Academy Awards: Next Week - Sunday the Oscars will be televised. A few weeks ago I published the below information. My picks are in bold although I've noted other nominees that are excellent.
Best Actor – Nominees are: Christian Bale (American Hustle), Bruce Dern (Nebraska), Leonard DiCaprio (The Wolf of Wall Street), Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave), and Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club). Of this group, my selection would be McConaughey by a narrow margin over Bruce Dern. That Robert Redford was not nominated for "All Is Lost" and Forest Whitaker for "The Butler" were hard to swallow. However, I’m not sure whom they would replace. Also that Tom Hanks (Captain Phillips) wasn’t nominated shows how strong this category is.
Best Actress – Nominees are: Amy Adams (American Hustle), Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine), Sandra Bullock (Gravity), Judi Dench (Philomena), and Meryl Streep (August: Osage County). Of this group I’d be happy with either Blanchett or Bullock. However, that Adele Exarchopoulos (Blue is the Warmest Color) wasn’t nominated is sickening. Her performance was heads above Streep’s.
Best Picture – Nominees are: "American Hustle", "Captain Phillips", "Dallas Buyers Club", "Gravity", "Her", "Nebraska", "Philomena", "12 Years a Slave", and "The Wolf of Wall Street". The only one missing is Blue is the Warmest Color. For me the top films are: American Hustle, Gravity, and Dallas Buyers Club. However, all these films are very strong with great subjects.
Best Supporting Actress – Nominees are: Sally Hawkins (Blue Jasmine), Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle), Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave), Julia Roberts (August: Osage County), and June Squibb (Nebraska). This is a horse race between Lawrence and Nyong’o. Both performances were extremely strong as was Squibb’s.
Best Supporting Actor – Nominees are: Barkhad Adbi (Captain Phillips), Bradley Cooper (American Hustle), Michael Fassbender (12 Years a Slave), Jonah Hill (The Wolf of Wall Street), and Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club). I think Hill’s nomination is poor in comparison to Daniel Bruhl’s performance in Rush. This is a close contest – and either Leto or Adbi will take the award.
Best Cinematography – Nominees are: The Grandmaster (Phillip Le Sourd), Gravity (Emmanuel Lubezki), Inside Llewyn Davis (Bruno Delbonnel), Nebraska (Phedon Papamichael) and Prisoners (Roger A. Deakins). Got to love Gravity and Nebraska. Two totally different views of our world and both very effective.
Best Director – Nominees are: David O. Russell (American Hustle), Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity), Alexander Payne (Nebraska), Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave), and Martin Scorsese (The Wolf of Wall Street). My choices, in order are: Alfonso Cuaron, David O. Russell, Steve McQueen, Alexander Payne, and lastly Scorsese’s Wolf - which is a little bloated.
Best Adapted Screenplay – Nominees are: Before Midnight (Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke), Captain Phillips (Billy Ray), Philomena (Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope), 12 Years a Slave (John Ridley) and The Wolf of Wall Street (Terence Winter). My choice would be "Philomena" followed closely by "Before Midnight".
Best Original Screenplay – Nominees are: American Hustle (Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell), Blue Jasmine (Woody Allen), Dallas Buyers Club (Craig Borton and Melisa Wallack), Her (Spike Jonz), and Nebraska (Bob Nelson). Here I like "Her" to receive the honor as I thought it the most original and very well done.