The awards season keeps rolling on, and on, and on... It is still a three dog race for Best Picture at the Oscars between Gravity, 12 Years a Slave and American Hustle. Gravity is gaining a lot of momentum with its recent, and easily predictable, victory for Best Cinematography with the American Society of Cinematographers. Emmanuel Lubezki's work is mesmerizing, regardless of how much is computer generated. The lighting, spacing and camera work has to brilliant and he, who along with Roger Deakins are best in the business, never disappoints. They raise the level of any film and I hope Lubezki continues to work with Cuarón for a long time. Lubezki should have the Oscar in the bag and there is a lot of internet chatter about how Gravity, an entertaining, quality piece of straight on entertainment, might be the new frontrunner at the Academy Awards. It has as good a shot as the other two favorites, but does not contain the importance and cultural significance of 12 Years a Slave or my personal favorite The Wolf of Wall Street. In all honesty, the Academy is too soft as of late.
Carrying on, 12 Years a Slave writer John Ridley won the USC Scripter Award for his eloquent and intense adaptation of Solomon Northup's memoir. Excellent and very deserving. Personally, the Best Adapted Screenplay category is between 12 Years a Slave and The Wolf of Wall Street. These are my top two films of 2013 (Top Ten and Best of will be posted and revealed by the end of February) and the screenplays are crafted so well. I like 12 Years a Slave winning here and it has the best shot of winning at the Oscars.
In an intriguing turn of events, the American Cinema Editors had their award ceremony, the Eddies, and Captain Phillips won for Best Dramatic Feature Editing. A bit of a surprise beating out 12 Years a Slave, Gravity, Her and Saving Mr. Banks. In the Best Comedy/Musical Feature category, American Hustle won for Best Editing. This is just wrong. The Wolf of Wall Street was easily the best edited film all year and American Hustle's editing I did not find all that special. American Hustle is easy entertainment with some great performances, but it is just a mediocre film. Expected a lot more from Russell.
Finally, the Art Director's Guild gave more awards to Alfonso Cuarón's Gravity. The film won Best Production Design - Fantasy Film. Other awards went to The Great Gatsby for Best Production Design - Period Film and Her for Best Production Design - Contemporary Film. All nominated for Oscars and it would not surprise me if The Great Gatsby gets some love here. Hoping the great work by K.K. Barrett wins for Spike Jonze's lovely Her. Academy Awards are only a couple of weeks away on March 2nd. It is almost over...