Skip to main content
  1. AXS Entertainment
  2. Arts & Entertainment
  3. Movies

A Moviegoers Guide to the Oscars 2014 Edition

See also

Forget Football, it is Oscar Season folks! Today’s nominations official marks the post season for movie buffs. Who will win? Who has been snubbed? How do the Golden Globes foretell what will happen Oscar night? For some, the answer to most of these questions is “it doesn’t matter”, but the lead up to the Oscars can be a lot of fun and a great way to see some of the very best releases the year had to offer. As movie goers reflect on 2013 and pick both their personal favorites and nods for best picture, this guide will lead you through what movies are out right now and the surround hype and which ones you won’t want to miss before Oscar Night.

'12 Years a Slave'
'12 Years a Slave' Regency Enterprises

'12 Years a Slave'

Directed By: Steve McQueen.

 

What to watch for:

Best Picture

Steve McQueen – Best Director

Chiwetel Ejiofor – Best Actor

Michael Fassbender – Best Supporting Actor

John Ridley – Best Adapted Screenplay

 

‘12 Years a Slave’ stands out as one of the best films in a year marked as having a high number of exceptional films.  ’12 Years a Slave’ is an expertly crafted film that delivers a harrowing story of the soul.  Its relentless pacing and tension will stick with you for days while evoking thoughts and emotions that will make you continuously reflect on the experience.  You can read more of my thoughts on the film here, but rest assured, ’12 Years a Slave’ is not a film you should miss and is sure to be a contender in every category from cinematography to performances.  In my opinion this is the year’s Best Picture and the lead for the Oscar.

'American Hustle'
'American Hustle' Atlas Entertainment

'American Hustle'

Directed By: David O. Russell

 

What to watch for:

Best Picture

David O. Russell – Best Director

Jennifer Lawrence – Best Supporting Actress

 

David O. Russell delivers his unique spin on the con-movie.  So many heist and con-movies are filled with characters who aren’t quite what they seem, David O. Russell mixes up the formula in that this eccentric cast of characters don’t even fully know themselves and are all attempting to be someone their not.  ‘American Hustle’ is a standout for its fresh and energetic cast.  While the story and pacing may become bogged down in the middle and the film never quite lives up to its concept, the journey is still highly entertaining and every character is a joy to watch.  It seems that the point in which the story becomes lost or unfocused is due to the fact that David O. Russell found too much joy in following his characters.  While I believe its safe to say that the film won’t take home best picture, it is still one of the years standouts and one you won’t want to miss especially if you are a fan of its cast.  Be sure to keep an eye out for Jennifer Lawrence who has more than a fair shot at walking away with Best Supporting Actress.

'The Wolf Of Wall Street'
'The Wolf Of Wall Street' Paramount Pictures

'The Wolf Of Wall Street'

Directed By: Martin Scorsese

 

What to watch for:

Best Picture

Martin Scorsese – Best Director

Leonardo DiCaprio – Best Actor

 

‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ is outrageous.  It is unapologetic in its humor as well as its depiction of sex and drug use.  What this allows Martin Scorsese and his cast to do is deliver one of the most wildly entertaining movies of the year.  In every scene you can tell the cast is having a ball and the fun and energy is contagious.  This is true especially for Leonardo DiCaprio who delivers arguably one of his best performances ever as he uses an entire pallet of emotions to deliver his performance.  DiCaprio’s performance and likewise the performance of his character carry the weight of this outlandish.  The rest of the cast is also memorable and widely entertaining, but without DiCaprio’s perfect delivery you can see how the rest of the pieces would unravel and this world of insanity and wild characters would quickly get out of control.  ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ has the feel of a modern classic.  The scope of the story and the larger than life scale of its characters evoke a modern day ‘The Godfather’ or “Goodfellas’.  While I’m not sure if it will be recognized with an Oscar, I do believe ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ will be one of the most memorable films of the year and the one that we continue to talk about in the years to come.

'Saving Mr. Banks'
'Saving Mr. Banks' Walt Disney Pictures

'Saving Mr. Banks'

Directed By: John Lee Hancock

 

What to watch for:

Original Score

Honorable Mention - Emma Thompson

Honorable Mention - Colin Farrell

 

2013 has been an incredible year for movies.  Since November there have been arguably too many for audiences to keep up with.  The reason for this guide was to help spread the word on what there is to see and how to best spend your movie going dollars. But part of the issue also became that there are too many choices on what movies to write about.  ‘Saving Mr. Banks’ is the perfect example of this dilemma.  It is a charmingly crafted movie with a wonderful story and excellent performances.  Sadly, it seems that it is also going to be one of the casualties of a year that is so jam packed with exceptional films.  I was pulling for Emma Thompson for Best Actress, her performance is sharp and her interplay with any of the other cast members is always fun to watch, but it seems that Thompson and ‘Saving Mr. Banks’ won’t get the recognition they deserves this year.  Too few moviegoers got to see this film.  If you have the time ‘Saving Mr. Banks’ is a film that you should treat yourself to.  It is a charming film with a story worth telling; it just needs its audience.

'Frozen'
'Frozen' Walt Disney Pictures

'Frozen'

Directed By: Chris Buck & Jennifer Lee

 

What to watch for:

Best Animated Film

“Let It Go” Best Original Song

 

If you haven’t seen ‘Frozen’ yet you are missing out on a fun and visually stunning animated feature and one of the best Disney movies ever made.  Full of elegant visuals and memorable songs, ‘Frozen’ calls back to memories of seeing ‘Beauty and the Beast’ or ‘The Lion King’ for the first time.  ‘Frozen’ creates a world that begs for exploration with loveable characters that have made each visit fun and memorable.  If you are looking for a movie for the whole family to fall in love with, ‘Frozen’ is it.  If this film doesn’t leave Oscar Night with both wins it will be one of the biggest upsets of the evening. 

'her'
'her' Annapurna Pictures

'her'

Directed By: Spike Jonze

 

What to watch for:

Best Picture

Best Original Screenplay

 

Even before its wide release, ‘her’ became one of the most talked about movies of the year.  While I personally have not been able to see the film yet, the opinion among those who have, while diverse, seems unanimous on the fact that ‘her’ is one of year’s most original films and has a story that is both unique and provocative.  It is a film that everyone seems to come away with a different take, but one that is full of passion and generates discussion.  There is no greater complement to a movie than its ability to provoke thoughts and ideas within its audience.   For that reason ‘her’ is one of my most anticipated movies of the year and one that shouldn’t be missed.  While I believe it has stiff competition for Best Picture and Best Actor, ‘her’ might come away with Best Original Screenplay, which it sounds like it deserves.

'Gravity'
'Gravity' Warner Brothers

'Gravity'

Directed By: Alfonso Cuarón

 

What to watch for:

Best Picture

Alfonso Cuarón – Best Director

Sandra Bullock – Best Actress

 

‘Gravity’ combines stunning visuals with a story as innate as our primal drive of survival.  It is a true visual feast and one of the most unique movie going experiences of the year.  Any film that is able to master a few of these qualities much less fuse them is a force to be reckoned with for Best Picture.  ‘Gravity’ is no different and in my opinion the main race will be between it and ’12 Years a Slave’ for the Oscar.  Alfonso Cuarón is also sure to be one of the main contenders for Best Director and it is well deserved.  ‘Gravity’ is a truly breathtaking film, when the movie ended you felt as if you’ve been on a 90-minute roller coaster.  It’s pacing fierce and script tight.  Sandra Bullock delivers an Oscar worthy performance.  The competition is tough this year so who knows what will happen, but every facet of this film from its visuals to its direction is undoubtedly Oscar worthy. 

Advertisement