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The 22 Oscar Nominations We'd Most Like To See Tomorrow (But Probably Won't)

by Oliver Lyttelton
January 15, 2014 2:08 PM
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Best Cinematography - Emmanuel Lubezki - "To the Wonder"
Despite five nominations, the great Mexican cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki has never won an Oscar, though that should be rectified this year thanks to his work on "Gravity." It's overdue, and it's doubly appropriate given that he could have been nominated twice over this year, thanks to equally spectacular and very different work on Terrence Malick's "To the Wonder." The film divided critics, and was mostly ignored by audiences, but few who caught it would argue that Lubezki's images weren't consistently gorgeous: the director and DoP doubled-down on the style from "The Tree of Life," with a restless, ever-moving camera that twists and wanders like a dancer, but isn't afraid to come in close and pick up the tiny details—intertwined hands, hair in the wind, water coming in over sand. No one captures natural light like Malick, and Lubezki's so in sync with him at this point that they feel virtually inseparable. Even if they don't like the whole—and plenty don't—anyone who saw the film is sure to find some of its images seared into their brains months later, and to us, that's a sign of a beautifully photographed film. Hopefully Lubezki and Malick will find their way back to nomination with the upcoming "Knight of Cups" or its untitled companion film.

Best Editing - Jennifer Lame - "Frances Ha"
Comedy is often ignored when it comes to the Editing Oscar in favor of flashier action or thriller pictures, which is odd, because it might be the genre in which editing makes or breaks it—it's no coincidence that a great comedy filmmaker like Hal Ashby started off in the cutting room. The difference between great comedies last year—"The World's End," "The Wolf of Wall Street"—and the bad ones—most of the others—so often comes in the editing, and this was never more true than in "Frances Ha." The cutting in the film is so precision-timed and perfectly-executed that we assumed that Noah Baumbach had brought in some legendary veteran to edit his secret project, but in fact, it was newcomer Jennifer Lame, who had only a single feature under her belt before that and was only promoted because original cutter Tim Streeto dropped out to work on "Boardwalk Empire." But she and Baumbach clearly work beautifully together (the film took a year to cut, but it shows in how finely tuned it is), and she's now set to work on his next two features.

Best Original Song - “Doby” - “Anchorman: The Legend Continues”
"Anchorman: The Legend Continues" was somewhat mixed as a follow-up to a legitimately great comedy, but it had a bold third act, and in particular, the most hilariously absurd, strange and overlong tangent in recent memory, which we’ll call the “Lighthouse Blues” section of the movie. And at its center is “Doby,” a loving and moving tribute Ron Burgundy sings with his family to a pet great white shark. Sounding strangely like a mid-period Nick Cave ballad, stuffed with hilarious lyrics, and culminating in a children's choir, it'd undoubtedly bring down the house (or just confuse the hell out of everyone) if it was performed at the Oscars, but unfortunately, it's likely to miss out on an Original Song nod. Bo-ring.

Best Original Score - Jóhann Jóhannsson - “Prisoners”
Perhaps one of the most underrated scores of the year, and even one you might not remember so much, is Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson’s chilling score for Denis Villeneuve’s crime drama “Prisoners.” The film centers on a father (Hugh Jackman) whose daughter and her friend are suddenly abducted during the cold, late fall in the suburbs of Pennsylvania and the vigilante-like lengths he goes to in attempts to return them to safety. Chasing down the suspects is a young, brooding detective (Jake Gyllenhaal) who is just as determined to find the missing children. “Prisoners” is gray, dark and brooding. A man begins to lose his soul, his family and all hope as the hours the children have been missing begin to add up insurmountably. Jóhannsson’s score is thus akin to an unforgiving chill that burrows into your bones, a haunting hymnal of death, a dread that creeps into your soul that will never let go once it consumes you. It is perhaps then one of the year’s scariest scores and yet it acts nothing like a horror score; it is ghostly church organs, throbbing cello drones, chimes that glisten like you can feel their breath in the frigid air. The “Prisoners” score is the sound of your tomb being closed as snowflakes gently fall from the sky, melting into the ground never to be seen again; eerie psalms acting as preludes to the forever darkness.

Best Picture - "Inside Llewyn Davis"
It's rare that we remember quite such a large disconnect between critics and Academy members on a potential contender as the gulf that appears to have sprung up with "Inside Llewyn Davis." Writers, this one included, mostly did backflips over the Coens' latest, and it was widely expected to be a Best Picture nominee. But once voters and audiences started watching it, it was clear that they weren't responding in the same way—finding the film chilly and its central character unsympathetic. We're not saying that they're wrong, but, well, they're wrong: "Inside Llewyn Davis" is one of the very best films by two of our very best filmmakers. Rich and complex like an especially good novel, and with a melancholy tone reminiscent of "Barton Fink" and "A Serious Man," it's undeniably a little bleak, but about as funny as a bleak film could be. And the Coens' clearly share a love for their broken, bitter protagonist, and an empathy for his struggle and failures that may not be shared by Academy voters whose own difficult days are long behind them, not least because he's played by Oscar Isaac (who, see above, is goddamn amazing). Every performer, from Justin Timberlake and Carey Mulligan to Garrett Hedlund and John Goodman, does stellar work; it looks beautiful, courtesy of Bruno Delbonnel; and it sounds doubly wonderful, thanks to its authentic and brilliantly performed folk soundtrack. We know we shouldn't take the Academy as a measurement of quality, but the idea that this isn't one of the best films of the year is, frankly, an absurd one.

Honorable Mentions:
There are lots of other performers and films that we’d love to see recognized from our earlier For Your Consideration pieces. When we took a look at the Supporting Actresses, we highlighted Sally Hawkins from “Blue Jasmine” (who’s gathered steam since, and actually has a decent chance of making the cut), Mickey Sumner from "Frances Ha" and Kaitlyn Dever from "Short Term 12," while also mentioning Maria Bello and Viola Davis from "Prisoners," Alexandra Maria Lara from "Rush," Kristin Scott Thomas from "Only God Forgives," Reem Abdullah from "Wadjda," Maggie Siff from "Concussion," Ellen Page from "Touchy Feely," Rooney Mara from "Ain't Them Bodies Saints," Joanna Vanderham from "What Maisie Knew," Pauline Burlet from "The Past" and Emma Watson from "The Bling Ring."

For the Supporting Actors, we shone a light on "Short Term 12" 's Keith Stanfield, "Spring Breakers" ' James Franco and "Mud" 's Ray McKinnon, with "Parkland" 's James Badge Dale, "About Time" 's Bill Nighy, "Saving Mr. Banks" ' Jason Schwartzmann, "The Place Beyond The Pines" ' Emory Cohen, "Computer Chess" ' Myles Paige, "This Is The End" 's Danny McBride, "Iron Man 3" 's Ben Kingsley, Moises Arias from "The Kings of Summer" and in particular, "Pain & Gain" 's Dwayne Johnson.

For our expanded piece on our Best Actress favorites, we named Julia Louis-Dreyfus from "Enough Said," Greta Gerwig for "Frances Ha," Berenice Bejo from "The Past," "Touchy Feely" 's Rosemarie DeWitt, "Wadjda" 's Waad Mohammed, "Side Effects" 's Rooney Mara and "Mother Of George" 's Danai Gurira, while Olivia Wilde from "Drinking Buddies," Lake Bell from "In A World," Amy Seimetz from "Upstream Color," Felicity Jones from "The Invisible Woman," Mia Wasikowska from "Stoker," Amy Acker from "Much Ado About Nothing," Lumita Georghiu from "Child's Pose," Alice Lowe from "Sightseers," Veerle Baetens from "The Broken Circle Breakdown," Robin Weigert from "Concussion"and Kathryn Hahn from "Afternoon Delight" were the equally worthy runners-up (next time someone tries to tell you that there's a shallow pool for Best Actress, show them this list, before or after slapping them in the head).

And for Best Actor, we named Mads Mikkelsen from "The Hunt," "A Hijacking" stars Pilou Asbaek and Soren Malling, Jack Reynor from "What Richard Did," Ethan Hawke from "Before Midnight," Toni Servillo from "The Great Beauty," Ali Mosaffa from "The Past" and Hugh Jackman from "Prisoners," with Conner Chapman of "The Selfish Giant," Dane DeHaan from "Kill Your Darlings," Chris Hemsworth from "Rush," Michael Shannon of "The Iceman" and Tony Leung of "The Grandmaster" also getting mentions.

Who do you hope gets nominated tomorrow? Let us know in the comments section below.

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  • Marlene Waller | March 1, 2014 10:54 PMReply

    I really enjoyed Prisoners and Her, although I didn't see all the movies. Hollywood is clearly deliberately ignoring the talent of Joaquim Phoenix. Don't understand the hype over Wall Street which was way over the top, a caricature except for the performance of the federal agent, as you stated. The choices as always are primarily politically driven.

  • Bartleby | January 26, 2014 3:27 PMReply

    Isn't it the case that Scarlett Johannson is ineligible for an acting award because she does not appear on screen? Isn't that why Andy Serkis was never nominated for Lord of the Rings or Rise of the Planet of the Apes? Or, perhaps reaching a bit, James Earl Jones for Darth Vader?

    I know I was really frustrated a few years ago when what I would argue was the best score of the 2000s decade--There Will Be Blood--was cut out because it sampled some music.

    The Academy only recently added Best Animated Feature, they need to continue to move into the 21st Century by recognizing such performances.

  • FP | January 18, 2014 2:10 PMReply

    Oliver, as always, you prove out why this is my favorite place on IndieWire. An excellent and thorough accounting of the films and performances that will stay with us long past March 3rd.

  • FP | January 18, 2014 2:02 PMReply

    Are we talking about the same MUD? Did this morph into a conversation about Misty Day and the swamp in AMERICAN HORROR STORY: COVEN? Because if you meant the MUD where Reese Witherspoon swans around in short shorts with nothing to do except look like a trailer trashy Helen of Troy as a grown man sends boys out to do his bidding, I think I recoil in horror at the idea that this is a better film than 12 YEARS A SLAVE, WINTER'S BONE, NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN, THERE WILL BE BLOOD, ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND, MEMENTO, BEING JOHN MALKOVICH, THE INSIDER, etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. The idea conveyed in MUD is, women make you do stupid sh!t. Pity that women think so highly of it.

  • suzaman | January 17, 2014 1:48 PMReply

    I called the Academy about Mud it wasnt just the best picture of the year but the past 15 years

  • Debbie | January 17, 2014 12:03 AMReply

    Prisoners had some great acting! And what about "Mud"??????? I loved that movie. And thought those young boys were awesome in it.

  • Me | January 16, 2014 1:32 AMReply

    Joaquin Phoenix? Her was a back step for him, there were moments when i thought i was watching his Jimmy Emmett character.

  • Tom | January 16, 2014 1:19 AMReply

    Upstream Color in all categories, but editing especially

  • buddy | January 15, 2014 9:54 PMReply

    The title of Joaquin's documentary was 'I'm Still Here', not 'I'm Not There' which was of course the Dylan biopic.

  • buddy | January 17, 2014 5:26 PM

    ..and they corrected it. You're welcome!

  • tracy | January 15, 2014 8:14 PMReply

    And where are the noms for the BEAUTIFULLY shot, edited, cast, written, directed acted, and soundtrack of "42" !!!!!!( Sure it's a terrible title) - but Harrison Ford deserves a best supporting nomination, Don Burgess should be a shoe in for best cinematography, and though it's been a stellar year for African American leading actors - Chadwick Boseman is incredible as Jackie Robinson! Brian Helgeland's script and direction are fabulous! ( and I HATE baseball)
    I can't stand it when films that are released early in the year are COMPLETELY ignored come awards time!

  • keifer | January 15, 2014 8:06 PMReply

    I'm hoping:

    Toni Sorvillo will get a Best Actor nomination for "The Great Beauty".

    Kristin Scott Thomas will get a Best Supporting Actress nomination for "Only God Forgives".

    Joel Edgarton will get a Best Supporting Actor nomination for "The Great Gatsby".

  • Gerard Kennelly | January 16, 2014 8:18 AM

    the Frost Nixon style war of words between him and dicaprio was easily one of the best scenes of 2013

    your friend marty chase isn't too proud to come in on that though is he ?

    ha ha ha

  • Patrick | January 15, 2014 7:53 PMReply

    BEST ORIGINAL SONG - Keith Stanfield's raw freestyle in SHORT TERM 12

  • Joseph K. | January 15, 2014 7:18 PMReply

    I would love to see Danai Gurira nominated for Mother of George.

  • Xavier | January 15, 2014 7:07 PMReply

    Only God Forgives and Stoker for cinematography

  • Glass | January 15, 2014 6:19 PMReply

    I'm listening to the Prisoners score right now and it's one of my faves from last year.

    Jennifer Lame (Frances Ha) should WIN best editing - that's the coolest cutting I've seen in a movie in so long.

  • Gerard Kennelly | January 15, 2014 5:26 PMReply

    best actor Dennis Quaid AT ANY PRICE
    best supp actor Chris Evans THE ICEMAN
    best actress Brie Larson SHORT TERM 12
    best supp actress Julianne Nicholson AUGUST OSAGE COUNTY

  • Jamie | January 15, 2014 4:28 PMReply

    My biggest disappointment this year has been Prisoners fading in the race for gold. It is still being discussed at our house and has been watched three times and will probably be watched again. Most of the films nominated tomorrow will get a once over and then consigned to history. Yes the film was flawed, but it proved what a great ensemble and director can do with less than spectacular material simply by conveying twisted lives dealing with unspeakable horror.

  • cirkusfolk | January 15, 2014 4:19 PMReply

    You forgot Dennis Quaid for Best Actor in At Any Price.

  • Gerard Kennelly | January 16, 2014 8:20 AM

    sweet music to my ears :)

  • NewYorker | January 15, 2014 4:05 PMReply

    my 22 stuff i love to see get nominated but probley won't are
    1-Best Supporting Actor-James Franco
    2-Best Actor-Michael B. Jordan
    3-Best Picture-Spring Breakers.
    4-Best Supporting Actor Jon Bernthal-Wolf Of Wall Street
    5-Best Supporting Actress Jennifer Hudson-Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete
    6-Best Actor Jason Bateman-Disconnect
    7-Best Cinemtaography-Disconnect
    8-Best Picture-Disconnect(was hopin for the film to maybe be the next Crash)
    9-Best Original Song-the song sang in Filly Brown
    10-Best Costume Design-Oz: Great and Powerful
    11-Best Actor-Mark Wahlberg-Lone Survivor
    12-Best Actor-Miles Teller-Spectacular Now
    13-Best Actress-Emma Watson-The Bling Ring
    14-Best Picture-Fruitvale Station
    15-Best Actress-Jane Levy for Evil Dead
    16-Best Actor-Chadwick Boseman for 42
    17-Best Supporting Actor-Bobby Cannavale for Blue jasmine
    18-best supporting actress Julianne Moore for either Don Jon or Carrie
    19-Best Costume Design Romeo & Juliet
    20-Best Actor Robert Redford for not All Is Lost but for The Company You Keep
    21-Best Makeeup-Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom & Oz: Great and Powerful
    22-Best Actor-Idris Elba

  • daniel | January 15, 2014 4:02 PMReply

    I hope Amy Adams gets a nomination full stop because shes adorable and a masterful actress. I'd also love to see Oscar Isaac get recognized, I love that performance. Julie Delpy would be wonderful but isn't going to happen. Also ones that are not going to happen which is a travesty are Adele Exarchopoulos and Lea Seydoux who are so stunning in Blue that its almost unbelievable their lack of recognition (even at the Baftas!).

    Anyway the film I'm most annoyed about not getting any love is MUD, which is such a terrific film and I just wonder if it had come out November/December would it be getting more love? McConaughey is great, the kids are great and in my perfect world Jeff Nichols would get an best director nomination along with McQueen, the Coens, Cuaron and Linklater. HER and WOLF aren't out in the UK yet...

  • Suzaman | January 17, 2014 1:51 PM

    Mud was the best picture of 2013. Everyone who saw it knows.

  • Oscar the grouch | January 15, 2014 3:47 PMReply

    I know I'm in the minority, especially with the staff on this site, but Her and Frances Ha are easily the two most overrated films of the year. neither is terrible but they're not worth celebrating in my opinion. I personally miss pre - wild things Jonze. I guess I'm more of a Kaufman fan.

  • Kari | January 15, 2014 6:11 PM

    I agree the Her script is its weakest link (the idea is excellent but Jonze was not that great developing it).

    Joaquin on the other hand is excellent and so charismatic!

  • JZ | January 15, 2014 2:56 PMReply

    It wouldn't be a surprise if Llewyn Davis was nominated for Best Picture.
    A Serious Man was nominated, and it wasn't exactly a typical oscar bait. Neither were No Country For Old Men or True Grit and those were nominated too. The academy has started to love the Coens, and that's good. They are in a position where they can pretty much make any film they want.

  • Kari | January 15, 2014 2:37 PMReply

    I hope Joaquin still gets a nom tomorrow and I think Amy Adam's performance in it is a way better than in Amercian Hustle.

    Also, I am still shocked with the fact Llewyn Davis is not getting the recognition it deserves. Oscar Isaac is fenomenal in it.

    Oh well...

  • HONEST MAN | January 15, 2014 5:29 PM

    American hustle is painfully overrated imo

  • Dave's Deluxe | January 15, 2014 2:21 PMReply

    What you probably mean is "The 22 Oscar Nominations I'D Most Like To See Tomorrow (But Probably Won't)".

    Also, you don't need the word "Most" in that sentence.

  • Liz | January 15, 2014 7:19 PM

    "Most" is perfectly fine in the headline. It's indicating that there are more than 22 things he'd like to see tomorrow, but these are his top 22 choices. It's similar to an intensifier.

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