Let’s Predict the Oscars

Hey guys, only 24 more hours until we get to judge gorgeous celebrities on their questionable red carpet fashion choices at the 87th Academy Awards! I don’t know about you, but I love the whole Oscars shebang with my whole heart. Yes, it’s political and often predictable and it’s super annoying how white and male the nominees are this year, but it’s also the one time that everyone seems to care about film and pop culture as much as I do. It’s my Super Bowl. I’m also really great at predicting the winners. I don’t want to brag, but the only one I missed in last year’s ballot was Best Documentary Short.

So, to help you out, I’ve taken the liberty of listing out my predictions of who’s coming away with the gold tomorrow, and I’ve enlisted a few fellow Wannabes to give their opinions as well. Only trust them if they agree with me. You’re welcome. – Chelsey

Best Picture

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Maricela: Blargh. I have no idea. I’m so done with the world if it’s American Sniper because it was good but it was no J. Edgar. (J. EDGAR WAS REALLY GOOD, GUYS!) I’m gonna just put it out there into the universe and say Selma because yeah, it really is that good. But I wouldn’t be surprised if it was Boyhood because “film history” and what not.

Amanda: Birdman. In a sea of biopics, all of which I absolutely loved and enjoyed, this film was daring, different and delightful. It was inspiring while being despondent, naughty while sweet … it just felt like a perfect storm of human emotion. And the music! And the camera work! Birdman was the breath of original filmmaking that I was dying for during this awards season.

Kate: I think Birdman has it. Although I wouldn’t be surprised if Boyhood won. I’d be thrilled for either to win.

Chelsey: Boyhood was the most critically revered film of 2014 until Selma came along at the very end. However, the Academy voters this year have proven to be kinda racist so slim chance Selma is taking this one. Based on its technical achievement alone, Boyhood is winning.

Best Director

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Maricela: Oh Ava DuVernay for sure…oh wait, am I living in a better, alternate universe? Oh okay, back to this one, I see this going to Richard Linklater. What he accomplished is unprecedented and I think will have a very profound effect on filmmaking/visual storytelling for years to come. That being said, Alejandro González Iñárritu kicked ASS in Birdman, and I would want him to win even if we didn’t have similar names. But so did Wes Anderson…ah! This is a toughie, but I still think it goes to Linklater.

Amanda: Alejandro González Iñárritu. See above.

Kate: Alejandro González Iñárritu will most likely take and Birdman was a work of art. But it’s well deserved by Richard Linklater for taking on a project like Boyhood.

Chelsey: Birdman, while innovative, is an extremely divisive film. Those who loved it LOVED it, while there are some very vocal haters out there. (Me, I’m indifferent.) Not too many haters of Boyhood, and even those who say it doesn’t have the strongest story still laud Richard Linklater for his incredible 12-year achievement. He’s winning this.

Best Actor

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Maricela: Michael Keaton. I’ll be shocked if he doesn’t win. He’s pretty brilliant in Birdman, and while I haven’t seen The Theory of Everything yet, I have a feeling Redmayne won’t win for the main fact that he’s still “young” and Keaton “deserves” it. Hollywood is weird.

Amanda: Indifferent. Eddie is my top crush. Michael blew my mind. Either way I come out a winner.

Kate: I can only hope my beloved Eddie wins, but I have a constant fear that Keaton might win. Not that it is undeserved by Keaton, but that Eddie’s performance was phenomenal and I wish nothing but the best for him.

Chelsey: No way Eddie Redmayne doesn’t win this. He won the BAFTA, Golden Globe, and the SAG. And in the 20-year history of the SAG Awards, 16 of the Best Actors also won the Oscar, including the last eight in a row. (Even though I’m curious to see if any of the voters have seen Jupiter Ascending yet. Might sway their minds the other way…)

Best Actress

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Maricela: Julianne Moore. Exact same reasons for winning as Keaton. I’ll also be shocked if she doesn’t win. I know the Academy loves their ingenues (and Meryl Streep), but Julianne Moore “deserves” it this year. And no, I still haven’t seen Still Alice.

Kate: Is this even a competition anymore? Just give it to Julianne Moore already.

Chelsey: Yep. Julianne Moore. (Although in my heart of hearts I really want Marion Cotillard to have this. Everyone go see Two Days One Night right now and bask in her glory.)

Best Supporting Actor

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Maricela: JK Simmons. Let’s be real, has anyone else who awards in this category awarded anyone BUT JK Simmons for Whiplash? No, I don’t think so.

Kate: JK Simmons will hands down get it and it is so well deserved.

Chelsey: Guys, I really think Edward Norton has a chance. JK. JK Simmons winning is more assured than even a Neil Patrick Harris song-and-dance number.

Best Supporting Actress

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Maricela: Patricia Arquette. Unless they give the ingenue award to Felicity Jones for The Theory of Everything. C’mon, Academy, don’t you want CSI: Cyber to announce that the show stars Oscar winner Patricia Arquette? For that alone, I think she’s 80/20 a lock for the award.

Amanda: Emma Stone. Is this based on undying devotion? Partially. But also, her delivery of the big “relevance” speech was so spot on and absolutely perfect. She is incredibly talented and multifaceted and she deserves this credit. It was a breakout/breakAWAY role for her.

Kate: Patricia Arquette. Again, who else is even in the running at this point?

Chelsey: Patricia “I thought there’d be more” Arquette.

Best Original Screenplay

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Maricela: The Grand Budapest Hotel! I’m far from the biggest Wes Anderson fanatic, but I adore The Grand Budapest Hotel. I think it’s funny, sad, and powerful in all the right ways. It hits me right in the feels, and I hope it hits the Academy in the same way.

Amanda: The Grand Budapest Hotel! OF COURSE! Have you heard the dialogue in that thing? It is so brilliant.

KateBirdman, Boyhood or The Grand Budapest hotel. I don’t even know which one I would vote for if I could.

Chelsey: I see a slim chance Birdman takes this, but I think The Academy wants to give Wes Anderson his due in some way. He’ll take this one for The Grand Budapest Hotel. 

Best Adapted Screenplay

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Maricela: It’s going to be American Sniper, isn’t it? I have a feeling Paul Thomas Anderson did 10 times the work for Inherent Vice than Jason Hall for American Sniper but whatever the Academy doesn’t care about psychedelic movies.

Kate: It will probably be American Sniper, but I’d be thrilled if Whiplash won.

Chelsey: American Sniper would be predictable, but The Imitation Game would be even more predictable. I’m going with that one.

Best Animated Feature

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Maricela: The Lego Movie…just kidding! My money’s on How to Train Your Dragon 2 because the Academy has been rather jingoistic in terms of their reluctance to grant this award to foreign films ever since Miyazaki’s Spirited Away won in 2002. As such, The Song of the Sea (I LOVED The Secret of the Kells) or The Tale of Princess Kaguya (the trailer alone had me mesmerized) should probably win.

Chelsey: The Lego Movie 😦 😦 😦 Idk. Probs Big Hero 6, because it’s the Disney choice.

Amanda: Stop it. The Lego Movie. I hate The Academy.

Other Categories

Best Documentary Feature: It’s a close call between Citizenfour and Finding Vivian Maier. – Chelsey

Best Visual Effects is a really strong category this year with Interstellar and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes as my personal top favorites. – Maricela

Best Cinematography: I mean, I inherently knew that Birdman wasn’t shot all in one take, but it had me second guessing the whole time. Super impressive camerawork and if it doesn’t win then I don’t know anything anymore. – Chelsey

Original Music Score: IF HANS ZIMMER DOESN’T WIN FOR HIS MONUMENTAL AND LOUD SCORE FOR INTERSTELLAR I’M GOING TO BLAST IT FROM MY SPEAKERS THROUGHOUT THE REST OF THE OSCARS. No, I won’t, but I’ll be pissed. – Maricela

The Grand Budapest Hotel better win for Best Costume Design and Best Production Design. Because, duh. – Chelsey

Best Original Song: Duh, “Glory.” Although, I’ll laugh my ass off if it loses because the Academy just doesn’t give two shits about anyone. – Maricela

Best Foreign Language Film: I’m still so baffled by the exclusion of Two Days One Night, but Ida was also an incredible film and will definitely take the top prize.  – Chelsey

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Let’s Predict the Oscars

The Wannabes Best Of 2014 – Podcasts

2014 has been an interesting year for pop culture. It was the year podcasts finally became mainstream, Adam Scott made a podcast dissecting every song on the new U2 album, and diversity became the watchword. But like every other person does at this time of year, we felt the urge to distill the past year into just a few favorite highlights. Each day leading up to the new year, The Wannabes will be presenting their favorite pieces of pop culture from 2014. Our final installment: Podcasts

Megan: I know Nerdist isn’t new, but there is no podcast as consistently hilarious and informative as this one. Chris Hardwick, Jonah Ray, and Matt Mira provide the right combination of banter and actual interviewing to entice anybody even somewhat interested in comedy or pop culture. Standout episodes: “Paul Reubens,” “Jim Rash Returns,” “Anthony Bourdain,” and “Hostful #84.”

 

Kate: I can’t decide which I like more about Serial, the podcast itself or how much of a phenomenon it became. Either way, both have been fascinating and I can’t wait to see what happens.

 

Chelsey: I also loved Serial because I thought Sarah did a great job telling the story of this confounding true-crime case and I was happy to see podcasts finally enter the cultural zeitgeist. But my favorite thing my earbuds listened to this year was the “Winter’s Tale” episode of How Did This Get Made? Having seen the best so-bad-it’s-good movie of the year myself, the dissection of it by Paul and Jason had me in stitches. And guest host Andy Daly wasn’t afraid to ask the hard questions. “Is this another example of the magic of this universe, or just stupid, stupid filmmaking?” This question could be applied to all the movies discussed in this podcast.

 

Andrew: My love of The Thrilling Adventure Hour is well documented. But I really want some recognition for Star Wars Minute. They put an episode out every day (for six months at a time), and while those guys have got to get tired of discussing the Star Wars movies one minute at a time, they are seriously dedicated to it.

 

Give us your podcast recommendations in the comments!

The Wannabes Best Of 2014:
Movies
TV
Books
Music
Games
Stage

The Wannabes Best Of 2014 – Podcasts

The Wannabes Best Of 2014 – Stage

2014 has been an interesting year for pop culture. It was the year Neil Patrick Harris showed us his angry inch, Ron Weasley tried and failed to make Broadway his new home, Alan Cumming proved he never ages, and diversity became the watchword. But like every other person does at this time of year, we felt the urge to distill the past year into just a few favorite highlights. Each day leading up to the new year, The Wannabes will be presenting their favorite pieces of pop culture from 2014. Today: Stage

Chelsey: I know it’s cliche to name the Tony winner, but I absolutely adored A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder. It has all the ingredients I love – farce, British history, puns, creative murder scenes, catchy songs, and amazing performances (particularly by the ever-versatile Jefferson Mays). I hope it runs for a long time so everyone gets to see it. Honorable mention goes to Ewan McGregor in The Real Thing. That dude knows how to send chills up my spine. In the best possible way.

Megan: Okay, so I haven’t actually seen Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, but I’ve been listening to the soundtrack for months and actually looked up ticket prices to go to New York just to see this play. Carole King is a goddess among songwriters, and although she’s shied away from the spotlight for decades, her story is one that deserves to be told. I knew she was prolific, but it wasn’t until this album that I realized she penned “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.”

Maricela: This year I really liked Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill at the Little Shubert Theatre starring Audra McDonald. McDonald channels Billie Holiday a.k.a. Lady Day to an eerie degree that you have to actively remind yourself this is all a theater performance and not some sort of musical seance. While the production ostensibly occurs during one night towards the end of Holiday’s career, it covers her entire life and how each song represents various aspects of her inner self and her tumultuous life and career. Good for Holiday fans, McDonald fans, and anyone who can appreciate the magic of live theater.

Andrew: I don’t think I attended a single stage production this entire year. I suck. But I bet there’s some high school that did a really good job somewhere, so shoutout to them!

See any good shows this year? Give us recommendations in the comments!

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The Wannabes Best Of 2014 – Stage

The Wannabes Best Of 2014 – Games

2014 has been an interesting year for pop culture. Apparently some games were released this year. But like every other person does at this time of year, we felt the urge to distill the past year into just a few favorite highlights. Each day leading up to the new year, The Wannabes will be presenting their favorite pieces of pop culture from 2014. Today: Games.

Megan: I think I made it through 2014 without playing a single video game. But was there a new Just Dance? Google says yes. Just Dance 2014 is the best game of 2014.

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This outfit is so 2014.

Chelsey: Yes, I downloaded Kim Kardashian: Hollywood. And yes, I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would. KKH is the definition of a casual game – it’s addictive yet you can play around your schedule. It’s also pretty clever and hilariously tongue-in-cheek; KKH doesn’t take itself seriously, yet still provides an interesting glimpse into the rigors and banalities of celebrity life. I still play it occasionally. (Willow Pape though. THE WORST.)

This game also confirmed to me that most men are horrible.
This game also confirmed to me that most men are horrible.

Amanda: I am so into all the Lego video games. Typically, I don’t do well in video games – but since they’re for kids, I can succeed! I love seeing the Lego versions of my favorite movies, and playing as the Lego version of Hermione Granger is the ultimate kind of square.

Is it voiced by Will Arnett though?
Is it voiced by Will Arnett though?

Andrew: I’ve been playing a lot of Clash of Clans…does that count?

Totally counts.
Totally counts.

As you can tell, us Wannabes are hardcore gamers. Maybe you can leave us some recs in the comments.

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The Wannabes Best Of 2014 – Games

The Wannabes Best Of 2014 – Music

2014 has been an interesting year for pop culture. It was the year it became cool to like Taylor Swift again, U2 took content marketing to a whole new level, Beyonce gave ‘flawless’ a new definition at the VMAs, and diversity became the watchword. But like every other person does at this time of year, we felt the urge to distill the past year into just a few favorite highlights. Each day leading up to the new year, The Wannabes will be presenting their favorite pieces of pop culture from 2014. Today: Music

Amanda: The album I’ve listened to the most is definitely One Direction’s “Four.” After seeing One Direction live, and enjoying their clever one-a-day release system, getting the full album was no less climatic. Every track has its moments, but my favorites are “Fireproof,” “Girl Almighty,” “Fool’s Gold” and “Night Changes.” And of course: “Change Your Ticket.” To quote a rabid fan from “This Is Us” – “they say things that no one, no boys says to us.” I hear ya, girlfriend.

Honorable mentions to “Turn Down For What” and “Fancy” and “Selfie.” I love stupid dance anthems so much. I have been equally thrilled with each of these mindless tracks, blasting them in the car with the windows down.

Megan: I had to drive five hours by myself the weekend after Hozier dropped his self-titled album, and those thirteen songs were my entire soundtrack. The soulful R&B sound mixed with dark humor and beautiful lyricism has me sad when a song ends, but giddy upon hearing the first note of the next. His deep, all-knowing voice is captivating, and the album feels like it comes from an artist who’s developed his sound for decades, rather than from the 24-year-old Irishman.

Kate: I didn’t want to like Taylor Swift’s 1989. I fought pretty hard against listening to it. But I gave in and then became obsessed. I’m not a musician, I don’t know what’s amazing or really good music. I just know what I like, and I like listening to this album. Over and over and over again. Fav songs: “Bad Blood,” “This Love,” “Wildest Dreams”

Andrew: Is it bad that the only album I can think of is Taylor Swift’s 1989? But the Imagine Dragons single “I Bet My Life” is also rock solid.

Chelsey: My earworms are very particular, and it doesn’t take long for me to get sick of a song or album. That being said, I’m still jamming out to Walk the Moon’s “Talking is Hard.” Maybe I’m biased because I saw them live, which resulted in the sweatiest and most pumped up I’ve ever been leaving a concert. But you can’t help but dance uncontrollably when you hear their happy, catchy tunes, which has resulted in more than a few stares directed toward me in the subway late at night. I do not apologize.

Honorable mention goes to Weird Al’s “Word Crimes.” My inner pedant worships this song.

Madeleine: Ingrid Michaelson’s “Lights Out” was my favorite album of 2014. It has enough of the usual clever songwriting we expect, but also some fresh sounds. The best song, hands down, is “Wonderful Unknown.” Listen to it. You’ll love it.

Let us know your favorite albums and songs in the comments!

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The Wannabes Best Of 2014 – Music

The Wannabes Best Of 2014 – Books

2014 has been an interesting year for pop culture. It was the year we saw the first-ever Bookcon, top comedians and controversial celebrities wrote memoirs, we proved to Hollywood that we’d see a film based off a teenage cancer book, and diversity became the watchword. But like every other person does at this time of year, we felt the urge to distill the past year into just a few favorite highlights. Each day leading up to the new year, The Wannabes will be presenting their favorite pieces of pop culture from 2014. Today: Books

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Kate: A beautiful,  yet sad story with characters I feel like I knew, my heart was not prepared for the level of feelings in Jojo Moyes’ Me Before You. And with this perfect casting, I simply cannot wait for the film version.

 

 

 

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Andrew:
 Admittedly, I have not been reading as much as I would like to this year, but I’m going to go with Rust: Volume III by Royden Lepp. Partly because it’s the only graphic novel I can think of that came out this year that I read, partly because the creator was tremendously nice when I sent him fan mail, and partly because it’s really great and not enough people are reading it.

 

 


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Megan:
Megan Amram’s Science for Her—To be fair, I’m not quite done with this book yet, but only because you should never rush through a book where literally every single aspect, down to the table of contents, is pure comedy. Amram wrote a deeply satirical “science textbook” that even girls who take two hours to put on makeup can understand. She’s taking on the industry of glossy women’s magazines that presuppose women shouldn’t think about things other than sex and looking good for men, while proving her worth as more than just a Twitter comedian.

 

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Madeleine:
 Grace Helbig’s Grace’s Guide: The Art of Pretending to Be a Grown-up was by far the best book published in 2014. It’s a perfect guide for twentysomethings and anyone who has no idea what he or she is doing with their life, which I hear is just about everyone. Helbig is a hilarious YouTuber who can also write a damn hilarious book. She says what we’re all thinking and articulates what we’re all feeling. Read it with a box of tissues, because you’ll be laughing so hard.

 

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Chelsey:
I’m always a year behind on books (shoutout to fellow 2014 reads The Goldfinch and Life After Life), but one book I made sure to get as soon as it came out was Amy Poehler’s Yes Please. As one of Poehler’s biggest fans/groupies/stalkers, I loved this book to pieces. I even read the physical book alongside the audiobook because I wanted Amy to read to me. Sure, she keeps some of her most private details private (who can blame her), but what she does choose to include is simultaneously hilarious, heartwarming, and instructive. Even if you don’t appreciate her approach to comedy, you’ll appreciate her approach to life. “Be Whoever You Are.” Yes please.

 

What were your favorite books of 2014? Give us some recs in the comments!

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The Wannabes Best Of 2014 – Books

The Wannabes Best Of 2014 – Television

2014 has been an interesting year for pop culture. It’s the year that made John Oliver a star, that streaming platforms continued its upward reign, when the CW became one of the best networks on television, we got Every Simpsons Ever, and diversity was the watchword. But like every other person does at this time of year, we felt the urge to distill the past year into just a few favorite highlights. Each day leading up to the new year, The Wannabes will be presenting their favorite pieces of pop culture from 2014. Today: TV

Megan: It’s a tie between Silicon Valley and Jane the Virgin—I can’t choose between these two; don’t ask me; I won’t. They’re nothing alike; Silicon Valley is a group of dorks who have no idea how to run they company they started, and Jane the Virgin is about, well, a virgin who gets accidentally artificially inseminated. But they’re both freshmen shows, and they both have me pausing the TV many times because I’m laughing too hard to hear the line after a joke. I implore anybody who hasn’t to give them a chance.

Amanda: Since this is about favorites, not “show we think is the best quality,” this award goes to Once Upon a Time. I have cried during nearly every episode, and the endless Captain Swan fan service has me flailing after every look and every touch. I absolutely love these characters and the journey they are taking to their happy endings. Emma Swan has influenced my wardrobe, my haircut and definitely my appreciation of my family. Consider me charmed.

Kate: Few shows these days take my full attention and make me put down my phone/computer or anything else I might do and focus solely on the screen like The Fall. This show captivated me completely from the opening scene, and 5 episodes were not enough. Thankfully, the second season will be on Netflix in January. (Again, see post.)

Andrew: This is definitely a hard battle between Gotham and The Flash for me. Not necessarily because they are the best-made shows on television, but because they are doing something different from every other show and they are the shows I want to watch most.

Chelsey: Comedy Central has been killing it this year with almost all of their programming, but none more so than with Broad City and Nathan For You. If you don’t want to be best friends with Abbi and Illana after watching an episode of Broad City, then I have nothing for you. Nathan For You is doing something on television I’ve never seen before. Part reality show parody, part cringe comedy, part prank show, and part story of a lonely dude who just wants to make a friend, I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so hard during a TV show ever. Just see the episode “Souvenir Shop/E.L.A.I.F.F.” for a perfect example of a simple marketing stunt that escalates in a way only Nathan can produce. Sometimes real life and real people are just as hilarious as scripted programming.

Madeleine: The Mindy Project takes my top TV series for 2014 because Mindy Kaling has really developed her show and is truly an everyperson. She’s upfront about her shallowness, she’s got gumption, and she’s so likable you can’t help but think you’re pals. And for now she’s hasn’t crossed that delicate line into the territory of annoying.

What have been your favorite TV series of 2014?

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The Wannabes Best Of 2014 – Television