8 Ways to Fool People Into Thinking You’ve Seen All the Oscar Nominees

It is finally (almost) here, the night of all nights in Hollywood: Oscar® night.

This year it seemed like a long gap between the Golden Globes, the SAGs and the Oscars. Most of the movies have been out since Christmas, so we’re pretty much all expected to be caught up with the contenders. There will be Oscar parties to go to discuss your faves, and depending on your friends, these discussions could get heated and deep. Of course, there’s also the highly anticipated and – in my circle of friends – intensely competitive Oscar pool.

The thing is, movies cost, like, $20 in some cities (ahem, New York), and some movies aren’t playing in every city (Nebraska), so it might have been difficult for you to check all the Oscar contenders off your list.  Most of the nominated documentaries are streaming on Netflix, and some of the Best Picture nominees are on pay-per-view, so no need to leave the house. If you’re lucky, your local multiplex might have an Oscar movie marathon this weekend.  But honestly, I’m not sure I have the emotional strength to watch 12 Years A Slave and Philomena back to back.

We all have lives, though, and trying to see all nine best picture contenders, plus the documentaries, foreign films and all the shorts… well, you should have started a month ago. Here are eight quips, quotes and film critiques that will make you seem like you’ve lived in a movie theater for the last three months.

American Hustle could either sweep or go home totally empty-handed. Odds are on the latter.

With 10 nominations, the David O’Russell joint is a big favorite to win big on Oscar night, but in the last week or so, the shining ’70s era star is fading. The movie is nominated in all four acting categories (although Amy Adams’ side boob did not garner a nomination). It also got nods for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay, which gives it the potential to win the “Oscar Grandslam”, which hasn’t been done since Silence of the Lambs. However, this movie was not everyone’s favorite and some found it to be overrated. Personally, I loved it, although I found it to be a little longer than it needed to be, but that’s the case for most Oscar movies (looking at you Wolf of Wall Street). This year’s Oscars are so competitive, so while the movie leads the field in nominations, it could lose every category… except Best Supporting Actress, but we’ll get to that.

For the first time in years, I’m actually really invested in Best Original Song.

It’s been a while since a field of best songs has been this exciting. We’re all pretty sure that the award is going to “Let It Go” from Frozen, but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy Pharrell and his hat singing “Happy” from Despicable Me 2 or U2 performing their song from Mandela, “Ordinary Love”.

Alfonso Cuaron winning Best Director at the DGAs historically makes Gravity the Best Picture favorite.

There are loads of ways to predict Oscar winners. For actors and actresses, it’s the Globes and the SAG awards… except with this year’s Best Supporting Actress nominees, but we’ll get to that. Last year’s Best Director award went to Ang Lee, but Ben Affleck’s Argo won Best Picture. Of course, Affleck wasn’t even nominated as a director, but that’s another story. Traditionally, the movie that wins best director at the Director’s Guild Awards is the movie that will win Best Picture. So while lots of critics and awards predictors discounted the CGI heavy Gravity, it now is technically a frontrunner. While I still think 12 Years A Slave will walk away with Best Picture, expect Gravity to sweep the technical categories.

There are few Oscars that are certain and Cate Blanchett’s is one of them.

As far as Blanchett’s performance in the Woody Allen movie Blue Jasmine goes, it is nothing short of perfection. I feared she would suffer some of the backlash of Woody Allen’s drama, but nothing could touch this Aussie’s perfect porcelain skin. While I think she deserves to be walking home with the statue on Sunday, I do feel for Amy Adams, whose performance in American Hustle is one of my favorites this year. Amy’s been nominated four times and is always a bridesmaid, never a bride. She’ll be nominated again, but this isn’t her year.

And as far as Best Original Screenplay, even without all the scandal, Woody Allen would still lose to Spike Jonze for Her.

Maybe all the bad PR with Mia Farrow’s daughter Dylan and the buzz around this in general would have hurt his chances at an Oscar had Her not swept up so much acclaim. The futuristic rom com depicts a love affair between a man and an operating system. The other front runner in this category is American Hustle, which has the commercial momentum that Her lacks. But with Jonze’s love story walking away with the Golden Globe, Critics Choice and Writers Guild awards, the filmmaker could be making his first Academy acceptance speech on Sunday.

20 Feet From Stardom has the popular appeal, but The Square and The Act of Killing have more relevant subject matter, and all three have equal critical acclaim. Tough choice for documentaries.

These are the three documentaries that are the heavy favorites, depending on who you talk to. 20 Feet From Stardom is the box office gem of a doc about back up singers. The Square depicts the 2011 Egyptian revolution and has been a favorite since the nominations were released (also should note that it won the DGA award and remember what we said about that). The Art of Killing is an intense film about Indonesian death squads that only very recently became available worldwide. It’s a three-way split that could go either way, like Best Supporting Actress… but we’ll get to that.

Still undecided about Best Actor, but I know it will be a first timer.

Sorry, Christian Bale, it’s not your year. It’s a toss up, with McConaughey and Chiwetel Ejifor going neck and neck. There was a moment after the Golden Globes where it could have been Leonardo DiCaprio. Then Ejifor won the BAFTA, McConaughey won the SAG. And Bruce Dern, well, he could be your old dark horse, as his film Nebraska is a bit of a critical darling.

When I filled out my ballot, I just flipped a coin between Lupita and JLaw.

I got to it. And it’s anyone’s game here. Lupita Nyong’o won the SAG award and the Critics Choice for her role in 12 Years A Slave and Hollywood (and, well, everyone’s) darling Jennifer Lawrence took home the BAFTA and Golden Globe for playing Marie in American Hustle. These are usually the awards that indicate the Oscar winner, but the split is 50/50. N’yongo has gone on the campaign trail a bit, going on talk shows etc… while JLaw disappeared to go work on Mockingjay, not even attending the BAFTAs. Plus, these two are sure to turn out some fierce looks on the red carpet. I’m obsessed with Lupita Nyong’o’s style and while Jennifer is divisive in Dior, it will be a talking point on Sunday night.


Check out these blogs and sites that will be charting all the statue winners on Saturday night and some predictions for you Oscar gamblers.

IndieWire – Predictions are pretty detailed and clear

Variety Predictions – Tracking front runners through all the weeks leading up, may be some patterns

Variety Scorecard – Mark down your ballots and see if you won on Oscar Night

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