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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Scarecrow's Oscar Picks - 2014 Edition

Scarecrow's Oscar Picks!

Well, it's that time of year again!  The Oscar nomination were announced a few days ago, so that means it's time for me to take to the blog and dish out my annual Oscar picks...a proud tradition going all the way back to the late 1990s when I figured blogging would be a fun way to get the word out about my radio show!

And again, going back to those halcyon days of the late 1990s when my college radio show ruled the Camrose airwaves and the dot-com bubble hadn't popped yet making blogs all trendy, I do my Oscar picks a little bit differently.  Best Picture, Best Actor & Actress, Best Director...you're going to see people picking winners in those categories every where you look.  Me?  I only offer up my Oscar picks in the two categories I have a good track record of picking:  Best Visual Effects, and Best Original Song.  In 2001, I expanded it to include Best Animated Feature, because I love animation.

So, without further ado, here's my Oscar picks!

Best Visual Effects

My Thoughts:  Lots of good entries here.  If The Hobbit follows the same pattern as The Lord of the Rings, all the Oscar love is being saved for the third in the trilogy, so a no-go for The HobbitIron Man 3, while spectacular with all the Iron Man suits battling out at the end, really didn't strike me as something cutting edge and new.  Same with Star Trek Into Darkness.  Space battles?  Been there, done that.  I LOVE The Lone Ranger, and it's amazing train chase finale which was an amazing blend of CGI and practical effects, but probably not a big enough hit for the Academy voters.  But Gravity, with it's spellbinding space vistas, and the fact that most of the space scenes had Sandra Bullock and George Clooney doing staff in performance capture suits with the space suits animated on later, makes Gravity's effects barely noticable...which is what good special effects shoud do.

My Pick:  Gravity

 Best Animated Film

My Thoughts:  What?  No love for Pixar and Monsters University?  Pixar is an Oscar darling...it's shocking for them to get snubbed like this!  But, here it is.  I think the only other Pixar film that's been snubbed since this category began was Cars 2, and Monsters University was nowhere near as bad as Cars 2!  But I digress.  Let's see...The Croods really didn't make great waves among the critics when it came out, so I don't feel good about it.  Ernest and Celestine is the token foreign film that no one's heard of, so I don't feel optimistic about it.  While the critics did love Despicable Me 2, and the world loves those Minions, the first one didn't win, so I'm not sure the sequel will win.  The Wind Rises promises to be the last film from renowned Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki...just like the Oscar-winning Spirited Away was 10 years ago, so the Academy might be thinking, "Been there, done that" with The Wind Rises.  Meanwhile, the entire world is currently nuts for Frozen.  The critics love it, and it's still in theatres and fresh in people's minds.

My Pick:  Frozen

Best Original Song

"Alone Yet Not Alone" from Alone Yet Not Alone

"Happy" from Despicable Me 2

"Let It Go" from Frozen

"The Moon Song" from Her

"Ordinary Love" from Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

My Thoughts:  I think there's no debate in this category.  I began my winning streak in this category during the Disney renaissance of the 1990s, when this category was swept every year by the latest Disney animated film.  The world has gone nuts for Frozen, and the one song they're the most nuts about is Let It Go.

My Pick:  Let It Go from Frozen.

And, I guess, as an acknowledgement to mainstream trends, we should also do the Big One.

Best Picture

My Thoughts:  Still not a big fan of this new system they switched to a few years ago of more than 5 nominees.  I know the logic was to try to open things up to more mainstream films, but instead, we wound up getting a lot more films no one had heard of.  I will admit, though, this year, when it comes to nominees I've heard of, I'm 7/9 this year!  Ones I've actually seen, though, I'm just for 1 for 9, having only seen Gravity.  However, everyone is loving 12 Years a Slave, the Vegas bookies have just made it the odds-on favourite, so far be it from me to argue with the numbers.

My Pick:  12 Years a Slave

The Oscars are on March 2 this year...a little later than usual, so they don't conflict with the Winter Olympics.  For all the nominations, and to make your own picks, you can check out The Official Academy Awards Website.  

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