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Sunday, February 16, 2014

2014 Oscar Preview: Best Actor

- Bruce Dern (Nebraska)
- Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years A Slave)
- Christian Bale (American Hustle)
- Leonardo DiCaprio (The Wolf of Wall Street)
- Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club)

SHOULD BE HERE: Joaquin Phoenix (Her)

The hipster in me wants to say Michael B. Jordan for his work in Fruitvale Station, but Phoenix was just too good to ignore (unless you're the Academy of course!). Phoenix has been doing such outstanding work recently, that he's bordering Daniel Day-Lewis status for excellence.


CHEWETEL EJIOFOR: Ejiofor was really good in 12 Years A Slave, but nothing about it wow'd me like it did many others. Before the Golden Globe and SAG nominations, many people put Ejiofor as the favorite to win this award this year. Maybe because I was down on the film as a whole, maybe because this wasn't a "showy" performance, or maybe just because I'm a hater, but I didn't think Ejiofor did THAT great of a job. This nomination is well deserved for this long time "bit part" actor, but I personally don't mind that Ejiofor isn't winning all these awards down the stretch.

CHRISTIAN BALE: I took my wife to see American Hustle, and when the opening credits rolled and "Christian Bale's" name came across the screen, she turned to me and said, "Christian Bale was in that movie?! Who did he play?" That goes to the testament of how good Bale was in the film. Sure, he looked completely different, but everything about him was different. He immersed himself in the role, and was rewarded with another Oscar nomination. I don't think he's bordering Daniel Day-Lewis territory per se, but Bale is becoming the next Gary Oldman and spreading his acting range.

LEONARDO DiCAPRIO: I though DiCaprio not only gave the best performance of 2013, but the best performance of the year. I think people will look at this performance the same way Emmy voters look at Jon Hamm's performance on Mad Men, and think it's easy. But I disagree. There was a lot of nuance to his performance. I think it also helped that I'm in love with The Wolf of Wall Street and immediately bought the book after I saw the film. DiCaprio is always really good at his craft, but he showed his humorous side to him, and the funniest scene in 2013 was the physical comedy of DiCaprio trying to get into his Lamborghini. Being funny is not easy, and DiCaprio played it, and so many other things, so damn well.

MATTHEW McCONAUGHEY: The McConaisseance has arrived! The Renaissance for Matthew McConaughey is splendid and wonderful, and I wish it came sooner. He's trying and experimenting new things, and stepping outside of his rom-com comfort zone to the glorious benefit of moviegoers. In Dallas Buyers Club, McConaughey plays a homophobic cowboy in Texas during the 1980's who gets diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. You can still see the charming McConaughey underneath his skin and bones, but the pain behind his eyes and the choices he makes shows us this new side to him. On one hand, it's kind of weird to think that a guy who has acted and starred in as many movies as McConaughey has has never earned an Oscar nomination before his year, but then you look at most of the movies that he's starred in, and the reason becomes apparent. Mathew McConaughey is now in full swing to this second part of his career, and the future looks bright for him. I expect many more nominations for him to come.

BRUCE DERN: Nebraska tells the story about an elderly man, Woody Grant (played by Dern), who goes on a road trip with his son (played by Will Forte) to Lincoln, Nebraska to try and collect a million dollars he thinks he's won based upon a mailing that was sent to him. While Dern doesn't say a lot (in fact, it's a running joke in the movie that the Grant men are men of little words), it's extremely emotionally charged by his body language and his eyes. You can always tell what he's thinking even though Dern rarely speaks. While I personally wouldn't have him in my Top 5, but I can't make an argument why he doesn't deserve this nomination either. It's a great performance, and one that I wouldn't be upset in the slightest if he actually won.

- Christian Bale (American Hustle)
- Joaquin Phoenix (Her)
- Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club)
- Leonardo DiCaprio (The Wolf of Wall Street)
- Michael B. Jordan (Fruitvale Station)


WHO SHOULD WIN: Leonardo DiCaprio (The Wolf of Wall Street)
WHO WILL WIN: Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club)

What was your favorite male performance of 2013?

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