2014 Oscar Preview and Picks

The Academy Awards are Sunday, and it's time to see who wins.

I reviewed 170 movies last year, and it was an interesting year at theaters.  Gravity turned out to be the gigantic flick that ruled the adult box office.  The trend that really hit me this year was the amount of "end of the world" movies, plus there was no shortage of superhero and animated flicks again.  It was good to see some really terrific small movies like The Way, Way Back, Enough Said, Philomena, Blue Jasmine, Nebraska and The Spectacular Now come to have great success.  I think small movies had one of their best years ever.  Of course, overshadowed by the big budget films.

But the majority of the nominated movies came out late on the calander as per normal. There was no Titanic this year, and seemingly no real runaway best movie like in many years.  On this list, we will look at the five major categories, Best Picture, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor, and Actress and Director.  I will give you my favorite performances only from the nominees, (many of my favorites were not nominated) and then the pick I think will win. So here goes...

Best Picture

My Pick Would Be American Hustle -  From this nominee list this movie had a big, talented cast that melded well together and had an interesting story that was told well.  It is a great ensemble piece much like Silver Linings Playbook was last year, as it is made by the same director, David O. Russell.  Overall a great movie.

The Winner Will Be12 Years A Slave - This movie is very powerful, and very hard to watch at times. Great cast with a harsh story that could have been told a number of ways. But they took the brave path and it will pay off for them.  This is courageous, and tough movie making.  Great performances and wonderful direction.


Best Actor 

My Pick Would Be -  Mathew McConaughey in Dallas Buyers Club.  This is a large role and I think he may be in every scene.  Hollywood loves when actors do amazing things for a role, and he lost 50 pounds plus for this. He is wonderful and believable in every single way you can be.  He was also amazing this year in the small flick Mud, where I thought he was actually better.  He was also in Wolf Of Wall Street, could be his best year ever.

The Winner Will Be Mathew McConaughey in Dallas Buyers Club.  I think he holds off Chiwetel Ejiofor from 12 Years A Slave, who was also terrific!


Best Actress

My Pick Would Be - Cate Blanchett for Blue Jasmine.  This may be one of two slam dunks this year.  She is so great in this role, it is almost unimaginable she won't win.  Judi Dench, who is fantastic in Philomena could be the only minor competition.  Blanchett is the cream of this crop by far, with Dench next, and the rest not even remotely in the same conversation at all in this category.

The Winner Will Be - Cate Blanchett for Blue Jasmine. It would simply be a disaster if anyone else won this. And a crime worth investigating if she or Dench didn't win.


Best Supporting Actor 

My Pick Would Be - Barkhad Abdi for Captain Phillips.  His first attempt at acting ever.  This movie needed a complex, complicated, conflicted and interesting villain to be great, and he is.  He plays the lead Somali pirate who has scene after scene with Tom Hanks, and he never blinks.   As great as Hanks is, Abdi's performance is the separator for this movie being great, as opposed to simply being good.

The Winner Will Be - Jared Leto for Dallas Buyers Club.  This is the second slam dunk category of the night.  He is great, and the field he is nominated against isn't as strong as you might think outside of Abdi.  I think there is no way he does not win. Would be a stunner if he does not.


Best Supporting Actress

My Pick Would Be - June Squibb for Nebraska.  This little movie was really poignant, and she was the exact actor needed to play the bitter wife of an old, confused and strange man chasing rainbows. She was hilarious at times, and 100 percent authentic all the time.  This is one of the best performances from any actor, in any movie this year, nominated or not.

The Winner Will Be - Lupita Nyong'o for 12 Years A Slave.  Really deep performance in a movie that had to have it.  She gives an incredibly emotive performance that helped give this movie a ton of depth. Especially when the main character was so dominant in almost every scene. This movie is elevated  greatly because of her stellar performance.


Best Director 

My Pick Would Be -  Alfonso Cauron' for Gravity.   I was not as enamored with this movie as many.  I felt this was more of an amusement ride, or experience than a movie.  But, this is amazingly difficult movie making, as it is all in 0 gravity, or simulated 0 gravity. It is also the best use of 3-D I have ever seen.  The challenge was huge, and even though this movie missed for many reasons with me, they did pull off a huge victory and met the challenge. Someone has to envision this before it was made. And he did.

The Winner Will Be - Martin Scorsese for Wolf Of Wall Street. Sadly, I think this is just too much temptation for Hollywood not to give this guy an Oscar for this. This missed with me overall, as I felt this movie was way too long, self involved and repetitive. But Hollywood loved it.  Although Steve McQueen for 12 Years A Slave could pull this off as well.  He could be in the mix.

See you Sunday night at the Oscars! Sunday, 7pm on ABC.

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