LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – It may be one of the best years in recent memory for high-quality Hollywood film, but two-thirds of Americans have yet to see any of the movies nominated for the best picture Oscar, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Sunday.
Among other questions, the poll asked 1,433 Americans whether they had seen any of the nine best-picture nominees, plus two other films competing in other categories. The Academy Awards will be hosted by comedian Ellen DeGeneres on March 2.
Among those who responded to the online survey, Somali piracy thriller “Captain Phillips” was the most-watched film, at 15 percent. But 67 percent said they had yet to see any of the eleven films in the poll.
The outer-space drama “Gravity” was second with 14 percent, while crime caper “American Hustle” and “The Wolf of Wall Street,” Martin Scorsese’s portrait of 1990s greed and excess, each had been seen by 12 percent of those surveyed. The numbers include those surveyed who may have seen more than one of the nominees.
The survey found that 60 percent of respondents were unsure about which film should win best picture. Slavery drama “12 Years a Slave” had the most support at 9 percent.
“Gravity” and “Captain Phillips” drew 8 percent of the vote each and “The Wolf of Wall Street” took in 7 percent, according to the survey conducted from February 17-21.
Hollywood awards season watchers have tipped “12 Years a Slave” and “Gravity” as the favorites to take home the film world’s highest honor.
Among those surveyed, previous best-actress Oscar winner Sandra Bullock is the favorite in that category again for her role as an astronaut in “Gravity,” with 24 percent saying she will take home the prize. Amy Adams garnered 11 percent support for her portrayal of a 1970s con artist in “American Hustle.”
Leonardo DiCaprio’s depiction of disgraced stock trader Jordan Belfort in “The Wolf of Wall Street” should earn him his long-awaited best-actor Oscar in his third try for the prize, according to 17 percent of those surveyed. Some 11 percent favored “Dallas Buyers Club” star Matthew McConaughey to win the award.
Steve McQueen, the director of “12 Years a Slave,” had the most support at 14 percent to win best director, and Scorsese finished second with 11 percent. If McQueen wins, he would be the first black director to do so.
Alfonso Cuaron, who has won nearly all of the directing awards this season for “Gravity” and is the pundits’ favorite to win the Oscar, was third with 7 percent.
Fifty-two percent said they were unsure who should win the best actor and best actress awards.
DeGeneres, the ceremony’s host, scored the approval of 60 percent of respondents. Of those who supported the choice, 34 percent said they strongly approved of the daytime talk show host leading the show for a second time.
Seventeen percent said DeGeneres was their top choice to host the Oscars. Frequent host Billy Crystal, Golden Globe co-host Tina Fey, and comedians Eddie Murphy and Jimmy Fallon all came in second with 8 percent.
Last year’s host, “Family Guy” creator Seth MacFarlane, garnered 3 percent of support from respondents as their top choice.
The precision of Reuters/Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll has a credibility interval of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
(Reporting by Eric Kelsey; Editing by Mary Milliken)
With the Oscar ceremony just a little over a week away, the Best Picture race is down to 2. GRAVITY or 12 YEARS A SLAVE . GRAVITY will be the first 3D and most CGI intensive movie to ever win Best Picture. 12 YEARS will be the first film about slavery since GONE WITH THE WIND to win the award. I am in the minority for choosing GRAVITY to win Best Picture and I could very well be wrong, but here goes nothing.
GRAVITY– Currently the film to beat for Best Picture. The DGA win for Director Alfonso Cuarón all but seals the deal. The movie has won 6 BAFTA’s, 7 Critics Choice Awards, the PGA (tied with 12 YEARS A SLAVE), AFI’s Movie of the Year and Best Film at the Boston Society of Film Critics, Los Angeles Film Critics (tied with HER) more technical awards that are too many to name here. Statistically the winner of the PGA and DGA go on to win Best Picture. This is our best gauge at determining which film will win. As Sasha Stone points out, “Best Picture is the movie that you can sit anyone down in front of and they will like it”. This year that movie is GRAVITY. The last 3 BP winners THE KINGS SPEECH, THE ARTIST and ARGO are all good films, but most importantly they are the least divisive. As with any front-runner there are some haters. People have been critical of the fact that there are only 2 characters and for most of the movie there is only 1. GRAVITY is like a theme park ride. You don’t enjoy them for their “plots”, you enjoy them for “the experience”. In the case of GRAVITY, the only way to experience it fully is to see it in IMAX 3D. Years from now when it is only available to watch at home, some may wonder how it won Best Picture. But, with all that said GRAVITY is the future of movie making. 95% of the film takes place in zero gravity with the first scene being a 13-minute uncut tracking shot in space. This will go down as one of the greatest scenes in a movie ever. GRAVITY also remains the highest rated movie of 2013 with 97% on Rotten Tomatoes. Put that together with all the precursor awards and you have yourself this years Oscar winner for Best Picture.
12 YEARS A SLAVE– An all around better film than GRAVITY, but just too divisive to win Best Picture. Some Oscar voters openly admit to not even watching the movie. It is “too violent” or too depressing. One even calling it “torture porn”. Sure 12 YEARS A SLAVE is hard to watch and reminds us that the United States wasn’t always the “home of the free” that we like to pretend it always was. So goes why many of the old white guys in the Academy will choose to ignore it. If Steve McQueen goes on to win Best Director he will be the first black Director to ever win this award, EVER! While I don’t think that 12 YEARS should win based on the race of the Director, it an opportunity to award a great film and make history at the same time. No I don’t think Oscar voters are racist, but they like what they like and when they see it they all gather around like children to a pile of candy. I don’t that same passion around 12 YEARS A SLAVE. Sure it tied with GRAVITY for the PGA, but GRAVITY won the more important DGA. 12 YEARS A SLAVE needs full support to win the Oscar. Remember 51% of Oscar voters have to have 12 YEARS A SLAVE as their number one movie of the year for it to win. (if it goes to a 2nd or 3rd round, it has to be number 2 or 3 on their list). But, It is not all bad news for 12 YEARS it did win the Best Film at BAFTA , Best Motion Picture Drama at the Golden Globes, Best Picture at the Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards and Outstanding Picture at the Image Awards. The movie will take home a few Oscar statues. It could win for Screenplay, Set Design and of course Lupita Nyong’o for Best Supporting Actress. (God help us if it is Jennifer Lawrence). Best Picture could be just out of reach for 12 YEARS A SLAVE.
AMERICAN HUSTLE-There still seems to be some support for AMERICAN HUSTLE. I hated AMERICAN HUSTLE and I still don’t understand the awards attention. It was the same last with David O’Russell’s other mess of a movie SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK. The only explanation is the strong acting ensemble of Amy Adams, Jennifer Lawrence, Christian Bale and Jeremy Renner. I am not including Bradley Cooper, he is terrible. The others are the only part that make this movie worth watching. The fact that it still could win Best Picture is beyond comprehension. This anticlimactic actors orgy does not know which direction to go. It is so quickly wound up at the end that I had no idea what just happened. But, remember the Academy likes what they like and they like AMERICAN HUSTLE. Especially Actors who make up a majority of the 6500 Oscar voters. It’s possible that GRAVITY and 12 YEARS A SLAVE will not get the 51% of number one votes needed to win. If that’s the case they go to the number two votes and, god forbid, number 3. Number 3 would be AMERICAN HUSTLE. It still has an impressive 93% on Rotten Tomatoes and has won the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture Comedy or Musical, BAFTA for Best Original Screenplay, the SAG for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture ans Best Comedy and Best Acting Ensemble at the Broadcast Film Critics Awards. All in all it received 87 movie awards nominations. WTF!
THE WOLF OF WALL STREET– My personal favorite movie of the last decade. Martin Scorsese brilliantly directs this fast paced epic about how low a wealthy stockbroker can go. Leonardo DiCaprio as Jordan Belfort is by far the best performance of the year. Sorry Matthew McConaughey even losing 46 pounds doesn’t outdo DiCaprio. But, WOLF OF WALL STREET is another film that is too divisive to win. Critics had lots of complaints. There was too much debauchery and it couldn’t possibly represent real life. Guess what? It does. It was called a soulless movie with nobody to root for. Oscar voter Hope Holiday, an actress that hasn’t worked in 25 years called THE WOLF OF WALL STREET “three hours of torture” and yelled “you ought to be ashamed of yourself!”to Scorsese after n Oscar screening. If you know anything about Scorsese, you would understand that his intention was not to make a movie that sympathizes with Belfort. He was purposefully portraying the maniac that Belfort was. Hope Holiday is the typical Oscar voter that we are dealing with. Consequently GRAVITY, the least offensive movie of 2014, will win Best Picture.
DALLAS BUYERS CLUB– Not many can complain about this film or the performance of Matthew McConaughey. He lost 46 pounds to portray the story of a man with AIDS and his courage to help others suffering the same fate. McConaughey worked 20 years to get this movie made. So, the Academy will honor him with the Best Actor award and the mush deserving Jared Leto for Best Supporting Actor. In a competitive year like this, DALLAS BUYERS CLUB doesn’t have the support needed to win Best Picture.
HER– When trailers first cam out for HER it looked like a ridiculous premise. A guy falls in love with an operating system voiced by Scarlett Johansson. But then people started to notice that HER was different. Joaquin Phoenix believably played a guy in the future who could feel for the woman on his computer. It takes place in world where many are doing the same. Director Spike Jones composes one of the best looking movies of the year. The shots of futuristic Los Angeles, actually shot in Shanghai, could each stand on their own as photograph. The idea that someday we will all be wearing our pants well our above our waist is a nice subtle touch that could easily go unnoticed. HER has won every award that it has been nominated for. Mostly for Screenplay. It is another movie that can’t compete with the likes of GRAVITY or 12 YEARS A SLAVE, but this little film that could deserves a nomination.
NEBRASKA-Alexander Payne is one of the greatest Directors of our time. His passion for showing “real life” people doing “real life” things is extraordinary. His decision to shoot the entire film in black and white adds to the depressing feels of NEBRASKA. BRUCE DERN plays an old guy trying to get to NEBRASKA to collect his $1million promised to him by Publishers Clearing House. At the heart of NEBRASKA is man and his son trying to make sense of their life ahead as well as his past left behind. Will Forte has mysteriously been left out of acting nominations. Bruce Dern and the brilliant June Squibb are both nominated in supporting actor categories. NEBRASKA certainly deserves the nomination for Best Picture and there is still nothing wrong with a nomination.
PHILOMENA-At the time of this writing I have yet to see PHILOMENA. It started strong at the Venice Film Festival by winning 10 awards including the Golden Lion. It had 3 Golden Globe nominations, but didn’t take any home. It won the BAFTA for Best Adapted screenplay and now has 4 Oscar nominations. Judi Dench is the reason for most of PHILOMENA’s awards attention and there is nothing wrong with that. None of the “Oscarologists” have PHILOMENA winning Best Picture, but of course it is an honor to just be nominated.
12 YEARS A SLAVE premiered at the Telluride Film Festival in August. Then went on to play at The Toronto International Film Festival and New York Film Festival. The critics loved it and it immediately became the Best Picture front-runner. It opened in October in limited theaters, with a wide release date scheduled for December. 12 YEARS was testing really well and the decision was made to start gradually releasing it wide going into awards season.
12 YEARS A SLAVE was Directed by Steve McQueen and written by John Ridley. Chiwetel Ejiofor brilliantly plays Solomon Northup, a New York State free negro who was kidnapped in Washington, D.C. in 1841. He was sold as a slave and worked on plantations in Louisiana for twelve years before he was saved and released.
While receiving much acclaim, 12 YEARS has its detractors. Any movie that is declared Best Picture early in the season will be attacked. Oscar bloggers and critics want to bring it down. They have an obligation to keep the Oscar race discussion going mush longer than October. Some of the criticism was that 12 YEARS was a story about one thing, slavery. With one hero to root for and not about the millions of other slaves at the time. Some critics complained that it played to “white guilt” and made people feel bad about themselves. It doesn’t teach us anything we don’t already know. A few Academy members said out loud that they had no interest in watching another that shows the horror of slavery. We know that the Oscar voters are, on average, older white guys. The discussion then turns to racism within the Academy. If Steve McQueen wins Best Director, he will be the first black Director EVER to do so. It will also be the first film about slavery to win in this category since GONE WITH THE WIND in 1939. This raises many questions..Is racism so rampant in the Academy that they will never vote for McQueen? Is the Academy too white? Does it really matter that 12 YEARS A SLAVE the best movie of the year? Of course, we all like to think that racism doesn’t play a part in the Oscar race, but they don’t have a great track record for awarding black filmmakers or actors. They have a shot this year at making history!
(some spoilers) Putting all of those obstacles aside, 12 YEARS A SLAVE is a brilliant film. Sorry people, slavery was brutal and this movie shows a part of the real horror that was the darkest time for America. 12 YEARS has some of the most powerful scenes ever shown in a movie. Slave owners auctioning off their “property” who are all naked for the buyers to see all of what they are buying. The more fit or attractive a slave was meant they worked harder than the others and were much more sexually attractive to owners. A mother pleading they don’t separate her from her children. And of course they do, despite her wails of agony. Solomon is forced to play his violin as background music throughout. Trying to drown out the crying mother. There is not a better scene in a movie this year than when Solomon is hanging from a tree, barely able to keep his feet in the mud to prevent himself from being hanged. The scene ends with 2 minutes of Solomon writhing around to stay alive, while children are heard playing in the background. Other slaves walk by knowing to keep quiet as they could be next. These are the scenes that make a Best Picture.
Major Awards So Far
Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Drama,
Toronto IFF People’s Choice
Producers Guild of America: tied with GRAVITY
Critics’ Choice for Best Picture
Nine Academy Award nominations including Best Picture, Best Director
This scene is why Lupita Nyong’o will win Best Supporting Actress .
Chiwetel Ejiofor may not win Best Actor, but it is clear he deserves a nomination.
Best Supporting Actor nominee Michael Fassbender
This is 12 YEARS A SLAVE
12 Years a Slave- 9
Dallas Buyers Club-6
The Wolf of Wall Street-5
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug-3
August: Osage County-2
Despicable Me 2-2
Inside Llewyn Davis-2
The Great Gatsby-2
The Lone Ranger-2
Ernest & Celestine-1
The Wind Rises-1
All is Lost-1
The Invisible Woman-1
The Act of Killing -1
Cutie and the Boxer-1
20 Feet from Stardom-1
Karama Has No Walls-1
The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life-1
Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall-1
The Broken Circle-1
The Great Beauty-1
The Missing Picture-1
Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa-1
The Book Thief-1
Saving Mr. Banks-1
Alone Yet Not Alone-1
Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom-1
Get a Horse!-1
Room on the Broom-1
Aquel No Era Yo (That Wasn’t Me)-1
Avant Que De Tout Perdre (Just before Losing Everything)-1
Pitääkö Mun Kaikki Hoitaa? (Do I Have to Take Care of Everything?)-1
The Voorman Problem-1
Iron Man 3-1
Star Trek Into Darkness-1
Nominations for the 86th annual Academy Awards will be announced bright and early Thursday morning at 5:38 PT/8:38 ET.
Chris Hemsworth and Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences President Cheryl Boone Isaacs will announce the nominees. This should be a much more traditional affair after Seth MacFarlane’s comedy show last year.
If you will not be near a television, you can watch it here live:
The Golden Globes have a history of predicting Oscar winners. Even after the Academy moved up their due dates. Oscar ballots were due 4 days before the Globes happened, but last year all four of the academy’s acting picks came from the Golden Globes. Over the past 20 years, the Globes have chosen actor Oscar winners 80% of the time. The Oscar voters have their nominations in, but they still need to vote for the winners. The Golden Globes become an audition for Oscar night. If a Globe winner gives a good speech and comes across as likable, their chance at an Oscar goes way up. Sunday Night Leonardo Dicaprio, Matthew McConaughey , Jared Leto and Alfonso Cuaron. All had great speeches and the AMPAS wants them giving speeches on Oscar night. My best guess is that last night locked a nomination for Dicaprio, locked a win for McConaughy and Leto. Director is still up in the air. Right now it is between Steve McQueen Alfonso Cuaron and David O’ Russell.
The British Academy of Film and Television Arts announced their nominations today. These nominations look very close to how the Oscar noms might look.
12 YEARS A SLAVE Anthony Katagas, Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Steve McQueen
AMERICAN HUSTLE Charles Roven, Richard Suckle, Megan Ellison, Jonathan Gordon
CAPTAIN PHILLIPS Scott Rudin, Dana Brunetti, Michael De Luca
GRAVITY Alfonso Cuarón, David Heyman
PHILOMENA Gabrielle Tana, Steve Coogan, Tracey Seaward
OUTSTANDING BRITISH FILM
GRAVITY Alfonso Cuarón, David Heyman, Jonás Cuarón
MANDELA: LONG WALK TO FREEDOM Justin Chadwick, Anant Singh, David M. Thompson, William Nicholson
PHILOMENA Stephen Frears, Gabrielle Tana, Steve Coogan, Tracey Seaward, Jeff Pope
RUSH Ron Howard, Andrew Eaton, Peter Morgan
SAVING MR. BANKS John Lee Hancock, Alison Owen, Ian Collie, Philip Steuer, Kelly Marcel, Sue Smith
THE SELFISH GIANT: Clio Barnard, Tracy O’Riordan
OUTSTANDING DEBUT BY A BRITISH WRITER, DIRECTOR OR PRODUCER
COLIN CARBERRY (Writer), GLENN PATTERSON (Writer) Good Vibrations
KELLY MARCEL (Writer) Saving Mr. Banks
KIERAN EVANS (Director/Writer) Kelly + Victor
PAUL WRIGHT (Director/Writer), POLLY STOKES (Producer) For Those in Peril
SCOTT GRAHAM (Director/Writer) Shell
FILM NOT IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE
THE ACT OF KILLING Joshua Oppenheimer, Signe Byrge Sørensen
BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOUR Abdellatif Kechiche, Brahim Chioua, Vincent Maraval
THE GREAT BEAUTY Paolo Sorrentino, Nicola Giuliano, Francesca Cima
METRO MANILA Sean Ellis, Mathilde Charpentier
WADJDA Haifaa Al-Mansour, Gerhard Meixner, Roman Paul
THE ACT OF KILLING Joshua Oppenheimer
THE ARMSTRONG LIE Alex Gibney
BLACKFISH Gabriela Cowperthwaite
TIM’S VERMEER Teller, Penn Jillette, Farley Ziegler
WE STEAL SECRETS: THE STORY OF WIKILEAKS Alex Gibney
DESPICABLE ME 2 Chris Renaud, Pierre Coffin
FROZEN Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee
MONSTERS UNIVERSITY Dan Scanlon
12 YEARS A SLAVE Steve McQueen
AMERICAN HUSTLE David O. Russell
CAPTAIN PHILLIPS Paul Greengrass
GRAVITY Alfonso Cuarón
THE WOLF OF WALL STREET Martin Scorsese
AMERICAN HUSTLE Eric Warren Singer, David O. Russell
BLUE JASMINE Woody Allen
GRAVITY Alfonso Cuarón, Jonás Cuarón
INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
NEBRASKA Bob Nelson
12 YEARS A SLAVE John Ridley
BEHIND THE CANDELABRA Richard LaGravenese
CAPTAIN PHILLIPS Billy Ray
PHILOMENA Steve Coogan, Jeff Pope
THE WOLF OF WALL STREET Terence Winter
BRUCE DERN Nebraska
CHIWETEL EJIOFOR 12 Years a Slave
CHRISTIAN BALE American Hustle
LEONARDO DICAPRIO The Wolf of Wall Street
TOM HANKS Captain Phillips
AMY ADAMS American Hustle
CATE BLANCHETT Blue Jasmine
EMMA THOMPSON Saving Mr. Banks
JUDI DENCH Philomena
SANDRA BULLOCK Gravity
BARKHAD ABDI Captain Phillips
BRADLEY COOPER American Hustle
DANIEL BRÜHL Rush
MATT DAMON Behind the Candelabra
MICHAEL FASSBENDER 12 Years a Slave
JENNIFER LAWRENCE American Hustle
JULIA ROBERTS August: Osage County
LUPITA NYONG’O 12 Years a Slave
OPRAH WINFREY The Butler
SALLY HAWKINS Blue Jasmine
12 YEARS A SLAVE Hans Zimmer
THE BOOK THIEF John Williams
CAPTAIN PHILLIPS Henry Jackman
GRAVITY Steven Price
SAVING MR. BANKS Thomas Newman
12 YEARS A SLAVE Sean Bobbitt
CAPTAIN PHILLIPS Barry Ackroyd
GRAVITY Emmanuel Lubezki
INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS Bruno Delbonnel
NEBRASKA Phedon Papamichael
12 YEARS A SLAVE Joe Walker
CAPTAIN PHILLIPS Christopher Rouse
GRAVITY Alfonso Cuarón, Mark Sanger
RUSH Dan Hanley, Mike Hill
THE WOLF OF WALL STREET Thelma Schoonmaker
12 YEARS A SLAVE Adam Stockhausen, Alice Baker
AMERICAN HUSTLE Judy Becker, Heather Loeffler
BEHIND THE CANDELABRA Howard Cummings
GRAVITY Andy Nicholson, Rosie Goodwin, Joanne Woodlard
THE GREAT GATSBY Catherine Martin, Beverley Dunn
AMERICAN HUSTLE Michael Wilkinson
BEHIND THE CANDELABRA Ellen Mirojnick
THE GREAT GATSBY Catherine Martin
THE INVISIBLE WOMAN Michael O’Connor
SAVING MR. BANKS Daniel Orlandi
MAKE UP & HAIR
AMERICAN HUSTLE Evelyne Noraz, Lori McCoy-Bell
BEHIND THE CANDELABRA Kate Biscoe, Marie Larkin
THE BUTLER Debra Denson, Beverly Jo Pryor, Candace Neal
THE GREAT GATSBY Maurizio Silvi, Kerry Warn
THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG Peter Swords King, Richard Taylor, Rick Findlater
ALL IS LOST Richard Hymns, Steve Boeddeker, Brandon Proctor, Micah Bloomberg, Gillian Arthur
CAPTAIN PHILLIPS Chris Burdon, Mark Taylor, Mike Prestwood Smith, Chris Munro, Oliver Tarney
GRAVITY Glenn Freemantle, Skip Lievsay, Christopher Benstead, Niv Adiri, Chris Munro
INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS Peter F. Kurland, Skip Lievsay, Greg Orloff
RUSH Danny Hambrook, Martin Steyer, Stefan Korte, Markus Stemler, Frank Kruse
SPECIAL VISUAL EFFECTS
GRAVITY Tim Webber, Chris Lawrence, David Shirk, Neil Corbould, Nikki Penny
THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton, Eric Reynolds
IRON MAN 3 Bryan Grill, Christopher Townsend, Guy Williams, Dan Sudick
PACIFIC RIM Hal Hickel, John Knoll, Lindy De Quattro, Nigel Sumner
STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS Ben Grossmann, Burt Dalton, Patrick Tubach, Roger Guyett
BRITISH SHORT ANIMATION
EVERYTHING I CAN SEE FROM HERE Bjorn-Erik Aschim, Friederike Nicolaus, Sam Taylor
I AM TOM MOODY Ainslie Henderson
SLEEPING WITH THE FISHES James Walker, Sarah Woolner, Yousif Al-Khalifa
BRITISH SHORT FILM
ISLAND QUEEN Ben Mallaby, Nat Luurtsema
KEEPING UP WITH THE JONESES Megan Rubens, Michael Pearce, Selina Lim
ORBIT EVER AFTER Chee-Lan Chan, Jamie Stone, Len Rowles
ROOM 8 James W. Griffiths, Sophie Venner
SEA VIEW Anna Duffield, Jane Linfoot
THE EE RISING STAR AWARD (voted for by the public)