Anticipating Oscar Picks And Pans

Sandra Bullock. Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP

Sandra Bullock. Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP

I was a juror last October for Hawaii International Film Festival’s European entries: three great films and eight pieces of semi-dreck; one flick of gay men getting it on in the woods.

But the best one – The Broken Circle Breakdown, from Belgium – makes me ask why we don’t see such foreign winners in our Hawaii theaters.

There are dozens of good films by American and foreign directors that play in major U.S. cities but never come out here.

What happened to Blue Caprice (USA) and Ida (Poland)? Rave international reviews. We did see the controversial Blue Is The Warmest Color from France.

Now to pick Oscar winners. The Hurt Locker (2008) was the only Academy Awards best picture I’ve ever picked in this column in 25 years! How Oscar voters could have passed on Beasts of the Southern Wild and actress Quvenzhané Wallis (my picks) last year stuns me.

For 2013, we got a silly Oz, Jurassic Park back from 1993, but in 3-D (we’ll get Jurassic IV next year) Kick-Ass 2, Hangover III, Scary Movie 5, Fast & Furious 6 and Thor.

Critic Rex Reed dismissed The Great Gatsby as “asinine, exaggerated and boring. In the end, about as romantic as a pet rock.” Tom Cruise’s Oblivion left me asking “Huh? What? Who?” All Is Lost was just Life of Pi without speech.

One studio chief says of the 2013 season: “You had too many $100 million-plus movies, not to mention $200 million-plus movies, jammed on top of each other. There isn’t enough play time, and the result has been more movies that wipe out.”

Here’s what I rated best. I refuse to rate actors by gender and don’t recognize the categories of Supporting Actor/Actress. You either are or are not.

Best U.S. Movie: Nebraska. Director (The Descendants) Alexander Payne deserves all the marbles for this one.

Best Ensemble Casting: American Hustle. Also the best script.

Best Actors: Matthew McConaughey for Mud and the Dallas Buyers Club. Sandra Bullock for Gravity. Christian Bale in American Hustle, and Adèle Exarchopou in Blue Is The Warmest Color.

Best Foreign Movie: The Broken Circle Breakdown, with its music, well-knit family story and tragedy. Philomena: Superb performances by Judi Dench and Steve Coogan.

Movie I Loved, Critics Hated: The Lone Ranger.

Best Director: Paul Greengrass for Captain Phillips.

Best Cinematographer: Sean Babbit for 12 Years A Slave.

Best Documentary: An Act of Killing. Indonesian psychopath Anwar Congo shamelessly re-enacts his part in the execution of 2 million people in the 1965-’66 massacres by government thugs.

Bad Big Budget Movies: Gatsby at the top of the list. The Butler, contrived and predictable.