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

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal 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.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

Soul Lounge

"Soul Lounge" host Shawna Renee catches up with soul singer and songwriter Russell Taylor to hear what he’s been up to since winning the VH1 "You Oughta Know" title in 2013. She also convinces him to share a few songs from his album "War of Hearts."