And the Oscar goes to . . .
Ivor Davis presents his annual Academy Award predictions
By Ivor Davis 02/27/2014
Don’t we all wish we had a crystal ball? And if we did, wouldn’t we make a killing on the stock market? To heck with insider trading; being able to see the future can work in other ways too. And believe me, I see the future:
Sunday, March 2, the 86th Academy Award ceremonies. A Hollywood A-lister wrestles with the envelope . . . “and the Oscar for best actress goes to . . . Cate Blanchett!”
It’s a lock. Blanchett’s performance in Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine was an absolute tour de force, and frankly anyone who saw it last year knew the race was over. She should blow everyone else out of the water despite all the negative publicity that Allen’s been getting.
Blanchett will triumph over the formidable Meryl Streep, who shows up (yet again — yawn) in this year’s race as the pill-popping harridan of a mother in August: Osage County. Or the venerable Judi Dench, so convincing as the Irish mum trying to find out what happened to the baby she gave up for adoption in Philomena. Sayonara to Sandra Bullock, for Gravity, who was somewhat outshone by all those special effects. Nice try also for Amy Adams in American Hustle.
In an interview with Australian magazine, Blanchett last month said she admitted she at first thought Woody Allen was going to fire her because, after shooting the opening scene, the director ran around saying, “It’s not working, it’s just not working.” It worked. “I was over the moon when he threw Jasmine at me,” recalled Blanchett, “because she’s so complicated and so combustible and so confused — delusions of grandeur to an epic proportion.”
In the best supporting actress contest, don’t look for Oprah this year. She’s not even a contender for her high-profile role in The Butler. (Oops, you’re only allowed to call it Lee Daniel’s The Butler.) And while we’re talking about that movie, Oscar voters were so annoyed by the arrogance of director Daniels, who had the gall to put his own name in the title of the film, that they shut him out of virtually everything. I’m inclined to go for an outsider in this category. How about veteran actress June Squibb, as Bruce Dern’s scene-stealing, salty-tongued wife in Nebraska. She’s 84 and she’s never won a thing — not even the lottery.
For best supporting actor, Jared Leto’s mesmerizing, mind-blowing boy/girl role in Dallas Buyers Club is another shoo-in. Sorry, Barkhad, Bradley, Michael and Jonah. Not this year, but do enjoy the party.
On the subject of Nebraska, I think Mr. Dern could walk away with the best actor Oscar as the aging old coot who thinks he’s won the lottery.
The Academy loves to pay tribute to aging old coots who have paid their dues, and Dern at 77 certainly has. But this category is so very wide open. I was enormously impressed by the skeletal Matthew McConaughey racing through Dallas Buyers Club. Voters can be swayed by actors who lose or gain huge amounts of weight for a movie role: Matthew dropped 47 pounds for the part. Outsiders include Leonardo DiCaprio’s overheated con man in The Wolf of Wall Street, and dark horse Chiwetel Ejiofor (try pronouncing that after a glass of wine) in 12 Years a Slave.
If Ejiofor goes home empty-handed, then I expect Oscar voters might give the best director award to Steve McQueen, who did the impossible. Imagine it: An English director bringing a film about American slavery to the screen! Again, a close race because voters tend to favor Martin Scorsese, although his movie was a bit raunchy for the older set and, at three hours, may also have put them to sleep.
And Best Film? It’s a big, wide-open race with nine starters. My guess is American Hustle or 12 Years A Slave. But what do I know?
Oscar for makeup and hairstyling? Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa. (Just kidding.)
There is another dead cert winner, however, and that is Ellen DeGeneres, who is hosting the Oscars once again. Now pass the popcorn.