I Have Opinions: Oscars Edition.

Let us acknowledge one universal truth rarely cast into the light: awards shows are boring. Unless you have company and/or alcohol (preferably both), making it to the end of the telecast is the equivalent of walking barefoot over hot coals just to receive a vial of your own tears to wash your heels. It’s basically torture. One of the few ways to get through the needless musical numbers, the bad jokes, and the endless cutoff music is by having an opinion. A tenacious, dogmatic, self-righteous stake in the game.

Do I, personally, care that much? Not really. But I’ve seen a lot of the nominees, and I have feelings. Therefore here are my predictions (and my wishful thinkings) in the major categories.

Actress in a Supporting Role

Look, I love Jennifer Lawrence. She’s my imaginary best friend too, okay? She’s probably going to get the Oscar, and that is quite frankly bullshit. Was she fun in American Hustle? Absolutely. Her weirdo hair dance to “Live and Let Die” actually inspired me to go home and listen to Wings. But she didn’t really have to do much. Plus her accent fluctuated between “I don’t give a fuck” and Howard’s reviled mother (“mutha”) on “The Big Bang Theory.” Lupita Nyong’o? She brought it. Her grief, her despair was palpable. She made me feel. I’ve seen people argue that she shouldn’t win because her character Patsey was always going to garner sympathy, to which I say bullshit. This was her first film role, and she was incredible. To go with the safe choice of the white girl with the smelly nails over a woman throwing herself into the horrors of slavery…well, you get where I’m going with this.

Actor in a Supporting Role

I’ll confess that I haven’t seen Captain Phillips or Wolf of Wall Street, so Barkhad Abdi may be a revelation. I’m not entertained by stories of greed that make a corrupt man richer in the end, so sorry to Jonah Hill’s fake teeth. Michael Fassbender was downright terrifying in 12 Years a Slave, and I believe he hasn’t gotten nearly enough recognition for his efforts, probably because people are too afraid to watch a movie that’s a downer. Still, we all know Jared Leto has this in the bag. I haven’t been a fan of his except in Urban Legend (yeah whatever, haters) and Fight Club, but I saw Dallas Buyers Club twice and cried at different points each time. His portrayal of the doomed Rayon brings light and darkness, and I think this will be the Academy’s token “we acknowledged a trans character, so we don’t have to deal with that slavery thing!” vote.

Actress in a Leading Role

This is tough. I’ve only seen two of these films. Some people have told me that Blue Jasmine is incredible, and others have told me that it’s the most boring thing they’ve gone through in ages. I am not a fan of Sandra Bullock (I’m convinced that she looks like one incarnation of Michael Jackson’s face), but I enjoyed Gravity and could suspend my disbelief. She went through a lot to make that movie, and kudos to her. Bless Amy Adams and her dodgy British accent in American Hustle. I feel like Cate Blanchett will probably win, but if anyone upsets her, it’ll probably be Amy Adams. American Hustle is the safe bet that just keeps on winning.

Actor in a Leading Role

I wish there were an award for Best Accent in a Leading Role, because I would hand that to Christian Bale in a heartbeat for his sleazy New York stylings. He pulled it off better than everyone else in that movie. If there were any justice in this world, Chiwetel Ejiofor would take this home for 12 Years a Slave. I read the book before I saw the movie so I could be emotionally prepared for the violence, which I assure you is not as present as the shitty, white guilt reviews make it out to be. It’s isolated, shocking, and effective. Still, I wept through the last ten minutes of this movie. Not cried, wept. And I’m tearing up a little just typing this. Having said that, if Ejiofor loses, I’m pretty sure it will be to Matthew McConaughey. I have a theory that for the last decade, he was deeply method as a stoner so everyone would underestimate him. That’s how good he is in Dallas Buyers Club. Everyone who saw A Time to Kill knew he was capable of this pedigree of acting, and for the past few years, he’s been playing such diverse, nuanced roles that you can’t deny his talent. I am a believer in the McConaissance, “True Detective” is the best thing on TV right now, and if Leonardo DiCaprio finally gets an Osar for flopping around on drugs over the perils of slavery and AIDS, I will punch a hole through my face.

Directing

I always find it funny that the best director didn’t necessarily direct the best picture, which is why I’m including this category. I feel like this is going to be the token award to a film that doesn’t get much love elsewhere. It’ll probably go to Alfonso Cuarón because in spite of all of its flaws, Gravity is a directorial achievement. That long take at the beginning? Breathtaking. The visuals are far better than the script, which can get a bit hokey. Still, Steve McQueen is an auteur of devastation, and if 12 Years a Slave doesn’t get best picture, they may just give him this as the consolation prize.

Best Picture

Let’s get out of the way what it’s not since ten nominees is too much, okay? Captain Phillips, Her, Nebraska, and Philomena can all start drinking the free champagne already. It’s nothing personal. The Wolf of Wall Street will not win this because the Academy doesn’t want to look it’s made of assholes, plus comedies never do well here. American Hustle has won far more awards than I ever thought possible, but again, comedy. This award should go to 12 Years a Slave, but I don’t know if voters will be brave enough to go that route. (Remember when Crash won over Brokeback Mountain and then we didn’t need movies about racism anymore because everyone stopped being racist?) Dallas Buyers Club is also worthy, but with two torturous true stories going up for this, the votes might split in such a way that Gravity could take it.

So, those are my picks. Stay strong, friends, and everyone remember to DVR “True Detective” for some actual entertainment after the ceremony.

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Writer’s block.

It’s easy to retreat into a crab shell existence. Work is eight hours a day of sitting in front of a computer, answering a phone, enduring the berating of the entitled and the sob stories of the hopeless. Halfway through the day, I have my “lunch” break, when I invariably restore myself with a cup of coffee and some reading if I have no pressing errands to run. My commute is roughly forty minutes each way on a good day, but when anything from a one to ten minute gap between trains during rush hour is considered “good service,” there are rarely good days. I’m away from home roughly eleven hours a day if I go straight back to my apartment, and combined with the onslaught of polar vortexes, Netflix looks pretty damn tempting to fill the three or so hours before I try to sleep.

Lately I’ve noticed that I’ve suffered a fit of writer’s block. I’ve put off writing reviews until they pile up (perhaps the fault of Netflix and binge mentality, or my desperate attempts to finally get through tv shows like “Breaking Bad”). I’ve left stories in the brainstorming phase and told myself that I just had to wait for the right inspiration, the right mood music, the right shower that would bestow upon me all of the ideas lacking.

Mostly, though, I’ve found myself abandoning writing here, because I have had that obnoxious voice in my head insisting You have nothing interesting to say. The logical part of me knows this is silly on multiple levels, because the people likely to read this are friends who would read just about anything (thank you for being supportive), and if people abandon reading something, it’s not like I will know. But the longer you go without sharing a word, the harder it gets. The more you want to be perfect.

Winter’s probably the most stressful time for that sensation. We’re cooped up in our homes, sick of the cold and snow and ice and bullshit, but it’s still early enough in the year to feel the pressure of new year, new you, new regrets! Some stores already have bikinis out. The 14 Street-Union Square subway station is plastered in advertisements for Macy’s right now, with each inelegant, hideous, monochrome outfit draped over the slender, bored models with care. The only common theme seems to be that the poor girls are swamped in cloth, which doesn’t seem to matter since the crop tops show off their perfectly toned abs. (I accidentally wrote “ads” at first. Freudian slip.)

The other day I thought it would be an interesting experiment to write down every ad I saw out in the world. New York probably bombards more eyes than most, Internet aside. What did I discover? Well, that I forgot to look. I am so used to seeing naked people running on the beach (Equinox), women posing in lingerie (Chicago), and insistence upon change in order to love oneself (YMCA) that I no longer take it in consciously, intelligently. I absorb these messages, and many of them intrinsically make me feel like shit about myself. I spent more time looking at ads in a day than I do at my own face or words, and that is an alarming setup for self-sabotage, a need to retreat into the fiction that’s already been provided for me.

So this is my attempt to find the words again. To spend more time with my voice and build it up, to push back against the negativity of winter. I joined a gym for $10 a month, and even though I only go a couple of times a week, I am sure I will have stories to share, like how all the women who change directly in the locker room seem to wear thongs and nothing else for underwear. My friend Allison and I are trying to co-write a crime novel of sorts, and I will spend more time actually working on that rather than obsessing over who/what The Yellow King is in “True Detective” (aka the best show on television right now, making me a firm believer in the McConaissance). I entered a writing contest and had to write a romantic comedy about a limousine driver and “anger,” so I may share that when I inevitably fail to make it to the next round (not because I think I suck since I’m so rusty, but because I’m kind of a dude and have no idea how to rom com).

But most importantly, I’ll cut myself some slack. After all, the Oscars are Sunday, and that requires wine-infused hate-watching.