Every year is different for the Academy Awards. One year is extremely boring and predictable or one is absolutely crowded with talent, you have to take a breather from all the praise. This is the latter. As I was filling in my picks at the Oscars website, I found it difficult to pick the major categories. It finally sank in that the past year was filled with great films. Every major category from best director to best picture are stacked. For instance, Best original screenplay has Nebraska, Her and Dallas Buyers Club nominated. WHICH ONE DO YOU CHOOSE!? Or, how about Best director? David O. Russell, Alfonso Cuaron, Steve McQueen, Alexander Payne and the all-mighty Scorsese. While you sit there racking your brain, I'll fill you in on Best picture.
With Best picture, you have to pick the best of the best. Well, they did. And it's filled to the brim with amazing stories and stellar performances. First off, we have Nebraska. A selling point of an elderly gentleman taking a trip to claim a lottery ticket. That being said, it's a phenomenal flick and deserves accolades. Philomena is an underrated nomination, having Steve Coogan writing and starring helps. Not to mention, Dench, Dame Judi Dench. Next up, Captain Phillips. The tale of a brave Captain surviving a Somali pirate hijacking. Tom Hanks crushes, like always and the newcomer, Barkhad Abdi, steals every scene he's in. Fourth on this list is, Her. I'm a Spike Jonze fan. I also happen to think Joaquin Phoenix is one of the best actors of our time. This mix is perfection, wrapped around a love story that meets every need. In the last couple of years, Matthew McConaughey has made a comeback. Instead of romantic comedies, he's choosing deep, thought provoking projects. Like, Dallas Buyers Club. My official dark horse for Best picture. It has everything you could want in a film. Superb acting, great imagery, organic laughter and some tears as well. I can't talk about this movie without bringing up, Jared Leto. If he doesn't win best supporting actor I will hurl 30 Seconds to Mars cd's at Boone Isaacs (President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences). His performance kills. Makes you laugh and cry, all at once. Slavery is a hard topic to cover. In order for a film to convey the agony of slavery, one must make a compelling and brutally honest take. 12 Years a Slave does just that. I didn't have the pleasure to see it in theaters, but I probably would've felt very uncomfortable in public.Needless to say, I felt like an awful human being. Chiwetel Ejiofor, has an amazing performance. Clearly deserves a nomination.
Now, to the Big 3. Gravity, being one of the most talked about films of the year, it deserves a spot in the category. I don't think it should win, but the terror and the beauty in it makes me second guess my thoughts. Now I ask myself a question: Do I think rhyming is cool? No, but American Hustle directed by David O. Russell, is. It's not Russell's best, in my opinion, but I think it's boosted by the work of Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams and Jennifer Lawrence. And one of the best comedic scenes this year had to be where Cooper and Louis C.K. are having a discussion about respect and passion. It had me rolling. The story holds well and I love Amy Adams. Finally, the last nomination in the Best picture category, The Wolf of Wall Street. Martin Scorsese directed this masterpiece. If that doesn't automatically get an award, how about if the cast was excellent? Well, luckily for us, it is. Leonardo DiCaprio has become something new. A body that has many personalities inhabiting it. Or maybe, he's a damn fine actor. Either way, he eats up every line given and then some. Jonah Hill gives his best performance of his career and that sneakyMatthew McConaughey shows up. Told you he's picking good parts. This film is dirty, extravagant, amazing, beautiful and as long as the first two Lord of the Rings movies. What more can you ask for?
In closing, I would like to point out that obviously, these aren't all the categories up for grabs. There's Best actor/actress in leading/supporting roles and countless others, but they seem slightly predictable. But that's the thing about the Academy Awards. You never really know until they happen.
Tune in to the Academy Awards, March 2nd, on ABC.