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Predicting the 87th Academy Awards

Posted by Kenneth Shinozuka on February 20, 2015 at 9:25 PM Comments comments (515)

Best Picture

Boyhood – 30% chance of winning

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) – 29%

American Sniper – 15%

The Imitation Game – 13%

The Grand Budapest Hotel – 7%

Selma – 3%

The Theory of Everything– 2%

Whiplash – 1%

Boyhood was widely expected to win this category after sweeping the early awards circuit and gaining momentum from the Golden Globe Awards, where it triumphed in the Best Drama category. However, the tides seemed to have turned. In late January, Birdman won the Darryl F. Zanuck Award in the Producers Guild Awards, which often predicts the film that takes home the Oscar statuette for Best Picture. Furthermore, Birdman has picked up significant victories in the Screen Actors Guild and Directors Guild Awards, potentially demonstrating that Academy voters are beginning to favor it over Boyhood. Hence, Birdman and Boyhood have become locked in an extremely tight race for Best Picture. Both films certainly deserve the award; Birdman combines a remarkably creative screenplay with groundbreaking cinematography, while Boyhood makes film history with its 12-year shooting period. I still think that, in spite of Birdman’s recent victories, Boyhood will still edge it out in the race for Best Picture. By tracking the development of a character in real time, Boyhood achieves an unprecedented sense of realism, depicting the process of growing up in a sincere and unequivocally honest way. In the end, it may be easier for voters to relate to Boyhood’s universal scenes of a boy bonding with his father and kindling his first romance than Birdman’s arcane philosophical themes.

Best Director

Richard Linklater (Boyhood) – 40% chance of winning

Alejandro G. Iñárritu (Birdman) – 38%

Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel) – 15%

Morten Tyldum (The Imitation Game) – 5%

Bennett Miller (Foxcatcher) – 2%  

Again, an extremely close race between Boyhood and Birdman. Linklater was a lock for this category until Iñárritu won the best director award at the Director’s Guild Awards, whose voters comprise a large portion of the Academy members that determine the Best Director winner at the Oscars. Iñárritu’s technical mastery – he shot his entire movie as if it were filmed in one take – will certainly pick up votes from the auteurs among the Academy’s voters. Nonetheless, Linklater’s decision to follow the growth of his main character in real time is surely one of the gutsiest moves ever in the history of cinema, and his unembellished, candid direction is indicative of his film’s total freedom from Hollywood’s banalities and contrivances.

Best Actor in a Leading Role

Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything) – 35% chance of winning

Michael Keaton (Birdman) – 30%

Bradley Cooper (American Sniper) – 20%

Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game) – 10%

Steve Carell (Foxcatcher) – 5%

Eddie Redmayne’s performance as Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything won him the Screen Actors Guild award for best actor, and it may lead to his victory in the Best Actor category at the Oscars. In my opinion, Keaton deserves the award more for fully channeling the existential crisis of his character, but Redmayne’s role may seem more difficult to Academy voters because of the complete physical transformation that it required. While his performance does not grant us full insight into Hawking’s sheer genius, he uncannily embodies the physicist’s idiosyncrasies and may bring tears to the eyes of some Academy voters who admired his nobility in spite of the debilitating effects that he suffered as a result of his motor neuron disease.

Best Actress in a Leading Role

Julianne Moore (Still Alice) – 35% chance of winning

Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl) – 25%

Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything) – 20%

Reese Witherspoon (Wild) – 10%

Marion Cotillard (Two Days, One Night) – 10%  

While “Best Actress” is not this year’s most predictable category by any measure, it is difficult to imagine anybody else winning but Julianne Moore. She won the Screen Actors Guild award for best actress, which typically indicates the winner of the corresponding award at the Oscars. Her heart-wrenching performance conveys the severe emotional pain that Alzheimer’s exacts on its patients. Although Marion Cotillard has won the most awards on the circuit out of the five nominated actresses, her film hasn’t achieved sufficient popularity yet among Academy voters.

Best Actor in a Supporting Role

J.K. Simmons (Whiplash) – 65% chance of winning

Edward Norton (Birdman) – 15%

Ethan Hawke (Boyhood) – 10%

Mark Ruffalo (Foxcatcher) – 8%

Robert Duvall (The Judge) – 2%

J.K. Simmons delivered the best performance of his career and of the year in Whiplash as an unapologetic and ruthless jazz teacher who will resort to any means to exact the best possible performances out of his students. Any other winner in this category would be one of the biggest upsets of the awards ceremony.

Best Actress in a Supporting Role

Patricia Arquette (Boyhood) – 70% chance of winning

Emma Stone (Birdman) – 15%

Keira Knightley (The Imitation Game) – 10%

Laura Dern (Wild) – 3%

Meryl Streep (Into the Woods) – 2%

There is no foreseeable scenario in which Patricia Arquette does not win this category. She has won practically every important supporting actress award on the circuit this year, and her performance as Mason Jr.’s mother in Boyhood serves as an emotional anchor in the film and creates a sense of constancy in his changing life.

Best Original Screenplay

Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr. & Armando Bo (Birdman) – 40% chance of winning

Wes Anderson & Hugo Guinness (The Grand Budapest Hotel) – 30%

Richard Linklater (Boyhood) – 15%

Dan Gilroy (Nightcrawler) – 10%

E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman (Foxcatcher) – 5%

Even Wes Anderson’s quirkiness is no match for Iñárritu’s sharp wit, acerbic comedy, profound wisdom, and penetrating social commentary. Iñárritu’s screenplay is one of the most daring examples of creativity in Hollywood today, transcending the bounds of traditional storytelling.

Best Adapted Screenplay

Damien Chazelle (Whiplash) – 35% chance of winning

Graham Moore (The Imitation Game) – 30%

Jason Hall (American Sniper) – 20%

Paul Thomas Anderson (Inherent Vice) – 10%

Anthony McCarten (The Theory of Everything) – 5%

Graham Moore’s rich, multi-layered script may win the favor of some Academy voters, but Damien Chazelle’s breathlessly paced first-time effort bursts with such energy that it’s difficult to deny it the win in this category. (By the way, Chazelle’s screenplay is actually an original effort, and many were puzzled when it was nominated in the adapted category.)

Best Animated Film

How to Train Your Dragon 2 – 70% chance of winning

Big Hero 6 – 15%

The Boxtrolls – 10%

The Tale of the Princess Kaguya – 3%

Song of the Sea – 2%

Best Documentary

Citizenfour – 80% chance of winning

Finding Vivian Maier – 10%

The Salt of the Earth – 5%

Last Days in Vietnam – 3%

Virunga – 2%

Best Foreign Language

Ida – 45% chance of winning

Leviathan – 35%

Wild Tales – 10%

Timbuktu – 5%

Tangerines – 5%

Best Cinematography

Emannuel Lubezki (Birdman) – 55% chance of winning

Ryszard Lenczewski & Lukasz Zai (Ida) – 20%

Dick Pope (Mr. Turner) – 12%

Robert D. Yeoman (The Grand Budapest Hotel) – 8%

Roger Deakins (Unbroken) – 5%

Best Costume Design

Milena Canonero (The Grand Budapest Hotel) – 60% chance of winning

Collenn Atwood (Into the Woods) – 25%

Anna B. Sheppard (Maleficent) – 7%

Jacqueline Durran (Mr. Turner) – 5%

Mark Bridges (Inherent Vice) – 3%

Best Film Editing

Sandra Adair (Boyhood) – 45% chance of winning

Tom Cross (Whiplash) – 35%

Joel Cox & Gary Roach (American Sniper) – 10%

William Goldenberg (The Imitation Game) – 5%

Barney Pilling (The Grand Budapest Hotel) – 5%

Best Makeup & Hairstyling

Frances Hannon and Mark Coulier (The Grand Budapest Hotel) – 70% chance of winning

Bill Corso and Dennis Liddiard (Foxcatcher) – 20%

Elizabeth Yanni-Georgiou and David White (Guardians of the Galaxy) – 10%

Best Original Score

Johann Johannson (The Theory of Everything) – 35% chance of winning

Alexandre Desplat (The Grand Budapest Hotel) – 30%

Hans Zimmer (Interstellar) – 28%

Alexandre Desplat (The Imitation Game) – 5%

Gary Yershon (Mr. Turner) – 2%

Best Original Song

“Glory” (Selma), Music and Lyrics by John Legend & Common – 65% chance of winning

“Everything is Awesome” (The Lego Movie), Music and Lyrics by Shawn Patterson – 20%

“I’m Not Gonna Miss You” (Glenn Campbell…I’ll Be Me), Music and Lyrics by Glen Campbell & Julian Raymond – 10%

“Lost Stars” (Begin Again), Music and Lyrics by Gregg Alexander & Danielle Brisbois – 3%

“Grateful” (Beyond the Lights), Music and Lyrics by Diane Warren – 2%

Best Production Design

Adam Stockhausen & Anna Pinnock (The Grand Budapest Hotel) – 65% chance of winning

Dennis Gassner & Anna Pinnock (Into the Woods) – 20%

Nathan Crowley & Gary Fettis (Interstellar) – 10%

Maria Djurkovic & Tatiana Macdonald (The Imitation Game) – 3%

Suzie Davis & Charlotte Watts – 2%

Best Sound Editing

Alan Robert Murray and Bub Asman (American Sniper) – 35% chance of winning

Richard King (Interstellar) – 30%

Martin Hernández & Aaron Glascock (Birdman) – 25%

Brent Burge & Jason Canovas (The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies) – 5%

Becky Sullivan & Andrew DeCristofaro (Unbroken) – 5%

Best Sound Mixing

Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño & Thomas Varga (Birdman) – 27% chance of winning

Craig Mann, Ben Wilkins & Thomas Curley (Whiplash) – 26%

John Reitz, Gregg Ruldoff & Walt Martin (American Sniper) – 25%

Gary A. Rizzo, Gregg Landaker & Mark Weingarten (Interstellar) – 21%

Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño & David Lee (Unbroken) – 1%

Best Visual Effects

Paul Franklin, Andrew Lockley, Ian Hunter & Scott Fisher (Interstellar) – 70% chance of winning

Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, Daniel Barrett & Erik Winquist (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) – 20%

Stephane Cerreti, Nicolas Aithadi, Jonathan Fawkner & Paul Corbould (Guardians of the Galaxy) – 8%

Dan DeLeeuw, Russell Earl, Bryan Grill & Dan Sudick (Captain America: The Winter Soldier) – 1%

Richard Stammers, Lou Pecora, Tim Crosbie & Cameron Waldbauer (X-Men: Days of Future Past) – 1%

Oldboy and Oedipus

Posted by Kenneth Shinozuka on December 23, 2014 at 11:10 AM Comments comments (14)


The Role of Individual Choice in Determining the Fates of Oh Dae-Su and Oedipus in Oldboy and Oedipus Rex

By Kenneth Shinozuka

December 23, 2014

Much like the collapse of just one domino can topple a chain of multiple dominoes, one crime can beget a tragic cycle of vengeance that entraps more victims as its scope expands beyond the misdeed that was initially perpetuated. The protagonists Oh Dae-su and Oedipus in Park Chan-wook’s 2003 film “Oldboy” and Sophocles’ tragic play “Oedipus Rex,” respectively, make a conscious decision to determine their involvement in past transgressions. Both characters bring misery onto themselves when they choose to learn the unforgivable nature of their actions, which they may not have been aware of at the time they committed them. Thus, though their deeds may have produced consequences that did not accurately reflect their intentions, Oedipus and Oh Dae-Su determine their own fates; Oedipus’ commitment to finding the truth about his past and Oh’s tragic flaw, more so than external forces beyond their control, lead to their respective punishments.

When Oedipus has sex with Iocasta, he is unaware that he is committing incest with his mother. It is not until the prophet Tiresias alleges that he is both “son and husband” to the woman who bore him that Oedipus begins to suspect his relationship with her. Even though Iocasta assures him that “many men, in dreams, have lain with their mothers,” Oedipus nonetheless “fears his [mother’s] bed” (Sophocles, 51). Even after Iocasta implores that he “never learn who [he is]” and attempts to thwart him from discovering more about his past, Oedipus is resolute in his determination “to know about [his birth], however base [it is]” (Sophocles, 57). He is willing to bear the dreadful hearing of dreadful speech in order to determine if he committed the acts of which the prophecy has accused him. In Oldboy, Oh is driven by a similar desire to discover the truth, intent on discovering the motives of the people who abducted him and held him captive in solitary confinement for fifteen years. With the help of a young female chef, Mi-do, he tortures everyone who obstructs him on his path to identify his captor. When he finally encounters Lee Woo-jin, the man who jailed him, he finds himself ensnared in a dilemma, unsure if he desires to “seek revenge” by shooting Lee or “find the truth” by ascertaining why he was imprisoned. Even though “seeking revenge is the best cure for someone who got hurt” as grievously as Oh, he still chooses not to pull the trigger. Hence, the destructive peripeteia that he experienced at the end of the film could have been avoided if he had made the decision to kill Lee. Both Oedipus and Oh did not have to confront the truth if they had chosen not to be curious about their pasts, as discussed in greater detail in the upcoming paragraphs.

When the shepherd corroborates Oedipus’ apprehension that he slept with his mother, the king becomes utterly despondent. Although he had braced himself to hear the truth, he still wasn’t fully prepared to embrace it. After his wife hangs herself, Oedipus becomes unable to “look on the misery about [him]” and blinds himself by plunging his wife’s brooches into his eyeballs (Sophocles, 69). Before Oedipus exiles himself out of Thebes, the Chorus takes pity upon him and cries, “Would God you had never found out!” (Sophocles, 72) This choice of language is notable; if Oedipus had “never found out” that he engaged in incest with his mother, he may not have been condemned to eternal misery. The realization of the truth is what prompts his suffering; only after he figures out that he was “damned in his birth, damned in his marriage” does he wish that he may “look on [Light] for the last time” and begin to feel the burden of guilt that precipitates his desire to blind himself (Sophocles, 64). Thus, if Oedipus had never launched himself on the line of questioning that led to his anagnorisis, he would not have suffered from the excruciating pain of the truth. In summary, his despair was a direct consequence of his choice to learn about his past.

As Oh becomes more emotionally intimate with Mi-do and later has sex with her, he receives some tips from Lee that point him in the right direction; later, he recalls a time in high school when he inadvertently spread a rumor that Lee slept with his own sister (Soo-ah), leading her to kill herself. After Oh confesses that he is culpable for Soo-ah’s suicide, Lee reveals that Mi-do is actually Oh’s daughter, whom Oh could not recognize after his fifteen-year separation from her. Lee, who hypnotized Mi-do into falling in love with Oh, intended Oh to undergo a heavy emotional torment that would be similar to the pain that Lee suffered when he lost his sister.

Upon learning the truth, Oh, furious that he has committed incest with his own daughter, smashes his body against a series of glass objects. One by one, the objects shatter. In a broader sense, Oh’s actions have fractured the fragile world around him. Unlike Oedipus, Oh possesses total control over his actions up until the point that he is imprisoned. Whereas Oedipus was fated to have sex with his mother, Oh is not fated by a god or driven by an unconscious, uncontrollable desire to defame Soo-ah by alleging that she had engaged in incest with her brother. Instead, his fatal flaw – his talkativeness – caused him to spread the rumor that begot her suicide. Lee states that his ultimate reason for jailing Oh was that “Oh… talked too much.” Even Oh’s closest friend is reluctant to give an answer to Oh’s question: “Did I really talk too much?” As Lee argues, “It was Oh Dae-su’s tongue that got my sister pregnant.” If Oh had decided not to speak indiscreetly about the incest occurring between Lee and Soo-ah, he would not have elicited the gossip that caused Soo-ah’s suicide. To this extent, he is arguably more blameworthy for his crime than Oedipus. Just as Oedipus stabs his eyes, which were too blind to perceive the depravity of his actions, Oh cuts his own tongue, whose loquaciousness spawned his downfall.

Oh could have saved himself from his punishment if he had kept quiet about the sexual relations that he had witnessed between Lee and his sister. However, even if he had failed to restrain his own tongue, he did not have to seek the reasons for his imprisonment. Just as Oedipus’ determination to discover the truth causes him to reach the epiphany that leads to his downfall, Oh would not have realized that he had committed incest with his daughter if he simply hadn’t tried to determine from Lee why he had been imprisoned. As demonstrated above, Lee could not have revealed that Oh had had sex with his daughter if Oh had killed his captor earlier in the film. Oedipus and Oh possess total control over their circumstances, even though it may seem that they were fated to carry out the transgressions for which they were punished. Even though the god Apollo “brought [his] sick, sick fate upon [him],” Oedipus did not have to suffer from blindness in Oedipus Rex if he had simply refused to determine whether or not he had executed the prophecy determined before his birth. Although Oh was hypnotized into falling in love with Mi-do and had no option but to have sex with her, he wouldn’t have committed incest with his daughter in the first place if he had chosen not to let his tongue loose about Soo-ah’s relationship with Lee. Additionally, Oh could have hidden from the truth and thereby precluded his misery if he had decided to murder Lee.

A Brief Overview of the 86th Academy Awards

Posted by Kenneth Shinozuka on March 26, 2014 at 11:00 PM Comments comments (0)


Here is a brief overview of the 86th Academy Awards that I wrote a few weeks ago. Sorry that I'm uploading it rather late! Also, I'd like to note/brag that I predicted 20 of the winners correctly out of a total of 21 categories.

After Seth MacFarlane’s hosting last year drew criticism for its racy musical numbers and innuendo-filled comedy, the producers of the Academy Awards decided to play it much safer this year.

Ellen DeGeneres hosted a ceremony that lagged significantly in pacing after her humorous but rather unexciting opening monologue. At the beginning of the show, the daytime talk show host employed her comedic talents to make witty jokes at the expense of some of Hollywood’s brightest stars, telling Liza Minelli she looked like a man and jabbing at celebrities for their lack of college education. But DeGeneres’ humor grew flat as the night went on. An overly long sequence in which she ordered delivery pizza for the nominees was a humorless and unentertaining attempt to spice the show up in between the presentations of the awards.

The awards primarily went to those who were expected to win. Gravity swept the technical categories of the ceremony (beating Captain Phillips in a close race for Best Film Editing) and in total won seven awards, more than any other nominated film. Nonetheless, it failed to win Best Picture, losing out to 12 Years a Slave in one of the most competitive races in recent Oscar history. Both films deserved to win in the category, but the historical significance of 12 Years a Slave’s message about the horrors of slavery gave it a slight advantage. (Lupita Nyong’o also won for her harrowing performance as a slave exposed to the worst horrors of the institution to which she is chained.) The eye-popping exterior of Gravity may have led some voters to perceive it solely as a visual achievement, thus causing them to ignore the film’s substantive themes about the indomitable perseverance of man. Nonetheless, Gravity’s ability to conjure the nuanced realities and frightening emptiness of outer space, a place that does not really exist outside of our imagination, was rewarded in the Best Director category.

After gaining significant momentum in the pre-Oscars award season, Dallas Buyers Club emerged with three Oscars. Matthew McConaughey won a Best Actor Oscar for his confident portrayal of a cowboy who discards his homophobic views and strengthens his own will to live after being diagnosed with AIDS. The film was awarded again for Jared Leto’s supporting performance as a transsexual coping with both AIDS and the social stigmas associated with the disease and his sexuality.

Predicting the 86th Academy Awards: Who Will and Who Should Win

Posted by Kenneth Shinozuka on March 1, 2014 at 12:05 PM Comments comments (0)

For 86 years, the Oscars have celebrated and enshrined one of the most essential assets to our global culture. The annual ceremony awards those who have best mastered the art of visual storytelling – better known to us as the cinema – in a televised extravaganza viewed in over 200 countries. Glamorous celebrities walk down the long red carpet, interviewed about the often less-than-glamorous roles for which they were nominated. Between the presentations of each award, the host attempts, with varying success, to captivate our attention with comedic routines and over-the-top musical numbers. Yet the Oscars play a much larger societal role. The historical films that often win the Best Picture statuette recapture the zeitgeist of an era, or highlight episodes of our past that we cannot afford to forget. This year, the film 12 Years a Slave portrays the gruesome toll of slavery on both the lives of the African-Americans who suffered under it, as well as the moral consciousness of the entire nation. The Best Documentary category showcases films that address serious problems currently plaguing the world. Even the Best Visual Effects award marks the progress of technology, and its ability to convincingly emulate real life.

Of course, before each Oscars, we wonder and place bets about who will win among those that are nominated. Without further ado, here is Cinemann’s forecast of the results for the 86th Academy Awards, which will be broadcasted on ABC on Sunday, March 2 at 7:00 PM EST (note that each of my predictions for the major categories is followed by an explanation; however, I did not explain my choices for the other categories.)

Major Categories

Best Picture

Will Win: 12 Years a Slave

Could Win: Gravity or American Hustle

Should Win: Gravity

This year’s Academy Awards features one of the closest Best Picture races in recent memory. American Hustle won the Screen Actors Guild award for Best Ensemble Cast, an award that typically predicts the winner of Best Picture. The Producers Guild Award for Best Feature Film, which has corresponded with the Best Picture Oscar for the last six years, was awarded to both Gravity and 12 Years a Slave in the first tie in its 24-year history. These two films and American Hustle all have tremendous momentum from the pre-Oscar awards season. Gravity is a breakthrough in the ability of films to use the latest technology to conjure the realities of otherworldly places – in this case outer space – that could only exist within our imagination. Nonetheless, the Academy has not selected a fantasy/science fiction film in over 10 years. American Hustle, packed with great performances and zingy humor, has the broadest appeal. Nonetheless, 12 Years has a slight edge in the field, only because it has struck a powerful emotional chord with many Academy voters due to its unflinching depiction of slavery.

Best Director

Will Win: Alfonso Cuarón (Gravity)

Could Win: Steven McQueen (12 Years a Slave)

Should Win: Alfonso Cuarón (Gravity)

Alfonso Cuarón won the Directors Guild Award (DGA), a “precursor award” that quite accurately predicts the winner of the Oscar for Best Director. Only seven times in the 67-year history of the DGA has its winner failed to correspond with the Academy Award for Directing. The impressiveness of Cuarón’s direction was evident throughout his film Gravity, both in his artistic touches – for instance, his uninterrupted, 17-minute opening shot – and his remarkable ability to turn the script into a visual reality. Cuarón convincingly placed the audience in outer space, eerily depicting its noiseless emptiness and infinite boundlessness. On the other hand, some Academy members may choose to vote for Steve McQueen, who illuminated 12 Years a Slave with a profundity and heartfelt intensity that few other directors have brought into the dark subject of slavery.

Best Actor in a Leading Role

Will Win: Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club)

Could Win: Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave)

Should Win: Leonardo DiCaprio (The Wolf of Wall Street)

Matthew McConaughey won the Screen Actors Guild Award (SAG) for Best Actor, yet another “precursor award” that predicts the Academy Award for Best Actor. Losing over fifty pounds, he experienced a huge physical transformation for his role in Dallas Buyers Club, in which he played a deeply homophobic man diagnosed with AIDS in the 1980s. McConaughey exuded a great level of confidence as he portrayed his character’s masculinity, while also portraying the desperation of his character when faced with the realization of his impending death. On the other hand, McConaughey faces some competition from Chiwetel Ejiofor, who may win over Academy voters with his depiction of the struggles of a free African-American who was enslaved and snatched away from his family. In addition, Leonardo DiCaprio deserves an Oscar for his performance as Jordan Belfort in The Wolf of Wall Street. DiCaprio captivates our attention for every moment of the film’s three-hour runtime; with each scene, he peels away layers of insight until he reaches the core of Belfort’s egoism and incurable obsession with greed.

Best Actress in a Leading Role

Will Win: Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine)

Could Win: Amy Adams (American Hustle) – unlikely

Should Win: Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine)

Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine) won the SAG award for Best Actress and is currently the frontrunner for the Oscar for Actress in a Leading Role. While Amy Adams (American Hustle) performed well in her role as a con woman spinning a web of deceits, her work simply does not match up to the caliber of Blanchett’s. Blanchett has already won over the voters in many critics’ circles with her portrayal of a Manhattan socialite losing all her money and assets due to her husband’s fraudulent business dealings. The agony and despair that Blanchett so uncannily portrayed in Blue Jasmine exceed any of her past work and almost guarantee her the Academy Award.

Best Actor in a Supporting Role

Will Win: Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club)

Could Win: N/A

Should Win: Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club)

Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club) won the SAG award for Best Supporting Actor and is almost unbeatable in the corresponding Oscar category. Leto, like McConaughey, had a huge physical transformation for his role as a transsexual coping with AIDS and the social stigmas associated with the disease and his/her sexuality. Leto captures his character as a victim of a social climate in which non-heterosexuals sacrificed their opportunities and reputation in order to preserve their ability to openly express themselves.

Best Actress in a Supporting Role

Will Win: Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave)

Could Win: Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle)

Should Win: Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave)

Lupita Nyong’o won the SAG award for Best Supporting Actress, but faces some tough competition from Jennifer Lawrence, the winner of the Golden Globe in the same category. Lawrence brings charged energy and a jolting vitality into her performance as the wife of a con artist, accentuating the emotional fragility and temperamental nature of her character. However, the Academy may be reluctant to give her an Academy Award for the second year in a row – she won the Best Actress award last year for her performance in Silver Linings Playbook. On the other hand, Nyong’o’s depiction of a young girl stoically suffering under the brutal chains of slavery may touch the hearts of many voters. She cannot escape her master’s volatile emotions towards her; at one moment, she is the subject of his lustful desire and at the next, she must bear the brunt of his whip.

Best Original Screenplay (very close race)

Will Win: Spike Jonze (Her) 

Could Win:  Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell (American Hustle)

Should Win: Spike Jonze (Her)

Spike Jonze (Her) won the Writers’ Guild Award for Best Original Screenplay. In his masterful screenplay, Jonze raised many thoughtful questions about the deterioration of human feeling in a world increasingly dominated by computers and artificial intelligence. Can manmade technology, whose functions are the product of engineered code rather than true instinct, thought, or emotion, ever replace the love of a human? Nonetheless, Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell have a considerable shot at winning. Their American Hustle screenplay infuses comedic wit with liveliness to create a blast of vivacious fun.

Best Adapted Screenplay

Will Win: John Ridley (12 Years a Slave)

Could Win: N/A

Should Win: Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, and Ethan Hawke (Before Midnight)

John Ridley did not win the Writers’ Guild Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, but only due to a technicality that made his work in 12 Years a Slave ineligible. His screenplay bears such raw emotion in a subject area where so many others have striven for honeyed saccharinity. He does not attempt to hide the brutalities of slavery and in doing so creates an honest portrait of one of the most horrendous chapters in American history. At the same time, however, Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, and Ethan Hawke deserve recognition for their Before Midnight screenplay, which offers an insightful look into the fissures and cracks that inevitably break even the strongest of relationships. Their work is notable for long passages of dialogue that subtly and honestly illustrate the dynamic of a couple slowly falling apart.

Other Categories


Best Animated Film

Will Win: Frozen

Could Win: N/A

Should Win: The Wind Rises

Best Documentary  (very close race)

Will Win: 20 Feet from Stardom

Could Win: The Act of Killing

Should Win: N/A (I myself did not see any of the nominated documentaries)

Best Foreign Language Film

Will Win: The Great Beauty

Could Win: The Hunt

Should Win: N/A (I myself did not see any of the nominated foreign language films)

Artistic Achievement

Best Costume Design  (very competitive race)

Will Win: American Hustle

Could Win: The Great Gatsby

Should Win: The Great Gatsby

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Will Win: Dallas Buyers Club

Could Win: N/A

Should Win: Dallas Buyers Club

Best Production Design

Will Win: The Great Gatsby

Could Win: Gravity

Should Win: Her


Best Original Song

Will Win: "Let It Go" (Frozen)

Could Win: "Ordinary Love" (Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom)

Should Win: "Ordinary Love" (Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom)

Best Original Score

Will Win: Gravity 

Could Win: Her -- unlikely

Should Win: Gravity

Technical Categories

Best Cinematography

Will Win: Gravity

Could Win: N/A

Should Win: Gravity

Best Film Editing  (very close race)

Will Win: Gravity

Could Win: Captain Phillips

Should Win: Gravity

Best Sound Editing

Will Win: Gravity

Could Win: Captain Phillips

Should Win: Gravity

Best Sound Mixing

Will Win: Gravity

Could Win: Inside Llewyn Davis

Should Win: Gravity

Best Visual Effects

Will Win: Gravity

Could Win: N/A

Should Win: Gravity 

The Wolf of Wall Street: Review

Posted by Kenneth Shinozuka on January 12, 2014 at 3:10 AM Comments comments (0)


The Wolf of Wall Street

Released: Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio (Jordan Belfort), Jonah Hill (Donnie Azoff), Margot Robbie (Naomi Lapaglia), Kyle Chandler (Patrick Denham), Matthew McConaughey (Mark Hanna)

Director: Martin Scorsese

Screenwriter: Terrence Winter

Runtime: 180 minutes

Rating: R for sequences of strong sexual content, graphic nudity, drug use and language throughout, and for some violence


out of 100

‘TWOWS’ Wows

Posted: January 11, 2014

Early on in Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street, Matthew McConaughey’s character Mark Hanna, the owner of a brokerage firm in the late 1980s, gives one of the greatest monologues I have perhaps ever seen in the movies. Hanna tells his newly hired employee, a young Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio), that there are two keys to success in Wall Street: the first is a rather obscene activity I would rather not mention in a school newspaper, and the second is crack cocaine. Hanna’s description of his preposterously high levels of drug consumption immediately frame a portrait of the rampant excess and self-indulgence in the lifestyles of Wall Street fat cats. We, the audience, are about as shocked as Belfort, who has difficulty transitioning towards the hedonistic and decadent life that his new job has demanded him to accept. After all, Belfort is a family man with an uncorrupted set of morals before he is employed by Wall Street. As he becomes accustomed to his new job, he begins to immerse himself in a sordid world of hookers, alcohol, and drugs. Soon, Belfort and his friend Donnie Azoff (Jonah Hill) start their own brokerage firm, which quite quickly mushrooms from its headquarters in a Long Island garage into a multi-million-dollar company. Belfort, Azoff, and a crew of handpicked brokers become obsessed with the potential of earning more money – which in the film is called the ultimate drug – so that they can support their extravagant lifestyle. Their illegal financial practices place them in serious trouble with the FBI, and Belfort must witness his empire crumble as all his corrupt deeds come to the light of his family and the public.

Yet the real drug in The Wolf of Wall Street – the best film of 2013 – is not crack cocaine or money, but rather the movie itself. Martin Scorsese’s exhilarating rollercoaster ride into the most depraved pillars of society is a relentless, three-hour onrush of adrenaline, propelled by its riotous script and phenomenal cast. The film’s outrageous depiction of total debauchery – drugs, nudity, and sex – is complemented by its dynamic and explosive sense of humor. Each character is intrinsically hilarious because of how willing he is to sacrifice his dignity in pursuit of short-term gratification. Belfort and his party-hearty friends laughably embarrass themselves on a plane after taking a huge dose of drugs, and Belfort tries pitifully – but amusingly – to crawl on his feet when a dosing of Quaaludes nearly paralyzes him. Yet there is an underlying and deeper context to all of this humor. Scorsese was criticized for glorifying Belfort’s corruption by failing to portray the grave and serious consequences of his actions. But the opposite is true; the sheer genius of Scorsese’s film is that it creates a tragic laughing stock, rather than a comedy, out of Belfort. Our laughter is not only accompanied but also generated by a shame and a pity for Belfort’s unrepentant brazenness. To put it more simply, we laugh only because of how badly he falls on his face. Beneath the façade of the film’s lavish parties lies a somber portrayal of the corrupting influence of money on decent, hard-working people. Belfort’s transformation is evidence of a man whose moral compass was shattered by the false perception that his power and self-worth were determined by the volume of his material wealth.

Perhaps the greatest achievement in The Wolf of Wall Street is Leonardo DiCaprio’s portrait of Jordan Belfort. His work here represents a great actor at the apex of his abilities, a performer whose passion and energy enliven his character and shape him into a monster (or at least a semi-monster) with whom we cannot empathize. DiCaprio captivates our attention for every moment of the film’s three-hour runtime; with each scene, he peels away layers of insight until he reaches the core of Belfort’s egoism and incurable obsession with greed. Indeed, it would be apt to describe Belfort as the wolf of Wall Street, but only if we realize that the only house he blew down was his own. 97/100

The Spectacular Now: A Review

Posted by Kenneth Shinozuka on September 22, 2013 at 3:20 AM Comments comments (0)

The Spectacular Now

Release Date  |  Friday, August 2, 2013

Starring  |   Miles Teller (Sutter Keely), Aimee Finecky (Shailene Woodley), Kyle Chandler (Tommy Keely), Jennifer Janison Leigh (Sara Keely), Brie Larson (Cassidy)

Director  |   James Ponsoldt

Screenwriters  |   Michael H. Weber and Scott Neudstadter 

Runtime  |  100 minutes

Rating   |   R for alcohol use, language, and some sexuality - all involving teens


out of 100


Spectacular Indeed

Posted  |  September 21, 2013

The YOLO-obsessed youth of our society may identify with Sutter Keely (Miles Teller), a high school senior who, in the quietly spectacular August film “The Spectacular Now,” lives for the present as if he were to die tomorrow. Even though few others actually take him seriously, he has become the life of every party and a prominent figure in his school’s social atmosphere. Taking comfort from the current lifestyle he has constructed around himself, Sutter possesses no desire to plan for or even consider the future. Rather than filling out his college applications, he drinks heavily out of a flask he has labeled with his own name – the only object in the film that holds a permanent place in Sutter’s life.


Sutter, however, hides a troubled past behind his wide, photogenic smile. His father, Tommy, fought often with Sutter’s mother and one day left the family for reasons unknown to Sutter, never to come back or be seen again.


One night, Sutter becomes so drunk that he jumps out of a car and collapses unconscious on somebody’s lawn. He is awoken the next morning by Aimee Finecky (Shailene Woodley), a fellow senior that Sutter does not recognize. The two have an immediate chemistry that develops into a serious romantic relationship. Her serious work ethic and high-achieving academic record counter Sutter’s underachieving attitude and demonstrate that she may be a positive force in his life. Yet the relationship between Aimee and Sutter is also a deeply personal bond in which neither is afraid to share his or her insecurities with the other. In one of the most pivotal turning points in the film, she encourages him to meet with his estranged father. When their meeting shatters Sutter’s previously positive view of him, Sutter must realize that he is corrupted by the same negative forces – alcoholism and a lack of self-responsibility – that took hold within his father’s life.


In the final third of the film, during which these events transpire, director James Ponsoldt and screenwriters Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber demonstrate an incredibly mature understanding of the transformative years of adolescence. Sutter and Aimee are not caricatures of the teenage weaknesses that are so often mimicked in the movies. Instead, they are authentic characters who embody the pain and conflicts that take place within all of us during our high school days. With its unflinchingly realistic attitude, “The Spectacular Now” never settles for cheap compromises or happy endings in which its characters emerge no wiser or more mature than they were at the beginning. The film is not the story of a relationship, but of two young adults who accept realities that are far harsher than the bubbles in which they previously confined themselves.


Miles Teller offers an inspiring performance as Sutter Keely, keenly portraying his character’s increasing conflicts with himself and the world around him. Teller effortlessly embodies Sutter’s charisma, sense of humor, and cheerful carefreeness. Yet the nuanced expressions so carefully etched on Teller’s face convey the frustrations of a teenager who sees his friends moving on in life while he stays stuck in neutral. With equal brilliance, Shailene Woodley subtly illustrates the transformations that take place within Aimee, as her character breaks free from her introverted cocoon into an adult woman who is more confident and sure of her place in the world.


In a powerful scene after Sutter’s reunion with his father, Sutter’s geometry teacher asks his student, who won’t earn his diploma because of his failing grades, whether he ever has plans of graduating. Sutter responds by saying that he “doesn’t see what’s so great about being an adult,” almost as though high school were a perpetual reality. “Are you happy?” he questions his teacher, as if happiness were the reason that Sutter hangs so desperately to his youth. Of course, we know that he is lying to conceal the fact that he is not yet able to accept responsibility for himself. “The Spectacular Now” finds the difference between living in the now to enjoy its spectacular impermanence, and clinging to the present to both escape the past and elude an unpromising future. 90/100

42: A Review

Posted by Kenneth Shinozuka on April 30, 2013 at 5:30 PM Comments comments (0)

Hello everyone,

Here is a review I recently wrote for my school newspaper. I hope you enjoy it.


Release Date: Friday, April 12, 2013

Starring: Chadwick Boseman (as Jackie Robinson), Harrison Ford (as Branch Rickey), Christopher Meloni (as Leo Durocher), Nicole Beharie (as Rachel Isum Robinson), Andre Holland (as Wendell Smith)

Director: Brian Helgeland

Screenwriter: Brian Helgeland 

Runtime: 128 minutes

Rated: PG-13 for thematic elements including language


out of 100

Jackie Robinson is remembered as a hero of baseball, one who not only possessed remarkable skill and passion for the sport, but also broke the baseball color line when he became the first African-American to play in the major league. This defiance of racial barriers in what was once a white man’s game ended an era of segregation in major league sports and contributed to African-American integration in a number of other professions.

Last Sunday, Horace Mann students and parents gathered at a showing of Brian Hegeland’s new film “42," about Robinson's meteoric rise to baseball stardom with the Brooklyn Dodgers, at the Magic Johnson AMC theatre in Harlem. The showing was followed by an eye-opening Q & A discussion with Negro League baseball legend Gilbert Black, who related with the hardships that Robinson faced due to his skin color. Unlike the conversation, however, the film avoids insight into the perseverance that marked Robinson’s exceptional character, while also failing to measure the magnitude of his impact on civil rights.

The racism that “42” attempts to highlight is rarely brought to a personal or emotional context. The film conveys that Robinson is relentlessly mocked by white communities and even his own teammates for the color of his skin, yet masks his fury and turmoil with nothing more than the stony complexion of Chadwick Boseman, who brings little character to his role as the baseball player. Only in one scene is the full extent of Robinson’s rage revealed, when Robinson breaks his baseball bat after a racist coach on an opposing team jeers at his skin color. This is far too short, however, for the audience to form a deep understanding of the injustice that he felt, although it is true that Robinson needed to conceal his outrage in order to succeed in baseball. Robinson’s tenacity is expressed only as a trite teaching lesson for persevering in the midst of hardship, rather than an essential element of his character and meteoric success in baseball. Robinson’s story does inspire at least one young boy in “42,” who as we later learn, becomes a part of the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame, yet the scope of his impact does not expand much further. In real life, Robinson’s stoic forbearance of such abhorrent racism received great respect and admiration from African-Americans; his nonviolent reaction to discrimination was later applied when blacks fought for legal equality in the Civil Rights Movement. Fans in “42” seem to admire Robinson far more for his home-run averages than for his demonstration that African-Americans can possess an equal amount of talent as their white peers, in the baseball diamond or in any other field. Certainly, "42" portrays Robinson as a celebrity, applauded for stealing a base or chased by flocks of admirers. It does not convincingly, however, characterize him as a hero whose greatest hit came not in a home run, but in the social repercussions that those home runs made beyond the field. 42/100

The Disappointing Harvests of Springtime

Posted by Kenneth Shinozuka on March 19, 2013 at 4:20 PM Comments comments (0)

Why hello everyone!

Below is a piece I wrote recently for a school newspaper. I hope you enjoy reading it!

The Disappointing Harvests of Springtime

Spring typically yields the weakest cinematic crops of the year, the unfruitful season after a winter in which a number of outstanding films were released to compete for the Academy Awards. Due perhaps to the absence of holidays for both children and adults, it is the time during which the least amount of people flock to the cinemas; therefore, studios release the films that they think will be the least financially and critically successful.\

If a consistent genre of film is threaded throughout the spring season, it is the spring-break film. Vacuous teenage characters relieve themselves from any moral responsibility when freed from college during spring break, while students feeling equally apathetic about college watch their flagrant acts of sexual promiscuity and general inanity. March of 2013 witnesses the release of two films – Spring Breakers and 21 and Over – that unfortunately do not break from this pattern, although the former was praised by some critics for its youthful energy and uncanny performance by James Franco. These films embrace shameless self-destruction through alcohol, drugs, and law breaking in a manner that is often vulgar and, while comic to some, is generally unpleasant to see.

Blockbusters of the spring season present no lack of a similar mindlessness. Arguably the most anticipated film of the spring, “Oz the Great and Powerful,” the prequel to 1939’s cinematic classic “The Wizard of Oz,” presents a world that is inhabited by bland characters who become conveyors of saccharine themes rather than personifications of deeply human emotions and insecurities, like Tin Man and the Scarecrow of the 1939 film. In that film, cinema became a vehicle to leap “somewhere over the rainbow” into magical lands that cannot exist within our mundane lives; the 2012 prequel, however, fails to transport us beyond our imaginations or even the confines of the theater.

Other blockbusters, including “A Good Day to Die Hard,” the dying ember of the fading “Die Hard” franchise, superhero picture “G.I. Joe: Retaliation” and the action-thriller film about a national terrorist threat “Olympus Has Fallen” seem to be vacant cacophonies of gunfire and explosion.

While the releases of the spring film season have been consistently weak, there is still no shortage of excellent films that are available for your viewing on DVD, television, and even the theaters. If you feel a strong desire to satiate your starved cinematic appetite, I would urge you to rent the 1939 Wizard of Oz, the far superior classic to the prequel released this March, or enjoy some of the 2013 Academy Award nominees for Best Picture, including winner Argo, that are still playing in theaters. 

MacFarlame: A Review of the 85th Annual Academy Awards

Posted by Kenneth Shinozuka on March 10, 2013 at 8:40 PM Comments comments (0)

Hello all!

Here is a review of the 85th Annual Academy Awards:


A tribute to James Bond! A tie in a category! Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Charlize Theron dancing in a Frank Sinatra musical number? William Shatner as Captain Kirk in one of the most bizarre opening Oscar sequences ever?

These were just a few of the surprises in the 85th Annual Academy Awards, hosted by Seth MacFarlane last Sunday to become one of the most unpredictable Oscar ceremonies in recent memory. This year’s Oscar ceremony was unique in its large number of undeserved victories. A close race for Best Original Screenplay yielded a rather unjust win for Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained, which seemed to be absent of the rich dialogue that overflowed in Tarantino’s earlier works. The bland and sentimental characterizations of Pixar’s “Brave” were favored over the vivid emotional quality of “Wreck-It Ralph,” for Best Animated Feature. In Best Makeup and Hairstyling, the artful transformation of human actors into dwarves in “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” was overlooked by the Academy.

However, some awards were received by the right hands. Life of Pi emerged with the most awards of the night, winning three for its stunning technical achievements and one for director Ang Lee, who artfully crafted a film that many had considered impossible to make into a visually stunning, poignant masterpiece. Although it did not even receive a Best Director nomination, Argo righteously received the top honor of Best Picture for its gripping and witty celebration of Hollywood as a political hero. Argo’s victory culminated one of the wildest Best Picture races ever, with a frontrunner that had vacillated from Silver Linings Playbook (which earned a Best Actress Award for Jennifer Lawrence’s exceptional performance of a bipolar woman) to Lincoln (which predictably won a Best Actor Award for Daniel Day-Lewis’ uncanny depiction of the sixteenth president).

First Lady Michelle Obama appeared by remote video communication to present Argo with its Best Picture statuette. Her overextended speech, however, spoke too much about the vitality of childhood education and turned a moment that should celebrate cinematic achievement into a political gesture.

Yet perhaps the greatest misfortune of the evening’s ceremonies was the hosting of Seth MacFarlane, whose jokes, while often hilarious, were underlined by tones of blatant sexism and racism. Although some of these jokes may be appropriate in the context of his animated comedy television shows, they were certainly unbecoming for so prestigious an occasion as the Academy Awards. His opening monologue included a nearly misogynistic musical number titled “We Saw Your Boobs” that seemed to reduce female actresses to their sexual organs. In addition, the monologue featured a very awkwardly staged encounter with William Shatner as Captain Kirk, who came from the future to save the ceremony from becoming a fiasco. Shatner himself appeared just as baffled as audiences. MacFarlane’s jokes managed to affront just about every person in the Hollywood industry, implying that Jews dominated the media and at one point encouraging bulimia as an act of becoming skinnier. Furthermore, they detracted from the atmosphere of old Hollywood glamour that the producers of this year’s Academy Awards attempted to create with vintage stage decorations and classic film scores that played during the ceremony.

The night was also a rather uninspired celebration of the 007 franchise, which celebrated its fiftieth anniversary last year with its 23rd installment, Skyfall. None of the Bond actors themselves actually appeared at the ceremony, and Adele performed Skyfall’s titular theme song with a passiveness that contrasted the passion of Shirley Basset, who in the ceremony sang the theme of a classic Bond film, Goldfinger. However, Adele’s songwriting efforts were still rewarded with the Best Original Song award, a trophy that Skyfall earned alongside its other Oscar for Best Sound Editing, which on the same night was also awarded to Zero Dark Thirty in only the sixth tie in Oscar history.

Perhaps one of the few redeeming qualities of the ceremony was its celebration of Broadway musicals that were adapted into films. Jennifer Hudson’s intense rendition of a song from the musical hit Dreamgirls was preceded by a sultry performance of Catherine Zeta-Jones, who reprised her role in Chicago. While blemished by Russell Crowe’s poor singing, an outstanding ensemble performance of “One Day More” from this year’s Les Misérables reminded audiences of the enduring emotional impact of musicals.

But over the years, the Academy Awards have been plagued by poor hosts who strove far too much to appeal to younger audiences and lost sight of the glamorous celebration of films that the Oscars should be. The profound emotional and cultural achievement that each of the nominated films and performances has made – the underappreciated magic of evoking laughter, tears, and passion in their audiences – has been buried under insulting jokes and political talking points. The golden statuette has very unfortunately lost its luster.

85th Annual Academy Awards Predictions

Posted by Kenneth Shinozuka on February 23, 2013 at 8:35 PM Comments comments (1)

It's that time of year again! Here are my predictions for 21 of the 24 categories (excluding Best Live Action Short, Best Animated Short, and Best Documentary Short) recognized at the 85th Annual Academy Awards, one of the most heated competitions in recent memory.

Best Picture

Winner: Argo

Possible: Lincoln, Life of Pi

Unlikely: Silver Linings Playbook, Les Misérables, Zero Dark Thirty, Amour, Django Unchained, Beasts of the Southern Wild

Best Director (VERY close race)

Winner: Ang Lee, Life of Pi

Possible: Steven Spielberg, Lincoln

Unlikely: David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook; Michael Haneke, Amour; Benh Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern Wild

Best Actor in a Leading Role

Winner: Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln

Possible: None

Unlikely: Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook; Hugh Jackman, Les Misérables; Denzel Washington, Flight; Joaquin Phoenix, The Master

Best Actress in a Leading Role

Winner: Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook

Possible: Emmanuelle Riva, Amour

Unlikely: Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty; Quvenzhané Wallis, Beasts of the Southern Wild; Naomi Watts, The Impossible

Best Actor in a Supporting Role (VERY close race)

Winner: Robert de Niro, Silver Linings Playbook

Possible: Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln; Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained

Unlikely: Philip Seymour Hoffman, The Master; Alan Arkin, Argo

Best Actress in a Supporting Role

Winner: Anne Hathaway, Les Misérables

Possible: None

Unlikely: Sally Field, Lincoln; Helen Hunt, The Sessions; Amy Adams, The Master; Jacki Weaver, Silver Linings Playbook

Best Original Screenplay (VERY close race)

Winner: Mark Boal, Zero Dark Thirty

Possible: Quentin Tarantino, Django Unchained

Unlikely: Michael Haneke, Amour; Wes Anderson & Roman Coppola, Moonrise Kingdom; John Gatins, Flight

Best Adapted Screenplay

Winner: Chris Terrio, Argo

Possible: Tony Kushner, Lincoln; David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook

Unlikely: Lucy Alibar & Benh Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern Wild; David Magee, Life of Pi

Best Animated FIlm

Winner: Wreck-It Ralph

Possible: Brave

Unlikely: Frankenweenie; Paranorman; The Pirates! Band of Misfits

Best Documentary Feature

Winner: Searching for Sugar Man

Possible: None

Unlikely: The Gatekeepers; The Invisible War; How to Survive a Plague; 5 Broken Cameras

Best Foreign Feature Film

Winner: Amour, Austria

Possible: None

Unlikely: Kon-Tiki, Norway; No, Chile; A Royal Affair, Denmark; War Witch, Canada

Best Original Song

Winner: "Skyfall" from Skyfall - Music and Lyrics by Adele Adkins and Paul Epworth

Possible: "Suddenly" from Les Misérables - Music by Claude-Michel Schönberg, Lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer and Alain Boublil

Unlikely: "Pi's Lullaby" from Life of Pi - Music by Mychael Danna, Lyrics by Bombay Jayashiri; "Everybody Needs a Best Friend" from Ted - Music by Walter Murphy, Lyrics by Seth MacFarlane; "Before My Time" from Chasing Ice - Music and Lyrics by J. Ralph 

Best Original Score

Winner: Life of Pi, Mychael Danna

Possible: Lincoln, John Williams

Unlikely: Anna Karenina, Dario Marianelli; Skyfall, Thomas Newman; Argo, Alexandre Desplat

Best Cinematography

Winner: Life of Pi

Possible: Skyfall

Unlikely: Lincoln; Anna Karenina; Django Unchained

Best Costume Design

Winner: Anna Karenina

Possible: Les Misérables

Unlikely: Lincoln; Snow White and the Huntsman; Mirror Mirror

Best Film Editing

Winner: Argo

Possible: None

Unlikely: LincolnZero Dark Thirty; Life of Pi; Silver Linings Playbook

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Winner: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Possible: Les Misérables

Unlikely: Hitchcock

Best Production Design

Winner: Anna Karenina

Possible: Les Misérables; Lincoln

Unlikely: Life of Pi; The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Best Sound Editing (VERY close race)

Winner: Skyfall

Possible: Life of PiZero Dark Thirty

Unlikely: Argo; Django Unchained

Best Sound Mixing

Winner: Les Misérables

Possible: Life of Pi

Unlikely: Skyfall; Argo; Lincoln

Best Visual Effects

Winner: Life of Pi

Possible: None

Unlikely: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey; Marvel's The Avengers; Prometheus; Snow White and the Huntsman