December is here so it’s time to start talking Oscars. The nominees for the 86th Annual Academy Awards Nominations will be announced on January 16th, 2014 and I’m here to give you a preview of whats to come on that early, winter morning in California. Now I will admit, there are a few Oscar worthy films that I have yet to see (Nebraska, American Hustle, & The Wolf of Wall Street), but there are multiple films and performances that deserve Oscar buzz already. Here are the four movies to watch for as Award season begins to heat up.
1. Gracious for Gravity
Gravity was the movie experience of the fall as it wowed audiences with its visual beauty and suspenseful action. I expect Gravity to earn more nominations than any other film this year. Gravity will surely be nominated for Best Picture, Best Director (Alfonso Cuaron) and Best Actress (Sandra Bullock), but the technical side is where Gravity will dominate in the nominations. Cinematography, Original Score, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing and Visual Effects will most certainly have Gravity‘s name attached to their categories. Gravity was a box office and critical darling, but it will not have its named called for Best Picture on Oscar night. That honor will go to the brave and brutal 12 Years a Slave.
2. Welcome Back Mr. Hanks
Tom Hanks hasn’t been nominated for an Oscar since Cast Away in 2001. Some people foolishly wondered if Hanks had fallen out of good grace with the movie going public. That assumption will all change in a big way when the Oscar Nominations are announced. If you’ve seen the last five minutes of Captain Phillips, you will know Hanks is a shoo-in for Best Actor with an acting job that’s so heartbreaking and real. I don’t know how Hanks was able to fake the reaction of the shocked and saved captain. Captain Phillips isn’t the only role Hanks will get his named called for during the Nominations. Hanks’ portrayal of Walt Disney in Saving Mr. Banks will likely land him in the middle of the Best Supporting Actor race. Hanks is spot on as Uncle Walt, but will have competition from his own Captain Phillips costar Barkhad Abdi and from an actor turned rock star that gives the performance of his career.
3. The Oscar Rock Star
Jared Leto may keep himself busy with his successful rock band Thirty Seconds to Mars, but in my opinion, Jared Leto gives one of the best performances of the year and his career in Dallas Buyers Club. Jared Leto steals the show as Ron Woodroof’s (Matthew McConaughey) unlikely business partner Rayon. Leto’s Rayon is a sweet and kind cross dresser that befriends the bigot who’s looking to peddle his non FDA approved drugs that help treat HIV and the AIDS virus. Leto’s performance is the heart of Dallas Buyers Club and makes him the frontrunner in a stacked Supporting Actor race. Leto will have tough competition from Michael Fassbender’s evil slave owner in 12 Years a Slave, but I think the man who was Jordan Catalano will walk away with the Oscar.
4. Scarlett’s Voice
The Golden Globes already blinked and said Scarlett Johansson’s voice performance in Her would not be eligible. What a bunch of non-out-of-the-box thinkers the Hollywood Foreign Press are. This shouldn’t surprise you considering that they still have the outdated Musical/Comedy categories. So now the ball is in the Academy’s court. Do they have the guts to nominate the best voice only acting role ever? I have seen Her and I really began to treat the operating system Samantha (Johansson) as a real character with emotions and feelings. If it was up to me, I would nominate Johansson for Best Supporting Actress, but remember I’m the Anti-Critic. I can tell you that Scarlett Johansson’s voice performance in Her is 10 times better than the overrated Oprah Winfrey in Lee Daniels’ The Butler which seems to be the front-runner. Time to make a brave choice Academy! Especially in the best Supporting Actress Category where we’ve seen the likes of Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids) and Abigail Breslin (Little Miss Sunshine) get nominations for their unique performances.
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