So American Hustle is going to take the Best Picture Oscar…right? And I’m probably going to win that $50 bucks from Glenn Kenny after all. Or will Gravity take it? I don’t think so. I think the David O. Russell payback factor that I mentioned a long time ago (the quality and popularity of The Fighter and Silver Linings Playbook added to Hustle means he’ll be almost unbeatable) was one of the reasons Hustle took ten nominations. How odd that Russell’s biggest-ever Academy contender is a film that I like and respect but don’t really love.
The Movie Gods want 12 years A Slave to win Best Picture, naturally. As I do. As a lot of people do. Can the softies be guilt-tripped into admitting that the film’s moral force plus the stunning cinematic artistry injected by Steve McQueen and John Ridley overwhelms or at least balances out the cruelty and brutality? I’d like to think so but…
At 23, Jennifer Lawrence has now been Oscar-nominated three times — for Best Actress in Winter’s Bone in 2011 and Silver Linings Playbook last year (resulting in a win) and now for Best Supporting Actress in American Hustle. She’s the youngest actress ever to have been so honored. Plus she’s really rich and hot and everything else. I loved her in Hustle also, but the award should go to 12 Years A Slave‘s Lupita Nyong’o.
Congratulations to the films that landed the most Oscar nominations this morning — 10 for Hustle and Gravity, 9 for 12 Years A Slave, 6 for Captain Phillips, Dallas Buyers Club and Nebraska, 5 for He and Wolf of Wall Street. And extra double triple quadruple congrats to Wolf of Wall Street‘s Jonah Hill, who surprised everyone (even me) with a Best Supporting Actor nomination. Only one smarty-pants Oscar prognosticator — The Hollywood Reporter’s Scott Feinberg — predicted a Jonah nomination.
I mentioned yesterday morning ago that Inside Llewyn Davis is one of the few 2013 films that film lovers will be streaming 50 years from now. (Along with The Wolf of Wall Street, Her, Nebraska and maybe Dallas Buyer’s Club.) It should have been nominated for Best Picture this morning, and it would have been a fully justified thing if Oscar Isaac had been nominated for Best Actor. But Academy members seem to have a problem with less-is-more art films. Or films with a dour, austere tone. Or desaturated color schemes. They like films that reach out and touch them on some level. Inside Llewyn Davis was just too austere, I suppose. Too glum. But oh, what a perfect film. At least dp Bruno Delbonnel was nominated for Best Cinematography.
Robert Redford gave the best performance of his career in All His Lost, but he made a decision several weeks ago to play the dignity card and not go out there and really work for a nomination the way Bruce Dern has, and so he didn’t get one. It was his for the taking but he threw in the towel. He may have been persuaded that he didn’t have much of a chance due to Lost‘s weak box-office, but if he had really campaigned I think he could have made it. It was a values-based decision.
Due respect to Oprah Winfrey and the fact that she’s an enormously wealthy media mogul, but I never felt her performance in The Butler was anything close to exceptional or extraordinary — a good performance, agreed, but not enough to land a nomination. Lupita Nyong’o‘s 12 Years To Slave performance blew Oprah out of the water.
A special HE congratulations to Jason Cohen‘s Facing Fear for becoming one of the five films eligible to snag the Best Documentary Short Subject Oscar. Posted on 12.11.13: “Facing Fear reminds that our past mistakes needn’t rule our future, and that we’re all capable of growth and transcendence.” A special shout-out for the cinematography by HE’s own Svetlana Cvetko (Inequality For all, Inside Job).