Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. —Henry Fielding

21 February 2014

Oscar Nominees 2014: Part 11 of 14

Bad Grandpa
1 Nomination
  • Makeup
Director: Jeff Tremaine
Cast: Johnny Knoxville, Jackson Nicoll, Georgina Cates, Jill Kill, Greg Harris, Spike Jonze, Catherine Keener

Because the makeup and hairstyling branch releases a shortlist of possible nominees before the actual nominees are named, everybody knew that this film would be a contender for Best Makeup. And the makeup branch does its own thing; nearly every year it nominates terrible films for Oscars, so that we can say the Oscar-nominated film The Wolfman or Norbit or Click or The Time Machine. It isn't even that old of a category, naming three nominees regularly only since 1985. Still it isn't the least respected category in the Academy (we'll get to that one) and they produce plenty of cool nominees in addition to their stinkers – films like The Fly, Beetlejuice, Dracula, Shadow of a Vampire, The Cell, Hoffa, Batman Returns, and The Adventures of Baron Munchhausen were nominated in precious few other categories, but they got makeup nominations. That is a lot of prologue to say that, well, Bad Grandpa isn't a bad movie. In fact, it is quite hilarious, and the makeup is truly excellent, fooling not only movie audiences but people in the same room with the actors who were covered in makeup. I don't really think it can win against the Best-picture-nominated Dallas Buyers Club, but it ought to.
Will Win: N/A
Could Win: Makeup
My Rating: #38 out of 81

The children are so sad they didn't get nominated.
Alone yet Not Alone
1 Nomination
  • Original Song: Bruce Broughton (Silverado)
Director: Ray Brengston, George D. Escobar
Cast: Kelly Greyson, Hayley Lovitt, Clay Walker, Jenn Gotzon, Ozzie Torres, Tony Wade, Joseph Gray, Joanie Stewart, Robert Piece, Natalie Racoosin, Cassie Brennan

As a poster somewhere else put it: Alone yet Not Alone was nominated yet not nominated. This film that no one had ever heard of before got a surprise Best Original Song nomination on January 21st, but it since been deemed ineligible because of ethics violations in its advertising. You can read the Academy's statement about the situation here. Basically what happened is that Broughton, who is an executive member of the music branch and has served on the board of Governors for eighteen years sent out emails to everyone in the music branch drawing their attention to the fact that he had written one of the songs eligible for nomination, blatantly using his influence to get his own song nominated over other contenders (including songs from The Great Gatsby, The Croods, Monsters University, The Butler, Austenland, The Hobbit #2, etc.). Many people were hoping for surprise nominations here – imagine the song "Amen" from All Is Lost getting a nomination or the excellent "So You Know What It's Like" from Short Term 12. My point is that a song nomination could mean a lot, especially for musical films like The Sapphires or Black Nativity. The Academy is not naming a replacement nominee for this category, and they really ought to have done so, it seems to me, just for the sake of fairness. (You can read Broughton's own David-and-Goliath take on the situation here.) Broughton besmirched an already embarrassing category even further with his stunt, and the decision to rescind but not replace simply seems like the Academy wants to live with the stain.
Will Win: N/A
Could Win: N/A
My Rating: Not ranked

Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
1 Nomination
  • Original Song: Bono (Gangs of New York) & Adam Clayton (Gangs of New York) & The Edge (Gangs of New York) & Larry Mullen (Gangs of New York)
Director: Justin Chadwick
Cast: Idris Elba, Naomie Harris, Tony Kgoroge, Riaad Moosa, Zolani Mkiva, Simo Mogwaza, Fana Mokoena, Thapelo Mokoena, Jamie Bartlett, Deon Lotz, Terry Pheto

This is weird. Not because U2 was nominated for its second Oscar – that was sort of expected – but I guess because the song doesn't seem related in any way to the rest of the music in the film, most conspicuously Alex Heffes' score. The song plays over the end credits, like many Oscar-nominated tunes, so that is fine, but I guess I just felt as though it had nothing to do with the movie. Anyway, the Academy will have U2 perform at the Oscars now, and Harvey Weinstein is a mastermind for making all of that happen. The thing is: if Mandela as a film is not that interesting (and it, quite frankly, goes on forever), it still does seem odd that the only people honored for the movie were not involved in its production and simply wrote a song that was tacked onto the film's end credits. Also, I am just not that into this tune. (And I actually like the U2 song for Gangs of New York.)
Will Win: N/A
Could Win: N/A
My Rating: #59 out of 81