The 87th Annual Academy Awards Predictions and Drinking Game

Oscars 2015

The 87th Annual Academy Awards aired Sunday Night, February 22nd, 2015.  Below were my predictions for the winners in the major categories.  The actual winners were filled in after the Oscars are announced.

PRE-SPIN:

For some reason last year I didn’t post my annual predictions and telecast commentary, nor do I even remember who hosted or much of the ceremony apart from the fact that 12 Years a Slave rightfully won Best Picture (a rare cosmic convergence of The Davies and Oscars).  I think I may have been flying up to Canada for work that Sunday night.

At any rate, after last year’s hiatus, The Spin on the Oscars is back!  Neil Patrick Harris is hosting, leaving me feeling uninspired for the ceremony to break from the norm.  Musical numbers.  A few gay jokes.  A few empty political references.

As far as the races, there’s actually a pretty good one for best picture – and if the Academy does their famous Picture/Director split, which way that goes (Boyhood or Birdman?) could also have downstream impact to Best Original Screenplay.

I might also try live Tweeting snarky or non-sensical remarks (most likely ten to fifteen minutes past relevance) during the telecast, so follow us on Twitter @schleicherspin or better yet follow @pattonoswalt as he’s way funnier than me at this stuff.

POST-SPIN:

  • Neil Patrick had a few good puns but was way too theater-ish for a dreadfully long broadcast begging for a comedian.
  • There were some genuine surprises amidst the predictable in major and minor categories (see below) but the Birdman flew highest showing yet again that the Academy loves to love themselves.
  • The funniest tweet of the night came from Patton Oswalt and wasn’t really about the Oscars at all but instead was a mind blowing suggestion that House of Cards might actually be Christopher Nolan’s version of Foghorn Leghorn – a thought I never dared to dream.  He later suggested that Matthew McConaughey had killed a railroad hobo for his hair (ha!)
  • I scored a subpar 15/24 in my family Oscar pool and lost out to my brother thanks to all the upsets.

And now check out The Spin on my Predictions and the Winners: Continue reading

The 85th Annual Academy Awards Predictions and Drinking Game

A popular host and popular films in tight races should give Oscar a ratings boost this year.

A popular and potentially controversial host and popular films in tight races should give Oscar a ratings boost this year.

The 85th Annual Academy Awards aired Sunday Night, February 24th, 2013.  Below were my predictions for the winners in the major categories.  The actual winners were filled in after the Oscars were announced.

PRE-SPIN:

Here’s hoping  first time host Seth MacFarlane treats the gig as if it will be his one and only shot and goes for the jugular.  Great mock-musical numbers seem inevitable, but his usual brand of gross and absurd insult pop-mockery comedy will more than likely be criminally toned down unless he adopts a devil-may-care attitude and taunts the producers.  I have a  hunch the guy will take things surprisingly seriously (with polished laughs and one or two insults that fall flat) and there will likely be far too many Ted gags.

With MacFarlane as host and an unusually tight race in some of the major categories, this could be one of the more interesting years to watch.  Argo seems the odds-on favorite despite some historical precedence working against it.  I still think Silver Linings Playbook could upset and score Best Picture and Director, but I’m not betting on it, and my heart belongs to Lincoln.  Best Actress and Best Supporting Actor are especially tough calls this year. 

POST-SPIN:

  • Seth MacFarlane was okay…but Daniel Day Lewis got the biggest laughs of the night
  • The overall telecast was painfully long (even more so than usual) and kept alive only by the live Tweeting I followed (thanks @PattonOswalt, the fake @Michael_Haneke, et al!)
  • There were a few genuine surprises (Christoph Waltz, Quentin Tarantino and Ang Lee) though none that I could say I was actually pleased by
  • Ann Hathaway gave the most disingenuous speech
  • Jennifer Lawrence gave the shortest, cutest speech
  • Weird guys with long blond hair rocked the tech categories
  • Affleck got all teary-eyed as a winning producer making it sound like getting snubbed for a directing nod or staring in Gigli were akin to having overcome genuine hardship #HollywoodProblems
  • I scored 16/24 (okay, but not great) in my family Oscar pool

And now check out The Spin on my Predictions and the Winners: Continue reading

The 84th Annual Academy Awards Predictions and Drinking Game

The Academy got at least one thing right this year...Billy Crystal is back, baby!

The 84th Annual Academy Awards aired Sunday Night, February 26th, 2012.  Below were my predictions for the winners in the major categories.  The actual winners were filled in after the Oscars were announced.

It was nice to have Billy Crystal back – he was funny though a shadow of his former golden self.  It was a fairly snooze-inducing night with no big surprises except for maybe the tinny microphones (an ironic sound design defect during a show that lavished undeserved gifts upon a silent film) and I eagerly switched over to The Walking Dead on AMC at 11pm. 

I scored a strong 17/24 in my family Oscar pool.  In the only categories I gave a damn about, I was 1 for 2 as A Separation took home a well-deserved statue for Best Foreign Language Film while Emmanuel Lubezki was royally robbed in the cinematography category for The Tree of Life by the guy from Hugo. Continue reading

83rd Annual Academy Awards Predictions and Drinking Game

Anne Hathaway and James Franco are wondering, too, how they got the gig.

The 83rd Annual Academy Awards aired Sunday Night, February 27th, 2011.  Below were my predictions for the winners in the major categories.  The actual winners were filled in after the Oscars were announced.

There were no real surprises this year.  Anne Hathaway did her best, but to no avail, next to lifeless co-host James Franco, who appeared as if he hadn’t even shown up for rehearsal and couldn’t care less that he was there.  Next year, Academy, give us a comedian.  The speeches were nothing special, though who would’ve thought that of the two, Melissa Leo would’ve out “bat-shitted” Christian Bale?  Meanwhile, after batting under .500 in my predictions last year, I rebounded nicely by scoring 16/24 correctly and regained my family Oscar pool crown. Continue reading

82nd Annual Academy Awards Predictions and Drinking Game

We're three wild and crazy guys!

The 82nd Annual Academy Awards aired Sunday Night, March 7th, 2010.  Below were my predictions for the winners in the major categories.  The actual winners were filled in after the Oscars are announced.

Well, I scored a personal worst of only 11/24 this year (after a record shattering personal best score of 18/24 last year), but I’ve never been happier to have been so wrong.  The right film actually won for the first time since, well, I don’t know when!

Highlights of the evening included:

  • A few genuine surprises in the screenplay categories and for foreign language film.
  • Hosts (Baldwin and Martin) who were actually funny.
  • No musical numbers spare for the humorous opening! (Though there was an annoying dance number for the best score nominees)
  • The humility, humor, and quiet heartbreak of Sandra Bullock who knew she did not deserve to win but was so sincerely thankful.
  • The humility of Kathryn Bigelow who knew she deserved to win (and made history in doing so) but also knew there are more important things and more important people to honor than films and filmmakers. 

Continue reading

81st Annual Academy Awards Predictions and Drinking Game

 

The 81st Annual Academy Awards aired Sunday Night, February 22, 2009. Below were my predictions for the winners in the major categories. The actual winners were filled in after the Oscars were announced.

Well, the telecast was a shoddily edited, over-directed, over-hyped painful bore to sit through — oh wait, that was Slumdog Millionaire — and there were no major surprises, though a-typical host Hugh Jackman was quasi-funny with his opening number in a weird I-had-no-idea-he-was-so-THEATRICAL!  kind of way.  But really, Academy, if you have any good sense left, bring back a comedian host next year.  I want to laugh, not cringe while watching Hollywood pat itself on the back. 

At any rate, it’s a miracle I was able to stay awake to tally that I scored 18 correct out of 24 in my predictions, which obliterated everyone else in my Oscar pool and is a new personal best topping my 17 correct predictions two years ago…when movies were still good. Continue reading

Mongolian Trailer Park

CAPTION:  Ghengis Khan is all up in this yurt.

So last week I saw that flick Mongol, you know, the new epic about Ghengis Khan made by a Russian director (Sergei Bodrov), starring a Japanese dude (Tadonubo Asano), nominated for an Oscar, and inexplicably released stateside in the middle of the summer movie season.  It was a pretty good movie that held my interest for two hours by exposing me to a culture I know little about and featuring a well played out historical epic story arc complete with requisite kick-ass battle scenes.  Sitting there getting frosty in the air-conditioned theater while the heat and humidity raged outside, I couldn’t help thinking this was a movie better suited for the prestigious autumnal season.  With the most gluttonous of film seasons in full swing (is The Dark Knight out yet?), I decided to take a look ahead at my favorite season in film and weather. 

Here I present my list of most anticipated movies for Fall 2008:

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1.  The Miracle at St. Anna  (scheduled release date:  9/26)

The Director:  Spike Lee

The Stars:  Derek Luke, John Leguizamo, James Gandolfini, Joseph Gordon Levitt, some cute Italian kid, Alexandra Maria Lara, and a boatload of other people and familiar faces

The Scoop:  Okay, so I will admit it right here, right now.  I love Spike Lee.  I even liked She Hate Me.  He’s a cunning provocateur who’s had numerous peaks and valleys in his career but just won’t stop no matter what and always seems to get his name in the papers–witness Clint Eastwood telling him recently to “shut his face”.  Spike is coming off the most commercially successful film of his long career with Inside Man.  With this adaptation of the novel by James McBride about a group of African-American soldiers trapped in Tuscany during WWII, he’s giving us his first epic since Malcom X.    The trailer for this film is a smashing success that manages to sell the film as both a murder mystery and a searing Saving Private Ryan style WWII drama.  This latest Spike Lee Joint has so many great things going for it:  an auteur on the precipice of a personal artistic and commercial Renaissance (much like the one Scorsese recently went through with The Aviator and The Departed); a great storyline that has the potential to provoke discussions of history, race, religion and politics in a historic Presidential election year; and a multi-ethnic cast that includes a cute Italian kid, and as a special bonus for me, the devastatingly seductive Alexandra Maria Lara, whose beauty alone made Francis Ford Coppola’s recent debacle Youth Without Youth worth watching.

Watch the trailer:  http://www.imdb.com/video/imdb/vi3941007641/

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2.  The Curious Case of Benjamin Button  (scheduled release date:  12/19)

The Director:  David Fincher

The Stars:  Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett, Tilda Swinton, Julia Ormond

The Scoop:  This is the fantastic case of a gimmick film (it tells the not so simple story of a man who ages backwards, folks) with a literary pedigree (adapted from a story by F. Scott Fitzgerald).  I first saw the trailer for this in front of the latest Indiana Jones flick, and the packed house was so quiet you could hear a pin drop.  Its epic scope appears to be a complete departure for director Fincher, and its unique story and images sweep over you in the masterfully crafted trailer-much kudos thus far to the marketing team.  This film has the potential to be monumentally huge or just another curiosity grabbing for Oscar gold at Christmastime.  Will Fincher (robbed of an Oscar nod for Zodiac last year) and uber-star Pitt (robbed last year for The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford) finally get their due?

CAPTION:  Two Oscars please, my good man!  Oscars for me and the Finch!

Watch the trailer:  http://www.apple.com/trailers/paramount/thecuriouscaseofbenjaminbutton/

Official Site:  http://www.benjaminbutton.com/

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3.  Australia  (scheduled release date:  11/14)

The Director:  Baz Luhrmann

The Stars:  Nicole Kidman, Hugh Jackman, Australia!

The Scoop:  Baz the Spazz changes gears completely with this big historical epic depicting heroism and romance against the backdrop of a Japanese attack on Australia during WWII.  The trailer sells the imagery and scope of the film very well, making it look Gone with the Wind Down Under, though the frame story of Kidman telling a fairy tale to the Aborigine girl seems a bit strained (and remarkably similar to Tarsem’s The Fall.)  Luhrmann appears to have abandoned his hyper kinetic style for the dreadful sumptuousness that always seems to sell tickets during the big holidays at the end of the year.  Kidman and Jackman certainly look the parts, and lord knows they could both use a big hit.   Will critics be eager to embrace the new Luhrmann after a seven year hiatus?  More than any other film, I think critics have the chance to make or break this one.

Watch the trailer:  http://www.imdb.com/video/screenplay/vi2917663001/

Official Site:  http://www.australiamovie.com/

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4.  The Soloist  (scheduled release date:  11/21)

The Director:  Joe Wright

The Stars:  Robert Downey Jr., Catherine Keener, Jamie Foxx

The Scoop:  Brit Joe Wright atones for his period pieces by making this American set musical biopic.  Downey Jr. is back on the A-list, the director is taking on a genre held in high favor in recent years, and playing a schizophrenic musical genius seems right up Foxx’s alley.  There are no trailers or official sites yet, but I can’t wait to see what kind of tracking long shots Wright cooks up for this one–I’m picturing a shot the begins with an overhead dolly and travels down and through the crowd and orchestra at a grand concert hall.

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5.  Revolutionary Road  (scheduled release date:  12/26)

The Director:  Sam Mendes

The Stars:  Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet

The Scoop:  I have to admit, the plot of this one (from a novel by Richard Yates) sounds like a snore-fest:  a young couple in 1950’s Connecticut deal with problems and such.  However, Mendes has yet to make a bad film, suburban dystopia is his bread and butter (American Beauty, anyone?), and the reunion of Titanic stars Leo and Kate in a Christmastime release give this film some palpable buzz.  No trailers or official site have appeared yet. 

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Other Films of Interest:

Changeling:  10/31.  The latest from Clint Eastwood has some mixed buzz coming from its Cannes’ premier.  This 1920’s set psychological thriller about a mother who begins to doubt the identity of her young son who has been returned to her after going missing will have a hard line to tow while it tries to convince people it’s not a remake of a horror film with the same name and is instead a prestigious Oscar bid for its uber-star Angelina Jolie.

Defiance:  12/2.  Yet another WWII epic, this one is based on a true story and staring Daniel Craig.  Directed by Edward Zwick, the film of course reeks of quality, and the trailer has been getting some good buzz (at least amongst my friends and family), but it looks nobly cliched to me.  If that new Spike Lee Joint strikes a cord, this runs the risk of being overshadowed as the later release.

Watch the trailer for Defiancehttp://www.imdb.com/video/imdb/vi2008154393/

Oh, yeah, there’s also a new James Bond flick (Craig again) idiotically entitled Quantum of Solace (11/7), and a wacky crime caper from Oscar darlings the Coen Brothers zanily called Burn After Reading (9/12) and staring, you guessed it, Brad Pitt.

Watch the Quantum of Solace trailer:  http://www.moviefone.com/movie/quantum-of-solace/26922/trailer?trailerId=2150289

Written by David H. Schleicher

80th Annual Academy Awards Predictions and Drinking Game

The 80th Annual Academy Awards aired Sunday Night, February 24, 2008.  Below were my predictions for the winners in the major categories.  The actual winners were filled in after the Oscars were announced.

It was an off year for the Academy as they chose the absolute worst film for Best Picture as a way to finally reward the Coen Brothers (just as I sadly predcited).  Meanwhile, the Schleicher Brothers tied for the lead in the Oscar Pool with 13 correct predictions from 24 categories.  This was off from my personal best from last year where I scored 17 correct predictions. Continue reading