Oscar 2018-19 – predicting the winners

It would seem that this year’s Oscars broadcast is something of a mess. As I write this, the 91st iteration of the show is still without a host, following the decision by original host Kevin Hart to drop out following the revelation that one of his stand-up routines from years ago contained homophobic content that he has since apologized for profusely, and many times over.

The decision by Hart to drop out comes just a few months after the Academy decided, after much outcry, to drop the category “Best Popular Film,” which it had considered adding to account for movies like “Black Panther,” “Mad Max: Fury Road,” “The Dark Knight,” and “Die Hard,” two films of which received token Oscar nominations for Best Picture and two of which did not. <SPOILER ALERT: “Black Panther,” one of the best superhero movies ever made – alongside 2008’s “The Dark Knight,” of course – will not win Best Picture.>

If the above controversy wasn’t enough, the Academy decided to shorten the show’s running time to under three hours. Best intentions perhaps, but their solutions were poorly thought out: don’t allow the Best Original Song nominees to sing, and pick four categories each year beginning this year to hand out at a separate event. This year’s sacrificial lambs: Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, Best Live Action Short, and Best Makeup & Hair.

Heads rolled. After outcry by actors and filmmakers everywhere, it was “clarified” (read: redacted) by the Academy that those awards will be handed out during commercials but the acceptance speeches presented in full on live TV.

If four paragraphs about pre-show drama seems excessive, it is just that the Academy appears dumbfounded in terms of how to increase ratings. That being said, the most obvious solution – nominating a more diverse slate of movies – has already been achieved. Nominated films “Black Panther,” “Bohemian Rhapsody,” and “A Star is Born” were all enormously popular, with “Panther” being the year’s highest-grossing movie. Foreign films such as “Roma,” road pictures like “Green Book,” and indie movies in the vein of “The Favourite” made the cut as well, so it would seem that, host or no host, three hours or four, there may be something for everyone at this year’s Oscars. Will the ratings reflect accordingly?

Here are my thoughts on the nominees, and my predictions on the winners. Although there is almost always one surprise among the winners, you should know that I correctly predicted all eight of last year’s major category winners. I hope to do so again.

Continue reading “Oscar 2018-19 – predicting the winners”

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.)

Continue reading “Oscar 2017-18 – predicting the winners”

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

Nominees:
Arrival
Fences
Hacksaw Ridge
Hell or High Water
Hidden Figures
La La Land
Lion
Manchester by the Sea
Moonlight

Continue reading “Oscar 2016-17 – predicting the winners”

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.

Continue reading “Oscar 2015-16 – predicting the winners”

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

Nominees:
Amour
Argo
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Django Unchained
Les Misérables
Life of Pi
Lincoln
Silver Linings Playbook
Zero Dark Thirty

Continue reading “Oscar 2012-13 – predicting the winners”