This year there were numerous brilliant films. Gravity was not one of them. Sure the visual effects were incredible and groundbreaking, and it is certainly worthy of an Oscar for them. However, was it a “Best Picture?” Hell no. Was Sandra Bullock great in it? Hell yes. But the dialogue, and the far-fetched back story, mother losing child in space thing, well…I was bored out of my mind, and felt robbed of my $13.50 when I left the theatre…so this little thief snuck into The Book Thief afterwards, and that was a better film, and story.
In my humble opinion, a Best Picture should be about the story. Yeah, yeah, we all got to experience imagining being alone in outer space…but they dropped the ball with character development and story line, and dialogue. The ball just floated around without gravity.
This year it is extremely difficult to pick a Best Picture. Between Dallas Buyers Club, American Hustle, Nebraska, 12 Years a Slave, and Captain Phillips, how can you choose? What do 4 out of 5 of them have in common? They are all based on true stories. I prefer reading non-fiction as well. When it really happens, I just think it’s cooler. (And I didn’t manage to see Philomena, also based on a true story, but I hear it is wonderful. But guessing it is not a contender for political reasons.)
And although Wolf of Wall Street was also based on a true story, it belongs in Best Picture as much as Gravity…and Her for that matter. Her was very creative, Joaquin was amazing. and it made me think, for sure, about relationships. But I believe The Butler, should have been in there. And I don’t understand why it was omitted. It was epic. I cried my eyes out. The cast was strong. Forest Whitaker was snubbed for Best Actor. And I could watch it again.
A Best Picture, for me, is one you can watch once a year and just go, “Wow!” every time. Like Forrest Gump.
So, let’s start with front runner, 12 Years A Slave. The film was hard to watch. I actually had to cover my eyes at times. (as much as I did seeing the high wasted pants in Her.) Brutal. It was gripping. The cinematography was gorgeous. The story was mind-wrenching. I left angry and sad. I cried in the parking lot. It was a story in history that needed to be told, in form of a film. (Since most Americans don’t read enough…including me.) It needed to be graphic to be effective. Most of the acting was superb. But not all. And once was enough for me. So, although I think it may get Best Picture, because Brad Pitt produced it, and has many relationships for votes…it didn’t get mine.
Dallas Buyers Club is certainly worthy of a Best Picture. Mathew McConaughey will most likely win Best Actor. It was his role of a lifetime. Jared Leto should win Best Supporting Actor. And as Best Screenplay it is a contender. And if Captain Phillips and American Hustle were not in the running, it would get my vote.
Yes, I am torn between Captain Phillips and American Hustle. To me, I left the theatre with that Wow Factor. I could buy these films, and watch every year. I’m actually surprised that Tom Hanks was not nominated for Best Actor. And although Barkhad Abdi was superb, I don’t think he will win for 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)
Every single nomination is worthy on that list. But for me, Jared Leto stands above the rest.
But who lost more weight?!
Best Supporting Actress Role. Very tough category.
- Sally Hawkins (Blue Jasmine)
- Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle)
- Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave)
- Julia Roberts (August: Osage County)
- June Squibb (Nebraska)
Forget Julia, the film sucked. Sally Hawkins was good…Jennifer Lawrence is on fire on the screen, and in Hollywood right now. She has an amazing long term future, and will rack up several Oscars in her lifetime. But I have to say, June Squibb and Lupita Nyong’o get a tie with me. But only one can win. So, I think Lupita or Jennifer will get it. (And she deserves it, too.)
Best Actor? They all deserve to win…with the exception of Leonardo DiCaprio. Yeah, I know he’s been robbed before, but that’s no reason to nominated him for a way over the top film that could have been much better, without the cheap, gratuitous approach.
- 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)
Christian Bale was fucking brilliant. Bruce Dern was superb. I wouldn’t mind seeing him win. Chiwetel was powerful, and Matthew McConaughey went above and beyond for his role. He’s going to win, but Christian Bale gets my vote. (And Tom Hanks would have taken it, if he was even nominated.)
- Amy Adams (American Hustle)
- Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine)
- Sandra Bullock (Gravity)
- Judi Dench (Philomena)
- Meryl Streep (August: Osage County)
Meryl and Sandra, I love you…but the films? Eh Shmeh. Emma Thompson got robbed. Judi Dench, didn’t see it yet, but you have a shitload of nominations, and one Oscar win, and you are probably not popular enough this year. Amy was great. And although Blue Jasmine was an okay film…Cate Blanchett was the film. A film that could have been much better, based on the scenario. Thus, forget screenplay win. But Cate has my vote, and I think she will win. If Sandra wins, it will be strictly political, not that there was anything wrong with her performance. If Amy wins, I won’t be surprised.
And now for Best Screenplay. Another toughy. To be able to translate a long book into a tiny movie with only 90-120 minutes to effectively relay a story…that takes skill! (I know. I am working on the screenplay for my book, Who the F**K is Linda Chorney, besides being a wanna be movie critic?)
Another toughy, although Blue Jasmine is out in my book. disappointed in Woody on the dialogue. Thought it was forced and contrived. Her, pretty weird, pretty good, but American Hustle, Nebraska, and Dallas Buyers Club are all top-notch. Who will win? American Hustle. Who would I pick? I don’t know. Have the Oscars ever had ties?
- American Hustle (David O. Russell)
- Gravity (Alfonso Cuarón)
- Nebraska (Alexander Payne)
- 12 Years a Slave (Steve McQueen)
- The Wolf of Wall Street (Martin Scorsese)
Another toughy. Forget Wall St and Gravity. Although American Hustle would get my vote, I think 12 Years a Slave will win.
- American Hustle (Jay Cassidy, Crispin Struthers, Alan Baumgarten)
- Captain Phillips (Christopher Rouse)
- Dallas Buyers Club (John Mac McMurphy, Martin Pensa)
- Gravity (Alfonso Cuarón, Mark Sanger)
- 12 Years a Slave (Joe Walker)
Toughy….but definetely not Gravity. That editor should be fired…or maybe commended for doing his best with tons of footage without content. I would pick Captain Phillips. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time. But maybe American Hustle will win.
- The Act of Killing (Joshua Oppenheimer, Signe Byrge Sørensen)
- Cutie and the Boxer (Zachary Heinzerling, Lydia Dean Pilcher)
- Dirty Wars (Richard Rowley, Jeremy Scahill)
- The Square (Jehane Noujaim, Karim Amer)
- 20 Feet from Stardom (Nominees to be determined)
I ony saw 20 Feet from Stardom, which was very good, and near and dear to my heart and career, (lead cast member, Lisa Fischer is my friend), but I’ve seen documentaries that stop me in my tracks…so although I am rooting for 20 Feet, I am sure one of the other four is stronger. But 20 Feet might just win, because of the relationships in the music world. But I could be off base. But I predict The Square, just from seeing a few brief clips! I must see that film.
Best Foreign Film. I’m embarrassed to say that I have not seen any of them, yet, and they are always superb. Usually anything about the Holocaust wins. So since it doesn’t look like any of them are about that, I’ll go with whatever Palestine did…Omar.
Best Costume Design?
- American Hustle (Michael Wilkinson)
- The Grandmaster (William Chang Suk Ping)
- The Great Gatsby (Catherine Martin)
- The Invisible Woman (Michael O’Connor)
- 12 Years a Slave (Patricia Norris)
I’ll go with 12 Years A Slave, but I loved the costumes in American Hustle!
Best Original Score? Whatever it is…it’s fixed by the labels. I’m guessing John Williams has enough…Gravity will win. Nebraska should have been nominated..and win.
- The Book Thief (John Williams)
- Gravity (Steven Price)
- Her (William Butler, Owen Pallett)
- Philomena (Alexandre Desplat)
- Saving Mr. Banks (Thomas Newman)
Best Special Effects?
- Gravity (Tim Webber, Chris Lawrence, Dave Shirk, Neil Corbould)
- The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton, Eric Reynolds)
- Iron Man 3 (Christopher Townsend, Guy Williams, Erik Nash, Dan Sudick)
- The Lone Ranger (Tim Alexander, Gary Brozenich, Edson Williams, John Frazier)
- Star Trek Into Darkness (Roger Guyett, Patrick Tubach, Ben Grossmann, Burt Dalton)
GRAVITY. Totally worthy of this award. But if it wins best picture…refer to the title of my blog. And it should also win any sound stuff.
In summary, I have to admit that I always get excited about watching the Oscars! Really. Excited. And I never get excited about watching the Grammys. The Grammy Telecast seems like an ametuer act compared to the Oscars, which are always a class act. And I LOVE the fashion! Nominees in the Oscars are usually very worthy. Grammys? Not so much. But both are politically driven. Let’s hope some of my picks win!
IN SUMMARY: (And remember, it is a huge honor just to be nominated..(tee hee)…it was almost impossible for me to choose the very best ones this year.
LINDA’S PICK LINDA’S PREDICTIONS
Best Picture: Captain Phillips & American Hustle 12 Years A Slave
Best Actor: Christian Bale…okay..and Matthew Matthew McConaughey
Best Actress: Cate Blanchett Cate Blanchett
Best Supporting Actress: Lupita & Squibb Jennifer Lawrence
Best Supporting Actor: Jared Leto Jared Leto
Best Director: American Hustle 12 Years A Slave
Best Editing: Captain Phillips Captain Phillips
Best Screenplay: American Hustle American Hustle
Best Original Score, whatever
Best Costume: American Hustle 12 Years A Slave..or maybe American Hustle (I’m not betting, so I can pick 2)
Best Documentary: 20 Feet From Stardom The Square
Best Foreign Film: Omar Omar
Best Visual Effects/Sound: Gravity Gravity