Preliminary thoughts on Oscar nominations

The Academy has announced its nominations for the Oscars. For several years now, I’ve been attending the Best Picture Showcase, presented by the AMC movie theaters, which allows me to catch up on all the nominated movies in a couple of weekends. I’m in the habit at this point of posting the movies and my thoughts on them before the awards.

Since I haven’t seen ANY of the movies nominated, these thoughts are based on synopsis and trailers alone.

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M-American HustleAmerican Hustle

Other Nominations: Best Director – David O. Russell, Best Actor – Christian Bale, Best Actress – Amy Adams, Best Supporting Actor – Bradley Cooper, Best Supporting Actress – Jennifer Lawrence, Original Screenplay, Costume Design, Film Directing, Production Design

Story: A con man, Irving Rosenfeld, along with his seductive British partner, Sydney Prosser, is forced to work for a wild FBI agent, Richie DiMaso. DiMaso pushes them into a world of Jersey powerbrokers and mafia.

My Thoughts: It looks like it will be an entertaining enough movie with some great acting. I’m sure I’ll enjoy it when I see it, but I doubt it’s really the best picture of the year. With ten overall nominations and having won a number of accolades, including Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical* at the Golden Globes, it’s one of the top contenders in the Best Picture category.

*As a side note, can I just point out what a better system the Golden Globes has for separating Best Motion Picture into separate categories, comedies and drama? Because they really are such separate creatures.

M-Captain PhillipsCaptain Phillips

Other Nominations: Best Supporting Actor – Barkhad Abdi, Adapted Screenplay, Film Editing, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing

Story: The true story of Captain Richard Phillips and the 2009 hijacking by Somali pirates of the US-flagged MV Maersk Alabama, the first American cargo ship to be hijacked in two hundred years.

My Thoughts: I’ve heard this is a fantastic movie, and Barkhad Abdi is supposed to give an amazing performance her. It’s not a movie I would normally be drawn to see, and I doubt it will win. But Tom Hanks tends to make good movies and it should be entertaining, in an intense thriller sort of way.

M-Dallas Buyers ClubDallas Buyers Club

Other Nominations: Best Actor – Matthew McConaughey, Best Supporting Actor – Jared Leto, Original Screenplay, Film Editing

Story: In 1985 Dallas, electrician and hustler Ron Woodroof works around the system to help AIDS patients get the medication they need after he is himself diagnosed with the disease.

My Thoughts: Sounds intense and sad; I don’t know what to think other than that. I imagine there will be plenty of tears on this one. I don’t know where it stands in terms of possibly winning best picture, but I’m betting it’s a great movie.


Other Nominations: Best Directory – Alfonso Cuarón, Best Actress – Sandra Bullock, Film Editing, Original Score, Production Design, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Visual Effects

Story: A medical engineer and an astronaut work together to survive after an accident leaves them adrift in space.

My Thoughts: I’ve been wanting to see this one for a while, because I’m fond of space movies and this looks visually stunning. I’ve heard only good things about it, and Sandra Bullock’s acting is supposed to be great. It will probably win for visual effects, but I don’t think it will get best picture.


Other Nominations: Original Screenplay, Original Score, Origninal Song – “The Moon Song”, Production Design

Story: A lonely writer develops an unlikely relationship with his newly purchased operating system that’s designed to meet his every need.

My Thoughts: When I first saw the previews for this, I never would have thought it might be an award contender. It just looked so strange. But then I started to hear all these positive reviews and — welp — I guess I’ll have to be proven wrong when I finally see. Sometimes strange is a good thing, after all, and I’ve been known to like a strange movie or two.


Other Nominations: Best Director – Alexander Payne, Best Actor – Bruce Dern, Best Supporting Actress – June Squibb, Original Screenplay

Story: An aging, booze-addled father makes the trip from Montana to Nebraska with his estranged son in order to claim a million-dollar Mega Sweepstakes Marketing prize.

My Thoughts: I knew nothing about this movie before I heard it was nominated. Now that I’ve read the description and seen the trailer, I’m sure I’ll find it rather funny in that quirky indy movie way, full of quirky characters representing everyday kinds of people in a small town where everyone knows everyone. The mistaken belief by the whole town that the main character has actually won the money and wanting in on the rewards should be funny, and the story is backed by a father-son relationtionship should bring some heart. I’m looking forward to this one.


Other Nominations: Best Actress – Judi Dench, Adapted Screenplay, Original Score

Story: A world-weary political journalist picks up the story of a woman’s search for her son, who was taken away from her decades ago after she became pregnant and was forced to live in a convent.

My Thoughts: Not many. Looks heartwarming and moving and not particularly deep. But it’s hard to say for sure until I see it.


M-12 Years a Slave12 Years a Slave

Other Nominations: Best Director – Steve McQueen, Best Actor – Chiwetel Ejiofor, Best Supporting Actor – Michael Fassbender, Best Supporting Actress – Lupita Nyong’o, Adapted Screenplay, Costume Design, Film Editing, Production Design

Story: In the antebellum United States, Solomon Northup, a free black man from upstate New York, is abducted and sold into slavery.

My Thoughts: From what I’ve seen and heard this movie is amazing. Without even having seen it, or any of the others, this is my pic for Best Picture.


M-Wolf of Wall StreetThe Wolf of Wall Street

Other Nominations: Best Director – Martin Scorsese, Best Actor – Leonardo DiCaprio

Story: Based on the true story of Jordan Belfort, from his rise to a wealthy stockbroker living the high life to his fall involving crime, corruption and the federal government.

My Thoughts: Would someone give Leonardo a bleeping Oscar already? But not likely to happen this year with all the other strong actors in the running. Also, my guess is that this three hour long movie is probably at least 30 minutes longer than it needs to be and Scorsese really need any more recognition. Not the winner.

What about you? What do you think about the nominations for Best Picture?