Monday, December 9, 2013

Making the Case for Everything

Spring Breakers deserves a few considerations.

Well, not quite everything. Stevee is doing this awesome blogathon again, so here's my case for something in almost every Oscar category. I tried to make a case for non-contenders. Note: I haven't seen any of the foreign submissions, and I've only seen one animated short contender. Therefore, I've abstained from the foreign and short categories.

BEST PICTURE:
Before Midnight


Not only is it a fitting end to the trilogy (for now), but it's one of the year's finest films. Stunning performances, stimulating conversations and bittersweet authenticity pervade this excellent film from Richard Linklater. It's the perfect time to reward this franchise.

BEST DIRECTOR:
Derek Cianfrance, The Place Beyond the Pines


A second look made me appreciate just what Cianfrance accomplished here. It's an ambitious, epic tale of fathers and sons, with great work by all of the actors and a tight edit at 140 minutes. He made something quite special and should be considered.

BEST ACTOR:
Jack Reynor, What Richard Did


The up-and-coming Irish actor breathes life into this tragic character. It's a refreshing performance in an underseen gem. Of course, most Oscar voters probably don't even know the film exists. A shame, really.

BEST ACTRESS:
Suzanne Clément, Laurence Anyways


She gives a devastating performance, but the film is likely too "out there" for the Academy's taste.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR:
Jake Gyllenhaal, Prisoners


Blinking aside, he gives a rich, subtle performance, stealing the movie from Hugh Jackman. He could actually happen, and it would be well-deserved.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS:
Selena Gomez, Spring Breakers


She gives an emotional performance, which really struck me. It's stayed with me for months, even if Oscar voters won't go for it.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY:
The Spectacular Now


The film deserves more consideration in the acting categories, but the writing cannot be ignored. Nominating this year's Perks could also make up for the (500) Days of Summer snub for Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber.

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY:
Frances Ha


A quirky indie that channels Woody Allen, who, ironically, might get nominated for the lesser Blue Jasmine. Also, Greta Gerwig should earn a nomination here to atone for the Best Actress nod that she won't get.

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN:
Stoker


I'm not the biggest fan of the film, but it's technically superb. The sets are so beautiful. They could be too modern for the Academy, though.

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY:
Spring Breakers


Do I even have to explain this? Since he'll be recognized for Gravity, I left off Emmanuel Lubezki's work on To the Wonder, which is equally deserving.

BEST COSTUME DESIGN:
Laurence Anyways


Small art-house films with gorgeous costumes rarely make the cut, but it can happen, like I Am Love scoring a nod. The costumes provide an extra character to the film, and should be recognized for their service.

BEST FILM EDITING:
The Bling Ring


At 90 minutes, the film doesn't linger, and it's flashy enough to be quite memorable and effective. However, I expect Sofia Coppola's film to be completely ignored.

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE:
Only God Forgives



Cliff Martinez's themes (and Larry Smith's cinematography) are responsible for much of the movie's atmosphere. Despite mixed reaction, the haunting score is a triumph for the film and the composer.

BEST ORIGINAL SONG:
"Here It Comes", Trance



It's an infectious song with beautiful vocals, and it's used to great effect in the final scene. Oscar voters loved Adele. Why can't they love Emeli Sandé too?

BEST MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING:
Star Trek Into Darkness


The previous film won in this category, and the work here is just as solid. It could be seen as a lazy choice, but a worthy one, nonetheless.

BEST SOUND MIXING:
Spring Breakers


It features a soundtrack combining blaring tunes with chilly originals, as well as a nice blend of ambient noises and jarring sound effects.

BEST SOUND EDITING:
Upstream Color


The work is essential to this film. Actually, it deserves to be in both categories, but I wanted to go with a different choice in each one.

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS:
Pacific Rim


While the film was a disappointment, the effects are spectacular. It deserves the nod, even if it will lose to Gravity.

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM:
Frozen


This is the arguable frontrunner now, and I can't complain. It really is a return to form for Disney, who've been in Pixar's shadow lately.

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE FILM:
Stories We Tell


It's the only submission I've seen, though I'm not sure I'd go with another choice. Sarah Polley has crafted a wonderful examination of her family's story, one that will effect viewers everywhere.

14 comments:

  1. BRAVO! I was planning on writing a piece on Clement for this...if I find the time!

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    1. Thanks man! She's sooo good, isn't she?

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  2. Awesome variety. I almost forgot Stoker was released this year. I felt like it came out last year. Either way, I loved it, and I would be happy if it got more love. I 2nd you on Jake Gyllenhaal for Prisoners. God, I love that movie.

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    1. Thanks. I nominate Gyllenhaal for Best Actor right now, but if I move him to supporting, then he's probably my winner. :)

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  3. Oh, I love Only God Forgives score. It's one of the few reasons the movie got 3/10 not 1/10 from me :)

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    1. Haha, it really does improve the film, doesn't it?

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  4. Very cool Josh! I wish the Oscars would think outside the box more often. Boy I'm so curious to see What Richard Did, but I still haven't seen We Need to Talk About Kevin which seems to share a similar theme.

    For Best Original Screenplay, I'd love to see HER get a nod!

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    1. Thanks Ruth! Oh, both of those have great leading performances.

      I can't wait to see Her!

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  5. Glad to see all the love for Spring Breakers. I think Stoker is a good movie, but nowhere near Chan-Wook's best. That said, every shot is beautifully framed.

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    1. It's nice to see more love for Spring Breakers, and I agree that Stoker has great cinematography.

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  6. GREAT list! Spring Breakers most certainly deserves a cinematography nom. It's such a gorgeous film. And Cianfrance for director... yeah, I'd love that.

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    1. Thanks man! Spring Breakers and Cianfrance would be awesome, but they're out of the conversation, unfortunately.

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  7. I'm happy you've come around on The Place Beyond the Pines, remember you didn't love it on first viewing. Stoker does deserve recognition for the look of the film, I agree.

    I could see Greta Gerwig receiving a nom at indie spirit awards, but probably oscar will overlook Frances Ha.

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    1. Yeah, Pines is currently in my top 5. :) It really hit me on a second viewing.

      Gerwig didn't even get an Indie Spirit nod. She's probably out of the conversation at this point.

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