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KEY Text in red is most likely to win Text in purple is second to win
At this moment in time, the most likely top five are: Best Actor Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street Tom Hanks, Captain Phillips Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club Bruce Dern, Nebraska Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years A Slave Best Actress Meryl Streep, August: Osage County Amy Adams, American Hustle Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine Sandra Bullock, Gravity Judi Dench, Philomena Best Supporting Actor Jake Gyllenhaal, Prisoners Michael Fassbender, 12 Years A Slave Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club James Gandolfini, Enough Said Bradley Cooper, American Hustle Best Supporting Actress Julia Roberts, August: Osage County Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle June Squibb, Nebraska Sally Hawkins, Blue Jasmine Lupita Nyong'o, 12 Years A Slave
In no particular order !
The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
A sex-and-drug-fueled comedy with some stellar moments
Martin Scorsese's newest biopic 'The Wolf of Wall Street' details the career of Wall Street broker Jordan Belfort in the late 1980s and 1990s, as well as his lurid sex life and prominent drug use. This film was not what I was expecting - it is actually funny, and focuses more on the comedy genre rather than crime or drama like Scorsese's previous endeavours 'Goodfellas', 'Taxi Driver' or 'The Departed'. Leonardo DiCaprio is in fine form, carrying the film as the corrupt and womanising (but still likable) 'wolf'.
Using the breaking of the fourth wall and narration techniques, 'Wolf of Wall St' is a gross- out comedy that breaks the barriers of sex and drug use in film (multiple orgies and scenes with a hell of a lot of cocaine - mostly together - make for a very R rated viewing). Sex in 'Wolf' is what drugs and violence are in 'Goodfellas'.
The film seems to focus more on Belfort's personal life rather than the bulk of it being about his professional one, with excellent supporting roles from Margot Robie as a gold- digging 'duchess' (who really does stand out in a stellar performance) and Matthew McConaughey in his fleeting role as Belfort's mentor. Audiences will not get what they are expecting from DiCaprio's performance, although he is brilliant he is more there to induce laughter rather than heartbreak or drama.
'The Wolf of Wall Street' is a devilishly fun watch, with laugh-out-loud moments and a great script that lets you suspend your disbelief and enjoy the ridiculous moments of the film (keeping in mind it is a true story!). Scorsese masterfully goes back to his roots and directs this tale of corruption and greed; a hilarious way to end off this year's film season. 8/10
HER - a visually beautiful ode the technological age
Spike Jonze's latest feature 'Her', set in the not-too-distant future, tells the story of Theodore Twombly (Phoenix) who finds himself falling in love with 'Samantha', an advanced operating system voiced by the sultry Scarlett Johansson. It is clear to see why this film was chosen by the National Board of Review as the best film of 2013: the visual style and extensive use of pastel colours is a triumph in itself, and the acting, editing, costumes and screenplay are all worthy of recognition.
I went to an awards screening of 'Her' and was pleased to find out that the film was not at all what I was expecting. It has such a distinct style, and Joaquin Phoenix carries the film with tremendous grace as the complicated and sensitive protagonist. The film is mostly Phoenix alone with Johansson's voice (reminiscent of Sandra Bullock in 'Gravity' or Robert Redford in 'All Is Lost' - two other 2013 films mainly revolving around one solitary character), but the audience never feels abandoned by the lack of other characters as we begin to forget that 'Samantha' is just really just a computer.
'Her' is a complex film with a much deeper meaning that lies beneath the surface. A beautifully crafted motion picture, this quirky love story is sure to resonate with you once you've seen it. It is an extremely interesting (and realistic) look at the future - Jonze's quaint and poignant film is a must-see! 9/10
Les Misérables (2012)
Breathtaking - A Musical with Heart
I went to an awards screening of Les Miserables and left the cinema speechless. Tom Hooper's direction and the cinematography, costumes, art design and editing are nothing short of genius.
Hooper's idea to have the actors sing live really brings a deeper emotion to the film not seen in other movie musicals. Hugh Jackman is absolutely incredible as Jean Valjean and carries the film with spectacular grace. Anne Hathaway is magnificent in her fleeting role as Fantine - the film's sequence in which she goes on a downward spiral is one of the it's best moments, and her ABSOLUTELY INCREDIBLE HEARTFELT rendition of 'I Dreamed A Dream' will win her the Oscar by itself.
Also, a great supporting turn from newcomer Samantha Barks as the heartbroken Eponine (look out for her waist - it's absolutely tiny!), who is sure to be shot into stardom. Eddie Redmayne, Russell Crowe and Aaron Tveit are also good, and there's some great comedy relief from Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen.
It will leave you laughing, crying, and feeling inspired. A great watch, sure to win some major awards this year! 10/10!