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2014 Academy Award Nominations

BEST PICTURE

“12 Years a Slave”
“American Hustle”
“Captain Phillips”
“Dallas Buyers Club”
“Gravity”
“Her”
“Nebraska”
“Philomena”
“The Wolf of Wall Street”

BEST DIRECTOR

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

BEST ACTOR

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”

BEST ACTRESS

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

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

“American Hustle” – Written by Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell
“Blue Jasmine” – Written by Woody Allen
“Her” – Written by Spike Jonze
“Nebraska” – Written by Bob Nelson
“Dallas Buyers Club” – Written by Craig Borten & Melisa Wallack

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

“Before Midnight” – Written by Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke
“Captain Phillips” – Screenplay by Billy Ray
“Philomena” – Screenplay by Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope
“12 Years a Slave” – Screenplay by John Ridley
“The Wolf of Wall Street” – Screenplay by Terence Winter

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Lupita Nyong’o, “12 Years a Slave”
Jennifer Lawrence, “American Hustle”
June Squibb, “Nebraska”
Julia Roberts, “August: Osage County”
Sally Hawkins, “Blue Jasmine”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

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”

BEST ANIMATED FILM

“The Croods”
“Despicable Me 2”
“Ernest & Celestine”
“Frozen”
“The Wind Rises”

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

“The Grandmaster”
“Gravity”
“Inside Llewyn Davis”
“Nebraska”
“Prisoners”

BEST COSTUME DESIGN

Michael Wilkinson, “American Hustle”
William Chang Suk Ping, “The Grandmaster”
Catherine Martin, “The Great Gatsby”
Michael O’Connor, “The Invisible Woman”
Patricia Norris, “12 Years a Slave”

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

“The Act of Killing”Joshua Oppenheimer and Signe Byrge Sørensen
“Cutie and the Boxer” Zachary Heinzerling and Lydia Dean Pilcher
“Dirty Wars” Richard Rowley and Jeremy Scahill
“The Square” Jehane Noujaim and Karim Amer
“20 Feet from Stardom” Nominees to be determined

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT

“CaveDigger” Jeffrey Karoff
“Facing Fear” Jason Cohen
“Karama Has No Walls” Sara Ishaq
“The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life” Malcolm Clarke and Nicholas Reed
“Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall” Edgar Barens

BEST FILM EDITING

“American Hustle” Jay Cassidy, Crispin Struthers and Alan Baumgarten
“Captain Phillips” Christopher Rouse
“Dallas Buyers Club” John Mac McMurphy and Martin Pensa
“Gravity” Alfonso Cuarón and Mark Sanger
“12 Years a Slave” Joe Walker

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

“The Broken Circle Breakdown” Belgium
“The Great Beauty” Italy
“The Hunt” Denmark
“The Missing Picture” Cambodia
“Omar” Palestine

BEST MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING

“Dallas Buyers Club” Adruitha Lee and Robin Mathews
“Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa” Stephen Prouty
“The Lone Ranger” Joel Harlow and Gloria Pasqua-Casny

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE

John Williams, “The Book Thief”
Steven Price, “Gravity”
William Butler and Owen Pallett, “Her”
Alexandre Desplat, “Philomena”
Thomas Newman, “Saving Mr. Banks”

BEST ORIGINAL SONG

“Alone Yet Not Alone” from “Alone Yet Not Alone”
Music by Bruce Broughton; Lyric by Dennis Spiegel

“Happy” from “Despicable Me 2”
Music and Lyric by Pharrell Williams

“Let It Go” from “Frozen”
Music and Lyric by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez

“The Moon Song” from “Her”
Music by Karen O; Lyric by Karen O and Spike Jonze

“Ordinary Love” from “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom”
Music by Paul Hewson, Dave Evans, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen; Lyric by Paul Hewson

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN

“American Hustle”
Production Design: Judy Becker; Set Decoration: Heather Loeffler

“Gravity”
Production Design: Andy Nicholson; Set Decoration: Rosie Goodwin and Joanne Woollard

“The Great Gatsby”
Production Design: Catherine Martin; Set Decoration: Beverley Dunn

“Her”
Production Design: K.K. Barrett; Set Decoration: Gene Serdena

“12 Years a Slave”
Production Design: Adam Stockhausen; Set Decoration: Alice Baker

BEST ANIMATED SHORT FILM

“Feral” Daniel Sousa and Dan Golden
“Get a Horse!” Lauren MacMullan and Dorothy McKim
“Mr. Hublot” Laurent Witz and Alexandre Espigares
“Possessions” Shuhei Morita
“Room on the Broom” Max Lang and Jan Lachauer

BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM

“Aquel No Era Yo (That Wasn’t Me)” Esteban Crespo
“Avant Que De Tout Perdre (Just before Losing Everything)” Xavier Legrand and Alexandre Gavras
“Helium” Anders Walter and Kim Magnusson
“Pitääkö Mun Kaikki Hoitaa? (Do I Have to Take Care of Everything?)” Selma Vilhunen and Kirsikka Saari
“The Voorman Problem” Mark Gill and Baldwin Li

BEST SOUND EDITING

“All Is Lost” Steve Boeddeker and Richard Hymns
“Captain Phillips” Oliver Tarney
“Gravity” Glenn Freemantle
“The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” Brent Burge
“Lone Survivor” Wylie Stateman

BEST SOUND MIXING

“Captain Phillips” Chris Burdon, Mark Taylor, Mike Prestwood Smith and Chris Munro
“Gravity” Skip Lievsay, Niv Adiri, Christopher Benstead and Chris Munro
“The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” Christopher Boyes, Michael Hedges, Michael Semanick and Tony Johnson
“Inside Llewyn Davis” Skip Lievsay, Greg Orloff and Peter F. Kurland
“Lone Survivor” Andy Koyama, Beau Borders and David Brownlow

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

“Gravity” Tim Webber, Chris Lawrence, Dave Shirk and Neil Corbould
“The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton and Eric Reynolds
“Iron Man 3” Christopher Townsend, Guy Williams, Erik Nash and Dan Sudick
“The Lone Ranger” Tim Alexander, Gary Brozenich, Edson Williams and John Frazier
“Star Trek Into Darkness” Roger Guyett, Patrick Tubach, Ben Grossmann and Burt Dalton

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Posted by on January 16, 2014 in 2014 Academy Awards

 

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August: Osage County Review

august_osage_countyFamily isn’t always pretty, and no where is this more evident than in August: Osage County, an adaptation of the stage play by Tracy Letts. The Weston family is full of unlikable folk, but they’re family, and August: Osage County perfectly captures the highs and lows of what comes with it. A darkly comedic tale of forgiveness and acceptance, Osage County is propelled by an outstanding cast of crazy characters, and a surprising amount of heart given the subject matter.

Like I said, Osage County is based on the play of the same name. Tracy Letts helped write the screenplay for the film, and John Wells directed. We are introduced to Violet Weston, the pill-popping addict and matriarch of the Weston clan. After an event brings the family together, they are thrown back into their Oklahoma home and must deal with each other and their baggage. There is a lot of shouting, and a lot of throwing things and cursing, but the Weston family captures surprisingly real dialogue and a lot of heart, even if these characters are unlikable assholes.

Osage County features a ridiculous ensemble cast, with Meryl Streep headlining as Violet. Her three daughters, Barbara (Julia Roberts), Ivy (Julianne Nicholson), and Karen (Juliette Lewis), all have lives of their own, and they all have a little of Violet’s personality in them. Violet is a complex and dark character. Loaded with prescription medications and addicted to cigarettes, Violet is a changed woman, as she hires a maid after her husband leaves her and must live without him. Streep gives an outstanding performance, Oscar-worthy, and she is equally matched by Roberts, who also deserves a nomination.

The Weston family is a complex family, and as they deal with each other, you start to get involved in their complicated and not-so-pretty lives. The dialogue is surprisingly real, with family fights and conflicting personalities coming center stage at a climactic family dinner scene, that ends with everyone on top of each other and a lot of screaming.

But the Westons aren’t the only ones with their own baggage. Barbara has a rough relationship with her ex-husband Bill (Ewan McGregor) and their daughter Jean (Abigail Breslin). Karen brought this year’s man Steve (Dermot Mulroney), and Violet’s sister Mattie Fae Aiken (Margo Martindale) stops by, with her husband Charlie (Chris Cooper), and their son Little Charles (Benedict Cumberbatch). Now if this sounds like a huge cast, it definitely is, and at times it is overwhelming, but the Weston family is an interesting bunch, and Letts does a nice job of keeping you updated on the family and who’s who.

All of these actors are fantastic in their own rights, but there’s a certain chemistry among the extended Weston family, that captures a reality that I’ve rarely seen in a family drama. It’s compelling, with outstanding performances and outstanding dialogue that actually feels real, delivered by real actors and not robots. Besides Streep and Roberts, Martindale stands up next to Streep, and finally has a role to call her own. Breslin also plays an angst teen quite well, and McGregor also shines. The breakout star, for me at least, is Julianne Nicholson, who plays the film’s only likable character.

August: Osage County might feel like Oscar-bait to some, but it’s quite the opposite. It will be passed over by most audiences dismissing Streep as taking home the Oscar already, but they’d be missing out an outstanding family drama that truly captures the highs and lows of family life. At times, though, Osage County feels a bit too much like a reality tv drama, something you’d find on TLC. Sometimes it seems like it’s a competition of who can yell the loudest, with Roberts coming out on top most times. It’s not distracting, but sometimes the film loses itself amidst the loud yelling.

August: Osage County might be this year’s overlooked gem. A deeply dark and personal family drama, Osage County delivers remarkable performances courtesy of Streep, Roberts, Martindale, Nicholson, and too many to count. The screen (stage) never gets too crowded, and as you become invested in these character’s lives, you feel something yourself that makes you want to go home and hug your mother. It’s an outstanding film, a brilliant adaptation of the well-written play, and a must-see for the holidays.

Overall: 3.5 stars out of 4

Buy August: Osage County Today on Amazon!

 
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Posted by on January 11, 2014 in Movie Reviews

 

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Golden Globes – Full List: Film & TV

The Golden Globes were announced early this morning, and along with the sneers and boos of films that were or were not snubbed came a fine list of contenders for the eventual Academy Award. The Globes are typically second two the Oscars, in front of the SAG awards in determining the eventual winners. There are rare instances where the Academy doesn’t follow suit, or nominates someone out of the blue, but for the most part they follow the same path.

american-hustle

David O. Russell’s American Hustle received a big boost come Oscar season.

That being said, the Globes today carried little shockers or surprises, with 12 Years a Slave and American Hustle leading the pack. American Hustle earned nominations in all four acting categories, which is an impressive feat. These two films seem like they solidified themselves as solid contenders for the Best Picture Oscar, along with Gravity, Captain Phillips, Nebraska, and The Wolf of Wall Street.

Acting-wise, the Globes kept pretty conservative, nominating fan favorites like Sandra Bullock and Tom Hanks, but there were a few surprises in Greta Gerwig and Kate Winslet. Big surprises included a nomination for Rush for Best Drama, and an acting nomination for Daniel Bruhl. I loved the film, but it seemed to fade away from everyone’s attention behind the big players, so it was refreshing to see the Ron Howard film recognized. Other films that should get a boost this season include Spike Jonze’s Her, which earned a nomination for Best Comedy/Musical along with an acting nomination for Joaquin Phoenix and a screenplay bid. A final surprise came from Idris Elba in Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, which may have gained a boost due to the South African president’s recent death. We’ll see if that carries through come Oscars day.

12-years-a-slave2

Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave tied with American Hustle for 7 nominations.

Snubs this year, or rather unrecognized films, include Lee Daniels’ The Butler, which, until today, was proving a big player thanks to a healthy giving of SAG nominations. Lee Daniels’ biopic was left out completely, not even a nomination for Oprah Winfrey, which seemed a given. Also left out of major categories was August: Osage County. The John Wells’ play adaptation didn’t earn a Best Musical nom, but at least Mery Streep and Julia Roberts both gained recognition (but not Margo Martindale). Saving Mr. Banks rounds out the list of snubs, with a sole nomination for Emma Thompson, but that’s all the Disney comedy biopic could muster. Smaller snubs were Jonah Hill for supporting role for Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street, and James Gandolfini for Enough Said, but at least Julia Louis-Dreyfus was nominated.

wolf-of-wall-street

Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street walked away with a nomination for Best Comedy/Musical as well as a nomination for DiCaprio.

On the TV side, the lesser-enjoyed side of the Globes, there weren’t many surprises. A big win for Netflix was found in House of Cards and Orange is the New Black, both picking up a couple of nominations. On the drama side, Tatiana Maslany earned her place for her role in the outstanding drama Orphan Black, and Taylor Schilling was recognized for her role in Netflix’s Orange. James Spader also surprised with a nomination for his role in NBC’s The Blacklist, the fall breakout hit. But other than that, the drama side was pretty unsurprising, with Breaking Bad, The Good Wife, and Downton Abbey both scoring heavily. On the comedy side, Parks and Recreation (my favorite show) finally got the recognition it deserves, scoring a nomination for Best Comedy Series and a nomination for Poehler. FOX comedy Brooklyn Nine-Nine also surprises, with a nomination for Series and Samberg. Michael J Fox even scored a nomination for his moderately-received NBC show, which might give it the boost it needs. The comedy categories were rounded out by Modern Family, Veep, Girls, and The Big Bang Theory.

Here’s the full list of nominees:

BEST MOTION PICTURE – DRAMA
“12 Years a Slave”
“Captain Phillips”
“Gravity”
“Philomena”
“Rush”

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A MOTION PICTURE – DRAMA
Cate Blanchett, “Blue Jasmine”
Sandra Bullock, “Gravity”
Judi Dench, “Philomena”
Emma Thompson, “Saving Mr. Banks”
Kate Winslet, “Labor Day”

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A MOTION PICTURE – DRAMA
Chiwetel Ejiofor, “12 Years a Slave”
Idris Elba, “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom”
Tom Hanks, “Saving Mr. Banks”
Matthew McConaughey, “Dallas Buyers Club”
Robert Redford, “All Is Lost”

BEST MOTION PICTURE – COMEDY OR MUSICAL
“American Hustle”
“Her”
“Inside Llewyn Davis”
“Nebraska”
“The Wolf Of Wall Street”

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A MOTION PICTURE – COMEDY OR MUSICAL
Amy Adams, “American Hustle”
Julie Delpy, “Before Midnight”
Greta Gerwig, “Frances Ha”
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “Enough Said”
Meryl Streep, “August: Osage County”

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A MOTION PICTURE – COMEDY OR MUSICAL
Christian Bale, “American Hustle”
Bruce Dern, “Nebraska”
Leonardo DiCaprio, “The Wolf of Wall Street”
Oscar Isaac, “Inside Llewyn Davis”
Joaquin Phoenix, “Her”

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM
“The Croods”
“Despicable Me 2″
“Frozen”

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
“Blue is the Warmest Color”
“The Great Beauty”
“The Hunt”
“The Past”
“The Wind Rises”

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A MOTION PICTURE
Sally Hawkins, “Blue Jasmine”
Jennifer Lawrence “American Hustle”
Lupita Nyong’o, “12 Years a Slave”
Julia Roberts, “August: Osage County”
June Squibb, “Nebraska”

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A MOTION PICTURE
Barkhad Abdi, “Captain Phillips”
Daniel Brühl, “Rush”
Bradley Cooper, “American Hustle”
Michael Fassbender, “12 Years a Slave”
Jared Leto, “Dallas Buyers Club”

BEST DIRECTOR – MOTION PICTURE

Alfonso Cuaron, “Gravity”
Paul Greengrass, Captain Phillips”
Steve McQueen, “12 Years a Slave”
Alexander Payne, “Nebraska”
David O. Russell, “American Hustle”

BEST SCREENPLAY – MOTION PICTURE
Spike Jonze, “Her”
Bob Nelson, “Nebraska”
Jeff Pope, Steve Coogan, “Philomena”
John Ridley, “12 Years A Slave”
Eric Warren Singer, David O. Russell, “American Hustle”

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE – MOTION PICTURE
Alex Ebert, “All Is Lost”
Alex Heffes, “Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom”
Steven Price, “Gravity”
John Williams, “The Book Thief”
Hans Zimmer, “12 Years A Slave”

BEST ORIGINAL SONG – MOTION PICTURE
“Atlas,” “Hunger Games: Catching Fire”
Music by: Chris Martin, Guy Berryman, Jonny Buckland, Will Champion
Lyrics by: Chris Martin, Guy Berryman, Jonny Buckland, Will Champion

“Let It Go,” “Frozen”
Music by: Kristen Anderson Lopez, Robert Lopez
Lyrics by: Kristen Anderson Lopez, Robert Lopez

“Ordinary Love,” “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom”
Music by: Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton, Larry Mullen, Jr., Brian Burton
Lyrics by: Bono

“Please Mr Kennedy,” “Inside Llewyn Davis”
Music by: Ed Rush, George Cromarty, T Bone Burnett, Justin Timberlake, Joel
Coen, Ethan Coen
Lyrics by: Ed Rush, George Cromarty, T Bone Burnett, Justin Timberlake, Joel
Coen, Ethan Coen

“Sweeter Than Fiction,” “One Chance”
Music by: Taylor Swift, Jack Antonoff
Lyrics by: Taylor Swift, Jack Antonoff

BEST TELEVISION SERIES – DRAMA
“Breaking Bad”
“Downton Abbey”
“The Good Wife”
“House Of Cards”
“Masters Of Sex”

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A TELEVISION SERIES – DRAMA
Julianna Margulies, “The Good Wife”
Tatiana Maslany, “Orphan Black”
Taylor Schilling, “Orange Is The New Black”
Kerry Washington, “Scandal”
Robin Wright, “House Of Cards”

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A TELEVISION SERIES – DRAMA
Bryan Cranston, “Breaking Bad”
Liev Schreiber, “Ray Donovan”
Michael Sheen, “Masters of Sex”
Kevin Spacey, “House of Cards”
James Spader, “The Blacklist”

BEST TELEVISION SERIES – COMEDY OR MUSICAL
“The Big Bang Theory”
“Brooklyn Nine-Nine”
“Girls”
“Modern Family”
“Parks & Recreation”

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A TELEVISION SERIES – COMEDY OR MUSICAL
Zooey Deschanel, “New Girl”
Lena Dunham, “Girls”
Edie Falco, “Nurse Jackie”
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “Veep”
Amy Poehler, “Parks & Recreation”

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A TELEVISION SERIES – COMEDY OR MUSICAL
Jason Bateman, “Arrested Development”
Don Cheadle, “House of Lies”
Michael J. Fox, “The Michael J. Fox Show”
Jim Parsons, “The Big Bang Theory”
Andy Samberg, “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”

BEST MINI-SERIES OR MOTION PICTURE MADE FOR TELEVISION
“American Horror Story: Coven”
“Behind The Candelabra”
“Dancing on the Edge”
“Top of the Lake”
“White Queen”

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A MINI-SERIES OR MOTION PICTURE MADE FOR TELEVISION
Helena Bonham Carter, “Burton and Taylor”
Rebecca Ferguson, “White Queen”
Jessica Lange, “American Horror Story: Coven”
Helen Mirren, “Phil Spector”
Elisabeth Moss, “Top of the Lake”

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A SERIES, MINI-SERIES OR MOTION PICTURE MADE FOR TELEVISION

Matt Damon, “Behind the Candelabra”
Michael Douglas, “Behind the Candelabra”
Chiwetel Ejiofor, “Dancing on the Edge”
Idris Elba, “Luther”
Al Pacino, “Phil Spector”

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A SERIES, MINI-SERIES OR MOTION PICTURE MADE FOR TELEVISION
Jacqueline Bisset, “Dancing on the Edge”
Janet McTeer, “White Queen”
Hayden Panettiere , “Nashville”
Monica Potter, “Parenthood”
Sofia Vergara, “Modern Family”

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A SERIES, MINI-SERIES OR MOTION PICTURE MADE FOR TELEVISION
Josh Charles, “The Good Wife”
Rob Lowe, “Behind the Candelabra”
Aaron Paul, “Breaking Bad”
Corey Stoll, “House of Cards”
Jon Voight, “Ray Donovan”

 
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Posted by on December 12, 2013 in 2014 Academy Awards

 

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Oscars 2014 – Best Adapted Screenplay Predictions

Shoe-Ins

  • John Ridley – 12 Years a Slave
  • Billy Ray – Captain Phillips
  • Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke, and Richard Linklater – Before Midnight

Most Likelys

  • Tracy Letts – August: Osage County
  • Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope – Philomena

Possiblys

  • Jason Retiman – Labor Day
  • Ghalia Lacroix and Abdellatif Kechiche – Blue is the Warmest Color
  • Terence Winter – The Wolf of Wall Street

My Personal Wild Card

  • Michael Petroni – The Book Thief

 

 
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Posted by on December 8, 2013 in 2014 Academy Awards

 

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Oscars 2014 – Best Actress Predictions

Shoe-Ins

  • Cate Blanchett – Blue Jasmine: While she almost has the Oscar in her hand, Blanchett could face trouble as the Best Actress race seems like the crowded one this year. Her performance in the Woody Allen drama has been widely regarded as her career best.
  • Judi Dench – Philomena: Dench has also been an Academy favorite in the past, and Philomena looks like the feel good movie that might put her into the top of the race. While the film had some drama with the MPAA, it looks like it should play well in the next month.
  • Meryl Streep – August: Osage County: Though Blanchett almost has it on lock, she should watch her back as Streep could become the audience favorite once Osage County hits theaters on Christmas Day.
  • Sandra Bullock – Gravity: The box office sci-fi hit has received universal praise, and Bullock’s performance is both emotional and thrilling. Expect to see her as a huge contender.

Most Likelys

  • Emma Thompson – Saving Mr. Banks: The fellow brit has already earned praise for her performance as P.L. Travers in the Walt Disney drama, and the film looks poised to play well with family audiences once it’s released this Christmas. Expect her to snatch the last spot.
  • Kate Winslet – Labor Day: The late January hit has been praised for Winslet’s performance, but the top 5 is very crowded, and it might be hard to squeeze into.

Possiblys

  • Adèle Exarchopoulos – Blue is the Warmest Color: The Cannes indie hit has had its fair share of controversy, but Exarchopoulos’s performance has received nothing but acclaim. Expect her as a dark horse.
  • Amy Adams – American Hustle: An Academy favorite, Adams could land in the top of the race once the film is released next month.
  • Julia Louis-Dreyfus – Enough Said: While the film might not receive much attention, Louis-Dreyfus’s performance has been the highlight since the film’s release.

My Personal Wild Card(s)

  • Shailene Woodley – The Spectacular Now: You’ll be hearing about her a lot in the coming years, as she’ll be starring in Divergent, The Fault in Our Stars, and The Amazing Spiderman 3, but she deserves attention for her great performance in the high school coming of age romance.
  • Sophie Nelisse – The Book Thief: In her third acting performance, Nelisse shines as Liesel in the adaptation of the young adult book. The Academy loves nominating the younger ones, so I’m not counting her out of the race.
 
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Posted by on November 19, 2013 in 2014 Academy Awards

 

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Oscars 2014 – Best Actor Predictions

Shoe-Ins

  • Bruce Dern – Nebraska: The veteran actor has already received a lot of praise since the film’s premiere at Cannes. Right now he seems like the one to beat.
  • Tom Hanks – Captain Phillips: If you read my review, you know I loved Hanks’s performance in the action-thriller. Given Hanks’s past Oscar history, a nomination seems on lock for him.
  • Robert Reford – All is Lost: Another lost at sea story, Redford commands the film as the sole actor, and, while I haven’t seen the film, it’s been called the performance of his career.
  • Oscar Isaac – Inside Llewyn Davis: His first big role, Isaac has already received huge praise for the Coen brothers’ indie flick.
  • Chiwetel Ejiofor – 12 Years a Slave: While I wasn’t huge on the film, Ejiofor’s performance was one of the highlights, and it seems like the last open slot might go to him.

Most Likelys

  • Christian Bale – American Hustle: While the film hasn’t been released yet, Bale seems like the star of the show, but he might not be much of a threat against the front runners.
  • Matthew McConaughey – Dallas Buyers Club: McConaughey’s performance has been universally praised, but he hasn’t received much Academy attention in the past.
  • Joaquin Phoenix – Her: The operating system love story has been praised for its story and directing, and Phoenix seems likely for a nomination, but the top five is very crowded at this point.

Possiblys

  • Idris Elba – Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom: Elba has had quite a year, and his role in the Mandela biopic seems like the boost he needs to achieve Academy level attention.
  • Forest Whitaker – Lee Daniels’ The Butler: While Winfrey’s performance has received the most attention, I’m not counting out Whitaker, who also gave one of his best performances.
  • Leonardo DiCaprio – The Wolf of Wall Street: The fan favorite, for sure, DiCaprio has had bad luck at the Oscars in the past. Scorsese’s film might do the trick, but still might leave him empty handed.

My Personal Wild Card

  • Michael B. Jordan – Fruitvale Station: While the film’s buzz has worn off quite a bit, Jordan gives a heartbreaking performance in the drama based on a true story.
 
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Posted by on November 15, 2013 in 2014 Academy Awards

 

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Oscars 2014 – Best Picture Predictions

With Oscar season rapidly approaching, I thought I’d give my two cents on what I think the frontrunners are for Best Picture. With the film festivals mostly over, the majority of films that have a shot have all been finished and screened. My picks represent my opinions as well as what other critics have said about the upcoming films this winter that I have not seen yet. That said, here are my choices:

Shoe-Ins

  • Gravity: This year’s “Life of Pi,” Gravity is a visual spectacle that should definitely sweep the visual effects categories. Expect a nomination for Sandra Bullock as well. The question is, will the Academy break out of their anti-science fiction film bubble and recognize Gravity as the game changer that it is?
  • Captain Phillips: Tom Hanks almost has the Best Actor win on lock here, but Greengrass’s previous films have stumbled at the Oscars in the past. Possibly an Adapted Screenplay and Director nomination could push Phillips to the front of the pack.
  • Inside Llewyn Davis: The Coen brothers indie film has made a splash at festivals this fall, garnering universal praise. They’re an Academy favorite, and with a few acting nominations possible, Llewyn Davis could have a shot at the title.
  • American Hustle: David O. Russell’s films have been past Academy hits, and hot off of Silver Linings Playbook, the director should make some noise once Hustle finally hits theaters.
  • August: Osage County: With an enormous ensemble cast and many Academy favorites, this adaptation of Tracy Letts’ award-winning play could become a sleeper hit this Christmas. With favorites like Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts, expect Osage County to pick up a couple of acting nominations as well.
  • Nebraska: Alexander Payne’s black and white dramedy should play well with the older crowd. Bruce Dern made a splash Cannes, pushing him to the spotlight for Best Actor. Nebraska looks like it has a shot at the title, but we’ll have to see how it plays upon its release.

Most Likelys

  • 12 Years a Slave: Steve McQueen’s first mainstream hit, 12 Years a Slave will be this year’s “Beasts of the Southern Wild:” Does very well critically, gains a few acting nominations, but ultimately falls behind amidst the fan favorites.
  • Blue Jasmine: Cate Blanchette seems poised to win Best Actress, but Woody Allen films have been difficult to break into the mainstream in the past.
  • Blue is the Warmest Color: The Palme d’Or winner has been causing quite a bit of controversy, but it looks to be this year’s “Amour,” and might have a chance at a Best Picture nom.
  • Dallas Buyers Club: Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto seem locked for acting noms, but its unknown director and limited release might hinder its big breakout.
  • Saving Mr. Banks: The Walt Disney tale of the Mary Poppins writer looks to be a crowd-pleaser, but that might keep it from breaking in the top categories. A nomination for Hanks or Thompson seems likely, though.
  • Rush: The Ron Howard Formula One drama was a critical success, and could net a few acting nominations, but Howard’s films have received mixed Academy attention in the past.

Possiblys

  • The Wolf of Wall Street: Scorsese’s crime drama had some release date issues, and its long run time could lure audiences away. But with a cast featuring Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill, we’ll have to wait and see once the film hits theaters on Christmas Day.
  • Her: The Spike Jones drom-com has received critical acclaim thus far, but its interesting premise could turn some voters off. But the star-studded cast seems ready to make some noise in the acting nominations.
  • Fruitvale Station: The early summer sleeper, Fruitvale Station should make a splash with its leading man, but hasn’t received much of a push to the front of the pack.
  • All is Lost: The Robert Redford-helmed hit could break out thanks to what’s been called a phenomenal performance by Redford, but its unknown director and lack of any other actors might hurt its performance this spring.
  • Lee Daniels’ The Butler: The crowd pleaser of the summer has received some negative controversy for its portrayal of certain presidents, but both Whitaker and Winfrey are likely front-runners in the acting race.
  • Enough Said: Gandolfini’s last film could net him a nomination, but the Nicole Holofcener comedy might be pushed aside due to its comedy premise.
  • Labor Day: The Jason Reitman drama might be a last-minute hit with its direction and acting, but with its late release date and lack of marketing, it might fall aside for the bigger guns.
  • Philomena: The British comedy made some noise when it premiered last month, and Dench’s performance might net her a nomination, but once again the lack of attention and support surrounding the film could hurt it.

Long-Shots

  • The Secret Life of Walter Mitty: The Ben Stiller-directed vehicle has audience’s attention, but critics received it negatively when it premiered at the New York Film Festival last month.
  • Frances Ha: The Netherlands dramedy played well with critics in its limited release, but the foreign film most likely won’t break into American viewer’s list of favorites.
  • The Book Thief: The adaptation of the popular novel hasn’t been making much noise since its release, and it doesn’t seem to be playing for the big awards.
  • Before Midnight: The Linklater finale to the acclaimed trilogy might capture a screenplay nomination, but his films have received mixed Academy support in the past.
 
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Posted by on November 9, 2013 in 2014 Academy Awards

 

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