Best Picture Nominees
(From Top to Bottom: 12 Years a Slave, Gravity, Captain Philips, Her, Dallas Buyers Club, American Hustle, Nebraska, Philomena, The Wolf of Wall Street.)
The only reason the Academy added more nominations to this category were to attract viewers. It makes sense because the Oscars are always trying to boost their ratings and they missed a huge boost when The Dark Knight was not nominated in 2009. However, when they have nine nominations this is what happens; yes, these are four selections that have phenomenal acting, but in no way have a chance to win the Best Picture Oscar. Any avid moviegoer knows that these selections do not have a shot; with five nominees the suspense of ‘who will win’ would be far greater than with nine nominees.
Very Small Chance
If the Academy kept the original five-nomination format, these two films would probably be in the top five. However, there is only a small chance that these two pictures could win. Would I like to see them win? Yes, Her is the most unique movie to come out of last year and that is why it will win Best Original Screenplay; and The Wolf of Wall Street’s relentless pace provides an experience unlike any other in 2013. With that said, Her did not get recognized enough in any of the major categories and The Wolf of Wall Street is too polarizing of a film to win (especially when most Academy voters are older).
The Greatest Chance
Now these three films have the best shot to win because of how they did during award season. First and foremost, if my ten favorite films of 2013 is any indication, then you should know who I will be rooting for; however many people consider American Hustle a dark horse selection. But one has to consider it a contender based on the sheer amount of nominations, the nominations in the major categories, and its boxoffice total. However, compared to the buzz around the other two movies, American Hustle has a slight disadvantage.
Now, Gravity will sweep all the technical categories because it is a visual-driven film, however, will the lack of story and acting hinder it? Yes, Sandra Bullock is nominated for Best Actress, but she is a weak link in the already weak category. Furthermore, while Alfonso Cuarón will most likely walk away with the Best Director award, I cannot see this picture beating out the following nominee.
12 Years a Slave is just too important; yes, other films could win, but I cannot see the Academy justifiably giving the award to another movie. Again, I have talked about this picture constantly throughout my week of Oscar coverage; and there is not much left to say about it. But when there is a movie with a message that is more important than any award show, then it should win on sheer principle. While I enjoyed other films more than 12 Years a Slave, I cannot deny the significance of it. It finally sheds a light on the seedier side of America: on a subject that is not properly taught in schools. Yes, this is only a film, but 12 Years a Slave made a repressed issue commercially present in our society.