...based solely on their trailers.
I am going to admit something terrible. This year, there are nine movies nominated for the Oscar for Best Picture. And of those, the total that I have watched… is zero. Zero Best Picture nominees. Shameful. Now, thanks to my three-year old daughter, I almost always get to enjoy the latest adventures from Disney or Pixar. My daughter has seen Frozen THREE TIMES in the theater so far. “Honey, unfortunately it doesn’t matter whether I want to build a snowman or not because we live in Southern California, and we’re just as likely to go outside and build the Eiffel tower.” (By the way, Frozen WILL win an Oscar for Best Animated Feature Film and Best Music-Original Song- “Let It Go”)
But while Maddy’s taste can dictate how I spend my trips to the theater on the weekend (or lack thereof) it’s a Friday morning, and I’m a grown man. So I’m gonna watch some YouTube videos. The trailers for all of the nominees, as a matter of fact. And after that, I will offer my recklessly uninformed opinion on the movie and then tell you what I think is going to win Best Picture.
So without further ado, the nominees for Best Picture are… American Hustle. Captain Phillips. Dallas Buyers Club. Gravity. Her. Nebraska. Philomena. 12 Years a Slave. The Wolf of Wall Street. Hopefully you imagined a bit of dialog from each film between those titles which, once again, if you have seen even one of them you are infinitely more qualified to do than I.
Let’s start at the top…
American Hustle stars some beautiful people; Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, and Amy Adams. It is directed by David O. Russell, and the trailer ROCKS. Led Zeppelin’s “Good Times, Bad Times” makes this trailer pump. I want to be in the 70’s. Rocking bell bottoms. Hitting the clubs. Sporting a curly fro. And practicing the Art of the Hustle. This trailer has “American” written all over it, especially at the end when it’s written all over it. (Though I feel compelled to mention that as far as I know, the movie might be pure Sri Lanka). Guns, money, beautiful ladies, shady agents. American Hustle may surprise this year and David O. Russell may finally get a little statue.
Paul Greengrass has made some incredibly intense action thrillers (United 93, The Bourne Supremacy), but this time he has Tom Hanks in his cast, AND IT’S BASED ON A TRUE STORY. And everyone knows that is a formula to get Academy Award nominationssss (plural). Hanks’s accent is awesome, and the movie looks like it might inspire the biting of a nail or two. But the real star in this film is Best Supporting Actor nominee, Barkhad Abdi. I think he is the underdog that may shock the world. I don’t think this movie has enough to capture the statue, but it sure looks exciting.
Dallas Buyers Club
Matthew McConaughey may come close to taking the Best Actor nod. He lost some serious weight for this role, and I think this may be his best work yet. (My money is on someone else…) Once again, this is another “based on true events” movie, and it stars the most beautiful man in the world, Jared Leto, in drag (which also equals an Academy Award nomination). I am almost positive Jared Leto is taking home the Oscar. The Alabama Shakes lend a song to the soundtrack, “You ain’t Alone” which is divine. I’m rooting for McConaughey (though it may fall into the same category as rooting for the Miami Dolphins cause you think their jerseys are cool). He has come a long way from Dazed and Confused.
This trailer had me drop-jawed. This may take all the marbles. Not sure if I could sit through all this… Space… I’d start getting anxiety. George Clooney AND Sandra Bullock star in a visually stunning rollercoaster ride. While three astronauts attempt to fix the Hubble, disaster strikes. Sandra Bullock ends up alone in space. FREAKY! The acting. The cinematography. The direction. And more importantly, the hype may make this film the big winner (okay I guess there are more factors than just the trailers in my predictions). This is Alfonso Cuaron’s SIXTH Academy Award nomination. I think this movie could steal the Best Picture award and possibly Best Director. But keep reading, ‘cause I am still sold on another flick.
Spike Jonze makes Films. He makes Films that are beautiful and crazy and hilarious and thoughtful. Joaquin Phoenix is the perfect actor for this role, and I don’t think there is a more perfect voice than Scarlett Johansson’s (Yeah I said it, Pavarotti. What you gonna do about it?) Audiences might-maybe-kinda-sorta feel very connected to this idea of companionship. Does a man fall in love with his computer? What the heck?! The T-1000 is just around the corner. Is the world ready for a story about an artificially intelligent computer operating system and a man falling in love? Maybe. But that’s a question for a different blog.
I have to admit I don’t think I would ever go see a movie titled Nebraska. It sounds boring. I didn’t want to see Alexander Payne’s Sideways when it came out, but I ended up loving it, so who knows about this one? Bruce Dern stars in this comedy about an old, aging man that believes he’s won a sweepstakes. You know, we’ve all received that envelope with “OUR CHANCE TO WIN 1 MILLION A YEAR”. With the way that time gets away, this could be Bruce Dern’s last chance at a statue. Having said that, he’s been in the business for years, appearing in many, many trailers, and can act circles around most of Hollywood's leading men. Dern might get the sympathy award, if he needed it. But he might win this outright – unsympathetically. Dern may surprise. My money, however, is still on someone else. No chance for Best Picture. But elderly men is no small constituency in the Academy, so… hmm?
My daughter doesn’t need to feel so guilty about this one. Personally, I don’t want to see it because of the title. The truth is I don’t know anyone who HAS seen this movie. As a matter of fact, I don’t know anyone who knows this movie exists. Well, one person said they knew of this movie. This individual described it as an “epic natural disaster movie like Twister, right?” I can’t say “wrong,” but I can say “highly unlikely.” More likely is that Judi Dench stars in this “tearjerker” about a woman looking for her adopted son who was taken from her years ago. The trailer looks good, the acting looks superb, I just don’t think it can win the big prize. Judi Dench may take the Best Actress category... She’s really good. But she has an Oscar already.
12 Years a Slave
This could take it all. It looks epic. Chiwetel Ejiofor is my pick for Best Actor. The man acted the heck out of this trailer. I don’t even need to watch this film to know that there is some subject matter that I don’t want to see. However, there are some things that you can never shine too many lights on, and the slavery that existed in this country is one of them. Cinematically, this movie looks perfect. The lighting. The costumes. The music: all perfect. Destined to move. Their only competition may be Gravity.
The Wolf of Wall Street
Martin Scorsese, Matthew McConaughey, Leonardo Dicaprio, and his beautiful love interest, Jonah Hill. Sex. Drugs. Money. Midgets. Parties. Kanye. No reindeer in sight. It’s “gangsta,” but only because Scorsese directed this one. Seriously, this movie looks like a lot of fun, but I don’t think it can get the gold. Leo might get passed up once again, but the Golden Globes thought otherwise.
So! My pick for Best Picture is going to 12 Years a Slave. I think this film(‘s trailer) has all the momentum it needs to take the cake. A few of my other carefully selected picks are:
Best Actor: Chiwetel Ejiofor… But maybe Matthew McConaughey or Bruce Dern.
Best Actress: Sandra Bullock... If this single woman carried the audience’s attention for the length of an entire movie by being lost in space, she should be locked up. No one should have that much power. But apparently Sandra does, and she’ll probably take this one. She is awesome.
Best Supporting Actor: Jared LE-TO has to win. I don’t even want to say Michael Fassbender dammit too late. But word on the street (where I get all my words from, obvi), in 12 Years a Slave, he makes horrific and terrible scenes wonderful.
Best Supporting Actress: This is a toss up, but I’m going with Jennifer Lawrence because she is beautiful and Lupita Nyongo’ because she is beautiful. And I mean that in the most beautiful sense.
Best Director: Alfonso Cuaron, probably, because Sandra Bullock said so, fool.