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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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!

Saving Mr Banks (2013)

Saving Mr. Banks (2013) PosterGenre: Comedy, Biography, Drama

Director: John Lee Hancock

Writers: Sue Smith, Kelly Marcel

Starring: Tom Hanks. Emma Thompson, Colin Farrell

Rating:★★★★½

A film that blew me away completely, reaching greater expectations than I first imagined. It’s not every day you get to watch a piece of real-life cinema history unfold in front of you, nor do you get to watch such a tragic and sad story be told in such a magical “Disney” way. There’s so much about Saving Mr Banks that makes it unique and a cut above the rest. Not only does the story hold truth, engage the imagination and touch the heart but the acting is truly outstanding with cast and crew delivering to achieve such a great end product.

“It’s Mrs P L Travers” she instructs many times, and it’s this extraordinary  yet classical  “posh” British woman we follow, as she battles to keep her much loved Mary Poppins being turned into one of Walt Disney’s “silly cartoons”. Mrs Travers (Emma Thompson) is the author of the famous Mary Poppins however trying to keep a twenty year old promise to his daughters; Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) has two weeks to convince her to let Mary Poppins flourish on the big screen. In 1961 after a twenty year history of constant and firm rejection Travers has no choice but to fly to Walt’s studios in Los Angeles as the battling author faces rough financial difficulties. In the hope of retaining his promise and the rights to such a classic book Walt Disney pulls out all of the stops, presenting a number of colourful pictures, toys, tours and musical performances but the non-budge author suggests “Mary Poppins isn’t for sale and she certainly does not sing!” It is then at the end of those long-winded two weeks in the rehearsal room, that we alongside Mr. Disney begin to realise that the magical nanny means more to Travers than could have ever been thought.

As Travers is forced to reflect on a rough childhood haunted by her beloved drunken father (Colin Farrell) Walt Disney gives her the chance to finally have the happy ending she dreamt of, for not only herself and Mary Poppins but for her father. It’s within Travers own story that Mary Poppins is created and it’s the flashbacks of Mrs Travers childhood that really makes the story heart-warming and that lump in your throat ever much present.  Colin Farrell plays his role as Travers’ father unbelievably well, giving an amazing performance that makes you smile yet at the same time in your eyes tears still seem to glaze over. Although just having a co-star role his performance was by far the stand out in my view. Whilst there is a sad undertone to the story there are many of laughs too, something i admired about the film is the balance between the two. Travers although maybe being stereotyped too much has great dialogue throughout; likewise with Walt himself, as the two start to find each other a little too overwhelming it leads way for some comical frustrated mutters. My favourite humour providers however are the Sherman Brothers (B.J Novak and Jason Schwartzman) as they battle to not only make Mary Poppins sing, but to make her sing made-up words. They hide “superfragicallistic” from Travers after she states “responstible? Responstible isn’t even a word, un-make it up”.  It’s hard to fault the script of Saving Mr Banks at all, with every single syllable seemingly fitting into place perfectly and suiting each and every character.

The portrayal of Walt Disney from the film itself and Tom Hanks is good; however a few lines do make the idolised figure seem rather shallow. He is funny, sarcastic but most of all caring and I couldn’t have pictured anyone but Tom Hanks playing the role. I do hope Saving Mr Banks holds a lot of truth to its story as the history of Walt Disney himself is told as he speaks of when he was just a boy with a sketch of Minnie delivering newspapers for his father. It’s the belief you have that the story is true that amplifies the magical feel to this film, and when it concerns the “magical Disney feel” you couldn’t obtain more if you tried.

The score by Thomas Newman is entertaining and utilising, making real use of engaging the classic Mary Poppins original scores into the story. Saving Mr Banks has a habit of engaging and linking ideas together as many links are used throughout on several occasions not only linking fiction to reality but past to present. It’s a film that is well adapted too; the humour and puns alongside the story can be enjoyed and felt by everyone even if you haven’t seen Mary Poppins.  Kelly Marcel and Sue Smith should be given huge credit for their ability to not only adapt this film so well, but to present it to make it so understandable and heart-felt.

The marketing and advertisement campaign hasn’t really done Saving Mr Banks justice as for me this is possibly one of the best films of the year. The execution from story to performance is phenomenal. Travers’ father explains in the film “this world Ginty, it’s just an illusion”, and in some ways if you see past what could have been a generic Disney feature, you then realise that this film is about more than the creation of Mary Poppins and Walt Disney’s and Mrs Travers battle, but their struggle and grit to hold onto memories and people. It holds real heart-warming tales and relationships in the most unlikely of places, it’s an Oscar winner and a must watch certainly.