2014 Oscar Contenders - Best Picture
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Decade: Rating: List Type:
American Hustle (2013)
Pros: It's got a hell of a cast, and a director coming off of back-to-back oscar nods.
Cons: Like many movies set in the 70s, it could end up focusing too much on style instead of substance.
Post Release Report: It's looking like a lock.
August: Osage County (2013)
Pros: Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts are the leads in a movie being produced by the Weinsteins'.
Cons: It go the way of Doubt and just pick up acting nods. Plus, it's always a bit difficult adapting a stage play.
Post Release Report: Middling reviews from Toronto, but it's got the Weinstein stamp, so it's not completely out.
Before Midnight (2013)
Pros: It's the final film in what is considered one of the greatest Love sagas ever. The series is on the map, with Before Sunset picking up a screenplay nod.
Cons: The Academy is usually late to the party when it comes to series like this, and Love stories are often divisive.
Post Release Report: Got great reviews, it'll all depend on how the competition shapes out.
Blue Jasmine (2013)
Pros: It's a Woody Allen film, and he's won four oscars before. Add in a solid cast, including Cate Blanchett and Alec Baldwin and this could do well.
Cons: Midnight in Paris was a rare gem of Allen's later work, and last year's To Rome with Love had zero impact.
Post Release Report: It got pretty solid reviews, so it's still in the hunt.
The Butler (2013)
Pros: A real life story about the butler to eight U.S. Presidents, an all-star cast playing historic figures, and an Oscar nominated director.
Cons: Lee Daniel's last movie The Paperboy was very poorly recieved, and some of the stunt casting here could prove to be ill-conceived.
Post Release Report: It's received good reviews, and has positioned itself as this year's The Help, but it all depends on how the competition shapes up.
Captain Phillips (2013)
Pros: It's a true story based on a ship captain taken prisoner by Somali pirates, starring Oscar favorite Tom Hanks and directed by former Bourne helmer Paul Greengrass.
Cons: While he is on their radar, a director nod for United 93, Greengrass doesn't carry the same weight as other directors on this list. There's also a possiblilty, given the material, that this movie is more a performance piece for Hanks than a complete story.
Post Release Report: It's getting great reviews, and is looking more like a lock each day.
The Counselor (2013)
Pros: It's got Ridley Scott directing, and a cast that includes Michael Fassbender, Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz, and Brad Pitt. To cap that off, it's Cormac McCarthy's, No Country for Old Men, first screenplay.
Cons: According to some sources, the script is extremely violent, making Old Men look like a kids film. Another factor is Ridley Scott, who's last few offerings have been pretty divise.
Post Release Report: It's shit, and has no shot in hell.
Dallas Buyers Club (2013)
Pros: It's been a while since an AIDs drama hit the big screen, and star Matthew McConaughey coming off of a big year critically. Just take look at the photo above to see it's potential.
Cons: It could be too preachy, and just become a run of the mill inspirational story.
Post Release Report: I keep hearing about a mixed response, but it currently has a 94% on RT, so it may have a shot.
Pros: It's a movie about Princess Diana, starring an actual actress, and making it to the big screen.
Cons: Like a lot of films on here, it could be more of a performance piece for Watts. The script could also fall into the biopic cliche category.
Post Release Report: It got horrible reviews coming out the gate, and is now looking more likely to compete for a Razzie than an Oscar.
The fifth estate (2013)
Pros: Before his dip into the Twilight realm, director Bill Condon was an Academy favorite, with movies like Gods & Monsters and Chicago, and he's certainly got the material for a run this time. It supposedly skewers toward The Social Network, which nearly won Best Picture two years ago.
Cons: It could be too much like The Social Network and seem like a complete rip-off.
Post Release Report: Poor reviews and horrible box office make its chances an impossibility.
Fruitvale Station (2013)
Pros: It was the big hit of Sundance, and every year since 2009, there's been at least one that makes it in. It also got picked up by the Weinsteins', meaning this will get some strong support.
Cons: Some Sundance films have the tendency to fly under the radar, and there were other candidates from the festival.
Post Release Report: Like Before Midnight, it got great reviews, but it may not have the strength to overcome bigger, more baity fare. Then again, Sundance always gets at least one in the fray.
The Great Gatsby (2013)
Pros: It's got everything that the Academy could ask for. Big sets, great source material, big stars, etc.
Cons: It did get pushed back six months, implying that it could be more of a box office draw than a critical one.
Post Release Report: Crazier things have happened, but short of a few technical awards, this one looks like its out.
Pros: It's stars, George Clooney and Sandra Bullock, are big amongst voters, and there's been a lot of talk about the detail in the extensive visual effects.
Cons: With so many effects, it could fall short in the plot department, and director Alfonso Cuarón has never had a big hit with the Academy.
Post Release Report: It's a lock.
Pros: Spike Jonze clearly has a place in the Academy's heart, having nominated him twice. Joaquin Phoenix and Amy Adams are coming off of Oscar nods themselves, with many believe that they are overdue, that goodwill could carry over for the film as a whole.
Cons: Spike Jonze last nominated film was Adaptation in 2002, and his movies have always been divise. Adding this is apparently more of a comedy only deters it further.
Post Release Report: It's not a lock, but it's been doing well with critic groups and the Golden Globes, so it's right on the fringe.
Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)
Pros: The Coen Brothers have become Oscar favorites as of late, with three of there last four movies getting Best Picture nods.
Cons: The rules have changed since True Grit got a nomination, with anywhere between 5-10 movies being nominated, meaning that the passionate group of Coen brother fans could be persuaded by other smaller films. It could be too divise as well, just look at Burn After Reading.
Post Release Report: The closest thing to a lock as the first half has offered.
Labor Day (2013)
Pros: It's got an Oscar friendly cast and, and a Oscar nominated director.
Cons: Director Jason Reitman's last film Young Adult went nowhere, and it's his first foray into more dramatic territory.
Post Release Report: Didn't fare all that well at Toronto, and the hype has died off.
Man of Steel (2013)
Pros: Even after five years, there are a lot of people upset over The Dark Knight's Best Picture snubbing, and comic book movies in general. Early studio screenings are calling it great, and if so, this could be a chance for the Academy to make up for their previous mistake.
Cons: Unless you're James Cameron or Pixar, the Academy doesn't nominate big movies.
Post Release Report: No shot.
Monsters University (2013)
Pros: Before Cars 2, Pixar was able to get two movies, Up and Toy Story 3, back-to-back Best Picture nods, and a good case can be made for Wall-E to have been nominated. The original is one of Pixar's best films, and if this could match it or the other three movies previously mentioned, then this could be a strong contender.
Cons: Pixar's taken a couple of hits since then, with Cars 2 and Brave being two of there weakest entries, even though the later recieved an Oscar. Plus, this could end up being too commercial to be consider a candidate.
Post Release Report: Wasn't the Pixar comeback that we many were hoping for, but likely in the Animated Feature category.
Pros: Director Alexander Payne's last two movies, Sideways and The Descendants were both strong candidates for Best Picture wins, and winners for adapted screenplay. The Academy clearly likes him.
Cons: This one's more of a stretch, it's a black-and-white road trip movie about a father and son who are claiming a reward. It's stars, Bruce Dern and Will Forte, are also pretty small names compared to other films on here.
Post Release Report: Word out of Cannes was that that it was too slight, but still could wow in limited release later in the year.
Post Post Release Report: It's a lock.
Out of the Furnace (2013)
Pros: It's got a solid cast, and a director who's coming off of an Oscar-winning movie, Crazy Heart.
Cons: It's a crime/revenge film, so it could adhere too closely to genre cliches. It may be more of a box office flick than an awards getter.
Post Release Report: No.
The Past (2013)
Pros: The last two years have seen the Academy paying closer attention to foreign films, with A Seperation making it into the screenplay category, and Amour getting into the Best Picture race. From what I've heard, this seems like the next foreign hit.
Cons: It's a foreign film, meaning it would take a lot to even get it screened.
Pros: The last film that director Ron Howard and Writer Peter Morgan teamed up, it was for 2008's Frost/Nixon. That film recieved 5 nods, including one for each of them, and Best Picture.
Cons: It doesn't have Oscar friendly actors. While that probably won't deter it if it's a good film, the Academy likes rewarding people they know, and Chris Hemsworth is not on their radar. It's also a sports movie that doesn't center on boxing.
Post Release Report: It's getting surprisingly enthusiastic reviews and now looks like a major contender.
Saving Mr. Banks (2013)
Pros: It's a biopic about Disney's fight to get Mary Poppins made, and the Academy loves awarding movies about movies.
Cons: It could be too Disney-rific, and be not so much a story as much as a Disney PR flick.
Post Release Report: It's gotten good reviews, but only the Broadcast Critic's have put it into the Best Picture race.
Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)
Pros: The original got stellar reviews from both critics and audiences, and picked up four nods with many believing that it should have got into the Best Pictue race.
Cons: Like Man of Steel, it will make too much money.
Post Release Report: Good reviews, but if the first one couldn't make it in an easier year than this appears to be, then it's very unlikely.
12 Years a Slave (2013)
Pros: It features an all-star cast, and takes a sober look at the attrocities of slavery.
Cons: It may prove to grim for Academy members who would prefer a more uplifting story.
Post Release Report: It's a lock, and the early favorite.
The Way Way Back (2013)
Pros: It was written and directed by two of the Oscar winning writer's of 2011's The Descendants, and early word from Sundance says it's the next Little Miss Sunshine.
Cons: It's more of a comedy than a dramedy, and the Academy is a bit dickish toward comedy.
Post Release Report: Maybe, but probably too slight.
The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
Pros: It's another teaming of Scorsece and Dicaprio. Need I say more?
Cons: None that I can see this early.
Post Release Report: Look's like it will make it in, but it's on the edge.
And the Nominees Might Be...
The films that I predict, 10 months before the nomination will even come out mind you, to make the cut.
As of December 6th.
*Inside Llewyn Davis
*Saving Mr. Banks
*Twelve Years a Slave
*The Wolf of Wall Street
*Inside Llewyn Davis
*Saving Mr. Banks
*Twelve Years a Slave
*The Wolf of Wall Street
Well, it's finally over. The 2012-2013 Awards season has come to an end, with Argo being crowned the champion. Every year, to close the season, I like to come up with a list of predictions I have for the upcoming year. Rarely am I ever right, though I did predict several nominees last year, but it's always fun to look back and see just how wrong I was.
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