Friday, October 4, 2013

Oscar Update: 10/4/13

The Oscar race could be changed today. In case you've been living under a rock, today is the release date of Gravity, Alfonso Cuaron's groundbreaking new space thriller. I'm not going to call it science fiction because it really isn't. It's been receiving rave reviews from critics (98% on RT) and bloggers who have seen the film are praising it as one of the greatest film experiences in the history of cinema. Pretty high appraisal. I saw the film today, and I'll have my review up soon. For now, I want to talk about the crazy, insane state of the Oscar race.

Gravity is released today. Movies like Rush, Before Midnight, Lee Daniels' The Butler, Fruitvale Station, Prisoners and Blue Jasmine have already been released. Next week sees the release of Captain Phillips, with sneak screenings this Saturday. The following week sees the release of 12 Years a Slave and All is Lost. And we haven't even mentioned The Counselor, Dallas Buyers Club, The Wolf of Wall Street, Nebraska, The Book Thief, Mandela, Inside Llewyn Davis, American Hustle, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Philomena, Her, The Monuments Men, Labor Day or Lone Survivor.

The truth is plain and simple: If you thought last year's Oscar race was crazy, you need to reevaluate your definition of crazy. This year is plain and simple insanity. At this point last year, we had pretty much rattled it down to two or three possible winners: Argo, Les Miserables, Silver Linings Playbook. Some people might have thought that Lincoln or Django Unchained had a shot. This year, at the same point, I can see Gravity, Captain Phillips, 12 Years A Slave, Her, American Hustle, Saving Mr. Banks or The Wolf of Wall Street taking the prize. That's unbelievable.

Now that we've actually heard responses on most of the films, I can give a much clearer picture of who I think will be taking the cake in March.


1. Gravity
2. American Hustle
3. 12 Years A Slave
4. Captain Phillips
5. Inside Llewyn Davis
6. Her
7. Saving Mr. Banks
8. The Wolf of Wall Street
9. Nebraska
10. Rush

It was a massive struggle to cut it down to ten films. But I did it. Some people might think that having Rush included is foolish and believe that there is little chance for it to be nominated. However, I'm holding out that it will, since it's a fantastic film. At this point in the race, Gravity is the front-runner. It mixes popularity and artistry in a way that no film has in a while. It's something that is going to be talked about for a long time.


1. Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years A Slave
2. Tom Hanks, Captain Phillips
3. Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club
4. Christian Bale, American Hustle
5. Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street

Ejiofor has almost locked this one up. He's one of the main talking points about the film and everyone says that his performance is something special. If the academy doesn't hand out the best picture to 12 Years a Slave, then they'll certainly give Ejiofor the best actor award.


1. Judi Dench, Philomena
2. Sandra Bullock, Gravity
3. Emma Thompson, Saving Mr. Banks
4. Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
5. Amy Adams, American Hustle

Remember back in July when Blue Jasmine premiered and everybody instantly said that Cate Blanchett would win Best Actress? Look how the tides have turned. While Blanchett's performance will almost certainly be nominated, several more performances have come around. Dench is my current leader since her career is winding down and Philomena is something right in the Academy's wheelhouse.


1. Tom Hanks, Saving Mr. Banks
2. Jeremy Renner, American Hustle
3. Michael Fassbender, 12 Years A Slave
4. Barkhad Abdi, Captain Phillips
5. George Clooney, Gravity

While I think that George Clooney could be nominated on his clout alone, I wasn't particularly impressed with his performance in the otherwise stunning Gravity. I'm seeing Captain Phillips tomorrow and will see how Barkhad Abdi performs, but right now everyone is talking about him. And I'm pretty sure that Fassbender and someone from American Hustle are locks. However, at this point, I'm going with Tom Hanks. Saving Mr. Banks has received good buzz and his performance looks great.


1. Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle
2. Lupita Nyong'o- 12 Years a Slave
3. Oprah Winfrey, Lee Daniels' The Butler
4. June Squibb, Nebraska
5. Meryl Streep, August: Osage County

Oprah's gonna be tough to fight off, but if anyone can do it, it's J-Law. The girl on fire, who just won best actress for a different David O. Russell movie last year (Silver Linings Playbook) could do it again this year for what looks to be a powerhouse performance. Look for newcomer Lupita Nyong'o and Oprah to give her a run for her money though.


1. Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity
2. Steve McQueen, 12 Years A Slave
3. David O. Russell, American Hustle
4. Spike Jonze, Her
5. Joel and Ethan Coen, Inside Llewyn Davis

Right now, it is impossible for me to see anyone but Cuaron taking that trophy home on Oscar night. His film is so ground-breaking, so technically smooth that I just can't see the academy not honoring him. McQueen could also receive high marks for his stark and brutal take on slavery.


1. David O. Russell and Eric Warren Singer, American Hustle
2. Spike Jonze, Her
3. Joel and Ethan Coen, Inside Llewyn Davis
4. Alfonso Cuaron and Jonas Cuaron, Gravity
5. Bob Nelson, Nebraska

Even though American Hustle is based on the true story of a 1970's political crisis, American Hustle is considered an original screenplay. And if that's the case, I'm almost positive it will win. Spike Jonze's Her could give it a run for its money if it ends up being a great film.


1. John Ridley, 12 Years a Slave
2. Billy Ray, Captain Phillips
3. George Clooney and Grant Heslov, The Monuments Men
4. Peter Morgan, Rush
5. Terence Winter, The Wolf of Wall Street

12 Years A Slave is in a tough battle with Captain Phillips for this one right now, but I don't see anyone coming out on time besides 12 Years a Slave. It's the most talked about film of the season thus far and it's script is supposedly fantastic. So I'll take 12 Years A Slave for now.


1. Roger Deakins, Prisoners
2. Anthony Dod Mantle, Rush
3. Linus Sandgren, American Hustle
4. Hoyte Van Hoytema, Her
5. Phedon Papamichael, Nebraska


1. Rush
2. Gravity
3. 12 Years a Slave
4. American Hustle
5. Inside Llewyn Davis


1. Frozen
2. Despicable Me 2
3. Monsters University
4. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2
5. The Croods

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