Composing a score for a film is no easy task. After all, this is the music that everyone will remember or have stuck in their heads long after the credits roll. It must fit the tone of the movie, and complement it well. As a huge fan of movie scores and music in general, I thought I’d put together a list of some of my favorite movie composers, and some of my favorite works of theirs.
Of the Newman dynasty, Thomas Newman has no shortage of impressive films on his track record. Being the favorite of director Sam Mendes as well as the folks at Pixar, Thomas Newman has composed some great scores, ranging from Wall-E to American Beauty to the recently amazing Saving Mr. Banks.
One of the great classic movie composers, Elmer Bernstein wrote the score for one of my favorite movies of all time, To Kill a Mockingbird. The main theme from that film is one of my favorite tracks ever composed. It’s gentle, soothing, and perfect for the Robert Mulligan film. But besides that, Bernstein also worked on other classics like Thoroughly Modern Millie, Ghostbusters, and Cape Fear.
French composer Desplat didn’t appear on my radar until he scored the soundtracks for the final two films in the Harry Potter saga. His anthem Lily’s Theme is harrowing yet gorgeous, and the score is one of the best parts of the epic finale. Desplat also scored films in Wes Anderson’s filmography, as well as Argo and more recently, Philomena, to great critical acclaim.
James Newton Howard
Composer of a lot of modern films such as The Hunger Games, The Bourne Legacy, and King Kong, Howard is perhaps best known for his collaborations with Hans Zimmer on Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight franchise. His score for those films is still played at my house today, and is one of the best scores that perfectly fits the Caped Crusader and his antics.
Best known for his work on the TV show, Lost, Giacchino is one of the latest modern greats. He helped score multiple Pixar films including The Incredibles, Up, and his fantastic arrangements for Ratatouille. But Giacchino is most known for his works with J.J. Abrams, including scoring the wonderful 2009 Star Trek reboot. It isn’t easy to compose music for a franchise like that, yet Giacchino nailed it with his epic score, keeping the original theme yet also making it his own.
Jason Reitman’s 2009 drama asks you to rethink your philosophy as you examine the life of Ryan Bingham. It’s never condescending, but rather enlightening through its interesting characters and wonderful reflection of life.
Up in the Air is one of the movies I can watch anytime. Reitman’s adaptation of the 2001 novel of the same name strikes a chord with me. It has a level of maturity and timeliness that makes it always feel fresh and new.
George Clooney as Ryan Bingham presents one of the most interesting character studies. He works for a firm that sends its workers to corporations to fire their employees because their bosses don’t have the balls to do it themselves (his words, not mine). This career of his sparks some unique plot points, as a fresh new face Natalie (Anna Kendrick) comes in and tries to modernize things. His company effectively grounds him right before Ryan reaches 10 million frequent flyer miles.
If this premise sounds weird, just go with it. It’s less about the plot, and more about the characters and the journeys they take. Along his travels, Ryan meets Alex (Vera Farmiga), a fellow business traveller, and they revel in the joys and not-so-joys of life itself. The relationship between the two is a very intriguing one to watch unfold onscreen. The two actors have a chemistry that is rarely seen in movies. They’re not exactly similar, but they relate to each other and learn from each other. Ryan also learns a thing or two from his sister and her husband. When he returns home for their wedding, he recalls childhood memories and also touches those he meets along the way.
Up in the Air is an forthright, poignant movie; one for the ages. A slickly-crafted film, Up in the Air asks questions about life, while sprinkling in hints of romance and honest comedy. It successfully blends so many insightful elements yet make it feel comforting and mainstream. Director Jason Reitman’s best film by far, Up in the Air is a masterpiece, and I don’t use that term lightly.
Non-Stop is about as generic as they come, but that shouldn’t stop you from enjoying this well-crafted and thrilling action movie.
Non-Stop has a simple premise, yet it keeps the audience guessing throughout. One look at the poster and you’ll know what to expect. From the beginning, you’re wondering who is sending air marshall Bill (Liam Neeson) these text messages threatening to kill someone every 20 minutes. This interesting premise gives the film the liberty to do what it wants with the plot. You won’t guess what happens, because there are so many twists and turns. While at times very unbelievable, Non-Stop is still really enjoyable.
This is due in part to Liam Neeson, the recent king of action movies. Dubbed “Taken on a Plane,” Non-Stop is better than his recent films, and he takes command of the role and keeps audiences invested. Supporting roles from Downton Abbey’s Michelle Dockery, Argo’s Scoot McNairy, House of Cards’s Corey Stoll, and 12 Years a Slave’s Lupita Nyong’o only makes you miss them in their most well-known roles. None of them are really standouts, not even Lupita. But since Neeson is the star of the show, you won’t mind.
Like I said, Non-Stop is nothing new. A decent thriller with some twists and turns that keeps it from getting boring. Some laughable emotional background gives at least some dimension to Neeson’s character, but by the end it just feels like a cop-out, typical of recent thrillers. But the action and suspense is first-rate. The final act in particular is especially thrilling, with plane parts flying everywhere and suspense building until the end. A smart thriller that keeps you guessing, Non-Stop shouldn’t be passed over, but just don’t expect anything special.
With the Oscars in 10 days, I thought I’d give you my official list of who I think should win next Sunday. I’ve also included who I think will win, as oftentimes that answer is different. Without further ado, here are my official predictions for next Sunday’s winners.
Should Win: Gravity
Could Win: American Hustle
This has been one of the tightest Best Picture races in years, but 12 Years a Slave has been sweeping up awards right and left. While at a time it seemed like American Hustle could take top prize, it seems like it will have to settle for some acting awards. I still think Gravity deserves Best Picture, as it has changed cinema forever, but I’ll still settle for 12 Years a Slave winning the top prize.
Will Win: Matthew McConaughey
Should Win: Matthew McConaughey
Could Win: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Leonardo DiCaprio
While Chiwetel Ejiofor seemed like the clear winner in the past months, McConaughey surprised by winning the Globe for Best Actor in a Drama. He seems the most likely to win the award, but I wouldn’t count out Ejiofor or DiCaprio for that matter.
Should Win: Cate Blanchette
Could Win: Sandra Bullock, Amy Adams
Blanchette practically has the award on lock at this point. She has been all the talk lately, but she may have the advantage for being in the earliest film. While Bullock and Adams are fresh in voters’ minds, Blanchette sticks out for giving one of the best performances of her career.
Best Supporting Actor
Will Win: Jared Leto
Should Win: Jared Leto
Could Win: Michael Fassbender, Barkhad Abdi
Like Blanchette before him, Jared Leto seems almost guaranteed the award at this point. His fantastic transformation for Dallas Buyers Club puts him in a league ahead of the others. I still wouldn’t count out Barkhad Abdi, who has the best story (humble cab driver) and was a dominant force in Captain Phillips, but Leto seems like the clear winner here.
Best Supporting Actress
Will Win: Lupita Nyong’o
Should Win: Jennifer Lawrence
Could Win: June Squibb
One of the most polarizing categories, Supporting Actress is still a toss-up at this point. While Lawrence took home the Globe, Nyong’o has been sweeping up awards right and left. While she is not as prominently present in the film as her costars, she is still a great actress, but Lawrence was one of the best parts of American Hustle. Winning back-to-back might seem cheap, but she definitely deserves it.
Should Win: Alfonso Cuaron
Could Win: Steve McQueen
Cuaron. Hands down.
Best Original Screenplay
Will Win: Her
Could Win: Nebraska
While I was not a fan of Her, it seems like this is the category in which the film will be recognized, if any. American Hustle, though, deserves the prize, for being a unique and well-made dramedy that had me on edge at times.
Best Adapted Screenplay
Will Win: 12 Years a Slave
Should Win: 12 Years a Slave
Could Win: Captain Phillips, Philomena
12 Years a Slave should take this award for being a faithful adaptation of the John Ridley novel. I wouldn’t count Captain Phillips or Philomena out of this race just yet, though. Philomena has been gaining some ground lately, and Captain Phillips is an excellent adaptation of the Richard Phillips’ book.
9. Her – Spike Jonze’s love story Her might be the only Oscar nominee this year that I did not enjoy in some way. While well-intentioned, Her feels like a first draft. Joaquin Phoenix is drab and dull, with Scarlett Johansson ironically providing the voice of the only “alive” character in the film. In what’s supposed to be a “feel good” movie, Her ends up feeling too bizarre and takes an odd experimental approach. Despite the film’s beautiful cinematography, Her winds up being a mess of good ideas.
8. 12 Years a Slave – That’s right. The current front runner ends up at the back of the pack. Steve McQueen’s gripping slave drama is a beautiful portrait of a dark time in our nation’s history. While Chiwetel Ejiofor and Michael Fassbender both pack a punch, the rest of the cast feels less involved. While 12 Years a Slave might be a great period piece, it is extremely emotionally distant. While McQueen wants you to feel something when you watch this film, he isn’t quite sure what that is, and the result is a mixed bag of emotions that never really takes off.
7. Captain Phillips – Tom Hanks is a powerhouse in the real life tale of the ship that was hijacked by Somali pirates. The biggest Oscar snub this year comes from Hanks, who commands the film with the urgency it requires. A 2 hour suspense trip, Captain Phillips is great filmmaking. Barkhad Abdi also is chilling as the pirate leader. Greengrass nails the film intense action and great cinematography. Everyone talks about the last 15 minutes of the film as some of Hanks’s best work, but the entire film represents Hanks at his best.
6. Dallas Buyers Club – Dallas Buyers Club did not interest me at all at first. Matthew McConaughey has not picked the best roles in the past, but I could not have been more wrong. McConaughey now enters the league of distinguished actors with Buyers Club. The AIDS drama manages to be both educational and entertaining. With other great performances form Jared Leto and Jennifer Garner (surprisingly snubbed), Dallas Buyers Club deserves to be seen.
5. The Wolf of Wall Street – Martin Scorsese’s 3-hour party will leave you exhausted – in a good way of course. The true life tale of Jordan Belfort, The Wolf of Wall Street is one of the wildest films you’ll see all year. It’s hilarious, grotesque, and entertaining. Headed by the brilliant Leonardo DiCaprio and a great supporting cast, The Wolf of Wall Street is definitely not for everyone, but for everyone else it’s a wild ride that is worth the admission.
4. Philomena - The film I was holding out ended up being one of my favorites of 2013. Stephen Frears’s Philomena expertly blends bits of humor with a dark and emotional journey. What I love about Philomena is that it isn’t afraid of an unhappy ending. As Philomena and journalist Martin Sixsmith interact on this journey to find her long lost son, you’ll see one of the most interesting relationships unravel on screen. A beautiful score and an array of twists keep Philomena from being the snooze-fest it could have been, as it is well worth seeing.
3. American Hustle – David O. Russell’s ode to cinema has received much flack for lacking substance, but American Hustle is anything but. A cast that I’m still speechless by, a well-crafted story with plenty of twists and turns, and a brilliant sense of style help catapult Hustle to the front of the race. Amy Adams and Jennifer Lawrence are flawless in the film, that will be remembered for taking risks that ultimately pay off. Hustle is of the most entertaining movies I’ve ever seen, one that is only possible through the medium of film.
2. Nebraska - Alexander Payne is one of my favorite directors, and while Nebraska might not be his flashiest film, it’s still an incredible film worth seeing. Bruce Dern and Will Forte have a brilliant dynamic as father and son, as son David goes with his father Woody to collect a winning prize that he believes he has won. The film is also bitingly funny, in a dark sort of way. June Squibb steals the show as the crass mother Kate, and as you meet the host of wild family members, you begin to feel a little better about your own.
1. Gravity - I still believe Gravity will be remembered for changing cinema, and for that reason it deserves Best Picture. Technological achievements aside, Gravity tells an emotional tale that will tear your heart apart and keep you on the edge of your seat. It’s one of the best sci-fi films I’ve ever seen, and one of the best dramas told on screen. Sandra Bullock holds her own as astronaut Ryan Stone, who is lost in space after a tragic accident. George Clooney also stops by, but Bullock commands the film. Her best performance to date, Gravity has been criticized for being too simplistic for its own good. I’m not exactly sure what those critics were expecting, but I’m glad that Gravity doesn’t feel the need to be overcomplicated or overlong, like other sci-fi movies of late. Clocking in at 90 minutes, it’s a perfect running time for the perfect film, one that will change cinema forever.
Stephen Frears has crafted a moving and thought-provoking drama, one which treats its audience like adults, all while sprinkling in bits of humor amidst the fantastic performances.
In Stephen Frears’s Philomena, he manages an astounding feat. He effectively balances sappy drama with effective storytelling. With a great script and great performances from Dench and Coogan, Philomena is just as thought-provoking as it is hilarious.
Philomena is based on the work of Martin Sixsmith, who is played in the film by Steve Coogan. Sixsmith, a British journalist, picks up the story of Philomena Lee, whose child was taken from her many years ago. The two strike up a friendship, as friends rather than clients, as their journey to find Philomena’s child takes them to Washington D.C.
Judi Dench shines as the titular character in Philomena. I have not seen much of her work outside of the James Bond films, but she is terrific as the distraught mother. Her Oscar nomination is well-deserved here. She delivers a moving performance in the scenes where she learns of her son’s life. She also gives the film the majority of its well-intentioned humor amidst the dark content. Steve Coogan’s character Martin Sixsmith is also wonderfully complex. Philomena throws some heavy material at you, with talks of religion and other values scattered throughout.
It manages to remain its complexity given the content, with some interspersed humor here and there. Some of these jokes land quite well, but the majority are simple jabs at American lifestyle, with a mix of airplane and hotel humor. If that’s the best Philomena can manage, then it’s a wonder that it wasn’t labeled a comedy at the Golden Globes. But this humor is very welcomed, as it allows you to take a break from the film and appreciate the well-crafted characters. The screenplay also delivers thanks to work from both Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope.
Philomena is a great drama. One that manages to tell a complex tale with heavy themes, all while keeping a light tone throughout thanks to some great characters. I haven’t even mentioned the brilliant score from Alexandre Desplat, whose work fits the film excellently. Philomena might not score come awards time, but you owe it to yourself to check out this great movie.
Short Term 12 never treats its audience as emotional punching bags. Sure, there are fair share of tender and emotional moments, yet Short Term 12 is better than that. It doesn’t tell you how to feel, but lets you feel for yourself.
Short Term 12 stars Brie Larson as Grace, a young woman who runs a foster center with her boyfriend Mason (John Gallagher Jr.). The film documents her life, both working with underprivileged kids in the foster home, and her personal life with her boyfriend and family. As kids move in and out of the foster home, and moments pass with Grace and Mason, you become invested in her career and her life.
Short Term 12 is a beautiful film that deals with some tough issues. At times it’s not easy to watch, but Short Term 12 has a payoff like none other. Grace’s relationship with a young girl at the home named Jayden is both sentimental and passionate. The way this relationship parallels the rest of Grace’s life is a thing of beauty. Another kid Marcus, played by Keith Stanfield, displays struggles with adolescence and growing up.
As Grace, Mason, and the rest of the employees touch their lives, you feel like you’re saying goodbye to an old friend. It’s a touching film that treats its audience like adults, and shouldn’t be missed. When the film knocks you down, it picks you back up. The term “emotional roller coaster” gets tossed around with films like The Blind Side and Les Miserables, yet Short Term 12 is the good kind of roller coaster. It’s not exactly a feel good film, it’s a feel better film.
Fruitvale Station is another unfortunate example of a movie being abused by Hollywood. It had the chance to be a moving, poignant drama, but Fruitvale falls into the trap of over-sentimentalization and emotional manipulation, token of typical Hollywood dramas.
Fruitvale Station follows the life of Oscar Grant, and his last day alive. The film wastes no time in telling you the ending, which actually hurts it in the long run. Fruitvale spans the course of one day, as Oscar interacts with his family and friends before the fateful event on Fruitvale Station.
Fruitvale succeeds at being a great family drama. Oscar’s family life is greatly documented, especially the relationship with his mother. A few flashbacks to Oscar’s hard upbringing keep you up-to-date on the family’s position, as it would be impossible to squeeze in every detail in under 90 minutes.
The film stars Michael B. Jordan as Oscar, in what should be the performance that puts him on the map. He is great as Oscar, both sympathetic and likable. Even if the film falls into the trap of oversimplifying details, it’s still an emotional journey. Octavia Spencer steals the show as his mother, and how she didn’t earn an Oscar nomination is beyond me. The last 10 minutes of the film display Spencer’s breadth as an actress.
Where Fruitvale Station fails is in its characterization. The fact that the film spans a 24-hour time period forces it to hit the audience with an emotional lesson every five minutes. The filmmakers try to make Oscar too sympathetic, making him look like a saint when that is simply not true. Once the film hits you with the climax, you either feel too hit over the head or too manipulated to even care, as bad as that sounds. The film then ends with typical footage of the actual day after, with a political message that serves not as a call for action, but a trap for guilt. It’s a poor decision, when you consider the film could have been more effective in ending with Oscar’s grieving family.
Fruitvale Station is a polarizing film. At times you are entranced by Jordan and Spencer’s performances, but in the back of your mind you are wondering why Oscar needs to be seen as a perfect guy. Forced characterization to appeal to audience’s emotions is a risky tactic, but it doesn’t pay off in Fruitvale.
2013 was just overflowing with fantastic movies from beginning to end. From big blockbusters to small indie flicks, 2013 delivered some high quality entertainment. I tried to put together a Top 10 list but I just couldn’t do it. There were just so many good movies that I genuinely enjoyed very much this year. So let’s dive right in:
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
2013 was not short of blockbusters, and while many failed to deliver, others shined. One of those is The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, the second film in The Hunger Games Saga. It’s immensely enjoyable, thanks to some well-directed action scenes from new director Francis Lawrence. It’s thought-provoking and also bitterly funny. Good performances from Jennifer Lawrence and newcomers like Jenna Malone and Phillip Seymour Hoffman help pave the way for what will hopefully be an exciting finale.
Greta Gerwig gives the performance of her career in this indie dramedy, one that almost slipped past my radar, but I happened to stumble upon on Netflix. Frances Ha tells the story of a young girl trying to start her life right out of college. The film is one of the best portrayals of modern young adult post-college life, in the same accurate way found in HBO’s Girls. It’s worth checking out, for more than just Gerwig’s acting, but also for its biting accuracy and sharp wit.
Star Trek Into Darkness
J.J. Abrams has made a name for himself with the Star Trek reboot films, and Into Darkness adds onto the world he established in the 2009 original. A sharp story and a fantastic villain come to mind when recalling this great thrill ride, as the crew of the Enterprise are faced with a completely new threat. Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto are now household names in the Trek universe, and as Abrams moves onto Star Wars in 2015, we’ll always remember the outstanding changes he brought to the Star Trek world.
The Wolf of Wall Street
You may have heard of Martin Scorsese’s new film, but not in a very positive light. It’s crass, it’s outrageous, and it’s terrific entertainment. Leonardo DiCaprio gives one of his best performances as Jordan Belfort, telling the story of a real man who played the Wall Street game. Jonah Hill also surprises, and The Wolf of Wall Street features some of the most ridiculously memorable moments in movies in 2013.
The Way Way Back
Growing up is hard, and in directing duo Jim Rash and Nat Faxon’s summer indie, no where is this more evident. A great coming of age story, it’s unconventional yet also familiar. Sam Rockwell delivers some of the funniest and most quotable lines all year, as he takes young Duncan under his wing at Water Whizz water park. It’s honest, and it’s endearing, in a “we’ve all been there” kind of way, and it’s definitely worth seeing.
As a complete stranger to the world of Formula One, what drew me to Rush was not the high-octane intense racing sequences, but the intense rivalry between Nicki Lauda and James Hunt. Ron Howard’s directing is perfect here, with gorgeous cinematography to boot. But it’s all about the two stars here, and Daniel Bruhl is simply captivating. You don’t have to be a racing fan to enjoy Rush, just a movie fan.
Romantic comedies are the punching bags of cinema, yet in Nicole Holofcener’s latest, she changes the game. Julia Louis-Dreyfus and James Gandolfini (in his final role) play your not-so traditional couple. Both divorced, with children of their own, they fall in love despite some awkward circumstances. It’s both a sincere look at middle age, and a great and refreshing love story. Enough Said should not be passed over because of its genre.
An under appreciated thriller, Prisoners is an intense and harrowing drama, elevated to new heights with great performances from Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhall. A thriller with an emotional center, Prisoners breaks the rules of the genre. It asks you to figure out the mystery, it guides you but never cheats you. It keeps you on the edge of your seat, and you won’t want to take your eyes away until the film’s finale.
August: Osage County
Family is full of ups and downs, and John Wells’ adaptation of the stage play is a real and true family drama. Meryl Streep leads the cast of the outrageous and unlikable Weston family, as they reunite after a family crisis. There’s a lot of shouting, and a lot of crying. Osage County isn’t pretty, but neither is family. Wells isn’t afraid to give the film an unhappy ending, and I commend him and writer Tracy Letts for giving us a brutally honest film.
David O. Russell joins the ranks of esteemed directors with an impressive record with his latest film American Hustle. With a sharp and smart plot, and a cast that I’m still impressed with, American Hustle is an outstanding crime drama. It’s a movie made for movie lovers, reminding us why some stories are better suited to the medium. O. Russell will be remembered for his sharp dialogue and captivating stories, and American Hustle is another brick in his growing wall of films.
Inside Llewyn Davis
The Coen Brothers give us another outstanding and real film with Inside Llewyn Davis, telling us the story of a folk singer in 1960s New York. It’s a somber and surreal film, that uses music to not only entertain, but to complement the gloomy story. It’s not a particularly happy film, but with a great performance from Oscar Isaac, Llewyn Davis is another film that isn’t afraid of unconventional endings.
No one does family better than Alexander Payne, and Nebraska is another impressive showcase for his films that are full of original and complex characters. In his latest black and white dramedy, we are reminded of life’s fragility. With excellent acting from Bruce Dern and June Squibb, Nebraska is chock full of both laugh out loud moments and quieter honest moments that truly show the bond between father and son.
Disney’s latest is their best film ever made. I don’t say that jokingly. Frozen is a modern animated tale. No princesses trapped in towers, no dashing heroes, Frozen changes the game with a story that breaks the rules of traditional fairy tales. Frozen is a miracle, and in a time when Disney has been overshadowed by Pixar, Frozen is a beautiful and perfect film. It’s the studio’s best film to date, and will be remembered for its new morals and new story for a more modern audience.
If you ask me which movie on this list I will remember in 20 years, that answer is Gravity. Alfonso Cuaron has given us a beautiful and wonderful film. Technology aside, Gravity is still a awe-inspiring experience, in the same way ’2001′ and ‘Avatar’ changed cinema. Sandra Bullock gives a tour de force as a mother lost amid space. Gravity displays themes of isolation, moving on, and rebirth in a smart fashion, never throwing on the themes lightly. It’s only 90 minutes, yet Gravity displays more complexity than your typical 150 minute drama. Cuaron gave us the most impressive film you’ll see all year, one that will change cinema forever.
Saving Mr. Banks
The 2014 Academy Award nominations were announced today. hot off the trail of some Golden Globe surprises. Along with them came a list of fairy unsurprising nominations. A few snubs here and there provided for some interesting discussion, as some films were left out completely and others got more recognition than they deserved. “American Hustle” and “Gravity” led the pack with ten nominations each, with “12 Years a Slave” just behind with nine. Others included “Captain Phillips,” “Her,” “Nebraska,” and “The Wolf of Wall Street.” Without further ado, here’s my list of surprises and snubs from this morning’s announcement.
- Tom Hanks snubbed…twice: Even Academy favorite Hanks had trouble breaking through to the voters in his fantastic movie “Captain Phillips.” He seemed like a shoe-in, even a possible frontrunner for the Best Actor category, but Matthew McConaughey’s Golden Globe win let him take the last spot. Also absent was Hanks’s work in “Saving Mr. Banks” for Best Supporting Actor. While not much of a shocker, it comes as a surprise when you consider that he wasn’t nominated for either.
- Inside Llewyn Davis…more like Outside of the Oscars: The Coen brothers’ music dramedy was an award favorite early on, and carried a hot amount of buzz in the early months of 2013. But when other hits overshadowed it, Llewyn Davis fell behind and out of voters’ minds. The film only managed to score nominations for cinematography and sound mixing.
- Robert Redford…All is Lost for his Oscar hopes: While JC Chandor’s “All is Lost” wasn’t at the top of the list for Academy voters, one-time nominee Redford seemed like a candidate for Best Actor. But the indie survival flick missed its chance.
- Saving Mr. Banks…needed some saving: No nomination for Hanks seems understandable, but the lack of Emma Thompson on the list was definitely not a spoonful of sugar. The Disney biopic played well over Christmas and the HFPA recognized Thompson for her work.
- Rush…fell behind: Ron Howard’s F1 drama “Rush” failed to score a single nomination, despite receiving a nom for Best Drama and a nom for Bruhl at the Globes.
- Oprah Winfrey…more like No-prah Winfrey: While the Lee Daniels’ drama didn’t earn any love from the HFPA, it seemed like Winfrey had a nomination on-lock for Supporting Actress. That wasn’t the case, however, as “The Butler” was shut out from any nominations entirely.
- The Croods…over Monsters University: While MU is definitely not Pixar’s finest work, it was still miles ahead of other animated fare such as “The Croods” and “Despicable Me 2.” Regardless, this category belongs to “Frozen,” but the lack of Monsters University is shocking.
- Blue is the Warmest Color…it’s actually not: The Cannes lesbian drama came under fire for its explicit material, but even the Academy failed to recognize it for Best Foreign Film.
- American Hustle…keeps on hustlin’: The David O. Russell dramedy scored nominations for all four of its actors, including Christian Bale and Amy Adams, who seemed like the ones to be shut out if possible. This happened previously with O. Russell’s “Silver Linings Playbook,” and the director seems to be on a bit of a hot streak as of late.
- Sally Hawkins…turning blue: For her work in “Blue Jasmine,” Sally Hawkins might have gone unrecognized for the Woody Allen flick. That didn’t happen, as she took the last spot in the Supporting Actress category.
- The Wolf of Wall Street…is howling: After a surprise win for Leonardo DiCaprio last Sunday, Scorsese’s “Wolf of Wall Street” is on the rise. A nomination for DiCaprio and a surprise nomination for Jonah Hill should boost the film’s popularity and awareness. Scorsese even stole the last spot in Best Director from Paul Greengrass, which was another big surprise.
- Dallas Buyers Club…is buying up the spots: After two wins for McConaughey and Leto, the indie AIDS drama rose to the top of voters’ minds, as it scored a surprise nomination for Best Picture.
- Philomena…found some room: The Weinstein drama scored a nomination for Dench, and even found room in the Best Picture spot, taking it from films like “Inside Llewyn Davis” and “August: Osage County.”