Personal picks for the Oscars

You’ll learn to understand that critics have to separate their personal favorites with actual “bests.” For instance: Harry Potter is perhaps by favorite book series, but they may not be the best books I have ever read. Usually, when it comes to the Oscars, I try to pick the winners. Who the Academy will vote for. Not this time. I’ve went ahead and ranked every single major category (except a few that I didn’t see any of the nominees, like Documentary) from my personal favorite to my least favorite. This isn’t to say the film/actor in last place wasn’t good. Just not a favorite.

86th Academy Awards

Best Film

  1. Nebraska
  2. Dallas Buyers Club
  3. Gravity
  4. 12 Years a Slave
  5. The Wolf of Wall Street
  6. Her
  7. Philomena
  8. American Hustle
  9. Captain Phillips

Nebraska and Dallas Buyers Club were clearly my favorite films. They both spoke to me on a level that the others did not. I felt that American Hustle, a heavy favorite at the Oscars, missed its mark. There were good parts to it, but over all fell near the bottom for me.

Best Actor

  1. Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club
  2. Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street
  3. Christian Bale, American Hustle
  4. Bruce Dern, Nebraska
  5. Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave

McConaughey played the best role this year. Maybe this decade. His portrayal as an HIV-positive rodeo star turned activist was perfection.

Best Actress

  1. Meryl Streep, August: Osage County
  2. Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
  3. Amy Adams, American Hustle
  4. Sandra Bullock, Gravity
  5. Judi Dench, Philomena

This is a one-two punch. Both Streep and Blanchett played characters who were not all right in the head. They were supposed to make you cringe and ask yourself what could possibly be going on in their decision making. Blanchett will probably win, but Streep pulled off a crazier character that was nearly unwatchable – in a good way.

Best Supporting Actor

  1. Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club
  2. Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave
  3. Jonah Hill, The Wolf of Wall Street
  4. Barkhad Adbi, Captain Phillips
  5. Bradley Cooper, American Hustle

Leto, like McConaughey, was everything an actor wants to be in a role. Transformative, heartbreaking, tender. I really can’t say much other than if you haven’t seen this film yet, you need to.

Best Supporting Actress

  1. Julia Roberts, August Osage County
  2. June Squibb, Nebraska
  3. Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years a Slave
  4. Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle
  5. Sally Hawkins, Blue Jasmine

This one is hard. First off, I have to say I felt Lawrence wasn’t deserving of her Golden Globe. She’s a tremendous actress, but her role in Hustle didn’t scream out at me. She was not nearly as good of an actress as Adams was in the film. For me, Roberts and Squibb were the most enjoyable. August isn’t getting the love like others nominated, but I feel the two performances by Roberts and Streep were undeniably amazing.

Best Director

  1. Alfonso Cauron, Gravity
  2. Alexander Payne, Nebraska
  3. Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave
  4. Martin Scorsese, The Wolf of Wall Street
  5. David O. Russell, American Hustle

I always have a problem with giving directing awards to directors who filmed everything in front of a green screen. But for Cauron to put together this digital masterpiece, with Bullock’s performance, is enough for me to break my rule.

Best Original Screenplay

  1. Nebraska, Bob Nelson
  2. Dallas Buyers Club, Craig Borten, Melisa Wallack
  3. Her, Spike Jonze
  4. Blue Jasmine, Woody Allen
  5. American Hustle, Eric Warren Singer, David O. Russell

Bob Nelson nailed everything in this script. The only thing hindering it was Will Forte’s struggle to perform with the rest of the actors throughout. The story was a little quirky, but so honest that it felt like an classic that I had missed out on growing up. Side note: I felt Her really fell apart in the third act; I can’t be the only one.

Best Adapted Screenplay

  1. The Wolf of Wall Street, Terence Winter
  2. Before Midnight, Richard Linklater, Julie Deply, Ethan Hawke)
  3. 12 Years a Slave, John Ridley
  4. Philomena, Steve Coogan, Jeff Pope
  5. Captain Phillips, Billy Ray

Say what you will about Wolf, but I don’t think it was glorifying anything. I think the whole point was to show us exactly how it really was – and is to this day – and let us walk out of the film with such hatred for the characters and their actions. I feel like if you have any sort of intelligence that you’ll understand you were supposed to get angry and not walk away thinking, “Hey, that looks like fun.”

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