Oscar 2017-18 – predicting the winners

And so it is Oscar time once more. Last year’s host, Jimmy Kimmel, will be returning for his second at-bat, and the 90th annual Academy Awards show will be filled with stale jokes about the show’s running time, about the #metoo movement (no Harvey Weinstein nor Kevin Spacey in the audience, you can guarantee it), and about whether, as was the case last year when “La La Land” was erroneously declared the Best Picture winner, there will be any last minute envelope mix-ups.

Despite 2017 having been such a banner year for mainstream movies – and for superhero movies in particular – the slate of nominees is, some would, say, disappointing in terms of its ordinariness. “Wonder Woman,” so empowering and successful, walked away empty handed, even in the technical categories. “Thor: Ragnarok” was also snubbed across the board, as was “Lego Batman,” which didn’t even score a customary nomination for Best Animated Feature. “Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi” earned a few technical nominations, but the only true *hits* to receive above-the-line nods were “Dunkirk” and “Get Out.” (Okay, so “The Shape of Water” lead the pack with 13 nominations, but its “R” rating and graphic nudity worked against it at the box office.)

Will “Dunkirk” or “Get Out” win, reminding audiences that the Academy is not out of touch with popular opinion after all…or will it be something much artsier – “Phantom Thread” perhaps? My gut tells me it will be none of the above. To learn more about those and other nominated films, check out the official Oscar website. For an educated guess on who will win, however, you can do worse than to keep reading the following paragraphs for my predictions.

(GringoPotpourri disclaimer: Although I’m no insider, I have seen all of the nominees mentioned below, and my batting average is well above .500. So there’s that.)

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Oscar 2016-17 – predicting the winners

Behold, it is Oscar time again. Jimmy Kimmel will be hosting the 89th annual Academy Awards, and stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Brie Larson, Mark Rylance, and Alicia Vikander – last year’s winners in the acting categories – will be among the presenters.

The nominated films this year run quite the gamut. “Arrival,” which finds linguists decoding an alien language, is out of this world – literally! “Fences,” about the literal and figurative fences we erect in our lives, is a powerhouse of emotions. “Hacksaw Ridge” inspires and mortifies with its gory depictions of Pacific Theater heroics in World War II. “Hell or High Water,” a western disguised as a heist movie, sets the film’s stakes by the title alone. “Hidden Figures,” revolving around a trio of African-American female NASA scientists, makes math cool again. “La La Land,” an old-fashioned musical set in modern day Los Angeles, aims for the stars…of the Griffith Park Observatory, if nothing else. “Lion,” about an Indian boy who has lost his way, hearkens back to 2008’s “Slumdog Millionaire”…which won eight Oscars. “Manchester by the Sea” sounds British but is as American as movies get, detailing the five stage of grief. Finally, “Moonlight” shows what it must be like to grow up poor, black, fatherless, and gay.

Which movies will Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences voters choose to honor? Continue reading for my predictions…and enjoy the show!

Best Picture

Hacksaw Ridge
Hell or High Water
Hidden Figures
La La Land
Manchester by the Sea

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Oscar 2015-16 – predicting the winners

Well, Loyal Reader, it’s that time again. I managed to see every nominated film in the acting and writing categories, as well as all eight nominated films competing for Best Picture. There are some good films here, few on par with, say, anything from 1999, 2002, 2003, 2012, or 2014 (banner years all), but still a strong selection of nominees.

We have a movie about a group of generally despicable human beings who profited off the 2008 housing market collapse. We have a movie about a Cold War battle of wills. We have a movie about the immigrant experience, circa the 1950’s. We have a movie about survival in a dystopian, water-scarce, post-apocalyptic future. We have a movie about how science can save us all. We have a movie about the harsh post-Civil War northern frontier. We have a movie about a terrified mother and a sheltered child. We have a movie about print journalists fighting the good fight. And on Oscar night, we will have host Chris Rock likely bruising as many sensitive Hollywood egos as the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences seeks to honor.

Those honorees? Read below for my predictions.

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Oscar 2014-15 – predicting the winners

This year’s list is a bit late in coming. I took advantage of being snowed in over the past week to catch up on many of 2014’s Oscar nominees. (Netflix is my new best friend.)

I have seen most – but by no means all – of the nominated films and performances. As with last year, three of the four acting categories are near locks, and the closest race is for Best Picture. (For a somewhat-lengthy examination of my 2013-14 picks, click here…and know that I correctly guessed seven of those eight major category winners.) Better late than never, here are my predictions for tonight’s Neil Patrick Harris-hosted ceremony.

Best Picture

American Sniper
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
The Theory of Everything

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Oscar 2013-14 – predicting the winners

I have been under the weather lately, and even had to cancel Thursday and Friday classes. Because I don’t normally get sick often, the roughly once-every-two-years happening always hits me like a ton of bricks.

Something that happens once every year is the Academy Awards Ceremony. The 2014 show (which honors the previous year’s movies, a naming quirk that has always confused me), is this Sunday. I just watched “Nebraska,” the Alexander Payne (“Sideways”)-directed, father-son road movie that garnered six Oscar nominations, including one for Best Picture. It is a good little film, but my point is that once again I’ve managed to see just about every nominated film before the live broadcast. The only nominee I’m missing is “August: Osage County.”

Here are my predictions on who will – and who should – win Oscars tonight. I am only an amateur but I seem to have a knack for this sort of thing. Last year I correctly guessed five of the six winners in the Picture, Director, and Acting categories. I hope to improve upon that number in 2014!

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Oscar 2012-13 – predicting the winners

I have been busy of late, and my mind has been abuzz with blog ideas. I want to write a few words about a recent weekend trip to Querétaro. Meanwhile, friends have requested topics for me to cover, and I still have to put together a “Links” page to the blogs of other writers who’ve inspired me, entertained me, or helped me along the way.

But that’s all pushed to the side for a few days; this Sunday is Oscar night, and – amateur critic that I am – I thought I’d take a stab at predicting the winners. Putting things in context, “Lincoln” leads the overall race with 12 nominations, followed closely by “Life of Pi” with 11 nominations. That said, this year’s race seems one of the toughest to predict in years. As such, it should be a good show.

Note that I’ve seen every nominated film in the categories covered below. Oscar prognosticating is an expensive hobby!

Best Picture

Beasts of the Southern Wild
Django Unchained
Les Misérables
Life of Pi
Silver Linings Playbook
Zero Dark Thirty

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Oscar Nominations 2012-13 – reactions

“The Help” star Emma Stone and 2013 Oscar host Seth MacFarlane woke up bright and early today to read off this year’s Academy Award nominations. They were not the only ones at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills, as hundreds of reporters were on the scene for the big scoop, hoping to make the evening papers. I was with them in spirit, of course, watching the live broadcast from my apartment. And although it was 7:30 out here and not 5:30, that was still damn early – for me at least.

As expected, there were a few surprises, but the actual list of nominees closely mirrored my own predictions from yesterday, with most categories predicted to 80% or 100% accuracy. (Best Director notwithstanding. Yikes!) “Lincoln” leads the race, with 12 nominations including Best Picture.  “Life of Pi” is a close second, garnering 11 nods.

For now, I’ll try and hold off from commenting on who I think will actually win, though I make no promises. Here we go….

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Oscar Nominations 2012-13 – predictions

My blog entry for today is not about Mexico. Nor is it about the series of events that led to my moving to Mexico. Before I fell in love with travel, I fell in love with movies – since I was a child, actually – and although I don’t obsess about them to the degree that I once did, they still provide much enjoyment in my life – especially when I’m not traveling.

Oscar season is a particularly fun time of year for me. I always enjoy predicting the nominees before they are announced, reacting to them once they are announced (well, not at 5:30 a.m. when they’re read off, but later that same day), and watching the big show, typically the only night of television that – at least in the U.S. – rivals the Super Bowl as the year’s most-watched broadcast.

In years past, my conversations about the predicted nominees were limited to a few seconds of office water cooler chit-chat, and a couple hours’ worth of internet movie message board postings. I always made it a point to see as many of the nominated movies as possible, so most of my moving-going friends simply couldn’t keep up. Alas, I’m a bit behind this year, as some movies released in the last months of 2012 still haven’t opened here (“Les Misérables,” for example, doesn’t open until February 15th). Still, I’ve seen two-thirds of the contenders, and the amateur critic in me has come up with my own “wish list” of nominees.

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