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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 24th
Will this category hold a surprise? Or does Julianne Moore walk away with everything?

Reese Witherspoon
1 nom | 1 win
Wild
(Fox Searchlight)
Dec 5th

Julianne Moore
4 nominations
Still Alice
(SPC)
Qualifier

Gotham Nod

Felicity Jones
never nominated
Theory of Everything
(Focus Features)
Nov 7th
Rosamund Pike
never nominated
Gone Girl
(Fox)
Oct 3rd
Jessica Chastain
2 nominations
A Most Violent Year
(A24)
Dec 31st

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 bio is based on his wife's memoirs and pairing with Redmayne 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 as this wife beset by challenges.

It's a great showcase role and a big hit. That said Oscar is unpredictable with thrillers - they either go for them all over the place or ignore completely. Plus the character is hugely divisive so is this nomination going to happen or not? We shall see.

 

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 give her time to settle in as a threat?

Bonus Points: Eleanor Rigby: Him/Her/Them

Second Tier. Hmmm....

Amy Adams
5 nominations
Big Eyes
(Weinstein Co)
Dec 25th

Emily Blunt
never nominated
Into the Woods
(Disney)
Dec 25th

Hilary Swank
2 noms | 2 wins
The Homesman
(Roadside)
Nov 14th
Marion Cotillard
1 nom | 1 win
Two Days One Night
(SPC)
Dec 24th

Jenny Slate
never nominated
Obvious Child
(A24)
June 6th

Gotham Nod

She can do no wrong with Oscar voter so it might be foolish to be against her. AMPAS also loves artist biopics so this is more likely than people think even if the film tanks. But enthusiasm for the little seen film is not high right now. Will it suddenly heat up for release?

 

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, that's never the end game with Oscar traction. The latest reactions are more "this could happen!" so watch out for Swank

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)

The critics will have to keep shouting her name but she seems like a likely Spirit Awards competitor so her name will be mentioned repeatedly. People who love this performance really love it though and passion counts when it comes time to cast your ballot.

Vote Siphoners

Shailene Woodley
never nom'ed
Fault in Our Stars
(Fox)
June 6th

Mia Wasikowska
never nominated
Tracks
(Weinstein Co)
Sept 19th

Gotham Nod

Anne Hathaway
2 noms | 1 win
Interstellar
(Paramount / WB)
Nov 6th
Angelina Jolie
2 noms | 1 win | 1 honorary
Maleficent
(Disney)
May 30th

Scarlett Johansson
never nominated
Under the Skin
(A24)
April 4th

Gotham Nod


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?


Though the film is underseen, most people agree that the performance is special. But will Weinstein Co fight for this nomination?

It helps to be a) already very famous and b) from a major Oscar contender. Will they love her space explorer rapport with McConaughey?

Either would be one of the strangest Oscar nominations of all time were they to miraculously happen. However, since both actresses have been beloved by The Globes from the beginning of their careers, might they find a way to revive their names at year's end in this category? 

other leading roles

Helen Mirren - Hundred Foot Journey
Keira Knightley -Begin Again
Marion Cotillard - The Immigrant
Maggie Smith - My Old Lady
Michelle Monagan - Fort Bliss
Gugu Mbatha-Raw - Beyond the Lights (Gotham Nod)
Gugu Mbatha-Raw - Belle