“And the Oscar goes to…”

It is almost here! 2013 was an amazing year for film, and the best of the best (hopefully) will be honored in the form of the iconic Academy Award of Merit, otherwise known as an Oscar. A great year should make for a compelling show, and that is all we can ask for as fans.

It seems like the show and namely the main awards could go in a multitude of ways. Today, I will give my opinion on snubs (No Love!), questionable inclusion (Stop Drooling Over It!), and predictions/possible upsets/dark horses for the main categories (You Are the One!). Make sense? You’ll get it. Brace with me, this is the first time I’ve done this!

Best Supporting Actress 

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

To be perfectly honest with this category, I have not seen three of the movies featured in Jasmine, August, and Nebraska (really regretting this). As a result, I feel rather uncomfortable using the other two subcategories here. I feel that if one is being really critical of who/what should have been nominated in a particular category, one should see at least 60% of the movies featured in said category as a minimum. With that said, I am just predicting a winner here, and I feel like this category comes down to Nyong’o and Lawrence.

You Are the One! Lupita Nyong’o


For her first role, she completely knocked it out of the park as Patsy. To see her pain, anguish and beauty prevailing in spite of a horrific situation is something to behold, and her scenes with Fassbender excel in every way. Lawrence was outstanding as well, but a bit over the top. She also won an award last year and you can never overlook that, even if it is a different category.

Best Supporting Actor

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)

No Love! This may be a reoccurring theme you’ll see throughout this post, but man, I loved Prisoners for a bevvy of reasons. It quickly has become one of my favorite films. The acting is top notch, and I am of the belief that Jake Gyllenhaal should have been nominated. Such a subtle, mysterious, and controlled performance that is highly underrated. I also wouldn’t have minded seeing Daniel Bruhl receive a nomination, as he stole the show in Rush. Sometimes, timing is the issue.

Stop Drooling Over It! I believe this is the most compelling category, as everyone did give noteworthy performances. But, if any are overrated, I feel that Cooper and Hill match the description. To be fair, I think that Bradley is quickly becoming a well-rounded actor. I like him, and his time will come, but I think public outrage could ensue if he wins. Same thing for Hill, sometimes it is hard to overlook that he is a comedic actor, but in his short time he has put in some eye-popping performances. But they just don’t compare to the performances of Abdi, Fassbender, and Leto. Could be the comedy factor.

You Are the One! Michael Fassbender


This is hard. The favorites appear to be Fassbender and Leto, and this is honestly a toss-up. Leto obviously went through an intense physical transformation, and I think he had more pressure to carry in Dallas Buyers Club, as I described in my review. But, Fassbender gave us a ruthless and chilling portrayal of evil. It made me sick and I’m sure others carried the same sentiment. His performance may hold up over time better, but we will see.

Abdi is a dark horse that lurks. I did not love his performance but it was still very solid regardless and he came to play in his first role. I would not count out Cooper as well, but again, it feels lessened when put up to the favorites. Hill while great has no shot.

Best Actress

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

What is with me not seeing these Best Actress films? Well, Jasmine never made it to my theater, and in order to see Philomena I have to pay for a $40 pass to see films I have already seen in addition to it, so yeah. But, like the Best Supporting Actress category, this seems to be between two people in Blanchett and Adams.

No Love! I thought Margot Robbie from The Wolf of Wall Street was better than people give her credit for but it isn’t a travesty for her exclusion. I do think Scarlett Johansson deserved more love, and that is something I could have given her…As for the actual performance, sure, we never see her face, but we do not need to as every single human feeling is conveyed in her voice. Overlooked performance in what was easily one of the hardest acting jobs all year.

Stop Drooling Over It! I’m not ready to say what performance was overrated as I did not see my minimum requirement to give a view, but Sandra Bullock was good, not great. I get why she was nominated; she was the only person in 90% of the film. But a large part of the film is just her floating around and looking hopeless, and I didn’t care much for her survival plight. So I guess I did give my thought. Oops.

You Are the One! Amy Adams


I’m going with the upset here. Despite critics lauding over Blanchett’s performance, and for likely good reason, I can’t shake the feeling that this is Adams’ award. She’s been nominated before, and came up short each time. American Hustle is a bit bloated at times especially with its script, but the acting is top-notch and Adams shines brightest. Her melding of her two personas was seamless and I’m not even sure she was cognizant of it, and that was probably the point.

 Best Actor

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)

No Love! Would have been nice to see the young gun Michael B Jordan get recognized by the Academy for his role in Fruitvale Station, but he seems to be a victim of the film’s release date. I loved Hugh Jackman in Prisoners; his portrayal of a desperate, angry, and morally conflicted father was gripping, but his exclusion was not as terrible in my book as Gyllenhaal’s was. I was quite surprised that Joaquin Phoenix did not receive a nomination. From the moment I saw his face appear, I was hooked and his role was especially poignant. Take that as you may.

Stop Drooling Over It! I don’t really have any issues with any of the nominees. I didn’t see Nebraska but when I do I know Dern would have shown to be more than worthy. It was an extremely strong year for male leads. If I had to pick one to be excluded, it would be Bale. He’s 4th or 5th banana as far as performances go in American Hustle, but he’s definitely not bad. I would be a bit miffed if he walked out of LA with the award though.

You Are the One! Matthew McConaughey


The unlikely career turn is stamped with Oscar approval. As I stated in my DBC review, without McC and Leto, this film probably would have failed. We can go at length about his physical transformation, but his character transformation is just as compelling. The rawness that Matthew gives off is astonishing. If he has any competition, DiCaprio is that man. Say what you want about The Wolf of Wall Street, but the charisma and magnetism that Leo brings to the table could not be replicated. However, it is a bit one note, whereas McConaughey ran through the gamut of emotion.

Ejiofor is a dark horse but he doesn’t need to win, and while he was stellar, his role wasn’t dynamic like the aforementioned two. No fault of his own, it is how it was written and supposed to be portrayed historically.

Best Directing

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

No Love! Her is a beautifully shot and vibrant film handled with such delicate care. Whether seeing the character(s) on the beach, running through the city, or simply having conversation at home, it was just filmed impeccably. I thought it was a shoe in for this category. I’m beating the drum for Prisoners again. It had no shot, but the mood established in this movie is so dark, gritty, and brooding yet still enthralling, and the tension it features was not topped by any other move from my vantage point.

Stop Drooling Over It! Rather surprised that American Hustle is here. Nothing really stuck out for me. You know how those montages show when the presenter says the film as a nomination? I’m struggling to visualize what scenes would be included.

You Are the One! Alfonso Cuaron


Let it be know that I am not a big fan of Gravity. I don’t hate it, but I was very disappointed. When all you hear is that the movie is an immediate classic, it just never came together as a whole for me, and I tried desperately to love it. But, I cannot deny the amazing spectacle that Mr. Cuaron has brought to the silver screen. Gorgeous is an understatement; the visual effects and cinematography are not bested by many. So at the very least, the film deserves that, and watching it anywhere but in a theater may defeat the purpose.

Steve McQueen really brought his artistic background to 12 Years a Slave; there are three scenes that are branded into my brain, and you may recognize them if you saw the film. He is a dark horse but this category would seem to favor Gravity and its director heavily.

Best Picture 

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

No Love! Why not Prisoners? It had outstanding acting, a smart and twisting plot, and a pronounced tone. This concludes my Prisoners love.

Stop Drooling Over It! I’ve already talked of my issues with Gravity, so I’ll leave it at that. As for Captain Phillips I think two things left me feeling ho-hum: 1. The directing really drew me out of it, shaky cam was not needed. I usually never notice it much and I think the hate for it is overblown. But here I saw it in the trailer and I knew something was off to me. Then again I may be nitpicking as the film was shot on a boat.

2. I am not sure if the story really translates well to movie form. There were some thrilling moments but the movie plods. Maybe it just wasn’t for me as there are others who loved this film. I can respect that.

You Are the One! 12 Years a Slave


Visceral. Unapologetic. Unnerving.  This film hits on so many levels and never feels like pure Oscar bait, but just a director who had a vision. Extremely uncomfortable as we’ve never seen slavery portrayed this intense, but the end is worth it. And let’s face it, the Academy is political, and certain films are going to lend themselves to awards more depending on the subject matter. This is one of those films, but that shouldn’t tarnish its victory if it does win. If it fails to capture the honor, I could see Dallas Buyers Club, and Gravity as possible winners. I enjoyed Her most after 12 Years, but it is an extreme long shot. On merit alone though, I maintain that 12 Years a Slave is the best film of 2013.

Thank you for your time readers!

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