We're about 2 hours away from the start of the show now and I'm sure you're all sick of Oscar talk already, so I'll make this last post as painless as possible and then we can all move on to building our bomb shelters and wait out this Crimea nightmare.
Simple is better when you're breaking down such a big category like this. It has that "I know it when I see it feel", like how if you have to think about whether a player belongs in the Hall of Fame, chances are they don't. So this is how it breaks down in my weird, addled head:
American Hustle – Charles Roven, Richard Suckle, Megan Ellison, and Jonathan Gordon -- a fun time, but one I probably won't watch again.
Captain Phillips – Scott Rudin, Dana Brunetti, and Michael De Luca -- I'm in the minority that thought it was better than A Hijacking, but once the hijacking starts Barkhad Abdi and Tom Hanks' epic tit sweat are the only things interesting about it.
Dallas Buyers Club – Robbie Brenner and Rachel Winter -- I was expecting some kind of moralistic, uplifting we will overcome nonsense story and it's really anything but. It really surprised me.
Gravity – Alfonso Cuarón and David Heyman -- I'm not sure if it technically qualifies as science fiction or not, but anyway it's the best sci-fi film in at least a decade. It's a marvel, but probably won't have the same impact on a small screen in 2D with shitty speakers.
Her – Megan Ellison, Spike Jonze, and Vincent Landay -- ...and Her is probably the second best sci-fi film in at least a decade.
Nebraska – Albert Berger and Ron Yerxa -- the film didn't live up to the performances overall for me, but it did for Jacki.
Philomena – Gabrielle Tana, Steve Coogan, and Tracey Seaward -- Stephen Frears just keeps getting it right film after film. There is so much packed into this subtle, unassuming film. Coogan and Jeff Pope came through with a great script and everyone else executed from there.
12 Years a Slave – Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Steve McQueen, and Anthony Katagas -- it's the most important, best made film of the bunch this year. It's the Schindler's List of its generation, but without the overwrought coda.
The Wolf of Wall Street – Martin Scorsese, Leonardo DiCaprio, Joey McFarland, and Emma Tillinger Koskoff -- in spots, it's great, but even Martin Scorsese and Thelma Schoonmaker couldn't keep this undulating leviathan in check in the editing room.
DRUM ROLLLLLLL PLEASE....
Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Steve McQueen, and Anthony Katagas for 12 Years a Slave.