Lupita Nyong’o’s American film debut in 12 Years a Slave will hopefully be the first of many great performances by the Kenyan-born actress and director.
Best Supporting Actor
Jared Leto’s much-talked about turn as a transgender woman in Dallas Buyers Club will probably beat out Jonah Hill and his prosthetics.
Some categories this year are more controversial than others. But Cate Blanchett’s performance as a 21st century Blanche DuBois in Blue Jasmine has been praised unanimously. Don’t expect any more wins for 'Blue Jasmine,' though. Although a supporting actor nod for the Diceman would be nice.
Chiwetel Ejiofor was incredible in '12 Years a Slave,' and Leo DiCaprio was admirably scummy in Wolf of Wall Street. But there’s no stopping the McConaughey renaissance we’re currently experiencing – and we don’t really have a problem with that. Plus he lost 38 pounds for 'Dallas Buyers Club,' and altering one’s body for a role is always taken as one of the most extreme signs of an actor’s dedication.
Executive-produced by Werner Herzog and Errol Morris, and directed by first-time director Joshua Oppenheimer, The Act of Killing is one of the most difficult films ever made. Anwar Congo killed a thousand people during the anti-communist purges in Indonesia. He was not prosecuted. 'The Act of Killing' is an experiment allowing Congo to reenact his crimes, filtered through the conventions of different movie genres. An agonizing viewing experience, but it’s the ultimate expression of the documentarian’s art.
Gravity is probably going to get at least one award, and Alfonso Cuarón’s gorgeous direction is really what makes the film. Though Scorsese secured his status as a directing legend decades ago, the reception of 'Wolf of Wall Street' is too mixed to make him anything more than a longshot.
It’s a notorious truism that the Golden Globe for Best Picture isn’t always the best predictor for the Oscar win. But '12 Years a Slave,' adapted from the memoir of free-born New Yorker turned Louisiana slave Solomon Northup, has a narrative power that few films this year could even try to match.
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