It’s that time of year again! Awards season is nigh, with the Oscars just around the corner on March 2nd. But with a panel made up of primarily white, elderly males who tend to vote similarly, it can be hard to add a little spice and surprise to the Oscar nominations. Nevertheless, a little Oscar buzz is good for that lazy post-Wintersession soul.
The Main (re: Most Interesting) Categories:
Best Picture: 12 Years a Slave
Nominees: 12 Years a Slave, The Wolf of Wall Street, Captain Phillips, Her, American Hustle, Gravity, Dallas Buyers Club, Nebraska, and Philomena.
The most surprising nominations in this category would have to be American Hustle and The Wolf of Wall Street. While entertaining, neither movie was the best to come out this year.
Best Director: Steven McQueen
Nominees: Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave), David O. Russell (American Hustle), Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity), Alexander Payne (Nebraska), and Martin Scorsese (The Wolf of Wall Street)
There’s no doubt about it—The Academy loves David O. Russell this year. Despite producing an unmemorable (albeit entertaining) American Hustle, the director got the nomination, in spite of being passed over for some of his superior films.
Best Actor: Matthew McConaughey or Chiwetel Ejiofor
Nominees: Bruce Dern (Nebraska), Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave), Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club), Leonardo DiCaprio (The Wolf of Wall Street), and Christian Bale (American Hustle).
From rom-com dreamboat to heavyweight actor, Matthew McConaughey was full of surprises this year in Dallas Buyers Club. Maybe he’ll be rewarded for coming such a long way? Chiwetel Ejiofor is also a strong contender here, but while many clamor for Leo to finally win the Oscar he so deserves, I don’t believe his work in The Wolf of Wall Street merits it—unless The Academy were to use it as a nod to all the masterful performances he has given to date.
Best Actress: Cate Blanchett
Nominees: Amy Adams (American Hustle), Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine), Judi Dench (Philomena), Sandra Bullock (Gravity), and Meryl Streep (August: Osage County).
If you thought you’d seen the last of Cate Blanchett, prepare to be floored by her performance in Blue Jasmine. Someone, give this woman a golden trophy already! Oh wait, the Golden Globes already did...another!
Best Supporting Actor: Jared Leto
Nominees: Barkhad Abdi (Captain Phillips), Bradley Cooper (American Hustle), Jonah Hill (The Wolf of Wall Street), Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club), and Michael Fassbender (12 Years a Slave).
Why is Jonah Hill even nominated? Sometimes you look at the Oscars and want to shake your head in disbelief. Perhaps most at the forefront of this race is the talented Jared Leto, as seen by his success at other award ceremonies.
Best Supporting Actress: Lupita Nyong’o
Nominees: Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle), Lupita Nyong'o (12 Years a Slave), June Squibb (Nebraska), Julia Roberts (August: Osage County), and Sally Hawkins (Blue Jasmine).
Please do not repeat the injustice of the Golden Globes! At the prior award ceremony, Lupita Nyong’o was passed over in favor of sweetheart Jennifer Lawrence. And while Lawrence is still spastically wonderful, her performance cannot compare to the masterpiece that was Lupita Nyong’o in 12 Years A Slave. Nevertheless, all of the nominees in this category have truly earned their places, with nuanced and gripping performances across the board.
Best Visual Effects: Gravity
Nominees: Gravity, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Star Trek Into Darkness, Iron Man 3, and The Lone Ranger.
Gravity will likely get the nod—no surprise there. Star Trek with it's blinding lens flares doesn't stand a chance.
Best Short Film (animated): Room on the Broom
If this isn’t one of your favorite categories, I don’t know what rock you’ve been living under, but you need to come out and bask in the magic. Here, artists unknown to mainstream moviegoers shine in the perfect pearls of cinematography they produce. They capture your heart, make you a little hungry, and amaze you with what they are capable of achieving on a computer.