The time of year is upon us: Oscars season.
Every year, I pose the challenge to myself to see all of the Best Picture nominees and somehow have never been able to do it in the past. There’s always been one or two that I couldn’t get my hands on in time – but this year I’m in good shape to see them all, plus several nominated in other categories. It’s been a good year for film. And since voting for Oscar nominees opened just yesterday, what better time to pick up the talk of who will, won’t and should be picked?
I have my own ideas of who should or might be nominated, but I wanted to get an idea of what others were saying at this point. Entertainment Weekly posted updated Oscar predictions earlier this month and they seem fairly in line with what I’ve had in mind. You can check their’s out here. Also, Peter Knegt over at IndieWire posted his Oscar predictions just today and has similar choices. Check out his here.
First off: Best Picture. Honestly, this year had some great films. A shoe-in is 12 Years a Slave, which has dominated Oscar-talk for months, and is sure to gain nominations in more than just the Best Picture category. Then there’s the innovative Gravity – while its strengths are cinematography and directing, it’s also sure to be seen in this category. Alexander Payne‘s Nebraska should also earn a nomination, and David O. Russell‘s American Hustle deserves a nod as well. One film I have not seen yet and honestly hadn’t heard too much about until very recently is Her, Spike Jonze‘s latest starring Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlett Johanssen. Also a likely nominee is The Wolf of Wall Street, directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Leonardo DiCaprio, another film I have not made it out to see yet but has been the source of a lot of Oscar talk lately. Captain Phillips is deserving of a nomination – it is an intense film but also a fair, well-done adaptation of the true events. Another slot could be filled by Inside Llewyn Davis, directed by Ethan and Joel Coen, although I haven’t seen it yet so can’t pass personal judgement, although it is a film that I have wanted to see for months. I don’t want to go into detail of who I think is likely to win (or should) in this post but if you ask me, these are likely to be found on the list of nominees.
I don’t want to go through all of the categories, but I do want to touch on those of Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress. Several actors/actresses from 12 Years A Slave are likely to receive nominations, including Michael Fassbender and Chiwetel Ejiofor. I would like to see Sandra Bullock nominated for her work in Gravity. Several people in Nebraska deserve recognition, most notably Bruce Dern, June Squibb and Will Forte, both of whom made memorable performances. And while nearly every character in American Hustle was well-acted, the stand-out for me is Jennifer Lawrence – although I would also like to see nominations for Bradley Cooper and Amy Adams at least. I would give Tom Hanks a nomination for his work in Captain Phillips as well. And Leonardo DiCaprio has been the subject of some Oscar-talk himself, although it is a tough year for competition among leading actors. There were some powerful, well-written and well-acted roles out there in 2013. Another film I have not made it out to see is Woody Allen‘s Blue Jasmine, for which Cate Blanchett could be nominated, as well as Meryl Streep for August: Osage County and Emma Thompson for Saving Mr Banks. Not to mention Entertainment Weekly’s top contender for Supporting Actor: Jared Leto in Dallas Buyers Club.
Then there’s Best Animated Film, a category for which I always come up with limited options. This year my front-runner has to be Frozen, an animated film I was really impressed with. The other top choice, The Wind Rises, is admittedly one I hadn’t even heard of until today. Monsters University was fun to watch and may get a nomination, but I wouldn’t expect to see it win. The same goes for Despicable Me 2, and other animated films this year such as The Croods and Epic may not even get that.
I’ll end with my top 10 list of essentials for pre-Oscars viewing (based on a combination of my personal opinion and reviews I have read):
- 12 Years A Slave
- American Hustle
- Captain Phillips
- The Wolf of Wall Street
- Inside Llewyn Davis
- Dallas Buyers Club
- Blue Jasmine