All eyes will be on the 86th Academy Awards on Sunday evening (Monday morning local time) at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood, Los Angeles to see who will bring home the prestigious set of Oscars for 2014.
Among the 10 nominated best pictures, three have already emerged as favorites. According to a report by Agence France-Presse (AFP) these frontrunners are “historical drama 12 Years a Slave, space thriller Gravity and crime caper American Hustle.”
The other six films that have been nominated are Captain Phillips, Dallas Buyers Club, Her, Nebraska, Philomena, and The Wolf of Wall Street.
Meanwhile, Gravity director Alfonso Cuaron is the frontrunner for Best Director, as predicted by various media outlets, including AFP, Yahoo! News, and Hufffington Post.
His toughest contender is Martin Scorsese who directed The Wolf Of Wall Street.
In the acting categories, both AFP and Time magazine agree that Cate Blanchett has the edge to win the Best Actress plum for her titular role in Blue Jasmine; with Matthew McConaughey for Best Actor in his portrayal of homophobic AIDS activist Ron Woodroof in Dallas Buyers Club.
With both critics and ordinary moviegoers placing their respective bets for the different Oscar categories, The Manila Times, presents its annual spread of Best Picture nominees below as a primer for Hollywood’s biggest night.
- American Hustle is the story of brilliant con man Irving Rosenfeld, who along with his equally cunning and seductive British partner Sydney Prosser is forced to work for wild FBI agent Richie DiMaso. It features a star-studded cast including Christian Bale as Rosenfeld, Amy Adams as Prosser and Bradley Cooper as DiMaso. It also stars Jeremy Renner and Jennifer Lawrence. American Hustle is directed by David Russel.
- Directed by Martin Scorsese, The Wolf of Wall Street is based on the true story of Jordan Belfort, from his rise to become a wealthy stockbroker living the high life, to his fall to crime from deceiving investors and stock manipulation. Leonardo DiCaprio is the New York stockbroker Belfort in his fifth collaboration with Scorsece. The film also features Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie, Matthew McConaughey, Kyle Chandler, Rob Reiner, Jon Favreau, and Jean Dujardin.
- Dallas Buyers Club is an American biographical drama film directed by Jean-Marc Vallée and scripted by Craig Borten and Melisa Wallack. Matthew McConaughey stars as AIDS patient Ron Woodroof, who smuggled unapproved pharmaceutical drugs into Texas. He then distributes the drugs with his unlikely transsexual business partner (Jared Leto) to fellow sufferers by establishing the eponymous “Dallas Buyers Club” whilst facing opposition from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Jean-Marc Vallée directs the film.
- Academy Award winners Sandra Bullock and George Clooney star in Gravity, a heart-pounding thriller that pulls its audience into the infinite and unforgiving realm of deep space. Bullock plays Dr. Ryan Stone, a brilliant medical engineer on her first shuttle mission, with veteran astronaut Matt Kowalsky (Clooney) is in command of his last flight before retiring. On a seemingly routine spacewalk, disaster strikes. The shuttle is destroyed, leaving Stone and Kowalsky completely alone—tethered to nothing but each other and spiraling out into the blackness. The film is directed by Oscar nominee Alfonso Cuarón.
- Captain Phillips is a retelling of the events that occurred on the high seas in April 2009 when MV Maersk Alabama Captain Richard Phillips (Tom Hanks) surrendered himself to a group of four Somali pirates in order to protect his crew off the coast of Africa. It is based on the book, A Captain’s Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALs, and Dangerous Days at Sea by Richard Phillips with Stephan Talty. The film is directed by Paul Greengrass from a screenplay by Billy Ray.
- A film adaptation of the 1853 memoir by Solomon Northup, 12 Years a Slave is about a New York State-born free Negro who was kidnapped in Washington, DC in 1841 and sold into slavery. He worked on plantations in the state of Louisiana for 12 years before his release. Chiwetel Ejiofor stars in the lead role of Northup, while Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Dano, Paul Giamatti, Lupita Nyong’o, Sarah Paulson, Brad Pitt and Alfre Woodard are featured in supporting roles. The film is directed by Steve McQueen and written by John Ridley.
- Her is a science fiction romantic drama written, directed and produced by Spike Jonze. The film stars Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, Rooney Mara, Olivia Wilde and Scarlett Johansson. Her centers on a Theodore Twombly (Phoenix) who develops a relationship with an intelligent computer operating system (OS) called Samantha (Johansson). As both Theodore and Samantha’s needs and desires grow, their friendship deepens into a unique kind of love.
- Philomena tells the story of Philomena Lee, a mother who searched for 50 years for her son, who was conceived out of wedlock and given away for adoption in the United States. Directed by Stephen Frears, the film is based on the book The Lost Child of Philomena Lee by journalist Martin Sixsmith. It stars Judi Dench and Steve Coogan.
- After receiving a sweepstakes letter in the mail, a cantankerous father thinks he struck it rich, and wrangles his son into taking a road trip to claim the fortune. Shot in black and white across four states, Nebraska tells the stories of family life in the heartland of America. The film stars Bruce Dern, Will Forte, June Squibb and Bob Odenkirk, and directed by Alexander Payne directs from and a script by Bob Nelson.
SOURCES: Wikipedia and IMDb