Oscar 2014 preview: Matt Pais' edited and unedited thoughts

February 20, 2014|Matt Pais, @mattpais | RedEye movie critic

The Academy Awards (being held March 2) bring out all kinds of extreme emotions and opinions from some people, but not me: I’m always totally even-tempered and maintain perspective that, in the grand scheme of things, Oscars don’t mean a lot.

Yeah, right. It’s easy to get wrapped up in overrated nominees, undeserving winners and the occasional smart choice. On that note, here are my edited, post-deep breath thoughts about the major categories along with the unedited thoughts running through my head.

Best Picture
Edited: I think “12 Years a Slave” will find a way to edge tight competition from “Gravity” and “American Hustle.” I hope.
Unedited: Are you kidding, Academy? This should not even be a contest. Of the nominees, only “12 Years” and “Her” should have a shot at winning, and shame on you for leaving out “Inside Llewyn Davis.”

Best Actress
Edited: Cate Blanchett is the presumed winner for “Blue Jasmine.” How original.
Unedited: I refuse to care about this category without the inclusion of Adele Exarchopoulos (“Blue is the Warmest Color”), Brie Larson (“Short Term 12”) or Greta Gerwig (“Frances Ha”). I’m rooting for Amy Adams despite not buying “American Hustle.”

Best Actor
Edited: Matthew McConaughey (“Dallas Buyers Club”) looks to edge Chiwetel Ejiofor (“12 Years a Slave”).
Unedited: I’m very glad unjustified nominees Christian Bale (“American Hustle”) and Leonardo DiCaprio (“The Wolf of Wall Street”) won’t win, but Bruce Dern was great in “Nebraska,” and Tom Hanks (“Captain Phillips”) and Oscar Isaac (“Inside Llewyn Davis”) obviously should have been in here. The report that McConaughey’s character in the supposedly fact-based “Dallas Buyers Club” may have been considerably fictionalized leaves a bad taste in the mouth.

Best Supporting Actor
Edited: Congrats to Jared Leto (“Dallas Buyers Club”).
Unedited: Leto’s character isn’t fully fleshed out in the film, and Michael Fassbender achieves something deeper in “12 Years a Slave.” What an actor. Also: What the devil is Jonah Hill (“The Wolf of Wall Street”) doing here when James Franco (“Spring Breakers”) is absent??!!

Best Supporting Actress
Edited: Quite a debut, Lupita Nyong’o (“12 Years a Slave”).
Unedited: I prefer Jennifer Lawrence’s turn in “American Hustle,” but that’s it for the complaints. Wait, no: Julia Roberts should not be nominated for “August: Osage County.” I know she’s Julia Roberts, but so what?

Best Director
Edited: Alfonso Cuaron made “Gravity” look incredible.
Unedited: “Gravity” isn’t a very good movie outside of its look, and it’s hard not to hold that against Cuaron. I wish Steve McQueen (“12 Years a Slave”) would win. Really.

Best Original Screenplay
Edited: “Her.” Obviously “Her.”
Unedited: The script for “American Hustle” is messy and lazy and blah. Calling the admittedly entertaining “Blue Jasmine” “original” is a stretch. Where is “Inside Llewyn Davis”?

Best Adapted Screenplay
Edited: I’m rooting for John Ridley (“12 Years a Slave”) or Billy Ray (“Captain Phillips”).
Unedited: You do know that the 5,000-page script for “The Wolf of Wall Street” (which I sort of liked, BTW) just said, “Speech, drugs, boobs, repeat,” right?

Best Animated Feature
Edited: The songs in “Frozen” are good, and I haven’t seen “Ernest and Celestine.”
Unedited: “The Croods”? “Despicable Me 2”? The underwhelming (but of course nicely animated) “The Wind Rises”? This category is a joke.

Watch Matt on “You & Me This Morning,” Friday at 6:55 a.m. on WCIU, the U

mpais@tribune.com

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