Oscar predictions for 2014
Time Out looks at the contenders for the 2014 Academy Awards
Wed Sep 11 2013
Who are the frontrunners?
At this stage there’s no shortage of possibilities but one very definite frontrunner for Best Picture. Steve McQueen’s slavery drama ‘12 Years a Slave’ premiered at Toronto to a standing ovation, heaven-sent reviews (‘a remarkable film that pierces the soul’) and a handful of walk-outs during its most harrowing scenes. It’s a stunning piece of work, a drama both brutal and uplifting – right in the Academy’s wheelhouse. Still, don’t go rushing to the bookies just yet. This is just the start of what looks like a sharp-elbowed Oscars season.
With George Clooney’s likely-looking ‘The Monuments Men’ out of the race (it won’t be finished in time), the other chief contender for the big prize has to be Martin Scorsese’s ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ starring Leonardo DiCaprio as a fast-living playboy stockbroker. Trailers confirm that this is set to be a pacy, sharp-witted satire riffing on Wall St excess and financial malfeasance. But let’s not overlook ‘Captain Phillips’, Paul Greengrass’s tale of Somali piracy starring Tom Hanks. Despite tricky subject matter and a harshly realist filming style, Greengrass’s drama has been both a critical and commercial hit.
What else is in contention?
Perhaps the Academy will react against the seriousness of last year’s winner, ‘Argo’, and honour a different Hanks film. The actor plays Walt Disney in ‘Saving Mr Banks’, a lighthearted dramatisation of the battle of wills between Disney and ‘Mary Poppins’ author Pamela Travers (Emma Thompson).
A few more dark horses are still circling the paddock. Don’t count out Cannes favourite ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’, the Coen brothers’s evocation of the New York folk scene, or even Redford-at-sea one-hander ‘All is Lost’. Or will the Academy finally make a legion of nerds happy and give it to a sci-fi flick? Alfonso Cuarón’s ‘Gravity’ – about two astronauts marooned after a meteorite shower – has been a massive commercial hit and has the critics swooning. So it’s definitely in with a solid chance.
Thanks to a strong and diverse slate of films, the 2013 Academy Awards ceremony was an unpredictable affair: in the big six categories (Best Picture, Best Director and the four acting categories) not a single film took more than one award. Everyone assumed before the night that 'Argo' would take Best Picture, but it was far from a sure thing. In fact, the only truly safe bet was Daniel Day-Lewis and the Academy agreed, granting the British actor a record-breaking third Best Actor Oscar.
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