Oscars Preparation Now in Full Swing

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Academy Awards’ nominees gathered at a pre-Oscar champagne lunch in Hollywood a few days ago, following a tradition that takes place before the awards ceremony.

The luncheon was attended by more than 150 Oscar contenders. The luncheon did not go without shocks and scandals, of course. The 2014 Academy Awards were almost spoiled by huge misunderstanding. Actor Leonardo DiCaprio was rumoured to be the winner in the category Best Actor after a news channel aired a video which contained an Oscar with his name. However, it turned out that the Academy makes all gold plaques for the awards before the ceremony. In other words, all nominees will have a gold plaque regardless of whether they will win or not. As a matter of fact, that the nominees are still being discussed and the winners are yet to be selected.

The Nominees

The Academy of Motion Arts and Sciences announced the nominations for the 2014 Academy Awards in mid-January. Christian Bale-starred “American Hustle” and the space brilliance “Gravity” led Oscar nominees with ten nominations each, followed by “12 Years a Slave” with nine.

The ceremony of the 2014 Academy Awards will be hosted by Ellen DeGeneres and will air on March 2 on ABC. This year, the biggest rivalry will be between three big productions that are nominated in the most prestigious of the best picture category – “Gravity” and “American Hustle”, which received ten nominations each and “12 Years a Slave” with nine. Nominated in the same category are also “Captain Phillips”, “Her”, “Dallas Buyers Club”, “Nebraska”, “Philomena”, and Martin Scorsese’s “The Wolf of Wall Street”. “Inside Llewyn Davis”, which received many top critics’ awards, could not enter the race for best picture, although the Academy may nominate up to ten movies.

Eight actors of all nominated have been selected for the first time. One of them, Chiwetel Ejiofor, who played the slave in “12 Years a Slave” received nomination for the best actor category, together with Matthew McConaughey, who won a Golden Globe on Sunday for his work in “Dallas Buyers Club”. Others competing in this category are Christian Bale, Bruce Dern, and Leonardo DiCaprio.

Legendary Meryl Streep proved herself again as the most nominated performer – her nomination for best actress for her role in “August: Osage County” is the 18th in her career. Sandra Bullock and Cate Blanchett are also in the race for the best actress category.

A Few Predictions

Best Picture

This year, three movies seem to stand out in this category: “12 Years a Slave,” “Gravity” and “American Hustle.” Scorsese’s “The Wolf of Wall Street” received some praise at the 2014 Golden Globes, they may not enjoy big recognition at the Oscars, since the members of the Academy have a slightly more traditional preferences.

However, the big question is will Steve McQueen’s “12 Years a Slave” manage to impress the jury? You may think that the Best Picture winner at the Golden Globes will also triumph at the Oscars. Well, you are wrong! Last year, for example, “Argo” was almost completely ignored at the Golden Globes. Nevertheless, Ben Affleck’s film managed to win big at the Oscars, including in the Best Picture category. Therefore, while the nominations are rather easy to predict, the winner will be nothing more than a guess in the dark.

Best Director

Again, do not bet on the Golden Globes winner. Although Alfonso Cuaron did an impressive job directing “Gravity,” the film’s real charm can remain unnoticed without the 3D effects. Given the fact, that the Academy members watch the DVD screener version of the productions, “Gravity” may not even receive an Oscar nod in the category Best Director.

The favourite here seems to be Steve McQueen for “12 Years a Slave.” As for Marin Scorsese’s “The Wolf of Wall Street,” its R-rating may push it at the end of the line.

Best Actress

There is not much mystery here. This year the there will be two big contenders – Sandra Bullock for her performance in “Gravity” and Cate Blanchett for her role in “Blue Jasmine.” Both actresses have already won an Oscar. Therefore, it can be said that they have the approval of the Academy.

Best Actor

It is hard to predict the winner in this category, since the competition is really fierce. Chiwetel Ejiofor will definitely be recognized for his role in “12 Years a Slave.” Matthew McConaughey also has some chance for “Dallas Buyers Club.” After all, he had to lose a huge amount of weight in order to prepare for the role and that always is appreciated by the Academy. Also, Leonardo DiCarpio is getting many positive reviews lately and is another potential winner.

Best Supporting Actress and Best Supporting Actor

Again, “12 Years a Slave” has a good chance in these two categories. Lupita Nyong is nominated for Best Supporting Actress, while Michael Fassbender received a nod in the category Best Supporting Actor. Nyong may face some rough competition from Oscar-winners Jennifer Lawrence (“American Hustle”) and Julia Roberts (“August: Osage Country”). Fassbender, on the other hand, will probably race against Barkhad Abdi from “Captain Phillips” and Jared Leto for his performance in “Dallas Buyers Club” for the Oscar. These two categories may offer some surprises.

Here are some of this year’s Oscar nominations:

Best Picture

“12 Years a Slave”
“The Wolf of Wall Street”
“Captain Phillips”
“Her”
“American Hustle”
“Gravity”
“Dallas Buyers Club”
“Nebraska”
“Philomena”

Best director
Steve McQueen — “12 Years a Slave”
David O. Russell — “American Hustle”
Alfonso Cuaron — “Gravity”
Alexander Payne — “Nebraska”
Martin Scorsese — “The Wolf of Wall Street”

Best actor
Bruce Dern — “Nebraska”
Chiwetel Ejiofor — “12 Years a Slave”
Matthew McConaughey — “Dallas Buyers Club”
Leonardo DiCaprio — “The Wolf of Wall Street”
Christian Bale — “American Hustle”

Best actress
Amy Adams — “American Hustle”
Cate Blanchett — “Blue Jasmine”
Judi Dench — “Philomena”
Sandra Bullock — “Gravity”
Meryl Streep — “August: Osage County”

Best supporting actor
Barkhad Abdi — “Captain Phillips”
Bradley Cooper — “American Hustle”
Jonah Hill — “The Wolf of Wall Street”
Jared Leto — “Dallas Buyers Club”
Michael Fassbender — “12 Years a Slave”

Best supporting actress
Jennifer Lawrence — “American Hustle”
Lupita Nyong’o — “12 Years a Slave”
June Squibb — “Nebraska”
Julia Roberts — “August: Osage County”
Sally Hawkins — “Blue Jasmine”

Best original screenplay
“American Hustle” — David O. Russell and Eric Warren Singer
“Blue Jasmine” — Woody Allen
“Her” — Spike Jonze
“Nebraska” — Bob Nelson
“Dallas Buyers Club” — Craig Borten and Melisa Wallack

Best adapted screenplay
“12 Years a Slave” — John Ridley
“Before Midnight” — Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke and Richard Linklater
“The Wolf of Wall Street” — Terence Winter
“Captain Phillips” — Billy Ray
“Philomena” — Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope

Best animated feature
“The Wind Rises”
“Frozen”
“Despicable Me 2”
“Ernest & Celestine”
“The Croods”

Best foreign feature
“The Hunt” (Denmark)
“The Broken Circle Breakdown” (Belgium)
“The Great Beauty” (Italy)
“Omar” (Palestinian territories)
“The Missing Picture” (Cambodia)

Best music (original song)
“Frozen”: “Let it Go” — Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez
“Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom”: “Ordinary Love” — U2, Paul Hewson
“Her”: “The Moon Song” — Karen O, Spike Jonze
“Despicable Me 2”: “Happy” — Pharrell Williams
“Alone Yet Not Alone”: “Alone Yet Not Alone” — Bruce Broughton, Dennis Spiegel

Best documentary feature
“The Act of Killing”
“20 Feet From Stardom”
“The Square”
“Cutie and the Boxer”
“Dirty Wars”

Best visual effects
“Gravity”
“The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug”
“Star Trek Into Darkness”
“Iron Man 3”
“The Lone Ranger”

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