Thursday, February 27, 2014

Academy Awards - Nominees and Predictions!

It's time for the annual Oscars post! Who's nominated, and who will win. Let's dive right in.

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)

It seems like poor Leo is always the bridesmaid, never the bride. Whenever he delivers a stellar performance, there's always someone who was just ever so much better. Oddly enough, the guy that will take home Best Actor this year made a cameo in The Wolf of Wall Street, and was excellent in his brief appearance in that film as well. Matthew McConaughey will win for his performance in Dallas Buyers Club.

SIDE NOTE: Christian Bale was only nominated because he's Christian Bale. I thought that he was borderline unwatchable in American Hustle. Would have preferred to see Joaquin Phoenix get some love for Her.

Amy Adams (American Hustle)
Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine)
Sandra Bullock (Gravity)
Judi Dench (Philomena)
Meryl Streep (August: Osage County)

I can say with certainty that Cate Blanchett delivered the most spectacular performance of the awards season in Blue Jasmine. Her portrayal of a woman coming to terms with losing everything (her husband, her wealth, her stability) and being forced to start from scratch while dealing with mental health issues in a very "wasp-y" fashion was absolutely riveting.

SIDE NOTE: Amy Adams received a nomination for American Hustle? Seriously? Her performance was awkward and her accent faded in and out. I thought that she was the worst part of the movie. If anything, she should have been nominated for her role as Joaquin Phoenix's bestie in Her. She was great in that.

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)

This is as close to a lock as you can get. Jared Leto's gripping performance as a trans-sexual suffering from AIDS in Dallas Buyers Club was superb. Major fist bump to Jonah Hill, though, for his second Oscar nomination, as he was fantastic in The Wolf of Wall Street, and Michael Fassbender was equally good in 12 Years a Slave.

SIDE NOTE: Notice how everyone from American Hustle got acting nominees? It seems that doing a David O. Russell film appears to be the recipe for awards season success. Bradley Cooper was good. Oscar good? No. He was way better in Silver Linings Playbook last year. Too bad Daniel Day Lewis was Abe Lincoln's doppelganger & ruined Brad's party.

Sally Hawkins (Blue Jasmine)
Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle)
Lupita Nyong'o (12 Years a Slave)
Julia Roberts (August: Osage County)
June Squibb (Nebraska)

This is perhaps the closest category of this year's Oscars. My personal preference would be to see J-Law win her second Academy Award on her third nomination, but I have a feeling that Lupita Nyong'o will win this year. 12 Years a Slave was a tough movie to watch, in large part because of her performance. Sally Hawkins gets props from me though, as her Blue Jasmine character was awesome.

David O. Russell (American Hustle)
Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity)
Alexander Payne (Nebraska)
Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave)
Martin Scorsese (The Wolf of Wall Street)

Slam dunk. Alfonso Cuaron. If you saw Gravity in IMAX 3D (as it was meant to be seen), you'll understand why he's hands down everyone's pick for best director this year.

SIDE NOTE: I'm elated that I don't have to RAGE about this category this year. Ben Affleck was hands down the best director last year, and didn't even get a nomination?! Who'd you piss off, Ben?

American Hustle
Captain Phillips
Dallas Buyers Club
12 Years a Slave
The Wolf of Wall Street

I'm the only person who didn't like American Hustle, it seems. Lots of people have it as their favourite for Best Picture this year. I, quite frankly, could barely get through the movie because I found it so boring, and the performances so lacklustre. Were it not for Jennifer Lawrence, I probably would have turned it off. Captain Phillips kept me on the edge of my seat, and I thought that Tom Hanks was excellent (notice his snub?) Dallas Buyers Club was an "okay" movie with beautiful performances. Gravity was a cinematic masterpiece. Her was gutwrenchingly heartbreaking, and the fact that there isn't a way to recognize Scarlett Johansson for HER performance is a travesty. Nebraska was mediocre, in my view. Philomena was wonderful (I was actually quite surprised. I wasn't expecting to sympathize so deeply with Dame Judi Dench's character, nor did I expect to enjoy Steve Coogan's performance so thoroughly). 12 Years a Slave was hard to watch. The Wolf of Wall Street was tremendously fun and entertaining from start to finish.

My Pick: The Wolf of Wall Street. Hands down, the best movie that I saw this year. Her comes in as a close second, for me.

Who Should Win: 12 Years a Slave. This movie was right up the Academy's ally. AND it's based on a true story. Don't chicken out à la Schindler's List & Saving Private Ryan, Academy. Winner winner, chicken dinner.

Dark Horse: Gravity. Often the film that wins for direction will also win Best Picture. If Alfonso Cuaron does indeed win Best Director, Gravity has a shot at all the marbles.

Biggest Snub: The Butler. It came out in August, which is pretty early for movies that consider themselves as Oscar contenders. Forrest Whittaker was robbed of a nomination in the Best Actor category, Lee Daniels was robbed of a Best Director nod, and this film easily could have at least garnered a Best Picture nom, given that there is room for ten nominees, and only nine films received nominations this year. Not sure what the story is here, or why this movie got no love whatsoever.