EDITORIAL: Final 2014 Awards Tracker and Oscar Reactions

(Image: illustrationsource.com)

(Image: illustrationsource.com)

Welcome to the third consecutive year of Every Movie Has a Lesson's "Awards Tracker." This was the long road towards who was destined to walk away with the Oscar at the 86th Academy Awards on March 2, 2014 last night. Just as in years past, I, for one, found value to tracking who and what has won what from the build-up of the smaller awards all the way up to big show.  I find that the "tea leaves" and trends really shine through as the smaller awards pile up for a great many categories.  Curveballs still exist every year at the Oscars, but my record is improving and better than most of the fancy pants critics.  In 2012, I correctly guessed 17 of the 24 winners.  In 2013, that number improved to 19.  

This year, my goal was to crack 20 and I did just that, correctly guessing 20 out of the 24 awards at the Oscars from last night.  I only missed Documentary Feature, Animated Short, Live Action Short Film, and Best Foreign Language Film.  In my final update of this year's Awards Tracker, here are the final tallies, Oscar winners, and my reactions.  The Oscar winners in each category are in bold.  See you next year for another data session and season!


Oscar Reaction:  In my opinion, and it will be the running theme of this final update, I think the right films won last night overall.  Gravity and it's technical strengths cleaned up the technical categories, but the top spot, fittingly, went to 12 Years a Slave.  As you see with the data, it was the clear frontrunner the entire season.  I didn't buy the dark horse upset hopes of Gravity or American Hustle.  The latter of those two films, by the way, was completely shut out from any Oscar wins from 10 nominations.  That might be a record shut-out.  That should tell you something about how sealed this race was.


27- 12 Years a Slave  (Boston, DC. SE, Chicago, SF, PHX, STL, BO, DFW, FL, HOU, IND, LV, NYO, Online, AWFJ, VAN, London, NC, IA, KC, Globe, AA, PGA, CC, BAFTA, Satellite, Spirit, Oscar)

7- Gravity  (LA, Utah, NT, AACTA, PGA, CO, DEN)

7- Her  (NBR, LA, SF, AUS, DET, GA, OK)

3- Inside Llewyn Davis  (GIFA, TOR, NSFC)

2- Fruitvale Station  (Sundance, Spirit)

1- American Hustle  (NY)

1- Blue is the Warmest Colour  (Cannes)

1- Star Trek Into Darkness  (HFA)


Oscar Reaction:   My personal vote would have been McQueen, but Cuaron was long expected to win the Oscar.  That Directors Guild of America award sealed it a month ago.  To the novice viewer, this was probably an upset precursor floating around, but I knew who would win Best Picture.


27- Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity  (LA, DC, SF, SD, PHX, TOR, Utah, AUS, DFW, HOU, NYO, Online, KC, Globe, DET, VAN, OK, London, GA, DEN, CO, NT, CC, BAFTA, AACTA, DGA, Oscar)

16- Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave  (NY, IA, SE, Boston, Chicago, STL, BO, FL, IND, LV, AWFJ, KC, NC, AA, Satellite, Spirit)

1- Joel and Ethan Coen, Inside Llewyn Davis  (NSFC)

1- Spike Jonze, Her  (NBR)

1- Lee Daniels, Lee Daniels' The Butler  (HFA)

1- Jill Soloway, Afternoon Delight  (Sundance)

1- Amat Escalante, Heli  (Cannes)


Oscar Reaction:   I correctly predicted that the data and trends were out the window here in Best Actor where Matthew McConaughey's immense popularity was trumping the superior work and track record of Chiwetel Ejiofor.  To the novice Oscar watcher, it appears that the public thought this award was supposed to go to Leonardo DiCaprio, as there's a great deal of social media displeasure to his loss.  He simply ran into the juggernaut of McConaughey.  This was his year and moment and his speech sealed that for eternity.  Someday, Leo will get his moment too.  He's too good of an actor not to win someday.  For Ejiofor, the mild-mannered Brit, this might be his closest bite to the apple.  He will have to settle for the rake of minor awards. 


24- Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave  (Boston, DC, SE, Chicago, SF, STL, Utah, AUS, BO, FL, HOU, IND, NYO, Online, OK, London, NC, IA, GA, KC, CO, NT, AACTA, BAFTA)

14- Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club  (GIFA, HFA, PHX, DFW, LV, AWFJ, DEN, Globe, DET, SAG, CC, Satellite, Spirit, Oscar)

4- Oscar Isaac, Inside Llewyn Davis  (SD, TOR, NSFC, VAN)

3- Bruce Dern, Nebraska  (Cannes, NBR, LA)

1- Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street  (Globe)

1- Robert Redford, All Is Lost  (NY)

1- Forrest Whitaker, Lee Daniels' The Butler  (AA)


Oscar Reaction:  Both of the no-doubt "locks of the night" in the acting categories won and this was one of them.  Little to nothing was stopping this win.  Blanchett is one of the best in the business and the Woody Allen bump was in full effect.  She earned this one, fair and square.  Bullock can keep her statue from The Blindside and Meryl Streep just won two years ago.


33- Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine  (NY, Boston, LA, DC, SE, Chicago, SF, SD, PHX, STL, TOR, BO, DFW, FL, NYO, VAN, OK, London, NC, IA, GA, DEN, Online, AWFJ, NSFC, Globe, AACTA, SAG, CC, BAFTA, Satellite, Spirit, Oscar)

5- Sandra Bullock, Gravity  (HFA, HOU, KC, NT, AA)

4- Adele Exarchopoulos, Blue is the Warmest Colour  (LA, Utah, IND, CO)

3- Brie Larson, Short Term 12  (GIFA, AUS, DET)

2- Emma Thompson, Saving Mr. Banks  (NBR, LV)

1- Amy Adams, American Hustle  (Globe)

1- Berenice Bejo, The Past  (Cannes)


Oscar Reaction:  "Lock of the Night #2" was right here.  No one was winning this but Leto.  He's a great comeback story and the right role won, plain and simple.  Nice speech from him as well!


28- Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club  (NY, LA, DC, Chicago, SE, SD, PHX, STL, TOR, AUS, BO, DFW, FL, HOU, LV, VAN, OK, DEN, NYO, AWFJ, Globe, DET, NT, AA, SAG, CC, Satellite, Spirit, Oscar)

6- Michael Fassbender- 12 Years a Slave  (Online, KC, AACTA, GA, IA, NC)

4- James Franco, Spring Breakers  (LA, SF, NSFC, CO)

3- Barkhad Abdi, Captain Phillips  (IND, London, BAFTA)

1- James Gandolfini, Enough Said  (Boston)

1- Will Forte, Nebraska  (NBR)

1- Jake Gyllenhaal, Prisoners  (HFA)

1- Bill Nighy, About Time  (Utah)


Oscar Reaction:  To me, this was the best chance American Hustle had all night not to get zeroed.  There was a big chance of Jennifer Lawrence's immense popularity going over Nyong'o's fine performance for Q rating alone.  That was not the case as, once again, the right person won.  Nyong'o, after just graduating from Yale School of Drama, has a brilliant career ahead of her.  Lawrence won last year for a better role anyway.


24- Lupita Nyong'o, 12 Years a Slave  (LA, DC, SE, Chicago, PHX. STL, AUS, BO, DFW, FL, HOU, LV, NYO, Online, London, NC, IA, GA, AWFJ, KC, SAG, CC, Spirit, Oscar)

13- Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle  (NY, VAN, OK, SF, TOR, IND, NSFC, Globe, NT, AACTA, CO, DEN, BAFTA)

2- June Squibb, Nebraska  (Boston, Satellite)

2- Scarlett Johansson, Her  (Utah, DET)

1- Julia Roberts, August: Osage County  (HFA)

1- Octavia Spencer, Fruitvale Station  (NBR)

1- Shailene Woodley, The Spectacular Now  (SD)

1- Oprah Winfrey, Lee Daniels' The Butler  (AA)


Oscar Reaction:  Continuing with the theme, this was the right place and the right award for Her and Spike Jonze.  While it didn't have the following to win Best Picture, its smartness and brilliant story concept were worthy of this award.  For the second year in a row, David O. Russell loses a screenplay award.  I'm confident he will be back, but, for Jonze, Her was his peak.


22- Spike Jonze, Her  (DC, OK, SE, Chicago, SD, STL, TOR, AUS, FL, IND, LV, NYO, Online, AWFJ, KC, Globe, CO, DET, GA, CC, WGA)

6- Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell, American Hustle  (NY, SF, AACTA, DEN, BAFTA, Satellite)

4- Joel and Ethan Coen, Inside Llewyn Davis  (NBR, NC, London, VAN)

2- Bob Nelson, Nebraska  (PHX, Spirit)

1- Nicole Holofcener, Enough Said  (Boston)

1- Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright, The World's End  (Utah)

1- Lake Bell, In a World... (Sundance)


Oscar Reaction:  The right screenplay choice won this award too.  You could make an argument for any of the other nominees, but Ridley's adaptation work was the most difficult and the most complete.  To the other lesser nominees, the nomination was the award.  


19- John Ridley, 12 Years a Slave  (DC, OK, SE, Chicago, SF, PHX, STL, AUS, DFW, FL, HOU, Online, AWFJ, KC, AA, CC, NC, USC Scripter, Spirit, Oscar)

7- Richard Linklater, Ethan Hawke, and Julie Delpy, Before Midnight  (LA, HFA, SD, Utah, BO, IND, NSFC)

3- Terrance Winter, The Wolf of Wall Street  (NBR, CO, DEN)

2- Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope, Philomena  (BAFTA, Satellite)

1- Billy Ray, Captain Phillips  (WGA)

1- Destin Cretton, Short Term 12  (GA)


Oscar Reaction:  In any easy pick, the popular Frozen reigned supreme.  In my opinion, this win for Walt Disney Animation officially puts Pixar on notice that their parent company and originators of great animation have come back from the dead to compete.  Pixar needs to stop with the cheesy sequels and get back to the compelling original ideas that made them great.  Walt Disney Animation needs to build from Frozen and not slip back into The Emperor's New Groove territory.  I give them 50-50 odds.  Mistake #1 is diving back to the Frozen well for an unnecessary sequel.


25- Frozen  (OK, GA, IA, DEN, DC, SE, SF, PHX, STL, Utah, AUS, BO, DFW, FL, HOU, IND, LV, KC, Globe, NT, CC, AA, Annie, PGA, BAFTA, Oscar)

11- The Wind Rises  (NBR, NY, Boston, Chicago, SD, TOR, BO, NYO, Online, AWFJ, CO, Satellite)

2- Monsters University  (HFA, NC)

1- Ernest and Celestine  (LA)

1- Despicable Me  (KC)


Oscar Reaction:  The Academy and the minor critics awards groups are always all over the map with this award.  There are commonly very few standouts and single little campaigns can crop up and steal unfocused attention.  The Act of Killing was the proverbial favorite on paper and made a few critics' "10 Best" lists for the whole year of film, not just documentaries.  That said, 20 Feet From Stardom pulled off the swoop of being the late surger and niche pick.


21- The Act of Killing  (Boston, GIFA, SE, Chicago, SF, SD, TOR, Utah, AUS, BO, FL, IND, NYO, Online, KC, CO, VAN, NSFC, OK, London, DEN, BAFTA)

8- 20 Feet from Stardom  (PHX, DFW, HOU, NT, CC, IA, Spirit, Oscar)

7- Stories We Tell  (NBR, NY, LA, AWFJ, DET, GA, NC) 

4- Blackfish  (DC, STL, LV, Satellite)

1- Blood Brother (Sundance)

1- American Promise  (AA)

1- We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks  (PGA)


Oscar Reaction:  Much like Best Documentary, this is another category that gets influenced and pulled in several directions without a true favorite every emerging.  The film that strikes last tends to win.  That was the case with The Great Beauty.  Its popularity contest win at the Golden Globes was enough to give it some buzz.  What helped was the that most dominant foreign film of 2013 was passed over entirely from the field.  I still don't know why Blue is the Warmest Colour didn't make it to Oscar.  Head-scratcher!


19- Blue is the Warmest Colour  (NY, SF, PHX, STL, Utah, AUS, BO, DFW, FL, IND, LV, NYO, Online, KC, NSFC, NT, London, CC, Spirit)

6- The Hunt  (SE, HOU, AWFJ, NC, OK, VAN) 

2- The Great Beauty  (Globe, Oscar)

2- The Grandmaster  (NT, DEN)

2- The Broken Circle Breakdown  (DC, Satellite)

1-  The Wind Rises  (CO)

1- The Act of Killing  (Chicago) 

1- The Past  (NBR)

1- Wadjda  (Boston)

1- Drug War  (SD)

1- A Touch of Sin  (TOR)

1- Mother of George  (AA)

1- No  (GA)


Oscar Reaction:  Here begins the rake of technical wins for Gravity.  This one was one of many "no-doubters" that fell their way.  This race was recently cemented by Lubeski's win from his peers at the American Society of Cinematographers.  Lubeski's a respected pro who deserved this win after missing two years ago for The Tree of Life.  


22- Emmanuel Lubeski, Gravity  (Boston, LA, DC, SE, Chicago, SF, PHX, STL, Utah, AUS, DFW, FL, HOU, LV, NYO, GA, CO, Online, AWFJ, NT, CC, BAFTA, ASC, Oscar)

4- Bruno Delbonnel, Inside Llewyn Davis  (NY, BO, NSFC, Satellite)

2- Sean Bobbitt, 12 Years a Slave  (STL, Spirit)

1- Emamanuel Lubeski, To the Wonder  (SD)

1- Bradford Young, Ain't Them Bodies Saints and Mother of George  (Sundance)


Oscar Reaction:  I correctly called that The Great Gatsby had enough spectacle to sneak a win in this more artistic than technical category over Gravity and I was right.  I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the winner in this category, Catherine Martin, is in fact director Baz Luhrmann's wife.  I hope she goes home and brags, because she brought home this trophy and another for costume design.  


9- The Great Gatsby  (DC, SD, STL, FL, CC., ADG, BAFTA, Satellite, Oscar)

6- Gravity  (Chicago, SF, PHX, LV, GA. ADG)

2- Her  (LA. ADG)


Oscar Reaction:  The technical windfall continued for Gravity, beating even the category odds of other films and the tendency of Best Editing to match the eventual Best Picture winner.  The ACE Eddie Awards from this actual guild sided with Captain Phillips and American Hustle which almost blurred the race further from Gravity.  Director Alfonso Cuaron himself was also one of the film's editors, making him a two trophy winner last night.


10- Gravity  (LA, DC, Chicago, SF, PHX, LV, Online, AWFJ, CC, Oscar)

2- American Hustle  (ACE, Satellite)

2- Captain Phillips  (SD, ACE)

2- Rush  (Boston, BAFTA)

1- 12 Years a Slave  (BO)

1- Short Term 12  (Spirit)


Oscar Reaction:  Here's that second win for Catherine Martin, the wife of Baz Luhrmann, the director of The Great Gatsby.  Once again, as per the theme and my accurate predictions, the right movie won in this category.  The 1920's decadence trumped the 1970's flair of American Hustle.  This too was one of the only possibilities for American Hustle to sneak a win and not get shut out.  It didn't happen.


4- The Great Gatsby  (PHX, CC, BAFTA, Oscar)

2- 12 Years a Slave  (LV, CDG)

1-  American Hustle  (HFA)

1- Blue Jasmine  (CDG)

1- The Hunger Games: Catching Fire  (CDG)

1- The Invisible Woman  (Satellite)


Oscar Reaction:  With the comb-overs and perms of American Hustle and high-volume makeup efforts like The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug not even nominated, it didn't take much for Dallas Buyers Club to win in a short three-film field against the trash of Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa and the box office bomb of The Lone Ranger.  It didn't look like it on paper, but this might as well have been on the list of "locks of the night."


2- American Hustle  (CC, BAFTA)

1- Dallas Buyers Club  (Oscar)


Oscar Reaction:  Sorry superheros, but there was no way Gravity was going to lose with its watershed of unique special effects.  Easy winner and the best nominee.


8- Gravity  (PHX, STL, FL, Online, CC, London, Satellite, Oscar)

1- Pacific Rim  (HFA)


Oscar Reaction:  Completing the technical rake, Gravity scores a two-trophy sweep of both sound awards.  Once again, there was little doubt or competition to its technical merits and quality.


6- Gravity  (Online, BAFTA, Satellite, CAS, Oscar (2))

1- Frozen  (CAS)


Oscar Reaction:  Call it a bit of a weak field with no musical standouts, but this was the surprise artistic win for Gravity outside of where it was supposed to clean up with just technical awards.  The average film watcher probably didn't notice or remember Stephen Price's score, but it was the data winner and the Oscar winner over the trendy pick of Arcade Fire from Her.  I think this was the case where the bandwagon from everywhere else brought Gravity one fluff win too many.  It was a good score, but I don't know if it was the best of the year.  Gravity stole one from a group that didn't put up a fight and padded its overall Oscar total.


7- Stephen Price, Gravity  (DFW, HOU, CC, DEN, BAFTASatellite, Oscar)

6- Arcade Fire, Her  (Chicago, SD, STL, AUS, CO, GA)

4- Hans Zimmer, 12 Years a Slave  (DC, BO, IND, LV)

4- T. Bone Burnett, Inside Llewyn Davis  (Boston, LA, NYO, AWFJ)

1- Alex Ebert, All Is Lost  (Globe)

1- Raphael Sadiq, Black Nativity (AA)


Oscar Reaction:  I must say, though shortened and clipped as they always are, I enjoyed the song performances from last night.  I joked on social media that they probably held Idina Menzel's number a little too late in the show for the parents who let their kids stay up to see it, but the power ballad from Frozen got its deserved Oscar.  I don't know what would have brought more riots and Twitter bashing: 12 Years a Slave not winning Best Picture or Frozen not winning Best Original Song.  Soccer mom minivans can hold a surprising amount of torches and pitchforks.


4- "Let it Go" sung by Idina Menzel, Frozen  (PHX, CC, DEN, Oscar)

3- "Please Mr. Kennedy" sung by Oscar Issac, Justin Timberlake, and Adam Driver, Inside Llewyn Davis  (HOU, LV, GA)

1- "Young and Beautiful" sung by Lana Del Rey, The Great Gatsby  (Satellite)

1- "Ordinary Love" sung by U2, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom  (Globe)

1- "Atlas" sung by Coldplay, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire  (HFA)


African-American Film Critics Association (AA), Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts/Australian Film Institute (AACTA), ACE Eddie Awards (ACE), Art Directors Guild Awards (ADG), Annie Awards (Annie), American Society of Cinematographers (ASC), Alliance of Women Film Journalists (AWFJ), Austin Film Critics Association (AUS), British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA), Boston Society of Film Critics (Boston), Boston Online Film Critics Associaion, (BO), Cannes Film Festival (Cannes), Cinema Audio Society (CAS), Costume Designers Guild (CDG), Chicago Film Critics Association (Chicago), Critics Choice Awards (CC), Central Ohio Film Critics Associations (CO), Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association (DC), Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association (DFW), Denver Film Critics Society (DEN), Detroit Film Critics Society (DET), Florida Film Critics Circle (FL), Georgia Film Critics Association (GA), Gotham Independant Film Awards (GIFA), Hollywood Foreign Press Association/Golden Globes (Globe), Hollywood Film Awards (HFA), Houston Film Critics Society (HOU), Iowa Film Critics (IA), Indiana Film Journalist Associations (IND), Kansas City Film Critics Circle (KC), Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LA), London Film Critics Circle (London), Las Vegas Film Critics Association (LV), National Board of Review (NBR), North Carolina Film Critics Association (NC), National Society of Film Critics (NSFC), North Texas Film Critics Association (NT), New York Film Critics Circle (NY), New York Online Film Critics Association (NYO), Oklahoma Film Critics Circle (OK), Online Film Critics Association (Online), The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences/Academy Awards (Oscar), (Producers Guild of America (PGA), Phoenix Film Critics Society (PHX), Screen Actors Guild Awards (SAG), Satellite Awards (Satellite), San Diego Film Critics Society (SD), San Francisco Film Critics Circle (SF), Southeastern Film Critics Association (SE), Independent Spirit Awards (Spirit), St. Louis Film Critics (STL), Sundance Film Festival (Sundance), Toronto Film Critics Association (TOR), USC Libraries Scripter Award (USC), Utah Film Critics Association (Utah), Vancouver Critics Circle (VAN), Writers Guild of America (WGA)


Annual Honorary Oscars for the 86th Academy Awards  (Cinema Blend)

TIME Magazine's 10 Best Movies of 2013

1. Gravity, 2. The Great Beauty, 3. American Hustle, 4. Her, 5. The Grandmaster, 6. Fast and Furious 6, 7. Frozen, 8. The Act of Killing, 9. 12 Years a Slave, 10. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

American Film Institute (AFI) Top Ten of 2013

12 Years a Slave, American Hustle, Captain Phillips, Fruitvale Station, Gravity, Her, Inside Llewyn Davis, Nebraska, Saving Mr. Banks, The Wolf of Wall Street

New York Film Critics Association: Best of 2013

12 Years a Slave, Before Midnight, Blue is the Warmest Color, Dallas Buyers Club, Gravity, Her, Inside Llewyn Davis, Nebraska, Philomena, Prisoners, The Wolf of Wall Street

National Board of Review lists

Top 10 Films of 2013 (in alphabetical order): 12 Years a Slave, Fruitvale Station, Gravity, Inside Llewyn Davis, Lone Surivor, Nebraska, Prisoners, Saving Mr. Banks, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, The Wolf of Wall Street

Top 5 Foreign Language Films (in alphabetical order):  Beyond the Hills, Gloria, The Grandmaster, A Hijacking, The Hunt

Top 5 Documentaries (in alphabetical order): 20 Feet From Stardom, The Act of Killing, After Tiller, Casting By, The Square 

Top 10 Independent Films (in alphabetical order): Ain't Them Bodies Saints, Dallas Buyers Club, In a World.., Mother of George, Much Ado About Nothing, Mud, The Place Beyond the Pines, Short Term 12, Sightseers, The Spectacular Now