22 November 2013 9:00 AM, PST | backstage.com | See recent Backstage news »

This year’s Oscars race is shaping up to be a battle between the past and the present. The year’s two deafeningly buzzy movies are Steve McQueen’s gorgeous, painful “12 Years a Slave” and Alfonso Cuarón’s space soap “Gravity.” Both films seem like a lock for best picture nominees, as much for their look and feel as for the acting and story. Representing the past, there’s Daniel Radcliffe going back in time to the 1940s in “Kill Your Darlings,” as Allen Ginsberg, helping create the Beat movement and watching as his friends and colleagues become embroiled in a murder. And Oscar Isaac leads a pithy cast, including Carey Mulligan and John Goodman, in the Coen Brothers’ ode to the 1960s Greenwich Village folk music scene in “Inside Llewyn Davis.” Matthew McConaughey stands at the forefront of the AIDS crisis in “Dallas Buyers Club,” along with shoo-in nominee Jared Leto as gallant, »

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