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2014 Academy Awards Picks -- Who Will; Who Should; and Who Might

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Although I have been more skeptical and/or pessimistic about the Academy Awards over the past few years, it doesn't keep me from still watching from year to year. If anything, they give me a chance to be hopeful for the films I have seen and liked, or gives me reason to complain for those films that I felt were less than deserving, or those films that won due to weak judges, political correctness, and out-and-out BS.

Regardless, it is that time of the year where I look back on what I have seen, and ponder who will probably win, who SHOULD win, and who wouldn't be a big surprise to me if they won.

First off, I have broken most categories into the following: who/what WILL win, who/what SHOULD win, and who/what would not be a SURPRISE if they did win.

Best Picture

This was actually a very tough category this year. What drives me nuts about the Academy Awards (but not enough to keep me from watching so that I have something to complain about shortly after it is over) is the fact that there seems to be too much politicking each year. I think that the majority of voting members seem to vote on who they think should win to appease the general public, whether it be for multi-cultural purposes, politics, money, etc. Each year, I get more skeptical about this element, BUT until I am a voter, I can only voice my insignificant opinion.

What WILL win -- Gravity

- I don't necessarily think this is the BEST movie of the year. I actually preferred Nebraska as a whole, but Nebraska is probably too "vanilla" for most

Who SHOULD win -- Nebraska (see prior note)

Wouldn't be a surprise -- Wolf of Wall Street

- Although the Wolf is NOT one of my favorite Scorsese films, the guy has enough pull in the Academy that I wouldn't be surprised. (See his win for The Departed over his win for Goodfellas...ridiculous!)

Best Actor:

The acting categories, for the most part, are extremely tight this year.

Who WILL win - Matthew McConaughey

- This guy has matured as a solid actor. He used to be considered somewhat of a joke to most people. I also love his role in the new HBO series, True Detective. Awesome stuff!

Who SHOULD win -- Matthew McConaughey (See prior note)

Who wouldn't surprise me -- Leonardo DiCaprio

- Although I think he is a good actor, and his slapstick, physical comedy scene (the quaalude scene) and his inspirational speech prior to introducing Steve Madden in this movie are VERY solid performances, I feel it would be another political move for the Academy to short-change McConaughey for DiCaprio this time.

Best Actress:

Who Will win -- Cate Blanchett

- Woody Allen's recent film, Blue Jasmine, is very good. I know that he is getting older and makes a movie per year, so there are almost as many misses as hits in his repertoire, but this one is a hit even though it was probably missed by most. The whole cast is wonderful, and Blanchett shows that she really is one of the best of the contemporary screen actresses out there now.

Who SHOULD win -- Cate Blanchett

Who wouldn't be a surprise -- Amy Adams or Meryl Streep

-Although I wanted to like American Hustle much more than I really did (I have the same feelings for Wolf of Wall Street), Amy Adams is one of those pieces that ties the room together in this one.

I didn't see August: Osage County yet, but Streep can NEVER be counted out of anything. (This probably includes NASCAR, MMA, etc)

Best Supporting Actor:

If anyone beats out Jared Leto for this category, it will prove how fixed this whole thing really is.

If Jonah Hill wins, I will never watch this thing again.

'Nuff said 'bout that!

Best Supporting Actress:

Who Will win -- Jennifer Lawrence

- This girl has all the talent in the world, and shows that she has great range, but I really don't think this is a role that couldn't be taken on by most decent actresses out there. I had trouble buying her annoying Jersey accent (probably because I have heard it too many times), and I just didn't buy her as that character.

Don't get me wrong, she played "crazy" REALLY well, but I don't think this should be what seals the deal in this category.

Who SHOULD win -- Sally Hawkins

- Another pivotal character in Blue Jasmine. Hawkins is the opposite side of the spectrum from the truly "crazy" Blanchett character. She is hard not to empathize with and/or really like. She even seems to bring out the (out of left field) BEST from her supporting actor Andrew "Dice" Clay. That should be award worthy in itself.

Who wouldn't be a surprise -- June Squibb

- Even though I can't say that her role was really Oscar-worthy, she brings a lot to the film Nebraska. I don't think it would have had the same comic-drama punch without her. PLUS, she is old; old age seems to always have a soft-spot in the hearts of these voters.

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