Oscar History: 2013

Recapping the Oscar Season of 2013, a few things stick out. The big winners were 12 Years a Slave and Gravity, which cleaned up in the tech races. The big loser was American Hustle, which came away with zero victories despite 10 nominations (tying it for most nods with Gravity, which won 7 of them). Another take: it was a packed year for Best Actor with some deserving gents left out.

As I have done with previous years, let’s take a deeper dive in the 86th Academy Awards in the major races:

Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave unsurprisingly came away with the Best Picture prize in a field that yielded eight other films. They were David O. Russell’s American Hustle, Paul Greengrass’s Captain Phillips, Jean-Marc Vallee’s Dallas Buyers Club, Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity, Spike Jonze’s Her, Alexander Payne’s Nebraska, Philomena from Stephen Frears, and Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street. 

That’s a solid grouping of pictures and there’s probably no obvious omissions from my end in 2013.. That said, many young girls may protest Frozen not making the cut though it did win Best Animated Feature. And certainly Inside Llewyn Davis from the Coen Brothers had its ardent admirers.

There was a Picture/Director split with Cuaron emerging victorious for Gravity. The filmmaker would achieve the same feat five years later when he won for Roma but Green Book took Best Picture. Other nominees were McQueen, Payne, Russell, and Scorsese.I would argue that Greengrass and Jonze could have made the final five.

In the aforementioned crowded Best Actor derby, Matthew McConaughey took gold for his work in Dallas Buyers Club. The four other contenders were Christian Bale for Hustle, Bruce Dern in Nebraska, Leonardo DiCaprio for Wall Street, and Chiwetel Ejiofor in 12 Years a Slave. Note that all nominees came from Best Picture hopefuls.

Let’s start with Tom Hanks, who I absolutely feel should have gotten in for his remarkable performance in Captain Phillips. The clip I’ve included below proves it and then some. You could say the same for Joaquin Phoenix in Her. Others worth noting: Oscar Isaac in Inside Llewyn Davis, Hugh Jackman in Prisoners, and Robert Redford for All Is Lost. 

Cate Blanchett was the latest actress to be honored for her work in a Woody Allen picture as she took Best Actress for Blue Jasmine. The other nominees were Amy Adams (American Hustle), Sandra Bullock (Gravity), Judi Dench (Philomena), and the ever present Meryl Streep (August: Osage County).

I’ll mention three others left out worthy of consideration: Brie Larson in Short Term 12, Julia-Louis Dreyfus for Enough Said, and Emma Thompson in Saving Mr. Banks. For the latter, it was a bit unexpected that she was left out.

McConaughey’s Dallas Buyers costar Jared Leto won Supporting Actor over Barkhad Abdi (Captain Phillips), Bradley Cooper (American Hustle), Michael Fassbender (12 Years a Slave), and Jonah Hill (The Wolf of Wall Street). Again, all nominees stemmed from Picture contenders.

Some others that didn’t quite make it: Daniel Bruhl in Rush, Steve Coogan for Philomena, Paul Dano in Prisoners, and Will Forte in Nebraska.

Another big 12 Years victory was Lupita Nyong’o in Supporting Actress. She took the prize despite competition from Sally Hawkins (Blue Jasmine), Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle), Julia Roberts (August: Osage County), and June Squibb (Nebraska).

Despite it being a voice only performance, I would say Scarlett Johansson in Her deserved a spot and the same could be said for Margot Robbie in Wall Street.

And there you have it, folks! My look back at the Oscar landscape in 2013. I’ll have 2014 up in due time…

Wild Box Office Prediction

It’s not just hobbits, capuchin monkeys, and Annie remakes opening this weekend as Jean-Marc Vallee’s critically approved Wild debuts in semi-wide format on Friday. Premiering on approximately 850 screens (less than a third of the other big three releases), Wild has Oscar buzz and an Oscar winning star in the mix.

Reese Witherspoon stars in the true life tale of a woman who hikes the Pacific Coast Trail in search of life answers. Witherspoon is likely a shoo-in for a Best Actress nomination, though a win could be tough to come by against formidable competition including Julianne Moore (Still Alice) and Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl). Laura Dern is also being mentioned as a potential Supporting Actress nominee. Director Vallee knows a thing or two about directing his performers to Academy Award glory. Last year, he made Dallas Buyers Club, which earned both Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto wins.

The film is receiving positive reviews and it stands at an impressive 92% on Rotten Tomatoes. Obviously its limited rollout will hinder its potential this weekend, but I believe its per-screen average will be enough to earn it a #6 debut.

Wild opening weekend prediction: $5.8 million

For my prediction on The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies, click here:


For my Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb prediction, click here:


For my Annie prediction, click here:


Oscar Watch: Wild

Last year, Jean-Marc Vallee directed two actors to Oscar wins – Matthew McConaughey for Actor and Jared Leto for Supporting Actor in Dallas Buyer’s Club. In 2014, history could repeat itself with the difference being Vallee potentially helming two actresses to Academy glory. The film is Wild and the actresses are Reese Witherspoon and Laura Dern. Wild tells the true story of a woman who hikes the over thousand mile Pacific Coast Trail by herself.

The picture recently premiered at the Telluride Film Festival and it opens domestically December 5. Early reviews are very positive, especially for Witherspoon. As you may recall, she won Best Actress some nine years ago in Walk the Line. Since then, decent roles for Reese have been few and far between and Wild is likely to be considered a comeback movie (something Hollywood loves).

Based on early buzz, it’s hard to imagine Witherspoon not being nominated in the Actress category. Whether or not Wild gets recognized for Picture, Director, or Dern’s lauded work in the Supporting Actress race remains to be seen. Yet the pic’s festival debut has definitely given us our first nearly surefire name for Best Actress.