I would've liked to have done a post on this year's Oscar nominations back when they were announced but had to focus on getting caught up instead. It also doesn't help that, yet again, I didn't see a ton of movies that came out in 2013. One year I'd like to see all the Best Picture nominations before the awards. The 86th Academy Awards took place on March 2, 2014. This was a week later than usual due to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
I missed most of the last two award shows so the last one I watched in full was the 83rd Academy Awards on February 27th 2011 which was hosted by Anne Hathaway and James Franco. I'm not familiar with Ellen DeGeneres outside of knowing who she is, but I thought she was fine and certainly performed better than Hathaway and Franco did. I think Ellen was a safe pick but it worked out as her show had a better reception than Seth MacFarlane's hosting duties last year.
While a pizza delivery and the 'selfie' seen around the world may have been surprises, the awards pretty much lined up to what I thought would win. I didn't expect Matthew McConaughey, Cate Blanchett, 20 Feet from Stardom, or Her to win their awards but predicted everything else.
I only saw eight 2013 films so I'm going to do a brief run down of what I saw and how they did at the Oscars. Gravity, which I felt the best film of what I saw last year, took home the most awards with seven out of ten total nominations. A technical masterwork, Gravity certainly deserved the attention of the Academy, winning such awards as Best Director (Alfonso Cuaron) and Best Cinematography (Emmanuel Lubezki). I'm glad Lubezki finally won his first Oscar since he was previously nominated five times and always came up empty. Despite receiving the most awards, Gravity was unable to win the big one, Best Picture, which went to 12 Years a Slave. American Hustle matched the ten nominations of Gravity but didn't win a single award. Christian Bale and Jennifer Lawrence have recently won Oscars and with the stiff competition I wasn't surprised American Hustle was left out in the cold. That said, I still thought it would win something due to its sheer number of nominations. Given the circumstances I wouldn't say the film was snubbed, but I felt American Hustle was certainly deserving of some wins.
Besides Gravity and American Hustle the rest of the most I saw didn't get many nominations, though this was to be expected. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug received three nominations for Best Visual Effects, Best Sound Editing, and Best Sound Mixing but lost out to Gravity in each category. The Desolation of Smaug did a great job in all of those areas, but had no chance against Gravity. Gravity not only had revolutionary visual effects but also looked amazing on a relatively low budget ($100 million) given the film's huge scope.
I would've liked to have seen The Desolation of Smaug get a nomination for Best Production Design but it was a very tough category this year. I don't understand why the film didn't get nominated for Best Makeup and Hairstyling as there were only three nominations, two of which were The Lone Ranger and Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa. The previous Hobbit film, An Unexpected Journey, had nominations in both these categories but like its sequel was unable to win anything.
Iron Man 3 got a nomination for Best Visual Effects. Like The Desolation of Smaug it was deserved but no contest when compared to Gravity. Star Trek Into Darkness also received a nomination in this category. I thought the movie had good special effects but they didn't blow me away. I was disappointed that Star Trek Into Darkness and The Lone Ranger (which to be fair I'm judging only by the trailers) were recognized here but Pacific Rim (which also had top notch production design) was unable to score a nomination. Thor: The Dark World (which had better visuals and production design than I was expecting) and Man of Steel didn't get any Oscar nominations which was no surprise. Still, they would've be decent choices in the Visual Effects category since Star Trek Into Darkness and The Lone Ranger did get nominations there.
It wouldn't be an Academy Awards post without discussing the Razzie awards! The winners of the 34th Golden Raspberry Awards were announced the day before the Oscars. Grown Ups 2 received the most nominations with nine but got shutout. The dubious prize of Worst Picture went to the sketch comedy Movie 43 which tied M. Night Shyamalan and Will Smith's After Earth with three award wins. I'd still like to see a version of the Razzies that includes non-Hollywood movies so stuff like The Room or Birdemic would have a shot!
Fun fact: Now that Matthew McConaughey has won an Oscar, the two leads of Reign of Fire (the other being Christian Bale) are now Academy Award winners. Does this mean Gerard Butler has an Oscar win in his future?!