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

Making the Case for Susanne Bier

Danish director Susanne Bier allows her work to speak for itself...if you would just take the time to watch and listen.

Interconnected stories, family secrets, dead or absent parents, broken relationships, emotional distress, and people struggling to reconcile the stubbornness of their ideals with the harsh nature of their realities — these are the recurrent themes in the works of Susanne Bier.

Danish auteur Susanne Bier is the greatest female director working today.

There, I said it. And why do I have to qualify my statement by pointing out that she is a female director — why can’t she just be one of the greatest directors working today? Well, I would argue that she is. But female directors often don’t get a fair shake. Let’s be honest. It’s a man’s world out there, especially when it comes to directing and producing films. Also, while female directors are just as capable of honing their own unique styles as their male counterparts are, they often have a harder time expanding their horizons outside of the niche they build for themselves. Hence we have Sofia Coppola seemingly lost inside the dreamy world of privileged princesses, Nicole Holofcener quite pleased sticking to her astute dissections of bi-coastal bourgeois guilt, and glass-ceiling breaker Kathryn Bigelow hellbent on directing almost every film as if it was a personal f-you to her ex-husband James Cameron and all the big boys out there who think women can’t direct from a man’s point of view.

Meanwhile, male contemporaries of Bier’s like Lars Von Trier or Joe Wright create visuals just as experimental as Bier but have consistently applied their signature avant-garde styles to films across genres and outside of any niche (though one could make an argument that lately Von Trier has been trapped inside his own personal hell). Wright’s ability to put his stamp on films as seemingly disparate as Pride & Prejudice and Hanna is something no female director I know of has been able to do (which isn’t to say they can’t).

All that aside, I’ve never met a Bier film I didn’t like…a lot. In many ways she does for family melodramas what Christopher Nolan has done for crime thrillers. In fact, she seems to enjoy repeatedly killing husbands (see plotlines below) with as much relish as Nolan enjoys killing wives.
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

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