What if nerds won the Oscars? 86th Academy Awards edition
Welcome to our 3rd annual edition of “What if nerds won the Oscars?” Our critically acclaimed series that looks at who should win the Academy Awards, not necessarily based on their current respective nominated work, but with weight given for “nerd cred” obtained by association with past genre material.
So, how is it done? With the permission of the local electrical-grid authorities, the Nerdvanatron 9000 computer system is activated and fed the nominee information for this year’s Oscar contenders. Then, utilizing a complex and confidential series of algorithms and scientific calculations, the Nerdvanatron processes the data and determines who should win the Academy Awards.
To date, our computations have been a sound 99.88% accurate (whether our past Oscar picks have won or not – we’re deciding who should win), and you can’t argue with that science. So without further ado, let’s fire up the N-9000 and get to the 86th Academy Awards. (We apologize in advance for any power outages.)
Well, right off the bat the Academy missed the boat (or gastropod shell as it were) on this category by leaving out the best animated film of the year, Turbo. But, alas, the Nerdvanatron only takes into account the actual nominees for this year’s awards. Animated films as a whole will typically have a genre tinge, as do each of these contenders. While Frozen has popular support, Hayao Miyazaki’s “final” film, The Wind Rises, has many old school anime-fans hoping for a win. But of all these films, no one can deny that Despicable Me 2 has the highest genre-reference per-frame-rate ratio, not to mention being a hellava entertaining film.
WINNER: DESPICABLE ME 2
Best Actress in a Supporting Role Nominees: Sally Hawkins (Blue Jasmine), Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle), Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave), Julia Roberts (August: Osage County), June Squibb (Nebraska)
Nyong’o and June Squibb combined have nearly no nerd credentials at all. Sally Hawkins at least has a role in the upcoming Godzilla film, but that doesn’t qualify her for this year’s awards. Roberts has some minor cred for playing Tinkerbell in 1991’s Hook, but that was a long, long time ago. We really don’t even need the Nerdvanatron to figure this one out: Jennifer Lawrence is Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games Films and (even more importantly) she plays Mystique in the X-Men movies (at least a couple of them.)
WINNER: JENNIFER LAWRENCE
Best Actor in a Supporting Role Nominees: Barkhad Abdi (Captain Phillips), Bradley Cooper (American Hustle), Michael Fassbender (12 Years a Slave), Jonah Hill (The Wolf of Wall Street), Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club)
The Nerdvanatron had to be recalibrated after initially rejecting Jared Leto as being a “too cool” virus, but the musician/actor actually earned some nerd cred for his band’s contribution to the John Carter soundtrack (with the Thirty Seconds to Mars tune “Kings and Queens.”) Despite a fine acting job in Captain Phillips, Barkhad Abdi has no nerd credentials (with only the one acting credit to his name.) Bradley Cooper is Rocket Raccoon in the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy, which may help him out next year, but for now his N-cred is severely lacking. Jonah Hill provided voice work to both Megamind and How to Train Your Dragon; but Michael Fassbender easily owns this category, with major roles in both Prometheus (as the android, David) and X-Men: First Class (as Magneto), not to mention smaller parts in both Jonah Hex and 300.
WINNER: MICHAEL FASSBENDER
Due to the wealth of N-Cred in this category, this decision took the longest processing time of them all. Despite her long and illustrious film career, it’s was difficult to find any genre related work from Meryl Streep (a small voice roll in the movie A.I. Artificial Intelligence is about it.) Of course Cate Blanchett is best known and highly regarded as the Elven Princess, Galadriel, in the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films. Amy Adams co-starred in Her, one of the best sci-fi films of the past year, and she’s also played Lois Lane in Man of Steel, as well as Polly Purebred in Underdog – not to mention small roles in the television shows Smallville and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. And speaking of television shows, Sandra Bullock appeared in the TV movie, Bionic Showdown: The Six Million Dollar Man and the Bionic Woman, before going on to star in this year’s sci-fi hit film, Gravity. Judi Dench has become well known as “M” in multiple James Bond films, as well as playing Aereon in Chronicles of Riddick. It was tough to call this one, but Nerdvanatron says…
WINNER: SANDRA BULLOCK
Best Actor in a Leading Role Nominees: Christian Bale (American Hustle), Bruce Dern (Nebraska), Leonardo DiCaprio (The Wolf of Wall Street), Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave), Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club)
Chiwetel Ejiofor had small parts in Children of Men and Serenity, and the only N-Cred to be found on Leonardo DiCaprio’s resume is for Inception and The Man in the Iron Mask. Likewise, Bruce Dern in Silent Running, and Matthew McConaughey’s appearance in Reign of Fire hardly cause a blip on the geek-o-meter. On the other hand, Christian Bale pretty much blows this category away (see The Dark Knight trilogy, Terminator Salvation, The Prestige, Equilibrium, Reign of Fire, American Psycho and The Machinist.)
WINNER: CHRISTIAN BALE
The combined weights of David O. Russell, Alexander Payne and Steve McQueen equals exactly zero N-cred. Martin Scorsese at least has the steampunky film, Hugo, to his credit. But prior to Gravity, Alfonso Cuarón directed Children of Men and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. This one is really no contest.
WINNER: ALFONSO CUARÓN
When it comes to nerd cred, the best picture this year basically comes down to two choices: Gravity and Her; both excellent sci-fi films that the Nerdvanatron has reviewed, frame-by-frame, to determine which is actually nerdier than the other. A thrilling adventure story about an astronaut, lost in space, desperately trying to make it back to the Earth alive; or the story of a lonely greeting card writer who falls in love with a human-like operating system (played by Scarlett Johansson)? This one really tasked the N-9000 system, but the winner is…
The 86th Academy Awards show airs Sunday evening, March 2, 2014, hosted this year by Ellen DeGeneres. If you want to amaze your friends with more fun film-facts and figures, you can kill an entire weekend buy checking out the Academy Awards Database. And if you dig the techie end of the film industry, you can also check out the Academy’s Science and Technology Awards (we’re certain that one day the Nerdvanatron is going to win one of these.)
Use our comments section to let us know who you think should win the big film awards at this year’s Oscars.