Oscar Analysis: 'Gravity' and 'Hustle' tie, Oprah snubbed, and 'Wolf' un-shamed among Academy shocks and sure-things

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Best Original Screenplay

Who’s in:

American Hustle, Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell
Blue Jasmine, Woody Allen
Dallas Buyers Club, Craig Borten and Melisa Wallack
Her, Spike Jonze
Nebraska, Bob Nelson

This is anybody’s race to win. I think Jonze will be a front-runner for his imaginative and philosophical romantic sci-fi — a nice combination of ingredients, that is hard to pull off. If the larger Academy is looking for a place to reward Her, this could be the place — while the rivals have strong shots in other prominent categories.

Who’s out: Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, Inside Llewyn Davis

The brothers have a strong history at the Academy, but this film about the Greenwich Village folk-music scene in the early 1960s simply didn’t strike the right note (sorry) with voters.

Prize Fighter Score: Four out of five.

I had Inside Llewyn Davis on the final list. The complaint I kept hearing was that it was too bleak, the main character too unpleasant to care about. I should have listened, but disagreed on both counts. It seemed hilarious to me, and I thought Davis was self-destructively sympathetic. But predictions are about accuracy, not agenda.

My wild-card choice was Nicole Holofcener’s Enough Said, which also didn’t make it.  How did I overlook Dallas Buyers Club? D’oh. That’s a forehead-slapper. It seemed like more of a performance movie, but then again … the words the actors said and the storylines they played out were all on the page. The writer’s branch wisely reminds us of that with this bid.

Next Page: The Best Adapted Screenplay category …

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