HAMBURG — I believe we are in another golden age of movies. I have written close to a dozen reviews for The Sun; most were favorable. That’s a pretty good record.
I look at this year’s Oscar® nominees and feel that all nine contenders deserve the recognition. So many good movies have been passed over, but the academy can’t sight them all. I’m sure it was a difficult decision, choosing the nominees.
Expanding to nine choices for the coveted Academy Award seems fairer to me than picking only five movies, as was done in the past. However, the question arises: Why nine? Why not 10?
Then we have the acting competition. There have been some powerful performances in 2013. Here, the academy sticks to the traditional five choices per category. I feel that, if they are going to nominate nine movies, why not work with the number nine all the way through, especially in the acting race? Then there wouldn’t be such omissions as Tom Hanks, Emma Thompson and Chris Cooper, to name a few. But, then, as the saying goes, you can’t nominate everyone.
Here, then, are my predictions for this year’s Academy Awards. I will name those who I believe should win and who I feel will win, in six major categories.
Best Picture: “12 Years a Slave” should win. I also believe it will win. This extraordinary film will not be forgotten for quite a long while.
Actor In a Leading Role: All contenders are worthy and I would not be unhappy with whoever wins, from these stellar performances; but I am here to choose. Matthew McConaughey will win for “Dallas Buyers Club.” Chiwetel Ejiofor should win for his harrowing turn in “12 Years a Slave.” I also predict that Ejiofor will become a big star, whether he wins the Oscar or not.
Actress In a Leading Role: Again, all are worthy, yet one performance must be recognized for its supreme artistry. Cate Blanchett’s rendering of a modern-day Blanche DuBois in “Blue Jasmine” is astonishing. Her nervous, ticky and tragic character is as memorable as Tennessee Williams’ ill-fated southern belle in “Streetcar Named Desire.” As this was written and directed by the great Woody Allen, one can surmise only that Woody is riffing on Williams with great respect. Blanchett will win.
Actor In a Supporting Role: Jared Leto (“Dallas Buyers Club”) will win. Michael Fassbender (“12 Years a Slave”) should win for his portrait of an unrelentingly brutal slave owner obsessed with a beautiful young slave.
Actress In a Supporting Role: I am seriously conflicted here. Jennifer Lawrence turns in a funny, goofy and oddly moving performance in “American Hustle.” I was reminded of Judy Holiday’s classic Academy Award-winning act in “Born Yesterday.” Lawrence is that good. Then newcomer Lupita Nyong shows up in a stunning performance as a young slave in “12 Years a Slave.” It should make her a star. I hope it does, and I hope she wins the Oscar. In fact, I predict that she will, indeed, win.
Directing: This is always a hard one. I mean, after all, to direct a movie of such high caliber as these five men have done is an awesome achievement. I favor Steve McQueen for his classical touch in “12 Years a Slave,” but Alfonso Cuarón’s artful and high tech direction of “Gravity” will get him the gold statuette. He will deserve it, but my heart picks McQueen.
In fact, it is my heart, not my brain, that creates my winner wish list. Isn’t that what happens to us all? We love a movie for how it makes us feel. A movie’s positive impact on us individually is its own reward. In a way, it is silly to treat art like a horse race.
To be fair, the Academy Awards give due respect to the cream of the movie industry crop. It points us, the movie-going audience, toward the best. The best is what we deserve, and it really is all very subjective.
Yet, isn’t it fun to watch the Academy Awards? This overblown tribute – the fuss, the lame patter, the cupcake gowns and wonderfully dreadful musical numbers – the vulnerable actors and their acceptance speeches; the good, the bad and the ridiculous, all in one long celebratory evening. An evening where we get to cheer and jeer our plaster saints. I wouldn’t miss it for the world.
The Academy Awards telecast will be held on Sunday, March 2.
For a complete list of nominees, visit oscar.go.com/nominees.