Friday, March 28, 2014

More Top-Nominated Films - Part 3

In parts one and two, we've reviewed the twelve most-Cosmo nominated films of 2013. Now it's time for the next six.

Four are historical films -- one from an American literary classic set in the 1920s, one of a murder in the early 1940s, one in the early 1960s (with flashbacks to around the 1920s), and one of a hijacking that occurred not even five years before the film was made. The other two are contemporary dramas (one of which was rather oddly pushed as a comedy at the Golden Globes).

Voters are reminded that they have until Friday, April 18, 2014 by midnight PDT to cast their final ballots. You can vote online.

August: Osage County

Total Nominations: 5
Highlights: Best Actress (Meryl Streep); Supporting Actress (Julia Roberts); Best Drama

For some reason, the film was pushed in the comedic categories for the Golden Globes, but Cosmo voters disagreed and (rightly so) nominated it for Best Dramatic Film of 2013. Meryl Streep is well-beloved by Cosmo voters: in addition to her numerous nominations and awards, she was inducted into the Best Actresses of All Time Hall of Fame years ago. Julia Roberts, on the other hand, has never gotten much love from the Cosmos, but I honestly think this may be one of her best performances to date. The entire cast is excellent and well deserving of their Best Ensemble nomination. And the sharp dialog makes this film a worthy contender for Best Script.

My Rating: 4 stars

The Great Gatsby (2013)

Total Nominations: 5
Highlights: Best Historical Film, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design

When I previously reviewed The Great Gatsby, I wrote, "There are some classics that should never be touched. But Robert Redford’s 1974 adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby is not so perfect that it should be sacrosanct." And in truth, I found Baz Lurhmann's take to be much more engaging that Robert Redford's phoned-in performance. But that said, it's a beautiful film (evidenced by its technical nominations) but the story itself is a bit overhyped (witness its Most Overrated nomination). Nevertheless, I enjoyed it.

My Rating: 3 1/2 stars

Kill Your Darlings

Total Nominations: 5
Highlights: Best Film, Best Actor (Daniel Radcliffe), Best Supporting Actor (Dane DeHaan)

Kill Your Darlings, though ostensibly about a murder, is really a historical look at Allen Ginsberg's coming of age. As I wrote before, Radcliffe is transformative as Allen Ginsberg, and his chemistry with DeHaan is palpable. I have no doubt that Radcliffe has successfully transitioned to an accomplished adult actor and will enjoy a long, varied career. As a character study and a peek at a bit of history in the 1940s, Kill Your Darlings is triumphant.

My Rating: 4 1/2 stars

Captain Phillips

Total Nominations: 4
Highlights: Best Director, Best Actor (Tom Hanks), Best Historical, Best Action/Adventure

I'll be honest, I kinda didn't care about seeing this one. I do like Tom Hanks (some Cosmo voters think he's overrated, but I'm not one). But the previews didn't seem that compelling to me. And when Academy voters passed him over for a Best Actor nod, I thought I might pass on it, too. But then we got it through Netflix and I'm so glad I gave it a chance. Tom Hanks really is brilliant. Without spoiling anything, there's a scene near the end where he really earns his nomination (he barely edged out Robert Redford for the last Best Actor slot). Definitely recommended.

My Rating: 4 stars


Total Nominations: 4
Highlights: Best Supporting Actor (Matthew McConaughey), Best Young Actor (Tye Sheridan, Jacob Lofland)

What a year Matthew McConaughey has had, culminating in winning the Best Actor Oscar for Dallas Buyers Club. But while some pundits were also pushing him for Best Supporting Actor for The Wolf of Wall Street (an enjoyable performance that honestly was little more than a cameo), I was pushing him in that category for Mud. But let's focus for a moment on Tye Sheridan, who, as I wrote before, shines as Ellis, the young teen who, with his friend Neckbone (Jacob Lofland) discovers a loose-with-facts homeless outlaw named Mud (McConaughey) while seeking the wreck of a boat and the potential for ensuing adventures. Sheridan is my clear favorite for Best Young Actor, and I can't wait to see what he does next.

My Rating: 4 stars

Saving Mr. Banks

Total Nominations: 4
Highlights: Best Actress (Emma Thompson), Best Young Actress (Annie Rose Buckley), Best Historical, Best Musical

Emma Thompson and Annie Rose Buckley were both nominated for playing the same character: Buckley as the young girl Ginty, and Thompson as the woman she grew up to be, the Mary Poppins author P. L. Travers. It's an enjoyable film, though I must say it's a weak year for musicals when a film with barely any music, and all of it heard before, can earn a Best Musical slot. Tom Hanks missed out on a Supporting Actor nod here, but it was a fine performance. Ignored by many critics (and Cosmo voters, too), but worthy of mention is Colin Farrell. My opinion of him changed completely after A Home at the End of the World. He's fantastic in Saving Mr. Banks, even if the critics have focused on the excellent performances of the film's other stars.

My Rating: 3 1/2 stars

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