03 March 2014

Best Picture

by Kevin Powers

Since I got pulled away from my computer to entertain guests for our 3rd Annual Oscar Party at The Homestead aka Amanda's and my house. in old Clinton, Tennessee, I was unable to give a breakdown of each Best Picture nominee. 

It's too late now, but I will say that all of these movies were original and beautiful in their own ways. I regret not writing about 12 Years a Slave, so I will when it comes to Blu-Ray...I promise, to you and my mother and myself. 

How about a ranked list with small notes instead of a full-on breakdown? Yes. That's what it shall be...

9. British Comedian Co-writes an Oscar Drama

The only one I haven't seen, and, after the ceremony last night, I really want to. Too bad this film's distributors didn't make it look as good as the Oscar telecast did. I mean, I love Steve Coogan. He's awesome...and hilarious. This movie just didn't seem like it would be very good to me. I'll see it eventually. 

8. Young Somali Man Takes Down Hanks

Paul Greengrass' Captain Phillips is a fine action movie, and, as it turned out, a powerful study of the harsh realities of lives led by desperate men. Tom Hanks and newcomer Barkhad Abdi delivered superb performances.

7. Dudes Who Diet Together Win Together

Dallas Buyers Club is a simple, powerful character study based on real-life Texan and AIDS victim Ron Woodruff. Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto took home statues last night and deserved them. They also both delivered beautiful acceptance speeches.

6. Chiwetel Will NOT Fall Into Despair

Steve McQueen's 12 Years a Slave is an absolutely beautifully directed and acted movie. The screenplay for which John Ridley also won last night is just perfect and the performances matched the power of its words, it's story.

5. Sound Mixing and Editing and Sandy Bullock Breathing

Alfonso Cuaron took home Oscars for directing and editing Gravity. This flick truly is a testament to the magic of the cinema taking all the major technical awards with its groundbreaking techniques. Brilliant and exciting and suspenseful, Gravity's images have not left me since I first saw it in IMAX 3D last fall.

4. Futuristic Hipster First to Fall in Love with Computer

Spike Jonze's Her, not Meryl Streep (haha!), is the definition of a filmmaker's fully realized vision, a vision of the future that seems actually real and plausible. It also awards the viewer with love and compassion. This movie cares about its characters and appreciates its audiences' intelligence. 

3. Chubby New Jerseyan with Hairpiece Has Hot Girlfriend and Wife

American Hustle is just a fun movie to watch. The performances are intense and crazy as is the narrative David O. Russell has constructed. I keep thinking about just how much fun I had watching this flick.

2. Quaaludes Think About Making a Comeback

What a joy that Leo and Marty made this movie. It is three hours of dude movie bliss. Loud and raucous and colorful and profane and brilliant. Leo did his best work yet as the real-life corporate slime ball, Jordan Belfort, and, in my opinion, offered a better performance than winner Matthew McConaughey. But I'm sure his time will come...

1. Hopeless Old Coot Thinks He Won the Sweepstakes

Ah, Nebraska! My favorite, as it turns out, of the Best Picture nominees. I think the level of importance with some of the other nominated films knocked it down a bit, but it is important...and simple, which is more my kind of thing. It is about simple people, funny and real people, in a simple place with simple dreams. It is written very simply by Bob Nelson. Understated and beautiful in its black-and-white widescreen cinematography. Perfectly directed by an absolute pro of a storyteller in Alexander Payne. And performed to match by the greats Bruce Dern and June Squibb.

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