Sunday, February 23 2014, 12:36 PM MST
Academy Awards Homework Assignment
(KUTV) There's little fun to be had in watching an award show if you haven't seen any of the nominees. With just over a week to go before the 86th Academy Awards some of you might be a little behind on this year's nominated films. Rather than trying to dig your way through every nominated movie I'd recommend checking out these select films.
The Best Bets:
12 Years a Slave
Look for Steve McQueen's film about a free black man abducted and sold into slavery to win Best Picture and possibly Best Director (McQueen) and Best Leading Actor (Chiwetel Ejiofor), Best Supporting Actress (Lupita Nyong’o) and Best Adapted Screenplay (John Ridley).
Alfonso Cuarón's sci-fi thriller charmed audiences and enthralled critics. It's currently a dark horse for Best Picture, but is likely to pick up awards for Best Director (Cuarón), Best Cinematography (Emmanuel Lubezki) and Best Visual Effects (Timothy Webber, Chris Lawrence, David Shirk, Neil Corbould). It's doubtful that Sandra Bullock will come away with Best Leading Actress, but stranger things have happened.
Dallas Buyers Club
Look for Matthew McConaughey's portrayal of AIDS patient Ron Woodroof to challenge Chiwetel Ejiofor's performance in 12 Years a Slave for Best Leading Actor and Jared Leto's performance as a HIV-positive transgender woman to challenge Barkhad Abdi's performance in Captain Phillips for Best Supporting Actor. There's a good chance the film will win for Best Makeup and Hairstyling as well.
It's likely that Disney will walk away with this year's Oscar. The only question is will it be Frozen or Hayao Miyazaki’s The Wind Rises? I'd love to see Miyazaki win, but the award is more likely to go to the more mainstream title. "Let It Go" might not be the strongest song in the film (that would be "Do You Want to Build a Snowman?"), but it might be popular enough to knock off U2's "Ordinary Love."
I liked director David O. Russell's attempt at making a Martin Scorsese film, but unlike many other critics the film didn't even crack my top 10 for 2013. Nonetheless the film has 10 Oscar nominations and while I'd vote against the film in all 10 categories it's unlikely that the Academy snubs the film altogether. Maybe it will win for Best Original Screenplay (even though that should go to Her).
It will be interesting to see if the controversy surrounding director/writer Woody Allen scares voters away from giving Cate Blanchette the award for Best Leading Actress. I'd suggest that Sally Hawkins is as worthy to win Best Supporting Actress, but that's likely to go elsewhere.
If there is a lingering dark horse that could come in and upset the favorite nominees for Best Picture it might be Paul Greengrass' Captain Phillips. I'd also make the case for Barkhad Abdi to win for Best Supporting Actor. I expect the film to win in at least one of the technical categories (Film Editing, Sound Editing or Sound Mixing) and possibly for Best Adapted Screenplay (which should, but probably won't, go to Before Midnight).
By Ryan Michael Painter
(Copyright 2014 Sinclair Broadcasting Group)