Matthew Eng makes the case for this year's Best Actor race boasting several parallels with the Best Actress race of 2000, likening Matthew McConaughey's Ron Woodroof to Julia Roberts' Erin Brockovich: Roberts and McConaughey’s performances force us to rethink the performer him/herself and to firmly reconsider their reliable if occasionally misguided talents, right at the moment when everyone began to wonder if that was all there is ... Much like McConaughey, Roberts’ nomination initially seems like a longtime celebrity going through the standard biopic motions [but both are] stellar, indelible examples of two time-tested and admittedly type-cast stars giving peak performances by using the vitality of their respective star personas." [The Film Experience]
We're in the 86th annual Oscar voting window and two weeks from today, we'll know the champions of the 2014 Academy Awards. Winners in the performance categories seem to be all lined up, though we've gotten a surprise in those four arenas the last couple of years. Maybe we'll get a few this year, too, but come what may, a quartet (or maybe more if there's a tie — who knows, given the events of this season) will join the echelon of Oscar winning actors dating back to inaugural victors Emil Jannings and Janet Gaynor on March 2.
With that in mind, HitFix's awards staff put our heads together to come up with a list of the best of, well, the best. We dug through the 325 actors and actresses to win (competitive) Academy Awards for screen performances over the years and we were left with 25 sterling examples from AMPAS' gallery of titans — well, in our opinion, anyway. Click through the gallery story below to see who came out on top and feel free to offer your thoughts and own picks in the comments section below.
Oh, and in the way of a teaser, the handful of names that juuuuust missed the list include Sissy Spacek ("Coal Miner's Daughter"), Faye Dunaway ("Network"), Liza Minelli ("Cabaret"), Dianne Wiest ("Bullets Over Broadway"), Cloris Leachman ("The Last Picture Show") and Philip Seymoure Hoffman ("Capote"). If those top-notch performances couldn't squeeze in, who did?
Most would say Spike Jonze is one of the more charming, genial people on the circuit, but even nice guys have their bad PR moments, and Jonze had his on the UK current affair show "Newsnight," where he clashed awkwardly with host Emily Maitlis. Avoiding her questions while probling her about her own emotional reaction to "Her," he eventually drew an admission that she was "moved," only for Maitlis to take to Twitter to call the film "a sad male festish fantasy ... like 'Lost in Translation' but nowhere near as good." Ouch. [The Guardian]
Continuing its dominance in below the line guilds Sunday night was Alfonso Cuarón's "Gravity," which took the top honor of Best Sound Effects and Foley in a feature film at the 2014 Motion Picture Sound Editors (MPSE) Golden Reel Awards. "Captain Phillips," meanwhile, won for dialogue and ADR.
Calling something "Oscar bait" can be fairly diminishing and suggest that artists don't have a certain purity at heart, but it's not always meant that way. Sometimes it just becomes obvious that an epic narrative that needed to be told on screen could be all lined up for year-end awards, because it has a certain spirit, a certain pedigree. Angelina Jolie's upcoming "Unbroken" is one such film, and Universal Pictures smartly tapped the on-going Sochi Winter Olympics to tease out a little bit of footage from the film, which only recently wrapped in Australia.
No Jennifer Lawrence? No problem as Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt hit the 2014 BAFTA Awards red carpet
"American Hustle" star and this year's BAFTA Awards best supporting actress winner Jennifer Lawrence couldn't make the show because of production commitments to "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay," but more than enough Hollywood star power graced this year's red carpet. First and foremost, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt still rule any red carpet they grace and let's not forget: this is likely the last time you'll get to force Emma Thompson into uncomfortable heels anytime soon (she'll be missed at the Oscars).
In a similar turn of events to last month's Golden Globe Awards, tonight's BAFTAs were almost a nightmare for bookies' favorite "12 Years a Slave" -- toward the end of the evening, with only four awards left to present, Steve McQueen's film had gone zero-for-eight, losing the supporting awards to "Captain Phillips'" Barkhad Abdi and "American Hustle's" Jennifer Lawrence, and Best Adapted Screenplay to "Philomena."
I've fallen a bit behind in my Berlinale coverage -- there are still several films I want to write about in this space -- but one film I won't be reviewing is the festival's Golden Bear winner, "Black Coal, Thin Ice." Yes, for the second year running, I managed to miss the jury's favorite. (Last year, it was "Child's Pose," and that worked out pretty well for me.) Anyway, I was braced for that possibility, since I spent less time than usual in the Competition, which was widely agreed to be a pretty lackluster selection this year.
The Makeup Artists and Hair Stylists Guild announced their 2014 awards winners tonight and two Oscar nominees in the Best Makeup and Hairstyling category both came home with some championship hardware.
On Sunday, the last major pre-Oscar televised event of the awards season take place -- the British Academy of Film & Television (or, you know, BAFTA) Awards. The UK's premiere film awards, held at the Royal Opera House in London, used to have very much their flavor, though they're growing more imitative and preemptive of the Oscars with each passing year. Could that make this year's winners list, however deserving, a teensy bit on the dull side, or are we due a re-emergence of BAFTA's quirkiness?
Greg, Kris and I have each offered our own predictions in all feature film categories -- and the level of consensus is pretty high. What do you say? Check out our predictions below -- the full list of nominations is here -- and share yours (or simply your wishlists) in the comments. Then tune in Sunday for the Stephen Fry-hosted show.