Tag Archives: oscar nomination

Thoughts on the 2014 Oscars

moviesI’ve abandoned the blog for longer than I care to think about, and now I’m back, I’m talking about movies rather than books.  Sorry about that!

Once again, I’ve made the effort to view all of the Best Picture Nominees.  It was a strong field of nominees, and I enjoyed expanding my horizons with some of them that I wouldn’t have otherwise watched. I thought I’d share my thoughts on the top races.  These aren’t predictions, but are my opinions.

(And yes, this is a little late in posting– I finished watching the nominees at midnight last night.)


(From bottom to top)

9) The Wolf of Wall Street: I just don’t see the redeeming value in this one.

8) Philomena:  In interesting story, competently told.  I enjoyed it, and there was nothing wrong with the production, but it didn’t wow me, and there were many other movies that did.

Positions 7-4 are essentially a tie– the movies are very hard to compare, and they all have specific areas of strength.  I won’t be upset with any movie after this point winning as Best Picture.

7) American Hustle: From an entertainment standpoint, this may be my favorite of the nominees.  It was fun to watch. The cast is fantastic as an ensemble.  And really, that’s all I get from this movie.  Let me know if I’m missing something.

6) Captain Phillips: An incredibly intense experience, and I really think Tom Hanks should have been nominated for best actor.  It was an interesting look at how a situation can fall apart, even under strong leadership.

5) Her:  I found this a highly enjoyable movie, looking at life, love and technology. The visuals were great as well.  I think a little more of an edge might have been interesting, but maybe not as much fun.

4) Dallas Buyers Club:  An emotional and thoughtful look at a situation from the recent past, and one that still hasn’t been entirely solved today.   The acting was very well done.  I didn’t find the movie entertaining, but it was well worth watching.

3) 12 Years a Slave: This movie is incredible.  It’s an important story, very well told. It’s well done enough that it is not a pleasant experience to watch.

2) Gravity:  A visually stunning, incredibly intense experience. I felt the fear of being lost in space.

1) Nebraska This movie had everything, including visual artistry, emotional impact, engaging characters, thought provoking situation, great acting– and it was still entertaining.  Every aspect of Nebraska is well crafted.  The description of this movie doesn’t do it justice, it is really worth seeing.

And a few other races where I have an opinion:

Actor in a Leading Role

(5/5 nominees viewed)

Matthew McConaughey in Dallas Buyers Club, for his excellent work in a difficult role.

Actress in a Leading Role

(3/5 nominees viewed)

Sandra Bullock in Gravity, she carried most of the weight of the movie.

Actor in A Supporting Role

(5/5 nominees viewed)

Jared Leto in Dallas Buyers Club, another difficult role well played.

Actress in a Supporting Role

(3/5 nominees viewed)

Jennifer Lawrence in American Hustle, for the wrong reasons.  I loved her in American Hustle, but I think she faced many more challenges in her work with The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, and I don’t think she gets enough credit for that.  And I also have something of a crush on her, like much of the rest of America.

Or Lupita Nyong’o for 12 Years a Slave, if I really am picking only based on the listed performance.


(Only 2/5 nominees viewed)

But I’m still picking Frozen, because I think it was a really good movie.


(5/5 nominees viewed).

Steve McQueen for 12 Years a Slave. Or Alfonso Cuarón for Gravity.  Or Alexander Payne for Nebraska.  Or David O. Russell for American Hustle. I can make an argument for any of the nominees, even Martin Scorsese for The Wolf of Wall Street (I think he did a good job of making the movie he intended to make.  Just because I don’t see the point in the existence of the movie doesn’t mean I don’t recognize that.)

SHORT FILM: Animated

Mr. Hublot gets my nod, for being a movie with heart and character and visual appeal.  Room on the Broom is a close second, for being a children’s book brought to life in a very appealing way.

SHORT FILM: Live Action

I’ll go with Helium.  I loved the whimsy and the emotion.  I actually think in many ways, the best one was Aquel No Era Yo (That Wasn’t Me), which was intense and told an important story and was no fun at all to watch.

I’ll be interested in seeing who wins tonight!

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Posted by on March 2, 2014 in movie


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My 2012 Oscar thoughts

moviesOnce again, I’ve made the effort to see all 9 Best Picture nominees!  I’m a little late writing this up, with the Oscars being on in a few hours…

Here are my thoughts on what I liked and/or thought should win.  Starting at the end of the list:

9. Django Unchained is clearly my least favorite of the group, and although I can somewhat see what the appeal could be for someone else, I really don’t have any idea why it would be Best Picture material.

I actually wouldn’t be terribly unhappy if any of the rest of the nominees won.  I can understand why each and every one was nominated.  This is a strong field.

8. Life of Pi was visually stunning, and was interesting to think about.  I actually felt the movie worked better than the book, which I was more mixed in my opinion about  But I think the other candidates were stronger.

7. Les Misérables ranks higher on my favorites of the year, and I really do think this production was excellent.

6. Beasts of the Southern Wild was a fascinating look at a life very different from what I (or most viewers) know.  I wouldn’t have seen it if it wasn’t for the Oscar nomination, since it really wouldn’t have crossed my radar, and I’m glad I did.

From here on, I have a difficult time ranking which I think should get the Oscar, so I’m going in the order of how much I liked them.

5. Zero Dark Thirty is a movie I expected to rank back with Django Unchained.  I would not have seen this movie if it wasn’t for the Oscar Nomination, and I expected to dislike it.  I didn’t.  I can’t say I enjoyed it, exactly, but I thought it was extremely well crafted.  I thought it took an interesting and somewhat balanced look at a specific set of issues involved in modern warfare.  I don’t care if it reflects actual events correctly, detail by detail, not for this movie or the other two nominees based in actual events.

4. Lincoln was everything is was reported to be, but somehow I didn’t love it anyway.  Still, I came out of it expecting it to be a leading Oscar contender, and it certainly has the nomination count for that, but it doesn’t have the buzz that leads me to think it is likely to win, and that surprises me a little.  I’m not complaining, though!

3. Amour is another movie that wouldn’t have crossed my radar if it wasn’t for the Best Picture nod.  It’s also another one where I really appreciated it, although I can’t say I enjoyed it.  I found it a deeply disturbing look at the aging process, and I think it hit exactly the notes it meant to.  I absolutely recommend seeing it, but be prepared!

2. Argo is the movie I’m expecting to win, and I’m fine with that.  I think it was very well made, and provides a look into an episode in our past, while telling a quirky story, and showing how thinking outside the box can be very good problem solving.

1. Silver Linings Playbook was my favorite from this list.  I think that providing this insight into the world of mental illness is valuable, and it also was an entertaining movie.  It was able to balance the line between making fun of the mentally ill and pitying them.  The performances were all top notch.  I’ll hope for some awards for it tonight!

My two favorite movies of the year are not on this list.  I was hoping my top pick would make it, but Moonrise Kingdom was only nominated under Best Original Screenplay. I never thought my second favorite movie would make the list, The Hunger Games just wasn’t that sort of movie, but I enjoyed it anyway.

Which movies did you see?  Which did you like best?


Posted by on February 24, 2013 in movie, Uncategorized


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