This year, Oscar’s always-a-bridesmaid, Julianne Moore, goes for her fifth nomination. And among all of this year’s leading ladies, Moore seems to be a lock for her first—and much overdo—win. In fact, hers is one of the few categories that’s nearly a sure thing at this stage of the Oscar season. (Let’s hope I didn’t just jinx it.)
Playing a linguistics professor with early-onset Alzheimer’s, Moore’s performance in Still Aliceis ripe for awards consideration, and, indeed, it has received several positive notices and recognition. Among her accolades, Moore has already won Best Actress from the Gotham Awards and National Board of Review, among others, and she counts a Golden Globe nomination (two, actually—the other for Maps to the Stars) and SAG Award nomination among her accolades.
Still Alice also stars Alec Baldwin, Kristen Stewart, and Kate Bosworth, and opens January 16. Oscar nominations will be announced the morning of January 15.
If you’re anything like me, you make a point to watch as many “Oscar films” as possible before the February ceremony. To help me with this, I assemble a checklist of sorts every fall, ordering each film by release date. To that end, listed below are some of this year’s biggest prospects that are either currently in theatres or set to be released in the upcoming weeks. In the event that I’ve seen one of the films listed, I included my rating out of 10.
It’s not every day I get the opportunity to fly out to LA for the Oscars, so I’d be remiss if I didn’t post about my experience at this year’s Academy Awards. My friend Stephanie and I ventured to Hollywood primarily for our Red Carpet experience, but we took our extended weekend to meet with friends, see some sites, and tour the Paramount Pictures studios. Still, our Oscar Fan Experience was the weekend’s crown jewel, so I’ll be focusing this post on that.
Our call time was 10am and we arrived a bit early, so we hung out at a donut shop nearby for our “pre-gaming.” (I had been to LA just a few years earlier and didn’t notice all of the donut shops. This time, however, that’s all I could see—for miles and miles. And these aren’t fancy, gourmet donut shops; these are hole-in-the-wall, cheapo places.)
In light of the Olympic Winter Games and TCM’s 31 Days of Oscar, it seems appropriate to draw focus to the classic film Chariots of Fire. Set during the 1924 Olympic Games, one Jewish and one Christian track athlete—both British—compete against each other in this epic story of sportsmanship. Directed by Hugh Hudson, the 1981 film went on to capture four Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, Best Costume Design, and its now Olympics-synonymous score. Other nominations were earned for the film’s directing, editing, and supporting performance by Ian Holm.
Transport yourself back to 1924 and the Olympic games and take a listen to this iconic, Oscar-winning score:
Here are the questions the Academy posed during Academy Fan Appreciation Week, along with my responses.
I’d probably stand in silent disbelief for a few seconds before saying, “I’ve been fantasizing about this moment for most of my life. I’m so grateful to be standing here, welcomed by this honorable community. For me, film isn’t about the awards–though I gladly accept this Oscar–it’s about the magic that stretches through the screen and reaches each wide-eyed dreamer sitting in the audience–myself included. For some, an Oscar represents the culmination of a long, amazing career, but for me, it represents my inclusion with this industry that I love and respect so much. I’d be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the worthy nominees in this category, because it’s when I watch films like [INSERT FELLOW NOMINATED FILM TITLES] that I’m reminded why I love movies so damn much. Thank you for this honor. This is the greatest moment of my life.”
When I visited LA a couple of years ago, I met Barbara, a tour guide at the then-Kodak Theatre. She took my friend Stephanie and me on a tour of the hallowed grounds that are the home of the Academy Awards. It was an amazing experience being in that building and getting Barbara’s insider’s perspective. She told us about the Red Carpet bleacher seats and how the Academy chooses lucky fans via lottery to occupy those seats. (I suspect one would have an easier time getting into Harvard then winning one of these highly sought-after seats.) Ever since then, I had hoped that perhaps one day I’d get the chance, but I didn’t expect it to happen so soon …
In the past few weeks, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has revealed the shortlists for all short film categories for the 2013 Oscars. Official nominations will be announced on January 16, 2014. Here’s what will be vying for a nomination in all three categories:
“Aquel No Era Yo (That Wasn’t Me),” Esteban Crespo, director (Producciones Africanauan)
“Avant Que De Tout Perdre (Just before Losing Everything),” Xavier Legrand, director, and Alexandre Gavras, producer (KG Productions)
“Dva (Two),” Mickey Nedimovic, director, and Henner Besuch, director of photography (Filoufilm Dani Barsch)
“Helium,” Anders Walter, director, and Kim Magnusson, producer (M & M Productions)
“Kush,” Shubhashish Bhutiani, director (Red Carpet Moving Pictures)
“Pitääkö Mun Kaikki Hoitaa? (Do I Have to Take Care of Everything?),” Selma Vilhunen, director, and Kirsikka Saari, screenwriter (Tuffi Films)
Each year, both for Oscar and Emmy season, The Hollywood Reporter releases a series of candid and informative roundtable interviews with some of the film and TV industries’ hottest and most respected talent—all of whom are in awards contention for their most recent works. This season, the focus is on movies and the men and women who bring them to life. Visit THR.comto watch or read. So far, the following roundtables have been conducted (with more to come, including some of this year’s actress contenders):
Directors (image above)
L to R: Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave), Paul Greengrass (Captain Phillips), David O. Russell (American Hustler), Ben Stiller (The Secret Life of Walter Mitty), Alfonso Cuarón (Gravity), Lee Daniels (Lee Daniels’ The Butler)
The fall is my favorite season for several reasons: the weather, the holidays, the foliage, the movies—oh, the movies. This is when studios release their best contenders for Oscar glory, more than four months away. Every year, I aim to watch all of the Oscar hopefuls before nominations are announced (this year on January 16, 2014).
Here is my second-annual list of this year’s major contenders in various categories, along with release dates.
You get thanked an awful lot by Oscar winners, but you don’t always make the smartest choices (#justsayin). Allow us to help you along a bit so you don’t make another embarrassing blunder (Affleck, anyone?) come February 24th. Here’s who we say should win in some of the key races.