The Academy Awards is a night of glitz, glamour and surprises as Hollywood’s A-list battle it out for the night’s top prizes. The controversy came early this year as the nominations have already caused quite a stir in the film industry.
Some of this year’s nominees managed to make the cut due to their reputation and dedication to their craft, whereas others are possibly scratching their heads in disbelief at seeing their names on the list.
1. Her – Best Picture
Joaquin Phoenix’s tender portrayal of a lonely writer’s growing obsession with his operating system in the movie Her failed to earn a nomination for Best Actor. However, the surprise came when the movie managed to bag a Best Picture nomination alongside movies such as 12 Years a Slave and Gravity.
Whilst Her is an outstanding achievement, the film’s success rests solely on the shoulders of its main actor and would not be half as popular without Joaquin’s immense talent.
2. Jonah Hill – Best Supporting Actor
Jonah Hill’s breath-taking performance as a drug-crazed, money-hungry stockbroker shocked fans who were used to seeing the young actor in a very different type of role. Jonah made his name starring in various comedies such as Superbad and Get Him to the Greek.
Despite his preference for wacky comedies, this is the second Oscar nomination for the actor as he also received a Best Supporting Actor nomination for Moneyball. Critics were surprised to see Jonah on this year’s Academy Awards list due to the fact that he was snubbed by the BAFTAs, Screen Actors Guild awards and the Golden Globes.
3. Dallas Buyers Club – Best Picture
Dallas Buyers Club tells the story of Ron Woodroof, a homophobic rodeo cowboy who learns that he has a month to live after being diagnosed with Aids. Woodroof, played by Matthew McConaughey, is ostracised by his friends and family after they learn of his diagnosis and is left to seek treatment alone.
After hearing about an effective Aids medication that is banned in the US, Ron starts making trips down to Mexico for the drug and even begins selling it to other Aids patients.
The film managed to nudge its way onto the Best Picture list to the surprise of everyone.
4. Christian Bale – Best Actor
American Hustle is a comedy-drama that has earned its leading man a nomination for Best Actor. Christian Bale stars as a con artist who is forced into taking part in a sting operation by an FBI agent played by Bradley Cooper. Christian’s nomination came as a shock due to the fact that his presence meant that Tom Hanks missed out on the chance to take home his third Oscar.
Saving Mr Banks and Captain Phillips were overlooked by the Academy board who decided to pass over the movies for all the top prizes. However, Barkhad Abdi managed to score a nomination for Best Supporting Actor for Captain Phillips.
5. Sally Hawkins – Best Supporting Actress
Most of the controversy surrounding Blue Jasmine has been directed towards its director Woody Allen following recent allegations made by his former adopted daughter. Despite this, a more pleasant surprise came in the form of a Best Supporting Actress nomination for Sally Hawkins.
Sally plays a working-class mother who takes in her older sister, a former Park Avenue princess, who has fallen on hard times. Cate Blanchette steals the show as the sister who still suffers the effects of her recent nervous breakdown and pops Xanax pills like candy. Sally’s humble performance provides the perfect contrast to Kate’s dramatic portrayal.
6. Jackass Presents Bad Grandpa – Best Makeup and Hairstyling
In a move that no one could have ever seen coming, Jackass may actually win an Oscar at the 2014 Academy Awards ceremony. Not only is the cult movie a nominee, many experts are predicting that it may even take home the gold on the night.
Jackass is up against The Lone Ranger and Dallas Buyers Club which do not really have much to offer in the way of hair and makeup besides cowboy hats and feathers. Bad Grandpa sees star Johnny Knoxville transformed into an elderly man using a great deal of prosthetics for a mayhem-filled road trip across the US.
7. Before Midnight – Best Adapted Screenplay
Before Midnight is the latest film from Richard Linklater. It features the characters of Celine and Jessie played by Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke. The young couple originally met on a train and fell in love after just one evening together. Before Midnight catches up with the now married couple on a holiday to Greece with their two children.
The film is the third in a franchise that has spanned three decades. Despite being a completely original story and not adapted from anything besides the previous two movies, Before Midnight managed to bag an invitation to the Oscars.
8. The Lone Ranger – Best Visual Effects
Most of the nominees for the Best Visual Effects award came as no surprise due to their jaw-dropping special effects. Gravity, The Hobbit, Iron Man 3 and Star Trek are all considered CGI masterpieces that create alien landscapes and terrifying creatures with ease. However, The Lone Ranger is not a movie that springs to mind when thinking of visual effects.
The days of actors performing dangerous stunts on moving vehicles are over. All of the scenes where Johnny Depp is running along the roof of a moving train were actually filmed in the safety of a production studio in California.
9. Nebraska – Best Picture
Nebraska has proven to be the dark horse at this year’s Academy Awards and has been nominated in six different categories. The movie is shot in black and white and stars Bruce Dern as a slightly confused old man who believes he has won $1 million. The prize turns out to be a publicity stunt engineered to sell magazine subscriptions.
Bruce’s insistence on traveling across the country to collect his money eventually leads to a road trip involving him and his son played by Will Forte.
10. Inside Llewyn Davis – Best Cinematography
Inside Llewyn Davis is the tale of a down-and-out folk singer struggling to make it in New York. Set in 1961, the film features an outstanding soundtrack that is more than a little responsible for its critical success. The movie is the latest offering from the Coen Brothers who based the entire film around the soundtrack.
Many were surprised to see this film only nominated for Best Cinematography and Best Sound Mixing. Inside Llewyn Davis features stellar performances from Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan and John Goodman and even won a Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical.