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Criticwire Survey: Oscar Fiats

You can pick one Oscar winner and take one nominee out of the race. What do you choose?
10

Kevin Lee, Fandor, Sight & Sound

Best Picture: "Her." Why? Because:

Other wishes: "The Missing Picture" for Best Foreign Language Film; "Before Midnight" for Best Adapted Screenplay 

Disqualified: Jared Leto for "Dallas Buyers Club." Why? Because:

 

Other disses: "The Wolf of Wall Street" for Best Picture; "Captain Phillips" for Best Editing.

Alissa WilkinsonChristianity Today

This feels fairly straightforward: disqualify "American Hustle" from Best Picture, so that the actual Best Picture can win in that category, and give "The Moon Song" from "Her" the Best Original Song only because I can't get it out of my head, and haven't been able to for months, and I'd like to feel validated in my crazy.

Tony Nunes, Sound on Sight, Hey You Geeks Podcast

Spike Jonze should win the for a truly Original Screenplay, "Her, "though I hope he'd win by his own merits and not have to rely on a glitch. As to who should be disqualified, I'd take the overrated Awards Season darling Meryl Streep out of the running. I can't be the only one who's sick of Hollywood's perpetual lionizing of Streep for every mediocre film and performance she appears in. There were much better performances shut out by her nomination, including Emma Thompson and Greta Gerwig.

Ernesto Diezmartinez, Reforma, Vertigo

Who Wins: "Gravity." Who goes home empy-handed: American Bullshit.

Adam Batty, Hope Lies at 24 Frames Per Second 

Purely for kicks, I'd love to see Her take Best Picture. Not only would it make for the most unorthodox Best Picture winner since 1972 and The French Connection, but it's my favourite of the pictures assembled, alongside "The Wolf of Wall Street." As for disqualifying a nominee, while one can take some solace in the fact that there ain't a stinker quite as out of place as Les Misérables was last year, I'd opt for getting rid of the Obligatory Streep Nomination. The whole thing jumped the shark with her winning for the Thatcher biopic two years back. 

Jeff Berg, ABQ Arts, Las Cruces Bulletin

"Her" would be disqualified....too long and even though it is an interesting thought and nice to see that a 'future' form of human contact does not turn out to be evil, it was just too tedious. I would also drop "Cutie and the Boxer." Winner would be "Nebraska"; it felt real and all of the hype was accurate for a change.

Mark Young, Sound on Sight, The New York Movie Klub

Look, I liked "Gravity." I found it be a gorgeous film that entertained me for every minute of its running time. But I would no more give it an Oscar than I would give one to "Iron Man 3" (outside of the visual effects category, anyway). So my Oscar fiats would be to give Best Picture to the shattering, "Schindler's List"-esque "12 Years a Slave," and to disqualify Sandra Bullock in the Best Actress category.

Anne-Katrin Titze, Eye for Film

Best Foreign Language Film: Paolo Sorrentino's mysteriously spellbinding tale "The Great Beauty." All talking, all dancing, all deception, with an enraged little girl making art in public, a talkative Cardinal who obsesses about cooking and used to be "Europe's best exorcist," Arturo, the magician, with his giraffe, flamingos, Fanny Ardant, and tourists who drop dead from the sheer beauty of Rome. 

Since the hair and makeup team of BAFTA winners Lori McCoy-Bell and Evelyne Noraz was not even nominated for their great work on "American Hustle," there will be no true Oscar winner in the Best Makeup and Hairstyling category.

William Bibbiani, CraveOnline, The B-Movies Podcast

Hawkins Jasmine

Most of the major categories are filled with exceptional nominees, even if many of my favorites didn't make the cut. (Oh, "Blue is the Warmest Color," what happened to you?) So I'm more inclined to pick an underdog winner from a category in which I don't think the frontrunner is particularly deserving. Since neither Jennifer Lawrence, Lupita Nyong'o nor June Squibb really wowed me -- yes, really, shut up - -I'll have to elect Sally Hawkins to take home Best Supporting Actress for her complex, susceptible turn in "Blue Jasmine."

As for which nomination I would take away, the same rule applies. Which frontrunner did I like the least? That's an easier one: "The Great Beauty," Italy's entry into the Best Foreign Language Film category. It's an insufferable ode to insufferability, a pretentious film about the pretentiousness of pretension. I get it, "The Great Beauty," you think Fellini was awesome. But guess what? You are to Fellini what "Rock of Ages" was to hair metal.

Josh Larsen, Filmspotting, Larsen on Film

It's not often that my second-favorite film of the year is nominated for Best Picture, so I'd give that to "12 Years a Slave." And while I don't have the bile towards "The Wolf of Wall Street" that I did for last year's eventual winner, "Argo," the degree to which Wolf is being overrated would tempt me to remove it from the running.

Joey Magidson, The Awards Circuit, First Showing

Her

Decisions, decisions. I think for the winner, I'd have to go with my favorite film of 2013, "Her," triumphing in Best Picture. That's the only real category where I'm slightly bemoaning the likely winners, so disqualifying a nominee elsewhere is slightly hard. In years past, I'd have had no shortage, but here the best I can offer is to disqualify Meryl Streep. Honestly, would we miss here in Best Actress, especially if it could get a nomination in for Brie Larson or Adele Exarchopolous instead?

Sean Hutchinson, CriterionCast

I think if I could pick a winner it would be Leonardo DiCaprio for Best Actor, simply because he's given constantly entertaining performances for years now without proper recognition by the Academy for whatever reason. His films with Martin Scorsese has given him the most fruitful roles of his career, and "The Wolf of Wall Street" represents the gloriously depraved zenith of their collaboration -- plus it's probably the best thing DiCaprio has ever done.

If I could disqualify one nominee it'd be the Best Picture nom for David O. Russell's bizarrely venerated "American Hustle," a film that feels so sloppily put together it seems like a blatant caricature of much better movies ("Goodfellas," "Casino," you name it). How this film made it to the ostensible top ranks of last year's films is truly one of the mysteries of the universe to me.

Adam Kempenaar, Filmspotting

As tempting as it is to disqualify Bradley Cooper and his curls, I'd kick his movie out of the Best Picture race -- because unlike Cooper, "American Hustle" somehow has a legitimate shot at winning. The Academy has made bigger blunders, surely, but when the nominees include great films such as "Her" and "The Wolf of Wall Street," and the non-nominees include "Inside Llewyn Davis," Hustle's coronation would be the ultimate con. As for picking one winner... there are too many candidates I love, and too few I strongly oppose. It's making my brain hurt, so I will be weak and abstain.

Edward Douglas, ComingSoon

I'm going to make both my picks in the same category, Original Screenplay, because I really think David O. Russell deserves to win for his screenplay for the movie, which is really what drives everything about it including the four Oscar-nominated performances. As good as the actors are, if Russell hadn't written the words coming out of their mouths so brilliantly, it would have fallen flat. At the same time, I really don't want Spike Jonze's screenplay to "Her" to win in that category because I really didn't like that movie as much as everyone else has been raving about it. The premise seems obvious and I didn't think the screenplay was that great even though it's been winning anything up until now.

Tony Dayoub, Cinema Viewfinder

Osage

First, a disclaimer: I'm not one of these Meryl Streep haters that crop up every time she's nominated. I am a fan of her work. But I would definitely do everything in my power to eliminate her from the Best Actress competition. Not only did Estelle Parsons play the part of "August: Osage County"'s matriarch Violet with more subtlety and comic finesse onstage, this is the worst performance I've ever seen from Streep who seems overly concerned with being upstaged by the rest of "August"'s powerhouse cast.

On the other hand, there is no more deserving actress than Lupita Nyong'o. Her turn as the beleaguered Patsey in "12 Years a Slave" is one I hope won't be overlooked in favor of the miscast Jennifer Lawrence's nominated performance just because she's the current It Girl. 

Gary M. Kramer, Gay City News, Philadelphia Gay News

It's a zero sum game for me: I would absolutely pick Sandra Bullock to win Best Actress and punt La Streep from the category altogether. 

Michael Pattison, Sight & Sound, MUBI

I'd disqualify "American Hustle" from Best Editing because the film is an absolute mess whose very mention throughout awards season speaks of a deeply malaised culture of intellectual bankruptcy. I'd give the Best Picture to "12 Years a Slave," not because it deserves it but because both are wholly welcome to one another.

Cameron Williams, Popcorn Junkie, Graffiti with Punctuation

Slave

Using the power of the glitch, in the best actor in a supporting role category I would pick Michael Fassbender as the winner for his performance in "12 Years a Slave." There are a lot of great performances in this category but Fassbender is on another level playing Edwin Epps. Also, Fassbender has stated that he doesn’t indulge in the campaigning of awards season by attending all the events designed to sway voters which will always put him at a disadvantage no matter how good his performance. Fassbender was quoted in the November 2013 issue of GQ saying "It's just a grind. And I'm not a politician. I'm an actor." As reported by Anne Thompson in her article on IndieWire Why Michael Fassbender Doesn't Have to Campaign for Oscar Frontrunner '12 Years a Slave', Fassbender chose to head to New Zealand to work on the indie production of Macbeth than campaign for an Oscar. What a guy. 

For my second glitch I wouldn’t disqualify one person, I would disqualify an entire category, and that category is best original song. Yes, I was happy when Bret McKenzie won the Oscar for his work on The Muppets but this category is always running on the fumes of the musical offerings from cinema. Last year the wonderfully talented Adele got an Oscar for making a list of words that rhyme with "Skyfall." There are some great songs throughout the history of the category but it ain’t what it used to be.

Robert Levin, amNewYork

Lupita Nyong'o deserves Best Supporting Actress for her stellar work in "12 Years a Slave,"  in which her Patsey embodies the pain, sacrifice and strength of so many forgotten slavery victims. But she really, really deserves it over her presumed chief competition -- Jennifer Lawrence -- whose performance in "American Hustle" is showy and affected. So, Nyong'o is my winner. The going home empty handed question is difficult, but let's stick with the anti-"Hustle" bandwagon and pinpoint David O. Russell for his overwrought, freewheeling direction. 

Joanna Langfield, The Movie Minute

This question is just too much fun! If I had the power (oh, think of the possibilities!), I would award Best Picture to my personal number one pick for 2013, "Her." Yes, nice to know it has been nominated, but my sweetheart of a pick is never going to win BP. Which would I disqualify? Bring on the haters, it's Screenplay nominee "American Hustle." Yes, I had a blast watching that film, but screenplay? Really? This is a picture (sort of) about ABSCAM, a major misuse of American governmental power that packs some pretty potent punches in light of today's headlines. David O. Russell has delivered a dandy character piece, but those characters are floating scene to scene, skirting around a major American issue as if it's a mere plot point. What we get is a barrel of fun, but there's very little there there. 

Edwin Arnaudin, Ashvegas, Asheville Citizen-Times

"12 Years a Slave" and "The Wolf of Wall Street" tie for Best Picture while Alfonso Cuaren is DQ’d from Best Director, paving the way for a Steve McQueen/Martin Scorsese tie.

"The LEGO Movie"
"The LEGO Movie"

Q: What is the best movie in theaters?

A: The LEGO Movie

Other movies receiving multiple mentions: "Her," "The Wind Rises," "The Last of the Unjust," "Omar."


This article is related to: Criticwire Survey


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