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Monday, March 03, 2014

Sean Kelly

Oscar 2014 Wrap-Up

12YearsaSlaveThe 86th Academy Awards have come and gone and, even though 12 Years a Slave ended up with the award for Best Picture (as well as Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Supporting Actress for Lupita Nyong'o), the big winner of the night was Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity, which won 7 awards, including Best Director.  Matthew McConaughey was rewarded for his recent career resurgence with Best Actor for Dallas Buyers Club, with his co-star Jared Leto getting Best Supporting Actor.  Rounding out the major awards, Cate Blanchett deservingly won for Blue Jasmine (despite the recent Woody Allen controversy) and Spike Jonze won Best Original Screenplay for Her

This was one of my better years when it came to my Oscar predictions, with me correctly predicting 19 of the 24 awards, which was one better than my previous high of 18 in 2011.  I was hurt the most in my predictions by being completely shut-out in the short film categories, since in the past I would at least correctly predict the animation winner. However, this stumble was made-up for with my wildcard win of correctly predicting the two technical Oscars won by The Great Gatsby.  I also correctly predicted 20 Feet from Stardom for Best Documentary, based on how well the film did last year when it played (multiple times) at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema. Of course, most were expecting The Act of Killing to win and I noticed quite a bit of anger on Twitter after 20 Feet from Stardom won.

Speaking of the Bloor Cinema, this was my second year going to the Bloor to watch the Oscars on the big screen. Watching the ceremony with a crowd is definitely a better experience than watching the Oscars alone at home. Some very vocal patrons expressed their displeasure with Alfonso Cuarón’s Best Director win and I fear there might have been a riot (or at least loud boos) if Gravity ended up winning Best Picture, which I almost expected it to. I also liked how everyone received a gift bag on their way out (thanks to the sponsor Hollywood Suite), which included a free DVD.

I guess I should spend some time talking about the actual ceremony itself.  I thought that Ellen DeGeneres did a decent enough job as host.  She was a very safe pick, but she still had her moments.  Probably the biggest gag of the night involved Ellen actually ordering pizza and handing it out to various celebrities in the audience. Then of course, there was Ellen’s group selfie, which actually ended up crashing Twitter with the amount of retweets it generated (I retweeted it myself long after the ceremony had ended).

I am not one of those people who complain about what films did or did not get Oscars.  For me the Oscars are pretty much akin to going to the racetrack:  I look at the odds, I make my predictions, and I see how many I get right.  I learned long ago that there is a big difference between the films that I want to win Oscars and the films that actually do win.  It’s all about politics and half the game is keeping an eye on the guild awards and other pre-Oscar achievements, to see who is getting what.  My only prediction this year, which was based more on personal opinion than buzz, was my prediction of The Wind Rises for Best Animated Feature.  Part of me hoped that the Academy would see to it to award the final film of Hayao Miyazaki, even though I knew deep down that Frozen was more likely to win.

While the Oscars has a very high profile, it is just one award show out of many.  Very rarely does the film that wins Best Picture equate with my own personal taste.  In my opinion, the best picture of 2013 was Her and I will probably be more likely to get that film on blu-ray than 12 Years a Slave.  People shouldn’t really take the Oscars so personally and should just have fun watching the show and seeing how in-tune they are with the Hollywood buzz.

Anyways, that wraps up my coverage of the Oscars for this year. Until next year.

Sean Kelly

About Sean Kelly -

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described über-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).