Patricia’s picks for the Oscars
The late film critic Gene Siskel once said he thought the Oscar for Best Picture should go to the film that “did what it set out to do.” While that might seem like a broad brush, when reviewing this year’s Academy Award contenders that’s how I ranked them. For the acting categories, I chose who I thought played the role so well I couldn’t imagine any other actor doing it better.
Here are my picks for Best Picture, Leading and Supporting Actors and Actresses.
Best Picture nominees:
12 Years A Slave
Dallas Buyers Club
The Wolf of Wall Street
Patricia’s Pick: Gravity
I was totally engaged, every second, in this film. It did what it set out to do and Earth never looked so beautiful. It also accomplished one thing none of the other films did. It made me cry. When Sandra Bullock’s character talks about her daughter and George Clooney… I lost it. That’s what makes a good film. When it reaches out and grabs you unexpectedly.
12 Years A Slave, Dallas Buyers Club, and Nebraska were also good, they just didn’t pull me in as much as Gravity. Yes, pun intended.
Overall, there were no films on the list I would designate as a “classic,” up there with Casablanca or Gone With the Wind. But there hasn’t been one of those in a long time. Academy, please cut the over-inflated list of Best Picture nominees down to five.
There were two pictures that absolutely did not belong on this list: Captain Phillips and The Wolf of Wall Street. Captain Phillips was a frenetic mess. It was a decent film, but decent doesn’t cut it for Best Picture.
The Wolf of Wall Street was one long drug scene played over, ad nauseam, for three hours. When the film first opened, I predicted it would be remembered at Oscar time, primarily because of Martin Scorcese’s panache, and sure enough here it is.
Best Actor in a Leading Role nominees:
Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave)
Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club)
Bruce Dern (Nebraska)
Christian Bale (American Hustle)
Leonardo DiCaprio (The Wolf of Wall Street)
Patricia’s Pick: Chiwetel Ejiofor
There is some good competition in this category, and any of the performances (yes, even Leo) are Oscar-worthy. But I don’t think anyone brought more to his role than Chiwetel Ejiofor as an abused slave. He said so much with a glance or pained look. If Bruce Dern wins though, I’ll be clapping, loudly. And Matthew McConaughey, dude you’ve grown up, kudos.
Best Actress in a Leading Role nominees:
Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine)
Sandra Bullock (Gravity)
Judi Dench (Philomena)
Amy Adams (American Hustle)
Meryl Streep (August: Osage County)
Patricia’s Pick: Cate Blanchett
Cate Blanchett was absolute perfection as a rich socialite who has fallen harshly from her throne. She had a lot to convey, from snobbery elitism to mental health frailty. It was a well-written part, in a film that seemed loosely based on A Streetcar Named Desire, with Cate the definitive Blanche.
Best Actor in a Supporting Role nominees:
Barkhad Abdi (Captain Phillips)
Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club)
Michael Fassbender (12 Years a Slave)
Bradley Cooper (American Hustle)
Jonah Hill (The Wolf of Wall Street)
Patricia’s Pick: Barkhad Abdi
When I first saw the film Adaptation in 2002, I was blown away by how the director cast a real hick from the Everglades to play a major part. Surprise! That “hick” turned out to be actor Chris Cooper who was so good he won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. While Adaptation is but a distant memory, Chris Cooper’s performance will always be the standard bearer for acting that is gut-wrenchingly and convincingly real. That’s why I choose Barkhad Abdi. I did not see an “actor playing a pirate” in Captain Phillips, I saw a pirate. If Jared Leto wins though, I’ll smile.
Best Actress in a Supporting Role nominees:
June Squibb (Nebraska)
Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave)
Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle)
Sally Hawkins (Blue Jasmine)
Julia Roberts (August: Osage County)
Patricia’s Pick: June Squibb
Talk about gut-wrenchingly real and convincing. June Squibb was the most shrill, nagging, overbearing, old lady ever. I did not think for one minute she was an actress. She bothered the hell out of me – in the best possible way! A scene where she defends her husband, Bruce Dern, and tells her relatives to “f*ck off” is priceless.
A quick shout out to Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa which is nominated for Best Makeup and Hairstyling. Steve Prouty and the Jackass crew deserve huge props for turning Johnny Knoxville into a very convincing 86-year old man. Not to mention, the film was funny. Watching this trailer again, still makes me laugh.