Oscars 2014: My Oscar Nominations

Oscar nominations come out in two days. Every year, leading up to them, I write to articles. First, I write what I’d nominate if I had a ballot. And then (which will be tomorrow), I write what I think actually will be nominated. I keep them separate because I like to keep objectivity and subjectivity mutually exclusive. I don’t want what I feel should happen to infringe in any way upon what I actually think is going to happen. Far too often is that the case on Oscar sites.

This article is going to be a completely subjective list of what I would nominate if given the chance. In a perfect world, based on everything I saw this year (some 300 movies), what I think should be nominated. These are my opinions, not yours. This is not what I think will happen, only what I’d like to see. Tomorrow is the objective list, based on precursors, history, gut feelings, and experience.

If I had an Oscar ballot, here’s what I’d nominate:We start with Best Picture.

This one is always tricky, because there can be anywhere from 5-10 nominees. So, as I do with all of these articles when I’m guessing, is pick five nominees that I think will 100% be nominated. And then I list 6-10 in order. So that way, whenever the Best Picture list cuts off, that’s where mine cuts off. I don’t want to be the hypocrite who lists ten movies, and when only nine nominees are announced, goes, “I guessed all nine!” But that’s more tomorrow than today. Today is just, I’m writing ten, and if they nominate nine, we take my top nine and that’s what I’d have nominated.

This isn’t an official ballot. I know on the ballot you pick five and that’s how they do it. I’m talking more in the fantasy sense. Take what the entire future ballot will be and put your personal choices on it. Is more what I’m going for.

Anyway, here’s how we’re gonna do this: I’m gonna list my first five nominees in alphabetical order, and then 6-10 are gonna be ranked. And wherever the list ends, that’ll be what I’d like to have been the final list.

My Best Picture Nominees


The Grand Budapest Hotel

Inherent Vice

A Most Violent Year


6. Interstellar

7. Gone Girl

8. Boyhood

9. Fury

10. Unbroken

This is essentially my top ten list, slightly reconfigured. I feel like Boyhood ought to be on, so I bumped it up, to avoid the nine nominees thing. And I wouldn’t mind if Fury weren’t on, even though I loved it. So that’s how I did it. It’s not complicated at all.

And if I’m casting a win vote, right now, it’s Birdman. Kind of have to, given the rankings.

– – – – –

My Best Director Nominees

Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel

J.C. Chandor, A Most Violent Year

Damien Chazelle, Whiplash

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Birdman

Christopher Nolan, Interstellar

My top five, with Paul Thomas Anderson swapped off for Nolan, who is #6. Just because I like the scope, the scale, and what Nolan did with Interstellar. I feel bad leaving Anderson off, because I love him. As for the other four…

Birdman is a no-brainer for everyone. Whiplash, I thought was just a great, great movie. Doesn’t need to actually be nominated, but I think it should get Editing, at the very least. I’d totally put it here, though. I just feel, if you’re gonna nominate Boyhood, why not Whiplash? Then Most Violent Year is gonna be the underrated movie of the year for me. Grand Budapest… I hope he actually gets nominated. He deserves it.

Inarritu wins this for me. Really curious to see where this actually ends up going. Nominations-wise and actual win-wise. Fascinating year here.

– – – – –

My Best Actor Nominees

Ben Affleck, Gone Girl

Jake Gyllenhaal, Nightcrawler

Oscar Isaac, A Most Violent Year

Michael Keaton, Birdman

Miles Teller, Whiplash

Five of my top six. I had McConaughey in Interstellar there at five, but if we’re being totally honest (and since this is my ballot, I actually can do it however I want), I’m putting on Affleck instead, partially because McConaughey won last year, and I feel bad Affleck never really got his due with Argo, so why not? It’s nice that I get to be completely subjective here, since there’s nothing wrong with McConaughey at all, and I could totally nominate him.

Teller, I thought, gave the best performance of the year. Keaton, I thought, was fantastic. Isaac, I loved his restraint. And Affleck, I already said how perfect I thought he was for that.

Who would I vote for here? Fuck if I know. I guess Keaton. I should vote Teller, and maybe I do if he actually gets nominated. But I feel like I want to vote Keaton just on the off chance that he actually could win. It’s a weird situation, writing up an article like this. I don’t have a surefire “vote” this year. I have moments where I think I want to vote for Isaac. So it’ll change a bunch. We’ll say Keaton now for the hell of it.

– – – – –

My Best Actress Nominees

Jessica Chastain, The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby

Felicity Jones, The Theory of Everything

Julianne Moore, Still Alice

Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl

Mia Wasikowska, Tracks

These are just straight up my top five performances. I had nothing else this year. Was not a huge fan of Reese or Aniston. They were never showing up here at all.

Jones, I thought, had the trickier role in that movie and did it beautifully. Moore is clearly going to win the Oscar and I don’t have a problem with it. Pike was my favorite performance of the year, just because of the nature of the role. And Chastain is just great in Eleanor Rigby. Same for Wasikowska.

I have a weird split vote scenario right now. I’d vote for Moore just to get her the Oscar and because it’s a weak year, but I also want to vote for Pike knowing that Moore is straight up going to win. But in a year like this, I’d take Moore. I don’t mind Pike not winning.

– – – – –

My Best Supporting Actor Nominees

Josh Brolin, Inherent Vice

Michael Fassbender, Frank

Edward Norton, Birdman

J.K. Simmons, Whiplash

Christoph Waltz, Big Eyes

Sorry, Mark Ruffalo. I guess an actual Oscar nomination will have to suffice. Christoph Waltz, again, is a case of category fraud. But they’re pushing him Supporting, and there’s a small (small) chance he could get nominated, so I’m gonna put him here. Even though he’s not a supporting performance at all. The Globes (rightly) nominated him lead. But Harvey Weinstein is pushing him Supporting because it’s the smarter play, and since that’s the official category in which he can be voted for, that’s where I’ll vote for him. Even though Ruffalo is the proper nominee. But he’s getting all the praise. Waltz is not getting nearly enough praise for this performance.

Otherwise, Norton and Simmons are gonna get nominated, and we know how good they are. Brolin is fantastic, and I hope he sneaks into that fifth spot. He’s so fucking good in that movie. And then Fassbender — I loved him in that movie. So, so much. He actually was good enough to be nominated. I have a weird thought that somehow the BAFTAs are actually gonna nominate him for that. (They won’t.) If they do (they won’t), I’m taking credit for calling it. But man, did I love that performance. And everyone hates that movie. Which only makes me love it more.

But Simmons wins this in a landslide. I’m gonna be so upset if he actually doesn’t win the Oscar. There’s no reason why he doesn’t this year.

– – – – –

My Best Supporting Actress Nominees

Jessica Chastain, A Most Violent Year

Carrie Coon, Gone Girl

Emma Stone, Birdman

Katherine Waterston, Inherent Vice

Naomi Watts, St. Vincent

I love this category this year. Here, not, the actual one. The actual one is kind of boring, what it’s shaping up to be.

Chastain, I feel, should win this category and it’ll be a travesty if she doesn’t get nominated.

Carrie Coon, I thought, was incredible in Gone Girl, and wish she could get nominated. I’d love to see her nominated.

Katherine Waterston does an incredible job in Inherent Vice, and while they won’t nominate her, I think she’s clearly one of the best five of the year in this category.

Naomi Watts — I don’t care. I thought she was fantastic in that movie. Put her on for Birdman if you wan’t. This is my list. I’d totally put her on, based on what I saw and liked. Sue me.

Emma Stone I put there because I had nothing else.

Chastain is the vote. There’s no one else. Coon is a nice second.

– – – – –

My Best Original Screenplay Nominees



The Grand Budapest Hotel

A Most Violent Year


Original screenplay — yeah. Gotta put Birdman. Boyhood I’ll put on for the novelty of it all. Loved A Most Violent Year. That was always gonna be on for me. Grand Budapest, yes. And Nightcrawler is my fifth, since Whiplash counts as Adapted for them.

For a vote… wow. I’ll take Grand Budapest, actually. Let’s let Wes win one for a change.

– – – – –

My Best Adapted Screenplay Nominees

The Double

Gone Girl

The Imitation Game

Inherent Vice


That’s right, I’m voting for The Double. That script was amazing.

Gone Girl I have to. Imitation Game was great. And Inherent Vice and Whiplash are absolute definites for me.

I’m voting for Whiplash. I’d have voted for Inherent Vice if Whiplash went Original. But it’s here, and I’m voting for it here.

– – – – –

My Best Editing Nominees

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Inherent Vice


A Most Violent Year


My top five, but with Birdman swapped out. Since it’s not really edited. So I’ll put Interstellar on instead. Which has a lot of editing.

My vote is Whiplash.

– – – – –

My Best Cinematography Nominees



The Grand Budapest Hotel

Inherent Vice


This was a category I’ve been waiting for.

Birdman is a no-brainer. Grand Budapest was gorgeous-looking. Godzilla, I think we understand why I put that there. Maybe I’m blinded by the trailer stuff, but whatever. Interstellar looked so good, and was shot on film, so I’m for sure keeping that there. And Inherent Vice, I’m putting on there, because they did a great job making that look period throughout.

I’ll give shout outs to Under the Skin, The Homesman, and my boy Deakins with Unbroken. And Mr. Turner. That was also gorgeous looking.

My vote is Birdman. Gotta be. That movie is all directing and cinematography.

– – – – –

My Best Original Score Nominees

Godzilla, Alexandre Desplat

Gone Girl, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross

The Grand Budapest Hotel, Alexandre Desplat

The Imitation Game, Alexandre Desplat

Interstellar, Hans Zimmer

This is a list of my top five scores that are eligible. Birdman isn’t, therefore I can’t put it here. Did I mention — I also adhere to shortlists. Why would I put something on a ballot if it’s not eligible? So that’s how I figured this out. And I don’t care that Desplat is on here three times. Those are my favorite scores of the year.

Honestly, The Imitation Game is my vote. It’s such a great score. I hope it actually wins the Oscar.

– – – – –

My Best Original Song Nominees

“Split the Difference,” from Boyhood

“Until the End,” from Garnet’s Gold

“The Last Goodbye,” from The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies

“America for Me,” from A Most Violent Year

“Glory,” from Selma

I went over this here. No need to explain it again. Those are the ones I liked best.

My vote is “Glory.”

– – – – –

My Best Production Design Nominees


The Grand Budapest Hotel


Mr. Turner


Snowpiercer is all about the train, so that for sure is on. Birdman is shot in a single location. Have to put that on. Wes Anderson should always get Production Design nominations. Mr. Turner is all about the production design. And Interstellar did a gorgeous job of decorating its locations.

Big Eyes also just missed here for me.

My vote… huh… it’s either Grand Budapest or Interstellar. Let’s say it’s Grand Budapest. Because it’s so lush and beautiful.

– – – – –

My Best Costume Design Nominees


Exodus: Gods and Kings

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Inherent Vice

Into the Woods

Belle’s costumes were great, and I want to see that get anything it can get. Exodus… I just love the Egyptian costumes. So it’s there. Grand Budapest… naturally. Into the Woods… naturally. Inherent Vice, yeah. They’re more subtle, but they’re great.

My vote… let’s say Grand Budapest. Because why not? I like the idea of this film winning multiple Oscars.

– – – – –

My Best Makeup & Hairstyling Nominees

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Guardians of the Galaxy

The Theory of Everything

Clearly. These are the only three I can vote for.

Not voting for Maleficent or Spider-Man or Noah. And Foxcatcher is all nose and nothing else. So this is the only category I can feel comfortable with. It’s also the most appealing category to me, visually. Which I also like.

Guardians gets my vote.

– – – – –

My Best Visual Effects Nominees

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes


Guardians of the Galaxy

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies


Not voting for Night at the Museum, Maleficent or Captain America. X-Men was nice, but nah. And Transformers… just missed. Gotta put Apes on. Godzilla for sure gets on. Hobbit, I have to, since the rest of the made it on and it feels proper. Guardians and Interstellar, of course.

Interstellar gets my vote.

– – – – –

My Best Sound Editing Nominees




Guardians of the Galaxy


War movie, yes. Godzilla, yes. Interstellar, yes. Birdman does a great job with its sound design, and Guardians I’m throwing on because I like it.

My vote is Interstellar.

– – – – –

My Best Sound Mixing Nominees



Guardians of the Galaxy


Into the Woods

Gotta give the musical love. Otherwise, same as the other sound category.

My vote is Interstellar.

– – – – –

My Best Animated Feature Nominees

Big Hero 6

The Boxtrolls

The Lego Movie

Song of the Sea

The Tale of the Princess Kaguya

I’ll let Disney on, since I didn’t mind it.

Boxtrolls is stop motion.

Song of the Sea is beautiful and weird.

Lego Movie was cute.

And Princess Kaguya was the best animated movie this year.

That’s my vote.

– – – – –

My Best Foreign Language Film Nominees

Force Majeure




Wild Tales

(Timbuktu? Corn Island? Accused? Tangerines?)

I saw Ida and Force Majeure and loved those. Leviathan was good. And Wild Tales was awesome. So those are four of them.

Saw The Liberator, didn’t care for it. Not voting for that.

Otherwise… Tangerines sounds like the best remaining film of the bunch, so let’s put that on. Plus it’s called Tangerines.

My vote is… ooh… let’s say Ida. Though Force Majeure and Wild Tales were also really good.

– – – – –

My Best Documentary Feature Nominees

Art and Craft


The Internet’s Own Boy

Last Days in Vietnam

Life Itself

Life Itself is my vote, so the rest doesn’t even matter.


I saw Salt of the Earth. Meh.

I saw Virunga… meh.

Jodorowsky’s Dune was good, but I don’t necessarily think it needs to be nominated.

Finding Vivian Maier was fine, but I wouldn’t nominate it.

The Case Against 8 was fine, but it’s a boring choice for me.

CitizenFour was great, so that’s on.

That leaves three spots.

Of the remaining films… Citizen Koch was a no. Keep On Keepin’ On was a no. The Kill Team was a no. Tales of the Grim Sleeper was a no.

So we had four films for three spots. The Overnighters is about a church person, so I left it off. That’s the beauty of subjectivity. I can do what I want.

– – – – –

My Best Documentary Short Nominees


One Child

Our Curse

The Reaper

White Earth

They seemed most interesting.

Don’t really have a vote here. Let’s say White Earth. Because why not.

– – – – –

My Best Live-Action Short Nominees


Boogaloo and Graham

My Father’s Truck


The Phone Call

Aya sounds great. Boogaloo and Graham is right up my alley. The Phone Call was great. Parvaneh sounds like a comedy. And My Father’s Truck… why not.

The Phone Call is my vote. Since I saw it. Maybe Aya would be my vote if I saw it before I had to cast a ballot.

– – – – –

My Best Animated Short Nominees

The Bigger Picture




Symphone No. 42

The Bigger Picture looks like it does great things with animation. Coda looks really good. Duet is gorgeous. Feast sounds cute. And Symphone No. 42 looks like pure animation.

Right now, I’d vote Duet.

– – – – – – – – – –

So those are my nominations. Tomorrow is the fun half, where I actually get to guess what’s going to happen.


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