Sunday, February 23, 2014

Academy Awards 2014 (Brockway)

Tropic Sprockets: Oscar Thoughts
by Ian Brockway

The Oscars will no doubt be a laugh a minute this year, hosted by the glibly self-deprecating and warmly sarcastic Ellen DeGeneres. With its focus on true stories of struggle, be it by land, sea, space and the FDA, there will indeed, be something for everyone.

The shocking surprise of the Oscars has to be the fact that "All Is Lost" is largely ignored as is Lee Daniels' "The Butler".

Taken together, this is a crime. There is no logical reason that these films should be ignored.

Even though this speaks of drama, and fishiness, you can bet that there will be no shortage of suspense. Will they give the big categories to "Gravity" even though space-themed films usually don't win in the Best Picture or Best Director categories?

This would be a near first.

Will "The Act of Killing" be too much for the Academy to handle as audiences usually have an aversion to genuinely violent and true material?

In the Best Actor category, I think Matthew McConaughey will take it. He truly evolved into Ron Woodroof, although it will be close as Chiwetel Ejiofor may be an upset.

In perhaps the easiest category to predict, "Blue Jasmine" Cate Blanchett seems to soar above the rest as a winner for Best Actress, even though there are no neophytes here. All candidates excel and Judi Dench is no slouch.

Best Supporting Actor will have some tension to be sure. All are terrific choices. Still, I'm betting on newcomer Barkhad Abdi, for his frightening, gritty and poignant role as a driven pirate in "Captain Phillips".

The Best Supporting Actress is nervously to close to call. I predict a nail-biter between Jennifer Lawrence   (American Hustle) and Lupita Nyong'o (12 Years a Slave) but Nyong'o will flip the odds. Lawrence better get a spare bottle of Rosalyn's polish to keep her cool.

Although there have been many interesting documentaries this year, my wheels are on the disturbing and transgressive "The Act of Killing". This film ranks as one of the most visceral and affecting films that I have ever seen in this category and it ultimately blurs the line between nonfiction, fiction and recorded events. The more it tries to mask itself in its repulsive characters, the more eerie it becomes.

In the category of Best Director, Scorsese (The Wolf of Wall Street) is near certain to score, although its also just as probable that Steve McQueen will prove another upset with his unsparing account of "12 Years a Slave".

Although I know that The Oscars historically eschew space-centered films, my spirit is grounded for "Gravity" as Best Picture, as I hope against hope, though the gold muscles will most likely be lifted to "The Wolf of Wall Street".

Surprises are no rarity to The Academy though, and anything goes.

No matter who the winner is, rest assured, the pageantry will be displayed in full with a bubbling of champagne and sarcasm, including (hopefully) a fine and well deserved tribute given to the late Phillip Seymour Hoffman---the riskiest and most accomplished actor of our age.
See it all on the big screen at the Tropic's annual Oscar Party starting at 7:00pm.
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