Who is going to be winning this?
As you may know, the 86th Academy Awards is premiering on March 2nd and man, the tension is too much for us here at The Buckingham Post! This year has been full of fantastic films that have rightfully earned their Oscar nominations. Whether it is a tale about the perils of being stranded in space, developing a taboo relationship with an electronic device, having your merchant vessel hijacked by Somalian pirates, or being enslaved despite being a free man, all of these films are truly winners. Unfortunately, there must only be one winner in each of the nominated categories. Therefore, I have compiled four predictions for some of the Oscar categories and the reasons why these predictions will win.
Best Actor: Matthew McConaughey
This man has truly begun to excel in his craft of acting in the past few years. In the past, the mainstream audience has always associated McConaughey with duds such as Failure to Launch, Fool’s Gold, and Sahara, all bombs that plagued the box office from 2005-2008. But recently, he has been in a string of great movies that truly showcase the Texan’s talents, some of which include Tropic Thunder, The Lincoln Lawyer, Bernie, and Mud. His depiction of Ron Woodroof in Dallas Buyers Club is definitely the pinnacle of his performance, not only because of his dedication to lose an extreme amount of weight for the character (reminiscent of Robert De Niro for Raging Bull), but this performance is the visual representation of the culmination of his acting talents. The other nominees (like Leonardo DiCaprio and Christian Bale) played good but unmemorable roles that could have easily been filled in by any other actor, Bruce Dern is only nominated because of his age and years in the film industry (a very common treatment for elderly actors) and Chiwetel Ejiofor has great potential for winning, but probably won’t because of how relatively new he is to the mainstream (but he will definitely win an Oscar in the future).
Best Actress: Judi Dench
Dench has a wonderful career in the industries of television, theatre, and film. Usually for elderly actors and actresses, I have a prejudicial assumption that these individuals only receive Oscar nominations or wins as a manner of tribute to commemorate the talent before they pass away (it is a morbid thought, but it does have a tendency for me to be true). However, I must dismiss this assumption to simply praise Judi Dench’s performance in Philomena. The amount of weight that her portrayal of Philomena Lee carries, who presents the wisdom of forgiveness rather than the passion of vengeance for the events in her strenuous life is incredibly powerful (powerful enough to make this grown man cry). This performance reinforces her place as one of the greatest actresses of our modern times. The only other nominee that would be considered equal in my prediction for Dench would be Cate Blanchett, whose performance in Blue Jasmine is mind-numbingly fantastic. Sandra Bullock does not feel too compelling when being outshined by the spectacular visual effects and both Amy Adams and Meryl Streep play roles that any actress could have filled in.
Best Original Screenplay: Her
While Blue Jasmine definitely displays an astounding dark side of Woody Allen that few rarely seen, when it comes to 100% originality that has fantastic writing, Her definitely takes the place. This is a film that is definitely meant for this generation of humanity that has such a dependency on electronic devices to function in society. It was a matter of time before these dependencies evolved from physical convenience to emotion. Theodore Twomby had an unsuccessful love with his soon to be ex-wife Catharine, so to compensate for the connection that he was missing in his life; he compensated this with electronic “Samantha”. Whether you see the relationship between Twombly and the AI (artificial intelligence) Samantha as taboo or romantic, the possible repercussions of this technology should not go unnoticed, which is exactly what Spike Jonze captures in Her. The other nominees (especially Blue Jasmine) are very well written, but none of them seems to capture our modern society and its potential future as well as Her.
Best Picture: 12 Years a Slave
There is nothing more relevant in the United States than the problem of racism, which is why 12 Years a Slave will most likely win best picture. Despite being a film that depicts American slavery in the 1840s, it is a tale very relevant in today’s society. Like the free man Solomon Northup, everybody in the United States is a free citizen, no matter what minority that we might be. But despite being considered citizens with all the freedom that comes with our rights, we are all subjected to a certain sense of racism in our lives. Despite being a free man, Solomon is captured and enslaved, showing that no matter how much we can boast about living in a society that is free of civil and racial problems, these problems will always exist. This is the kind of quality that best pictures should evoke: thinking outside of the narrative of the movie and seizing its timeless aspect that makes it always relevant to its audience. But besides from the impact of its story, the cast is spot on in their depictions and the cinematography is done with near perfection. The other nominees are no doubt unbelievable flicks, but they do not carry the ideas or the heart that makes 12 Years a Slave the perfect candidate for best picture.
These were my humble Oscar predictions for the 86th Academy Awards and all of us at The Buckingham Post wish you a happy viewing on March 2nd!