News / Arts & Entertainment

Critics Choice: Top Oscar Nominees

Critics Choice: Top Oscar Nomineesi
X
February 25, 2014 5:46 PM
The Academy Awards, also known as the Oscars, are the most highly anticipated annual awards of the film industry. About a billion people worldwide will watch the televised star-studded event on March 2. Of the 24 nomination categories, the top 4 are: Best Director, Best Picture, Best Actor, and Best Actress. VOA's Penelope Poulou has more.
Penelope Poulou
The Academy Awards, also known as the Oscars, are the most highly anticipated annual awards of the film industry. About a billion people worldwide will watch the televised star-studded event on March 2. Of the 24 nomination categories, the top foru are:  Best Director, Best Picture, Best Actor, and Best Actress.

Director Alfonso Cuaron sets a new bar in 3D technology with Gravity, which fully
immerses the audience in the terror of two astronauts lost in the void of space. His long sequences and camera fluidity don’t allow the viewer a moment’s respite. Breathless, they are stranded with astronaut Ryan Stone in her endless fall. 

Gravity, co-starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney garnered 10 Oscar nominations. With the help of CGI technology, the film resembles an IMAX documentary.  Bullock, who plays astronaut Ryan Stone, says thanks to technology, she amazingly floated into space without ever leaving Earth.

“Everything  physically that you saw we either did in the cube, locked into the system, we did on the 12-wire rig, so I can fly and can do the body work,” the Oscar-winning actress explained.

"So, pretty much it was hell for actors," joked director Alfonso Cuaron.

Cuaron spent four-and-a-half years painstakingly making the film. He is a leading candidate for Best Director, but may lose the award for Best Picture because according to critics the film’s dialogue is rather poor and dwarfed by its superb cinematography.

Another top contender for that Best Picture Oscar is Steve McQueen’s epic drama 12 Years a Slave, based on the true story of the abduction of free man Solomon Northup, in the 19th-century U.S. South. This film offers grand cinematography, a stellar cast and - as the title suggests - a story that spans 12 years. Despite its scope, the story is told in an intimate way, humanizing Northup, allowing the audience to experience his ordeal.

Critics praised Best Actor nominee Chiwetel Ejiofor's performance as Northup, who believes if he endures all the trials and tribulations he may actually have a chance at freedom. But  Ejiofor faces formidable opponents for the Best Actor Oscar, notably Matthew McConaughey, lauded for his role as a homophobic Texas electrician and hustler who contracts AIDS in 1985 in Dallas Buyers Club.
 
McConaughey lost 18 kilograms for the role and, stick thin, began losing his eyesight. Along with the physical transformation, he says it was emotionally challenging to show the range of Woodroof's emotions.

“Showing variations of rage," McConaughey said during a press tour to promote the movie. "Because the guy has a lot of rage in him. And rage propels the most activity in us."

In the Best Actress category, Cate Blanchett is one of the frontrunners. Critics praised her performance in Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine, as riveting.  The movie tells the story of destitue Jasmine, forced to move in with her working-class sister in San Francisco after her wealthy investment banker husband is arrested for fraud.

If Blanchett wins, it will be her second Oscar.  Critics say she would be a shoe-in, if it weren't for Amy Adams stellar performance in American Hustle, also nominated in the major categories.

You May Like

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

Analysts say move by President Xi is an effort to win more party support, take step toward economic reforms, removing those who would stand in way of change More

South Africa Land Reforms Still Contentious 20 Years Later

Activists argue that the pace of land reform is slow and biased; legal experts question how some proposed reforms would be implemented More

In Vietnam, Religious Freedoms Violated, UN Finds

Beliefs reportedly prompt heavy surveillance, intimidation and travel restrictions More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelteri
X
Scott Bobb
July 30, 2014 8:16 PM
Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video A Summer Camp for All the World

VIDEO: During workshops and social gatherings, the Global Youth Village summer camp encourages young people to cooperate and embrace their differences, while learning to communicate with people from other countries. VOA's Deborah Block has more.
Video

Video From Cantankerous Warlock to Incorruptible Priest, 'Harry Potter' Actor Embraces Diverse Roles

He’s perhaps best known as Mad Eye Moody, the whimsical wizard in the Harry Potter franchise. But character actor Brendan Gleeson's resume includes dozens of films, and he embraces all the characters he inhabits with equal passion. In an interview with VOA’s Penelope Poulou, Gleeson discussed his new drama "Calvary" and his secret to success.

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

The Hamilton Live

Acclaimed jazz saxophonist Tia Fuller has made a name for herself appearing with such high-profile artists as Beyonce, Esperanza Spalding, and Terri Lyne Carrington. Tia and her quartet performed music from her CD “Angelic Warrior” on our latest edition of "The Hamilton Live."