Sunday, December 15, 2013

Film Awards Season Overview: 'Gravity' vs. '12 Years a Slave'

Michael Fassbender, Lupita Nyong'o, and Chiwetel Ejiofor in
12 Years a Slave
The film award season has already started and the battle lines are drawn: 12 Years a Slave and Gravity are the main contenders for Best Picture, with Her a possible spoiler. I can't believe Gravity is actually a possibility to take the top Oscar. Special effects, OK. Maybe even Best Director. But the Best Picture Award over the masterful 12 Years? My partner points out that Gravity is an "up" picture (no pun intended) with Sandra Bullock triumphing over adversity in the end (just like Tom Hanks in Capt. Phillips and Robert Redford in All Is Lost). Yes, Chiwetel Ejiofor does escape from his bondage at the end of 12 Years, but the film is so dark and uncompromising in its depiction of a national disgrace many would rather forget, it may be bypassed.

Cate Blanchett doing the Blanche Dubois bit in Blue Jasmine
Cate Blanchett has Best Actress all sewn up for Blue Jasmine, continuing in the long line of ladies winning Oscars for Woody Allen films: Diane Keaton (Annie Hall), Dianne Wiest (twice--Hannah and Her Sisters, Bullets Over Broadway),Mira Sorvino (Mighty Aphrodite), and Penelope Cruz (Vicki Christina Barcelona).

Bruce Dern (Nebraska) and Robert Redford (All Is Lost) are slugging it our for Best Actor since they are both 77 and have never won an acting Oscar (see sentimental wins for John Wayne, Jack Palance, Art Carney, Paul Newman, etc.) Redford did win a directing Oscar for Ordinary People, so Dern may benefit.  

Jared Leto of Dallas Buyers Club is the favorite for Supporting Actor since playing a transvestite or gay character always helps (William Hurt, Tom Hanks). If you just go by critics' awards and nominations, supporting actress appears to be between Lupita Nyong'o (12 Years a Slave) and June Squibb (Nebraska), but don't count out Oprah in The Butler

Here is my annual rundown of the winners and nominees of the award-dispensing groups (so far):.  

12 Years a Slave (AAFCA, AFI, BOS, gg, is, NYFO, WAFCA)
All Is Lost (is)
American Hustle (AFI, gg, NYFCC)
Captain Phillips (AFI, gg)
Frances Ha (is)
Fruitvale Station (AFI)
Gravity (AFI, gg, LAFCA--tie)
Her (AFI, DET, gg, LAFCA--tie, NBR, SD)
Inside Llewyn Davis (AFI, gg, GOTH, is)
Nebraska (AFI, gg, is)
Philomena (gg)
Rush (gg)
Saving Mr. Banks (AFI)
The Wolf of Wall Street (AFI, gg)

Amy Adams, American Hustle (gg)
Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine (BOS, gg, is, LAFCA--tie, NYFCC, NYFO, sag, SD, WAFCA)
Sandra Bullock, Gravity (AAFCA, gg, sag)
Julie Delpy, Before Midnight (gg, is)

Judi Dench, Philomena (gg, sag)
Adele Exarchopoulos, Blue Is the Warmest Color (LAFCA--tie)
Greta Gerwig, Francis Ha (gg, is)
Gaby Hoffman, Crystal Fairy (is)
Brie Larson, Short Term 12 (DET, GOTH, is)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Enough Said (gg)
Meryl Streep, August: Osage County (gg, sag)
Emma Thompson, Saving Mr Banks (gg, NBR, sag)
Kate Winslet, Labor Day (gg)

Shailene Woodley, The Spectacular Now (is, SD--San Diego Critics consider her a Supporting Actress)

Christian Bale, American Hustle (gg)
Bruce Dern, Nebraska (gg, is, LAFCA, NBR, sag)
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street (gg)
Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave (BOS, gg, is, NYFO, sag, WAFCA)
Idris Elba, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom (gg)
Tom Hanks, Captain Philips (gg, sag)
Oscar Isaac, Inside Llewyn Davis (gg, is, SD)
Michael B. Jordan, Fruitval Station (is)
Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club (DET, gg, GOTH, is)
Joaquin Phoenix, Her (gg)
Robert Redford, All Is Lost (gg, is, NYFCC)
Forest Whitaker, Les Daniels' The Butler (AAFCA, sag)

Supporting Actress:
Melonie Diaz, Fruitvale Station (is)
Sally Hawkins, Blue Jasmine (gg, is)
Scarlett Johansson, Her (DET)
Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle (gg, NYFCC, sag)
Lupita Nyong'o, 12 Years a Slave (gg, is, LAFCA, NYFO, sag, WAFCA)
Julia Roberts, August: Osage County (gg, sag)
Yolanda Ross, Go for Sisters (is)
Octavia Spencer, Fruitvale Station (NBR)
June Squibb, Nebraska (BOS, gg, is, sag)
Oprah Winfrey, Les Daniels' The Butler (AAFCA, sag)

Supporting Actor:
Barkhad Abdi, Captain Phillips (gg, sag)
Daniel Bruhl, Rush (gg, sag)
Bradley Cooper, American Hustle (gg)
Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave (gg, is, sag)
Will Forte, Nebraska (is, NBR)
James Franco, Spring Breakers (LAFCA--tie)
James Gandolfini, Enough Said (BOS, is, sag)
Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club (AAFCA, DET, gg, is, LAFCA--tie, NYFCC, NYFO, sag, SD, WAFCA)
Keith Stanfield, Short Term 12 (is)

Shane Carruth, Upstream Color (is)
J.C. Chandor, All Is Lost (is)
Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity (DET, gg, LAFCA, NYFO, SD)
Paul Greengrass, Captain Phillips (gg)
Spike Jonze, Her (NBR)
Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave (AAFCA, BOS, gg, is, NYFCC, WAFCA)
Jeff Nichols, Mud (is)
Alexander Payne, Nebraska (gg, is)
David O. Russell, American Hustle (gg)

AAFA=African-American FIlm Critics Association; AFI=American Film Institute; BOS=Boston Society of Film Critics; DET-Detroit Film Critics Society; gg=Golden Globe; GOTH=Gotham Independent Film Awards; is=Independent Spirit Award; LAFCA=Los Angeles Film Critics Association; NBR=National Board of review; NYFCC=New York Film Critics Circle; sag=Screen Actors Guild Awards; SD=San Diego Film Critics Society Awards; WAFCA=Washington, DC Area Film Critics Association; CAPS means winner, lower case denotes nominee.

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