OSCARS 2014: Final Predictions

Artwork: Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

Artwork: Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

Chris Luckett

The biggest night  of the year for movies is almost upon us. It’s the time of year to gather with friends, grab a ballot, and fight to the death over whether you think Leonardo DiCaprio could beat Matthew McConaughey in votes or if American Hustle stands a chance of taking the top award from 12 Years a Slave or Gravity.

If you feel lost as to what to fill in for your Oscar predictions at your office pool or a friend’s Oscar party, don’t fret. Here’s my helpful guide to what to mark down this year for each category.

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OSCARS 2014: A Look at the Best Picture Nominees

Photo: Columbia Pictures

Photo: Columbia Pictures

(This is Part 5 of a five-part series looking at the Oscar nominees in the eight major categories. Click here for Part 1Part 2Part 3, or Part 4.)

Chris Luckett

Ever since the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences allowed for up to ten Best Pictures nominees in 2009, it’s made for especially interesting races. While some nominees that came as a result of the expansion never stood a real chance — Remember The Blind Side? Or The Kids are All Right? Or The Help? No? — it’s also allowed for tougher predictions and dark-horse contenders. This year’s nominees include big-budget epics, small indies, and everything in between — and, unlike in recent years, a good number of the movies stand a chance of walking away with the night’s top prize.

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SPECIAL: The Best Movies of 2013

Photo: A24

Photo: A24

Chris Luckett

2013 was a weak year for movies. Not since 2008 have there been so few great ones. That’s not to say there haven’t been any – as there definitely have been – but it was slim pickings this year. In any event, there were still 25 great ones. From animation and documentaries to period pieces and science-fiction, these were the best movies of 2013.

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OSCARS 2014: A Look at the Screenplay Nominees

Photo: Columbia Pictures

Photo: Columbia Pictures

(This is Part 1 of a five-part series looking at the Oscar nominees in the eight major categories. For Part 2, click here.)

Ten movies’ screenplays are nominated for Academy Awards each year: five original screenplays and five screenplays adapted from another source. This year’s nominees included all nine Best Picture nominees, as well as the third movie in Richard Linklater’s Before trilogy, and offer tighter races than in most years. Continue reading

SPECIAL: The Best Trailers of 2013

Photo: Fox Searchlight Pictures

Photo: Fox Searchlight Pictures

Chris Luckett

Every year, superstars like Tom Hanks, Meryl Streep, and Leonardo DiCaprio star in brilliant, two-minute movies. The fact that these short films are also advertisements for other movies and that they precede “feature presentations” at the theatre doesn’t stop some of them from being works of art in their own right. Of all the trailers that were released in 2013, these are the very best.

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OSCARS 2014: Nominations and Prediction Results

Artwork: Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

Artwork: Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

Chris Luckett

Despite there being only a dozen of so films in major contention for the Oscars this year, while I was right about many nominations, I also misjudged a number of them. Inside Llewyn Davis, Rush, All is Lost, and Saving Mr. Banks all proved less loved by the Academy than they’ve been by other award groups and guilds. Philomena, Nebraska, The Wolf of Wall Street, and Dallas Buyers Club also proved even stronger bets than I initially thought.

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REVIEW: Her

Photo: Warner Bros.

Photo: Warner Bros.

Chris Luckett

Sometimes, brilliant movies have concepts that sounds incredibly dumb when you first her them summed up in a single sentence. (Who honestly expected a movie about the creation of Facebook to be very interesting before they saw The Social Network, for example?) The new movie Her is, boiled down to a single sentence, about a man falling in love with his computer. Explored using the nuances and flavours afforded by a feature-length running time, though, Her is an absolutely magnificent movie.

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