Picus gives his rundown of the 86th annual Academy Awards

It’s that time of year again where Hollywood honors the best movies of the year: the ones that inspired us, made us think, and made us wonder.  But the show itself is entertainment all on its own.  This year, Ellen Degeneres hosted the Oscars, filling the show with lots of laughs throughout the night. The pizza delivery?  One of the best moments of the entire show by far! The picture of Brad Pitt eating a slice?  That was just perfect!  And how about that selfie Degeneres took with all those celebrities?  That picture set a record for most retweets EVER!  And it happened before the show even ended!  For nearly three-and-a-half hours on March 2, Degeneres entertained us all as we watched some of the best movies of 2013 win well-deserved awards.  Here are some of my thoughts about the awards themselves.

Blue Jasmine

Woody Allen’s latest film showcases some of the best acting performances of the year.  With acting nominations for Sally Hawkins and Cate Blanchett, this film about a woman who loses almost everything is not to be missed. Blanchett, delivers perhaps the finest performance of her career. She won Best Actress in a Leading Role, proving that movies about strong female characters are not a niche. “Audiences want to see them and in fact they earn money,” explained Blanchett to journalists in the Oscars Winners Room. If you have not seen this film yet, you must go and watch it.

Gravity

I think a lot of people would agree with me when I say that this film won too many awards.  A film about an astronaut falling out of the sky, this was my 4th favorite film of the year.  Visually, it’s stunning.  It actually feels like you’re in space while watching it.  Excellently directed, shot, and edited, this film took home the most awards of the night with 7 wins, and many more nominations.  Sci-Fi fans, you won’t be disappointed.  While this film makes great achievements technically, it lacks in its storytelling.  Does it deserve all the technical awards?  Yes, but should it have even been nominated for its storytelling ability?  Maybe not.

Dallas Buyers Club

2013 was a great year for Matthew McConaughey.  He won Best Actor in a Leading role for this film, showcasing his best performance yet.  Jared Leto is also outstanding in his role, earning him the win for Best Supporting Actor.  This film, about a man who is dying of AIDS at the height of the AIDS scare in the 1980s, is a must see.  This film is not talked about nearly as much as it should be. If I were you, I would make sure to go see it.

The Wolf of Wall Street

Martin Scorsese has yet to direct a bad movie.  The Wolf of Wall Street may not be his finest movie, but it is absolutely incredible. Earning the bronze medal for my favorite film of the year, Leonardo DiCaprio shines in what is probably the strongest performance of his career.  DiCaprio has been nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role many times before and this time should have been his time to win. Without a doubt, this was the biggest snub of the night.  If you like a movie about people making millions of dollars illegally, The Wolf of Wall Street is the movie for you!

American Hustle 

David O. Russell produced an amazing film. All of the actors in American Hustle deliver some of the finest performances not only of their careers, but also of the entire year.  All of them were nominated for Oscars this year, yet none of them won.  I expected this film to be the big winner of the night, winning awards in acting, as well as in directing and production design but alas, I was wrong.

Her

Joaquin Phoenix may not have delivered the strongest performance of the year, but it did have my favorite original screenplay of the year. Her is beautifully written, telling the riveting story of a man who falls in love with a computer. Spike Jonze deserved his award for this movie. Her will take you on an emotional roller coaster like few other movies will, and like no other movie of the year will.

12 Years a Slave      

12 Years a Slave was the big winner of the Oscars.  The film took home some of the biggest awards.  This is one of the toughest movies of the year to watch.Steve McQueen successfully directed a story that makes his audience uncomfortable.  Chiwetel Ejiofor delivered my favorite performance of the year, but was outshined by Matthew McConaughey for this award. Steve McQueen lost the Best Director award to Alfonso Cuarón, director of Gravity. This is perhaps the most important film of the year to see, and certainly my favorite, I recommend you go see it.

You can read this and all of my other reviews at www.myreviewkorner.blogspot.com

by Matthew Picus '15
mpicus@gm.slc.edu

 

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