Best Picture – Drama
12 Years a Slave
CERTAINTIES: 12 Years a Slave and Gravity. They are the two reigning frontrunners for Best Picture this year and an omission of either would’ve necessitated pitchforks and torches at the Globes ceremony. Captain Phillips is also a favored contender, but as more films have entered the race it has faded a bit. This is a healthy reminder that it’s still in play.
SURPRISES: Rush. The Formula 1 drama did only so-so business at the box office, but the Hollywood Foreign Press adored this movie when it played at the Toronto International Film Festival in September. One member told me at the time that if voting were held then, it would win. A shrug from moviegoers and critics wasn’t enough to dissuade them. The nod for Philomena, the bittersweet story of an Irish woman looking for the son she reluctantly gave up for adoption as a boy, isn’t a surprise to anyone who has seen the Judi Dench film. It’s a crowdpleaser that is building momentum through word-of-mouth, and this is another strong recommendation.
SNUBS: Saving Mr. Banks. The story of Walt Disney’s battles with Mary Poppins author P.L. Travers was probably too lighthearted for the drama category, and might have had a stronger showing if placed in the comedy/musical field. It’s still favored for an Oscar nomination, but this was a missed opportunity.
PRIZE FIGHTER SCORE: 4 out of 5. I called Rush! So high-five on that one. But I also called Saving Mr. Banks instead of Captain Phillips. Do I get half a point for guessing a Hanks movie? … No? Okay.
NEXT PAGE: BEST PICTURE – COMEDY/MUSICAL
For more Oscar news: