Five 2014 Oscar Surprises

5. 20 Feet From Stardom’s Win

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Okay, I’m not a huge documentary buff, but I thought that some of the others on this list definitely had a better chance at winning. I’m not saying that this film didn’t deserve the win (because in all honesty I haven’t seen it), but it is surprising because the others on this list had really powerful and relevant stories to tell. Now I will definitely have to check out 20 Feet!

4. No love for Prisoners

probably his expression while reading the nominations lists

Probably his expression while reading the nominations list

The fact that this film was only nominated in one category really surprised me; Jake Gyllenhaal definitely deserved at least a nomination for his role, and the movie had an amazingly dark and dreary atmosphere that deserved some recognition. Other movies like Rush, All is Lost, The Conjuring, Inside Llewyn DavisLee Daniels’ The Butler, and Don Jon were also all unfairly left out.

3. Matthew McConaughey’s Win (and speech)

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I’m not saying that I’m disappointed by McConaughey’s win (even though Chiwetel Ejiofor was probably more deserving of it) because he truly gave an exceptional performance. However, there was such strong competition in this category this year. While Christian Bale didn’t really have a shot, Dern, Chiwetel, and DiCaprio all had good (and well-deserved) chances at winning. Overall, I would have bet that Ejiofor would take the win, with my second bet going to DiCaprio (because come on guys, just give him one already).

While I was pleased to see McConaughey win after his strong performance, his dedication to the role, and his character’s message, I was markedly less pleased with his strange acceptance speech. It was touching that he took the time to really express his love for his family, and who doesn’t love hearing his famous Dazed and Confused line, but other than that it was pretty damn weird. It’s great that he has found God, but it was beginning to sound more like a sermon than an acceptance speech at some points. Then there was the “I am my hero” bit. I guess I can see where he was going for with that, but it just came across as being self-involved and unprepared.

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On another note, I guess him and Christian Bale prove that if you’re willing to lose 40+ pounds, you’re gonna win an Oscar.

2. Gravity’s Crazy Success

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What can I say about Gravity. Firstly, I should note that I am not as head-over-heels in love with this movie as some people out there. Of course I can appreciate the stunning visual effects and the amazing technical accomplishments, but I don’t think that it deserved SEVEN wins.

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I can totally understand its victories in areas like Visual Effects and Film Editing, but I was really hoping for some different results in areas like Music and Directing. For example, the music in Her was fresh, beautiful, unique and memorable, which is more than I can say for the music in Gravity. As far as directing, I would have preferred this award go to McQueen or Scorsese. 

1. No wins for The Wolf of Wall Street or American Hustle

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With a combined 15 nominations, I was pretty shocked that neither of these films won a single award. For many of the categories, it makes total sense (Christian Bale as best leading actor… come on!) but I was expecting at least a few wins for these movies because I do think that they were both pretty excellent. Especially The Wolf of Wall Street. I was really rooting for Scorsese in the directing category because of how original, daring, and unabashedly vile he made this movie. He was not willing to pander to the rules and expectations and that is just so damn cool and that bravery deserved some recognition. Plus, say what you will about The Wolf of Wall Street, but it’s hard to deny that Leo turned in an amazing, emotional, and captivating performance.

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Poor Leo… so close and yet so far away from those little golden statues.

What were your favourite/ least favourite Oscar moments?

Photos courtesy of Google Images

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18 thoughts on “Five 2014 Oscar Surprises

    • Yeah, you’re right. It definitely sounded sincere, I was just thrown by the whole “hero” thing. I had to watch it twice to get what he was talking about.
      But I agree! I thought it was an amazing performance that required a lot of dedication.
      Thanks for reading!

    • Yeah his speech was just too weird.
      I was so shocked that The Wolf of Wall Street and American Hustle didn’t win anything. You are definitely more in tune with The Academy than I am!

      • I though Hustle had a shot at Supporting Actress and Costumes. When it lost those two, I knew it was cooked.

        And I didn’t think Wolf had a shot at anything. It was just competing with Gravity or 12 Years (both of which many critics will call classics years from now) in too many categories.

      • That’s a good point — I think under different circumstances Wolf could have done better, but not against movies that were this innovative, culturally significant, and overall so well-made.
        Thanks for reading!

  1. I’m glad American Hustle didn’t win any major awards because it was a very mediocre movie. Matthew’s win didn’t surprise me, because he had won pretty much every award up until that point. Did he deserve it? Maybe. Compared to Chiwetel? Not a chance in hell.

    I was glad that Gatsby walked away with 2! Visually it was a fantastic movie and I love anything Baz Lurrhman so I was stoked!

    I had locked The Act of Killing in for best doc, so that was a shock too.

    Lupita’s win was definitely my highlight. She was so deserving and looked genuinely shocked. She gave such a heartfelt speech. I love her!

    • I liked American Hustle! Mind you, I’m a big David O. Russell fan, so I’m kind of biased. However, Hustle was definitely not nearly as good as some of the other movies that were nominated. It just didn’t have that “wow” factor that the big winners had (like Gravity’s stunning effects, 12 Years’ powerful story and performances combo). I just thought that they would pick up a couple awards because they were nominated in so many categories.

      I was a bit surprised that Gatsby won, but it definitely deserved it in those categories.

      And I agree! I was not surprised that she deservedly won this one! Lupita seems so sweet and talented and humble, and
      she was so deserving of that win. Excited to see where she goes in her career.
      Thanks fir the comment Devin!

    • This is so interesting, thank you for bringing that up. In all honesty I don’t know much about Kim Novak so I didn’t really think much of the controversy, but this article raises such a good point.
      It is really a very sad topic because it’s hard not to be shocked when we see someone like this that looks so… different than we expect. It is so easy to make fun of her and judge her for the surgery, but most people don’t know the incredible pressure to be beautiful in the spotlight. Maybe she didn’t go about aging in the right way, but is there really a “right way” to look old?
      Novak is 81! Considering that, she looks pretty damn good. But there is no consideration for that minor detail, and we all expect her to look like she did in 1981. It’s crazy.

      I thought this was a really good point:
      “The town seems to operate on The Logan’s Run theory of life — you’d better be dead by age 30 — and allows most actresses only two role choices: bombshell or grandma.” http://www.torontosun.com/2014/03/04/kim-novak-twitter-haters-need-to-back-off

      • It is especially infuriating because Donald Trump looks like a chewed up piece of leather with a bad toupee, so I feel like he is really in no place to be criticizing.

  2. I almost forgot about Prisoners completely. Great cast. Good movie. Didn’t think that Hustle was going to get shut out, but I knew people that weren’t all that impressed with it (I, not being one of them. That movies was AWESOME!) so it isn’t utterly shocking, but still I thought Amy Adams had a shot to break her Streep-like drought at least. I didn’t expect Leo to blow away the strong field and I don’t believe in “Gold Watch” Oscars either, but I thought there would be some consideration given to his talents to finally break his drought. Wolf of Wall Street as a movie mailed it in, in my opinion, but I thought Leo was strong in the movie. Again, pretty stiff competition though….so not shocking.

    • I loved Prisoners, so I wish it had gotten more recognition, and I liked Hustle too! Maybe not quite as groundbreaking or original as some of the nominees though, so I think that’s why it suffered. But I really thought that with 10 nominations they would at least pick up one.
      I thought Leo’s performance was amazing. But again, going up against other actors who were not only also amazing, but who played such historically significant characters, he didn’t really have a chance.
      Thanks for reading!

  3. Loved your thoughts. I definitely was surprised at the documentary category. My personal favorite was The Square and I thought it was a much more significant film. I also really like McConaughey’s speech and didn’t find it sermonizing at all. He mentioned God only in what He means to him. And that was just the opening part of his speech. I know there was a lot of love for Wolf but I wasn’t a big fan. I do agree that Chiwetel deserved an Oscar nod. Talk about a strong and brave performance.

    Good thoughts and fun to talk about.

    • Thank you! I was surprised by McConaughey’s speech, but I think the main thing that I was thrown off by was the “future self = hero” idea.
      Lots of people didn’t really like Wolf, it was pretty polarizing, people either thought it was crazy fun or just disgusting. I think the main reason that I enjoyed it is because I went in with really low expectations.
      But yeah, overall, I think Chiwetel and 12 Years A Slave overall will stand out through time more than any of the other movies here.
      I love talking about the Oscars, and I love how different everybody’s opinions are. Thanks for the comment!

      • I actually liked the “future self/hero” thing. To me he was saying that he would never be the hero. The hero would always be in the future which showed that he had something to strive for. That he could always be better. I thought it acknowledged his shortcomings more than anything else.

        That said it was a bit different, wasn’t it? In the moment it was really hard for me to figure out exactly what he was shooting for.

      • That’s the thing! The first time I heard it I was so put off and confused. I watched it a second time the next day and got what he was trying to do, but I just thought the delivery was maybe a bit too easy to misunderstand.

        But you are absolutely right, I think he was trying to be humble more than anything else, but for me I thought it was delivered in a way that made it easier to think that he was being self-centred.

        On that note, I thought it was really sweet that he took the time to address his family in a really honest and heartfelt way.

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