Saturday, 1 March 2014

Best Picture Nominee #5

Her


The cult following behind Spike Jonze’s Her carves this out as the underdog of the year. A futuristic tale, the film follows Joaquin Phoenix's Theodore, a man who enters a relationship with an Operating System (seductively voiced by Scarlett Johansson), a machine designed to keep people company and meet their every need. It’s unfortunate to have to discount a film so easily - however a win is near impossible. Success for Jonez’s original screenplay has the potential to prove one of the more popular wins of the night.


Film: 3.5/5
Chances of winning: 2/5


What will it win? Though American Hustle is its closest competitor, it seems Original Screenplay is Spike Jonze's to lose.

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Best Picture Nominee #4

Gravity


Alfonso Cuarón’s space spectacle has proved a mammoth success all-round; critics adored it and audiences lapped it up, immersing themselves into the rollercoaster ride of a film in their millions. Stripping the bravado away, a question is raised as to whether Gravity floats as well, but regardless the film remains one side of this year’s fight. Tying as the ceremony’s lead nominee, the good money would be put on Gravity to be the evening’s biggest winner – however, a best picture win will be one too many. Cuarón looks set to pull an Ang Lee (Life of Pi) and scoop Best Director for the sheer mind-boggling scope of what is unarguably the most visually impressive film in quite some time.

Film: 4.5/5
Chances of winning: 4/5


What will it win? Well, where do we start? Best Director, a Cinematography win for Emmanuel Lubezki, Film Editing, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing and Visual Effects. A win for Steven Price in the Original Score category solidifies this as Gravity's evening, despite 12 Years a Slave scooping the main prize.


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Best Picture Nominee #3

Dallas Buyers Club



Every year, the awards circuit features an underdog in the truest form, and in Dallas Buyers Club, we have the little film that could. Telling the story of AIDS sufferer Ron Woodroff, and his attempts to work around the medical system in order to share the right medication with fellow patients, Matthew McConaughey stars in a lead role that continues to solidify his position as one of Hollywood’s elite. An Oscar nomination for the film was a nice touch, especially considering it's one of the more heartfelt films in the category, however a win is hugely unlikely. It’s down to the two lead stars (Jared Leto, starring alongside McConaughey in a remarkable turn) to sweep up one half of this year’s acting categories.

Film: 4/5
Chances of winning: 2/5

What will it win? As mentioned above, McConaughey and Leto look set to run away with the Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor award. A nomination alongside Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa and The Lone Ranger in Best Makeup and Hairstyling could see Dallas Buyers Club emerge as one of the night's biggest winners. A Tonto-shaped upset could prevent that, though...

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Friday, 28 February 2014

Best Picture Nominee #2

Captain Phillips


It was almost a breath of fresh air to see Captain Phillips nominated for Best Picture on announcement day, enhanced even more so when Tom Hanks’ baffling lack of appearance in the Actor category hit (for the final five minutes alone, he would have been the worthiest of winners...). Paul Greengrass’ taut, thrilling feature (and by thrilling, read: so tense it will leave you speechless) wracked nerves like no other. Setting the true-to-life story of Hanks’ Captain Richard Phillips, whose cargo ship is held captive by Somali pirates, Greengrass barks down those who mauled the underrated Green Zone (2010) through deliverance of one of the films of last year. Its chances of winning are slim, yet its inclusion remains well deserved; a reminder that the best films do get nominated - let's just ignore Inside Llewyn Davis' snub.

Film: 4.5/5
Chances of winning: 2/5

What will it win? Nada. Unfortunately, Barkhad Abdi won't replicate his BAFTA win for Supporting Actor here.

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Thursday, 27 February 2014

Best Picture Nominee #1

This year's Oscar race is perhaps the most interesting one in sometime; what is fundamentally a two-horse race, there are a whole array of other eclectic nominees which ensures the annual ceremony remains an exciting one. Time for analysis...

American Hustle  


David O. Russell's tale, loosely based on the FBI ABSCAM operation of the 70s, is something of an enigma. The film isn't bad - it remains, in fact, great fun - and it’s not that the film doesn't deserve awards recognition. But somehow, for a film that happens to be tied at having the most nominations (with Gravity, fact fans), its severe lack of heart remains a problem. With O. Russell clearly loitering in voter’s regards following 2012's Silver Linings Playbook, the fact remains that American Hustle is quite the contender. If anything, the wheels are in motion for Jennifer Lawrence to steal the Supporting Actress gong from right under the nose of Lupita N’yongo (12 Years a Slave), perhaps lessening its chances in the Best Pic category. Let it be said: a shock upset isn't on the cards, however there's no denying the film's continued prowess throughout the entire awards season. Would it have been nominated had simply five films made the cut? Certainly. Yet is it the weakest one out of this year's bunch? Definitely.

Film: 3.5/5
Chances of winning: 3/5

What will it win? Its best bets are success in the Supporting Actress, Original Screenplay and Costume Design category - my prediction is that N'yongo will reign supreme in the evening's closest battle, and Her will take the Original Screenplay crown. Costume Design it is.

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