The Evangenitals: Moby Dick (or, The Album) [Album]

Evangenitals-MobyDick_HRcover-e1389978920635I was instantly drawn to The Evangenitals for the obvious reason that they have the coolest band name I have seen.  And then I heard them, and I found even greater reason to love them.  The band refers to their style of music as Avant-Appalachian Pirate-jazz, which I guess works.  I find that when it is too hard to categorize a band, there is probably a damn good reason for it.  And this is a band the blends just the perfect amount of weird and talent.  Their sound is unique, without being too disturbing.

On the band’s first release from Fluff and Gravy records,  Moby Dick (or, The Album), we get a fine taste of the perfectly peculiar styling that makes The Evangenitals a real gift to the indie music world.  To say the very least about this wonderful album would be to say that it is the strangest interpretation of Melville you will ever hear.  To say the very most, it is a real delight.  The surreal and fascinating tone of a song like “Shipwreck Blues” is just one example of why The Evangenitals may be one of the finest Americana-ish groups out there today, and why should all be paying attention to songwriter Juli Crockett and her beautiful band of merry men/women.

The Evangenitals’s debut album Moby Dick (or, The Album) will be released on March 18th 2014 on Portland, OR based Fluff and Gravy Records.

Tool & Yob. Live @ The Moda Center in Portland, Oregon [03.06.14]

Tool:Yob 4I don’t think I’ve met a Tool fan that doesn’t hold them in the highest of regards. Virtually every enthusiast of this band that I have met does this, except it sometimes comes off as masturbatory praise.

“They are the best live band I’ve ever seen. The audience joins together as one…. almost as if they are part of a tribe or village. This won’t just be a live show, It’ll be art. So many people don’t get it.  I’ve seen them more than any other band; Maynard James Keenan is a genius. Did you know they wrote a song based on the Fibonacci sequence?”

– Every fan of Tool I know

 

Ugh.

Don’t get me wrong. I understand the social impact that Tool has had on the musical landscape. Especially in the metal community. I can appreciate it. I actually really enjoy their body of studio work. I feel like Ænema is a nearly flawless album, and is one of the most important metal albums of the ’90s, if not all time. That being said, their live performance was…..different. It was unlike any other I’ve seen.

Eugene, OR doom metal Trio Yob took the stage early. Ten minutes before scheduled curtain. They were a bit hard to read at first. They opened with the drudging “Quantum Mystic” from their 2005 album The Unreal Never Lived. At first I felt they were lacking enthusiasm. As the crowd began to fill out a bit more, Mike Scheidt(vocals/guitar) altered his vocals from a surprisingly raspy black metal-esque shriek, into his deep signature roar. Yob has gotten the opportunity to open for Tool before Although the crowd wasn’t participating, they seemed to be having a decent time bringing their doom to the masses. I’ve seen them before and in my opinion, while they could fill nearly any size venue with their massive sound, they are a band to observe in a more intimate setting.

Tool:Yob 3After a brief sound check, it was time for Tool. They took the stage and opened with “Third Eye”, the closer from their seminal album, Ænima. Immediately, a great deal of things stand out to me. There is no microphone in at the front of the stage. Maynard James Keenan has positioned himself parallel with Danny Carey‘s drum set atop the riser towards the back. He is dressed in head to toe in solid black, with sunglasses and his hair is brightly colored and spiked upward. He essentially looked like a henchman from a cyberpunk gang. It’s an interesting juxtaposition from the other members. Guitarist Adam Jones is also dressed monochromatically, but in a lighter white/tan. Bassist Justin Chancellor dressed very….normal. And drummer Danny Carey was perched behind his kit in a Portland Blazer’s jersey. A strange mishmash for a band that I had always heard was so heavily reliant on visuals.

As they were rounding out the opener, I was very surprised by Adam Jones. All of the players clearly know their part in this band. The rhythm section is unbelievably tight, yet I couldn’t help but get the sensation that they weren’t playing together. It felt like each member of the band was performing separately. When it came time for Jones to spotlight his solo, he played it surprisingly sloppy, and abused his wah pedal more than a drunk Kirk Hammett. A rare low point from a technical performance side. The band then launched into “Vicarious” from their previous studio album, 10,000 Days. It was at this point that I was able to settle in and really absorb the visuals along with the performance.

Tool:Yob 1Behind the band there were three large screens that played clips from their music videos to accompany the tracks they were performing (which in my opinion is sort of lame). The tracks missing music video accompaniment didn’t have a shortage of visuals, however. Guitarist Adam Jones doubles as the band’s visual art director. But as far as I could tell, the visuals were stripped from one of those mid ’90s computer animation odysseys. In my opinion the graphics came off as cheesy. But I don’t discount them. In fact, the nostalgic side of me was thrilled by them. I was definitely watching a band that achieved their peak of relevancy in the ’90s, and I loved that I could see that. To me the visuals harkened back to a time when Marilyn Manson still put on a decent show. Or a time when The Butthole Surfers or White Zombie were still shocking crowds with surgery footage or horror movie clips. The laser lights, the screens filled with bad CGI…. all of it was fun to watch. But it felt absolutely contrary to the band’s live performance, or the overall atmosphere of their music.

Say what you will about the band’s uncompromising practices. It clearly works for them, but it feels cold. It feels pretentious. I understand that is part of how they want to appear, and for a band like Tool, it will  stay that way. It’s worked completely. Maynard James Keenan is a terrific singer and a fantastic lyricist. But he is NOT a frontman. He sticks to the shadows, belting out his vocals in the dark, barely acknowledging the crowd. I wouldn’t change that at all. For such an apocalyptic post metal music project, the idea of a front man would take away from the aesthetic.

Tool:Yob 2I was very surprised at the disconnect there appeared to be between each band member. They were all off on their own section of the stage, not acknowledging each other. Each one playing their part perfectly, but separately. They sounded and looked like a well oiled machine. It was great to see the rhythm section (Chancellor and Carey) show their chops as the virtuosos that they are. However, they definitely seem like the kind of band that emails each other the set list for the upcoming tour and practices at home along with their own records before the tour starts. I have a distinct feeling that the only times these guys play together is when performing live or writing in the studio.

A little over halfway through the set they had a brief intermission, and returned 12 minutes later, clearly going for broke. They upped the visuals by turning on the lasers, and dropping down a screen in front of the stage to display more visuals. They returned with a very impressive drum solo from Carey, and then got down to business. They finished with three crowd favorites: “Forty Six & 2”, “Ænema”, and “Stinkfist”. I was a little disappointed at the crowd, even at this point in the night. Everyone had hyped up to me how the crowd was going to act. How crazy it would be. The crowd seemed fairly tame to be honest. I know I shouldn’t expect it to be like a Slayer show, where everyone goes nuts, but that’s how it was explained to me. Everyone told me how awesome it was gonna be, and it was very “meh”. It felt like I was watching Donnie Darko all over again, and now I get to go tell all my friends that adore it how mediocre it was.

All in all it was a fun night, Tool were very technically proficient, but had no stage presence, and the visuals, while nostalgically pleasing come off a cheesy and forced.

Charlie and the Foxtrots [Band]

Charlie and the FoxtrotsOh sweet delicious hipster folk!  I seriously can not get enough of it.  The reinvention of a classic country sound is something I am sure I will always thoroughly enjoy.  Beautifully written songs with a delightful, even if it is mildly depressing, story to tell is something that can never be wrong.  And that is exactly what you will hear form a band like Charlie and the Foxtrots.  It could be very easy for me to pigeon hold these cats by comparing them to so many other acts out there, but honestly, that wouldn’t be right.  Certainly the band’s banjo riddled new age folk songs may sound familiar, but there is something obviously different here.  All the classic elements are there, but the personalized brand of folk that Chaz Wilson and company are bringing is rightfully respectable on its own merit.

Charlie and the Foxtrots recently debuted their new single “The Man I Am” over at AmericanSongwriter.com, and are on the cusp of releasing a new E.P., which if it is half as delightful as their 2013 release The Evergreen, we are in for a real treat.  And if their new single is any indication of what we will hear in the future, it would be a safe bet to say that it this shit is going to rock our worlds.  Forget about all the “RIYL” crap that tries to make you think you are listening to a Lumineers rip off, this is the real gold.  It is fun, high-spirited, and did I mention fun?  Seriously folks, if you were to only accept one new band to listen to this year, please do yourself a favor and make it Charlie and the Foxtrots.  You will not be disappointed.

Charlie and the Foxtrots are currently on tour, catch them in a city near you.  Visit their website for details.

Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger [Book]

Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger

Franny and Zooey is composed of two sections, which were originally published in the New Yorker magazine as two separate short stories. The first story or section, “Franny,” was published in the New Yorker in January 1955. In “Franny,” Franny Glass meets her boyfriend Lane Coutell for a football weekend at his college. They do not get to join many of the festivities, though, because during their first lunch together, Franny begins to have a breakdown. She tells Lane that she is sick of the phoniness at school and of the egotism of the faculty. She has quit the play she was in because she is embarrassed about what she feels to be acting fake. As she gets worked up, she reveals that she has become interested in the “Jesus prayer,” a continuous prayer meant to cleanse one’s spirit. Lane mostly brushes off Franny’s concerns until she faints on the way to the bathroom. As he is helping to revive her, she begins to speak the prayer.

“Zooey” basically picks up where “Franny” left off. First, though, the narrator names himself. The man claiming to be the author of the story is Buddy Glass, one of Franny and Zooey’s older brothers. The story resumes. It is the Monday after the weekend Franny’s breakdown started, and Zooey is at home in New York City. In his conversation with his mother, Bessie Glass, it is revealed that Franny is now at home, sleeping and crying on the living room sofa. Bessie wants Zooey to talk to Franny, which he eventually does. The two of them have a long theological and personal discussion. We learn that the two of them have basically been raised on a blend of different religions, taught to them by their older brothers Buddy and Seymour. Over the course of this long discussion, Zooey helps Franny sort out her spiritual and personal beliefs, allowing her, by the end, to find peace.

 

***

First off, I have to say…I did it!  I finally read this classic piece of literature from Salinger.  This book has been on my reading list for a couple of decades.  Like most of us out there, I read Catcher in the Rye in middle school.  It wasn’t required reading in my school, but it was just something that I was drawn to as I know it it had a strong message about teenage angst and the pressures of growing up.  Well, growing up rich and insecure that I guess.  Plus it was featured heavily in a Mel Gibson movie I really loved way back then when Mel Gibson didn’t suck.  No matter, I had been meaning to read Franny and Zooey for a very long time, and I have to say that I was not upset.  It is rare for me to think that a book was ever “just long enough”, but in the case of this wonderful little book, I still came away from it wishing it was just a bit longer.

I have never really been fascinated with the idealisms of Zen Buddhism and the likes.  More so I have been fascinated with other people’s fascination with eastern religions.  Therefore it is was an absolute delight to get to find out Salinger’s interpretation of the whole damn thing.  Though not an entirely prevalent theme of the book, it was always there.  Buddhism mixed with a bit of self-realization and social narcissism.  Although Salinger published so little works, it is widely known that he wrote in a very metaphorical sense, and Franny and Zooey is definitely not a book that strays from these ways of being.  Salinger wasn’t a great writer in a lyrical sense, like Flaubert who has a “cameo” in this book, but more of a technical writer who had something daring to say, and managed to say it in a sort of secret code.  And this is exactly how the Buddha man made his way into this text.  The entire Glass family seems to be the sort of group of folks who, even when terrible things happen to them, seem to have it all together, but are all dead inside.  And only when a character like Franny starts to realize this notion does the world around her, as grey as it seems, starts to find her ridiculous and incorrigible, because deep inside they know she is ride.  And to that I say, Namaste motherfuckers.

The character of Zooey is easily the most fascinating creature among these pages (Note:  I actually read a physical copy of this!  Not an audiobook, though I still whole-heartedly defend the magic of audiobooks).  Never seeming to truly get over the death of his brother, Zooey’s evident despair acts as a major theme of the book, or at least a very important character trait in the young man.  I do know that there is probably very little to “give away” about this story, as a classic piece of literature like this has had spoilers from millions of different angles for the last 60 years, but I dare tell you fine readers that Salinger said everything we need to know about the declination of society when he wrote the character of Zooey.

As this is a classic story, and all that is to be said about Salinger and this novel has already been said, I want to take this soap box and stand in a different direction.  For anybody who has read Salinger’s work in the last few years….do you think of Wes Anderson?  Salinger’s influence on a film like The Royal Tenenbaums seems bloody obvious to me now.  This is not to say that Anderson isn’t a truly amazing and original artist himself, as he is obviously one of the most intriguing writers and filmmakers of this day and age.  I would dare say that he is the Felini of the now with is quirky and weird depictions of modern society.  But, in reading this book, and looking back on Catcher in the Rye, it seems as though the two have the same story to tell.  That society as a whole is desperately sinking in to a hole of despair and unintelligable declination.  And boy what a bit of fun it can all be!  While Anderson resorts to comedy as a way of depicting tragedy, Salinger simply kept it simple, and stuff with being one tragic and desolate motherfucker.  And hot damn both of these men are brilliant in their own rights.

It may be the whole “rich people have problems too” sort of mindset that they both work with that makes their work so interesting.  While stories of the poor are interesting in their own right, at times in literature, when you strip a character of all monetary concerns, you can truly get to know the inner nature of a person.  This is obviously the case when it comes to this amazing little piece of literature.  There is no doubt that people will be reading Salinger for years to come, he’s just that damn important.  And I dare say that Catcher in the Rye and Franny and Zooey should be required reading for everyone to learn from before the reach the age of 22.  How do we go about making this a law?  Let’s do that.

 

Note: 2014 is the first year for book reviews at Trainwreck’d Society.  We will be making a valiant effort to read and review at least 100 books.  This is review #8.  Be sure to stay in touch and be on the lookout for further reviews throughout 2014.  Be sure to let us know if we are falling behind.  For a complete list of book reviews, click HERE.  Enjoy!

Chris O’Connor [Interview]

ChrisOConnor2PRGAs many of your fine readers may know, I have an extremely passionate for music from the latter part of the last millennium.  It was a strange time for growth in me as a young boy, and a strange time for popular music all around us.  There was, as there always has been, a wild array of shit being pushed down our throats throughout the entire decade of my beloved 1990’s.  But there was also an explosion of “alternative” music coming in your faces from all angles.  There is no doubt that the commercialization of the “grunge movement” had much to do with this.  But as a young man in 1996 (11 years old), all I heard were beautiful songs.  The term “One Hit Wonder” would soon follow some of these amazing acts that were creating beautiful songs on the airwaves and radio shows, and I simply never understood it.  But soon enough, the late 90’s came, I entered my early teen years, and everything was all shot to hell.  But, thankfully a little something called the Internet came around, and both shattered and relinquished my faith in music.

Through the advancements of the digital age, media, and way of life, I managed to continue to hear my favorite bands continue making beautiful songs.  And one of my favorite groups that has had a long history, possibly unbeknownst to those who fell into the traps of complacency and bullshit mockeries we call musicians, was Primitive Radio Gods.  Their Columbia Records released album Rocket was a huge hit during just the right time.  Their beloved hit single “Standing Outside A Broken Phone Booth with Money in My Hand” skyrocketed the charts, MTV, and even appeared predominately in a Jim Carey movie.  But, legal disputes, label closures, etc., would see Primitive Radio Gods begin the fade away from the public eye.  But, their beauty in creation never ceases to thrive.  I continued to dig my way through whatever digital medium I could think of, with this becoming much easier in the last few years, to continue to hear their wonderful songs, even if the only physical album I have ever own from them is my busted ass copy of Rocket that is getting so worn that had it been on vinyl, the song “Motherfucker” would probably have been worn so low as to need replacement.

Needless to say, I do not buy into the One Hit Wonder and The Buzz, as so many artists from the 90’s have been deemed to be.  Great fucking music is just that – great fucking music.  And we are so fortunate to be able to ask a few questions from a man who has watched the world of music and the business it transpires from just about every angle possible.  We are so happy to be able to speak with Primitive Radio Gods frontman Chris O’Connor about an array of topics including a bit of history of PRG, what the future holds, and where the hell we all went wrong.  To summarize the below interviews for all the chumps and bystanders out there who will not read beyond this paragraph, I shall use a direct quote from O’Connor himself:  “Remember consumption is a disease, not a viable economic model.”

When did you first decide that you wanted to be involved in the world of music?

Late September, 1983. I was stationed in north chicago and decided that i would be a true musician until I died.

What is it that keeps you involved in the world of music?

World of music. Hmmm?  Mostly habit I suppose. I’ve been recording since I was 18, and there’s a tremendous satisfaction that comes with finishing a song and listening to the final mix for the first time.  A good gig can also prove intoxicating. Mostly it’s the hope that your greatest musical moment is yet to come.

While it is not my opinion whatsoever, or that of any person with good hearing, it does need to be asked….How does it feel to be deemed a one hit wonder by certain audiences and critics out there?

People who accept or disdain the praise or criticism of fools are fools themselves. You are what you eat.  I don’t eat a lot.  I prefer drinking.

Whether in your own songwriting or in others, what do you believe every song needs to be a “good song”, to use such a vague term?

Something that evokes an emotional response or feeling without cliché.  It’s really impossible to quantify because of the ultimate subjectivity of individual perception.  The vast majority of music that is manufactured by the New York/Los Angeles/Nashville complex is, for the average consumer, the only music of quality.  I, myself, consider most of it meaningless, predictable, and plastic.  There is no formula for quality, as one mans medicine is another man’s poison. For me personally, great music is immediate and directly absorbed, without the intellect understanding why. I have a low tolerance for “craft” and “formula”.

What is your process in songwriting, and are you more of a lyric man or a guitar man, or both?

Luke (lead guitar) and I tend to be self contained in the songwriting department. for myself, the music and lyric melody tends to come first more often than not, but there’s no set method. We play live as a three piece, so that can affect how many overdubs of instrumentation are done should we feel a song has live potential. on “Ripped In November” off the Still Electric album, the original guitar part I wrote the lyrics to was removed after Luke came up with his part, and gives the song an unusual dynamic that wouldn’t exist with the traditional rhythm chords left in.

CD_Digipak_OutsideI thoroughly enjoyed 2010’s Out Alive and have been yearning for more.  Tell us, do you have any plans for a release in the near future?

Near future no, distant future yes.  [We] just started tuning up the studio after a long hiatus…we’re shooting for early 2015.

What else does the future hold for you personally and the Primitive Radio Gods?

The great thing about the future is, unlike the past, all the important issues are predictable and certain.  For me personally, the future ensures I will grow older every day until I die.  Primitive Radio Gods will remain undiscovered until the year 2277, whereby a fluke in global music propagation unleashes a long forgotten tune from the 3rd record that becomes the first trillion dollar download.  Money changers and fashion freaks will reap all the profits, while the destitute offspring of band members beg for sandwich crumbs in the gutters of the urban corporate copyright empire. after this things get a little murky…

You have obviously seen a whole lot of changes in your 30 plus years as a musician.  In your expert opinion, what do you think of the state of music today?  What are some of your pro’s and cons or gripes and compliments?

Well, in a lot of ways it’s the worst and best of times.  Ff you like talent show singers and 10th generation copies of something you’ve heard before, the music business has never been better.  If you’re into independent music and have a shit-load of free time to scour the web, there’s always something genius to be found. I think in general, music has a lot less cultural and spiritual importance now.  It’s more of a background noise.  i\It blows my mind to see people spend most of their waking life attached to their “mobile devices”.  Very slavish and zombie-like.  You don’t see nearly as much support for live music at the local level now.  Too many things for people to watch on their screens.

When you are not performing and recording music, what would one find you doing in your spare time?

Well, besides working for the man, I was an apprentice winemaker to a Jesuit named Matthews.  I got into japanese sword mythology and have been chopping wood for the last 14 years.  A little gardening, a wife and kid…outside of that, I’ve had no spare time.

ChrisO'Connor1What were your Top 5 favorite albums of 2013?

finally, an easy question:

1. Eluvium – Copia TRR110

2. The Verve- A Northern Soul

3. Slowdive – Just For a Day

4. James Hall – Pleasure Club

5. Sway – This Was Tomorrow

What was the last thing that made you smile?

Tullamore Dew on sale. you expect that sort of thing from Bushmill’s or Jameson, but seeing “The Dew” at a bargain rate brings true joy.

Trainwreck’d Society’s 2014 Oscar Preview with Chris & Ron [Exclusive]

Ron&Chris

Ron & Chris circa 2011, signing a hefty stack of Children of Mercy whilst drinking fine Georgia Moon corn whiskey in Vancouver, Washington. Photo by Jill Keller.

So it is that time of year again!  The Oscars are tomorrow!  Yes, I know the Oscars are not the hippest awards show there is.  It would probably be way cooler of us to preview the Sundance Film Festival, Cannes, or the Independent Spirit Awards.  Which, I agree, usually portray way better films.  But, ever since I was a young lad, I fell in love with the Oscars.  I remember beaming like an idiot when Quentin Tarantino accepted his first Oscar, beating out the mainstream highlighted Forrest Gump.  Although I am not hipster-ish to not enjoy Forrest Gump, even as a 9 year old boy I understood that Pulp Ficiton was much better written than Forrest Gump, or just a better story line in general.  And then there came the burst of the independent films breaking their way in to the awards show.  I was 13 when two young and hardly known actors known as Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, now known as Jason Bourne and Batman, took home a couple of trophies for the still brilliant film Good Will Hunting.  I was amazed to see a wonderful indie drama win, and still loved seeing Jack Nicholson win for the mainstream delight of a film As Good As It Gets.  I felt as though the Oscars were, and sometimes still are, a versatile award showing that I simply adore.

And with that in mind, as we did last year, I invited my dear friend and screenwriter/filmmaker/DP, practically anything, Chris Eaves to help make some predictions on who we would like to see win, and who we think will actually win.  Chris has been working in the Portland cinema world for a few years now with the illustrious crew known as Sound Skript Entertainment.  They have created some wonderful short films, web series, and even full on productions.  They are a wonderful crew of folks, and I highly recommend you check them out.  Chris and I have a lot in common when it comes to film going.  We both love the Criterion Collection (he is a bit more obsessive than I), anything from the 90’s, guys like Robert Rodriguez, Quentin Tarantino, Woody Allen (I a bit more obsessive than he), and so on.  Yet we also disagree on several things, which you will clearly see in the text below when discussing what I considered to be an abortion, he a masterpiece, the film Gravity.

And to make things just a bit more fun, we are having a contest via Facebook!  Head on over to the Trainwreck’d Society Facebook Page to find out about the contest, and how you can win some free swag just be participating!  Seriously, all you have to do is pick a side, and be the name drawn from the hat.  Check out how things went down last year for some more research.

Enjoy!

Best Motion Picture of the Year

…And the nominees are:

The Wolf of Wall Street

American Hustle

Nebraska

Captain Phillips

Philomena

Dallas Buyers Club

12 Years A Slave

Graviy

Her

WHO RON WANTS TO WIN: Her.  I thoroughly enjoyed this beautifully written film so damn much.  But, I have a feeling that the writing is going to be the stand out piece of the whole film, and that is all that will be noticed.  Which is fine.

Her

WHO CHRIS WANTS TO WIN: Dallas Buyers Club – Movies are a cathartic social machine. Through movies we converse about the world around us. Dallas Buyers Club carries a weight of contemporary reflection. The film’s content is still too much of a hot button to win, but a nomination from the academy will at least provide the film a larger viewership. Dallas Buyers Club is a character study via the performance of Mathew McConaughey delivering a tremendous emotional impact. Film should be conversational by nature and Dallas Buyers Club will keep people talking beyond its release.

 Dallas Buyers Club

WHO RON THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: American Hustle.  The hype is there, and waiting.  Not much else to be said.  There were far too many big named actors in this film for them to take a whole lot, but I see this one taking the cake, as well as a the ladies sweeping it, Russell will have his day, and maybe a scattered win somewhere else.  Just 5 total, but the two biggest ones of all, of course.

American Hustle

WHO CHRIS THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: 12 Years A Slave.  The British director Steve McQueen addresses human struggle aligned with human created institutions. McQueen’s first two films Hunger (2008) and Shame (2011) exemplifies this theme. In the 21-century American Slavery is whispered as a forgotten forced echoing a past we collectively tell ourselves is no longer relevant. Racism was my father’s father and not me. Unlike last year’s nominee Django Unchained (2012), which also addressed American Slavery but rather through genera storytelling, 12 Years A Slave removes as much of genera storytelling’s laughs and winks for a realistic depiction of struggle. 12 Years A Slave captures our echo amplifying it back reminding us struggle is deeper than the institutions which implemented them.

12 Years A Slave

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role

…And the nominees are:

Christian Bale for American Hustle

Bruce Dern for Nebraska

Leonardo DiCaprio for The Wolf of Wall Street

Chiwetel Ejiofor for 12 Years a Slave

Matthew McConaughey for Dallas Buyers Club

WHO RON WANTS TO WIN: Leonardo DiCaprio for The Wolf of Wall Street.  I don’t think the Academy wants to except Leo, until he is on the Academy himself.  But, it is definitely due time, and what better acceptance speech could be done than Leo thanking Marty for putting him in all of his damn movies!

THe Wolf of Wall Street

WHO CHRIS WANTS TO WIN: Matthew McConaughey for Dallas Buyers Club – It has always been fun to watch Matthew McConaughey playing Matthew McConaughey in movies, the man has a charisma that catches the attention of a  room. In recent films such as Mud (2012) and the current Dallas Buyers Club McConaughey is still able to use his southern charm but in these films to the advantage of the story and character. The “Hollywoodness” of the Matthew McConaughey celebrity falls away leaving a very personal character driven performance.

Dallas Buyers Club

WHO RON THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: Chiwetel Ejiofor for 12 Years A Slave.  Once again, when an actor is nominated for a role in which he is the primary suspect of the entire film, it’s pretty much his.  It’s the Forrest Gump stigma, if you will.

12 Years A Slave

WHO CHRIS THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: Leonardo DiCaprio for The Wolf of Wall Street – Leonardo DiCaprio has countless great performances and nominations without receiving an Academy win. Martin Scorsese and DiCaprio are very closely linked in their films but also in regards to nominations without statutes. As the Academy finally honored Scorsese with the Departed (2006) as an apology to all his previous overlook nomination, DiCaprio will be honored this go around for his performance in The Wolf of Wall Street. The win for The Departed and the win for DiCaprio are deserving on their own merit regardless of the nomination context.

 P.S. – I am still bitter over the lack of supporting nomination for DiCaprio in Django Unchained last year.

THe Wolf of Wall Street

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

…And the nominees are

Amy Adams for American Hustle

Cate Blanchett for Blue Jasmine

Sandra Bullock for Gravity

Judi Dench for Philomena

Meryl Streep for August: Osage County

WHO RON WANTS TO WIN: Cate Blanchett.  Not only do I want Mia Farrow to choke on her own vomit when she sees another female win an award for a portrayal in one of Woody’s films, also I really enjoyed Cate’s performance, which is rare because I see no greatness in her.  And I am biased in wanting Woody Allen’s films to win EVERYTHING.  If the man believe in special effects, his films should win that too!

Blue Jasmine

WHO CHRIS WANTS TO WIN: Amy Adams for American Hustle.  See below.

American Hustle

WHO RON THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: Amy Adams for American Hustle.  The Academy seems to want to show praise for “strong female leads” or “fish out of water, woman in a man’s world”.  While Cate Blanchett was great, she showed too much weakness.  Under normal pretenses, Dench or Streep would be the more obvious choice, but young Amy Adams is lacking a trophy as a lead actress.  Which is enough for me to make this prediction.

American Hustle

WHO CHRIS THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN:  Amy Adams for American Hustle – Amy Adams has five supporting actress nomination with zero wins. This is her first leading actress nomination. Adams has selected very diverse roles ranging from Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006) to Paul Thomas Anderson’s character driven The Master (2012) leaving no doubt of her mastering of both comedy and drama. Adams is one of the best actress of the current generation standing out from the slightly disappointing American Hustle. This nomination is about performance and Amy Adams should win.

American Hustle

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role

…And the nominees are:

Barkhad Abdi for Captain Phillips

Bradley Cooper for American Hustle

Michael Fassbender for 12 Years A Slave

Jonah Hill for The Wolf of Wall Street

Jared Leto for Dallas Buyers Club

WHO RON WANTS TO WIN: Jonah Hill for The Wolf of Wall Street.  C’mon, now!  This guy has had lines in comedy films about literally beating dicks until the fall off, and taking a shit on top of a pile of pubes and watching it look like a stuffed animal.  Now he has two Oscar nominations?  Too wonderful!

THe Wolf of Wall Street

WHO CHRIS WANTS TO WIN: Michael Fassbender for 12 Years A Slave – This is my list and I have biases. I love Michael Fassbender and want him to win. His performance is deserving regardless of my bias.

12 Years A Slave

WHO RON THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: Jonah Hill for The Wolf of Wall Street.  How can the Academy get away with honoring a Scorsese film without giving him an actual Oscar -and- stir up some shit by giving the man who in the same year had a demon do some “not so chill” things to him in another film?  Boom.  It’s math.  Dirty psychological math.

THe Wolf of Wall Street

WHO CHRIS THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN:  Barkhad Abdi for Captain Phillips – This is my cynical card this year. Captain Phillips is Barkhad Abdi first film anything and he also puts a strong performance to screen. A nomination in principle should purely be about being the best regardless of any surrounding context – the best male supporting actor of 2013. The Academy has its own context such as Haley Joel Osment for The Sixth Sense (1999) and Gabourey Sidibe for Precious (2009). Although this precedent is nominations and not wins. In this case believing most of the voting is going to others films this might be a win for the Captain Phillip’s DVD cover.

Captain Phillips

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role

…And the nominees are:

Sally Hawkins for Blue Jasmine

Jennifer Lawrence for American Hustle

Lupita Nyong’o for 12 Years a Slave

Julia Roberts for August: Osage County

June Squibb for Nebraska

WHO RON WANTS TO WIN: Sally Hawkins for Blue Jasmine.  As previously stated, it’s all about the Woody.  And since The Dice Man wasn’t nominated for a supporting actor award as once anticipated, Hawkins might as well take home the gold.

Blue Jasmine

WHO CHRIS WANTS TO WIN: June Squibb for Nebraska.  See Below.

Nebraska

WHO RON THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: Jennifer Lawrence.  Everyone adores this chick, and I can see why.  I may not think she is truly the cat’s pajamas everyone else does, I am almost 100% certain on this one.  It’s, you know, whatever.  At least she’s not Kristen Stewart.  I think Lawrence has like three facial expressions.

American Hustle

WHO CHRIS THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: June Squibb for Nebraska – Okay, this is my second cynical reasoning claim. Nebraska needs a win, and this will be the nomination. Jennifer Lawrence for American Hustle might be the upset for the same reasoning but my bet is on June.

Nebraska

Best Achievement in Directing

…And the nominees are:

David O. Russell for American Hustle

Alfonso Cuaron for Gravity

Alexander Payne for Nebraska

Steve McQueen for 12 Years a Slave

Martin Scorsese for The Wolf of Wall Street

WHO RON WANTS TO WIN: David O. Russell for American Hustle.  Normally I would be all about Marty taking it home, but Russell was essentially robbed last year, and I think he has earned his title as Oscar winner.  And honestly, The Wolf of Wall Street was probably one of the most “O.K.” films I have seen from Marty since Hugo, and for that, I don’t know, After Hours?

American Hustle

WHO CHRIS WANTS TO WIN:  Alfonso Cuaron for Gravity – From a technical perspective Gravity is a visual masterpiece, a film that needs to be seen on a 90 foot screen as not even a home theater 70 inch LED will justify the scale of this work. In defining terms what constitutes being a Best Director? Is Best Director about forming the best story, is it composing the best emotional reaction, is it getting great performances from the talent, is it a combination of everything? In defining my terms no other director this year was able to fashion an environment for the creation of such beautiful imagery progressing visual storytelling and pushing the bounds of filmmaking into new technical grounds.

Gravity

WHO RON THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: David O. Russell.  I don’t believe this is going to be a year where the director nod and best feature are separate.  Then again, I didn’t think it would be last year.  So, what the hell do I know?  Why are you really reading this crap?  Oh that’s right, we are giving away free shit on Facebook.

American Hustle

WHO CHRIS THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN:  Steve McQueen for 12 Years A Slave – Hunger (2009) and Shame (2011) from Steve McQueen are highly revered for their cinematic humanistic qualities. As Best Picture goes, usually Best Director follows. For this, and the deeper emotional impact of 12 Years A Slave as previously stated, Best Director will go to Steve McQueen. I’m okay with this win. His movies are hard to watch, but represent the highest echelon of filmmaking.

12 Years A Slave

Best Writing, Original Screenplay

…And the nominees are:

Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell for American Hustle

Woody Allen for Blue Jasmine

Craig Borten and Melisa Wallack for Dallas Buyers Club

Spike Jonze for Her

Bob Nelson for Nebraska

WHO RON WANTS TO WIN: Woody Allen for Blue Jasmine.  This is a real toss up.  While I would love to see Spike Jonze have his day, my ridiculous obsession with Woody has to stop me.  I do believe that Her was better than Blue Jasmine.  But they were very different.  I just want the guy who nevers goes to the Oscars to win the most Oscars ever, and he doesn’t have enough years to catch up to Walt Disney, but dammit lets get close!

Blue Jasmine

WHO CHRIS WANTS TO WIN:  Spike Jonze for Her – Her is a very modern film. Spike Jonze is a very modern filmmaker. With a lot of nominations behind him, this becomes the year Spike Jonze wins an Oscar. Her was a good film too.

Her

WHO RON THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: David O. Russell for American Hustle.  Like I said, it’s time for David to slay his Goliath, and get the title of Oscar winner that he probably pretends to not care about.

American Hustle

WHO CHRIS THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: See above.

Her

Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay

…And the nominees are:

Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, and Ethan Hawke for Before Midnight

Billy Ray for Captain Phillips

Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope for Philomena

John Ridley for 12 Years a Slave

Terence Winter for The Wolf of Wall Street

WHO RON WANTS TO WIN: Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, and Ethan Hawke for Before Midnight.  I am almost certain this won’t happen, but this triangle of great folks really deserve this award.  As a great admirer of the 90’s, Richard Linklater and Ethan Hawke are phenomenal in my adoring eyes.  Although, for different reasons, seeing Steve Coogan win would be great too.

Before Midnight

WHO CHRIS WANTS TO WIN: Terence Winter for the Wolf of Wall Street – It is hard to figure out what The Wolf of Wall Street actually is in terms of classification. It’s hard to believe this “Comedy” is an adaptation of real person Jordan Belfort memoirs. The Wolf of Wall Street is still a film with entertainment as part of its form and such not necessarily an adaptation of historical fact. As much as this film makes me smile I think it’s too loud and filled with pop culture and not enough Independent to win. Cynicalness pokes it’s head up again.

THe Wolf of Wall Street

WHO RON THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: John Ridley for 12 Years A Slave.  Two words: White Guilt.  Well deserved white guilt I might add.  As genuine of a gesture as I believe it NOT to be, I don’t think the risk of not honoring the true story of an enslaved man by awarding the adaptation of his true story and the portrayal by the man who took his life to the screen, is one that they should really avoid.

12 Years A Slave

WHO CHRIS THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN:  John Ridley for 12 Years A Slave – For many of the same reasons already stated. The audience loves a true story and we love to see struggles caped with overcoming – it’s the hero’s journey and the content is right next to the American Heart even though we deny both most times.

 12 Years A Slave

Best Achievement in Cinematography

…And the nominees are:

Philippe Le Sourd for The Grandmaster

Emmanuel Lubezki for Gravity

Bruno Delbonnel for Inside Llewyn Davis

Phedon Papamichael for Nebraska

Roger Deakins for Prisoners

WHO RON WANTS TO WIN: Bruno Delbonnel for Inside Llewyn Davis.  I am rather shocked that this is the only appearance of a Coen Brothers film this year.  As most of us should, the Academy has an obvious hard on these two brilliant filmmakers, yet here they are in just two categories, both of which omit the Coen name.  Personally, I just want any film besides Gravity to win.

Inside Llewyn Davis

WHO CHRIS WANTS TO WIN:  See below.

Gravity

WHO RON THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: Emmanuel Lubezki for Gravity.  I can only let out a sigh on this one.  Such horseshit.  Just as they did last year with that extremely festering pile of dung that was Life of Pi, I really think that the green screen is going to win once again.  I don’t mean to hate on this new fan dangled age of digital and green screened all to hell ways of doing business, but I still call bullshit.  And to be fair, Life of Pi was awful.  And I believe many cinematographers are losing their creative edge to a god damned MacBook, and that isn’t cool.

Gravity

WHO CHRIS THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN:  Emmanuel Lubezki for Gravity – All the films nominated are beautifully shot but it is Gravity that pushes the envelope is visual storytelling. No other film has done what Gravity has done in moving filmmaking into the 21 century of digital creation. As the point going forward, brought up by my dear friend Ron, what constitutes a composition now with so much post production add on? Emmanuel Lubezki has 10 nominations and no wins. This is the DP that shot Children of Men (2006) and Tree of Life (2011) which had almost no CGI and I want this win.

Gravity

Best Achievement in Costume Design

…And the nominees are:

Michael Wilkinson for American Hustle

William Chang for The Grandmaster

Catherine Martin for The Great Gatsby

Michael O’Connor for The Invisible Woman

Patricia Norris for 12 Years a Slave

WHO RON WANTS TO WIN: Catherine Martin for The Great Gatsby.  Although I didn’t really dig a 3D, hip hop infused reanimation of one of my favorite books as much I thought I would, they were dressed to a goddamned T!  Martin got the costumes down as well as they were when Redford played Jay.

The Great Gatsby

WHO CHRIS WANTS TO WIN: Catherine Martin for The Great Gatsby.  See below.

The Great Gatsby

WHO RON THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: Catherine Martin for The Great Gatsby.  I have faith, I think it can be done.  I can only see this going wrong if the judges decide to hand over a give away award to American Hustle, which is not too far out in left field to consider.

The Great Gatsby

WHO CHRIS THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN:  Catherine Martin for The Great Gatsby – The Great Gatsby has fashion sense and a look that gives theme in the pursuit of storytelling. There are costumes and then there are costumes.

The Great Gatsby

Best Achievement in Sound Mixing

…And the nominees are:

Chris Burdon, Mark Taylor, Mike Prestwood Smith, and Chris Munro for Captain Phillips

Skip Lievsay, Niv Adiri, Christopher Benstead, and Chris Munro for Gravity

Christopher Boyes, Michael Hedges, Michael Sernanick, and Tony Johnson for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Skip Lievsay, Greg Orloff, and Peter F. Kurland for Inside Llewyn Davis

Andy Koyama, Beau Borders, and David Brownlow for Lone Survivor

WHO RON WANTS TO WIN: Skip Lievsay, Greg Orloff, and Peter F. Kurland for Inside Llewyn Davis.  I couldn’t even pretend to know what is involved with sound mixing, so I will just pick the Coen Brothers.  Done.

Inside Llewyn Davis

WHO CHRIS WANTS TO WIN:  Andy Koyama, Beau Borders, and David Brownlow for Lone Survivor.  See below.

Lone Survivor

WHO RON THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: Chris Burdon, Mark Taylor, Mike Prestwood Smith, and Chris Munro for Captain Phillips

Captain Phillips

WHO CHRIS THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN:  Andy Koyama, Beau Borders, and David Brownlow for Lone Survivor – War has a lot of sounds. Visual keeps an audiences’ attention but it is sound which gives cinema its soul. Lone Survivor has elements of brother-in-arms quiet intimacy but this film is not a dramatic conversational piece. Through the arrangements of the sound mixing emotional heart strings are pulled through the achievement of the mixers’ ability.

Lone Survivor

Best Achievement in Film Editing

…And the nominees are:

Jay Cassidy, Crispin Struthers, and Alan Baumgarten for American Hustle

Christopher Rouse for Captain Phillips

Jean Marc Vallee and Martin Pensa for Dallas Buyers Club

Alfonso Cuaron and Mark Sanger for Gravity

Joe Walker for 12 Years a Slave

WHO RON WANTS TO WIN: Jay Cassidy, Crispin Struthers, and Alan Baumgarten for American Hustle.  I don’t really have any opinion on this, I am just so convinced that American Hustle is going to take the cake, and I’m not real concerned to begin with.

American Hustle

WHO CHRIS WANTS TO WIN: Christopher Rouse for Captain Phillips.  See below.

Captain Phillips

WHO RON THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: Jay Cassidy, Crispin Struthers, and Alan Baumgarten for American Hustle.  I always think that the editing award and best picture award should be together, right?  That’s my rationale anyway.

American Hustle

WHO CHRIS THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN:  Christopher Rouse for Captain Phillips – Editing is the strongest piece of Captain Phillips taking a story we kind of already know the ending giving it an intensity of feeling like maybe we don’t know how it will turn out even though we still kind of do. This tension strives from the power of the editing. It’s hard for an editor on Gravity to win with Alfonso Cuaron giving you 17 minute single shots to work with. Captain Phillips deserves this win.

 Captain Phillips

Best Achievement in Sound Editing

…And the nominees are:

Steve Boeddeker and Richard Hymns for All Is Lost

Oliver Tarney for Captain Phillips

Glenn Freemantle for Gravity

Brent Burge for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Wylie Stateman for Lone Survivor

WHO RON WANTS TO WIN: Oliver Tarney for Captain Phillips.  I don’t know, I just don’t want Gravity to win a damn thing.

Captain Phillips

WHO CHRIS WANTS TO WIN:  Glenn Freemantle for Gravity – There is no sound is space, kind of. It’s the quiet of this film that adds so much more to the experience. Quiet is not silence and creating quiet is very hard to pull off.

Gravity

 WHO RON THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: Glenn Freemantle for Gravity.  I guess if you treat a film like a video game, you can have the technical shit.

Gravity

WHO CHRIS THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN:  Wylie Stateman for Lone Survivor – For the same reasons as to winning Sound Mixing.

Lone Survivor

Best Achievement in Visual Effects

…And the nominees are:

Timothy Webber, Chris Lawrence, David Shirk, and Neil Corbould for Gravity

Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton, and Eric Reynolds for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Christopher Townsend, Guy Williams, Erik Nash, and Daniel Sudick for Iron Man 3

Tim Alexander, Gary Brozenich, Edson Williams, and John Frazier for The Lone Ranger

Roger Guyett, Pat Tubach, Ben Grossman, and Burt Dalton for Star Trek Into Darkness

WHO RON WANTS TO WIN: Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton, and Eric Reynolds for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.  It’s not Gravity.  And it’s based on classic literature.  Why not?

The Hobbit

WHO CHRIS WANTS TO WIN:  Timothy Webber, Chris Lawrence, David Shirk, and Neil Corbould for Gravity – Gravity does not have a spectacular over the top or world building level of visual effects which other films offer but it does possess the technical achievement of pushing the boundaries of possibilities in storytelling. Gravity creates a seamless realism that disbands especial effect disbelief. All the wires are hidden.

Gravity

WHO RON THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: Timothy Webber, Chris Lawrence, David Shirk, and Neil Corbould for Gravity.  Whatever.

Gravity

WHO CHRIS THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN:  Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton, and Eric Reynolds for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug – Middle Earth is a beautiful world. But, I’ve been there before and have already seen this place. LOTR needs a win, and the film looks great. Thumbs up!

 The Hobbit

Best Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling

…And the nominees are:

Adruitha Lee and Robin Matthews for Dallas Buyers Club

Steve Prouty for Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa

Joel Harlow and Gloria Pasqua Casny for The Lone Ranger

WHO RON WANTS TO WIN: Steve Prouty for Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa.  I know that Dallas Buyers Club should be the right answer, but I love the idea of the Jackass guys being Oscar winners, even if I am not really a fan.

Bad Grandpa

WHO CHRIS WANTS TO WIN: Adruitha Lee and Robin Matthews for Dallas Buyers Club.  See below.

Dallas Buyers Club

WHO RON THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: Adruitha Lee and Robin Matthews for Dallas Buyers Club.  There just really is no other realistic option.

Dallas Buyers Club

WHO CHRIS THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN:  Adruitha Lee and Robin Matthews for Dallas Buyers Club – Matthew McConaughey lost a lot of weight for his role. This was a partial reason for McConaughey’s Oscar winning performance. Weight loss can only go so far. The makeup department is so important to storytelling but so under appreciated by the film going crowds. I was sold that McConaughey was dying from Aids which gave me a very strong connection to the film. This was in part to the great makeup of Dallas Buyers Club.

Dallas Buyers Club

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song

…And the nominees are:

Pharrell Williams for Despicable Me 2, “Happy”

Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez for Frozen, “Let It Go”

Karen O for Her, “The Moon Song”

Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton, and Larry Mullen Jr. for Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, “Ordinary Love”

WHO RON WANTS TO WIN: Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez for Frozen, “Let It Go”. The phenomenon of this song has hit my home personally.  My kids absolutely adore the entire Frozen soundtrack.  And they are blissfully unaware that such a phenomenon is happening, although they are definitely a part of it all.  So for them, I choose this extremely annoying song in hopes that it goes away very soon.

Frozen

WHO CHRIS WANTS TO WIN:  Pharrell Williams for Despicable Me 2, “Happy” – I have a soft spot for Pharrell. I like the Despicable Me movies. I’ll remember the Pharrell song longer than the U2 song.

Despicable Me 2

WHO RON THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez for Frozen, “Let It Go”.  It’s just too damn big.  Enough said.

Frozen

WHO CHRIS THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN:  Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton, and Larry Mullen Jr. for Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, “Ordinary Love” – It’s U2 with an original song for a Nelson Mandela film in a year Nelson Mandela past away. This is easier than the Adele song for Skyfall. This is my free spot on Bingo.

Mandela

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score

…And the nominees are:

John Williams for The Book Thief

Steven Price for Gravity

Will Butler and Owen Pallett for Her

Alexandre Desplat for Philomena

Thomas Newman for Saving Mr. Banks

WHO RON WANTS TO WIN: Thomas Newman for Saving Mr. Banks.  Because I would simply have to shut down my Facebook account if the kids from Arcade Fire win an Oscar.

Saving Mr. Banks

WHO CHRIS WANTS TO WIN: Thomas Newman for Saving Mr. Banks.  See below.

Saving Mr. Banks

WHO RON THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: Thomas Newman for Saving Mr. Banks.  Nobody should want Arcade Fire to win an Oscar.

Saving Mr. Banks

WHO CHRIS THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN:  Thomas Newman for Saving Mr. Banks – Music is so important to film. Music in film existed before movies had sound. Thomas Newman’s score for Saving Mr. Banks is what holds the film together. Comedic moments to personal reflective conversations, the score keeps the emotions moving and an interest in the film. Being about Walt Disney, best music score seems fitting.

 Saving Mr. Banks

Best Short Film, Animated

…And the nominees are:

Daniel Sousa and Dan Golden for Feral

Lauren MacMullan and Dorothy McKim for Get a Horsel

Laurent Witz and Alexandre Espigares for Mr Hublot

Shuhei Morita for Possessions

Max Lang and Jan Lachauer for Room on the Broom

WHO RON WANTS TO WIN: Daniel Sousa and Dan Golden for Feral.  To use the unofficial military acronym, this is a “WAG” (Wild Ass Guess).

Feral

WHO CHRIS WANTS TO WIN:  Daniel Sousa and Dan Golden for Feral – See below.

Feral

WHO RON THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: Daniel Sousa and Dan Golden for Feral.  To use the unofficial military acronym, this is a “WAG” (Wild Ass Guess).

Feral

WHO CHRIS THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN:  Daniel Sousa and Dan Golden for Feral – How many people actually watch the shorts?

Feral

Best Short Film, Live Action

…And the nominees are:

Esteban Crespo for That Wasn’t Me

Xavier Legrand, Alexandre Gavras for Just Before Losing Everything

Anders Walter and Kim Magnusson for Helium

Selma Vilhunen and Kirsikka Saari for Do I Have To Take Care of Everything?

Mark Gill and Baldwin Li for The Voorman Problem

WHO RON WANTS TO WIN: Xavier Legrand, Alexandre Gavras for Just Before Losing Everything.  WAG

Just Before

WHO CHRIS WANTS TO WIN: See below.

Helium

WHO RON THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: Xavier Legrand, Alexandre Gavras for Just Before Losing Everything.  WAG.

Just Before

WHO CHRIS THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN:  Anders Walter and Kim Magnusson for Helium – How many people actually watch the shorts?

Helium

Best Documentary, Short Subject

..And the nominees are:

Malcom Clarke and Nick Reed for The Lady in Number 6

Jeffrey Karoff for Cavedigger

Jason Cohen for Facing Fear

Sara Ishaq for Karama Has No Walls

Edgar Barens for Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall

WHO RON WANTS TO WIN: Edgar Barens for Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall.  I know who Edgar Barens is!!!

Prison Terminal

WHO CHRIS WANTS TO WIN: Jeffrey Karoff for Cavedigger –  See below.

Cave Digger

WHO RON THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: Edgar Barens for Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall. Again…I know Barens!  And he is great!

Prison Terminal

WHO CHRIS THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN:  Jeffrey Karoff for Cavedigger – How many people actually watch the shorts?

Cave Digger

Best Documentary, Features

…And the nominees are:

Joshua Oppenheimer and Signe Byrge Sorenson for The Act of Killing

Zachary Heinzerling and Lydia Dean Pilcher for Cutie and the Boxer

Rick Rowley and Jeremy Scahill for Dirty Wars

Jehane Noujaim and Karim Amer for The Square

Morgan Neville, Gil Friesen, and Caitrin Rogers for 20 Feet from Stardom

WHO RON WANTS TO WIN: Morgan Neville, Gil Friesen, and Caitrin Rogers for 20 Feet from Stardom.  This was a really cool film.  Maybe not as socially important as the others, but hell, Searching for Sugar Man won last year!  Which I loved, but didn’t see that coming!

Twenty Feet From Stardom

WHO CHRIS WANTS TO WIN: Joshua Oppenheimer and Signe Byrge Sorenson for The Act of Killing – The Act of Killing shook me up quite a bit. The film is about anti-communist purging from Indonesian between 65-66 resulting in 500,000 killed. The cold war and communists was never a part of my generation as thus I feel removed from that “communist” fear. What The Act of Killing does is address a very fundamental motivation of why people kill and the journey of a person who was caught up in those moments who years later discovers another very humanistic characteristic that is for each individual viewer to figure out for themselves.

The Act of Killing

WHO RON THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: Morgan Neville, Gil Friesen, and Caitrin Rogers for 20 Feet from Stardom.  Here’s to hoping we get two musical years in a row!

Twenty Feet From Stardom

WHO CHRIS THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN:  Jehane Noujaim and Karim Amer for The Square – Egypt continues to be a center pillar of geopolitics. The Square’s story is still developing. In this moment The Square will win, and should be seen, but The Act of Killing is about humanist characters and maybe more long term relative.

The Square

Best Foreign Language Film of the Year

…And the nominees are:

The Broken Circle Breakdown (Belgium)

The Great Beauty (Italy)

The Hunt (Denmark)

The Missing Picture (Cambodia)

Omar (Palestine)

WHO RON WANTS TO WIN: The Hunt (Denmark).  I heart Denmark.

The Hunt

WHO CHRIS WANTS TO WIN: See below.

Broken Circle Break Down

WHO RON THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: Omar (Palestine).  Controversy sells.  And probably with good reason.

Omar

WHO CHRIS THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN:  The Broken Circle Breakdown (Belgium) – Here is where my bullshit comes through. I haven’t seen any of these films. With that said, this is my choice and all of these choice are so subjective. These are all good, well maybe most, but it’s only time which decides what films are great.

Broken Circle Break Down

Best Animated Feature

…And the nominees are:

Chris Sanders, kirk De Micco, and Kristine Belson for The Croods

Chris Renaud, Pierre Coffin, and Christopher Meledandri for Despicable Me 2

Benjamine Renner and Didier Brunner for Ernest & Celestine

Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee, and Peter Del Vecho for Frozen

Hayao Miyazaki and Toshio Suzuki for The Wind Rises

WHO RON WANTS TO WIN: Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee, and Peter Del Vecho for Frozen.  See the above “Let it Go” argument.

Frozen

WHO CHRIS WANTS TO WIN:  Hayao Miyazaki and Toshio Suzuki for The Wind Rises – This is Hayao Miyazaki final film of a very long groundbreaking career. This film is deserving of the win even though it has the least amount of notoriety in the states. Hayao will receive a lifetime achievement award in the coming years but an Oscar for this film would be a much better result. I don’t actually think The Wind Rises will win but I won’t cheapen it by moving this section into the wants to win category.

Wind Rises

WHO RON THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee, and Peter Del Vecho for Frozen.  See the above “Let it Go” argument.

Frozen

WHO CHRIS THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: See above.

Wind Rises

Best Achievement in Production Design

…And the nominees are:

Judy Becker and Heather Loeffler for American Hustle

Andy Nicholson, Rosie Goodwin, and Joanne Woollard for Gravity

Catherine Martin and Beverley Dunn for The Great Gatsby

K.K. Barrett and Gene Serdena for Her

Adam Stockhausen and Alice Baker for 12 Years a Slave

WHO RON WANTS TO WIN: Catherine Martin and Beverley Dunn for The Great Gatsby.  I thought this was actually the greatest part of the film.

The Great Gatsby

WHO CHRIS WANTS TO WIN: Catherine Martin and Beverley Dunn for The Great Gatsby.  See below.

The Great Gatsby

WHO RON THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: Judy Becker and Heather Loeffler for American Hustle.  Seriously, if Gravity wins this shit, I am going to shun George Clooney, and shit in Sandra Bullock’s empty skull.

American Hustle

WHO CHRIS THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: Catherine Martin and Beverley Dunn for The Great Gatsby – The Great Gatsby is an interesting film that I have returned to a few times. It’s not a greatest achievement in film but the choices I still find interesting and it is in this regard The Great Gatsby has some staying power. As part of those choice the Production Design is fundamentally terrific.

The Great Gatsby