Right on cue, here is my yearly collection of thoughts on the Academy Awards.
- Gravity is clearly going to win a lot of awards. One that it seems nearly guaranteed to win is Achievement in Directing for Alfonso Cuarón. When people like me think of Alfonso Cuarón, we think of his darkly whimsical interpretation of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Do you think he could find a way to work an Azkaban shout-out into his acceptance speech?
- I was excited when I saw that my favorite movie music composer, Thomas Newman, was nominated for his beautiful score to Saving Mr. Banks. But I was annoyed when I did my predication research this evening and saw that he isn’t even being mentioned as a possibility to win. All I can say is that the Academy is going to owe Thomas Newman one massive Lifetime Achievement Award segment.
- I never thought I’d see the day when a movie called Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa was nominated for an Oscar. I realize that the category is Achievement in Makeup, and I’m willing to concede that the nominee, Stephen Prouty, did a pretty good job on that guy’s face. But I’ve vowed never to watch the Oscars again if this movie wins.
- I have a plan. The Academy should create some new award categories: Best Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor, and Supporting Actress in a Genre Film. That way, the people who do excellent acting work in films that aren’t “literary” (to borrow a term from the book publishing world)–e.g., science fiction, fantasy, and superhero movies; romantic comedies; “children’s” movies that aren’t animated–can be honored. Because, let’s face it, they’re not going to be nominated in the traditional acting categories, except in very unusual cases like those of Johnny Depp in the first Pirates of the Caribbean (and there was no way he was going to win) or Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight–an extremely unusual case indeed, since he did win. The only potential problem here is that creating such a category could further marginalize these types of movies and prevent genre-transcending films like The Dark Knight from getting the recognition that the Academy was actually prepared to give them.
So I’m curious: Who would you nominate if we had the Acting in Genre Films categories this year? And what are your two cents, in general, on the 2014 Oscars? Do share.