REEL BRIEF’s Oscar Watch: Best Picture

OSCAR¨ STATUEWith the 2014 film calendar coming to an end shortly, I thought it would be a good time to update my Oscar Scorecard.

For those of you already making entries into your 2015 monthly planning calendar, here are the two most important Academy Award dates that should be on your radar scope:

January 15 – Oscar Nominations Announced

February 22 – Oscar Night

Right now we’re in prime Academy Award nomination season.  All of the year’s best chances for an Oscar nod are hitting the big-screens.  However, several films will only make their debuts in limited showings later this month and won’t be viewable to the rest of us until after the New Year.

REEL BRIEF’s Oscar Watch for Best Picture

Birdman – The exceptional performances by Michael Keaton and Edward Norton put this film in the Top 15. Add in the unbelievable cinematography and “Birdman” cracks the Top 10 and makes the Academy Awards’ Best Picture list with ease.


The Birdman (Michael Keaton)

The Theory of Everything A great love story well-liked by critics and moviegoers alike.  This film includes the early favorite to win the Oscar for Best Actor (Eddie Redmayne, pictured below) and should also land Felicity Jones an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress.


Gone Girl – Based on the best-selling book, this film earned widespread rave reviews from readers and theater audiences.  A sick, twisted plot with solid performances from all involved–none were better than Rosamund Pike’s as Amy.  Pike and director David Fincher (Fight Club) should both earn individual Oscar noms, securing “Gone Girl” on the Best Picture list.


                         A bad, bad girl…

Interstellar – Christopher Nolan.  Nuff said.  But I’ll continue anyways. Matthew McConaughey’s star power has never been stronger or more influential than right now–even to Oscar voters who may not have completely understood “Interstellar” (who could?) and those black hole shenanigans. McConaughey’s Midas touch, coupled with the film’s crazy-good casting of Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain and Michael Cain, all point straight up to a space continuum which finds “Interstellar” on the Best Picture list.


My Lincoln costs how much?  (“Interstellar”)

Guardians of the Galaxy – The highest domestic grossing film of 2014 deserves to be nominated. People paid their hard-earned money to listen to a charismatic raccoon tease a one-line talking tree to save the universe. Audiences also enjoyed the wonderful soundtrack and fell back in love with the 1980s and The Walkman.  The summer’s best film (and funniest) probably won’t make the Oscar cut but I can’t dismiss its success or the Green Chick in it.  Thus, it makes MY list.


Guardians: Gamora (Zoe Saldana) and Star-Lord (Chris Pratt)


These movies listed below have not been been released or are ones I just haven’t seen (yet). However, I’m looking forward to seeing them and have high expectations.  Therefore, they make my Best Picture Oscar list for now:

The Imitation Game – I can’t wait to see if Benedict Cumberbatch’s performance (along with Keira Knightley’s) shines as bright as advertised.  A movie about Great Britain’s success in helping the Allies to defeat Nazi Germany in WWII should be movie gold to Oscar voters.  If so, expect to see this film to be on the Best Director and Best Picture Oscar nomination lists, along with Cumberbatch’s for Best Actor.


The Codebreaker. (Cumberbatch)

Unbroken – Arriving on Christmas Day, this Angelina Jolie directed film has been showing previews to theater audiences for months.  Lots of hype (deserving) for this WWII true story of an American Olympian and military hero.  The best-selling non-fiction book by the same name is both inspiring and emotional.  If Jolie can capture those same traits in this film version, “Unbroken” will become the frontrunner to beat in the Best Picture and Best Director categories.


Just like watching all those baby monitors (Angelina Jolie)

American Sniper – Scuttlebutt has it that during pre-release showings, movie critics have been somewhat disappointed in this Clint Eastwood production.  Too many clichés and, overall, a non-inspirational movie are the criticisms being leveled so far from people who’ve never had to make tough calls on a battlefield or deploy downrange. Those scruff faces assclowns!


Until I see this movie about U.S. Navy SEAL Chris Kyle for myself, I’m giving Eastwood and Bradley Cooper proper military spacing.  Both have earned that respect–as well as Kyle’s family and the memory of the former sniper.  This film debuts on Christmas but most of the nation won’t be able to learn about “The Legend” and see the movie until mid-January and wider release.

Boyhood – Still can’t believe I haven’t seen this one yet. I know, I know…DVD time.  Rave reviews and a particularly strong cast (especially by Patricia Arquette) make “Boyhood” a solid Oscar favorite.

Selma –  Based upon the true story of the 1965 movement led by Dr. Martin Luther King in Alabama. Oprah Winfrey and Brad Pitt both helped produce this movie and that firepower can’t be underestimated.  Film debuts on the already crowded theater release day of Christmas.  One month from now, look for this movie to be the Oscar frontrunner for Best Picture.


Still Alice – Recently released but only to a small box office market.  I’m looking forward to seeing this frightening, yet inspirational, story on Alzheimer’s. Julianne Moore stars.

Next up:  REEL BRIEF’s Oscar Watch: Best Actor.

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"Patrick, you are my go-to guy when it comes to the box office".   - Judy O.

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