12 Years A Slave

Golden Globe Winners 2014

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So another year to wait for the golden globes 2014 but the awards season from this year is far from over. The Oscars is the big award show the one that people deem that matters but the nominations are not even out yet. The oscar nominations will be announced in a few days and the award show will take place on March 2nd which is very late this year. Anyway last nights awards have caused a stir in my opinion but I am glad that it has. People seem to be upset about the winners and the nominees so far and this makes me look forward to he oscars as I don’t think the people who won at the golden globes will necessarily win at the oscars. I was surprised to see that Chiwetel Ejiofor and Michael Fassbender lose out to Matthew McConaughy and Jared Leto. I do think awards shows are strange as 12 Years a Slave won best Drama but the actors did not win. If it was voted best film surely it should triumph  in all categories. It missed out on everything except best drama. I still predict that 12 Years a Slave will do well at the Baftas and I reckon at the oscars it may clean up as well.

I was also surprised to see Jennifer Lawrence win as I felt her role in American Hustle was very underwhelming. I do like her a lot but if she goes on to win an oscar this year she will just become the next Meryl Streep who gets nominated for the sake of a nomination rather than actually being one of the best roles. DiCaprio won for best actor in a comedy and took a jab at the Hollywood foregin press by joking about his fellow comedians who were nominated. Unfortunately I think DiCaprio may miss out on an oscar nomination and I feel that even if he picks up a nomination he will not win. So far in the film awards it is interesting and this may be one of the best awards seasons in years as it doesn’t seem to be predictable.

Bryan Cranston rightly won for his role of Walter White in Breaking Bad and the show itself won for best drama. This was a really fitting send out for the show. So many people were impressed by Breaking Bad and having Cranston win was predictable but it was what everyone including myself wanted. It was also good to see Robin Wright win for House of Cards which is due to return on Netflix in February.

Here is the full list of winners.

DRAMA

Winner: 12 Years a Slave

MUSICAL OR COMEDY

Winner: American Hustle

ACTOR IN A DRAMA

Winner: Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club as Ron Woodroof)

ACTRESS IN A DRAMA

Winner: Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine as Jasmine Francis)

ACTOR IN A MUSICAL OR COMEDY

Winner: Leonardo DiCaprio (The Wolf of Wall Street as Jordan Belfort)

ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL OR COMEDY

Winner: Amy Adams (American Hustle as Sydney Prosser)

SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A DRAMA, MUSICAL OR COMEDY

Winner: Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club as Rayon)

SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A DRAMA, MUSICAL OR COMEDY

Winner: Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle as Rosalyn Rosenfeld)

DIRECTOR

Winner: Alfonso Cuarón (Gravity)

SCREENPLAY

Winner: Spike Jonze (Her)

ORIGINAL SCORE

Winner: Alex Ebert (All Is Lost)

ORIGINAL SONG

Winner: Ordinary Love by U2 and Danger Mouse (Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom)

ANIMATED FILM

Winner: Frozen

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

Winner: The Great Beauty

TELEVISION

DRAMA SERIES

Winner: Breaking Bad

MUSICAL OR COMEDY SERIES

Winner: Brooklyn Nine-Nine

ACTOR, DRAMA SERIES

Winner: Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad as Walter White)

ACTRESS, DRAMA SERIES

Winner: Robin Wright (House of Cards as Claire Underwood)

ACTOR, MUSICAL OR COMEDY SERIES

Winner: Andy Samberg (Brooklyn Nine-Nine as Jake Peralta)

ACTRESS, MUSICAL OR COMEDY SERIES

Winner: Amy Poehler (Parks and Recreation as Leslie Knope)

ACTOR, MINISERIES OR TV FILM

Winner: Michael Douglas (Behind the Candelabra as Liberace)

ACTRESS, MINISERIES OR TV FILM

Winner: Elisabeth Moss (Top of the Lake as Robin Griffin)

SUPPORTING ACTOR

Winner: Jon Voight (Ray Donovan as Mickey Donovan)

SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Winner: Jacqueline Bisset (Dancing on the Edge as Lady Livinia Cremone)

MINISERIES OR TV FILM

Winner: Behind the Candelabra

Early Oscar Predictions 2014: Best Picture

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There are many films that will likely be nominated for best picture this year at the Academy Awards. I have not seen some of these but they are ones that are currently getting a lot of attention and hype. Here are some of my predictions for the nominations.

12 Years A Slave

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This seems a highly likely choice to be nominated for Best Film. Django Unchained was popular last year but this film will take slavery more seriously as it is based on a real life person and rather than being glorified to be entertaining I think this film will deal with heavy issues seriously. Slavery is ignored a great deal in the world and following such an intense and true story of Solomon Northrup will allow audiences to understand the hardship of slavery whilst being compelled by someones real life survival story. I think this film has the makings to get recognition from the academy and early reviews are positive and I am sure it will get a nomination.

Gravity

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Like most of these films I have not seen this yet but early reviews are praising Gravity as the new Avatar. It is also doing extremely well at the box office. If I had to make a bet now at this years winner I think I would have to say Gravity. I have not seen the film or anything but people are loving it. I am not a fan of Sandra Bullock but I do like George Clooney is some films and the director Alfonso Cuaron directed Children Of Men which is a film I really enjoyed. I will have to see it as soon as it becomes out in the cinema for me.

American Hustle

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American Hustle seems like a film that will get nominated. It has a lot of Oscar power behind it. It is directed by Silver Linings Playbook and The Fighter director David O’Russell who has been nominated for directing for both mentioned films. Maybe the academy will reward him for this film. Also the film has two oscar winners starring in lead roles as well as the other leads all being nominees in the past. Jennifer Lawrence won Best Actress last year and Christian Bale won best supporting actor a couple of years ago. Jeremy Renner, Bradley Cooper and Amy Adams have also all been nominated for Oscars. This is bound to pick up attention form the academy and will likely get a best picture nomination.

The Monuments Men

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Frankly this film seems to have been made for the purpose of attracting the attention of the academy awards. I know very little about this film but I think its major theme will appeal to the academy. It is set in world war 2 and about soldiers who preserve art. Now I would think the academy would love to preserve art. The film has a great cast including George Clooney, Matt Damon, John Goodman, Hugh Bonneville, Bill Murray, Cate Blanchett and Jean Dujardin. Nice to see Jean Dujardin in something. Its been a while. But this film will get nominated just because of Clooney’s involvement I think.

Captain Phillips

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Tom Hanks is a favorite at the Academy Awards and this film is already getting a great deal of recognition. The film is based on real life events and its themes are due to get audiences attention as well as its intense story. I do think the academy loves films based on real life and this is very recent. Pirates have been in the news over the past few years so it is a subject that cinema should deal with. The fact that Tom Hanks stars does not hurt its chances of receiving a nomination.

Wild Card

The Counselor

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For me The Counselor is a wild card because I think it is going to be a hit or miss film. I think it has the makings of being a nominated picture but unlike other films its content is a heavy contributor. Where as a film may just get nominated for its subject this could be a generic crime films or one of the greatest films ever made. We don’t know. It has a great cast and had Ridley Scott directing as well as being penned by Cormac McCarthy. I will make my decision when the film comes out and reviews are in.

Making A Biopic

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Biopics are very hard to make in my opinion and very hard to pull off. There have been many biopics over the years but some are clearly better than others. Making a biopic can be very difficult because if the people involved are still alive or the story is very recent it can cause controversy and many other issues. For example The Fifth Estate stars Benedict Cumberbatch plays founder of Wiki Leaks Julian Assange. Assange asked Cumberbatch not to star in it and I understand why. Firstly the film may be critical of him and he doesn’t want Wiki Leaks slated by a film, also it is intimidating to have a film made about you. I have not actually seen The Fifth Estate yet so therefore I don’t know how critical it is of him.

Other than that Biopics can focus on an entire persons life which can work but I feel they seem rushed. I prefer biopics that focus on a specific time in the persons life to be better. For example The Fifth Estate focuses on the founding of Wiki Leaks whereas the film J. Edgar shows a lot of the life from J Edgar Hoover’s childhood up to his death, A problem I had with the film is that a lot of it seemed relevant. A story focusing on him starting the FBI would be a lot more interesting than his whole life. I felt a lot of scenes in the film added nothing to the film and they were only put in because the film makers wanted to create tension and hurdles for the character to overcome. Another film I didn’t like was The Iron Lady because it was not focused on one thing. The trailer was really deceiving and rather than being about Margret Thatcher’s years as prime minister it included scenes of her meeting her husband and her suffering from Dementia. The film was not a biopic at all it was more like a dementia information film.

The George W. Bush Biopic W. directed by Oliver Stone did go over several time periods in his life. It introduces President Bush as he is at University and goes up to his presidency and does focus around the invasion of Iraq after the events of 9/11. Despite this wasn’t as focused as I would have liked I found the film’s structure and flow to be really good and it was a well rounded film despite being about such an unpopular president.  Josh Brolin played Bush really well and I was even sympathetic towards him.

Biopics however are not historically accurate at all.  Writers need to add in drama and suspense in order to make them more interesting to the mass audience. Not to be harsh on anyone but the interesting things that happened in these peoples lives may not have actually been that intense or interesting at the moments of them happening. In order to create emotion and tension in the film the reality of the situation must be ignored in order to make the film more appealing. Lots of films that get Academy Award recognition are biopics. This year’s nominations have not been released yet but my predictions and many other peoples predictions include The Butler, Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom, Foxcatcher, Rush and The Fifth Estate. These films are all based on true events and real people but will be glamorized in order to make them more appealing.

Do you enjoy watching Biopics? What is your favorite Biographical film? Please comment and thanks for reading.

 

Early Oscar Predictions 2014: Best Leading Actor

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Tom Hanks – Captain Phillips

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Having won 2 Oscars in the past as well as earning many other nominations, Tom Hanks is known for being one of the world’s best actors and movie stars. In Captain Phillips he plays a real captain who had to protect his cargo ship from pirates. I have not seen Hanks in anything recently so I am very much looking forward to seeing his performance in this film. I do however think that he does not stand a chance of winning the Oscar even if he gets nominated. That is nothing to do with how good an actor he is it is to do with the politics of the academy awards.

Chiwetel Ejifor – 12 Years A Slave

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Chiwetel Ejifor has been in many feature films and has worked on both television and the stage. He plays the real life figure Solomon Northrup who was kidnapped in New York where he lived and was forced to become a slave. This will be a very different film from that of Django Unchained which brought the issue of slavery to popular cinema once again. This film will be a more accurate interpretation of slavery than that of Django Unchained. I am very much looking forward to this film as well and looking forward to not just Chiwetel’s performance but the great ensemble cast the film is going to feature.

Idris Elba – Mandela: A Long Walk To Freedom

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Idris Elba is an esteemed actor who came to my attention in the BBC series Luther. He was also in The Wire, American Gangster and Thor. In this film he plays Nelson Mandela. This will be the story of Mandela’s life before he was imprisoned and will go up to him becoming president. This film is not about him being president. It is about the journey he needed to take to become president of South Africa. it is clearly a story people are interested in and I feel that Elba will win the academy award this year.

Christian Bale – American Hustle

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Christian Bale is famous for his ability to change his appearance and weight for roles. We have seen this in The Machinist where he got his weight down to 7 stone. He has also bulked up as Batman on three occasions and jumping in between a skinnier role in The Fighter. Bale teams up again with The Fighter director David O’Russell. He plays a con artist who teams up with an FBI agent for a sting. Bale has put on weight for this role and is donning a comb over. Obviously we cannot base his chances of getting nominated by just how he looks but Bale is a great actor and from what I have seen in the trailer and the team behind the film. I have faith that he will pick up a nomination.

Michael Fassbender – The Counselor

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Michael Fassbender is one of the most popular actors around at the moment and after having been snubbed for Shame he may pick up a nomination in The Counselor. The story follows a lawyer who gets caught up in the underworld of drug trafficking. It is written by Cormac McCarthy who wrote No Country For Old Men and is directed by Ridley Scott. However I think Fassbender may only get nominated for supporting actor in the film 12 Years A Slave in favor of this.  Only time will tell.

Wild Card

Leonardo DiCaprio – The Wolf Of Wall Street

Leonardo Dicaprio in The Wolf Of Wall Street

DiCaprio is cursed to never win an Academy Award it seems. He has been nominated a few times and missed out on each occasion. He has also been snubbed many times by the Academy. He is overlooked for some great films he has starred in. Maybe this year he will get nominated for this role but even if he does I guarantee he will not win. He is playing a real person so this is almost a biopic depending on how you look at it. He has played real people before well and this still does not make a difference. The film follows Wall Street Banker Jordan Belfort on his rise and fall in the banking world.

Early Oscar Predictions 2014: Best Supporting Actor

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The Oscars is still a few months away but that does not stop people predicting who will be nominated. Here are some of my predictions for Best Supporting Actor.

Michael Fassbender – 12 Years A Slave

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Michael Fassbender is currently one of the most sought after actors in Hollywood. He has been busy doing many projects for the past couple of years starting in both big budget and independent movies. This year he is re collaborating with Shame and Hunger director Steve McQueen. After his snub at the Oscars two years ago for his role in Shame it is highly likely he will receive a nomination for 12 Years A Slave. Last year Django Unchained brought slavery back to the attention of filmmakers however whereas Django Unchained contained many sub genres 12 Years A Slave will be more focused and more dramatic. Despite being leads in McQueen’s other motion pictures Fassbender will likely receive a best supporting nomination for this role as he is not the focus of the film but i’m sure he may steal the show.

Bradley Cooper – American Hustle

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I didn’t think much of Bradley Cooper as an actor until I saw Silver Linings Playbook and I was able to go back and watch some of his other films. I do think he is a really good actor and I am annoyed that he did not get more recognition for his role in Silver Linings Playbook for playing a man suffering from mental illness. I personally feel his performance was stronger than that of Jennifer Lawrence who won her category at the Oscars last year. Cooper is teaming up again with David O’Russel the director of Silver Linings Playbook. Cooper plays an FBI agent who teams up with a con artist. I don’t know much about the plot of American Hustle but its cast and production team is enough for me to go see it. After not winning last year Cooper should at least get a second nomination for this film.

Daniel Bruhl – Rush

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Daniel Bruhl is a bit of an unknown to me however I am aware that he was in Inglorious Basterds and more recently The Fifth Estate. He seems like the generic foreign nominee for this year however from the trailer it looks like he gives a powerful performance as the formula one drive Nicki Lauda. I will be seeing Rush soon hopefully and I will judge whether he gets nominated on the performance in the film once I’ve seen it. However there is lots of talk already about him receiving a nomination. Rush is directed by Ron Howard who has won two Oscars for A Beautiful Mind. The fact he is directing the film may give the academy the chance to see Daniel’s work and hopefully he will receive a nominated.

Steve Carell – Foxcatcher

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Now I’m not sure if this role will be nominated for Leading or supporting but I think most likely supporting. This may seem like an unlikely nomination but from what I have heard of the story this will be a very unusual performance from Steve Carell. Carell is well known for his portrayal of Michael Scott in The Office and is known for working in Comedy. In Foxcatcher he will play John Du Pont a millionaire schizophrenic who murdered his best friend. The film will follow the Schultz brothers story up until Du Pont commits the murder. I am surprised that Carell took this role but I think this shows his determination to stop being typecast. He even wears a lot of make up and a fake nose and is almost unrecognizable in this role. This is the role that I am most looking forward to seeing this year. I think The Oscars will give him a nomination because in this he will show how much range he really has as an actor.

Jonah Hill – The Wolf Of Wall Street

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Jonah Hill who as many of you know started off in comedy movies but has moved into more serious films such as Moneyball which he also received a supporting actor nomination a few years ago. Hill has not left his comedy roots having recently stared in 21 Jump Street bit is also starring in The Wolf Of Wall Street directed by acclaimed director Martin Scorsese. The film will likely receive some attention from the Oscars but Hill may miss out on a nomination.

Wild Card

Javier Bardem – The Counselor

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The Counselor seems to me to be a wild card at the Oscars this year and I would not be surprised if it is overlooked completely. It has a star studded cast, Ridley Scott is directing and the story was written by Cormac McCarthy who wrote No Country For Old Men which also featured Javier Bardem who won a best supporting Oscar for that film. Javier Bardem is also supporting another crazy hair cut as he did in No Country For Old Men, but will this be enough to get him noticed? Probably not. I will have to see the film before I can judge how good his performance but if Bardem delivers I can defiantly see him picking up a nomination.

12 Years A Slave Trailer Review

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Slavery is not a major part of US cinema. Django Unchained came out last year but and was more light hearted on the past slavery issue in the US. I liked Django Unchained but it did miss some points on slavery and was very much focused on sub genres and therefore the issue may be ignored by the wider audience.

12 Years A Slave looks very different to Django Unchained. Firstly it is not a western but that us stating the obvious. This film looks to be a more realistic interpretation of a slaves life on a plantation. The film is based on the real life story of Solomon Northup a black man born free in New York in 1808 who was kidnapped and subjected to slavery for 12 years in 1841. This is a very intresting story and think this film is really going to say a lot about race in America.

The film is directed by Steve McQueen who directed such films as ‘Hunger’ and ‘Shame’. In this film he reunites with actor Michael Fassbender who starred in both his previous feature films. Solomon Northup is played by English actor Chiwetel Ejifor and from the looks of the trailer he gives a powerful and intense performance of a man who has had his freedom taken away from him.

The film also has a fantastic ensemble cast featuring Michael Fassbender as the who I assume runs the plantation in this, Brad Pitt, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Dano and Paul Giamatti also feature in this film.

The film is already getting hype for awards season and this will likely pick up some nominations for acting, directing and writing. I am very much looking forward to seeing this and I think films like this should have more attention than popular cinema. This story is really worth telling and I think people will want to learn about it.

What did you think of the trailer? Please comment and thanks for reading.