Saturday, February 1, 2014

Oscar Season 2014

To celebrate the opening of Oscar Season 2014 I enjoyed a terrific documentary by Turner Classic Movies tonight called And the Oscar Goes To . . ., an hour and a half of Academy Award highlights from the past. The film is narrated by Angelica Huston and features interviews with the likes of Steven Spielberg, Helen Mirren, Cher, George Clooney, Benicio Del Toro, and the great Ellen Burstyn, as well as hosts Billy Crystal and Whoopie Goldberg. If there was one downside to the program it was Jane Fonda, who was so phony that she could have won an award for acting in her interview. That aside, however, there were lots of funny highlights, as well as the joy of seeing all those great actors from the golden age. If you get a chance to see it, you should check it out.

As for this year’s nominations, it was a down year for me in terms of viewing films in the theater. I was only able to see one of the nominated films, Gravity, but it’s difficult not to be aware of the others, especially with the advertising saturation on television. The one I would most like to see, and may yet before the awards come, is from one of my favorite directors, Alexander Payne’s new film Nebraska. I’m not a fan of Leonardo DiCaprio or Joaquin Phoenix and so Wolf of Wall Street and Her aren’t on my short list. Captain Phillips with Tom Hanks and 12 Years a Slave, however, are the others I would like to see. As far as what I would consider favorites for best picture, Dallas Buyers Club and American Hustle, I haven’t felt that compelled to see them just from the advertising and so I’ll probably wait to take a look at them when they come out on video.

One of the things I like to do in February is to review some recent Oscar winners and nominees for best picture. In addition I’ve accumulated some films that celebrate Black History Month and, as always, there will be the occasional A and B List films along with my E List recommendations. Finally, in exactly four weeks I’ll be reviewing the Academy Awards presentation on March 2nd. See you then.

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