The past year in movies was, for lack of a better word, interesting. Though we had our share of turkeys, the films that we did enjoy were some of the best we’ve seen in years. A slew of high-caliber pictures have been nominated for this year’s Academy Awards, and predicting the winners will be a gargantuan task for even the most avid film-goer.
But let’s try anyway, shall we?
“12 Years a Slave”
For the past six years, the winner of the Producer’s Guild Award has gone on to win best picture at
the Oscars. While this is usually a good method of prediction, this year is complicated: For the first time ever, the Producer’s Guild announced a tie. The co-winners were Steve McQueen’s “12 Years a Slave,” and Alfonso Cuaron’s “Gravity.” While “Gravity” is certainly a contender, I think “12 Years a Slave” will edge it out. With the help of a brilliant lead performance by Chiwetel Ejiofor, it’s staked its reputation as one of the most visceral, memorable and meaningful films in years. Also, the burgeoning realization of modern-day slavery has made its release all the more timely. I think the Academy realizes this as well as any of us.
Though I’m not expecting it to win Best Picture, “Gravity” will be able to take Best Cinematography by a landslide. I’ve never heard a movie’s cinematography praised so much. “Gravity” has already won the cinematography awards at the BAFTA’s, the ASC’s, and numerous other places. Cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki, whose work has been nominated previously with such films as “The Tree of Life” and “Children of Men,” filled “Gravity” with some of the most astounding shots in film history, and I believe he will pick up his first Oscar win for his work on the film.
Best Animated Feature Film:
Can you believe “The Croods” was nominated for this category? Neither can I. That being said, there are multiple contenders here, including Hayao Miyazaki’s swan song “The Wind Rises,” and French-Belgian feature “Ernest and Celestine.” However, I’m expecting Disney’s “Frozen” to take home the Oscar. It’s taken home numerous awards already, including best animated feature nods at the Golden Globes and the BAFTA’s, and it’s been praised by numerous critics for its visuals, characters, music and message. It definitely deserves a win, and I suspect that it will be rightly rewarded.
Once again, I’ve got to give the nod to “Gravity.” Alfonso Cuaron’s masterful hand proved to be the backbone of Gravity’s success. He brought two brilliant performances out of his only cast-members (George Clooney and Sandra Bullock), created a tense, almost panic-inducing atmosphere, and tied everything together into a unique and memorable movie-going experience. Cuaron received awards for best direction from the Golden Globes, the BAFTA’s, the National Association of Film Critics, the Austin Film Critics Association, The Online Film Critics Society, The Satellite Awards . . . you get the idea. He’s won a lot of awards for directing “Gravity.” I think we can expect him to win another.
Regardless of who wins what, I’m looking forward to this year’s Academy Awards. The awards are all about celebrating the art of film, and there are many films to celebrate this year.
For a full list of this year’s nominees, click here:
Ciera Velarde, Radio Times. http://www.radiotimes.com/news/2014-01-20/oscars-2014-how-to-predict-the-winners
IMDB, Gravity. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1454468/
IMDB, 12 Years a Slave. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2024544/
IMDB, Frozen. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2294629/
IMDB, Emmanuel Lubezki. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0523881/