Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Captain Phillips (2013)

Captain Phillips tells the true story of the 2009 hijacking of an American cargo ship by Somali pirates. It was the first American cargo ship to be hijacked in over two hundred years.

 photo captain-phillips-movie-review-tom-hanks_zpsddc084a6.jpg

On a seemingly routine day, things get dangerous when the crew spots a group of Somali pirates nearing the ship.  Unarmed, Phillips (Hanks) does everything in his power to protect his crew and the ship even risking his own life in the process.

 photo 1017_capt-phillips_zpse129ec36.jpg Tom Hanks delivers an outstanding performance, one that is surely going to garner him some serious Oscar attention for the first time in 13 years (Yes, it's been that long since his last nomination, but would definitely be deserving). 

Appearing in nearly every scene, Hanks carries the film. In a career full of great performances, his work in Captain Phillips is among his best.

 photo 688115-tom-hanks-captain-phillips_zps14d3cc4e.jpgBarkhad Abdi, the Somali captain also shines opposite Hanks. I wouldn't be surprised if he was able to grab a nomination as well. The film focuses on their relationship and the subsequent standoff they face as a result of their actions.

Director Paul Greengrass does a terrific job balancing the heart pounding suspense and the complex emotional elements. It's one of the rare films that actually makes us see things from the point of view of the villains. We see their back story and watch them develop as characters. We can relate to their problems, even though we might not agree with their actions.

Captain Phillips is one of the years best films so far. It's the complete package featuring intense thrills, relevant themes, and riveting performances.

The fact that it's also a true story just makes it that much more powerful.

 photo Review-Captain-Phillips-1_zps87c693ba.jpg

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Oscar Predictions: Best Picture

November 24th Update.


There's 3 newcomers to the top 10. The Top 2 remain the same, and I expect it to come down to one of them at the end.

1. 12 Years a Slave
 12 Years a Slave Best Picture, 12 Years a Slave Oscars
The reviews have been outstanding so far calling this the greatest film about slavery ever made. Due to the quality and subject matter, it's the clear frontrunner right now. It's between this and Gravity right now. (Previously #1)

2. Gravity
 George Clooney Gravity Oscars, Gravity Best Picture
Gravity was a major hit and one of the highest grossing films of the year. However, Sci-Fi movies haven't done well with the academy in the past (in terms of winning) so I'm putting 12 years a Slave ahead for now. (Previously #2)

3. Captain Phillips
 photo captain-phillips-movie-review-tom-hanks_zpsddc084a6.jpg
Captain Phillips is another amazing true story highlighted by a terrific performance by Tom Hanks.With the great reviews and box office performance, it moves up a few stops as an almost lock for a nomination. (Previously #8)

4. American Hustle
 American Hustle cast, American Hustle Oscars, American Hustle Best Picture
David O. Russell's last 2 films have gotten Best Picture nominations. He's on a row and I don't expect that streak to stop here. American Hustle looks like a winner. (Previously #4)

5. The Wolf of Wall Street
 The Wolf of Wall Street Best Picture, The Wolf of Wall street Oscars, The Wolf of Wall Street Oscar Predictions
Two words: Martin Scorsese. He hasn't made a bad film yet. He's one of the best film makers of all time and his films always garner a lot of attention. I expect The Wolf of Wall Street to be a player. (Previously #5)

6. Inside Lleywn Davis
 Inside Lleywn Davis Oscars, Inside Lleywn Davis Coens Best Picture
Similar to Scorsese, the Academy loves the Coens. They have had 4 previous films nominated for Best Picture. With the great reviews, I expect Inside Llewyn Davis to be their 5th. (Previously #7)

7. August: Osage County
 photo august-osage-county-ms-kb-01-600-370_zpsab1342c2.jpg
August Osage County has a terrific cast and is sure to receive a lot of notice come award time. Having the Weinsteins behind it doesn't hurt either. (Previously #8)

8. Dallas Buyers Club
 photo DallasBuyers_zpsa90c8ad1.jpg
Dallas Buyers Club has received terrific reviews so far. With major contenders at Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor, it should receive enough attention to secure a Best Picture nomination.(Previously #15)

9. Nebraska
 photo nebraska-movie1_zps71ffbba0.jpg
Another film with stellar reviews, Nebraska joins the top 10.  Alexander's Payne's previous film, The Descendants, was a hit with the Academy, so he has a track record. (Previously unranked)

10. Saving Mr. Banks
 photo tom-hanks-is-walt-disney-in-the-first-trailer-for-saving-mr-banks_zpsc6c4aa7c.jpg
Saving Mr. Banks is the one I'm most unsure about. It looks extremely Academy friendly. But In an extremely strong year, it could miss out.  (Previously #11)

Other Possibilities

11. Her (Previously #12)

12. Rush (Previously #4)

13. The Butler (Previously #14)

14. Labor Day (Previously unranked)

15. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (Previously unranked)

Friday, November 22, 2013

Oscar Predictions: Best Director

November 22nd Update.

With Monuments Men being pushed back to 2014, we have a few newcomers in the Top 10. With Rush failing to make an impact with American Audiences, Ron Howard falls out of the Top 5.

1. Steve McQueen- 12 Years a Slave
 Steve McQueen behind the scenes, 12 Years a Slave Oscar Predictions, Best Director Oscars
12 Years a Slave is being called the best movie about slavery ever made. McQueen missed out for Shame, but this film is too powerful to ignore. (Previously #1)

2. Alfonso Cuaron- Gravity

Gravity is a visual masterpiece and many reviews are comparing it to 2001: A Space Oddessy. He's a lock. It's between McQueen and Cuaron at this point. I have him 2nd right now because the Academy hasn't shown much love for Sci-Fi films in the past. (Previously #2)

3. Paul Greengrass- Captain Phillips
 Paul Greengrass Oscar Predictions, Captain Phillips Oscar Predictions
Captain Phillips was a big hit and looks to be a serious Oscar contender. Greengrass joins the Top 5 looking for his first nomination since United 93 in 2006.

4. David O. Russell- American Hustle
American Hustle cast, American Hustle behind the scenes, David O. Russell American Hustle Oscars
This is where things get interesting. Russel has been nominated for his last 2 films. If American Hustle is a hit, it could be 3 in a row. (Previously #3)

5. Martin Scorsese- The Wolf of Wall Street
 Martin Scorsese Oscar Wolf of Wall Street, Wolf of Wall Street behind the scenes, Leonardo DiCaprio Wolf of Wall Street, Wolf of Wall Street Oscar Predictions
Scorsese is one of the best directors of all time. He's already been nominated in this category 7 times. He needs to be considered for every movie he makes. I wouldn't count him out. (Previously #5)

Other Possibilities

6. Joel and Ethan Coen- Inside Lleywn Davis (Previously #7)

7. Ron Howard- Rush (Previously #4)

8. Alexander Payne- Nebraska (Previously unranked)

9. Spike Jonze- Her (Previously #9)

10. John Lee Hancock- Saving Mr. Banks (Previously unranked)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Oscar Predictions: Best Actor

November 19th Update.

Only one change in the top ten. I'd be pretty surprised if anyone makes it in that's not listed here.

1. Chiwetal Ejiofor- 12 Years a Slave
 Chiwetal Ejiofor 12 Years a Slave, Steve McQueen 12 Years a Slave
12 Years a Slave is the frontrunner and the story is all about him. The film itself and Ejiofor both have received outstanding reviews so far. He plays a free man is is abducted and sold into slavery in this incredible true story. (Previously #3)

2. Matthew McConaughey- Dallas Buyers Club
 Matthew McConaughey Dallas Buyers Club, Matthew McConaughey Oscar
McConaughey has been on a roll lately. He lost 40 pounds for the role of an AIDs patient in Dallas Buyers Club. It's an Academy friendly story and powerhouse performance that will be rewarded. (Previously #2)

3. Robert Redford- All is Lost
 Robert Redford All is Lost
All is Lost is a one man show and Redford shines. He hasn't been nominated as an actor since 1974, so this would represent his comeback. I'm mostly dropping him a few spots because I think his film has a greater chance of being overlooked as opposed to the first two. (Previously #1)

4. Tom Hanks- Captain Phillips
 Tom Hanks Captain Phillips, Tom Hanks Captain Phillips Oscar
Hanks plays Captain Richard Phillips. It's the true story detailing the 2009 hijacking by Somali pirates of the the first American cargo ship to be hijacked in two hundred years. The film was a big hit critically and commercially. (Previously #4)

5. Leonardo DiCaprio- The Wolf of Wall Street
 Leonardo DiCaprio The Wolf of Wall Street, Leonardo DiCaprio Martin Scorese 
DiCaprio and Scorsese have had great success in the past. Nobody has really seen the film yet, so this is mostly a hunch. It's a crowded field and a lot can change. (Previously #5)

Other Possibilities 

6. Bruce Dern- Nebraska (Previously #6)

7. Christian Bale- American Hustle (Previously #10)

8. Joaquin Phoenix- Her (Previously #8)

9. Christian Bale- Out of the Furnace (Previously unranked)

10. Forest Whitaker- The Butler (Previously #7)

Friday, November 15, 2013

Oscar Predictions: Best Actress

November 10th Update.

No major changes here. Three newbies join the top ten and a few change positions. Updates from last time are included.

1. Cate Blanchett- Blue Jasmine
 Cate Blanchett Blue Jasmine
Cate Blanchett looks like the clear frontrunner so far. Reviews have called her performance a career best. In a career that's already brought her an Oscar win, that's saying something. (Previously #1)

2. Sandra Bullock- Gravity
 Sandra Bullock Gravity movie
Gravity was a major critical and commercial hit. Basically a one man show, Bullock carries the film. Reviews have raved Bullock, calling it a career best for her as well.  She's a lock. (Previously #2)

3. Meryl Streep- August: Osage County
 Meryl Streep August:Osage County, Meryl Streep Oscar
Meryl Streep has been nominated 4 times in the last 7 years. August: Osage County could be a real contender. With Streep being confirmed for Lead Actress, she's as good a bet as anyone. (Previously unranked)

4. Amy Adams- American Hustle
 photo American-Hustle-Christian-Bale-And-Amy-Adams_zps68c310ea.jpg
Amy Adams could finally be making the leap for a nomination in the lead category. Most contenders in this category have already won Oscars. So I have to think someone will be nominated who hasn't won before. Adams seems like the safest bet right now. (Previously #4)

5. Emma Thompson- Saving Mr. Banks
 photo EmmaThompsonOscars_zps916301c9.jpg
Thompson replaces Kidman (her film got pushed back to 2014). Saving Mr. Banks is looking like a solid contender and Thompson is the highlight of the film. (Previously #6)

Other Possibilities

6. Kate Winslet- Labor Day (Previously #5)

7. Julie Delpy- Before Midnight (Previously unranked)

8. Berenice Bejo- The Past (Previously #8)

9. Adèle Exarchopoulos- Blue is the Warmest Color (Previously unranked)

10. Judi Dench- Philomena (Previously #10)

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Oscar Predictions: Best Supporting Actor

November 13th Update.

While there aren't many drastic changes in this category, we have a new #1 and a few others change positions. Daniel Bruhl falls out of the top 5 due to Rush failing at the box office and being overshadowed by other films. Again, I'm including the changes from last time at the end of each write up.

1. Jared Leto- Dallas Buyers Club
 Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club, Jared Leto drag, Jared Leto Oscar Predictions
Jared Leto has been getting terrific early notices as a transgender HIV patient in Dallas Buyers Club. He also went through a tremendous physical transformation as well, weighing as little as 116 pounds during filming. (Previously #2)

2. Michael Fassbender- 12 Years a Slave
 photo Screen-Shot-2013-07-16-at-123257-AM-600x369_zpse59ce767.jpg
Fassbender plays the evil slave owner in Steve McQueen's 12 Years a Slave. Fassbender has gained a lot of respect the last few years. The villain role has been a staple for Best Supporting Actor, and I expect Fassbender to be rewarded here especially after the outstanding reviews. (Previously #3)

3. Tom Hanks- Saving Mr. Banks
2013 Oscar Predictions, Tom Hanks Walt Disney, Saving Mr. Banks
Tom Hanks looks poised to rejoin the Oscar race for the first time in 13 years with top performances this year. Hanks plays the iconic Walt Disney in Saving Mr. Banks. I'm mostly dropping him a few spots because I feel he's more likely to be nominated for Captain Phillips. (Previously #1)

4. Jonah Hill- The Wolf of Wall Street
Oscar Predictions Best Supporting Actor, Jonah Hill, Jonah Hill Wolf of Wall Street, Martin Scorese, Leonardo DiCaprio
Jonah Hill will star in Martin Scorsese's The Wolf of Wall Street. It's a high profile film. Hill managed to pull off a nomination for Moneyball. Now he gets to work with one of the best. We'll see what happens. (Previously #5)

5. Barkhad Abdi- Captain Phillips
 Captain Phillips Oscar Predictions, Barkhad Abdi Captain Phillips
Abdi seeming came out of nowhere. He was fantastic opposite Tom Hanks in Captain Phillips and with great reviews, he has a real chance for to make some noise here. (Previously unranked)

Other Possibilities

6. Daniel Bruhl-  Rush (Previously #3)

7. Joshn Brolin- Labor Day (Previously #6)

8. Bradley Cooper- American Hustle (Previously #8)

9. James Gandolfini- Enough Said (Previously unranked)

10. Jake Gyllennhaal- Prisoners (Previously unranked)

Monday, November 11, 2013

Oscar Predictions: Best Supporting Actress

November 11th Update. 


Click the picture for a direct link to the trailer.


It's been 2 months since my last set of predictions, so it's time for an update. A lot has changed since September. We now have a better idea on category placements and more reviews have been released. At the end of each write up, I'll include the changes from the last update.

1.  Lupita Nyong'o - 12 Years a Slave
 12 Years a Slave Best Supporting Actress 2013
12 Years a Slave is shaping up to be the frontrunner this year. Nyong'o is a lock for her first nomination. (Previously unranked)

 2. Oprah Winfrey- The Butler
 Oprah Oscar 2013, Oprah The Butler 
While buzz for The Butler has faded since it's release, it's still going to warrant a few nominations. With great reviews and the comeback story, Oprah looks to pretty comfortable. (Previously #2)

3. Julia Roberts-  August: Osage County
 photo august-osage-county-julia-roberts-600x302_zps42f22c94.jpg
I had Julia Roberts in my top 10 for Leading Actress last time. With her switching categories, Roberts should benefit from a weaker supporting field. (Previously unranked)

4. Jennifer Lawrence- American Hustle
 Jennifer Lawrence Oscar, Jennifer Lawrence American Hustle, Best Supporting Actress
Lawrence has been on fire lately, winning Best Actress last year for Silver Linings Playbook. I expect big things from American Hustle and Lawrence will receive a lot of attention from it (Previously #4)

5. Octavia Spencer- Fruitvale Station
 Fruitvale station, Octavia Spencer oscar 
This is where here it gets tricky. Spencer won this category 2 years ago and delivers another great performance in the Fruitvale Station. It was a major hit with the critics, but it might get overlooked. (Previously #3)

Other Possibilities

6. June Squibb- Nebraska (Previously unranked)

7. Amy Adams- Her (Previously #5)

8. Naomi Harris- Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom (Previously #7)

9.  Margo Martindale- August: Osage County (Previously #6)

10. Jennifer Garner- Dallas Buyers Club (Previously unranked)