As we hit the halfway mark in 2014, I already have a Top 10. It won’t stay that way. Likely at least ½ of these films won’t even be on my Top 20 by next Oscar time. But I thought it’d be worth to point out the best and worst of what’s come out so far. I decided to reflect on them with what’s the ONE thing I remember best about the film.
It was the Academy Awards, my SuperBowl day. But this year, I won an auction to have seats in the bleachers for the Red Carpet. Granted, I’d rather be in the Dolby Theater itself, but this would do fine.
It was a lot of fun.
Of movies released from 1999-2013, I have seen 1029 (or 68.9 movies a year). Granted I see movies years after they are released and I also see movies released before 1999, so this is not an actual record of how many movies I see a year. But apparently I see quite a lot.
My picks for the best film of the year stand up as an eclectic collection. Only 1 of the films is not well known (50/50). 3 won the best picture Oscar. Another 7 were nominated (and Gravity might win). 5 were not nominated for best picture.
I can’t say which is the best. I haven’t watched 6 of the 15 a second time. I have seen 6 of them multiple times. One director repeats on the 15 – Ang Lee for two wildly different genres. I have watched other films (ex. Mean Girls) more than any of these films, but that doesn’t make it the “best,” just the most enjoyable.
See my #1 list below.
I wish I’d seen all of them – all the foreign films, documentaries, independents, even the poorly rated blockbusters. But I’m just an arm chair critic and seeing over 70 films in 2013 is a heck of lot anyway.
Another very good, but not outstanding year. Few of these films will be classics in a decade, but they were plenty enjoyable to watch. Of my top 10, 7 were based on real life stories. My tastes also seem to match up to the Academy more and more. Of the 9 best picture nominees, 7 are in my top 10 and the other 2 in my Top 20. I chalk this up to not seeing enough independent and foreign films.
I’ll share Oscar predictions closer to the show.
I love Oscar Stats.
- Meryl Streep breaking her own record for nominations with 18.
- That we might have to utter the words “Oscar Winner” and add “The Lone Ranger” after it.
- 49th (!) Oscar nomination for John Williams (Soundtrack to The Book Thief) and he is still 10 shy of Walt Disney.
- Cinematographer Roger Deakins looking to avoid going 0 for 11.
- Jennifer Lawrence has her 3rd nomination at age 23 – the youngest to do so. (Teresa Wright was 24).
- Gravity is only the 5th film to be nominated for all 7 technical awards. Titanic swept all 7. Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, Hugo, and Life of Pi did not.
I haven’t written in a while. But 2014 is all new. January, however, is a lost month since I’ll be away most of it. Therefore, I have been racing to see films in theaters in anticipation of the Oscar Nominations (January 16).
For the last bunch of years, I have successfully seen all the nominees for the big 8 awards before Oscar night. I have usually been nearly done by the nomination announcement because of good anticipation and because most of the big award nominees come from a cluster of films.
This year, if you can see just 15 films, you’ll cover nearly all of the contenders for the “big” (picture, director, 4 actors, 2 screenwriting) awards. There is always the outlier, but most of these awards come from a cluster of films.
The best picture nominees will almost certainly come from this group (order from Gold Derby)
- 12 Years a Slave
- American Hustle
- Captain Phillips
- The Wolf of Wall Street
- Inside Llewyn Davis
- Saving Mr. Banks
- The Butler
- Dallas Buyers Club
- Blue Jasmine
- Fruitvale Station
- August: Osage County
Seeing these 15 will also help take care of most acting awards. In Best Actor, the only legitimate exception is Robert Redford in All Is Lost. (To be totally honest, I must mention also, Idris Elba in Mandela, but that’s not really going to happen – the film has no traction)
For Best Actress, the actual nominees all come from these films. This is unusual as Best Actress usually pulls from a not otherwise nominated film (think Meryl Street in The Iron Lady). But if you want to see all touted candidates, you’d also need to see Blue Is the Warmest Color, Short Term 12, and Enough Said. If you want to use the top candidates at GoldDerby as a benchmark, you’d also need Labor Day, The Past, and Before Midnight, but that’s never never going to happen. No chance.
Supporting actors would need 4 more films for legit contenders (Rush, Spring Breakers, 42, Enough Said). Supporting Actress, this year, very unusually, is covered in the 15 above.
This post is about the Best Actors. Who is going to be nominated and who do I think were the best performances.