Category: 2014 Oscars Challenge

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86th Annual Academy Awards Predictions

And with the final film viewed for this Oscar Season, I complete the challenge of 42 films in 46 days. Now to put out some predictions, which, for the second year in a row I am not completely confident in, as some of the categories feel way too close to call including the Best Picture, which all of us will be waiting for with … Read More 86th Annual Academy Awards Predictions

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2014 Oscars Challenge: [42] The Wind Rises – One Nomination

Hayao Miyazaki and Toshio Suzuki In the very last film of my Oscar challenged I viewed the sub-titled and animated feature “The Wind Rises”, set to be Hayao Miyazaki’s final film. Marking his third nomination with previous nods for “Howls Moving Castle” (2005) and even a win for “Spirited Away” (2002), the Academy does love to honor Miyazaki and could even pull off an … Read More 2014 Oscars Challenge: [42] The Wind Rises – One Nomination

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2014 Oscars Challenge: [41] The Grandmaster – Two Nominations

Philippe Le Sourd With two nominations, I’m surprised that Wong Kar-wai’s wasn’t nominated for more, like Best Foreign Language Feature or even Best Picture, but this kung-fu epic does grab Best Cinematography and Best Costume Design nominations and even though it will probably not be winning either of these, it is nice to see films like this breakthrough in some competitive categories. Filled with … Read More 2014 Oscars Challenge: [41] The Grandmaster – Two Nominations

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2014 Oscars Challenge: [40] The Wolf Of Wall Street – Five Nominations

Martin Scorsese, Leonardo DiCaprio, Joey McFarland and Emma Tillinger Koskoff Martin Scorsese is no stranger to the Best Picture category and with “The Wolf Of Wall Street” becoming one of his best films in an illustrious career, it’s no question that it deserves all the recognition that it’s receiving. Yes, the film is not about nice people and most of the main characters are … Read More 2014 Oscars Challenge: [40] The Wolf Of Wall Street – Five Nominations

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2014 Oscars Challenge: Oscar Nominated Shorts – Documentary

“CaveDigger” – Jeffrey Karoff The Documentary Shorts are well represented this year with the many different types of documentaries. “CaveDigger” is a casual documentary with zero urgency that brings a man’s hobby and attempt at employment to the screen as he digs extravagant caves in New Mexico, all without plans. With just an idea in his mind and some hand tools, he works alone … Read More 2014 Oscars Challenge: Oscar Nominated Shorts – Documentary

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2014 Oscars Challenge: [39] Nebraska – Six Nominations

Albert Berger and Ron Yerxa “Nebraska”, a black-and-white jaunt into the lives of a family residing in Montana, the entire film follows lead Bruce Dern playing an aging man named Woody Grant that believes he’s won $1,000,000 from a sweepstakes, all he has to do is make it to Lincoln, Nebraska to accept the money. Heartwarming and laced with a dark comedic element that … Read More 2014 Oscars Challenge: [39] Nebraska – Six Nominations

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2014 Oscars Challenge: [38] Iron Man 3 – One Nomination

Christopher Townsend, Guy Williams, Erik Nash and Dan Sudick “Iron Man 3” was one of my favorite films of 2013 and a lot of that had to do with the amazing visual effects. Whether you’re watching missiles being shot from helicopters and destroying Tony Stark’s Malibu mansion, knocking it off the hillside into the ocean, or whether it’s the amazing visuals of Iron Man … Read More 2014 Oscars Challenge: [38] Iron Man 3 – One Nomination

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2014 Oscars Challenge: [37] The Square – One Nomination

Jehane Noujaim and Karim Amer Distributed by Netflix, “The Square” is one of two documentaries that got the most exposure this Oscars season, thanks to billboards and constant advertisement from the growing instant streaming company. Second to only “The Act Of Killing”, which was a huge draw this awards season, the film is available on Netflix instantly (as were three of the other contenders) … Read More 2014 Oscars Challenge: [37] The Square – One Nomination

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2014 Oscars Challenge: [36] 12 Years A Slave – Nine Nominations

Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Steve McQueen and Anthony Katagas “12 Years A Slave” is the film that will be remembered from 2013. It does matter if this wins or “Gravity” wins or even “American Hustle”. What matters is that this film explored the nature of history and of slavery unlike any film before its time, from a black director who makes an … Read More 2014 Oscars Challenge: [36] 12 Years A Slave – Nine Nominations

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2014 Oscars Challenge: [35] Omar – One Nomination

Palestine Every year the Academy Awards brings to light films that I otherwise would have never seen and more often than not, it is in the Best Foreign Feature category that I discover these amazing films. Most notably, I remember seeing “Dogtooth” (2009) and being absolutely blown away by how much I loved the film. This year, three foreign films have blown me away. … Read More 2014 Oscars Challenge: [35] Omar – One Nomination

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2014 Oscars Challenge: [34] The Missing Picture – One Nomination

Cambodia Cambodia’s foreign film entry “The Missing Picture” is a multi-media exploration of the Kampuchean Revolution in 1975, of which very few images remain. To counteract these “missing pictures”, the film-makers create clay models of himself and many of the surrounding Cambodians to reenact the damage done by Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge. The real marvel is the inclusion of the archival footage … Read More 2014 Oscars Challenge: [34] The Missing Picture – One Nomination

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2014 Oscars Challenge: [33] All Is Lost – One Nomination

Steve Boeddeker and Richard Hymns “All Is Lost” is the epitome of sound design. With Robert Redford having a handful of lines throughout the entire piece, the film completely relies on the sounds surrounding the character, whether it be the waves crashing against the boat while Redford is down below in the living quarters, whether it be the growing storm around Redford and the … Read More 2014 Oscars Challenge: [33] All Is Lost – One Nomination

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2014 Oscars Challenge: [32] Inside Llewyn Davis – Two Nominations

Bruno Delbonnel I knew from the moment that I first saw “Inside Llewyn Davis” that the cinematography was extraordinary. With a faded quality that transports you to that era, yet a brilliance in color and lighting, these visuals help the film stand out and give it an ethereal quality that made it one of my favorite films of the year. Usually garnering more Academy … Read More 2014 Oscars Challenge: [32] Inside Llewyn Davis – Two Nominations

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2014 Oscars Challenge: [31] Ernest And Celestine – One Nomination

Benjamin Renner and Didier Brunner Having made it to a preview screening of this foreign animated film in the theaters, I can easily say that the audience loved it. Adults and children alike were cracking up at the well timed and well drawn jokes throughout the course of this film. As a bear and mouse attempt to be friends in a segregated world where … Read More 2014 Oscars Challenge: [31] Ernest And Celestine – One Nomination

2014 Oscars Challenge: [30] Her – Five Nominations

Megan Ellison, Spike Jonze and Vincent Landay “Her” was my favorite film of 2014. Not only is Joaquin Phoenix perfectly cast in the film, but the writing and production on screen is absolutely phenomenal. Capturing a future not too far off where a new operating system is released that has artificial intelligence and has its own personality, Phoenix’s introvert character, Theodore Twombly, begins a … Read More 2014 Oscars Challenge: [30] Her – Five Nominations

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2014 Oscars Challenge: [29] The Act Of Killing – One Nomination

Joshua Oppenheimer and Signe Byrge Sørensen A favorite right of the gate this year for Best Documentary Feature, “The Act Of Killing” landed as many critics’ picks for Best Documentary across the nation. Now, the only remaining favorite since “Blackfish” and “Stories We Tell”, the documentary category is so disheveled this year that at the moment, dark horse pick “20 Feet From Stardom” is … Read More 2014 Oscars Challenge: [29] The Act Of Killing – One Nomination

2014 Oscars Challenge: [28] Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom – One Nomination

“Ordinary Love” – Music by Paul Hewson, Dave Evans, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen; Lyric by Paul Hewson With the real life passing of Nelson Mandela this year, there was no better time for the release of the period piece recollecting a better part of his life, “Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom”. Now, with U2 getting nominated for the song that plays during the end … Read More 2014 Oscars Challenge: [28] Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom – One Nomination

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2014 Oscars Challenge: [27] Lone Survivor – Two Nominations

Editing: Wylie Stateman Mixing: Andy Koyama, Beau Borders and David Brownlow Sound design for any war related film is hard to deny, but for “Lone Survivor”, it’s impossible. The nominations for Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing normally seem arbitrary to me, like “Captains Phillips” and “All Is Lost”. Yes, I understand that “All Is Lost” leans on its sound design over dialogue, … Read More 2014 Oscars Challenge: [27] Lone Survivor – Two Nominations

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2014 Oscars Challenge: [26] The Great Gatsby – Two Nominations

Catherine Martin The costumes in “The Great Gatsby”, let alone any Baz Luhrmann film, are an integral part of the experience. Especially in “Gatsby”, the costumes jump off the pages of a F. Scott Fitzgerald’s masterpiece novel, and Luhrmann along with costume designer Catherine Martin, capture this perfectly. Whether it be the suave way that they dress their Gatsby, Leonardo DiCaprio, or the amazing … Read More 2014 Oscars Challenge: [26] The Great Gatsby – Two Nominations

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2014 Oscars Challenge: [25] Blue Jasmine – Three Nominations

Cate Blanchett Nominated Role: As Jasmine, Cate Blanchett portrays a formerly wealthy woman who moves in with her sister after the break-up of her marriage. The odds-on favorite to win, Cate Blanchett has won absolutely every award in her path to get here. Woody Allen obviously provides a fantastic screenplay but with Blanchett and her ability to bring Jasmine to life, this film would … Read More 2014 Oscars Challenge: [25] Blue Jasmine – Three Nominations

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2014 Oscars Challenge: [24] Prisoners – One Nomination

Roger A. Deakins The Oscars wouldn’t be the Oscars without a Best Cinematography nomination for Roger Deakins. “Prisoners”, as you may notice, was nominated for absolutely nothing else, yet someone the enigma that is Deakins proves brighter than even the films that he steps behind the camera for. Nominated an astounding eleven times now, Deakins has notoriously never won despite his exquisite work on … Read More 2014 Oscars Challenge: [24] Prisoners – One Nomination

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2014 Oscars Challenge: [23] The Invisible Woman – One Nomination

Michael O’Connor To be completely honest, I was surprised to see “The Invisible Woman” get any nominations. Not because it isn’t good, because it really is, but because of the competition this year. An unheard of film directed by and starring Ralph Fiennes sees Charles Dickens and the story behind he and his much younger mistress, played by one of my favorites, Felicity Jones. … Read More 2014 Oscars Challenge: [23] The Invisible Woman – One Nomination

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2014 Oscars Challenge: [22] The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug – Three Nominations

Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton and Eric Reynolds Last year, “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” only received two nominations, one of which was for Best Visual Effects to which it lost to “Life Of Pi”, which also took home Best Directing for Ang Lee. This year, “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” garners three nominations, losing the Best Makeup nomination from last year … Read More 2014 Oscars Challenge: [22] The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug – Three Nominations

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2014 Oscars Challenge: [21] Dallas Buyers Club – Six Nominations

Robbie Brenner and Rachel Winter With likely two acting awards coming from the film, “Dallas Buyers Club” is a forced to be reckoned with. Even without a Best Directing nomination, the film likely lands into the top 5 with chances of the winning the Oscar for Best Picture. And even though it is entirely unlikely that it will win, this film will not go … Read More 2014 Oscars Challenge: [21] Dallas Buyers Club – Six Nominations

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2014 Oscars Challenge: [20] American Hustle – Ten Nominations

Charles Roven, Richard Suckle, Megan Ellison, and Jonathan Gordon There are three big contenders in the Best Picture category this year: “Gravity”, “12 Years A Slave”, and “American Hustle”. Now, “Gravity” and “12 Years A Slave” are the odds-on favorites to win, both vying for the Best Directing category and leaving David O. Russell out of the mix, but the steam that is building … Read More 2014 Oscars Challenge: [20] American Hustle – Ten Nominations

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2014 Oscars Challenge: [19] The Hunt – One Nomination

Denmark What a passionate year for the Best Foreign Language Feature category. Already with two strong frontrunners including “The Broken Circle Breakdown” and now “The Hunt”, it will be hard to place a sure fire winner before the actual awards. “The Hunt” is Thomas Vinterberg’s latest film, which sees a Kindergarten teacher played by Mads Mikkelsen accused of sexual misconduct by his best friend’s … Read More 2014 Oscars Challenge: [19] The Hunt – One Nomination

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2014 Oscars Challenge: [18] 20 Feet From Stardom – One Nomination

Morgan Neville, Gil Friesen and Caitrin Rogers The entire Best Documentary Feature category was surprising to me on the morning of the nominations. Not only were “Blackfish” and “Stories We Tell” missing from the nominations, but “20 Feet From Stardom”, a film that I had all but written off had made the cut. Following the story of some of the most prestigious back up … Read More 2014 Oscars Challenge: [18] 20 Feet From Stardom – One Nomination

2014 Oscars Challenge: [17] Gravity – Ten Nominations

Alfonso Cuarón & David Heyman “Gravity” surprised everyone this year, bringing a female driven, original screenplay, big budget blockbuster to the masses. Warner Brothers probably couldn’t be more pleased and could mark a back to back year for the studio with “Argo” winning last year. “Gravity” lands an amazing ten nominations, with a high chance of winning most of them including Best Visual Effects, … Read More 2014 Oscars Challenge: [17] Gravity – Ten Nominations

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2014 Oscars Challenge: [16] Captain Phillips – Six Nominations

Scott Rudin, Dana Brunetti and Michael De Luca What a competitive year. One of the biggest upsets when nominations were announced was the missing nomination for Tom Hanks as Captain Phillips. Almost anyone, including myself, would agree. His leadership role in the film topped only by his emotional breakdown at the end of the film leaves the audience in a state not that much … Read More 2014 Oscars Challenge: [16] Captain Phillips – Six Nominations

2014 Oscars Challenge: [15] Despicable Me 2 – Two Nominations

Chris Renaud, Pierre Coffin and Chris Meledandri The first “Despicable Me” was not nominated for an Academy Award, but this sequel from Universal Pictures has not only captured the box office but the Oscar voters as well. Expanding off the original film, former super villain Gru (voiced by Steve Carrell) turned foster father of three is taken captive by the Anti-Villain League to consult … Read More 2014 Oscars Challenge: [15] Despicable Me 2 – Two Nominations

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2014 Oscars Challenge: Oscar Nominated Shorts – Live Action

“Helium” – Anders Walter and Kim Magnusson Of all the live action shorts this year, “Helium” is the most sentimental, or in other words, the one that is the most likely to make you cry. As a hospital janitor makes a connection with a young dying boy, he re-imagines heaven for the boy as he questions life after death. Telling stories of a land … Read More 2014 Oscars Challenge: Oscar Nominated Shorts – Live Action

2014 Oscars Challenge: Oscar Nominated Shorts – Animation

“Get A Horse!” – Lauren MacMullan and Dorothy McKim Disney usually takes home the Best Animated Short award, and with “Get A Horse!” an animated short that not only brings back the beloved Mickey Mouse with all classic voice work used from previous recordings, chances are it will be taking home yet another Oscar. Seeing Mickey battle longtime rival Peg-Leg Pete over Minnie, what starts … Read More 2014 Oscars Challenge: Oscar Nominated Shorts – Animation

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2014 Oscars Challenge: [14] The Croods – One Nomination

Chris Sanders, Kirk DeMicco and Kristine Belson What more could you ask for from an animated children’s film? “The Croods” relies on an against the norm leading lady in Eep (voiced by the talented Emma Stone), a young cave woman with broad shoulders, wild hair, and a boisterous personality, playing against the stick figure women portrayed in Disney films. The animation and voice acting … Read More 2014 Oscars Challenge: [14] The Croods – One Nomination

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2014 Oscars Challenge: [13] Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa – One Nomination

Stephen Prouty When the Oscar nominations were announced just a few weeks ago, I think that absolutely everyone involved was surprised to see “Jackass Presents Bad Grandpa” as one of the final three to be nominated for Best Makeup and Hairstyling. Not because the film and its makeup does not deserve it, but because Jackass has never been a brand name associated with the … Read More 2014 Oscars Challenge: [13] Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa – One Nomination

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2014 Oscars Challenge: [12] Dirty Wars – One Nomination

Richard Rowley and Jeremy Scahill Although most categories are up for grabs, Best Documentary Feature is one of those categories that is almost unpredictable this year with the way things turned out. With no fan favorites like “Blackfish” or “Stories We Tell”, it really is anyone’s came. So even “Dirty Wars” could pull off a win, even though I personally do not find that … Read More 2014 Oscars Challenge: [12] Dirty Wars – One Nomination

2014 Oscars Challenge: [11] Saving Mr. Banks – One Nomination

Thomas Newman Many would say that “Saving Mr. Banks” was robbed in many of the categories of the Academy Awards this year, including not making the list for Best Picture and for Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks not making the cut for their respected acting awards. However, the one place the film does show up is Best Original Score, with composer Thomas Newman at … Read More 2014 Oscars Challenge: [11] Saving Mr. Banks – One Nomination

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2014 Oscars Challenge: [10] The Broken Circle Breakdown – One Nomination

Belgium With a few more foreign films left to see, I can already tell that Belgium’s entry for Best Foreign Language Feature, “The Broken Circle Breakdown” will be my resounding favorite of the five. Following a man in a bluegrass band who meets a gorgeous tattooed blonde and begins a relationship with her, the film is told in a fragmented story structure with creates … Read More 2014 Oscars Challenge: [10] The Broken Circle Breakdown – One Nomination

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2014 Oscars Challenge: [9] August: Osage County – Two Nominations

Meryl Streep Nominated Role: Meryl Streep portrays Violet Weston, an Oklahoma matriarch whose three grown daughters return home for their father’s funeral. Believe it or not, but this is Meryl Streep’s eighteenth Academy Award nomination, holding the record for most nominations in the history of the Oscars, starting with “The Deer Hunter” (1979) all the way to “The Iron Lady” (2011) to which she … Read More 2014 Oscars Challenge: [9] August: Osage County – Two Nominations

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2014 Oscars Challenge: [8] The Great Beauty – One Nomination

Italy Having won the Golden Globe award for Best Foreign Language Feature, “The Great Beauty” or “La Grande Bellezza” is the only foreign film anyone is talking about. Whether it proves to be the best has yet to be seen, but marking off the first foreign film I have seen out of the bunch, it does set the bar high, with amazing visuals and … Read More 2014 Oscars Challenge: [8] The Great Beauty – One Nomination

2014 Oscars Challenge: [7] Before Midnight – One Nomination

Screenplay by Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, and Ethan Hawke No other film in the Best Adapted Screenplay category works harder than “Before Midnight”. Now, do not mistake my words, as I do not feel like it will be taking home the big honor, but in terms of delivering in the sense of dialogue and descriptions, no other screenplay nominated captures more character development with … Read More 2014 Oscars Challenge: [7] Before Midnight – One Nomination

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2014 Oscars Challenge: [6] Star Trek Into Darkness – One Nomination

Roger Guyett, Patrick Tubach, Ben Grossmann and Burt Dalton Most Oscar followers will agree that there is almost no beating “Gravity” in the Best Visual Effects category this year. The stage is set much like last year, where “Life Of Pi” was the definite winner of the bunch longer before the awards were announced. Plus you had “The Avengers” whose place is now taken … Read More 2014 Oscars Challenge: [6] Star Trek Into Darkness – One Nomination

2014 Oscars Challenge: [5] Philomena – Four Nominations

Gabrielle Tana, Steve Coogan and Tracey Seaward “Philomena” is the true story of one Philomena Lee, an elderly woman who, for fifty years, kept a secret about having a son that was taken from her by nuns and adopted off to America for money. Now, paired up with a journalist, they follow the clues that could lead Philomena into find her long lost son. … Read More 2014 Oscars Challenge: [5] Philomena – Four Nominations

2014 Oscars Challenge: [4] The Book Thief – One Nomination

John Williams When it comes to the Academy Awards, the way you can spot a true artist is that no matter what film it is that they worked on that year, that particular gets nominated, even if it is bringing the film that single nomination. The cinematography Roger Deakins is one of those artists, this year bringing “Prisoners” its one and only nomination. Deakins … Read More 2014 Oscars Challenge: [4] The Book Thief – One Nomination

2014 Oscars Challenge: Short Film #1: Get A Horse!

Lauren MacMullan and Dorothy McKim Disney usually takes home the Best Animated Short award, and with “Get A Horse!” an animated short that not only brings back the beloved Mickey Mouse with all classic voice work used from previous recordings, chances are it will be taking home yet another Oscar. Seeing Mickey battle longtime rival Peg-Leg Pete over Minnie, what starts off as a … Read More 2014 Oscars Challenge: Short Film #1: Get A Horse!

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2014 Oscars Challenge: [3] Cutie And The Boxer – One Nomination

Zachary Heinzerling and Lydia Dean Pilcher “Cutie And The Boxer” is the story of the artistic couple, Noriko and Ushio Shinohara, in their Manhattan flat. Having moved from Japan to the United States, Ushio found slight stardom from his transition into the New York art scene. His sculptures made from recycled cardboard and his paintings made from his boxing with a canvas made him … Read More 2014 Oscars Challenge: [3] Cutie And The Boxer – One Nomination

2014 Oscars Challenge: [2] Frozen – Two Nominations

Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee and Peter Del Vecho Anyone looking for a safe pick for Best Animated Feature should look no further. Touting the Disney brand, “Frozen” is sure to be a favorite upon Oscar predictors, looking at just the Disney track record alone. With a return to form for the animation studio, complete with two Disney princess additions and several memorable musical numbers, … Read More 2014 Oscars Challenge: [2] Frozen – Two Nominations

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2014 Oscars Challenge: [1] The Lone Ranger – Two Nominations

Joel Harlow and Gloria Pasqua-Casny For being one of the most underrated films of 2013, “The Lone Ranger” pulled in two nominations from the Academy and proved that it wasn’t so universally panned after all. Now, of the two nominations, the film’s chances rest mostly in the Best Makeup and Hairstyling category. Not only are there only two other competitors in that category (“Jackass … Read More 2014 Oscars Challenge: [1] The Lone Ranger – Two Nominations