Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Scott Predicts Best Picture Nominations

Scott expands his predicting game to include some analysis of some of the hopefuls to become nominations for the 2014 Best Picture Academy Award.

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Next week we get the unveiling of the 2014 Oscar nominations, and as we head into that time I figured I may as well start throwing out my predictions for the awards. The Oscars nominations usually bring with it some surprises and snubs, so there is no such thing as a sure thing. Last Oscar season I proved almost incapable of predicting a winner and that perhaps I should stick to predicting the numbers. This year is about redemption for me.

Today’s Prediction – Best Picture

12 Years A Slave – If there is any such thing as a lock this year, this is the film. While its edgy and dark content may prove hard for some voters to acknowledge for a victory, it would be a crime if the movie did not gain a nomination. This movie excels in every category from costume design to acting to directing, it is the movie to be reckoned with this year.

Gravity – The science fiction disaster movie that puts two of Hollywood’s favourites in a sticky situation. Sandra Bullock and George Clooney star in the special effects extravaganza that is Alfonso Cuaron’s first directed movie since 2006’s Children of Men. There is a lot of weight on the side of this film, which has had a lot of attention for the past few months.

Philomena – This film has been gaining traction with audiences and critics alike who are falling in love with the tag team of Judi Dench and Steve Coogan. It is appropriately sentimental, but not overly, with a lot of honest humour thrown into the mix. The heartwarming docudrama could be easy Oscar fodder.  The incredible acting is hard to overlook, and the movie has gained a Golden Globe nomination for best drama.

Captain Phillips – Speaking of docudramas, the Paul Greengrass directed tale of piracy on the high seas was a well-rounded outing which has gained four Golden Globe nominations as well as some nominations from the Screen Actors Guild for Tom Hanks and Barkhad Abdi. The reason I mention those two actors when talking about this film in the best picture category is because it is a career revival for Hanks and there is a great personal narrative around Abdi, both factors that could stick out in voter’s minds when contemplating this film.

American Hustle – This is a film that has circulated through awards talk for a number of months, ever since it awards from the Hollywood Film Festival before it had even been screened. Perhaps that is not the most credible awards ceremony out there, but others have followed suit. It has nominations and support from the Golden Globes as well as many of the branches of the Academy. Even though it has developed some detractors, it is a film that seems to be gaining more and more momentum as time goes on.

Dallas Buyers Club – Yet another docudrama on the list, and an emotional ride to boot. While Captain Phillips is signalling a return to form for Tom Hanks, the year really seems to be about the power of Matthew McConaughey who has shown his abilities in Mud, The Wolf of Wall Street, and Dallas Buyers Club. His performance seems to be one of the talking points of the year, and that should assist the chances of the film.

Nebraska – Alexander Payne returns from his critically acclaimed The Descendants to the black and white movie starring Bruce Dern, whose performance could bring out some support for the film. It has five Golden Globe nominations for it, and is a film to be taken quite seriously during awards season.

Her – The movie about a man falling in love with his operating system is a very intriguing concept, especially for me, a person who uses Windows and would best describe that relationship as an abusive one. The concept may be a bit hard for some voters to get behind, but the stellar cast of Joaquin Phoenix, Scarlett Johansson, Amy Adams, and Rooney Mara make it a hard movie to deny. As much as Nebraska may be a film to vote for by ‘old Hollywood,’ Her could be the choice of ‘young Hollywood.’

The Wolf of Wall Street – Martin Scorsese is a beast when it comes to Oscar nominations, and that could prove to be the case here. What could keep some people from voting for this film is the graphic content, which almost gained it an NC-17 rating. It has got some love from the Golden Globes, as well as some recognition from the Producers Guild and the Writers Guild.

Inside Llewyn Davis – This is one of the picks that is hard to feel confident about. There is not a lot of notice going its way from the different branches that make up the Academy, and that is a big red flag. However, it really is hard to pick against the Cohen brothers when they have a strong film on their hands.

Possible Surprises – There are many movies that could easily be in the mix, but I should also bring up a few outside picks that could throw big surprises and upsets into the awards. The Weinstein promoted film Fruitvale Station came out in the summer and gained super acclaim before being forgotten a few months later. Mud was one of the most financially successful limited release movies this year as well as having one of the year’s highest ratings on Rotten Tomatoes. Before Midnight, Short Term 12, and The Spectacular Now are other movies that have a remote chance of throwing a wrench into the works.

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