My Oscar picks!

Dallas-buyers-clubMy picks for the Oscar winners — first the likely winner, then the possible spoiler (an * indicates what I would vote for, if someone gave me a ballot).

Watch the Oscars Sunday at 6 p.m. on ABC, with host Ellen DeGeneres.

Picture: *12 Years a Slave; Gravity.

Director: *Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity; Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave.

Actor: *Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club; Bruce Dern, Nebraska.

Actress: Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine; *Judi Dench, Philomena.

Supporting Actor: *Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club; Barkhad Abdi, Capt. Phillips.

Supporting Actress: Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years a Slave; Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle (*June Squibb, Nebraska).

Original Screenplay: *Her; American Hustle.

Adapted Screenplay: 12 Years a Slave; Capt. Phillips (*Philomena).

Cinematography: *Gravity; Inside Llewyn Davis.

Film Editing: *Gravity; Capt Phillips.

Production Design: *The Great Gatsby; Her.

Costume Design: *The Great Gatsby; 12 Years a Slave.

Original Score: *Gravity; Philomena.

Original Song: *“Let It Go,” Frozen; “Ordinary Love,” Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.

Sound Mixing: Gravity; *Inside Llewyn Davis.

Sound Editing: *Gravity; Capt. Phillips.

Visual Effects: *Gravity; The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.

Makeup/Hairstyling: *Dallas Buyers Club.

Foreign Language Film: The Great BeautyThe Hunt (*Omar).

Animated Feature Film: Frozen; *The Wind Rises.

Documentary Feature Film: The Act of Killing; *The Square.

Live Action Short Film: *Helium; That Wasn’t Me.

Animated Short Film: *Room on the Broom; Get a Horse!

Documentary Short Film: The Lady in No. 6; Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Pvt. Jack Hall

(*Facing Fear — about a gay bashing).

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

See me Friday on ‘Good Day’ giving my Oscar predictions

ELLEN DEGENERESAs any good gay knows, Sunday night the Oscars are on ABC, and this year is about as gay as it gets: Ellen DeGeneres hosting, and Dallas Buyers Club a shoo-in for a category or two. So who will win?

Well, you don’t have to wait until Sunday to find you — just tune into Good Day on Ch. 4, KDFW Friday morning between 8:15 and 8:45 a.m. That’s when I’ll be making my triumphant return to the studio (I was the film critic for Good Day for a few years in the 1990s) to make my Oscar predictions.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

‘Looking’ star Jonathan Groff: The gay interview

Jonathan Groff

Jonathan Groff has had a pretty good week. The animated film he stars in, Frozen, was just nominated for two Oscars and his new HBO series, Looking, debuts on Sunday. So it was a good time for our Chris Azzopardi to sit down with Groff to discuss all his gay projects, idolizing Mark Ruffalo and how Looking freaked out his family.  

Jonathan Groff is remembering a scene he shot for the upcoming HBO adaptation of The Normal Heart. It’s his only part with Julia Roberts, and he doesn’t have a single line with her.

“She plays a doctor and I collapse on the street, and then they take me into her office and she’s like, ‘He’s dying,’” the actor recalls. “So I didn’t get to act with her because I’m, like, hyperventilating on a stretcher. I was foaming at the mouth. She was probably all, ‘This kid is really going for it.’ But she was really nice, very chill, very undramatic and easy.”

The same could be said for Groff. The affable Pennsylvania native got his start on stage, nabbing a Tony nomination for his role in the 2006 Broadway musical Spring Awakening before battling it out with New Directions on Glee, portraying a young David Sedaris in the recent feature film C.O.G. and voicing Kristoff in Disney’s hot winter hit Frozen. Now the actor plays Patrick, the charmingly clueless lead in the new gay-friends-living-in-San-Fran series Looking, which debuts Sunday on HBO. Will there be foam? Probably, but only if it’s at a party.

Dallas Voice:  With Looking and The Normal Heart, it must be nice knowing that HBO is gonna pay your bills for at least the next year.  Jonathan Groff: Right? It’s great. But I’ve already been paid for those jobs in 2013!

In the Looking pilot’s opening scene, after a phone call interrupts a hand-job hookup, you tell your friends you worried it was your mom calling. Has your own mother seen the show?  My mom has always been really supportive of my work. When I was doing Spring Awakening she took bus trips of people to come and see the show — like, seriously, 40 people on a touring bus up from Pennsylvania. That was before she had even seen it, so she was shocked when she saw the sex and the nudity and me hitting Lea Michele with a stick, but she obviously enjoyed it … because there were three more bus trips after that! So she overcame the awkwardness of seeing my butt on stage, but ever since they cast me in Looking, the big question in my family has been: “Are they gonna watch it or not when it comes on TV?”

When I came home for the summer to Pennsylvania, I brought the pilot home on DVD and I just said, “I don’t know if you wanna watch this or not, but I feel like if you do watch it, you probably won’t wanna watch it with me in the room.” I think that really freaked them out.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

‘Dallas Buyers Club’ scores big with Oscar noms, ‘Gravity,’ ‘Hustle’ lead pack

Dallas6Dallas Buyers Club — which was a cover story for us, because it deals with a momentous time in the history of AIDS in Dallas and the U.S. — scored big at the Oscar nominations announcement this morning, taking six nominations including best picture, best actor Matthew McConaughey and best supporting actor Jared Leto. It is the apparent frontrunner in the acting categories, has an uphill battle for best picture, as Gravity and American Hustle won 10 nominations apiece, and 12 Years a Slave has nine.

McConaughey has momentum, but he’s hardly a lock, with best actor among the most competitive categories in recent years. The four other nominees — Hustle‘s Christian Bale, Slave‘s Chiwetel Ejiofor, Nebraska‘s Bruce Dern and The Wolf of Wall Street‘s Leonardo DiCaprio — all turning in career-best performances. That left no room for Robert Redford, Idris Elba, Tom Hanks and many other excellent actors in 2013.

The best actress list was more predictable, with the four sure-things — Cate Blanchett in Blue Jasmine, Sandra Bullock in Gravity, Judi Dench in Philomena and Meryl Streep in August: Osage County — being joined by wild card Amy Adams of American Hustle. This is Adams’ first leading actress nomination but her fifth over all; she has never won and is up against four previous winners.

The five best director nominees all led best picture nominees (Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity; Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave, David O. Russell, Hustle; Martin Scorsese, The Wolf of Wall Street; Alexander Payne, Nebraska), which leaves four best picture nominees (Dallas Buyers Club, Capt. Phillips, Her and Philomena) pretty much in the lurch — it’s rare that a film without a director nomination wins best pic. However, the last time it happened was just last year, with Argo, so there’s hope.

There were some notable snubs other than in the best actor category. The documentary God Loves Uganda by gay filmmaker Roger Ross Williams was overlooked, as was the Cannes favorite, the lesbian romance Blue is the Warmest Color.

All the nominees are after the jump.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

What the Oscar race should look like


Tomorrow morning, the Oscar nominations will come out, and we’ll see what the Academy thinks is best. The thing is, they won’t get it right. Oh, the voters will get a lot right, but they’ll miss out on some works.

They almost have to. There are five spots in the best actor category, and there are at least seven “sure things” — men whose performances simply cannot be overlooked. But at least two will be … and five more that could sneak in still.

There have been controversies (The Wolf of Wall Street), late-comers (Lone Survivor), under-performers (Her), fading favorites (Lee Daniel’s The Butler) and over-praised mediocre films (American Hustle) all around, but what I’m gonna do now isn’t a prediction so much as a wish-list: The best movies, performances and writing in the major categories, and what should be on the ballot among the realistic contenders … though many will go home empty-handed, and American Hustle will surely do better with voters than with me. All of them are ranked in order of their deservedness, but that’s hardly a guarantee of a nomination. Let the race begin! (Five nominees are allowed in all categories except best picture, where up to 10 are permitted.)


Matthew McConaughey, the frontrunner for best actor in ‘Dallas Buyers Club’

Click back here tomorrow morning for the full list of nominees.

Picture: 12 Years a Slave; Gravity; Dallas Buyers Club; Fruitvale Station; Nebraska; Philomena; The Wolf of Wall Street; Inside Llewyn Davis; Her; August: Osage County.

Director: Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity; Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave; Martin Scorsese, The Wolf of Wall Street; Alexander Payne, Nebraska; Paul Greengrass, Capt. Phillips.

Actor: Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club; Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave; Michael B. Jordan, Fruitvale StationLeonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall StreetRobert Redford, All Is Lost. (Note: This means that the following actors don’t get nominated: Idris Elba, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom; Bruce Dern, Nebraska; Joaquin Phoenix, Her; Oscar Isaac, Inside Llewyn Davis; Tom Hanks, Capt. Philips; Forest Whitaker, Lee Daniels’ The Butler; Christian Bale, American Hustle.)

Supporting actor: Harrison Ford, 42; Chris Cooper, August: Osage County; Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers ClubMichael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave; John Goldman, Inside Llewyn Davis.

ActressCate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine; Judi Dench, Philomena; Sandra Bullock, Gravity; Meryl Streep, August: Osage County; Greta Gerwig, Frances Ha.

Supporting actressOctavia Spencer, Fruitvale Station;  June Squibb, Nebraska; Margo Martindale, August: Osage County; Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years a Slave; Oprah Winfrey, Lee Daniels’ The Butler.

Original screenplayHer; Nebraska; Enough Said; Gravity; Fruitvale Station.

Adapted screenplay: Philomena; 12 Years a Slave; The Wolf of Wall Street; August: Osage County; Before Midnight.

CinematographyGravity; Inside Llewyn Davis; Nebraska; The Wolf of Wall Street; 12 Years a Slave.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Our best and worst at the Oscars

OK, so we can all probably agree that the worst thing at the Oscars wasn’t on the red carpet — it was Seth MacFarlane’s tone-deaf jokes about Quvenzhane Wallis and other celebs that fell flat. Well, maybe you did like him, or even Jennifer Lawrence winning for the godawful Silver Linings Playbook.

Well, whatever you thought of the ceremony, here’s what our fashionista, J. Denton Bricker, thought of the best and worst ladies’ wear of the evening. Feel free to disagree or add your own.


DARREN LE GALLO, AMY ADAMSJESSICA CHASTAINNAOMI WATTS Amy Adams — The shape of her pale blue Oscar de la Renta was dazzling with every shot from the front row.

Jessica Chastain — The shimmering Art Deco design (also from Armani Prive) conjured images of Old Hollywood, including Marilyn.

Naomi Watts — This sharp silver number from Armani Prive looked like nothing else on the red carpet and seemed to catch color.


Reese Witherspoon — The form-fitting cobalt gown by Louis Vuitton was sleek and classic with a little edge. Her vintage locks were the best of the evening.

Sandra Bullock — Elegant, effortless and breathtaking in Ellie Saab, who wouldn’t want to receive an award from her?



Melissa McCarthy — The effort was there, but the grey blob of a dress from David Meister just didn’t work.

Anne Hathaway — The pale pink Prada fit Anne awkwardly and accentuated her breasts in all the wrong, pointed ways.

Helena Bonham Carter — Known for her eccentric tastes, the spooky Vivienne Westwood was just wrong for the Oscar red carpet.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

The Oscar scorecard: Your cheat sheet


‘Argo’ is the unlikely frontrunner for best picture.

For years, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences has tried to add some drama to the Oscarcast — hard, since by the time Oscar night rolls around, so many other groups have presented their awards, few surprises remain.

Well, this year, they finally may have achieved their goal — if for the wrong reasons.

With nine films nominated for best picture, but only five nominated for best director, there were bound to be some shut-outs, but the snubs of directors Ben Affleck (Argo), Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty), Top Hooper (Les Miserables) and Quentin Tarantino (Django Unchained) — all prior Oscar winners — in favor or two newcomers sent predictions into a tailspin. Add to that the continuing success of Argo in best picture competitions (Golden Globes and BAFTAs; the Screen Actors Guild’s equivalent, best ensemble) and Affleck’s own victory as director, not only is Argo the unlikely frontrunner for best picture, there is no frontrunner for best director.

So what’s gonna happen?

That’s what the Academy hoped you’d ask.

When the world goes upside down like this, almost anything is possible — especially in the best actress category, which is wide open, and best supporting actor, which looks like a two-man race but which could allow a spoiler. Here are your best bets to win the office Oscar pool (the Oscars will be presented Sunday night, broadcast on ABC):

NOTE: If you wanna challenge yourself with Oscar trivia from me, I’ll be hosting a show Sat., Feb. 23 on Facebook’s Hollywood Babylon fan site starting at 1 p.m. Central!

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Holding gold — an Oscar in Dallas


Attendee Robert Emery thanks all the little people.

Yesterday afternoon, I got to pretend I was a big Hollywood actor.

No, I didn’t go back into the closet and marry my female agent and adopt kids. I got to meet Oscar, the foot-tall statuette that everyone will be coveting on Sunday night. It was part of #OscarRoadTrip, a three-week cross-country tour where two very attractive folks take Oscar No. 3111 (they are all numbered) around the U.S., letting folks hold it for a few seconds and get their picture taken with a naked man who they didn’t meet on a cruise.

It was pretty fun.

The event, hosted by the USA Film Festival and the Angelika Film Center, was well-attended if a bit crowded and hectic, but it takes just a second to take the statue from the muscle-bound security guard, get your pic snapped and hand it off. No one dashed. One guy showed up in a tuxedo (I suspect he’ll use it on his profile to deceive prospective dates), but most of us didn’t look like Oscar winners — we looked like movie fans. And we were.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

The Oscar noms: Tons of surprises

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has been trying desperately to shake up their Oscar nominations, and they finally succeeded. In what was generally considered one of the strongest movie years in a decade, the nominations this morning had tons of surprises — many exactly of the kind they wanted, including a powerhouse appearance by indie hit Beasts of the Southern Wild.

Still, many of the predicted frontrunners did expectedly well, with Lincoln scoring the most nominations (12, including three for acting — tied for the most ever acting noms from a Steven Spielberg-directed film), followed closely by my favorite film of the year, Ang Lee’s Life of Pi, which, with 11 nods, has the most ever for a film that didn’t receive a single acting nomination. Also, the dreadful Silver Linings Playbook did well, largely via the push by Harvey Weinstein, despite being the worst movie of 2012Bernie and Cloud Atlas were completely snubbed, as was Matthew McConaughey, who did four films with some buzz last year.

The biggest upsets were in the direction category, with four of the frontrunners — former Oscar winners Kathryn Bigelow, Tom Hooper, Quentin Tarantino and Ben Affleck — all being passed over for inferior work from David O. Russell for SLP, and Beasts‘ Ben Zeitlin in his film debut.

Some good surprises include gay filmmaker David France’s AIDS movie How to Survive a Plague nominated for best documentary feature and The Simpsons‘ cartoon The Longest Daycare snagging a nom for animated short.

All the nominations after the jump.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Handicapping the Oscar nominations

The Oscar noms come early this year, and once again as many as 10 films may be up for best picture. But which ones? And how many?

Here I have a handicapping, in descending order, of the most likely nominees in all the categories. After the nominations come out Thursday morning, check to see how well we (and you) did. My picks are below.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones