Oscars Nominations 2014

I seem to be forever apologizing for real life intruding and getting in the way of regular blog updates but it’s happened once again (actually got a real job for a while here … leaving me absolutely shattered!!) So again sorry for the lateness but here is my view on the nominations for this years’ Oscars.

Oscars 2014 PosterThe Oscar nominations were announced recently and as par for the course with me I have only seen about 6 of the films actually nominated, and most of the ones I have seen are nominated in the more technical categories. But in all fairness there seem to be a large number of the big hitters that have either only just been released or are due imminently over here in the currently waterlogged UK (this rain is really very boring now and can do one!) The curse of an unemployed cinephile means having to forego seeing many a film at the cinema. You have to pick films very selectively when the funds are low (especially when a ticket costs almost £10 off peak!) and consequentially many an excellent film is pushed to the wayside until it’s DVD release sadly losing much of the splendor it holds when viewed in a proper cinematic environment. Anyway enough random waffle from me. Let’s get down to business and waffle somewhat more specifically about the different categories.

Best Picture

Nominees: American Hustle; Captain Phillips; Dallas Buyer’s Club; Gravity; Her; Nebraska; Philomena, 12 Years A Slave; The Wolf on Wall Street

Most of the films nominated are the ones everyone expected to see in this category like American Hustle, Captain Phillips, Gravity, 12 Years A Slave and The Wolf of Wall Street. Awards buzz has been following these films for a while now. I’ve never even heard of Dallas Buyer’s Club before and only have the vaguest recollection of Her coming out so have no idea what to expect from them. The oddball for me in this category (and there is always one – last year it was Amour) is Nebraska. I’ve only seen the trailer so far but it has a much more independent vibe to it than the Hollywood big hitters it’s sharing this category with.

Best Actor

Nominees: Christian Bale (American Hustle); Bruce Bern (Nebraska); Leonardo DiCaprio (The Wolf Of Wall Street); Chiwetel Ejiofer (12 Years A Slave); Matthew MacConaughey (Dallas Buyer’s Club)

Again kind of the nominations we were expecting although I would have liked to see Tom Hanks nominated. The favorite this year seems to be Chiwetel Ejiofer for his much-lauded role in 12 Years A Slave. I feel that this may be Leonardo DiCaprio’s year though … goodness knows he is due a win!

Best Actress

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

 There are some big names within this category with 6 Oscars amongst them already. I think this will be one of the hardest categories to call this year although having said that American Hustle already seems to be on a roll this awards season.

Indeed American Hustle has someone nominated in all 4 acting categories much like O’Russell’s Silver Linings Playbook last year. Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence move to the Best Supporting Actor categories this time round.

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 Buyer’s Club)

I’m leaning towards either Bradley Cooper or Michael Fassbender in terms of Best Supporting Actor. Having said that Jonah Hill has become an extremely talented dramatic actor – much more enjoyable to watch than any of his comedic roles. I’m looking forward to being impressed by him in The Wolf of Wall Street.

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)

Again some fairly big names here – most notably Julia Roberts, although golden girl Jennifer Lawrence is not to be discounted. She can do no wrong in Hollywood at the moment going from strength to strength. It’s nice to see that although she is the face of The Hunger Games franchise (one aimed squarely at the teen market) her acting ability is continually recognized by the Academy year on year. She’s my pick for the win but then I’m really quite enamored of her.

I’d just like to point out that I really enjoy The Hunger Games franchise … it’s one of the few films that I actually parted with money for and saw in the cinema this year and I loved every minute of Catching Fire. I’m also literally counting down the days until we get the first installment of The Mockingjay!! It’s become something of an obsession of mine.

Director

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 surprise that the four most talked about films of the year have the man at the helm nominated (and all the nominees are male this year). Nebraska pops up again earning Alexander Payne his 3rd Oscar Nomination for Directing. I think Steve McQueen has a good shot at scooping the Oscar for this one.

Best Animated Feature

Nominees: The Croods; Despicable Me 2; Ernest and Celestine; Frozen; The Wind Rises

Two foreign films within this category although an argument could be made that The Wind Rises isn’t really  foreign film as it comes from Studio Ghibli. Not an argument I would make as I consider Studio Ghibli world cinema – it is Japanese after all and always so much better in that language. It’s no big surprise to see Disney’s latest offering nominated … I would have been surprised had it not been! For me though the winner is Despicable Me 2. I cannot tell you how much I love the Despicable Me films – mainly thanks to the genius creation that are the Minions. And Despicable Me 2 sees the Minions getting more screen time as they are central to the plot this time around.

Documentary Feature

Nominees: The Act of Killing; Cutie and the Boxer; Dirty Wars; The Square; 20 Feet From Stardom

Best Foreign Language Film

Nominees: The Broken Circle Breakdown (Belgium); The Great Beauty (Italy); The Hunt (Denmark); The Missing Picture (Cambodia); Omar (Palestine)

I always think of these categories as being the wild cards. I don’t think I have ever been able to call the winner, with maybe the exception of Amour last year. Usually I don’t have time to get around to watching the nominated documentaries as I’d rather watch a feature film. Having said that I have found myself watching a number of documentaries over the last year and Cutie and the Boxer, The Act of Killing and The Square are all on my watch list prior to being nominated this year. Equally The Broken Circle Breakdown and The Missing Picture were already on my – never decreasing – list of films to watch. I’m not put off by foreign language films – if the story grabs my attention I will watch it regardless of what language it is in.

Best Adapted Screenplay

Nominees: Before Midnight; Captain Phillips; Philomena; 12 Years A Slave; The Wolf of Wall Street

Best Original Screenplay

Nominees: American Hustle; Blue Jasmine; Dallas Buyer’s Club; Her; Nebraska

Both the writing categories are dominated by the big hitters nominated for Best picture with the exception of Before Midnight‘s nomination in the Best Adapted Screenplay category. With all the hype surrounding it I would say 12 Years A Slave stands a very good chance of winning … although trying to guess what the Academy is going to do is like trying to throw a bee at a dartboard while blindfolded!!

Costume

Nominees: American Hustle; The Grandmaster; The Great Gatsby; The Invisible Woman; 12 Years A Slave

My pick for costume would be The Great Gatsby no question. The fashion from that era is so sumptuous and glamorous I just adore it! And Gatsby is truly spectacular in its costumes. I really felt the level of care that went into creating an authentic look right down to using the tailors F. Scott Fitzgerald himself used! I fins it interesting that three of the nominees, American Hustle, The Great Gatsby and 12 Years A Slave, are essentially period pieces.

I think Gravity is likely to pick up a few awards across the more technical categories it is nominated in. Then it is nominated in Cinematography, Editing, Music, Production Design, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing and of course Visual Effects. I find it unusual that a film that revolves around music, Inside Llewyn Davis, isn’t actually nominated in the Music category.

Best Original Song

Nominees: ‘Alone Yet Not Alone’ from Alone Yet Not Alone; ‘Happy’ from Despicable Me 2; ‘Let It Go’ from Frozen; ‘The Moon Song’ from Her; ‘Ordinary Love’ from Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

As with the Animated Feature category it doesn’t surprise me that the song from Disney’s Frozen is nominated. My pick for this category would be “Happy” from Despicable Me 2 – it’s the sort of song that lifts you up and makes you want to dance. I should know I’ve been tap dancing to it for the last few weeks!

I would love The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug to win something – it’s an incredible feat of cinematic wizardry but as with the first two films from The Lord of the Rings trilogy it has only been recognized in the more technical categories. But then you all know what a fan of Peter Jackson’s work I am.

Well that’s about it for this post. I will try to be more organized and post more regularly – I’m gonna have to if I want to watch as many of the nominated films as I  can before March 2nd – but right now that kind of fills me with dread. I don’t have the energy to keep my eyes open long enough to watch a feature film let alone write about it afterwards at the minute thanks to work. However work appears to be winding down so I should have some free time on my hands soon (and my weekends are pretty free now too after a stupidly busy January!!)

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