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ACHIEVEMENT IN MUSIC WRITTEN FOR MOTION PICTURES (ORIGINAL SCORE)

THE BOOK THIEF - John Williams
GRAVITY - Steven Price
HER - William Butler, Owen Pallett
PHILOMENA - Alexandre Desplat
SAVING MR. BANKS - Thomas Newman

An interesting mix of the perpetually-nominated (this makes 12 for Newman, six for Desplat, and I-can't-count-that-high for Williams) and newcomers. Everyone except me knew Gravity was a shoo-in; I thought the branch might not cotton to its non-melodic, atmospheric approach, and frankly I also felt it was the film's one craft area that wasn't oustanding. Her is even more surprising, both because of the presence of two composers, and also the nature of the scoring credit: "Music by Arcade Fire, Additional Music by Owen Pallett." Hans Zimmer's 12 Years a Slave is the surprising omission, especially since it was one of the most nominated films overall, and I thought Captain Phillips would provide a first nomination for the rapidly rising Henry Jackman.


ACHIEVEMENT IN MUSIC WRITTEN FOR MOTION PICTURES (ORIGINAL SONG)

"ALONE YET NOT ALONE" - Alone Yet Not Alone - Music by Bruce Broughton, Lyric by Dennis Spiegel
"HAPPY" - Despicable Me 2 - Music and Lyric by Pharrell Williams
"LET IT GO" - Frozen - Music and Lyric by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez
"THE MOON SONG" - Her - Music by Karen O, Lyric by Karen O and Spike Jonze
"ORDINARY LOVE" - Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom - Music by Paul Hewson, Dave Evans, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen, Lyric by Paul Hewson

The IMDB page on Alone Yet Not Alone doesn't list a single actor I've ever heard of, while Rotten Tomatoes doesn't have a single review. That must be a hell of a song (William Ross wrote the actual score to the film).  I think Frozen could have earned more song nominations if the studio had submitted more of its songs; either way, "Let It Go" seems like the front runner, especially since both the album and the film are hugely successful. Spike Jonze joins the company of such Oscar-nominated lyricists as Julie Taymor and Lars von Trier.


 


BEST MOTION PICTURE OF THE YEAR

AMERICAN HUSTLE - Charles Roven, Richard Suckle, Megan Ellison, Jonathan Gordon
CAPTAIN PHILLIPS - Scott Rudin, Dana Brunetti, Michael De Luca
DALLAS BUYERS CLUB - Robbie Brenner, Rachel Winter
GRAVITY - Alfonso Cuaron, David Heyman
HER - Megan Ellison, Spike Jonze, Vincent Landay
NEBRASKA - Albert Berger, Ron Yerxa
PHILOMENA - Gabrielle Tana, Steve Coogan, Tracey Seaward
12 YEARS A SLAVE - Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Steve McQueen, Anthony Katagas
THE WOLF OF  WALL STREET - nominees to be determined

In general the biggest surprises are probably the complete absence of any nominations for Lee Daniels' The Butler (not even for Oprah) and the snubbing of Saving Mr. Banks (except for Thomas Newman). American Hustle seems a likely front runner -- it's a box-office hit with a ton of nominations, and not nearly as controversial as Wolf of Wall Street. This is the first year of the up-to-ten nominations in Best Picture that one composer had two films in the list -- this year's composers are Danny Elfman, Henry Jackman, Steven Price, WIlliam Butler/Owen Pallett, Mark Orton, Alexandre Desplat and Hans Zimmer (Dallas Buyers Club and Wolf of Wall Street have no original score).


PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

CHRISTIAN BALE - American Hustle
BRUCE DERN - Nebraska
LEONARDO DI CAPRIO -The Wolf of Wall Street
CHIWETEL EJIOFOR - 12 Years a Slave
MATTHEW McCONAUGHEY - Dallas Buyers Club

This was one of the toughest categories this year -- there wasn't even room for Tom Hanks in Captain Phillips or Robert Redford in All Is Lost, both of which would have been surefire nominees another year. As as Empire of the Sun obsessive, I'm thrilled that Bale got another nod, and he did an amazing job in a part he really isn't right for. Di Caprio and McConaughey seem the most likely choices, with the combination of comeback and weight loss giving McConaughey the edge. Also, repentant homophobe is a much more Oscar-friendly role than unrepentant a-hole.


PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE

AMY ADAMS - American Hustle
CATE BLANCHETT - Blue Jasmine
SANDRA BULLOCK - Gravity
JUDI DENCH - Philomena
MERYL STREEP - August: Osage County

All previous nominees, four winners in the bunch, no real surprise except the lack of Emma Thompson.


PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

BARKHAD ABDI - Captain Phillips
BRADLEY COOPER - American Hustle
MICHAEL FASSBENDER - 12 Years a Slave
JONAH HILL - The Wolf of Wall Street
JARED LETO - Dallas Buyers Club

I'm disappointed at the lack of Rush's Daniel Bruhl (the film was totally shut out, even from editing and sound categories) and surprised at Jonah Hill's second nomination (clearly no one remembers The Sitter). Jared Leto seems the likely winner, both due the nature of the character and the fact that he's excellent in the role, though everybody certainly seems to be in love with Fassbender these days.


PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

SALLY HAWKINS - Blue Jasmine
JENNIFER LAWRENCE - American Hustle
LUPITA NYONG'O - 12 Years a Slave
JULIA ROBERTS - August: Osage County
JUNE SQUIBB - Nebraska

I actually felt Roberts was better in August than Streep was, but her inclusion in Supporting is ridiculous -- she's more or less the main character. And to quote Alfonso Duralde in The Wrap on the actress who really got the shaft this year, "it’s up to this generation’s greatest screen actress to find the honesty and the power amongst all the showboating: I’m referring, of course, to Margo Martindale."


ACHIEVEMENT IN DIRECTING

AMERICAN HUSTLE - David O. Russell
GRAVITY - Alfonso Cuaron
NEBRASKA - Alexander Payne
12 YEARS A SLAVE - Steve McQueen
THE WOLF OF WALL STREET - Martin Scorsese

Russell seems likely to win, especially given his comeback with The Fighter and Silver Linings Playbook, but I'd love for it to go to Cuaron, also nominated for Picture and Editing.


ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

AMERICAN HUSTLE - Eric Warren Singer, David O. Russell
BLUE JASMINE - Woody Allen
DALLAS BUYERS CLUB - Craig Borten, Melisa Wallack
HER - Spike Jonze
NEBRASKA - Bob Nelson

American Hustle seems the likely winner again.


ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

BEFORE MIDNIGHT - Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke
CAPTAIN PHILLIPS - Billy Ray
PHILOMENA - Steve Coogan, Jeff Pope
12 YEARS A SLAVE - John Ridley
THE WOLF OF WALL STREET - Terence Winter

I'm thrilled Before Midnight got in, and surprised that Steve Coogan has ended up a nominee for Picture and Screenplay.


ACHIEVEMENT IN CINEMATOGRAPHY

THE GRANDMASTER - Philippe Le Sourd
GRAVITY - Emmanuel Lubezki
INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS - Bruno Delbonnel
NEBRASKA - Phedon Papamichael
PRISONERS - Roger A. Deakins

As always, an outstanding bunch, with some of my favorite DPs (Lubezki, Deakins, Delbonnel). Gravity is the likely winner, which would make five consecutive years that the same film wins both Cinematography and Visual Effects (assuming Gravity wins for VFX; it seems the shoo-in of Oscar night).


ACHIEVEMENT IN PRODUCTION DESIGN

AMERICAN HUSTLE - Judy Becker, Heather Loeffler
GRAVITY - Andy Nicholson, Rosie Goodwin, Joanne Woollard
THE GREAT GATSBY - Catherine Martin, Beverley Dunn
HER - K.K. Barrett, Gene Serdena
12 YEARS A SLAVE - Adam Stockhausen, Alice Baker

I'm very happy that Her's colorful, subtly imaginative future world got in. Great Gatsby might win for size and number of sets.


ACHIEVEMENT IN FILM EDITING

AMERICAN HUSTLE - Jay Cassidy, Crispin Struthers, Alan Baumgarten
CAPTAIN PHILLIPS - Christopher Rouse
DALLAS BUYERS CLUB - John Mac McMurphy, Martin Pensa
GRAVITY - Alfonso Cuaron, Mark Sanger
12 YEARS A SLAVE - Joe Walker

Probably American Hustle, though overall it's a strong group.


ACHIEVEMENT IN COSTUME DESIGN

AMERICAN HUSTLE - Michael Wilkinson
THE GRANDMASTER - William Chang Suk Ping
THE GREAT GATSBY - Catherine Martin
THE INVISIBLE WOMAN - Michael O'Connor
12 YEARS A SLAVE - Patricia Norris

As always a lot of period films, ranging from pre-Civil War to the '70s/80s. Hard to say which will win, though the deliberately tacky stylings of American Hustle are probably the most talked-about.


ACHIEVEMENT IN SOUND MIXING

CAPTAIN PHILLIPS - Chris Burdon, Mark Taylor, Mike Prestwood Smith, Chris Munro
GRAVITY - Skip Lievsay, Niv Adiri, Christopher Benstead, Chris Munro
THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG - Christopher Boyes, Michael Hedges, Michael Semanick, Tony Johnson
INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS - Skip Lievsay, Greg Orloff, Peter F. Kurland
LONE SURVIVOR - Andy Koyama, Beau Borders, David Brownlow

ACHIEVEMENT IN SOUND EDITING

ALL IS LOST - Steve Boedekker, Richard Hymns
CAPTAIN PHILLIPS - Oliver Tarney
GRAVITY - Glenn Freemantle
THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG - Brent Burge
LONE SURVIVOR - Wylie Stateman

ACHIEVEMENT IN VISUAL EFFECTS

GRAVITY - Tim Webber, Chris Lawrence, Dave Shirk, Neil Corbould
THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG - Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton, Eric Reynolds
IRON MAN 3 - Christopher Townsend, Guy Williams, Erik Nash, Dan Sudick
THE LONE RANGER - Tim Alexander, Gary Brozenich, Edson Williams, John Frazier
STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS - Roger Guyett, Patrick Tubach, Ben Grossman, Bert Dalton

Three categories, one word -- Gravity.


ACHIEVEMENT IN MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING

DALLAS BUYERS CLUB - Adruitha Lee, Robin Matthews
JACKASS PRESENTS: BAD GRANDPA - Stephen Prouty
THE LONE RANGER - Joel Harlow, Gloria Pasqua-Casny

One has to appreciate a year where the new Jackass film gets more nominations than a prime piece of Oscar bait like Lee Daniels' The Butler. Nevertheless, Dallas Buyers Club is likely to win.


BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM OF THE YEAR

THE CROODS - Chris Sanders, Kirk DeMicco, Kristine Belson
DESPICABLE ME 2 - Chris Renaud, Pierre Coffin, Chris Meledandri
ERNEST & CELESTINE - Benjamin Renner, Didier Brunner
FROZEN - Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee, Peter Del Vecho
THE WIND RISES - Hayao Miyazaki, Toshio Suzuki

Frozen seems a shoo-in, though Wind Rises is gorgeous. Haven't seen Ernest & Celestine; I was expecting Monsters University and hoping for Cloudy 2 over Croods and Despicable 2.


BEST ANIMATED SHORT FILM

FERAL - Daniel Sousa, Dan Golden
GET A HORSE! - Lauren MacMullan, Dorothy McKim
MR. HUBLOT - Laurent Witz, Alexandre Espigares
POSSESSIONS - Shuhei Morita
ROOM ON THE BROOM - Max Lang, Jan Lachauer

BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM

AQUEL NO ERA YO (THAT WASN'T ME) - Esteban Crespo
AVANT QUE DE TOUT PERDRE (JUST BEFORE LOSING EVERYTHING) - Xavier Legrand, Alexandre Gavras
HELIUM - Anders Walter, Kim Magnusson
PITAAKO MUN KAIKKI HOITAA? (DO I HAVE TO TAKE CARE OF EVERYTHING?) - Selma Vilhunen, Kirsikka Saari
THE VOORMAN PROBLEM - Mark Gill, Baldwin Li

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT

CAVEDIGGER - Jeffrey Karoff
FACING FEAR - Jason Cohen
KARMA HAS NO WALLS - Sara Ishaq
THE LADY IN NUMBER 6: MUSIC SAVED MY LIFE - Malcolm Clarke, NIcholas Reed
PRISON TERMINAL: THE LAST DAYS OF PRIVATE JACK HALL - Edgar Barens

I haven't seen any of the shorts, but I've heard that Get a Horse!, the 3D Mickey Mouse short, is amazing.


BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

THE ACT OF KILLING - Joshua Oppenheimer, Signe Byrge Sorensen
CUTIE AND THE BOXER - Zachary Heinzerling, Lydia Dean Pilcher
DIRTY WARS - Richard Rowley, Jeremy Scahill
THE SQUARE - Jehane Noujaim, Karim Amer
20 FEET FROM STARDOM - nominees to be announced

20 Feet is a crowd pleaser in the Searching for Sugar Man vein, while The Act of Killing was memorable and original and I could hardly stay awake through it. Haven't seen the others.


BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM OF THE YEAR

THE BROKEN CIRCLE BREAKDOWN - Belgium
THE GREAT BEAUTY - Italy
THE HUNT - Denmark
THE MISSING PICTURE - Cambodia
OMAR - Palestine

I've only seen The Great Beauty. Some very good films submitted this year, like Wadjda and The Past, didn't make the short list. Broken Circle Breakdown and The Hunt seem to be the main contenders.

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