Monday, February 24, 2014

Oscars: BEST ACTRESS & ACTOR Preview

     The next preview is of the Best Actress and Best Actor categories at the upcoming Academy Awards. It will be one of the biggest upsets in Oscar history if Cate Blanchett does not take home the prize for Best Actress for her brilliant turn as Jasmine, in Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine. This race is over and has been since the summer. If anyone could upset her, it would probably be Amy Adams, who gave my favorite performance, next to Bale, in American Hustle. I really wish Brie Larson would have gotten nominated for her great performance in Short Term 12. In the Best Actor race, it is a little tighter, but the favorite, based on his wins at the SAG and Golden Globes, is Matthew McConaughey for his stellar turn as Texas electrician Ron Woodroof, who is diagnosed with the HIV virus and must struggle to survive, in Dallas Buyers Club. He is probably going to win, and deservedly so, but watch out for DiCaprio, Ejiofor and Dern. Bale has no shot, but is fantastic in American Hustle. If McConaughey does not win though, it will be a surprise. All of these nominated men deserve to win, but think about the actors not nominated that could have easily be in the top five: Robert Redford (All Is Lost), Joaquin Phoenix (Her), Oscar Isaac (Inside Llewyn Davis) and Tom Hanks (Captain Phillips). Still mad that Redford was left off. Anyways, here are the nominees.

Best Actress nominees are:
  • Amy Adams, American Hustle (5th nomination)   One of the best Actresses of her generation and what a performance. Shows so much nerve, energy and power. After seeing her in American Hustle, she has proven there is nothing she cannot do. I loved her in every scene of this film and just does a pretty good British accent. Any other year she probably would win, but not this year.
  • Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine (6th nomination; 1 win)    The clear-cut favorite and I have no problem with that. She is absolutely flawless in Blue Jasmine and she is just damn good in everything she is in. The scenes where she is talking to herself are just amazing and there might be no better actress in the business that is more powerful and as great as Cate Blanchett. She will be taking home her second statue this Sunday.
  • Sandra Bullock, Gravity (2nd nomination; 1 win)   She should have won for this film over The Blind Side. That movie was annoying. Bullock showed her talent in drama and action with the immense challenges she incurred filming Gravity. She is great in this film and probably deserves more attention, but the film's technical achievements and directing will overshadow all. And she is up against Blanchett.
  • Judi Dench, Philomena (7th nomination; 1 win)   It is Judi Dench and she is perfect in everything. I have not seen Philomena yet, but you can tell by the trailer that she is amazing. Her only win was in 1999 for Best Supporting Actress in Shakespeare in Love. She is due for another win, but not this year.
  • Meryl Streep, August: Osage County (18th nomination; 3 wins)   The legend. The most nominated actor/actress in Oscar history. I have not seen this film yet either, but you can tell she is great in it. Royalty. Enough said.
Best Actor nominees are:
  • Christian Bale, American Hustle (2nd nomination; 1 win)   Along with Adams, the best performance in American Hustle. Shows his unbelievable range and ability to do it all. He just gets it and never fails. The most unlikely winner on Sunday, but a great performance.
  • Bruce Dern, Nebraska (2nd nomination)   The last, and only, time this masterful actor was nominated, was for Best Supporting Actor in Coming Home in 1979. What a career and what a performance in Alexander Payne's beautiful Nebraska. A legend, who helped change American film history in the late 60s and throughout the 70s, Dern is a grumpy old drunk, who is really delusional and slipping. Timing, delivery and look are down perfect, and Dern is just amazing in this film. Would be a huge upset if he was to win.
  • Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street (5 nominations: 4 acting; 1 producing)   The best performance of the year, in my opinion, and a balls-out breakthrough for this already established, talented actor. Who knew he had the comedic talents he delivers in The Wolf of Wall Street. I do not think he will win, but what a performance!
  • Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave (1st nomination)   Speaking of groundbreaking performances. What a powerful, harrowing, touching turn form Chiwetel Ejiofor, as Solomon Northup, in Steve McQueen's 12 Years a Slave. The guts, talent and grace he brings to this film are nothing short of euphoric brilliance. If anyone can take it away from McConaughey it will be Ejiofor, and it would not surprise me if he does.
  • Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club (1st nomination)   The career turnaround, or resurgence, of McConaughey is catapulted even further with his hard-nosed, powerful turn as a homophobic Texas electrician diagnosed with the HIV virus. The weight loss, which always helps with the Academy, was disturbing and truthful. The Texas conservative attitude, balanced with compassion and the ability to understand and educate is unbelievable. McConaughey is brilliant and has earned a win, and I believe he will take home the Oscar on Sunday.
     And that is it for the Best Actress and Actor categories. Tomorrow, the blog will preview the Best Director category. See you then. Enjoy.

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