Another year of fine and forgettable films has come and gone. Once again it has come time for the best films of the year to earn their just rewards. It's Oscar season baby! Just as I hope to one day receive my own little golden man, I enjoy seeing the actors and filmmakers that I respect earn that annual symbol of excellence. It's funny, normally when I think about movies I get lost in escapist fantasies and often forget that the movies are just as much about business and jobs as any other industry. The Oscars are almost like the film industry's greatest Employee of the Month picks. Anyways, I digress. I have to admit, that this year I didn't get to see as many of the Best Picture nominees as I would have liked, but I also have never seen an Oscar Race that was so up in the air. Any of the films nominated this year have every chance to win, so I'm fully expecting to be wrong with a few of these picks. If it comes to the end and it turns out that I was wrong about each and every one of them, that would be perfectly fine too. So here they are, my Oscar picks for the year 2013.
Best Supporting Actor
Jared Leto blew the competition away this year with his portrayal of Rayon in "Dallas Buyers Club. An outsider to the gay community, Ron Woodroof (Mathew McConaughey) finds an unlikely ally in fellow AIDS patient Rayon, a transsexual who shares Rons lust for life. Rayon also shares Rons entrepreneurial spirit: seeking to avoid government sanctions against selling non-approved medicines and supplements, they establish a buyers club, where H.I.V.-positive people pay monthly dues for access to the newly acquired supplies.
Best Supporting Actress
As if she were new to impressing the masses; Jennifer Lawrence returned to the silver screen with her role in the film "American Hustle". There she turned heads and nearly steals the film from actress Amy Adams as the films unorthodox femme fatale Rosalyn Rosenfeld.
Best Animated Short Film
Mr Hublot is a withdrawn, idiosyncratic character with OCD, scared of change and the outside world. Robot Pet's arrival turns his life upside down: he has to share his home with this very invasive companion.
Best Animated Feature-Length Film
Fearless optimist Anna teams up with Kristoff in an epic journey, encountering Everest-like conditions, and a hilarious snowman named Olaf in a race to find Anna's sister Elsa, whose icy powers have trapped the kingdom in eternal winter.
Best Live-Action Film
A young boy Alfred is dying, but through the stories about HELIUM - a magical fantasy world, told by the hospital's eccentric janitor Enzo, Alfred regain the joy and happiness of his life, and finds a safe haven away from daily life.
Best Documentary Short-Subject
Karama Has No Walls
Set amidst Yemen's 2011 uprising. "Karama Has No Walls" illustrates the nature of the Yemeni revolution in stark contrast to the gross violations of human rights that took place.
Best Documentary Feature
The Act of Killing
A documentary which challenges former Indonesian death-squad leaders to reenact their mass-killings in whichever cinematic genres they wish, including classic Hollywood crime scenarios and lavish musical numbers.
Best Make-up & Hairstyling
Dallas Buyers Club - Adruitha Lee, Robin Mathews
In 1985 Dallas, electrician and hustler Ron Woodroof works around the system to help AIDS patients get the medication they need after he is himself diagnosed with the disease
Best Original Song
"Let It Go" from Frozen
Best Song 'Let It Go' from the film feature-film "Frozen". Older sister Elsa reveals all and finally is able to show off her true colors in this well produced solo.
Best Production Design
The Great Gatsby - Catherine Martin, Beverley Dunn
With lavish set dressings and immaculate scale added to every scene and every party. Like Gatsby himself, director Baz Luhrmann spares no expense is his vision of 1920's New York.
Best Visual Effects
Gravity - Tim Webber, Chris Lawrence, David Shirk and Neil Corbould.
This year marks the first Academy Award nominations for Chris Lawrence and David Shirk. 'Gravity' is the fourth and second nomination for Tim Webber and Neil Corbould. Corbould was previously nominated for his work on 'Snowwhite and the Huntsman' and won back in 2000 for his work on the film 'Gladiator'. Webber was nominated for his work on 'The Dark Knight'.
Captain Philips - Christopher Rouse
Captain Phillips is a multi-layered examination of the 2009 hijacking of the U.S. container ship Maersk Alabama by a crew of Somali pirates. It is - through director Paul Greengrass's distinctive lens - simultaneously a pulse-pounding thriller, and a complex portrait of the myriad effects of globalization.
Best Sound Editing
Gravity - Glenn Freemantle
Capturing the dynamic range and aesthetic qualities of what it must be like to e lost in space probably seems easy on paper, but in practice can be one of the most challenging prospects on even the most experienced foley artist's table.
Best Sound Mixing
Gravity - Skip Lievsay, Niv Adiri, Christopher Benstead and Chris Munro.
See my description for 'Best Sound Editing'. Usually these awards go hand in hand, but of course anything is possible; especially this year. "Gravity" is a technical masterpiece and worthy of every once of praise it's received.
Gravity - Emmanuel Lubezki
Yeah I know that "Gravity" is nearly 100% computer generated, that doesn't mean that you can't know where to place the camera. Emmanuel Lubezki amazes and mystifies in his vision of space.
Best Original Score
Saving Mr. Banks - Thomas Newman
I've always been a fan of Thomas Newman and its no mystery. His work has always been consistent and heartwarming. His score for "Saving Mr. Banks" is nothing less.
Best Costume Design
12 Years A Slave - Patricia Norris
Patricia Norris brings the pre-Civil War era United States of America to life with rich and period accurate costumes. Watching "12 Years A Slave" is liking stepping back in time.
Best Adapted Screenplay
12 Years A Slave - John Ridley
Based on an incredible true story of one man's fight for survival and freedom. In the pre-Civil War United States, Solomon Northup, a free black man from upstate New York, is abducted and sold into slavery. Facing cruelty as well as unexpected kindnesses, Solomon struggles not only to stay alive, but to retain his dignity. In the twelfth year of his unforgettable odyssey, Solomon's chance meeting with a Canadian abolitionist will forever alter his life.
Best Original Screenplay
Her - Spike Jonze
Theodore is a lonely man in the final stages of his divorce. When he's not working as a letter writer, his down time is spent playing video games and occasionally hanging out with friends. He decides to purchase the new OS1, which is advertised as the world's first artificially intelligent operating system, "It's not just an operating system, it's a consciousness," the ad states. Theodore quickly finds himself drawn in with Samantha, the voice behind his OS1. As they start spending time together they grow closer and closer and eventually find themselves in love. Having fallen in love with his OS, Theodore finds himself dealing with feelings of both great joy and doubt. As an OS, Samantha has powerful intelligence that she uses to help Theodore in ways others hadn't, but how does she help him deal with his inner conflict of being in love with an OS?
American Hustle - David O. Russel
I have always been a fan of Director David O. Russell; especially in his last three films. Some people say that he's become overated during the last few years, but I have to say that American Hustle is by far his best made film.
Best Foreign Language Film
A teacher lives a lonely life, all the while struggling over his son's custody. His life slowly gets better as he finds love and receives good news from his son, but his new luck is about to be brutally shattered by an innocent little lie. "The Hunt" is mesmerizing and tragic depiction of the cost of a lie. Mads Mikkelsen performs brilliantly in this role and "The Hunt" is by far one of my favorite films this year.
Blue Jasmine - Cate Blanchett
Actress Cate Blanchett proves to be at the top of her class in her portrayal of Jasmine French. One day on the top of the world as a New York socialite and the next day at the bottom of the heap. Jasmine is now returning to her estranged sister in San Francisco. As Jasmine struggles with her haunting memories of a privileged past bearing dark realities she ignored, she tries to recover in her present.
12 Years A Slave - Chiwetel Ejiofor
This is Chiwetel Ejiofor's very first Oscar Nomination for his role in "12 Years A Slave". He portrays the film's protagonist Solomon Northrup with such honesty and empathy, that it's mystifying why he has never been nominated before.
12 Years A Slave
Director Steve McQueen has never been a stranger to controversy and his latest "12 Years A Slave" is no exception, but this films goes beyond all of that. "12 Years" tells an inspiring and unforgettable tale of freedom and redemption.