The fall and winter months are my favorite seasons of the year. I love the cold, crisp air of the fall and I prefer snowy weather over a hot summer day. But perhaps what I love most is Oscars season.
From September to December or January, the films that are released in theaters are hopeful Oscar contenders. Almost all of the films that are in theaters during these weeks gain talks of being nominated for an Academy Award. This year, the awards are taking place March 2, with Ellen DeGeneres as host.
The potential nominees this year are full of incredible films. I’ve seen quite a few this past month or so and I think it is going to be one spectacular award show.
The nominations will not be announced until January 16, but various film blogs and entertainment outlets have been predicting how the race will shape up. I began this season with the goal of seeing a film at least every other weekend. I’ve been managing quite well when it comes to keeping up with the Oscar-potential hyped films. Here’s a list of the films I’ve seen so far:
“12 Years a Slave”
This is definitely the most emotionally arresting film of the bunch. I made a lengthy post about it on here, but basically the film is riveting, stunningly made and an important film. The direction by Steve McQueen is smart and revealing. Chiwetel Ejiofor, who portrays Solomon Northup, is incredible and is able to convey a storm of emotions in his eyes and on his face. It’s a hard film to watch, but it is so well made.
This is a film made for IMAX 3D. It’s terrifying, beautiful, daring and emotionally effective all at once. The visuals are the most stunning of the season, with sweeping shots of the vastness of space. Director Alfonso Cuarón places the viewer right in the action as astronaughts Ryan Stone(Sandra Bullock) and Matt Kowlski(George Clooney) fight to survive after satellite debris destroys their shuttle. Sandra Bullock is an acting force, emoting so many emotions that draw you in, even when she is floating through the black emptiness of space.
Tom Hanks delivers one of the best performances of his career in this film, directed by Paul Greengrass, about the true story of the pirate attack on Captain Phillips’ cargo ship. One of the impressive feats of the film is that it manages to garner sympathy for not only blue-collar working man Captain Richard Phillips, but for the desperate pirates as well. And then there’s Tom Hanks’ performance. He makes the character relatable and you automatically root for him. But it’s during the final moments of the film where Hanks shows his range. It’s a heartbreaking scene, where Phillips finally breaks down and experiences physical and emotional shock. It’s a scene that stays with you after the movie ends.
This character study, directed by Woody Allen, is unique and brightened by Cate Blanchett’s daring, exposed acting. She portrays Jasmine, a New York socialite that is experiencing a down and out moment in her live. She has deep shades of a troubled mind as she faces uncertainty in her life. It’s a vibrant, moving observing film of an unraveling mind.
“Prisoners” is a gritty suspense film with such a strong tone of dread. The writing and directing are sharp and smart, and make the film absorbing, but disturbing. The premise of a father searching for his missing child makes you ask yourself: “How far would you go to save a loved one”? Hugh Jackman as Keller Dover, the desperate father that does morally questioning actions to save his daughter, gives an incredible performance. Jake Gyllenhaal adds so many rich layers to his character, Detective Loki, who is determined to solve this case.
This is one of the most powerful and passionate independent films I’ve seen in a while. It follows the true-life story of Oscar Grant as he attempts to clean up his act and make a fresh start. On New Year’s Eve in 2008, his life was sadly ended when he is shot by a police officer on the Bay Area subway platform. Michael B Jordon portrays Grant and his acting is understated but so powerful. Though it is known that Oscar Grant’s life is ended, the scene in the film hits you like a ton of bricks. That’s a sign of great film making.