The 86th Annual Academy Awards to Air on March 2

The Academy Awards, also known as the Oscars, are just around the corner. The competition is fierce in all of the main categories. If you haven’t at least seen most of the Best Picture nominations, now is the time to do it. Many are available on pay cable stations, for download through iTunes, or for purchase in DVD or Blu-ray. Fire up the television and get ready for a very close race that is bound to have movie fans either cheering or raging.

Last year, there were some surprises, with the exception of Daniel Day-Lewis as the Best Actor winner. It seems that whenever he acts in a movie, it is an award winning performance. This year, the race is close that I don’t know how the academy votes will come out. There are some amazing movies and actors/actresses in the running and the race is very close, in my opinion.

Let’s consider Best Picture category nominees: American Hustle, which I really enjoyed. The story was smart and fast paced. The characters, costumes, sets, and music were perfect. Captain Phillips, starring Tom Hanks, paled in comparison to some of the other movies. It was tense at times, but not Hanks’ best work. I may be more apt to lean towards it if not for the shining competition. Dallas Buyers Club, which I watched last night, was phenomenal. It was based on the true story of a heterosexual man who was infected with the HIV virus in the early days – when it was considered a “gay man’s disease”. I was amazed at the story and McConaughey (whom I usually am not crazy about) and Leto act the hell out of it. Gravity was visually stunning and edge-of-your-seat, but in comparison it just isn’t the Best Picture. 12 Years a Slave is the most emotional and disturbing of the movies that I saw from the list of contenders. It seems like an honest portrayal of slavery through the eyes of a free man kidnapped and sold into slavery. I think high schools should show this movie during American History classes so that kids get a real taste of the distasteful. The Wolf of Wall Street was an in-your-face kind of look at how money corrupts. It was a great movie. The Best movie? I don’t think so. Her, Nebraska, and Philomena managed to slip by me. I may get to them before the broadcast, but I am disappointed (after reading reviews) that the Academy refused to consider Scarlett Johansson for Supporting Actress because her role was voice-only. Bottom line: My pick for Best Picture (and this is really a difficult choice) is 12 Years a Slave.

If I was a part of the Academy, how would I vote for Best Actor?           The choices are: Christian Bale (American Hustle), Bruce Dern (Nebraska), Leonardo DiCaprio (The Wolf of Wall Street), Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave), and Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club). Wow. I’m split between Chiwetel Ejiofor and Matthew McConaughey. Pick one? Ejiofor.

Best Actress nominees are: Amy Adams (American Hustle), Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine), Sandra Bullock (Gravity), Judi Dench (Philomena), Meryl Streep (August: Osage County). I only saw Bullock and Adams, so I have to base my vote on those. As much as I am not a huge fan of hers, I’d have to go for Bullock. She practically acts alone the entire movie.

My last quick hopes (more hopes than predictions at this point) are that Jared Leto wins Supporting Actor for Dallas Buyers Club because he was truly amazing and since I only saw one of the Supporting Actress performances, I really have to pass.

Now it’s a waiting game. I know what I’ll be watching on March 2, 2014. I’m ready for Ellen DeGeneres to host again… and the winner is—

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