Friday, January 17, 2014

86th Annual Academy Award Nominations!

The 86th annual Academy Award nominations were announced yesterday morning, proving what I have already known. The Academy is lost in space!

Of course that's a joke as the sci-fi film "Gravity" (2013) scored 10 Oscar nominations, tying with the David O. Russell comedy "American Hustle" (2013) as the most honored films.

Both movies are nominated in the best picture category as are; "Captain Phillips", "Dallas Buyers Club", "Her", "Nebraska", "Philomena", "12 Years A Slave" and "The Wolf of Wall Street".

Many people believe going into the Oscars "12 Years A Slave" is the favorite, which scored nine nominations, but "American Hustle" seems to be growing in popularity. There are those that feel Russell's "Silver Lining Playbook" should have won the best picture Oscar last year over "Argo". Will the Academy make up for their "mistake" last year? Both films won Golden Globes for best picture in comedy and drama.

Other big stories include Meryl Streep winning her 18th nomination. This year it is for "August: Osage County". Her last win was for "The Iron Lady" (2011) the story of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. This is the second year a David O. Russell film has acting nominations in all acting categories. Amy Adams, Christian Bale, Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper are all nominated.

Some predictable nominations include "12 Years A Slave" for best picture and Steve McQueen for best director. Bruce Dern is nominated for his performance in "Nebraska". Many have called it the crowning achievement in Dern's career. And Heaven knows the Academy is not above giving "pity Oscars". Also Cate Blanchett is nominated for her performance in the Woody Allen film "Blue Jasmine". Blanchett is the favorite going into the race. And finally the Disney animated film "Frozen" is nominated in the animated feature film category. Generally speaking Disney or Pixar usually secured a nomination every year. And "Frozen" has opened to positive reviews and done very well at the box-office.

As is the case every year there were some surprises. The Coen Brothers movie "Inside Llewyn Davis" was not nominated for best picture, was locked out of the directing category and best actor. In the foreign language film category the popular French film "Blue Is the Warmest Color" was not nominated. It won the palm d'or at the Cannes Film Festival. Robert Redford was not nominated for best actor for the film "All is Lost". Many have called one of Redford's best performances.

For me personally the biggest surprise was how well the "Dallas Buyers Club" did. I was not expecting a best picture nomination. Matthew McConaughey is nominated for best actor and some thought there was a possibility especially given the weight loss he under went. I was happy to see Woody Allen is nominated in the best original screenplay category for "Blue Jasmine". And how nice "The Wind Rises" by Hayao Miyazaki was nominated in the animated feature film category. It has been reported this will be the great animator's last film. Though that was the rumor floating around when "Ponyo" was released as well. Unfortunately "The Wind Rises" has not been released in Chicago yet.

The Academy Awards will be held March 2nd, 2014 and will be hosted this year by Ellen DeGeneres.

For a full list of Oscar nominees: