Academy Awards 2014: 12 Years, Gravity, or Hustle?

Academy Awards, Oscars
Academy Awards of 2014 are right around the corner. At the top of the list are 12 Years A Slave with nine total nominations, and Gravity and American Hustle each with ten total nominations. In a big year for the movie industry, which film will end award season with the most wins, and with the coveted Oscar for Best Picture of 2013?

12 Years a Slave, Gravity, and American Hustle are joined by The Wolf of Wall Street, Captain Phillips, Her, Philomena, Nebraska, and Dallas Buyers Club in the Academy Awards’ Best Picture category.

12 Years a Slave is the story of Solomon Northup, a free man who is kidnapped, pulled away from his family, and forced into slavery for over a decade before people from his prior life can find and free him. The film is an adaptation of Mr. Northup’s memoir of the events over those 12 years, and with Chiwetel Ejiofor’s portrayal of Solomon, the story has earned nine Academy Award nominations, including Best Actor in a Leading Role (Chiwetel Ejiofor), Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Michael Fassbender), and Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Lupita Nyong’o.)

Gravity is the story of a medical engineer, Dr. Ryan Stone, played by Sandra Bullock, who embarks on her first space shuttle mission. She, and astronaut Matt Kowalsky, played by George Clooney, find themselves alone, tied together, floating around in space after a shuttle disaster. The Best Picture nomination is accompanied by Best Actress in a Leading Role (Sandra Bullock) and Best Director (Alfonso Cuarón), among others.

American Hustle uses a large cast to tell the story of Irving Rosenfeld, a con man, (Christian Bale), and his partner, Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams). Irving and Sydney must work with an FBI through Jersey mafia leaders and exciting danger. Along with Best Picture, the film’s ten nominations include Best Actor in a Leading Role (Christian Bale), Best Actress in a Leading Role (Amy Adams), Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Bradley Cooper), and Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Jennifer Lawrence.)

While 12 Years a Slave, Gravity, and American Hustle lead in nominations for this year’s Academy Awards, the other films in the Best Picture category also tell great stories. Academy Awards 2014 seems to be focused on 12 Years a Slave, Gravity or Hustle

The Wolf of Wall Street, the final true story in this year’s Best Picture Oscar Category, follows Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio), one of the stockbrokers whose corruption led to jail time and the collapse of Wall Street in the 1990s.

Captain Phillips, played by Tom Hanks, takes the viewer through the real events of 2009 when a group of Somali pirates hijacked a US cargo ship, the MV Maersk Alabama, in route to deliver supplies to American troops.

Her, is the story of Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix), a newly divorced writer who falls in love with Samantha, an operating system who can help with everything but the fact that he is in love with an operating system.

Philomena is the name of the film and of the lead character’s name, played by Judi Dench, who searches for the son she was forced to give up. Without employment, journalist Martin Sixsmith, played by Steve Coogan, decides to write a piece on Philomena and her search. The two learn as much about one another as they do about her son’s life.

Nebraska is essentially a father-son road trip, with Bruce Dern and Will Forte, but the story runs deeper with deadpan humor, a son’s attempt to understand his father, and a mission to claim a million-dollar Mega Sweepstakes prize.

Dallas Buyers Club is another true story. Ron Woodruff, played by Matthew McConaughey, contracts the HIV virus in 1985. He discovers natural medications that treat the disease, so he does whatever he can to replace ineffective and harmful pharmaceuticals with natural products for himself and for everyone else suffering from the chronic illness.

Which film deserves to win the title of the Academy Award’s Best Picture of 2013 at the Oscar ceremony: 12 Years a Slave, Gravity, American Hustle, or one of the less nominated, but also powerful stories told in the form of film?

By K. Corrine Van Vliet

The Oscars
Washington Post

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