Who is going to take home the big reward, come Oscar night? We try and predict.
We haven’t seen a single movie that has been nominated for the Oscars this year (kids, life, dodgy internet connection- you know). But that’s not going to stop us from helpfully assisting the average MBRB reader win their Oscar Pool. We’ve spent the last 45 minutes analyzing the trailers of all the 9 nominated movies, and here’s what we think.
Have you ever noticed how- in a male director’s hands- nostalgia becomes an exercise in the men looking sweaty and clammy but the women looking even more unattainable than before? Is that how they remember their pasts? They were splotchy and too-smart-for-their own good, while the women were goddesses like Amy Adams or brassy and cleavage-y like Jennifer Lawrence?
Anyway, clearly, this movie is all about the hair (our new twitter handle is @BradleyCoopersJeriCurls), and also about how all women look better in 70s wear. We approve!
Chances of winning: I laughed at the trailers, and the Oscars only reward serious films. On the other hand the movie has so many stars, so maybe?
Just 30 seconds into the trailer we are reminded of both Apollo 13 and United 93 (and that’s a good thing). And you know that Paul Greengrass’ shaky handheld camera technique is ideal for a movie at sea. Our adult sneer has clouded a lot of our childhood memories, but we remain steadfast in our devotion to Tom Hanks. He remains the uncle we all want on the other side of the phone and and in our lives
Chances of Winning: The problem as we see it is, that you can’t hate on Somali pirates. For a movie to really appeal to voters, there has to be a clear-cut villain (think War, Nazis, Racism). Evil need to be simple and easily understood. You know what movie Apollo 13 lost the Oscar for Best Picture to? Braveheart .(English, evil).
Dallas Buyers Club
Hey look! It’s Matthew McConaughey actoring it up with a Christian Bale- like weight loss (and all Bale did this year was to wear an unfortunate toupe in American Hustle). And Jared Leto- whose Rayon- we love in just the two tiny glimpses of her we see in the trailer. If that’s not Oscar-bait, then what is?
Chances of Winning: AIDS is the kind of bad guy we can all feel good about vanquishing, right? And ‘dramatic transformation of erstwhile gorgeous actor in the name of art’ is a narrative that deserves a triumph! So, pretty good. Pretty good!
Warning. Don’t watch this trailer if you are the slightest bit agoraphobic, afraid of heights or of being left alone. If just two minutes had us chewing our nails and hiding behind a cushion, what havoc will a sustained 90 minutes of this film wrought? Also, MBRB believes that Children of the Men was the best film of 2006- when it didn’t win a thing, so maybe its time for a Cuaron-redemption story?
Chances of Winning: Only two ‘scary’ movies have ever won the Oscar- and that’s when we stretch the definition to include 1940’s Rebecca and 1991’s Silence of the Lambs. But the special effects and the visual scope of this movie looks so outstanding , that we won’t be surprised if it ends up being the third.
Spike Jonze makes delicate movies that pierce our soul with their melancholy and completely devastate us. So far, no other trailer has had us want to know what-happens-next more. We want those two crazy kids to make it somehow, and we know that they won’t (let us ignore for a moment that we are talking about an inter species romance between a man and an Operating System). We want to trudge to the nearest theater and watch the movie and then cry silently thanking our stars for our friends, our families – and our phones.
Chances of Winning:There is –perhaps- a bit of urban middle-class navel gazing in the film? Who else but the owners of I Phones and I-somethings worry about spending too much time with their technology and not enough with people? We’d like the movie to win because it seems so beautiful. Maybe though, it is too beautiful and too ephemeral to stick?
True confessions time. We know it has sizeable fan base, but Sideways bored us to death. The problem with Alexander Payne’s movies is that they are so strongly ‘American’ (he is almost the Jonathan Franzen of Hollywood), that it is occasionally difficult for them to translate elsewhere. Having said that, the wry tone of the trailer looks good, and we will definitely watch this one with a glass of Pinot Noir (what else); when it comes to On Demand.
Chances of Winning: Again, no offence to the movie, but a two-person roadtrip looks somewhat slight given the rest of the plate. We don’t see this one winning a thing.
A friend had a theory that Americans are suckers for a British accent. They have a Pavlovian response to it, and automatically assume that someone with said accent is more intelligent and authoritative (hence the inexplicable success of Simon Cowell). In a lot of ways this movie looks likes a ‘smarter’ version of the one above. An older travel companion, with a reluctant younger shepherd, who is slowly won over (or at least learns not to disrespect the latter’s world view)- on a road trip to nowhere.
Chances of Winning: Movies questioning religion rarely do well. They make voters uncomfortable that by praising the movie they will somehow get on the wrong side of God. Nah! We don’t think this one will get the big rewards.
12 Years a Slave
This one is not for the fainthearted. And not just for the implied psychological and physical violence but also because it forces us to ask uncomfortable questions about the kind of misery man can wrought on another man. And just look at that cavalcade of Internet superheroes- Chiwetel Ejiofor, Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Lupita N’yongo. There is someone for every flavor of nerd and movie viewer here.
Chances of Winning: By rewarding this movie a Best Picture Award, America can pretend to absolve itself of its hoary past. It helps that the movie looks really good (after HER, this is the movie we most want to see beyond just the trailer). We hope it wins, but there is no way of adjudging whether its for the right reasons(great cinema); or wrong ( a self congratulatory pat on the back)
The Wolf of Wall Street
Ooh! One of the things we find quite remarkablea about Leonardo di Caprio is how he has used his awkwardly aging beauty to such great effect. He picks smart scripts, always plays a man who was once probably gorgeous – and now not so much- because of trauma, alcohol or terrible prosthetic make up. This is also probably the first time we’ve seen him have SO MUCH FUN (he specializes in tortured biopics). And just for that (and for our memories of young Jack Dawson); we wish this movie well.
Chances of Winning: In a country beset with increasing fraction between the 99 and 1 percenters, what kind of message does it send to reward a movie that seems to celebrate money and hedonism? One may argue that this is a satire, and is really casting a scathing look at the rich and the famous, but based on the trailer, Excess seems Fn. For this reason, we highly doubt if the WoWS will be King of the World come Oscar Night.