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87th Oscars. The Oscar Contenders of 2014 - For prediction, discussion and entertainment purposes only. This is not a endorsement of quality work, especially since no one has seen the pictures yet!

 discuss on the blog

Predictions as of October 2nd
This category is still wide open past Reese & Juli, current threats for the actual gold. Everyone else should really fight for a nomination!

Reese Witherspoon
1 nom | 1 win
(Fox Searchlight)
Dec 5th
Julianne Moore
4 nominations
Still Alice
Felicity Jones
never nominated
Theory of Everything
(Focus Features)
Nov 7th
Rosamund Pike
never nominated
Gone Girl
Oct 3rd
Amy Adams
5 nominations
Big Eyes
(Weinstein Co)
Dec 25th

If you're a big enough star you can coast for a long time and challenge yourself once and they'll want you back. But here's better news: she's actually worthy of the attention in her best dramatic work as a woman who has let her life slip away in all kinds of ways. It'll take months of sweaty soul-searching to get it back.

Just when you thought Juli's Oscar story was up, she taps back into her minimalistic gifts from the mid 90s to play a linguistics college professor who learns she has early onset alzheimers. Her memory is fading and her ability to communicate -how she largely defines herself - will go with it. How will she and her family cope?

This Stephen Hawking biopic is based on his wife's memoirs and pairing with Redmayne has upped her game. Plus you just can't argue that Oscar doesn't worship the "supportive" wives. That works best in Supporting of course but there's no reason to think she can't make it happen here playing this tearful and tough wife and mother beset by challenges.

It's a great showcase role and Pike deserves this big break. That said it's still a thriller which are tricky beasts insofar as predicting Oscar love. It's a bonafide Oscar play but also a divisive character so she'll need a strong campaign and big box office

She can do no wrong with Oscar voters, that's clear. And AMPAS also loves artist biopics so this is more likely than people think even if the film tanks. The biggest obstacle could well be Tim Burton who has never directed an actress to an Oscar nomination and hasn't been a critical darling in eons.

Second Tier. Hmmm....

Jessica Chastain
2 nominations
A Most Violent Year
Dec 31st

Emily Blunt
18 noms | 3 wins
Into the Woods
Dec 25th

Hilary Swank
2 noms | 2 wins
The Homesman
Nov 14th
Marion Cotillard
1 nom | 1 win
Two Days One Night
Dec 24th
Shailene Woodley
never nom'ed
Fault in Our Stars
June 6th


Her rapid rangey breakthrough a couple of years back left everyone wanting more. Early word is that she kills her shady wife role in A Most Violent Year. Will the late release be soon enough?

Bonus Points: Eleanor Rigby: Him/Her/Them


previously in supporting  

One of the beautiful things about Into the Woods in each of its iterations is that the MVP and emotional center is unpredictable. That said, The Baker's Wife has the most traditional Oscar arc and isn't it time for Blunt to make good on that enormous promise?

It's been 10 years since her divisive second win and this spinster/ long-suffering brave role looks right in their wheelhouse. Cannes reviews weren't promising, but as I cautioned, there's never the end game with Oscar traction. The latest reactions are more "this could happen!" so watch out for Swank fighting for a third nomination.

Oscar hasn't shown any interest in her since her international breakthrough which won the gold. But she's been excellent in several films since. If this film picks up steam in foreign film, might she finally win traction again? She's amazing in it (which goes without saying at this point)

She's turned into a box office commodity with two hits this year and the voters aren't unfamiliar - she was clearly in the hunt for The Descendants. This movie is a tearjerker but does it skew too young for them. How hard will Fox fight for the nomination and will Shailene comply?

Vote Siphoners
Angelina Jolie
2 noms | 1 win | 1 honorary
May 30th

Marion Cotillard
1 nom | 1 win
The Immigrant
(Weinstein Co)
May 23rd

Maggie Smith
6 noms | 2 wins
My Old Lady
(Cohen Media Group)
Sept 10th
Julianne Moore
4 nominations
Maps to the Stars
Scarlett Johansson
never nominated
Under the Skin
April 4th

Disney films rarely win acting traction and even if voters are feeling fantasy-frisky, there's Meryl from Into the Woods to enchant them. Can the Golden Globes figure out a way to include her? It's not a Musical Comedy but...

She won her usual rave reviews as a Polish immigrant struggling through poverty and prostitution in this 1920s New York drama. But will anyone remember it come years end?

She's getting on in years and more popular with the public than ever thanks to Harry Potter and Downton Abbey. But this film isn't making much noise.

Either of these outré inspired performances by major stars (which obviously have devout fans) would add up to one of the strangest Oscar nominations of all time were they to miraculously happen. Doesn't mean they aren't worthy and inspired performances. Kudos to these two actresses for going there. 


other leading roles

Jenny Slate - Obvious Child
Mia Wasikowska - Tracks
Helen Mirren - Hundred Foot Journey

2015 Instead...
Charlize Theron - Dark Places | KateWinslet, A Little Chaos | Carey Mulligan Far From Madding Crowd | Carey Mulligan - Suffragette | Marion Cotillard Macbeth | Nicole Kidman Queen of the Desert | Cate Blanchett - Carol | Anna Kendrick - The Last Five Years | Jessica Chastain - Miss Julie | Mia Wasikowska - Tracks | Mia Wasikowska - Madame Bovary | Michelle Williams - Suite Française