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And the award should go to…

Paul Peterson

Paul Peterson

I think one of the great decisions of late by the Academy Award braintrust was to expand the Best Picture nominees to 10. It really gives them a chance to highlight very good films that would otherwise slip through the elitist cracks and recognizes that half the time we have barely heard of the films that garner such attention.

This year is not all that different, although there are some nice moments.

Best Picture
The nominees for best motion picture of the year:
American Hustle
Captain Phillips
Dallas Buyers Club
12 Years a Slave
The Wolf of Wall Street

There are a few surprises here. I don’t think Gravity was Oscar worthy.
I thought the scenery was more the star than the film. It looks amazing. Bullock is a one woman show with a little help from the tower, but at the end of the day, it just seemed light.
At the other end of that spectrum is Dallas Buyers Club starring Mathew McConaughey as an aids victim manipulating the medical system to get help for other patients with the disease. For a guy who gets a lot of attention for his body, he’s one hell of an actor. He makes really interesting choices and his performance is almost always compelling.

The winner will be 12 Years A Slave
Steve McQueen’s story of a black man from upstate New York kidnapped and sold into slavery is as tough a watch as you’ll get this year but it’s also compelling and coutionary and the best film of the year.

A not so close second place finish goes to Nebraska, which is a gritty, dark, depressing tale of a drunken lottery winner travelling with his son to claim their prize. Not exactly the typical buddy picture. Bruce Dern is almost unrecognizable from his glory days as the always near postal leading man.

Best Actor
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

In this category it’s anyone but Bale – not just for his meltdown on the set of Terminator but because he just isn’t that good in this role. I think American Hustle is a whole lot less than it could be.
DiCaprio is always entertaining and he is on fire in this film. It’s a great watch but not necessarily Oscar winning.
Dern is very good and I would have no trouble with McConaughey winning but I think 12 Years A Slave’s Chiwetel Ejiofor is going to win.
He’s fascinating.
He was Peter, in Love Actually, and then the left of centre designer in Kinky Boots.
I would like him to take this.

Best performance by an actress in a leading role:
Amy Adams – American Hustle
Cate Blanchett – Blue Jasmine
Sandra Bullock – Gravity
Judi Dench – Philomena
Meryl Streep – August: Osage County

It’s a two horse race between Judy Dench and Meryl Streep and I think Dench wins in a photo finish. Amy Adams is remarkable, so there’s that, but Dench wins yet another Oscar.

Best actress in a supporting role:
Sally Hawkins – Blue Jasmine
Jennifer Lawrence – American Hustle
Lupita Nyong’o -12 Years a Slave
Julia Roberts – August: Osage County
June Squibb – Nebraska

I’m thinking Roberts for her oh-so-brave makeup-less performance. Jennifer Lawrence is strong in American Hustle but I hate when they over sexualize someone who plays a young woman a la Hunger Games. I think she is a brand in some ways and that messes me up.
Not that it should cost her an Oscar. At the end of the day it might go to Jane Squibb for her role as the beleaguered wife in Nebraska.
I think Roberts in a who-cares kind of pick em.

Best actor in a supporting role:
Barkhad Abdi – Captain Phillips
Jonah Hill – The Wolf of Wall Street
Bradley Cooper – American Hustle
Jared Leto – Dallas Buyers Club
Michael Fassbender – 12 Years a Slave

This one is easy and it shouldn’t even be close. Barkhad Abdi was brilliant in Captain Philips and he is my unconditional winner. I like Jonah Hill, but nope, and Cooper doesn’t deserve the nomination. Watch Captain Philips. You’ll agree.

Best Director
American Hustle – David Russel
Wolf of Wall Street – Martin Scorcese
12 Years A Slave – Steve McQueen
Nebraska – Alexander Payne
Gravity – Alfonso Cuarón

I think this is another hands-down winner. 12 Years A slave is a great film and that means it tells a great story and a lot of that credit goes to the director.
Watch it and see. He’s been making little gems in England for awhile and this is going to give him the chance to make big ones in Hollywood. Not that that’s what he wants.

Best animated picture is a close fight for me between Despicable Me 2 and Frozen but it really isn’t all that close. Frozen is a masterpiece .
DM2 is cute.
Frozen should win.

I don’t really have a favorite song this year. I thought they were for the most part unforgettable.

So there you go.
Let the lobbying begin.
I make no claim that I’m good at this, just that this is my opinion and as you know, other opinions are welcome, but wrong. That’s it for this week. The cheque’s in the mail and I’m outta here. Paul.

Ellen DeGeneres hosts the 86th Academy Awards Oscars presentation Sunday, March 2.

Filed Under: News from Everywhere ElsePaul Peterson

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