Sunday, March 2, 2014

2014 Academy Awards - The Oscars !!

If you know one thing about me, you probably know that I LOVE the movies - so it is no surprise that I love Oscar Night !!!

Well the day is finally here and I have seen all the best picture nominations.

Here are my thoughts (in Alphabetical Order)

12 Years a Slave - I admit it, I was a bit timid to see this movie.  It is so hard for me to watch movies that I know is going to have inhumanity - people beating someone, people killing, people being mean. This movie was based on a true story I won't go into the details of what the movie is about - I know you can read that anywhere - like HERE for instance.  What I will tell you is that (thankfully for me) most of the lashing and killing took place in the distance, you saw it and heard it but didn't have to witness it and it didn't go on forever!  However, there were two scenes that were very difficult to watch.

I really thought this was an amazing movie - an incredible story. The acting was so believable and the violence wasn't gratuitous.  I was so impressed with Chiwetel Ejiofor and Michael Fassbender. I kept hearing people go on and on about Lupita Nyong'o's performance and couldn't understand it at first - she didn't show up until about half way in and didn't say anything for several of her first scenes.  But she was in one of the difficult scenes I mentioned and I oh my gosh - she just was un-real! Then I could see what everyone was talking about.

American Hustle - once again - if you want to read about the plot, you can find it HERE.  This is not a movie I would particularly go see on my own but I saw it because -- well...I saw all the other nominated movies so I might well watch this one too.  This movie was also based on a true story.  I know it won a Golden Globe for best motion picture (comedy or musical) but I will be frank...I didn't really care for it.  I started dozing off in the first 15 minutes.   There was gratuitous cussing (f-this, f-that, you sorry f-ing-f-f).  I figured that going in though.  I just thought the movie was boring and the story didn't really interest me.

However, I did like the performance by all - Christian Bale was so good ! Amy Adams (who I love) was great! Bradley Cooper, did a good job (but I thought he over did it at times) and so did Jennifer Lawrence (who also over did it at times but that was part of her character I think).  It wasn't a horrible movie but it just wasn't my cup of tea.

Captain Phillips - I really liked this one.  Once again, this movie was also based on a true story.  You can read the plot HERE.  I remember when this was happening and was all over CNN, so I was interested and seeing what happened.  The thing that impressed me the most was the protocol everyone followed, not only on the Mearsk Alabama but also the U.S. Navy.  They have plans for everything and they followed it and as a result, the crew and ship of the Mearsk Alabama was saved and are okay.

Incredible acting by Tom Hanks (who is good in everything and I can't believe he wasn't nominated for this role - he was so good!) and very impressed by new-comer - Barkhad Abdi, who was working as a chauffeur when he was cast. He had no previous acting experience or any aspirations to become an actor.

Dallas Buyers Club - of the Best Picture nominations, this one was my favorite.  Guess what?? It was based on a true story.  Do you see a trend here? HERE is where you can read it is about.  This movie was beyond good to me.  I had remember hearing that Jared Leto was in it but totally forgot all about that - when he showed up on screen, it didn't dawn on me until about 30 mintues later - 'oh yea, that is Jared Leto".  I would have never known - he really became his character.

There was a lot of media about how much weight Matthew McConaughey had lost a lot of weight for the role, but Jared lost a lot of weight too. Both characters were HIV Positive.  (My sister recently told me that Jared's character and Jennifer Garner's character were totally fictional and added for movie purposes only). To me, Jared's character was so important to the story but I didn't see a lot of need for Jennifer's - she did a fine job, but I guess it was just so he would have a connection to the medical world? I've always thought Matthew McConaughey was a great actor (although he hasn't always taken on the best roles - Ghost of Girlfriends Past comes to mind) but he really went a step above and beyond - amazing !!
Gravity - Surprisingly NOT based on a true story and thank goodness!  I am not sure how to even describe this movie.  You can read more about it HERE.  It is hard to explain because there is mostly only one person in the movie - Sandra Bullock, who is one of my favorite actresses. Without spoiling anything, George Clooney, is in this movie too but mostly at the beginning. This movie is what I would call a thriller - your heart is pumping (or at least mine was) 90 miles a minute.  It is not recommended to see this if you get motion sick very easily.  There is a lot of movement - spinning, etc - especially in the first 20-30 minutes.

To me, it was a survival movie.  Here is this woman, who seemingly has no reason or desire to live (there is a reason for this, explained in the movie), yet she does things that no one could imagine doing so she could survive.  The special effect top anything I've seen since the first Star Wars movie.  You really feel like she is in space and you are right there with her.  I heard several people say they didn't like the ending but I did.

Her - This was one of the most quirkiest movies I have ever seen.  You can read more about it HERE.  I expected something kind of like Lars and the Real Girl and in a way, it was a little bit like that.  A guy in love with a non-existent woman.  Although not specifically mentioned, it is obvious that this movie takes place in the future - computers are more relied upon (even more than we rely on them now).  Joaquin Phoenix had to really stretch to play this role because most of the movie he isn't acting with anyone.  He has to react to someone that isn't there - he does this very well with facial expressions.  I am sure it was a challenging role.  Amy Adams is in this movie too - she has been a busy girl.

I liked this movie, even though it was uh...different.  They could have easily made this a lower rating - they added this funny but un-necessary 3D foul-mouthed video game character that like to make finger gestures.  Joaquin's character, Theodore, and the operating system have phone sex and then the operating system hires a sex segregate so that Theodore and "Samantha", the Operating System can sort of really, kinda, maybe have sex.  What I found the most strange is that all his friends kind of encouraged him like it was a healthy thing for him to do is to make this Operating System his girlfriend.  Overall - I am glad I saw it though.

Nebraska - This was my 2nd favorite movie of the ones nominated.  It is kind of a road trip/unlikely buddy movie. It was filmed in black and white supposedly to give the film an "iconic, archetypal look" (whatever that means).  I admit though that it really showed off the landscapes well - the cinematography was just beautiful !!  You can read more about the premise of the story HERE.  I have never been what you would call a Bruce Dern fan.  I mean he is okay but I never really paid him much-never-mind.  But oh my gosh, he was soooo good. He could say so much with a look.  Will Forte was very good as his son and June Squibb was really good - she was such a pain in the butt - you wanted to slap her half the time. 

At times, the movie made me sad, Bruce Dern's character didn't really remind me of my dad but he stirred up a lot of memories of my watching your strong dad get older, making up his mind to do something when even he knew it wasn't the smartest idea, the nostalgic stories.

Philomena - You won't believe this is based on a true story.  You can read more about it HERE.  It stars Judi Dench and Steven Coogan.  They were both touching at times, funny at times and sweet at times.  It is amazing how thinking and acceptance has changed in the past 50 years when it come to un-married mothers.  Now it seems like so many people have babies and never even think about marriage but 50 years ago, when Philomena was an un-wed, pregnant teen, she was dropped off at a nunnery and her child was given up for adoption.  She has always wanted to find him.  She doesn't know if he even knows she exist.  Steven Coogan, the journalist, comes to care for Philomena - he starts to forget about his article and really wants to help mother and son unite.

Along the way, she finds out things about her son, about his education, his career, his love life, etc.  The ending was a bit of surprise and while I was hoping for something a little different, this was after all, a true story so giving that - I am happy with the ending.

The Wolf of Wall Street- This movie has received a lot of buzz and rightly so.  Now I know you are going to be shocked to find this out but it too, is based on a true story.  Can you believe that? If you don't know the story, you can read about it HERE.  This movie was rated R and for a good reason.  There was lots of sex, lots of nudity, lots of cussing, lots of drugs and I mean lots of drugs !  Did I mention there were lots of drugs?!  Now I am not one to like a lot of cussing in a movie but unlike American Hustle, the cussing really fit these characters.  They were all about excess.

Leonard DiCaprio is one of the best actors today and he really shined in this movie.  I never saw the big deal about why Jonah Hill was so acclaimed (like why was he nominated for Moneyball?) but he was very good in this - a bit over the top but I think the person he played was really over the top.  Leo's character, Jordan, would do anything for a buck.  He started out honest enough but when he realized he could make a lot of money by being a bit unfair to others, he saw an opportunity and took it - it wasn't illegal but it wasn't moral either.  This guy had not morals - yet, you still kind of liked him.  Even though he was kind of a "bad" guy - you rooted for him and liked him.  I can really see why this was nominated for Best Picture.


Just a note: of the 9 movies nominated - 6 of them (67%) were based on true stories.

Best Picture:
I would l like to Win: Dallas Buyer's Club
I think will Win: 12 Years A Slave

Best Actor:
I would l like to Win: Matthew McConaughey (followed closely by Bruce Dern)
I think will Win: Matthew McConaughey (although we could see a surprise upset)

Best Actress:
I would l like to Win: Amy Adams (followed closely by Judi Dench)
I think will Win: Cate Blanchett

Best Supporting Actor:
I would l like to Win: Jared Leto
I think will Win: Jared Leto (I will be totally shocked if he does not win this!!)

Best Supporting Actress:
I would l like to Win: Lupito Nyong'o
I think will Win: Lupito Nyong'o

I guess we will find out tonight !
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