Six years ago, I made a quilt. After I finished, I swore I’d never make another quilt.
I’ve made three more since then.
A few months ago, I live-tweeted the Emmys and afterwards I swore I would never live-tweet an awards show again. Tonight I’m live-tweeting the Oscars. You may wonder why I’m putting myself through this again, but there are a couple of big differences between my last venture and this new one. For one thing, I’m not live-tweeting for a class, so there’s no pressure. I don’t feel obligated to give up-to-the-second updates and immediate error corrections. Hell, I’ll be cleaning my kitchen at the same time and that’s almost as big an event as the Oscars, so I may not catch every moment of the ceremony.
The other big difference is that I’ve seen most of the nominated movies. At the time the Emmys aired, I hadn’t seen a single episode of most of the nominated shows. I’m relatively prepared for the Oscars, and that gives me the chance to share my choices and predictions before the big show. Keep in mind that for my predictions, I’m only going by Oscars history and Hollywood trends. All the performances are viewed as equally deserving for the sake of the category.
12 Years a Slave
12 Years a Slave is beautifully filmed with talented actors. It’s an unflinching take on American slavery, but it’s even more disturbing than the Hollywood slave narratives we’re used to because it’s from the point of view of a person with a background that is more relatable to a modern American audience than that of an “Other” from a faraway land. It’s a unique film that’s inspiring but never preachy.
12 Years a Slave
12 Years a Slave will win Best Picture because it has the right combination of common qualities among previous Best Picture winners, especially within the past 20 years. It’s a period piece, as are 14 of the past 20 Best Picture winners. It’s violent; Best Picture winners The Hurt Locker, No Country for Old Men, The Departed, Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King and even Chicago have a decent amount of bloodshed, and that’s only dating back to 2002. 12 Years a Slave is also based on a true story, as are Argo, The King’s Speech, A Beautiful Mind and Schindler’s List.
Alfonso Cuarón, Gravity
It took Cuarón four and half years to fully realize his vision. The technology used for the final version wasn’t even available when the first version was shown to test audiences. Outer space is shown as simultaneously menacing and spectacular, while the interiors of the spacecraft are both comforting and confining. Every detail of every scene is part of the story.
David O. Russell, American Hustle
Critics love American Hustle and I think it will win Best Director as a consolation prize for not winning Best Picture. Personally, I liked the movie but I wouldn’t shower it with statuettes.
Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave
There’s a scene where the slaves are singing a spiritual while holding a funeral and Solomon, Ejiofor’s character, is reluctant to sing along. He doesn’t feel he belongs with the uneducated, foreign-born slaves, but as he comes to grips with the fact of their shared reality, he starts to sing with more and more pain behind his voice. Ejifor should get the Oscar for that scene alone.
Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club
Just a few years ago, McConaughey was the go-to guy for bad romantic comedies. Now he still does comedies like Magic Mike, but he’s proven himself as a formidable dramatic actor with roles in Mud and The Paperboy. An Oscar would be the official welcome into the critical-acclaim fold. It worked for Ben “Gigli” Affleck. Plus, McConaughey dropped a gazillion pounds for the role (which worked for Adrien Brody) and plays an AIDS victim (which worked for Tom Hanks).
I don’t know. I liked Sandra Bullock in Gravity, but she wasn’t the strong point of the movie. I liked Amy Adams in American Hustle, but I’m not sure her performance was Oscar-worthy either. I didn’t see any of the other nominees’ performances, so it’s a draw.
Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
She’s Cate Blanchett.
Best Supporting Actor
Barkhad Abdi, Captain Philips
At no point in the movie did I ever think he wasn’t an actual Somali pirate.
Bradley Cooper, American Hustle
All four lead actors in that movie were nominated, so one of them has to win. I’ll admit that I never really liked Bradley Cooper, but I fell in love with him in American Hustle. I think it was the curlers.
Best Supporting Actress
This is another draw for me. Jennifer Lawrence was very funny in American Hustle, but I never forgot she was Jennifer Lawrence. It was like she was doing a really good job in an SNL sketch.I think Lupita Nyong’o was the weak link in 12 Years a Slave. Every time she spoke it sounded like she was auditioning for a stage play, although that may have been due to the fact that her character had a lot of monologues. I didn’t see the other nominees’ movies.
Sally Hawkins, Blue Jasmine
I’m not sure why. I don’t think it will be Jennifer Lawrence because she won Best Actress last year. I don’t think it will be Lupita Nyong’o. She’s the media darling right now but for some reason I think the winner will be someone unexpected.
That’s what I have for the major categories. I have other picks, but I’m already clocking in at over 1000 words here and even I’m tired of my own voice, so the rest will be shared on Twitter. My Twitter feed’s below; or you can follow me at @extraordinarymk. When I’m not cleaning congealed Crystal Light from my refrigerator, I’ll be on the couch with my quilt.