Every year, the selection of which films, actors, supporting actors, directors, and the other categories generates a great deal of controversy. Part of the reason is because the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is a very symbiotic organization, composed of members who tightly protect their own. While filmmaking is an art, it is very much commerce. Oscar-winning films and actors can hope to reap great financial rewards for the acknowledged merit. Yet, films often reflect contemporary society and popular culture. Essentially, they can be very political. Rodrick “The Tampanian” Colbert asks longtime friend, film lover, and film professor, Chris Maltezos to give his opinion of which films/performances will receive a nod and why.
“In my opinion, the eventual Oscar winner is normally a combination of who has momentum and in some aspects, the type of film/performance that often gathers attention. In terms of acting, usually it helps to have a showy role or portray a character overcoming a disease (physical or mental), an adverse situation or in some cases, a role that is seen as important in a cultural/social stance.
For example, Jared Leto is terrific in Dallas Buyers Club and deserves to win in my opinion. But, he is also playing a transgender character with AIDS and that is the type of role that garners attention. The same can be said about Lupita Nyong’o in 12 Years A Slave. My choice in the supporting category would be June Squibb in Nebraska. But, I think that voters will probably feel that role, though brilliantly performed, isn’t important enough for a vote. Also, acting awards are given to performers who shed past light roles and tackle something intense or socially significant. Sandra Bullock in Blind Side comes to mind and this year it will probably be the terrific Matt McConaughey. High profile and liked performers often win also : Kate Hepburn (4 times), Jack Nicholson (3 times), Meryl Streep (3 times), Tom Hanks (2) and this year I feel Cate Blanchett will join this club as a two time winner. As for the winner in director or picture categories, I often feel the Academy doesn’t like to recognize films that push buttons or are too edgy: Deserving winners such as LA Confidential and Fargo all lost to more safe, dull choices. Usually the winner is a film well crafted, respected and within bounds of cautiousness. It helps if it addresses some sort of social/cultural aspect, but sometimes not as in the case of Titanic or Lord of The Rings 3. I normally look at what films have won earlier awards and also consider that actors make up the largest branch of the academy, so thus what would impress an actor. For example, The King’s Speech won best picture over The Social Network. That’s not surprising in the least as it’s an actors’film, filled with wonderful performances. It is high class and investigates a protagonist overcoming a disability to succeed for his country. I felt the same about Crash winning in 2005. It was well acted and addressed a social issue and was actually a safer choice to win than its competitor, Brokeback Mountain“.
Although Professor Maltezos has his personal preferences, his selection who who will receive the Oscar fellow below. They have (pick) at the end of their name.
Actor in a Leading Role
Christian Bale in “American Hustle”
Bruce Dern in “Nebraska”
Leonardo DiCaprio in “The Wolf of Wall Street”
Chiwetel Ejiofor in “12 Years a Slave”
Matthew McConaughey in “Dallas Buyers Club” (Pick)
Actress in a Supporting Role
Sally Hawkins in “Blue Jasmine”
Jennifer Lawrence in “American Hustle”
Lupita Nyong’o in “12 Years a Slave” (PICK)
Julia Roberts in “August: Osage County”
June Squibb in ” Nebraska “
” American Hustle” David O. Russell
“Gravity” Alfonso Cuarón (Pick)
“Nebraska” Alexander Payne
“12 Years a Slave” Steve McQueen
“The Wolf of Wall Street” Martin Scorsese
“American Hustle” Charles Roven, Richard Suckle, Megan Ellison and Jonathan Gordon, Producers
“Captain Phillips” Scott Rudin, Dana Brunetti and Michael De Luca, Producers
“Dallas Buyers Club” Robbie Brenner and Rachel Winter, Producers
“Gravity” Alfonso Cuarón and David Heyman, Producers
“Her” Megan Ellison, Spike Jonze and Vincent Landay, Producers
“Nebraska” Albert Berger and Ron Yerxa, Producers
“Philomena” Gabrielle Tana, Steve Coogan and Tracey Seaward, Producers
“12 Years a Slave” Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Steve McQueen and Anthony Katagas, Producers (PICK)
“The Wolf of Wall Street” Martin Scorsese, Leonardo DiCaprio, Joey McFarland and Emma Tillinger Koskoff, Producers