My Take on The Oscar Nominations

Oscar Nominations were released today after much wait, anticipation and speculation on which big releases could and should be accredited one of the most prestigious awards in the film industry. Here is the list of nominations with my own thoughts regarding who I think should and will take the award, applause and glory.

BEST PICTURE

12 Years a Slave, American Hustle, Captain Phillips, Dallas Buyers Club, Gravity, Her, Nebraska, Philomena, The Wolf of Wall Street.

12 Years a Slave should and probably will be accredited and named The Best Picture at the 86th Oscar Ceremony after stunning its audience and collecting much praise and plaudits.

BEST DIRECTOR

David O. Russell – American Hustle, Alfonso Cuaron – Gravity, Alexander Payne – Nebraska, Steve McQueen – 12 Years a Slave, Martin Scorsese – The Wolf of Wall Street

This should be a close contest between Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity and Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave in my perspective as they were the two visual highlights out of the bunch. Cuaron behind one of the best visual experiences in cinematic history whilst McQueen refreshing and brilliant techniques captured so much in 12 Years a Slave.

BEST ACTOR

Christian Bale – American Hustle, Bruce Dern – Nebraska, Leonardo DiCaprio -The Wolf of Wall Street, Chiwetel Ejiofor – 12 Years a Slave, Matthew McConaughey – Dallas Buyers Club.

12 Years a Slave’s Ejiofor should deserve to win Best Actor however with the heaps of praise and success from McConaughey in Dallas Buyers Club It could be stolen away.

BEST ACTRESS

Amy Adams – American Hustle, Cate Blanchett – Blue Jasmine, Sandra Bullock – Gravity, Judi Dench – Philomena, Meryl Streep – August: Osage County

Amy Adams is the majority’s choice to take claim to the Best Actress award but giving the performance of her career in Gravity it would be much deserved if Sandra Bullock took the glory.

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

American Hustle – Written by Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell, Blue Jasmine – Written by Woody Allen, Her – Written by Spike Jonze , Nebraska – Written by Bob Nelson, Dallas Buyers Club – Written by Craig Borten & Melisa Wallack

Spike Jonze’s Her, I hope will get named the Best Original Screenplay ahead of American Hustle after failing to amaze me and reach expectation.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

Before Midnight – Written by Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke, Captain Phillips – Screenplay by Billy Ray, Philomena – Screenplay by Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope, 12 Years a Slave – Screenplay by John Ridley, The Wolf of Wall Street – Screenplay by Terence Winter

12 Years a Slave absolutely amazed me, especially with its accurate adaptation, brutal realism and factual accuracy so this would be a strong shout for this award, however Captain Phillips was truly special so I wouldn’t be surprise if it stole the show here.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Lupita Nyong’o – 12 Years a Slave, Jennifer Lawrence – American Hustle, June Squibb – Nebraska, Julia Roberts – August: Osage County, Sally Hawkins – Blue Jasmine

Jennifer Lawrence although only playing a minor role stood out amongst others in American Hustle and should easily be credited as Best Supporting Actress.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Barkhad Abdi – Captain Phillips, Bradley Cooper – American Hustle, Michael Fassbender – 12 Years a Slave, Jonah Hill – The Wolf of Wall Street, Jared Leto – Dallas Buyers Club

Jared Leto apparently gave a wonderful performance in Dallas Buyers Club but I can’t see anyone accept Michael Fassbneder winning and deserving this award after his performance in 12 Years a Slave.

BEST ANIMATED FILM

The Croods, Despicable Me 2, Ernest & Celestine, Frozen, The Wind Rises

Frozen will most likely scoop The Best Animated Film award up after becoming a huge favourite, however I could see close competition from the great, Despicable Me 2.

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

The Grandmaster, Gravity, Inside Llewyn Davis, Nebraska, Prisoners

I could see best cinematography being between Inside Llewyn Davis and Gravity but I couldn’t say which way.

BEST COSTUME DESIGN

Michael Wilkinson – American Hustle, William Chang Suk Ping – The Grandmaster, Catherine Martin – The Great Gatsby, Michael O’Connor – The Invisible Woman, Patricia Norris – 12 Years a Slave

American Hustle really did show off its excellence in this department and it should surely be credited by picking up the Oscar for Best Costume Design.

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

The Act of Killing – Joshua Oppenheimer and Signe Byrge Sørensen, Cutie and the Boxer – Zachary Heinzerling and Lydia Dean Pilcher, Dirty Wars – Richard Rowley and Jeremy Scahill, The Square – Jehane Noujaim and Karim Amer, 20 Feet from Stardom – Nominees to be determined

The Act Killing is my favourite for this category.

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT

CaveDigger – Jeffrey Karoff, Facing Fear – Jason Cohen, Karama Has No Walls -Sara Ishaq , The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life – Malcolm Clarke and Nicholas Reed, Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall – Edgar Barens

BEST FILM EDITING

American Hustle – Jay Cassidy, Crispin Struthers and Alan Baumgarten,  Captain Phillips – Christopher Rouse, Dallas Buyers Club-  John Mac McMurphy and Martin Pensa, Gravity – Alfonso Cuarón and Mark Sanger,  12 Years a Slave –  Joe Walker

Gravity should have this one firmly in their grasp!

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

The Broken Circle Breakdown – Belgium, The Great Beauty -Italy, The Hunt – Denmark, The Missing Picture – Cambodia,  Omar Palestine

It was a big surprise to not see Blue is the Warmest Colour given a nomination for this category.

BEST MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING

Dallas Buyers Club – Adruitha Lee and Robin Mathews, Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa –  Stephen Prouty, The Lone Ranger –  Joel Harlow and Gloria Pasqua-Casny

Dallas Buyers Club would be my favourite for this award however again its a surprise to see American Hustle not getting nominated.

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE

John Williams – The Book Thief, Steven Price –  Gravity,  William Butler and Owen Pallett –  Her,  Alexandre Desplat –  Philomena Thomas Newman – Saving Mr. Banks

Saving Mr Banks would be my favourite and a winner that would be much deserved.

BEST SOUND EDITING

All Is Lost – Steve Boeddeker and Richard Hymns,  Captain Phillips – Oliver Tarney, Gravity –  Glenn Freemantle , The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug –  Brent Burge, Lone Survivor – Wylie Stateman

Captain Phillips has amazing score but I was very impressed by Lone Survivor it would be more than deserved if they were awarded Best Sound Editing.

BEST SOUND MIXING

Captain Phillips –  Chris Burdon, Mark Taylor, Mike Prestwood Smith and Chris Munro,  Gravity – Skip Lievsay, Niv Adiri, Christopher Benstead and Chris Munro, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug –  Christopher Boyes, Michael Hedges, Michael Semanick and Tony Johnson, Inside Llewyn Davis –  Skip Lievsay, Greg Orloff and Peter F. Kurland,  Lone Survivor – Andy Koyama, Beau Borders and David Brownlow

Again this for me would be between Captain Phillips and Lone Survivor.

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

Gravity – Tim Webber, Chris Lawrence, Dave Shirk and Neil Corbould,  The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug – Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton and Eric Reynolds,  Iron Man 3 –  Christopher Townsend, Guy Williams, Erik Nash and Dan Sudick,  The Lone Ranger – Tim Alexander, Gary Brozenich, Edson Williams and John Frazier, Star Trek Into Darkness – Roger Guyett, Patrick Tubach, Ben Grossmann and Burt Dalton

I would like to see The Hobbit be accredited this award after the amazing appearance of Smaug however it would be no surprise to see Gravity make way with another victory.

I did miss out a few categories however these are the Oscar Nominations, there were a few shocks and surprises but I’m sure there will be plenty more upon ceremony night! I would appreciate it if you could comment below your thoughts and your favourites for the Oscars 2014.

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Favourite Scenes From 2013

2013 left us a week ago now but still looking back it was a great year in the world of cinema for viewing experiences and entertainment. Regarding my 2013 Round-Up there’s not much left to conclude, so here I bring you some of my favourite and the most memorable  scenes from 2013 releases.

#5

A scene that is truly memorable comes from the recent instalment to The Hobbit series, The Desolation of Smaug  presented us with a stunningly made Dragon which in its final scenes breaks free covered in liquid gold shaking it everywhere. An image and scene that was perfectly executed and is surely to be an award-winner. The scenes involving Smaug were all impressive.

#4

One of the most talked about and divided film of 2013 was Nicholas Winding Refn’s Only God Forgives, despite dividing opinions it really made an impact on me with a brilliantly executed display. The scene I’m sure no one will forget is the long-awaited fight scene that saw Ryan Gosling in a violent display. It was my favourite scene from the film, especially with Cliff Martinez once again adding amazing score.

#3

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty was an excellent and surprising film with an almost perfect balance between comedy, drama and action. The very final scene for me was a real heart-warmer which summed up the films pleasant atmosphere! there were also many perfectly shot scenes that really glorified the captured scenery but for me the ending had a mixture of everything.

#2

Gravity was for me the best visual experience of recent years with amazing effects and great use of 3D! A real awe inspiring scene that was a real highlight and advertisement for recent technology was the inclusion of 3D tears as Sandra Bullock’s Ryan Stone broke down.

#1

Captain Phillips was crowned my favourite release of 2013 and this was mainly down to the amazing and inspirational acting from Tom Hanks. In the final scenes under examination Hank’s Phillips breaks down into shock and capture’s a breath-taking performance that I’m sure will bring many rightful awards and plaudits.

My Favourite 10 for 2013

Since I have now viewed most of the 2013 releases I had originally intended to here are my favourite 10. I know I have already posted My 2013 Awards but here is a more formal list, fortunately I don’t have a habit of going to bad screenings so my list was a bit of a headache to conclude and finalise.

#10

“Different”, “Refreshing” and “Tense”

#9

“Fun”, “Alive” and “Heart-felt”

#8

“Thrilling”, “Clever” and “Chilling”

#7

“Pleasant”, “Touching” and “Powerful”

(Reviewed Here)

#6

“Fun”, “Entertaining” and “Brilliant”

(Reviewed Here)

#5

“Master-class”, “Violent” and “Brave”

#4

“Fun”, “Entertaining” and “Simply Great”

(Reviewed Here)

#3

“Touching”, “Inspirational” and “Magical”

(Reviewed Here)

#2

“Visually-Flawless”, “Tense” and “Special”

(Reviewed Here)

#1

“Breath-Taking”, “Tense” and “Stunning”

(Reviewed Here)

Captain Phillips concludes my 2013 list and gets named my favourite film of the year. I only wish I had reviewed more of them but I’m sure I shall with second watches. Feel free to debate and comment about my choices and it would be great if you’d name your top 10 films of 2013 below!

Gravity (2013)

Genre: Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller

Director: Alfonso Cuarón

Writers: Alfonso Cuarón, Jonás Cuarón , George Clooney (un-credited)

Starring: George Clooney, Sandra Bullock

Rating: ★★★★½

Visually breath-taking and flawless. Gravity is easily one of the “Best Picture” candidates for the Oscars as director Alfonso Cuarón’s special effects allows for one of the best cinema viewings in recent years. The film in simple terms can be described as Cast Away in space, but this isn’t at all flattering towards Hollywood’s new in the spotlight master-piece. Gravity is more than about the battle against isolation and survival, but a story showing the power and strength the human mind can possess even in the darkest of times.

There is little neither introduction nor an easing into action as we begin our experience mid-way through what seems to be an expected routine operation for a space team. Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) is an attending her first space mission as a medical engineer whilst her company is in the form of a composed, laid-back veteran Kowalski (George Clooney) attending his last space mission before retirement. Their simple objective of repairing a broken telescope however is quickly abandoned as a flood of fast coming debris smash into their shuttle flinging them into the wilderness and emptiness that is space. Separated, alone and in shock a frantic Ryan spins away. Joined by the comforting voice of Houston and Kowalski, Stone eventually gets instructed and locates a nearby station that could lead her homebound and to safety. However after contact is lost and another wave of debris soon approaching, Stone has to decide whether to simply let go and float away, or to hold on with passion and grit to find a solution.

Sandra Bullock presents the performance of her career, capturing a highly believable and realistic display despite being in a very drastic and hyperbolic situation.  The pain that’s afflicted on Stone whether emotional, mental or physical leaves you sympathetic and sweating; this is significantly down to the amazing mastered performance. The absolute mental torture that Stone goes through takes us on an adventure of our own allowing us to feel the extreme loneliness and pain alongside Bullock’s character. Bullock will also be proud to be associated with such a prestigious film in terms of Gravity’s use of 3D and visual effects.

The use of 3D in Gravity is astonishing, showing just how fast the popular modern-day feature is being developed.  There are many scenes that use 3D to amazing effects, my personal favourites occur in the scenes where Stone is in the pod. At one point we see her painful teardrop float up and away from her cheek towards our jaw-dropped and trembling faces. It is not only the 3D in this film that makes Gravity visually flawless but the use of shooting all digitally allows a much more defined quality. The element that separates Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity from the other space sci-fi films of this year such as Pacific Rim, Elysium and Oblivion is the cinematography and unbelievably scenery displayed throughout the film. It’s the small things in this film that really do add up to make perfection; the opening scene is breath-taking as we see an establishing shot of Earth as George Clooney’s character rather causally floats by.

The story to Gravity is simple but it is that very same simplicity that makes the film so enjoyable and such an amazing visual experience. Finding faults is rather difficult, there are areas where the story lacks depth, and in a personal perspective I would have much preferred more closure in the final scene and much more of an introduction to characters at the beginning. However the lack of these elements only emphasises and highlights the quality of others. I can predict now that Gravity will win many awards and possibly one or two Oscars. It’s a highlight film of 2013 for sure and one that advertises cinema as the beautiful art form it is. It was very hard deciding what rating Gravity deserved, many times I have considered it to be a perfect five stars but it is one nevertheless to view, to appreciate and to enjoy.