[16 January 2014]
Please movie gods, we have been good cinephiles this year, attended a reasonable amount of bad movies and atoned for our sins in film festivals, on Netflix and getting lost in Criterion Collection sales. We come to you with a prayer on the night before Oscar nominations are announced, so that you may grant us any of the following:
Best Picture: A surprise. Of any kind. It’s exhausting to listen to the same titles repeated in awards show after show. Even if the surprise came in the shape of something like The Host or Grown Ups 2, we’re only half-kidding here, please remember part of AMPAS’ mission is to engage people in a discussion about the power of film and its ability to be divisive and enlightening.
Best Director: No documentary director has ever been nominated for this category, but if anyone should break that silly pattern it should be Sarah Polley. Her Stories We Tell was a reminder that truth will never cease to be stranger than fiction…
Best Actor: Robert Redford should be a slam dunk in the category. His wordless performance in All is Lost was as wondrous as Jean Dujardin’s in The Artist (without any of the levity of course) and we all know you fell hard for that one…
Best Actress: Even though having a lineup of all previous winners sounds too tempting to resist, please don’t forget about Greta Gerwig and Adele Exarchopoulos. They both gave star-is-born performances in two of the year’s greatest films and their youth shouldn’t be held against them. Just ask yourselves, years from now will you be thinking about Frances and Adele or discussing the wonders of how Dame Judi Dench and Meryl Streep were coasting it in Philomena and August: Osage County?
Best Supporting Actor: May B.Coop and his mini-from from American Hustle make it to the final five and don’t you dare forget about Michael Fassbender again. His performance in 12 Years a Slave isn’t even close to his best, but you oughta make it up to him for snubbing him for Hunger, Fish Tank and Shame. If you’re feeling quirky and generous, also remember how much we loved Andrew Dice Clay in Blue Jasmine and how fast he disappeared from the radar.
Best Supporting Actress: Please make Sally Hawkins in Blue Jasmine happen (if only for that one curtsy she does to Alec Baldwin which made us blush and fall for her) and if you’re in that mood, you should also find room in your heart to include Lea Seydoux from Blue is the Warmest Color, we know you too were seduced by her character’s lips, blue hair and her kind heart.
Among other things, let us have worthy nominees in Best Song that will make Frozen winning feel more of an achievement than a walk through the park and the same could be said in the Animated Feature category, but asking for that would be to ask you to send us worthier candidates (we pray also for a return to form for Pixar). Let AMPAS not forget the beauty of everything in The Great Gatsby and make Catherine Martin a potential upset for the art categories on March 2. Let Alex Ebert’s score from All is Lost make its way to the final five, because asking for nominations for Arcade Fire and Cliff Martinez and Skrillex would be just too generous.