In decades of tracking the Academy Awards, I honestly can’t recall any category, in any year, when a race was as fiercely, thrillingly white-hot competitive as this year’s Best Actor race. Just think about it: Not one, not two, not three, but four of the nominees each stands a very real chance of winning. Consider each scenario, and you’ll realize it’s true. When Jennifer Lawrence gets up to present the Best Actor award and tears open that envelope, if she ends up saying, “And the Oscar goes to…Chiwetel Ejiofor for 12 Years a Slave,” it will not be a shock, because Ejiofor, playing a man who endures the torments of the damned, and must hold in his emotions (even as he shows them to us), and must somehow, on top of all that, figure out a way to keep his faith burning, has been justly acclaimed for being incredible beyond words in that movie. If Lawrence says, “And the Oscar goes to…Matthew McConaughey for Dallas Buyers Club,” it will not be a shock, because McConaughey, this year, is the official front-runner, and has been justly coronated for giving a tough, sinewy, moving, and anger-singed performance that is widely viewed as the culminating act of his 20-year career in Hollywood. READ FULL STORY
Tag: Chiwetel Ejiofor (1-10 of 15)
12 Years a Slave… the story of one man’s journey from Canada to the Deep South to rescue a poor man from slavery.
If you lived in Italy and stubbornly refused to read movie reviews, that might be the impression formed by a quick glimpse at the movie’s poster. The artwork features the oversized head of Brad Pitt, while Chiwetel Ejiofor’s running Solomon Northup — the primary visual in the American marketing campaign — is shoved into a lower corner. Another similar poster makes use of Michael Fassbender’s face in the same way as Pitt’s. (It would be even more difficult to conjure up a log-line for 12 Years that tells the story from his despicable character’s point of view.)
Major movie stars like Pitt are especially crucial to the selling of Hollywood movies in international markets, but the main character of Steve McQueen’s movie is undoubtedly Ejiofor’s Solomon, whose ordeal of being kidnapped and trafficked into Southern slavery is the sole heart-wrenching narrative. Fassbender plays one of Solomon’s cruel taskmasters, and Pitt, who produced the film, has an extremely minor — but crucial — role as a sympathetic Canadian carpenter who frowns upon the Southern system of slavery. Pitt might sell better than Ejiofor, but the poster’s misrepresentation is especially egregious considering the nature of the tale.
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Casting Net: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael B. Jordan in talks for 'Triple Nine'; Plus James Franco, more
• 12 Years a Slave‘s Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael B. Jordan (Fruitvale Station), and Casey Affleck (Out of the Furnace) are in talks to star in Triple Nine, a crime drama from director John Hillcoat (The Road). Oscar-winners Christoph Waltz (Django Unchained) and Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine) have also been circling the long-gestating project, which follows a group of corrupt police officers looking to plan a heist. Affleck would be replacing Charlie Hunnam in the pic. [The Wrap]
Sunday was a busy day for film critics on both coasts. Boston, New York, and Los Angeles Film Critics announced their annual awards, adding fuel to the Oscar-prediction fire with a strong showing for 12 Years a Slave in the Best Picture arena.
Other repeat honorees include Blue Jasmine’s Cate Blanchett for Best Actress, 12 Years a Slave’s Chiwetel Ejiofor for Best Actor, Dallas Buyers Club’s Jared Leto for Best Supporting Actor, and 12 Years a Slave’s Lupita Nyong’o for Best Supporting Actress. Cinematography awards mostly went to Emmanuel Lubezki for his work on Gravity, and Inside Llewyn Davis picked up a few nods for T Bone Burnett’s score. Some categories were more evenly divided: Alfonso Cuaron and Steve McQueen both got two Best Director acknowledgements for their work on Gravity and 12 Years a Slave.
Take a look at the complete roundup below.
Daniel Day-Lewis spoiled us. Last year, the Best Actor race was an easy call, but this time around, it’s the hardest of the Oscar fields to predict. The race is jam-packed with worthy contenders, each with an equally strong chance of finding his name in that winning envelope on March 2.
With a month to go before voting opens we could still see some shifting. Who could still sneak in? Forest Whitaker for The Butler or Joaquin Phoenix for Her have the potential to rise in the ranks. So does Oscar Isaac for his musical, downtrodden turn in Inside Llewyn Davis.
Most Academy members haven’t seen the ’70s grifter drama American Hustle yet, but since it began screening for the press earlier this week reactions have been ecstatic. Expect to see that film in as many as eight Oscar categories this year, including each of the acting fields.
Christian Bale’s comically seductive, balding, pot-bellied con artist from that film should soon be joining the list of Best Actor contenders. The question is: Who will he knock out?
Right now, if you ask voters to pick front-runners, they almost always name the five below. Each delivers an impressive performance, but also have a compelling backstory, which can help make the difference in a tough race.
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At this point — after 12 Years a Slave wowed audiences and critics at the Toronto Film Festival and some Oscar handicappers have pronounced the Best Picture race all but over — it does Steve McQueen’s film no good to pile on additional adulation, which will only raise expectations even higher. Put simply: Based on the 1853 memoir of Solomon Northup, a New York man (Chiwetel Ejiofor) kidnapped and smuggled into Southern slavery, 12 Years is a powerful viewing experience that not only demonstrates the brutality of American slavery like no other Hollywood movie before, but also presents a panorama of the moral tapestry of Southern culture before the Civil War.
Northup was a free man — a talented musician with a wife and children in Saratoga, N.Y. — when two charlatans lured him to Washington, D.C. with the promise of a well-paying series of circus concerts. McQueen has said that Northup’s nightmare reminded him of Pinocchio, and in this exclusive clip from the movie, Scoot McNairy and Taran Killam are practically Honest John and Gideon come to life.
12 Years a Slave premiered at Telluride and was crowned the presumptive Oscar frontrunner in Toronto, but its screening at the New York Film Festival last night was a special sort of homecoming. The movie, based on an 1853 memoir, tells the story of a free black New Yorker from Saratoga named Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor) who is kidnapped and trafficked into Southern slavery, and some of Northup’s descendants came to Manhattan from upstate to view the film with the Lincoln Center audience.
Since Toronto, director Steve McQueen’s movie has been celebrated as “slavery’s Schindler’s List,” the most unflinching and intimate study of our country’s most shameful sin. While Roots was a huge cultural television event in the 1970s and Quentin Tarantino had his own stylistic take on slavery in Django Unchained, few Hollywood films had put slavery under the microscope. “It’s obviously a very difficult historical moment that happened in America — hugely shameful, hugely painful,” McQueen said after the screening. “Previously [in Hollywood], obviously it was very very difficult and it was stuck somehow. But with the situation of Trayvon Martin, with having the first black president, the 150th anniversary of the abolition of slavery, 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, it’s created this kind of perfect storm where there’s a thirst to sort of reconnect with that past, to see where one’s going, and to see where one’s at.” READ FULL STORY
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