenplay: 12 Years a Slave (Steve McQueen and John Ridley)

Best Foreign-Language Film: The Great Beauty (Italy)  If The Hunt (Denmark) wins this instead, I will cut someone.  The Great Beauty is the best movie I've seen in at least 15 years.

Best Animated Feature: Frozen.
Best Animated Short: Get a Horse! This is the short that precedes Frozen in theaters.  I've heard good things, but I did not see all the animated shorts as I intended to.  Not very confident in this prediction.

Best Documentary Feature: 20 Feet from Stardom.
Best Documentary Short: Facing Fear.

Best Live-Action Short:  Do I Have to Take Care of Everything?
Having seen all the nominees in this category, I'd vote for the dramatic Just Before Losing Everything, but Do I Have to Take Care of Everything?—don't confuse the titles—is the most fun of the shorts.

Best Song: "Let It Go" (Frozen).  Everyone says this is going to win—even though this lost to U2's "Ordinary Love" from Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom at the Golden Globes—but I listened to it and felt nothing.  (I said the same thing about "Skyfall" last year.)  If I had a vote, I'd give it to the Pharrell song "Happy" from Despicable Me 2. 

Best Original Score: Gravity.

Best Cinematography: Gravity.

Best Costume Design: The Great Gatsby.

Best Editing: Captain Phillips.  Going out on a limb on this one.  Best Editing goes hand-in-hand with Best Picture roughly half the time, and Gravity is expected to clean up in the "technical" awards.  But Gravity is full of long takes, and it's the editing that gives Captain Phillips a lot of its suspense—even the Oscar watchers predicting Gravity acknowledge that Captain Phillips deserves to win.

Best Makeup & Hair Styling: Dallas Buyers Club.

Best Production Design: The Great Gatsby.

Best Sound Editing: Gravity.

Best Sound Mixing: Gravity.

Best Visual Effects: Gravity.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

2013 Oscar Nomination Predictions

BEST PICTURE - predicting 9 nominees
1. 12 Years a Slave
2. American Hustle
3. Gravity
4. Captain Phillips
5. Nebraska
6. Her
7. The Wolf of Wall Street
8. Dallas Buyers Club
9. Inside Llewyn Davis
(10 nominees? Then Philomena)

Alfonso Cuarón, Gravity
Paul Greengrass, Captain Phillips
Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave
Alexander Payne, Nebraska
David O. Russell, American Hustle

Bruce Dern, Nebraska
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street
Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave
Tom Hanks, Captain Phillips*
Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club
(*went back and forth between Hanks and Robert Redford (All Is Lost))

Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
Sandra Bullock, Gravity
Judi Dench, Philomena
Meryl Streep, August: Osage County
Emma Thompson, Saving Mr. Banks
(Note: All of these women are previous Oscar winners.)

Barkhad Abdi, Captain Phillips
Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave
Will Forte, Nebraska
Tom Hanks, Saving Mr. Banks
Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club
(Note: This is the toughest category this year. I could easily only have 2 right.)

Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle
Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years a Slave
Julia Roberts, August: Osage County
June Squibb, Nebraska
Oprah Winfrey, Lee Daniels’ The Butler

American Hustle
Blue Jasmine
Inside Llewyn Davis

August: Osage County
Captain Phillips
12 Years a Slave
The Wolf of Wall Street

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


All predictions are listed in descending order of likelihood.

PICTURE - predicting 8 nominees

Zero Dark Thirty
Les Misérables
Life of Pi
Django Unchained
Silver Linings Playbook
Beasts of the Southern Wild

if nine...The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
if ten...Cloud Atlas (surprise!)


Ben Affleck, Argo
Steven Spielberg, Lincoln
Kathryn Bigelow, Zero Dark Thirty
Tom Hooper, Les Misérables
Ang Lee, Life of Pi

first alternate: Quentin Tarantino, Django Unchained


Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
Hugh Jackman, Les Misérables
Denzel Washington, Flight
John Hawkes, The Sessions
Joaquin Phoenix, The Master

first alternate: Anthony Hopkins, Hitchcock


Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty
Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook
Rachel Weisz, The Deep Blue Sea
Naomi Watts, The Impossible
Marion Cotillard, Rust and Bone

first alternate: Emmanuelle Riva, Amour

(This is the toughest category this year; there are at least two other contenders—Helen Mirren (Hitchcock) and Quvenzhané Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild) who could be as viable as anyone here not named Jessica or Jennifer.)


Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln
Philip Seymour Hoffman, The Master
Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained
Alan Arkin, Argo
Robert De Niro, Silver Linings Playbook

(Note that everyone I've predicted for this category already has an Oscar.)


Anne Hathaway, Les Misérables
Sally Field, Lincoln
Helen Hunt, The Sessions
Nicole Kidman, The Paperboy
Maggie Smith, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

first alternate: Amy Adams, The Master 

(I went back and forth on Adams vs. Smith for the last spot.  I really don't think Maggie Smith's performance stood out enough to warrant a nomination here, but I'm trying not to let my own feelings color my predictions.)


Amour (Austria)
The Intouchables (France)
A Royal Affair (Denmark)
Kon-Tiki (Norway)
War Witch (Canada)


Mark Boal, Zero Dark Thirty
Paul Thomas Anderson, The Master
Quentin Tarantino, Django Unchained
Michael Haneke, Amour
Wes Anderson & Roman Coppola, Moonrise Kingdom


Tony Kushner, Lincoln
Chris Terrio, Argo
David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook
Lucy Alibar & Benh Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern Wild
Ol Parker, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

first alternate: Lana Wachowski & Tom Tykwer & Andy Wachowski, Cloud Atlas


Wreck-It Ralph
Rise of the Guardians
From Up on Poppy Hill

(Absolutely no confidence in this list after Brave.)

Monday, November 5, 2012


"Hello, this is Christopher Wight.  I'm running for U.S. Congress."
¶ I got this call on Sunday.  On Saturday, I received a robocall from Pres. Bill Clinton on behalf of the incumbent Democrat, Carolyn Maloney.  So even if I was completely clueless about the Congressional elections before these robocalls, I pretty much know where this guy is coming from.

"I believe that Republicans and Democrats have gone too far to the extremes.  I need your vote to bridge the gap and get things done."
¶ Note that he doesn't say which of the two parties he belongs to—and never will in this call—because Manhattan has not sent a Republican to the House since Maloney ousted Bill Green exactly 20 years ago.

"I will cross party lines to create jobs, strengthen our economy, and ensure we have access to affordable, quality health care."
¶ 'If you figured out my party though, please know that I am not one of those no-compromise Tea Party lunatics.  But I still want to repeal Obamacare.'

"I have the support of three parties.  Can I count on your support?"
¶ For those of you from out of town, New York allows cross-ballot or multi-party endorsements—and I can already guess without looking it up which three parties endorsed him: Republican, Conservative, and Independence.  That last one was originally established by the Perotistas in the '90s, but it's lately fallen victim to internal power struggles by some political crazies, and possibly campaign finance theft as well. (Okay, I confess: I initially thought the third of the three parties was the Right-to-Life Party.  I forgot that they lost their automatic ballot line status in New York ten years ago.)

"I'm Christopher Wight and I invite you to visit to learn more.  Please vote Christopher Wight on Tuesday."
¶ Did you really want to extend that invitation?  Because heh heh heh:
• His campaign manager just resigned last week after it was discovered he was behind the anonymous Twitter account @ComfortablySmug that was spreading fake Sandy updates—"Flooding on NYSE trading floor"—and that one got picked up by national media.  (I guess I should give Wight props for being upfront about this, but I wouldn't have even known about it if he wasn't putting it out on the street.)
• He's accusing a newspaper of endorsing Carolyn Maloney merely because she bought ad space in their pages and he did not.  The fact that this paper—and it's a relatively rinky-dink free neighborhood throwaway he's huffing and puffing over—has consistently supported Maloney during her Congressional career of course does not enter into this supposed devil's bargain.
• From his bio: "After applying to the U.S. Marine Corps Officer Candidate School immediately after September 11, 2001, Chris made a decision to remain in New York City and instead to continue his family tradition of service to country by preparing to run for political office."  What, are we supposed to give you points just for WANTING to serve in the armed forces before you changed your mind?
• And, of course, the usual Republican b.s., exaggerations and borderline lies about a Democratic opponent.  Like, "Carolyn Maloney has no [health care] plan"—because she supported Obama's Affordable Care Act!  THAT'S her plan, dumbass!

"Please vote Christopher Wight on Tuesday."
¶ I hope your old job at J.P. Morgan will still be available on Wednesday.