It's Not Delivery, It's DeGeneres

Actors like to talk about the winding journey they've taken to arrive on the Oscar stage, but if you're really up for an adventure story, I'll regale you with the Tale of Getting Myself In Front of an Oscar Telecast this year. I was supposed to attend the annual Oscar party, but it was canceled due to weather concerns. I was going to drive to James' place to watch, but the ice storm pinned my car in. The friends that live within walking distance either don't own televisions or recently cut their service. Aaaaaah! Fortunately, the lady who lives below me was planning to watch, and didn't mind me perching on her couch for a few hours. After all that hoopla, my trip to the Oscars took ten seconds.

It was a tough year to predict, but I was better-prepared than last year. I've seen six of the nine Best Picture nominees, and plenty of the films in the smaller categories as well. Still, I wasn't terribly confident going in, and I was nervous about my picks, even though there wasn't a prize this year. So, based on my guesses, let's find out how I did!


I was correct with my 12 Years a Slave pick, though I'm ashamed to say it's one of the three Best Picture nominees I have yet to see. The one thing I'd amend from my comments in the nomination post is my choice of what I'd have voted for, given the chance. Perhaps Her didn't tackle the Important Themes 12 Years a Slave did, and wasn't as much of an audience-pleaser as Gravity, but to my mind, it was the most thoughtful, remarkable movie on the list, and the only one I'm interested in watching multiple times. But in the land of predictions, you have to guess how other people will vote, and I was able to see which way the wind was blowing on this one. Ding!


Dallas Buyers Club is another one of the three I haven't caught yet, and unlike 12 Years a Slave, I'm not in a hurry to get to it. As you're about to read, it apparently didn't lack for amazing performances, but it looks like such a depressing, awards-baity slog to me. Of course, that's what I said about Wolf of Wall Street, which wound up being better than I thought it would. All this is to say that Best Actor went to Matthew McConaughey, and I'd love to go back in time a few years and tell everyone this win was coming, just so I could see jaws hit the ground. I didn't allow for a McConaughey win in my nominations post, but I've had my ear to the ground since then, and his groundswell of support was impossible to miss. I changed my ballot at the last minute, and scored the point. Ding!


Now here's a performance I actually saw. Though Amy Adams had the potential to be a spoiler (a spoiler that I would not have been entirely unhappy to see), I felt strongly that this one was Cate Blanchett's to lose. And she didn't! Lose, that is. I'm very happy with this win; Cate Blanchett is always good, of course, but she went above and beyond in this film, and tore the role of Jasmine to shreds. Ding!


As I mentioned in the nominations post, I had to go out on somewhat of a limb with this choice. I decided to follow the crowd and select Jared Leto as my choice. He pulled through, and made one of the most stirring acceptance speeches of the evening. Good for him. And for me! Ding!


I agonized over this pick, but I followed my initial instinct, and selected Lupita Nyong’o. And like Jared Leto, she got the win, made a great speech, and looked superb doing it. I'm looking forward to watching her work. I hope she doesn't fade away like supporting actress wins of years past. Ding!


This one I was reasonably confident about. Though 12 Years a Slave was a natural Best Picture win, it was a pretty standard movie in terms of how it was made. It was impossible to ignore the groundbreaking directorial choices Alfonso Cuarón made for Gravity, and all those choices were pretty much flawless. Ding!


Hmm. Maybe I shouldn't have been so self-effacing in my predictive powers. I said that Her might be able to pull out a win here if it was ignored elsewhere, and that's exactly what happened. And I was over the moon to see this win, because it certainly deserved it. Ding!


This one was a little more difficult. It came down to a choice between Before Midnight and 12 Years a Slave. I figured the big movie would steamroll the small one, and I was correct. I do want to see the Sunset/Sunrise trilogy at some point, though. Ding!


Frozen was the closet thing to a gimme all night. And it was sweet to see it not only win, but complete the EGOT for Robert Lopez. Well done. Ding!


Entertainment Weekly guessed that The Great Beauty would win. Fool that I am, I ventured off on my own and picked The Hunt. Whoops. Bzzzt!


Not much was obvious going in this year, but it did seem pretty evident that Gravity would snag a lot of technical awards. Picking it for Cinematography was a pretty easy choice, despite the fact that perpetual also-ran Roger Deakins is due for a win one of these days. Still, I have my own ballot to consider. Sorry, Deaks. Ding!


If American Hustle wasn't going to win the big awards, I could easily see it winning for costumes. Sure, older period pieces like The Great Gatsby usually win, but isn't it about time for the costume award to start creeping forward in time? Apparently not. Bzzzt!


Again, I thought American Hustle or Her could sneak in on this one, and again, The Great Gatsby screwed me over. Bzzzt!


Let's get back on track with this category! Clearly, The Act of Killing, which has been generating all sorts of buzz, will take the prize. Nope. 20 Feet From Stardom. Bzzzt!


I'm so sorry if this sounds cavalier, but when I heard The Lady In Number 6: Music Saved My Life was about a Holocaust survivor, I knew I didn't need to look any further for my pick. The Academy loves rewarding Holocaust-themed material, and this year was no exception. Ding!


In my nominations post, I took a stab by saying 12 Years a Slave would win, but in the time since, I changed my vote to Gravity. It was such a tight, spare story, and fell in line with my when-in-doubt-choose-Gravity strategy. Also, it was a way to give Alfonso Cuarón an Oscar if he didn't win the directing award. And the strategy paid off. Ding!


Gravity, of course. I'm particularly glad it won here, because Visual Effects is often a category where an otherwise terrible movie can shine, and it's nice to see the best movie of the ones nominated was able to claim best effects as well. Ding!


I didn't have a great idea when I half-jokingly selected the Jackass movies in my nominations post. Since that time, I've been reading remarkable things about the Dallas Buyers Club makeup team and its shoestring budget, so I changed my prediction to that. Ding!


I was torn on this one, so I went with my when-in-doubt-choose-Gravity strategy. Hooray! Ding!


A lot went awry with the actual presentation of "Let It Go", from John Travolta's garbled introduction of Idina Menzel to her backing orchestra being so intrusively loud that she had to scream at the top of her lungs and cracked a note or two. But there was never any doubt in my mind that the song would win, and indeed it did. Ding!


Entertainment Weekly split the odds between Get a Horse! and Mr. Hublot. I figured that Mickey Mouse was too much of a "safe", boring choice, so I opted for Mr. Hublot. So there's an undeserved point that I have zero compunction about claiming. Ding!


Oh, damn. In my nominations post, I said "Let's go with Helium. When in doubt, depend on the periodic table." But then I changed my vote to That Wasn’t Me at Entertainment Weekly's suggestion. Boo! Bzzzt!


A technical award that Gravity was vying for, so duh. Ding!


A technical award that Gravity was vying for, so duh. Ding!

That's 19 out of 24, which is pretty spectacular for a year that I was so unsure of going in. Thanks, Gravity! Plus, I was pretty happy with the awards given out this year. Sure, I would have liked to see Her showered with a lot of love, but I can't complain about the vast majority of the picks. As to the telecast itself, it was decent, though not great. Ellen is an affable host, but some of her aren't-I-affable bits went on and on. The show came in at a reasonable time, which was good, though there was still plenty of head-scratching filler. A salute to heroes, many of whom aren't heroes? Pink nailed her performance of "Over the Rainbow", but why was a tribute to The Wizard of Oz needed at at all? What about the almost chilly relationship of the director and writer of 12 Years a Slave, who didn't mention each other, could barely make eye contact, and offered only tepid, almost sarcastic applause? What's the story there? And what in the holy hell is wrong with John Travolta? Dyslexia? A brain slug hidden in his hairpiece? Xenu?


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