Oscar predictions

Alice Herz-Sommers

Only tangentially relevant, but I couldn’t resist the photo. Alice Herz-Sommers, who died today.

For the third year in a row, I will be attempting to stay up as late as possible this coming Saturday night in order to adjust my body clock such that I can liveblog the Oscars for MostlyFilm, and wonder again why they can’t hold the ceremony in New York or, ideally, London, so as to make the task less arduous for us European filmwatchers. Traditionally I have enlisted the assistance of sweets, crisps and fizzy drinks to keep me going, but what also helps is having an investment in the outcome and since YET AGAIN I haven’t been nominated in a single category, I am reduced to trying to beat my record for the highest number of correct predictions. And in order to stop me cheating, I am bringing you along for the ride…

Best picture

Nominees: American Hustle, Captain Philips, Dallas Buyers Club, Gravity, Her, Nebraska, Philomena, 12 Years A Slave, The Wolf Of Wall Street

This is, I’m sure, between Gravity and 12 Years A Slave, and I think the latter will win because being accidentally turned into a slave in real life beats losing a fictional daughter in the heartstring-tugging stakes.

Actor

Nominees: Christian Bale (American Hustle), Bruce Dern (Nebraska), Leonardo DiCaprio (The Wolf Of Wall Street), Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years A Slave), Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club)

Matthew McConaughey ought to win; Chiwetel Ejiofor will, which I am also OK with because he is a Palace fan and we rarely win anything. (Leo, whom I love, is fantastic in WOWS, but it’s not a fantastic film and his character is so desperately unsympathetic that I don’t think he has a chance.)

Actress

Nominees: Amy Adams (American Hustle), Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine), Sandra Bullock (Gravity), Judi Dench (Philomena), Meryl Streep (August, Osage County)

Cate Blanchett has this nailed on, I think.

Supporting Actor

Nominees: Barkhad Abdi (Captain Philips), Bradley Cooper (American Hustle), Michael Fassbender (12 Years A Slave), Jonah Hill (The Wolf Of Wall Street), Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club)

This is a really strong category. I’d be happy with a win for Abdi or Cooper, but Jared Leto‘s turn as Rayon in DBC is a career-best piece of loveliness and I hope he takes it. I would also like to point out that had Behind The Candelabra been eligible for Oscar nominations, Matt Damon and Rob Lowe would both have deserved nods in this category, as would Michael Douglas in Leading Actor.

Supporting Actress

Nominees: Sally Hawkins (Blue Jasmine), Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle), Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years A Slave), Julia Roberts (August, Osage County), June Squibb (Nebraska)

I didn’t love J-Law in American Hustle. Or maybe I mean I didn’t love her as much as I love her in Silver Linings Notebook or Real Life™ – but she will win this regardless.

Animated Feature

Nominees: The Croods, Despicable Me 2, Ernest and Celestine, Frozen, The Wind Rises

From the buzz it’s generated among under-eights of my acquaintance, I’m saying Frozen.

Cinematography

Nominees: The Grandmaster, Gravity, Inside Llewyn Davis, Nebraska, Prisoners

I can’t imagine a world in which this won’t go to Gravity.

Costume Design

Nominees: The Grandmaster, American Hustle, The Great Gatsby, The Invisible Woman, 12 Years A Slave

It should be nominated for hair and makeup but since it isn’t, I think American Hustle will take this one instead.

Director

Nominees: David O. Russell (American Hustle), Alfonso Cuarón (Gravity), Alexander Payne (Nebraska), Steve McQueen (12 Years A Slave), Martin Scorsese (The Wolf Of Wall Street)

Cuarón will lose out on Best Picture but I think he’ll pip McQueen to the winning post in this category.

Documentary Feature

Nominees: The Act Of Killing, Cutie And The Boxer, Dirty Wars, The Square, 20 Feet From Stardom

I will admit to not having had the guts to watch The Act Of Killing when I had the opportunity, but everything I’ve heard and read about it makes me think it has to win out here.

Documentary Short

Nominees: CaveDigger, Facing Fear, Karama Has No Walls, The Lady In Number 6: Music Saved My Life, Prison Terminal: The Last Days Of Private Jack Hall

How far ahead of the ceremony does voting happen? Only the cynic in me wants to say that since Alice Herz-Sommer, the 110-year-old holocaust survivor who is the subject of The Lady In Number 6, has just died, the already-good chances that it would win have just improved.

Film Editing

Nominees: American Hustle, Captain Philips, Dallas Buyers Club, Gravity, 12 Years A Slave

Gravity is so sparse and elegant and beautiful that again, I can’t imagine it not winning here.

Foreign Language Film

Nominees: The Broken Circle Breakdown, The Great Beauty, The Hunt, The Missing Picture, Omar

Right, so, uh, I was going to predict a win for Blue Is The Warmest Colour but I’ve just noticed it hasn’t been nominated. So in the absence of any other information I will employ my traditional method of closing my eyes and stabbing at the screen, which gives me The Broken Circle Breakdown. You heard it here first.

(One rule I have when I make my predictions, by the way, is that I can’t go googling for betting odds or anyone else’s views. It has to be based on my own knowledge. Which is why I am often wrong!)

Makeup and Hair

Nominees: Dallas Buyers Club, Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa, The Lone Ranger

I’ve only seen one of these, but Jared Leto is so breathtakingly beautiful in Dallas Buyers Club that I hope it wins. Mainly, though, I just hope Jackass doesn’t. There is a time and a place for Jackass, and the Oscars ain’t it.

Original Score

Nominees: The Book Thief, Gravity, Her, Philomena, Saving Mr Banks

The rules are, when someone you know is nominated you have to say them. Now, nobody I know is nominated in this category, but someone I know knows someone who is, and so I’m going for Gravity (which also has a really good score).

Original Song

Nominees: Happy (Despicable Me 2), Let It Go (Frozen), The Moon Song (Her), Ordinary Love (Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom)

Yeah, I haven’t heard any of these. Also, when was Tangled? There’s a good song in that. Let’s say Frozen.

Production Design

Nominees: American Hustle, Gravity, The Great Gatsby, Her, 12 Years A Slave

Well actually this should definitely go to The Great Gatsby, but I think Gravity will win.

Animated Short

Nominees: Feral, Get A Horse!, Mr Hublot, Possessions, Room On The Broom

Cough. Well, Get A Horse! has the best name, right?

Live Action Short

Nominees: Aquel No Era Yo, Avant Que De Tour Perdre, Helium, Pitääkö Mun Kaikki Hoitaa?, The Voorman Problem

I wonder whether you tick a box or have to write in your answers, when you vote? Because nobody’s going to take the time to write out Pitääkö Mun Kaikki Hoitaa? by hand if they don’t have to. But it’s bound to be checkboxes, isn’t it? So let’s go with that. One day, when I grow up, I will be a person who watches the short films ahead of the Oscars (or even afterwards).

Sound Editing

Nominees: All Is Lost, Captain Philips, Gravity, The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug, Lone Survivor

Sound Mixing

Nominees: Captain Philips, Gravity, The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug, Inside Llewyn Davis, Lone Survivor

I think Gravity will take both of these.

Visual Effects

Nominees: Gravity, The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug, Iron Man 3, The Lone Ranger, Star Trek Into Darkness

I can’t remember whether the argument over possible or desirable punctuation in the name of the latest Star Trek movie came to a conclusion, so I’m leaving it out rather than get it wrong and risk the wrath of…well, you know. Obviously this will also go to Gravity.

Adapted Screenplay

Nominees: Before Midnight, Captain Philips, Philomena, 12 Years A Slave, The Wolf Of Wall Street

Before Midnight is an adaptation? Who knew? Well, the Academy, it would appear. I’m racing through these last few categories not because I want to go to bed, although I do, but because I think there’s barely any debate to be had about most of them. 12 Years A Slave will win this.

Original Screenplay

Nominees: American Hustle, Blue Jasmine, Dallas Buyers Club, Her, Nebraska

Whether he did or whether he didn’t, Woody will take this for Blue Jasmine, although I would give it to Dallas Buyers Club. But for some reason, nobody asked me. I know!

Best date story ever

As you know, I’m very busy and important, which is why I’ve just been reading this Mumsnet “worst date ever” thread. There are some humdingers on there, but my favourite so far is this:

I briefly did internet dating, and found out we had a mutual interest in cycling so arranged a cycle ride for our first date. He was rather monosyllabic when he turned up but nevertheless we headed out of town on our bikes. The minute we got into the countryside, we headed up a steep hill (pre-agreed route) and he disappeared into the distance, never to be seen again.

On Middle Eights

Gary Barlow

And we’ll be toge-he-ther…go on, you know you want to click.

I am, right this second, listening to a R4 programme on musical middle eights. It’s interesting, and you should listen to it when you get the chance, but it’s made me wonder what the definition of a “middle eight” really is. (I looked it up on the internet, but nobody on the internet agrees with anyone else on the internet.)

Obviously it needn’t be eight bars long (and if you feel sniffy about that, you can get around it by calling it a bridge), but it does probably need to be somewhere in the middle of the song, which is to say it can’t be the intro or the outro. And yet one of the first examples given by Helen Caddick, a composer and lecturer in songwriting at Goldsmith’s College, was Eleanor Rigby, which I don’t think has a middle eight at all, but Caddick thinks the “Ah, look at all the lonely people” section is a middle eight; and if your definition is that it’s not the verse or the chorus (I think that bit is part of the chorus, but I’m not a lecturer in songwriting) and that it has a different melody or theme from the rest of the piece, then I suppose she could be right.

But then her second example was Pulp’s Common People, and her middle eight was this section:

Rent a flat above a shop

Cut your hair and get a job

Smoke some fags and play some pool

Pretend you never went to school

Still you’ll never get it right

Cause when you’re laying in bed at night

Watching roaches climb the wall

If you call your dad he can stop it all

Now, the vocal is certainly different, and emotionally it’s the punchy centre of the song for sure, but the music playing behind it is (I’m going by memory, I can’t seem to be bothered to give it an actual listen; feel free to tell me I’m wrong) the same as the rest of the song.

So I’m still not sure what a middle eight is, but I do know what my favourite middle eight is (today). What are yours? And what’s your definition of a middle eight?

100-Word Fiction: ‘Fare Thee Well Pete Seeger’

Laura Morgan:

I would like to write about Pete Seeger, but MWB’s done it so eloquently and elegantly that I have nothing to add.

Originally posted on Possible fictions:

How to succeed as a musician? You play well but are modest about your talent. You sing strong without the need for any tuneless holler. You write about big things with words all folks can understand. You don’t avoid conclusions though you know some matters are contradictory at times. You respect what was, come to terms with what is and hold hope for the future. You love people even though sometimes they don’t seem worth much loving. You take all this and put it in your songs. You make the world a better place even though you’re gone. Thank you.

View original

Happy birthday to meeeeee

Sixth birthday candle

Gladallover is six today! When I was six I got a new baby sister AND a realistic baby doll, and I can’t remember which I was more excited by. Whilst I don’t anticipate any arrivals of quite that import on Gladallover, you never know; I might find something new to write about. But not today! So in the meantime if you are new, or bored, or amnesiac, you can read my most popular posts of the last six years, in ascending order:

10. A poll on the best Oscar dresses from the 2012 red carpet

9. A post from last week about Beth Tweddle, Twitter and sexist idiots

8. A rant about the Olympics

7. Some musings on the love life of Andrew Lloyd Webber

6. Another rant about the Olympics

5. A link to some stuff written by more interesting people than me

4. Last month’s advent post featuring Lou Reed singing White Christmas (thank you Suzanne Vega, whose Twitter link to that post is entirely responsible for its high placement)

3. A photo of a baby baboon (if you only click on one of these links, I recommend this one)

2. A very old link to Failblog

1. A post about swimming pools. No, me neither.

Perhaps this year I will try to write about football. I mean, don’t hold your breath.

…and this is why we still have a long way to go

Sorry to harsh your buzz, but although this made me heavy-hearted, this sort of thing needs to be shared and talked about, if only so those responsible learn that they will be challenged, every time they do it.

I’d also love to know how many of the men (they all are) who’ve taken the brave step of tweeting misogynistic abuse at Beth Tweddle can do this:

Beth Tweddle doing a floor routine

A superhuman, yesterday

A cautious welcome to the new year

Fireworks

Image courtesy of kimboltonfireworks.co.uk

I’ve been informed that it’s unacceptable, on January 20, for my most recent post to be a “Merry Christmas” one and I suppose that’s true. The problem is that for the last five years I’ve shooed away the musical advent calendar with a new year resolutions post, but this year I decided not to make any resolutions, for two reasons:

1. 2013 was so unpredictable that doing any sort of planning for 2014 seemed like tempting fate. As Baz Luhrmann so wisely said,

Don’t worry about the future; or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubblegum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind; the kind that blindside you at 4pm on some idle Tuesday.

Worrying about whether you’re swimming as often as you should be when you are (for example) about to be homeless seems unnecessary. So, screw resolutions.

2. Oliver Burkeman, whose weekly Guardian column sounds as though it should be annoying but is actually well-researched and thoughtful and elegantly written and useful, pointed out recently that a year is a foolish amount of time to commit to anything for, because it’s so long that you can’t think forward to the end of it, which ties in with the point above about unpredictability. Much more sensible, he says, to set short-term targets, maybe over three months at a time, and let yourself change focus as the year goes by:

In adopting this 12-week perspective we might also finally abandon the futile, misery-inducing notion of “work-life balance”. Nobody can devote enough time, every week, to work, family, sleep, staying healthy and the rest. Telescope your annual focus down to 12 weeks, though, and an alternative suggests itself: seeking balance across multiple “years”, focusing on one or two areas for 12 weeks, while deliberately dialling back on others, then shifting focus for the next 12, and so on. (Neglecting something as important as your career or your health for 365 days feels unwise, but when you know you’ll return to it after 84 days, that’s different.)

So in that spirit, I intend by the end of March to be settled in my new flat (about which more another time; for now all you need to know is that it’s awesome); to know how much money I have and spend less than it, and to start cooking properly again, rather than having some variation on cheese on toast for almost every meal (although I do really like cheese on toast). Those feel like goals which can withstand any amount of battering, but let’s wait and see.

I also want to talk about football, but I don’t want to get you overexcited, so that will have to wait until later in the week. In the meantime, though, feast your eyes on this:

Premiership league table

Sixteenth. That’s SIXTEENTH.

White Christmas, December 24: The King Of Soul

I have loved almost all of the recordings of White Christmas we’ve had this advent, but as soon as I heard this one I knew I was saving it for Christmas Eve, because it’s not someone singing the well-known Bing Crosby song; it’s a completely immersive reimagining of the original, and a glorious piece of music in its own right. Turn up the volume really loud before you begin. Happy Christmas!

White Christmas, December 23: A Treat

In the 1940s popular music often wasn’t immediately, or ever, associated with an individual performer – many versions of songs would be recorded, and the composer generally given the lasting credit. Which is why, I’m thrilled to be able to tell you, there were FOUR versions of White Christmas recorded and released in 1942, and here they all are in a playlist that I have made using science. It’s interesting that the first three (by, in order, Gordon Jenkins, Charlie Spivak and Freddy Martin, though in each case those are the names of the bandleaders rather than the singers, who feature as “guest vocalists”) are all quite like each other and not a great deal like Bing’s (and, because unfamiliar, much more instantly evocative of that era than Bing’s).

The version of Bing that we had on December 1, incidentally, was from the movie Holiday Inn, whereas this is the solo recording which you probably know better, so I tricked you when I said we were getting Bing over and done with at the beginning. Sorry.