The fight for Hollywood’s biggest prize was between a soaring historical drama and the little astronaut movie that dazzled everyone- until a 1970s dramedy came along and shook the whole race up. Although nine films may have been nominated, Oscar night will primarily be a fight between “12 Years a Slave,” “Gravity” and “American Hustle.” Come March 2, Hollywood’s biggest night of the year, expect the expected (emotional acceptance speeches, fashion hits and misses on the carpet and plenty of photobombing from Jennifer Lawerence) and the unexpected (Can “Her” take the top prize? Will Leo finally take home a statue? And, perhaps most unlikely of all, will Lupita Nyong’o not top everyone’s best dressed lists?) The Gateway picks who they want to see win for some of the night’s biggest prizes.
While ”Gravity” both stunned and soared, the night’s biggest prize should be awarded to “12 Years a Slave.” From the stunning score and masterful cinematography (both categories the film was overlooked for) to the raw performances and searing script, “12 Years” offered the most emotional experience in theatres of the year. While I could wax poetic about why this film is both historically and cinematically important, it deserves to win Best Picture for one scene alone. Near the end of the film- when Solomon Northup is about to be released back into freedom- the camera focuses just on Chiwetel Ejiofor’s face for nearly two minutes. When Ejiofor finally looks into the camera, the audience is asked to stare into the face of slavery- the actor’s eyes and face lined with pain- and confront America’s darkest moments.
While Matthew Mcconaughey both physically and emotionally transformed for his role in “Dallas Buyers Club,” I would like to see Leonardo Dicaprio take home the gold come Oscar Sunday. His performance of an investor with no soul in “Wolf of Wall Street” is like the strongest of cocktails- high adrenaline fun but with a kick. Dicaprio is testosterone incarnate in the film, and his performance rips across the screen and sets it ablaze.
Yes, Cate Blanchett will take home the prize, but I would love to see Sandra Bullock grapping gold instead. While Bullock undeservingly won for “The Blind Side” a few years ago, “Gravity” is her strongest performance to date. She literally carries the weight of the whole film on her shoulders- turning a high concept sci-fi film into both a critical darling and a box office smash.
Best Supporting Actor
Jared Leto in “Dallas Buyers Club.” The dude convincingly becomes both a symbol for AIDS and the trans-population. The performance is a knock out, enough said.
Best Supporting Actress
For this category, I am torn between Jennifer Lawerence in “American Hustle” and Lupita Nyong’o in “12 Years a Slave.” Lawerence steals the show from a bevy of A-List, Academy-nominated actors as a boozy housewife that almost upends an FBI sting. Nyong’o sears through the screen in this year’s most emotional performance as a plantation owner’s personally favorite slave who he tortures endlessly. It comes down to picking the fun, spirited performance or the gut-wrenching portrayal of grief and depression. I would love to see either of them win it, but I’ll give Nyong’O the upper hand for the trauma she likely endured to get within her character’s head space.
Bullock probably won’t walk away with the statue come March, so the Academy will likely honor “Gravity” by awarding director Alfonso Cuarón instead. For creating a movie that features such a strong female lead- worrying not about love or a man whatsoever- alone should get him nominated. Why he deserves to win? The visuals, Bullock’s weighty performance, the original script, beautiful score, stunning cinematography…and the list goes on.