Is it me? Maybe it’s me. Perhaps I’ve gotten jaded over the years. Then again, maybe it’s just a really crummy year for movies. Sure, there were a few bright spots; but overall, disappointing is the word that sums it up. Let’s take it from the top…
In a category that allows 10 nominees, this year there were nine. There should have been three. OK, these were solid B--maybe B-plus--movies, but one of them is going to be joining the ranks of The Godfather, The Sting and Patton. Pity.
12 Years a Slave
Dallas Buyers Club
The Wolf of Wall Street
Best Actor in a Lead Role
If the SAG awards and the Golden Globes are any indication--and they usually are, Matthew McConaughey likely will be taking home a statue. That is not a pick or a prediction, however, as he is fourth on my list. For the life of me, I cannot understand why Chiwetel Ejiofor isn’t garnering more hardware. I found 12 Years a Slave painful, but his performance was stirring. Christian Bale also was captivating as conman turned snitch—he doesn’t rely on his looks as an actor, and he could. Easily.
Christian Bale, American Hustle
Bruce Dern, Nebraska
Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave
Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street
Best Actress in a Lead Role
In the fiercest of years, Cate Blanchett would win the Oscar hands down. Blue Jasmine is her Annie Hall, her Erin Brockovich. This year, it’s a runaway. Her closest competition? Amy Adams in a colorful, if unremarkable, performance; and Judi Dench in a charming, though forgettable, one.
Amy Adams, American Hustle
Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
Judi Dench, Philomena
Merly Streep, August: Osage County
Sandra Bullock, Gravity
Best Supporting Actor
It’s almost as if the Academy put no thought at all into this category, and said, Eh, the Globes probably got it right. I’ve come to expect a little deviation in the nominations, you know, just to keep things interesting and allow the Academy to maintain their air of superiority. I guess it doesn’t much matter. This one too is a lock.
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
Best Supporting Actress
The supporting actor categories are always interesting at the Oscars. They seem to be where the big upsets happen. And since there is zero chance for an upset in the male-actor category (watch that come back to bite me); if there is a big surprise this year, it will be in the female-actor choice. There are a lot of possibilities here. Lawrence is the clear favorite, but Lupita Nyong’o won the SAG award. Julia Roberts is basically a seat-filler, while but June Squibb and Sally Hawkins are both plausible contenders.
Sally Hawkins, Blue Jasmine
Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle
Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years a Slave
Julia Roberts, August: Osage County
June Squibb, Nebraska