#PopCulture_Junkie: Academy Award Watching is the Reason for the Season

I know Thanksgiving and Christmas are about to be here and with the fun of the holiday season comes the stress. In addition to winter festivities, this is also the glorious time between October and December where films vie for the label “Oscar nominated.”

Fortunately, I have a fun and free idea to help relieve holiday anxiety: Academy Award nomination watch.
This period between a film’s release and the day the nominations are announced is a great time to forecast the film’s future in Oscar history.

Now, you can do this by yourself, try to beat the online experts’ predictions, or you can play with your family and friends. I personally, try to best last year’s record and my family plays for bragging rights.

Choices should not be made at random. There are rules; five, in fact, that can help you quickly pick out a couple of names. In addition, there are two bonus rules that will help, but they require a little time and effort. Without further ado…

Step One: Producers
As much as Hollywood and the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences would like everyone to believe that the Oscars is about filmmaking and talent, politics is a huge part of the process. Certain producers tend to play the political game better than most.

The main people to watch for are Harvey and Bob Weinstein. Look for the film they are pushing the hardest. This year it’s “Big Eyes” and it looks like it will pick up a number of nominations.

Step Two: Genre
The majority of the movies nominated for Oscars are dramas. End of discussion.

It’s uncommon for comedies, science fiction, fantasy, horror, or super-hero films to garner Oscar nominations. Recent exceptions to this rule are “Bridesmaids,” “Gravity,” and “The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King.” Heath Ledger, who won for “The Dark Knight,” is the only actor to win for a super-hero film.

Step Three: Consistence
Generally, people who receive a nomination once will probably obtain another nomination in their lifetime. Some people tend to earn nominations more than others do.

Meryl Streep is the closest thing we have to a national treasure and she has 18 nominations (and three wins) under her belt.

Others who fall in this category are Steven Spielberg (15 nominations and four wins), George Clooney (8 nominations and two wins), and Jack Nicholson (12 nominations and three wins).

Step Four: Eliminate Leo and Meryl
Leonardo DiCaprio will never win. Period! If Leo did not win for “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape,” I doubt he will ever take home a golden statuette.

Now, I did say Meryl will probably be nominated (for “Into the Woods”), but she has only won 16.67 percent of the times she was nominated.

Put these two names in the nomination stack, but do not give them the win.

Bonus Step One: GoldDerby.com
GoldDerby.com is the best place to look at nomination and winning odds. This website compiles experts’, editors’, and users’ opinions and puts them together in a very readable format.

Films screened at festivals or those with a limited release window have a chance at nominations, but not everyone has access or the money to see them. GoldDerby.com helps readers keep track of these films.

Bonus Step Two: Commit
The day before nominations come out is not the time to start putting together your ballot. Awards season is a season for a reason. Make sure to keep track of the Golden Globes, Screen Actors’ Guild Awards, Critics’ Choice awards, and the Director’s Guild Awards. I cannot stress to you just how important these award shows are. In fact, when it comes to the DGAs, there have only been seven times in its history that the Oscar for Best Director has not gone to the DGA’s Best Director recipient.

Meanwhile, I will give you five “for sure” nominations and five “wild card” nominations that I am marking on my own ballot.

For sure nominations:
One: Best Picture: “Boyhood”
Two: Best Actor: Michael Keaton, “Birdman”
Three: Best Actress: Julianne Moore, “Still Alice”
Four: Best Supporting Actress: Patricia Arquette, “Boyhood”
Five: Best Adapted Screenplay: “Gone Girl”

Wild card nominations: One: Best Supporting Actress: Carrie Coon, “Gone Girl”
Two: Best Actress: Reese Witherspoon, “Wild”
Three: Best Actor: Benedict Cumberbatch, “Imitation Game”
Four: Best Director: Angelina Jolie, “Unbroken”
Five: Best Animated Feature: “The Lego Movie”

Now, I hope you take my advice and have fun this season. November and December do not always have to be stressful because of holiday plans. Just grab your family and friends, and have a ballot casting party. It is fun and the winner gets bragging rights for a whole year.