Yes, we all know that the Oscars, in general, are a crock of shit. However, as movie fans, it's really the only big awards show we've got, so we might as well discuss them. The nominees got announced yesterday, and I think they got some things right and they missed out on a few. Here are some thoughts.
1. No Hugh Jackman?
Yes, Prisoners may be looked at by the general public as a generic thriller (as the trailer would have led you to believe), but this movie is more than that. It's one of the most tense movies I've seen in recent memory, pulse pounding from beginning to end. It got just one nomination, for cinematography (which was well deserved)...but should have had 2. Yes, Paul Dano plays creepy (too) well, and Jake G. blinked...and blinked...and blinked. However, Hugh Jackman gave the performance of a lifetime here, and definitely deserved a nod.
If you're looking for an Oscar lock, look for Cuaron to win Best Director. Gravity is a movie that, placed in the hands of an incapable director, is complete and utter garbage. What we got was a masterpiece, a lesson in atmosphere and an experience that deserved your dollars at the big screen. The other directors deserve to be up there with Cuaron, but no one deserves the award like he does. Not this year.
3. The Transformation of Matthew McConaughey
Ten years ago, most would have laughed if you said Matthew McConaughey was going to win a Best Actor Oscar. He was doing roles like Ghosts of Girlfriends Past & Failure to Launch, and was known for taking his shirt off in every movie. Turns out keeping his shirt on was the best thing he's ever done. After turning down $15 million to play Magnum P.I., he's carved his own path, starring in 3 critically acclaimed movies in 2013 (Dallas Buyers Club, Wolf of Wall Street, and Mud) and starting off 2014 in HBO's new True Detective, which based off of one episode, is pretty damn good. He's got a good chance to leave with a best actor Oscar, but will have stiff competition from Chiwetel Ejiofor Leo and his 'ludes.
4. Speaking of which, no Mud?
Mud was one of my favorite movies of the year - a great coming of age story along the banks of an Arkansas river, ripe with great performances from McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, and two kids - Tye Sheriden stealing that show. Jeff Nichols keeps getting snubbed. It did win awards at many smaller festivals and awards shows, but let's put Mud up there with the big boys. In my eyes, it was a better movie than American Hustle.
5. Where's Blackfish?
From the sounds of it, The Act of Killing is a lock for Best Documentary. However, when I read the list, Blackfish, which has garnered a ton of attention both online and from people I've talked to in real life, wasn't there. I haven't seen 20 Feet From Stardom, but I've heard very mediocre things about it. Also, while we're on the subject of missing documentaries, where's Sound City?
Again, if you liked this, share it! Before the show, I'll post my full list of predictions...until then, mull over the list here.