Selfies For All!*



As Oscar predictions go, this was my best year yet–I correctly guessed 20 out of 24, only failing on two of the shorts categories (thanks a lot,, Best Documentary (though what won was no surprise) and Best Picture (ditto). Unfortunately, such predictably and lack of at least one single major upset made for a dull, dull ceremony, despite Ellen’s selfies (quite amusing, actually) and pizza-ordering stunt (padding which had nothing on Andy Kaufman’s infamous treating-the-audience-to-milk-and-cookies stunt, ingenuous when he did it 35 years ago). And don’t even mention the many montages–they’ve already taken up too much time I’ll never get back (time I would’ve preferred to see Angela Lansbury and Steve Martin receiving their honorary Oscars in person).

On the brighter side, the acceptance speeches generally rocked, especially the ladies (Blanchett and Nyong’o), although the best came from Best Original Song winners Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez–snappy and well-rehearsed yet sincere and affecting. Regarding presenters, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Emma Watson were effortlessly charming, while Kim Novak and Harrison Ford made us laugh (albeit unintentionally). As for John “Adele Razim” Travolta, Zach Efron and other line flubbers, perhaps someone out there will string together a montage half as entertaining as this. Pink gave the night’s best musical performance (better her than Lea Michele doing that song, amirite?), with Darlene Love’s acceptance speech a close second (despite her slightly off final note). Very happy for the Best Original Screenplay win for HER, wish NEBRASKA hadn’t been shut out, but I really can’t complain–for once, none of the winners were abominations. The complete list of them is here.

*unless you’re Liza Minnelli.

Not Defying GRAVITY: Oscar Predictions




Although I still watch the telecast to its bitter end every year, the Oscars no longer thrill me in the way they did a decade ago.  Gone are the years when I’d volunteer at the Brattle’s annual ceremony-watching bash or post bitchy reactions to the nominations hours after they were announced. Perhaps Crash winning Best Picture eight years ago lowered by expectations somewhat.

Nonetheless, the Academy Awards is still the Super Bowl for film geeks and I’ll likely be tweeting pithy comments throughout the show this year (@ckriofske); below are my predictions. At the very least, this year’s Best Picture race is no sure thing. Either 12 Years a Slave or Gravity will win, and I’m going with the latter simply because it will also sweep most of the tech categories and the former’s too difficult a watch for many viewers (I’m betting American Hustle will get shut out entirely). Also, the predictability of this guessing game (enhanced by all of the internet weighing in, myself included) moves me to be a little unpredictable in at least one major category. Despite working at a theatre screening them, I haven’t seen any of the shorts, so I’ve referenced the experts at for ideas as to what will likely win in those categories…

Best Picture: Gravity

Best Actor in a Leading Role: Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club

Best Actress in a Leading Role: Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine

Best Actor in a Supporting Role: Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club

Best Actress in a Supporting Role: Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years a Slave

Best Animated Feature: Frozen

Best Cinematography: Gravity

Best Costume Design: The Great Gatsby

Best Directing: Gravity

Best Documentary Feature: The Act of Killing

Best Documentary Short: The Lady In Number 6: Music Saved My Life

Best Film Editing: Gravity

Best Foreign Language Film: The Great Beauty

Best Makeup and Hairstyling: Dallas Buyers Club

Best Original Score: Gravity

Best Original Song: “Let It Go”, Frozen

Best Production Design: The Great Gatsby

Best Animated Short Film: Get a Horse!

Best Live Action Short Film: The Voorman Problem

Best Sound Editing: Gravity

Best Sound Mixing: Gravity

Best Visual Effects: Gravity

Best Adapted Screenplay: 12 Years a Slave

Best Original Screenplay: Her