Saturday, March 1, 2014

Best Picture 2014 - predictions

Well, here we are again. A year later with a brand new slate of films to scrutinize, celebrate, ridicule and fall completely in love with! Three month of Oscar tracking and it comes down to one encompassing evening. Tomorrow night. That being said, let’s get right to it shall we. My 2014 Oscar Predictions! Enjoy.

Best picture
“12 Years a Slave”
“American Hustle”
“Captain Phillips”
“Dallas Buyers Club”
“The Wolf of Wall Street”

The sitch: I’m quite proud of myself for catching 7 of the 9 best picture nominees before the big night (the other two are still to be released in SA, although a big thank you to Ster Kinekor for arranging pre-release screenings for the hardcore enthusiasts that had time on their hands this week. I know they kind of say this every year, but man, what a line up of incredible films! What makes it more incredible though is that in the best picture category (and most other categories this year) the slate of talent is so top notch, that I really don’t mind who wins – most of them are that good! Oscar voters get told to rank this category from most to least favourite. They can fill in 1 film, or 9, its up to them. If I were a voter (please, Lord, one day) my list would look something like this:
1. 12 Years a Slave*   2. Gravity*   3. Dallas Buyers Club   4. Her   5. American Hustle   6. The Wolf of Wall Street   7. Philomena   8. Nebraska   9. Captain Phillips

From the bottom up: I really didn’t like the way Captain Phillips celebrated the navy’s rescue of the captain. It felt like “oh look at how great we are as Americans”. It was a good movie, no doubt, but not a fantastic one. Haven’t seen Nebraska or Philomena, but I recon I would still like them a lot more than Phillips. Wall Street was a very interesting film, with some great moments, but hell, was it long! If it was half an hour shorter it would be in my top three. American Hustle had a great cast with a great concept, but my goodness, so many people scamming the other that it was so flippen difficult to keep track. What made the film were definitely its actors! The concept behind Spike Jonez’ Her is just incredible. So well thought out and brilliantly executed it was definitely one of my favourites of the year. I only saw Dallas Buyers Club today. Had I written this entry yesterday, it would have been number 8. But its just such a fantastic film, that literally took everything to make it (just google “Dallas Buyers Club making of” and you’ll see what I’m talking about). The performances also carry this story so well, its just amazing – I didn’t think that after having HIV/AIDS shoved down my throat by the South African education system (OBE days) for 7 years, that I could ever feel this way about a film about the disease. Then there’s Gravity, a film that did what Avatar did for visual effects-driven films 4 years ago and then some. It has a brilliant concept, with enough depth to keep the philosophers and critics happy and enough special effects and action to keep audiences happy. To have a 3D film as a front-runner in the Best picture race is truly remarkable, and definitely a step forward when it comes to the snobbery of the awards and those who vote for them. 

Then there’s my #1 film of the year. 12 Years a Slave. Is it the most brilliant movie ever made, no. Is it an important film, absolutely! Everything about this film is so incredibly solid. It feels like a machine in which all the parts come together so well that there’s really no tearing it apart. The one and only thing that bothered me about the film was Brad Pitt playing the role of the hero towards the end of the film – it felt like Solomon’s freedom was not as powerful because of it, which really hurt its chances of being #1 in my books. Having said that, I have actually changed my mind again: Gravity is actually my #1 which, if you talk to my lecturers, might illustrate my reputation to change my mind too often, but could also illustrate how close this race truly is!
What will win: 12 Years a Slave (Gravity and American Hustle would be spoilers)
What should win: If Gravity wins, I’ll be happy. If slaves wins I’ll be happy. Both are solid, both can comfortably wear the label of ‘best’ of the year!

(Stay tuned for the other category break-downs later today!!!)

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