Sunday, October 6, 2013

The Oscar Narrative: Post Telluride/Venice/Toronto Predictions - Best Actor

Post Telluride/Venice/Toronto Predictions
Bruce Dern "Nebraska"
Chiwetel Ejiofor "12 Years a Slave"
Tom Hanks "Captain Phillips"
Matthew McConaughey "Dallas Buyers Club"
Robert Redford "All is Lost"

Other Contenders - Christian Bale "American Hustle", Forest Whitaker "Lee Daniel's The Butler", Leonardo DiCaprio "The Wolf of Wall Street", Oscar Isaac "Inside Llewyn Davis", Matt Damon "The Monuments Men", Michael B. Jordan "Fruitvale Station", Joaquin Phoenix "Her", Hugh Jackman "Prisoners", Idris Elba "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom", George Clooney "The Monuments Men", Chris Hemsworth "Rush", Ben Stiller "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty"
Commentary - There have been many names for this Best Actor race thrown around in the last several months including tough, rough, brutal, impossible, overcrowded, etc. Make no mistake, these terms are not hyperboles, as this race is probably going to be the most difficult to crack of any of the four acting categories. Right now, I have moved out Christian Bale because he is going to have to outshine not only the stiff competition, but also his incredible cast members. Leonardo DiCaprio's Wolf of Wall Street may be pushed to next year, and Forest Whitaker's performance in The Butler may be too subtle. And what about The Monuments Men? Who gets pushed to lead vs. supporting? That still leaves Michael B. Jordan, Oscar Isaac, Joaquin Phoenix, Hugh Jackman, Ben Stiller, Chris Hemsworth, and Idris Elba, without even cracking my current top five. So let's just put it this way, the next five names better watch their backs. So here we go. 12 Years a Slave has emerged as one of the top contenders for Best Picture, and critics are raving about Chiwetel Ejiofor, which apparently is the film's heart and soul. He has been a notable name in many projects over the last decade or so, and I think that this will be his first big break into the Oscar game. Another newcomer to the Oscar race has been around for decades, and is a underrated legend in the role of his lifetime. I think that Academy voters will embrace Nebraska, as many of them are older and will respond to the storyline, and most importantly, Bruce Dern's apparently heartbreaking performance. Plus, over the last several years, the Academy has responded well to veteran actors who have so-far missed out on glory with wins from the likes of Jeff Bridges and Christopher Plummer. The last two slots, at this moment are going to Oscar-winning legends, who face similar stresses and survival challenges on the high seas. Robert Redford is the only charater of significance in All is Lost (Ironically like Tom Hanks in Cast Away, see Hanks below), and apparently he proves why he has been such a talent all these years. Tom Hanks takes on the role of a real life captain who faced the odds against a Somalian pirate attack. Critics are saying its one of his best performances yet, and that is saying something. Both have been absent from the race for years now, but never doubt the star power of Tom Hanks and Robert Redford, especially when they have the material to back them up.  

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