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Brutally Honest Oscar Voter Ballot No. 2

A member of the Academy's sound branch talks THR's Scott Feinberg through his picks: "My wife loved 'Willamina,' but I didn’t care for it," while "Wolf of Wall Street" is "offensive" and "12 Years" star Lupita Nyong'o "ripped my heart out."

12 Years a Slave Violin - H 2013
Fox Searchlight

This is the second of five "brutally honest" Oscar ballots shared with THR by Academy members, one of which will post each day leading up to the Oscar ceremony on Sunday, March 2. (Also available for you to review: the first.) Needless to say, these voters' views are not necessarily endorsed by Scott Feinberg or THR.

VOTER PROFILE: This Oscar voter is a longtime member of the Academy's 418-member sound branch.

➻ BEST PICTURE

12 Years a Slave impacted me the most as a moviegoer and as a father, so it was my number one. Dallas Buyers Club also really moved me -- just watching him change his heart. I thought Gravity was really phenomenal. I love Captain Phillips, just like I love all Tom Hanks movies; it was a travesty that its director wasn’t nominated. American Hustle I liked because everyone in its ensemble did a great job. Her was interesting, but it was a little too weird for me. Nebraska was like watching paint dry -- it just bored me to death. Wolf of Wall Street was just so gratuitous and offensive -- it’s supposed to be funny to watch people get screwed over by this schmuck? I had a friend who was wiped out by Bernie Madoff. And, finally, Willamena [Editor's note: Philomena], which was not my cup of tea.

MY PICK: (1) 12 Years a Slave; (2) Dallas Buyers Club; (3) Gravity; (4) Captain Phillips; (5) American Hustle; (6) Her; (7) Nebraska; (8) The Wolf of Wall Street; (9) Philomena

EARLIER: Brutally Honest Oscar Ballot No. 1

➻ BEST DIRECTOR

[Alexander] Payne and [Martin] Scorsese were immediately out for me. [Steve] McQueen or [David O'] Russell would deserve to win if we were just talking about directing actors. But [Alfonso] Cuaron got my vote because the fact that his movie got made at all is amazing and groundbreaking. I know people who worked on it who said he is a control freak and was all over every aspect of it.

MY PICK: Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity)

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➻ BEST ACTOR

[Christian] Bale did a great job, but the ensemble resonated for me more than any one person. I just need more going on than [Bruce] Dern gave me. [Leonardo] DiCaprio was great but I got tired of the movie -- it was just way too long and repetitive. The guy in 12 Years a Slave -- I can never pronounce his name -- was just phenomenal. And yet I was really taken with [Matthew] McConaughey, even though I have not really been a fan in the past. He was just ridiculously good -- plus the weight loss and what he had to do was just unbelievable. This was the hardest choice for me.

MY PICK: Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club)

➻ BEST ACTRESS

My wife loved Willamina, but I didn’t care for it. [Sandra] Bullock was good, but it was hard for me to not see Sandra Bullock—or George Clooney. Meryl Streep is just always fantastic; I never feel that she’s just doing the same shit. Amy Adams did a phenomenal job, but I didn’t love the movie. [Cate] Blanchett was bold; I don’t think you could have found any person on the planet who could have played that role better.

MY PICK: Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine)

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➻ BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Jonah Hill was out from the gate for me -- I just can’t. Bradley Cooper was good. But Jared Leto gave a crazy performance, truly becoming this person. I thought he was flawless.

MY PICK: Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club)

➻ BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

I’m not usually a big Julia Roberts fan, but I thought she did a fantastic job -- it was really gritty and ballsy and didn’t remind me of everything else she’s already done. Jennifer Lawrence does a great job, but I didn’t feel like she had enough screen time. But the 12 Years a Slave woman I just found to be so compelling; she ripped my heart out. For me, it’s all about the impact a movie or a character has on me.”

MY PICK: Lupita Nyong'o (12 Years a Slave)

➻ BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

I went with Slave because it resonated so much with me. I was so taken by the story and it had the biggest impact on me.

MY PICK: 12 Years a Slave

➻ BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

I liked Hustle, but I voted for the script that I think produced the most beautiful movie, and that’s Dallas Buyers Club.

MY PICK: Dallas Buyers Club

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➻ BEST ANIMATED FEATURE

I thought Frozen was amazing, and my personal favorite was Despicable Me 2, but I didn’t see all of the nominees, so I didn’t vote.

MY PICK: I abstained.

➻ BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

I have only watched 20 Feet from Stardom because so many people were talking about that. I’m a big music fan and I thought it was incredible. But I don’t think I’m gonna vote because I haven’t watched all of the nominees. We only got these movies last weekend, and this week I’ve been slammed trying to finish a movie, so I didn’t have time to see more.

MY PICK: I abstained.

➻ BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

I haven’t watched them.

MY PICK: I abstained.

FEINBERG FORECAST: Scott's Final Picks for Who Will Win at Sunday's Oscars 

➻ BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

Gravity begs the question: What’s cinematography and what’s visual effects? I talked to some cinematographer friends and they assured me that a lot of what looks great in the film is owed to its camera work.

MY PICK: Gravity

➻ BEST COSTUME DESIGN

I don’t think it’s fair to those nominees to have someone voting who has no idea what they did and what their challenges were.

MY PICK: I abstained. 

➻ BEST FILM EDITING

One of my dear friends is the editor of Captain Phillips, so how do you think I voted? I also happen to think he did a phenomenal job.

MY PICK: Captain Phillips

➻ BEST MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING

I voted for my favorite movie in the category: Dallas Buyers Club.

MY PICK: Dallas Buyers Club

➻ BEST ORIGINAL SCORE

I voted for Thomas Newman, who is a dear friend and has been nominated an ungodly amount of times but has never won. His score is the standout thing of that movie.

MY PICK: Saving Mr. Banks

➻ BEST ORIGINAL SONG

U2’s was a decent song and they’ve had a lot of publicity. But, for me, it’s about how a song serves a movie, so I went with the Frozen song. It’s a beautiful song and it’s the heart of that film. I thought it was a home run.

MY PICK: "Let It Go" (Frozen)

➻ BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN

I know that I don’t know enough to vote for this category.

MY PICK: I abstained.

➻ BEST SOUND EDITING

They were all really nicely done. Some are more distinct than the others. Gravity is a very cool mix because of the way they muted sounds to create the sense of being in space -- and it has the best campaign. Captain Phillips is not something we’ve never heard before -- boats, guns, underwater activity -- but it was really well done. But, in my opinion, Lone Survivor was just better. It takes a lot of work to bring a war movie to life.

MY PICK: Lone Survivor

➻ BEST SOUND MIXING

Lone Survivor was done incredibly well. It was really nicely balanced, with a lot of movement and a lot of directional perspective, which really gives you a sense of space and makes you feel as if you were that soldier, right in the middle of it.

MY PICK: Lone Survivor

➻ BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

Gravity was a cinematic spectacle unlike anything that’s ever been done before. The Hobbit? Been there, done that.

MY PICK: Gravity

➻ BEST ANIMATED SHORT
➻ BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT
➻ BEST LIVE-ACTION SHORT

MY PICK: I abstained.

Twitter: @ScottFeinberg