What a tremendous year for lead actors. Tom Hanks and Forrest Whittaker were embraced by the SAG but left off here, and normally, I’d want to include them. However, (I am not kidding here) this year has brought us Five. Oscar. Worthy Performances. Two of them are Hugh Jackman (Prisoners) and Joaquin Phoenix. (Her) The other three are nominated here tonight.
Let’s start out with Christian Bale in American Hustle. Now, I don’t care if you’re the world’s biggest American Hustle fan (AKA: David O. Russell) but it’s crystal clear that Bale only got the nomination because everybody loved his movie. Nobody really thinks his performance is Oscar worthy, and even if they do, he’s got way too much competition to actually take home the gold.
Standing in a better position, Bruce Dern has been a constant threat all throughout awards season, even if he hasn’t really won anything. In fact, you could easily chalk up his performance in Nebraska as being a supporting one, and nobody would care. He’s not winning, and the film will most likely go home empty handed.
Now we get to the three Oscar worthy performances. Leonardo DiCaprio delivers a career best turn as money addict Jordan Belfort in The Wolf Of Wall Street. If Academy Members want to reward the film, this looks like the safest bet. But will they want to reward the film? DiCaprio is overdue for an Oscar, sure, but he’s in a highly controversial film that a lot of people disliked.
But if it’s a question of likability, Chiwetel Ejiofer and his film 12 Years A Slave have it covered. The film is a big contender, and personally, I’m voting for him. His portrayal of Solomon Northrop is a brilliant and convincing portrayal of a man with a broken soul who struggles to find some hope in an increasingly bleak situation. This could be the big shock of the night.
Finally, we have Matthew McConaughey, who stands in a pretty good position to win it for his role as Ron Woodroof in Dallas Buyers Club. He’s got a charming personality, he gives a great performance, and he’s won the Golden Globe, the Critic’s Choice, and the SAG. The only problem is I’m not sure if Dallas Buyers Club is the kind of movie that wins THREE Academy Awards. But, hey. Stranger things have happened.
WILL WIN: Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club
RUNNWE UP: Chiwetel Ejiofer, 12 Years A Slave
SHOULD WIN: Chiwetel Ejiofer, 12 Years A Slave
And now, the Oscar scenes.
Bale: Screaming at his wife after the bag incident
Dern: Explaining why he wants a truck
DiCaprio: Aftermath of the ‘taking the child’ scene
Ejiofer: His big “I will not fall into despair” monologue
McConaughey: “I only got one life, I want it to mean something,” near the end