24 hours from now, we’ll know who were the winners and who were the losers, who deserved to win and who didn’t, who were snubbed and who weren’t. My good friend Udit and I were discussing the other day about who’s gonna take home the golden statuette. We thought we’d put out our predictions on the public forum and see how many we get right. Do your predictions match with either of ours?
1. Best Original Screenplay
Udit’s prediction - Her (Spike Jonze)
My prediction - Her (Spike Jonze)
In our minds, the winner is clear for this. Spike Jonze’s post-modern love story was one of the most creative ones we’ve seen in quite some time, beautifully portraying an issue that many others have rarely considered - the emotional implications of our excessive reliance on technology.
2. Best Adapted Screenplay
Udit’s prediction - Philomena (Steve Coogan, Jeff Pope))
My prediction - 12 Years a Slave (John Ridley)
I haven’t seen Philomena, so I really can’t comment on that movie. I have seen 12 Years and I think the lost story of Solomon Nothrup was beautifully brought alive on the big screen.
3. Best Visual Effects
Udit’s prediction - Gravity (Tim Webber, Chris Lawrence, Dave Shirk, Neil Corbould)
My prediction - Gravity (Tim Webber, Chris Lawrence, Dave Shirk, Neil Corbould)
Well, this is pretty obvious to me. Gravity was a visually spectacular extravaganza.
4. Best Production Design
Udit’s prediction - The Great Gatsby (Catherine Martin, Beverley Dunn)
My prediction - American Hustle (Judy Becker, Heather Loeffler)
This one’s a toughie. I’m pretty sure it should be one of those two movies, given that both of them seemed to have been made with only Production Design in mind :P
5. Best Original Song
My prediction - Her (The Moon Song)
A very soulful song that fit amazingly well with the movie. The Moon Song has a good chance of grabbing the statuette.
6. Best Original Score
Udit’s prediction - Her (William Butler, Owen Pallett)
My prediction - Gravity (Steven Price)
Although I very much enjoyed the score on Her, I feel Gravity will win it, just because of how, in spite of being sort of minimalistic, enhanced the effect of scaring the living crap out of me.
7. Best Makeup and Hairstyling
My prediction - Dallas Buyers Club (Adruitha Lee, Robin Mathews)
Sure, Johnny Depp had a good getup in the Lone Ranger, but this one’s a clear winner for me. Jared Leto’s appearance clinches it.
8. Best Film Editing
Udit’s prediction - Gravity (Alfonso Cuarón, Mark Sanger)
My prediction - Gravity (Alfonso Cuarón, Mark Sanger)
Pretty obvious again. Heck, they made space look real!
9. Best Directing
Udit’s prediction - Gravity (Alfonso Cuarón)
My prediction - Gravity (Alfonso Cuarón)
A unanimous decision again. Alfonso Cuaron just pushed the limits and boundaries of how movies are made.
10. Best Costume Design
Udit’s prediction - The Great Gatsby
My prediction - American Hustle
Another one of those where either of these movies can win it. But I think American Hustle has just more clout this time around.
11. Best Cinematography
Udit’s prediction - Gravity
My prediction - Gravity
Well, Gravity will win it. Same reason as before.
12. Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Udit’s prediction - Sally Hawkins for Blue Jasmine
My prediction - Jennifer Lawrence for American Hustle
Sally Hawkins was really good, but hey, the Academy loves Jennifer Lawrence (and she was good too!)
12. Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Udit’s prediction - Jared Leto for Dallas Buyers Club
My prediction - Michael Fassbender for 12 Years A Slave
This is going to be a tough fight, but I think Michael Fassbender might clinch it, because of portraying a bad guy that everyone would hate from the bottom of their hearts
14. Best Actress in a Leading Role
Udit’s prediction - Care Blanchett for Blue Jasmine
My prediction - Cate Blanchett for Blue Jasmine
I think the winner is pretty clear to me :P
15. Best Actor in a Leading Role
Udit’s prediction - Bruce Dern for Nebraska
My prediction - Mathhew McConaughey for Dallas Buyers Club
This one’s gonna go down to the wire. There have just been too many great acting performances this year. But my money would still be on McConaughey.
16. Best Picture
Udit’s prediction - American Hustle
My prediction - American Hustle
There may have been better movies than American Hustle this year, but the academy loves movies like Hustle that do a great job of depicting the glories of a bygone era.
Living in San Francisco and specifically, writing in San Francisco for the past two years, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. (I must say that the pretty artistic rendition of Nob Hill lured me to pick it up in the first place) Slim as it may look, the book is actually a meaty, profound read, something that can be read in a few hours, but whose effects will last for years together. Dr. Maisel, who happens to be a creativity coach by profession, pours his heart out into why loves this amazing city, and his brain into how he helps his clients to get out of the doomed “writer’s block”. While it may not be as inspiring as Stephen King’s On Writing, the beauty of the book lies in a treasure chest of phrases and quotations that manages to thrill me at an emotional level.
Quoting Dr. Maisel :
"I am an urban writer by nature. My true homes are Paris, London, New York, Tokyo and San Francisco. I need cafes, video stores that stock independent films, and bars where everyone is an outsider. I need bookstores, small parks with a comforting glimpse of the concrete beyond, and markets filled with people speaking languages I don’t understand."
“(When) the writer says, ‘I love San Francisco’, he loves the iconography of the Summer of Love, Free Speech Movement and Jefferson Airplane. The writer loves the fog as it pours in; he loves the sun when the fog pours out.”
"The rest of California is Beach Boys country, but San Francisco has that moody thing going, those blues notes wrapped in moisture, an atmosphere that tempers California dreaming and makes life more real."
"It is a trick of dualistic thinking to say that only the poor writer, steeled in the streets, will write, or that only the comfortable writer, not worried about starving, will continue to write. The fact of the matter is that the only writer who will write is the writer who writes. He will write one-armed, blind or with a billion in the bank. He will write in a good suit or naked at his makeshift desk."
Rotten Tomatoes: 91%
And finally, after that long and arduous countdown, we reach the climax. The award for the most awesome movie of 2013 goes to…Drum roll please!….Captain Phillips!
I really have no words to describe how awesome this movie was. Heart-pounding. Nerve-Wracking. Absolutely sensational! Needless to say that this is going to be one of those movies that I will watch numerous times and will not get bored doing so.
Based on the true life story of the hijacking of an American freighter ship by Somali pirates, Captain Phillips, follows the sequences of events that took place that fateful day and how one man risked his life to save the lives of hundreds of his crewmen.
Tom Hanks is at his scintillating best (I’m really surprised he wasn’t nominated), and the new kid on the block - Barkhad Abdi, comes in with a stellar performance (I really do hope he wins the supporting actor award). Not many movies hold the distinction of making me cry, but the last scene of this movie, when Captain Phillips breaks down into tears, brought an overwhelming sense of that strange mixture of traumatic sorrow and relief upon me.
If you haven’t seen this yet, go ahead and watch it. I can’t think of any reason why someone wouldn’t like this movie!
Rotten Tomatoes: 75%
This might come as a surprise for many of you reading this, but The Secret Life of Walter Mitty was my second most awesome movie of the year. From a technical perspective, it’s not an award winning movie from any angle. But, IMHO, it’s one of the best feel-good movies of all time.
For me, I was emotionally affected by this movie, so much so that I had a hard time restricting myself from quitting my current monotonous life and picking up that backpack to roam the Icelandic countryside. In many ways and respects, Walter Mitty is no different than me (or you, sitting in that office in front of your computer for most of your life). And when I saw Ben Stiller’s Mitty leaving behind the drudgery and monotony of his regular life to follow his dreams, I would not be exaggerating if I told you that I was thoroughly inspired as well. The beautiful wide angle shots of picturesque Iceland, and the upbeat Scandinavian folk music in the background made that effect even more awesome.
You may or may not think it’s awesome, but hey, I’m gonna watch this movie whenever I begin to feel that my life is boring. And I’m gonna watch it a million times over until I let the wanderlust in me come out and direct me towards strange and mystical lands.
Rotten Tomatoes: 90%
The title of the movie describes it all. It’s 2 hours of non-stop, unadulterated adrenaline rush. For a huge Formula 1 fan like me, this movie was a dream come true. The aesthetic portrayal of James Hunt and Nikki Lauda’s intense rivalries was treat beyond compare. Along with the Prestige, this will go down as my favorite character-rivalry movie of all time (okay, Rocky’s on the list too)
Both Chris Hemsworth (James Hunt) and Daniel Bruhl (Nikki Lauda) came up with sensational acting performances. The story was well-crafted, the dialogues were inspiring, and the racing sequences were orgasmic. And of course, Hans Zimmer’s goosebump inducing background score. It came as a super shocker to me when Rush was completely snubbed at the Oscars. I can think of multiple categories where Rush should’ve been nominated if not won - Bruhl for supporting actor, Peter Morgan for screenplay, film editing (for all those amazing racing sequences), sound mixing, sound editing, original score, directing, the best picture…Perhaps, it’s just a byproduct of this country’s refusal to accept a racing sport superior in technology and excitement to the ones that are popular here.
Rotten Tomatoes: 83%
Sex. Drugs. Booze. And everything else money can buy. The Wolf of Wall Street will definitely become a cult movie of our times…people in the future will look back and say, that’s how the filthy rich money makers of New York lived in the 90s.
It’s easy to get horrified, disgusted or sexually and psychologically aroused (or a combination of all) after watching this movie. As a result its not super apparent how awesome this movie is behind all that pornography and drug-abuse. For starters, it is absolutely downright witty. Riotously funny. Intelligent humor. Secondly, Di Caprio and Jonah Hill produce the best performances of their lives (okay, Di Caprio’s best was probably Blood Diamond). Thirdly, the movie is so charged up, that you do not notice the 3 hours pass by. Fourthly, it makes us accept what could possibly be the hard truth about the lifestyles of the rich. Given that this is based on a true story, I doubt that the portrayal in the movie is any different than Jordon Belfort’s true past.
Rotten Tomatoes: 68%
Let me start with a few facts about myself first. The Great Gatsby is one of my most favorite novels of all time. Sometimes, I feel my character traits closely resemble those of Gatsby (Gatsby as a champion of love and hope, and not as a bootlegger :P), while on other occasions, I feel I’m very much similar to Nick Caraway (the intelligent guy on the sidelines, who gets disgusted by the wrongdoings of the world). So, basically, I have a very close affinity to the book.
I saw the movie after I read the book. And I will go on and claim that the movie was a real good interpretation of the novel. Sure, the movie takes its liberties in the setting of the story and it may not be an accurate portrayal of 1920s New York, but that wasn’t the purpose. Baz Luhrmann’s purpose was to transform this classic into a glamorous feast for the senses. And the final product does full justice to that. I loved the colors, the setting, Jay-Z’s music, and the movie’s ability to still stay true to the soul of the book. The most important thing to me was - Leonardo Di Caprio was everything I envisioned Jay Gatsby to be.
No matter what the critics might say, do watch this movie. (I’ve seen it twice till now) And more importantly, if you like reading books, do read the book, old sport!
Rotten Tomatoes: 78%
American Hustle is the kind of a movie that will win a ton of Oscars - expansive star cast, very stylistic in terms of set and attire, an open brashness, an engaging, exciting plot, and something that relives a bygone era that everyone yearns to go back to. American Hustle is to 2013, what Argo was to 2012.
It’s a really well made movie, with exciting plot twists and turns. In other words, it’s something of a complete movie, that almost everyone is bound to enjoy (except that the plot is a little slow moving). Great acting performances throughout - Christian Bale at his Oscar winning best, Bradley Cooper at his quirky routine, Amy Adams at her brilliant con-woman role (and with her hot n’ amazing dresses. hubba hubba!), and Jennifer Lawrence in her Silver Linings-esque crazy self (hubba hubba again).
Rotten Tomatoes: 85%
Spike Jonze is a genius. And all the people he chose to build his genius creation, played their parts perfectly, creating, what in my opinion is one of the best science fiction romance movies of all time. A lot of people have talked about technologies in the future - about flying cars, intelligent devices, robots taking over the world…but not many have had the vision to focus on the human aspect of these things. How would a normal person interact with an intelligent AI being? And if the AI were intelligent enough to navigate through the subtle emotions of the human mind, what could that interaction develop into? What if the human fell in love with his/her computer?
Her is an amazingly heart-warming and heart-wrenching at the same time. The beauty of it all is that Jonze’s future looks so alarmingly real. I mean, I don’t see how I am any different from Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix) and why I won’t befriend or possibly fall in love with an OS as caring, enchanting and intelligent as Samantha (Scarlett Johansson). After all, isn’t the emotional connection, the fundamental part of any relationship?
I’m really surprised that Joaquin Phoenix didn’t get nominated for an Oscar, but I really do hope Jonze gets an Oscar for the best original screenplay. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, you should watch it. (Be warned that there some hilarious/awkward “sex” scenes in the movie :P)
Rotten Tomatoes: 92%
I was initially apprehensive about watching what I thought would be a slow, boring, period drama. But when this movie got nominated for the Oscars and a whole bunch of people started talking about Matthew McConaughey’s riveting performance, I decided to check it out. And boy, how wrong I was at the start!
This movie is nothing short of spectacular - with absolutely stellar acting performances, a captivating social story and the underlying theme of the evils of the large pharma corporation hegemony. I will not be surprised if both Matthew McConaughey (who plays the role of the AIDS afflicted protagonist) and Jared Leto (McConaughey’s transsexual business partner) won Oscars for their roles.
Time to add McConaughey to my personal list of all time favorite actors. Christian Bale, you now have some tough competition in the “I will destroy my body to play a movie role” game :P