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Oscar Rewrite: 2013

 

Best Picture: 12 Years a Slave

My personal favorite film of 2013 was American Hustle, but even Silver Linings director David O. Russell understands the football analogy of “not enough evidence to overturn” on instant replay. Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave delivered a gut punch of a cinematic experience, beautifully shot with gutsy overlapping sound and powerful performances by an ensemble cast of Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Lupita Nyong’o, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Dano, Paul Giamatti and Brad Pitt. Take any freeze frame and it looks like a damn painting. “Oscars So White?” How quickly we forget.

Best Director: Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity)

Alfonso Cuaron gave us a 90-minute panic attack with his mesmerizing continuous shots, which helped earn Emmanuel Lubezki the first of three Best Cinematography Oscars for Gravity, Birdman and The Revenant. Along the way, Sandra Bullock gasped for air in a space suit, sent a 3D teardrop floating off the screen and emerged from the water in a symbolic crawl of evolution.

Best Actor: Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club / Mud / The Wolf of Wall Street)

Along with TV’s True Detective, this was the year of The McConaissance with three film gems.



Best Actress: Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine) Amy Adams (American Hustle / Her)

No actress was more captivating in 2013 than the scintillating Amy Adams, who wooed Christian Bale and Bradley Cooper with the best dual persona since “Vertigo,” as Kim Novak’s Madeline is Adams’ Edith Greensley, and Novak’s Judy from Salina, Kansas, is Adams’ Sydney Prosser from Albuquerque, New Mexico. David O. Russell’s masterpiece remains far deeper than most people realize, examining artifice with symbolic directing, a sparkling script and a killer soundtrack of ELO’s “10538 Overture.” Adams continued her study of identity in the bizarrely genius “Her.”


Best Supporting Actor: Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club) Barkhad Abdi (Captain Phillips)

Upstaging Tom Hanks, Barkhad Abdi’s Somali pirate oozed desperation fueled by globalization.

Best Supporting Actress: Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave)

Best Original Screenplay: Her (Spike Jonze)

Spike Jonze told the most bizarre love story since Harold & Maude between a man and his computer.

Best Adapted Screenplay: 12 Years a Slave (John Ridley from a book by Solomon Northup) Before Midnight (Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy & Ethan Hawke from films by Linklater & Kim Krizan)

Before Boyhood, Richard Linklater penned another incremental experiment in his Before trilogy.



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