Buzz and I have been hard at work screening movies in the back of the ole VW Microbus, and with the help of the Univac 3000, we are ready to make some fearless predictions.
The 86th Annual Academy Awards will air live from the Thomas Dolby Theater in Los Angeles on Sunday night on ABC starting at 7pm EST. Why a Hollywood theater would choose to name itself after a washed up British musician from the 1980s is beyond me, but Buzz is looking into it.
Since 2009, the Academy has been nominating up to 10 movies for best picture. Up until that time, and since way back in the early days of the awards, they only nominated five, so that probably explains why none of the Police Academy movies were ever nominated. They were on the cusp, so they didn't make it in the days of only five nominations. I guess it also explains the Steve Guttenberg snubs.
This year nine pictures were nominated (again if Police Academy 8 were released last year, we're sure there would have been ten nominees.) The nominees are "American Hustle," "Captain Phillips," "Dallas Buyers Club," "Gravity," "Her," "Nebraska," "Philomena," "12 Years a Slave," and "The Wolf of Wall Street."
"American Hustle" is loosely based on the late 1970s early 1980s ABSCAM sting operation, wherein the FBI tried to entrap a number of politicians by using a convicted con artist to hook politicians up with a phony "Arab Sheikh" in order for the Skeikh to bribe the politicians to receive political favors. Clearly the best part of this movie is Amy Adams in her revealing 1970s outfits, and her acting aint that bad either. We also loved Jeremy Renner as Mayor Carmine Polito
"Captain Phillips" is the story of an American container ship that gets hijacked by Somali pirates off the coast of Africa.This is also based on a true story, although from what we understand although Tom Hanks' Captain Phillips is a warm, caring, sympathetic character, the real Captain Phillips was a bit of an ass. You know how this movie is gonna end even if you don't remember it from the headlines of a few years ago. It's all over when you hear the call for the Navy Seals. Kick ass, pirates dead, Captain Phillips safe. But even though you know it's coming, the climactic scene still blows you away.
"Dallas Buyers Club" is also based on a true story. It follows the life of a rodeo star Ron Woodruf, portrayed by Matthew McConaughey after he is diagnosed with AIDS in the mid 1980s. Woodruf is basically told that he's gonna be dead in 30 days, so he seeks treatment in Mexico and ends up surviving and controlling his illness. He then sets up a "buyers club" where he sells smuggled drugs in from Mexico to help treat AIDS patients who have given up on the American Medical system. He battles with the FDA and American doctors, but his smuggled drugs work better than the traditional hospital treatments at the time.
"Gravity" is a 90 minute space odyssey which is about 80 minutes too long. Although the concept is kinda kool and the cinematography is really good, how long do you really want to watch Sandra Bullock "lost in space."
"Her" is a movie Joaquin Phoenix plays a dork who works in a place where he writes romantic "letters for hire." This first class nerd falls in love with a sexy voiced (Scarlett Johansson) computer operating system. Yes, that is really that plot. Although the movie does have it's endearing moments, it's hard to get over the really stupid storyline.
"Nebraska" is the story of an old man's (Bruce Dern) quest for a million dollar sweepstakes prize. The Montana guy has to get to Nebraska to claim the prize he thinks he won, which he didn't. Buzz and I have agreed that the only way we would travel to Nebraska was to claim a million dollar plus prize, but we'd be damn sure it really existed before we gassed up the Micro bus. We had considered going there to see Johnny Carson's birthplace, but then found out he was really born in Iowa.
"Philomena," contrary to popular belief is not just the name you make up to tease your little brother Phil when you were in grade school, but it actually is a movie starring Judi Dench. It follows her quest to find her child who she gave up for adoption to the local convent. She begins that search 50 years after she gave up the child. This is also based on a true story.
"12 Years a Slave" is based on a biographical novel of a free African American man who lives in Saratoga, New York in the 1840s. He gets hoodwinked into traveling to Washington, D.C., where he ends up being kidnapped and sold into slavery. The story is compelling and dramatizes the evils of an institution which ruled in the Southern states for hundreds of years. As the title implies, there is a happy ending.
"The Wolf of Wall Street" is Martin Scorsese's latest movie. Its stars Leonardo DiCaprio as Jordan Belfort, an unscrupulous stock broker who lives a lavish and extravagant lifestyle in the 1990s. Belfort, who is alive and well today, was the consummate salesman who ended up doing some time in federal prison. He crosses the line numerous times in this story of gratuitous sex and excess.
After watching the movies and running the numbers through the Univac 3000, we came up with different results in a number of the categories, so we're gonna list who Buzz and I believe should win and who the Univac 3000 says will win.
Which movie should take home the best picture Oscar: Buzz and I narrowed it down to "American Hustle," "Dallas Buyers Club," "12 Years a Slave," and "The Wolf of Wall Street." "Her" and "Gravity" are entertaining, but really aren't Best Picture material. For Buzz and me, the Oscar goes to "12 Years a Slave." The Univac 3000 agrees: "12 Years a Slave."
Best Actor: Leo has come a long way since being the "Oliver" on "Growing Pains." Wish we could say the same about Robbie Rist (the true Oliver.) Leo does a hell of a job in The Wolf, just as he did in "The Aviator" and "J. Edgar." Bruce Dern really isn't acting, because Bruce Dern really is a confused old man. Christian should get courage credits for showing off his gut and that horrendous haircut, but tht doesn't get you enough points to win. Chiwetel Ejlofor's name is just too hard to pronounce to get a win. Matthew McConaughey really deserves the Oscar for this one. He probably deserves a Oscar for the weight he lost just to play the role. Should win: Matthew McConaughey for "Dallas Buyers Club" Univac 3000 picks Matthew McConaughey for "Dallas Buyers Club"
Best Actress: What can we say to Meryl, but "this aint your year." Come on, you already won a Oscar two years ago after a 19 year drought. We'll see you at the victory podium around 2030. Sandra Bullock was excellent in "The Blind Side," for which she won the Best Actress Oscar in 2010, but just because she's on screen in "Gravity" 98.6 percent of the time, doesn't mean a best actress nod. Judi Dench, we love you but if the didn't give you an award for the Bond movies, they aint gonna give you one now. That leaves Cate and Amy. Should win: Amy Adams for "American Hustle" Univac 3000 picks Cate Blanchett for "Blue Jasmine"
Best Supporting Actor: We loved Jonah Hill, but this aint his year. Bradley Cooper was very good, but nope. We don't really remember who Michael Fassbender played. Barkhad Adbi, Bradley Cooper, and Jared Leto all put in tremendous performances, but Leto really shined in "Dallas Buyers Club" and deserves the award, despite Adbi being an early favorite. Should win: Jared Leto for "Dallas Buyers Club" Univac 3000 picks Jared Leto for "Dallas Buyers Club"
Best Director: Sixty two times out of eighty five the best movie and best director have matched up. It should happen that way again this year, but it probably won't. We thought Steve McQueen died in 1980, but apparently this director is a different guy. David O. Russell and Alexander Payne were nominated to fill out the category. We believe that Alfonso Cuaron was a filler, too, because as we said before, this was a 90 minute movie that was 80 minutes too long. About Martin Sorcese, what can we say. He is excellent and deserves to win, but he won't. Should win: Martin Sorcese "The Wolf of Wall Street" Univac 3000 picks Alfonso Cuaron "Gravity" (Get those circuits checked on the Univac, Buzz.
Don't look for us on the red carpet. Buzz and I never go, because we really don't like all the attention. Judi Dench offered us some tickets this year and wanted Buzz to be her escort, but Buzz said he wasn't going without me. I'm still waiting for my invite from Amy Adams.