Thursday, February 25, 2016

Your Winning Oscar Ballot, Part 1

Hello, gorgeous.   The Oscar, not you Barbra.

It's that time of year again.   That idiot in IT has just sent around an Oscar ballot for you to fill out.  And, oops, you haven't seen a single thing in the theaters since Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid jumped off that cliff.   Well, don't fret.   I am here to help you win that 25 dollar gift card from Starbucks.

I'm in a pool myself every year with my two good NY chums, Lorraine and Dennis.  Starting with guessing the correct nominees in the major categories, we compete against each other for the most accurate guesses in all categories on Oscar night.   The winner gets dinner paid for by the other two.   And, much to their chagrin, I've seen more of Dennis and Lorraine's Visa cards than they have of mine.

This year might be no different.  Going into Oscar weekend, I'm already at 29.   Lorraine is at 26 and Dennis is one behind her.  But anything can happen when you have to guess Best Animated Short.  Especially since we have gone to weighted points on categories like that.

Still, I'm confident.   And if you copy my answers, you should be, too.   Let's start today with all the crappy stuff nobody really pays attention to. 


Live Action Short: These days, you can actually see these nominees in a theater or on-line.  Lorraine and Dennis do just that.   As for me, I guess based on subject matter.   Race, the Holocaust, children with cancer, and any kind of persecution usually wins. Hello?  There is one this year about nuns living in Israeli.  That actually could be a sitcom log line.  I also think it's the likely victor.  The winner is AVE MARIA.

Documentary Short:  Oh, so easy this year.   There's one about doctors fighting the Ebola outbreak in Africa.  That clicks most of my boxes.  The winner is BODY TEAM 12.

Animated Short:  Where's Bugs and Daffy when you need them most?   I'm thinking the Pixar one about some Indian boy and his Hindu religion makes the most sense.   The winner is SANJAY'S SUPER TEAM.   Next?

Documentary Feature:  I saw two of the nominees!  In the totally talented-but-completely-fucked-up singer competition, we have films about Nina Simone versus Amy Winehouse.   The latter film stuck with me longer and I do enjoy that clearly prophetic last name.  The winner is AMY.

Animated Feature:  Go figure.   The only nominee I saw was the one I thoroughly hated.  The winner is INSIDE OUT.  Disney, please make a cartoon about little boy empowerment for a change.

Foreign Language:  You can never top the Holocaust when it comes to this category.  It's ideal for those Academy members trying to make amends for not going to temple during the High Holy Days.  The winner is SON OF SAUL.

Sound Mixing:  I'd like to meet a sound mixer just to learn about what the hell a sound mixer does.  The winner is a movie that I thoroughly missed but got tons of nominations this year---MAD MAX: FURY ROAD.

Sound Editing:  Star Wars fans didn't count on another big action picture coming out and stealing their thunder.  The winner is MAD MAX: FURY ROAD.

Visual Effects:  See Sound Editing.  The winner is MAD MAX: FURY ROAD.

Production Design:  See Sound Editing and Special Effects.  The winner is MAD MAX: FURY ROAD.

Makeup and Hairstyling:  Damn.  I better check this movie out.  The winner is MAD MAX: FURY ROAD.

Costume Design:  Yep, Mad Max is nominated here, too.  But some of the pundits are saying this belongs to the 1950s fashions featured in Carol.  I, however, napped right through that thing.  My best guess here is a Disney live action film based on one of their cartoons.  The winner is CINDERELLA.

Film Editing:  Okay, now I really better see this film.  The winner is MAD MAX: FURY ROAD.

Original Score:  John Williams is nominated for the umpteenth time with his work in the new Star Wars film.  But how much of that score is a variation of what he did back in 1977?  Sorry, Star Wars, you picked the wrong year to come out with a new chapter.  The winner is THE HATEFUL EIGHT.

Original Song:  Remember when these nominees were always from the biggest films and wound up as huge hits on the radio? Um, no more.  These year's batch are from the following movies.  Spectre, Youth, Fifty Shades of Grey, Raising Extinction, and the Hunting Ground.  I'm guessing they will give it to the song from the movie I know the least about.  The winner is "TIL IT HAPPENS TO YOU"  from the Hunting Ground.

Cinematography:  This award usually sidles up to the winner for Best Director. My guess on that will be revealed tomorrow, but here's a spoiler alert.  The winner here is THE REVENANT.   And an interesting side note?   This will be the third winning year in a row for cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki.

Adapted Screenplay:  For taking a thoroughly confusing subject matter and making it understandable, the winner is THE BIG SHORT.

Original Screenplay:  Even though I actually know one of the nominated writers for Straight Outta Compton, I was totally mesmerized by the story being told in SPOTLIGHT.

Okay, come back tomorrow for the really big categories.

Dinner last night:  General Tso's Chicken.

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