Friday, February 28, 2014
Man, what an awards season it has been. A fine sprinkling of comedy, sci-fi, drama, and historical films littered the field this year. Though this year's best picture line-up is not as perfectly diverse as last year's, nine films of varying themes, stories and genres still make this an interesting group. In case you forgot, here are the nine films vying for Hollywood's highest film honor- "American Hustle," "Captain Phillips," "Dallas Buyers Club," "Gravity," "Her," "Nebraska," "Philomena," "12 Years a Slave" and "The Wolf of Wall Street."
You have five dramas, three comedies, and one sci-fi blockbuster. Though I didn't like most of these films, it's showing how the academy is making strides to broaden their appeal when they decided to expand the best picture category to up to 10 nominees over five, and save for "Her," they all have acting nominations. And unlike years past where best picture nominees would only have two nominations - "The Blind Side," "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" -, not one of these films has less than four nominations each. These aren't just showcases of great acting, but of great craftsmanship across all branches of the academy.
However, the acting races seem all sewn up so there's nothing fun to report there, but best picture is a true nail-biter.
While last year was a runaway for Ben Affleck's "Argo," this year is more heavily contested among three films; absolute frontrunners "Gravity" and "12 Years a Slave" (with 10 and nine respective nominations each) and"American Hustle" whose nominations in all of the acting categories favors heavily for it and their 10 total nominations. Almost every single precursor has gone to these three films, with a tighter split between "Gravity" and "Slave.'
Sunday, February 2, 2014
The 2013 Academy Award nominees for best documentary feature show a pretty diverse collection of stories that are told in conventional documentary ways of storytelling and even a newer approach that strongly blurs the line between fiction and truth. Stories about war, art, music, and revolution all come together in one category that open our eyes to wonderful people and the most unruly of characters.
The five nominated documentaries are "The Act of Killing," "Cutie and the Boxer," "Dirty Wars," "The Square" and "20 Feet From Stardom."
Thanks to Netflix, it was easier than most years to actually watch the nominees (all but "20 Feet" are available for streaming), and it was an interesting experience. Though they all had different narratives and used different techniques, this wasn't an extraordinary slate.