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

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' Turns 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license 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.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

Beyond Category

At Washington’s Blues Alley jazz singer Jane Monheit and her quartet perform songs made famous by Judy Garland. Monheit sits down with "Beyond Category" host Eric Felten to talk about her music, the singers who influence her, and her life traveling with family on tour.