Not So Random Power Rankings: The Oscars

Don’t run away. This isn’t another in a long line of Oscars prediction columns where we pretend we know the bizarre criteria in which voters select winners (I like to think it somehow involves the infallible logic, belied by the weights & pulley system, found in Monty Python). No, this post is much worse than that: power rankings of the best films and performances, organized by category.

Thanks to a few Hollywood screeners, a lot of gift cards and unemploymentmy independent nature, I’ve never watched more Oscar nominated films than this year (and I’ll pretend that matters). In this age of scrutiny, controversy and Twitter, every movie has been hated on, drug through the mud or found wanting (some more deservedly than others). In fact, each movie’s director, producers, stars, and DP’s all likely feel (DP’d) a lot like Rufus Sewell’s character at the end of (best movie of all-time contender) A KNIGHT’S TALE right now:

But for a few minutes, can we check our attitudes at the door, pump the brakes on our eternal desire to make callous judgments without knowing what the fuck we’re talking about, and just talk about the movies themselves? Can we be a mindless drone in THE LEGO MOVIE (here’s one prediction: Best Animated Film winner, 2015) and accept that everything is indeed, awesome, and relish in the fact that this was one of the best years for films in recent memory (says someone every year), and dig that people get so heated up about movies? Sit back, pop open the Andre, and I promise, I won’t say awesome again for the entirety of this post.



5. Julia Roberts, AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY: I almost feel bad for Julia (and her painfully obvious crowns in that awesome photo), and every other incredible actor (Meryl Streep, Chris Cooper, Ewan MacGregor, Benedict Cumberbatch, Sam Shepard, Margo Martindale, Abigail Breslin and whatever Juliette Lewis is) that somehow got roped into the hate-filled, manipulative, WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF? wannabe that is AUGUST: somewhere in Oklahoma. But then I remember how unfortunate a movie-going experience the film was, and I can’t help but be mad at them. Julia Roberts was probably the best of the bunch in a role that potentially foreshadows the next act of her career in movies (should she choose to accept it) as a real, approachable, tortured (but no less pretty) woman, finding herself back where she started (after the OCEANS movies, preggers and EAT PRAY YUCK), as the every-woman.

Happy Go Lucky movie image Sally Hawkins

4. Sally Hawkins, BLUE JASMINE: The next four are fairly interchangeable (because they’re all terrific), but I’ll snub Sally Hawkins just like Cate Blanchett’s Jasmine continually snubs Hawkins’ Ginger. BLUE JASMINE is an unholy cocktail of a bunch of awful people (kinda like AUGUST and nigh every other movie that came out this year), and while Ginger screws up just as often as any of them, and you’re constantly wondering why she puts up with the mess that is Jasmine, overbearing bf Chili (Bobby Canavale, future Oscar winner in 2018) and how she keeps kids, boyfriends and a working class job together, but you never doubt how real this character is. It could’ve been a caricature, but instead, she’s heartbreaking. When Louis C.K. even treats you like shit, it’s time for a good cry.


3. June Squibb, NEBRASKA: I love June Squibb to death in Alexander Payne’s underrated NEBRASKA. Squibb is hilarious as the cranky, tough-as-hell firecracker of an 80 year old housewife, and the idea that the scene where she flashes her knickers at former would-be flames at the cemetery could be HER Oscar clip is proof that the world rules in some respect. But, the thing is, any 84 year old woman supplied with her lines would get buzz because of how startling and refreshing an image it is to see on screen. But June’s charisma and scene stealing presence is all her own.


2. Lupita Nyong’o, 12 YEARS A SLAVE: And now I regret doing rankings entirely, because things like this will happen, where I automatically become an asshole. Probably one of the cooler stories that is impossible to get tired of is Lupita Nyong’o’s casting and how she got discovered for Patsey. She was absolutely fearless and mined new depths of sorrow, and like the movie as a whole, makes you want to kill yourself. For art.

1. Jennifer Lawrence, AMERICAN HUSTLE: You either loved or hated or didn’t get AMERICAN HUSTLE, but anyone who saw it HAD to be in awe of whatever the fuck J-Law was doing on screen. In my textual fellatio/review for PopInsomniacs, this is what I said about her performance as the lunatic Rosalyn:

“Jennifer Lawrence breaks acting. She summons new depths of sheer insanity…she’s manipulative, sexy, unpredictable, dangerously naive and stupid. I found myself giggling with glee at each of her scenes, or the opposite: just speechless and giddy with her surely Oscar nominated performance. The only thing scarier than her character is how talented this woman is, and she’s still just 23 years old. Watch her song-and-dance routine to Paul McCartney’s “Live and Let Die” and try to keep your head from exploding.”

Without question, watching her performance was the most fun I had a movie theater in 2013, and sometimes, I like enjoying myself at the movies.

NEXT: Best Supporting Actor, ranked in order of attractiveness.

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