Philomena (2013)- Stephen Frears



In the early scenes of “Philomena” (2013) we learn that recently fired former BBC journalist, Martin Sixsmith (Steve Coogan), isn’t interested in doing “human interest” stories. Fortunately (both in real life and in the movie), he changes his mind and teams with Philomena (Judi Dench), an Irish woman who was forced to give up her son fifty years earlier by the roman Catholic Church as “penance for the sin of fornication”. Philomena (2013)Together, this unlikely pair begin an emotional, heart-wrenching journey to learn the answer to Philomena’s daily question to herself, “Did my son ever think of me?”

To begin their investigative journey they travel to the convent where Philomena birthed her son, and was then forced to work as an indentured servant. Philomena has been here before, but without gaining any clues as to her son’s whereabouts. The nuns, although polite, tell her there was a fire years before, destroying all of their documents. In addition to the lack of information that they are willing to share, the idea of a journalist being involved makes them even colder (if that is at all possible). Feeling that this path is a dead-end, Martin decides to use his former contacts in the United States to help, after learning that many of these children were adopted by Philomena (2013)Americans.

Together, Philomena and Martin travel to Washington D.C. and continue to search, constantly bonding as they attempt to discover his whereabouts. But that is not all that’s going on in this film. It would be easy to say that “Philomena” is a movie about one woman’s life-long search for her lost child, but really there is much more at play. This is a film about forgiveness- about living with ourselves and the decisions that we make. Philomena and Martin are polar opposites. They live their lives differently, look at the world differently, and begin each day with completely independent trains of thought. Philomena (2013)I doubt there are many subjects on which they would agree, at least in the beginning. This movie is just as much about their journey and relationship together as it is about Philomena’s search for her son… and that is why the film works so well. Director Stephen Frears is able to combine the two sides of his movie together beautifully, keeping things moving quickly and efficiently. In fact, he may have moved a bit too quickly. At times the film can seem rushed, with certain aspects being hurried through or glossed over. Perhaps dwelling on some of the more unpleasant aspects would have brought the mood of the plot down a notch, leaving the audience with more of a depressing story, which obviously wouldn’t have been the way Philomena would want it to play out- she would prefer to focus on the positives, spending more time Philomena (2013)smiling.

Enter Steve Coogan, along with co-screenwriter Jeff Pope. Together their screenplay, based on Martin Sixsmith’s book, “The Lost Child of Philomena”, gives its characters and the audience plenty of reasons to smile. The brilliant dialogue holds its audiences attention, and keeps things moving with a somewhat unusual combination of laughs and tears. Of course having Coogan as both screenwriter and leading actor doesn’t hurt either. It is some of his best film work to date, and his performance is as real as they come. Typically I wouldn’t have expected this kind of performance from him, but from here on out I will.

And then there’s Judi Dench. Despite Coogan’s strong performance, it is Judi Dench who steals the show. We all know that her talents as an actress are unlimited, but in “Philomena” she plays a much different role than usual, and perhaps that is what makes it so special. There is an emotional depth to Dench’s portrayal of Philomena (2013)Philomena that is heartbreaking to watch, and an eternal hopefulness and positivity that is inspiring to witness and encouraging to replicate. “Philomena” is not a huge-budgeted, in-your-face extravaganza of a picture. It is subtle, delightful, and heart-warming. Just as I am sure the real life Philomena is herself.

August: Osage County (2013)- John Wells



As the credits begin to roll after watching “August: Osage County” (2013) and you are left sitting in that slightly darkened, manufactured butter smelling theater, you will hear the inevitable murmur throughout August: Osage County (2013)of everybody saying their instantaneous thoughts on the emotional roller-coaster that has entertained them for the last two hours. The one word you will hear most is “dysfunctional,”and a truer word was never spoken. This drama film, based on the play by Tracy Letts (who also wrote the film’s screenplay), is about a dysfunctional family coming together (physically, not emotionally) after the death (apparent suicide) of their patriarch, Beverly (Sam Shepard). His pill-popping, foul-mouthed, cancer-suffering wife, Violet (Meryl Streep), is the kind of over-bearing, loudly opinionated person that everyone hates having to visit, and because of her (as well as her deceased husband’s drinking) their family has become quite estranged over the passing years, providing a backdrop for August: Osage County (2013)plenty of drama, tears, laughter, and disturbances on the most solemn occasion.

The family consists of three daughters. The eldest, Barbara (Julia Roberts), is separated from her husband (Ewan McGregor), and is also trying to raise a teenage daughter (Abigail Breslin), despite the ever-growing distance in their relationship. (Barbara and her daughter are quickly on a path that will lead to a similar relationship as the one Barbara shares with her mother.) Ivy (Julianne Nicholson) is the second daughter, who has remained close to her parents (physically, not emotionally), is still single, but now sees this family gathering as a chance to air some of her true feelings and run away with her secret love. The youngest daughter is the eternally immature Karen (Juliette Lewis) who brings her fiance, the smooth-talking, slick, shady businessman (Dermont Mulroney) along for the fun, or rather the lack of fun.

August: Osage County (2013)

Then there is Violet’s loyal and equally opinionated sister, Mattie (Margo Martindale), her husband (Chris Cooper), and their quiet, yet sweet son (Benedict Cumberbatch) who add some good fun to the mix, especially considering the fact that Mattie doesn’t even really like her son. If that wasn’t enough, we have a Native American caretaker (Misty Upham), who Beverly conveniently hired two days before his death. (Apparently he knew that one sane person was needed under this roof.)

“August: Osage County” is a movie (or rather a play) that has obviously been inspired by the great dysfunctional character studies of the past, such as Tennessee Williams’s “A Streetcar Named Desire”, “Night of the Iguana”, or perhaps more comparably, Edward Albee’s “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”. It’s stories such as these that made a lasting impression on Tracy Letts, and good or bad, he has followed in their footsteps, creating this mixture of pain, sorrow, and family dysfunction.

August: Osage County (2013)

The direction here by John Welles is passable, which is to say there is nothing wrong with it, even if there is a level of inexperience that does shine through. He doesn’t get in the actors’ way, and that is an accomplishment in itself, as this is an actor’s film. The entire cast is perfect. There is not one person who seems out-of-place or feels overmatched. All of these gifted and talented people being in one two-hour movie, mostly shot within the confines of the darkened, sweltering, claustrophobic home could have been disastrous, but because the entire cast comes together, they are able to create an acting clinic, so to speak.

As was bound to happen here, Julia Roberts and Meryl Streep are the two attention grabbers. Their performances (and the miserable characters that they play) are so strong, loud, and dominating that it can actually be hard to see anything else that is happening. The acting that these Hollywood legends do here is perfect- in fact they might be a bit too perfect. The strength of their performances, combined with the already heavy subject matter at hand, creates a film that feels as if you (as the audience) are being weighted down. Every time either one of these talented ladies walks (or fumbles) onto the screen be prepared because you’re about to be taken for a ride.

August: Osage County (2013)

Although the acting is phenomenal, it’s not quite enough to save the overall production. There’s just too much… well, dysfunction to go around. Still, I figure that it will be quite some time before there is another gathering of this much acting talent sharing the screen. Hopefully next time it will be a comedy.

American Hustle (2013)- David O. Russell



“American Hustle” (2013) is a drama film very loosely based on the ABSCAM operation, headed by the F.B.I. in the late 1970’s. Medium level con-man, Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale), and his partner, Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams), get caught by headstrong F.B.I. Agent Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper), and forced to cooperate with the F.B.I. in order to avoid prison. Sydney wants to run, but Irving feels compelled to stay because of his young, overly dramatic (and emotionally unstable) wife, Rosalyn (Jennifer Lawrence), and their son.

Irving and Sydney help DiMaso to set up other con-men, in order to square things with the F.B.I., American Hustle (2013)but when someone mentions that New Jersey Mayor Carmine Polito (Jeremy Renner) might be interested in dealing with a fake sheik that Irving has invented for his scams, things get out of hand. Irving sees the conning of political figures (especially good-natured ones, as Polito has been portrayed) as a risk, but DiMaso, in his pursuit of fame and perpetual achievements, insists on pushing the envelope at all times- even when the mob gets involved.

There is no doubt about it, “American Hustle” is one of the most proficiently made films not only of 2013, but of the last decade. David O. Russell has quickly become one of the most masterfully skilled filmmakers of his day. His direction is flawless, and the style of his craft has been guided by the generations of great directors who came before, paving the way. Russell has proven that he is able to adapt, in order to take on any kind of film and make it entertaining and enjoyable, without lacking any of that sought after “quality”, thus keeping him at the topAmerican Hustle (2013) of the short stack of elite directors working today.

The other thing that Russell (along with his skillful team) has accomplished is the transportation of an audience into another world, time, and place. The screenplay (written by both Russell and Eric Warren Singer) has expertly captured the era with not only the words, but also the characters’ speech patterns and even their thoughts. (The voice-over that is prominent in the early stages of this film are wonderful, and I was quite disappointed as they dissipated with the story’s progression.) The costumes are so good- so flashy- so attention grabbing that I expect many of these styles to come back. (Although I hope not.) The cinematography (Linus Sandgren) gives the film a 1970’s embodiment that almost feels as though the great cinematographer Michael Chapman could have filmed “American Hustle” as a documentary in the late 70’s, sometime between “Taxi Driver” (1976) and “The Last Waltz”. In fact, “American Hustle” feels like a throw-back film to all those gritty, unglamorous opus movies that Martin Scorsese was making 25, 30, or 35 years ago. You almost half expect Robert De Niro to pop out and whack somebody in the middle of the street! Oh, wait.

American Hustle (2013)

Of course the real highlight here is the acting, which from top to bottom is at its very best. Christian Bale is (as expected) superb in a grotesque, but oddly appealing way. Bradley Cooper is also excellent, as we have recently come to expect. Cooper should stick by David O. Russell as he obviously knows how to write parts that will fit his personality so perfectly. American Hustle (2013)Jeremy Renner gets somewhat lost in the shuffle, but not because of any fault on his part. The film is just too packed to allow his character to be noticeable or powerful.

Somehow, even with all three of our leading men doing some of the best work of their careers, it’s the women who steal the show. We know Amy Adams is going to be perfect every time she waltzes onto the screen (which she is), but by constantly challenging herself with roles that push her acting comfort zone, she is only going to continue to get better and obtain more Academy Award nominations. (Five by the age of 39 isn’t too shabby, either.) As if it even needed to be said, Jennifer Lawrence is a scene stealer. I’ve heard some talk that perhaps she’s too young for this role, and there might be something to that general idea, but she is so captivating that you can’t help but be enthralled by her. She is the supporting character in the film, but she is also the one that you remember most when you walk away. (Incidentally, three Academy Award nominations by the age of 23 is pretty impressive in and of itself.)

American Hustle (2013)

With all my praise for “American Hustle” and its achievements, both on a technical level and a professional one, I must admit that I found this film to be lacking in that one hard to describe, intangible area. Some movies have that special something that makes them endearing or exciting, such as last year’s David O. Russell hit “Silver Linings Playbook” (2012). For me, “American Hustle” lacks this magical and sought after aspect. Entertaining? Yes, but not in a way that will stay with us over the long run, despite its virtually flawless design. It is a film that because of so much hard work and dedication will be applauded and recognized in its time, but as the years pass, will be studied more than enjoyed.


Above Suspicion (1943)-Richard Thorpe



It has been said of “Above Suspicion” (1943) that it would have made a great Alfred Hitchcock film. The plotline does bear many similarities to some of Hitchcock’s most beloved films, but it’s hard to know if The Master of Suspense could have created anything better out of this film. Above Suspicion (1943)It brings up an interesting question about whether a director can create something special from little or nothing, or does there have to be something worthwhile from the start?

In 1939, newlywed couple, Richard and Frances Myles (Fred MacMurray and Joan Crawford), leave Oxford for their honeymoon. Richard is recruited through a former friend to work for the British Secret Service in an attempt to locate an unknown man in connection with the invention of underwater magnetic mines. Since they will be visiting Germany while on their honeymoon anyway, they are considered to be above the suspicion of the Nazis. Frances is strangely aroused by the danger and excitement in which they are nowAbove Suspicion (1943) involved, and both are thrilled to be doing their part for the war effort.

They travel first to Paris and then on to Southern Germany, where they find themselves questioning whom they can trust. They meet an older German man (Conrad Veidt) who claims to be a tour guide, a former Oxford acquaintance of Richard’s (Basil Rathbone), and a young, nervous Englishman (Bruce Lester), all who seem questionable at one time or another. With no one to really trust except each other, the Myles’s have a honeymoon that they will remember for years.

Both Crawford and MacMurray are marvelous in this film. It seems as if they really enjoyed and wanted to make this movie, making each of their scenes together enjoyable to watch and enjoy. They excel with their roles, their chemistry together is superb, and merely their presence elevates the entire production. And it’s a good thing they are here because without these two Hollywood stars at the reins, “Above Suspicion” would quickly and quietly fall by the wayside. Above Suspicion (1943)Although the story seems to be written to be something that would remind movie fans of a great suspense story, there are also so many holes here it can be seen through a mile away. As a result, the excitement isn’t exciting, the surprises are anything but, and don’t even get me started on the convenient coincidences that repeatedly happen. (At some point we “just happen” to meet all three of the supporting, mysterious characters at least twice- it’s as if there are only a handful of people in all of Germany!) If that wasn’t enough, the climactic ending seems like it has been thrown together the day of shooting, without ever putting any real thought into the reality of the situation or its believability. “Above Suspicion” has a 90 minutes running time, and it seems as if the filmmakers were told not to go over that number, no matter what shortcuts need to be taken. With another 20 or 30 minutes mixed in, this film could have become much better.

I do like the idea of Hitchcock getting his hands on this film and transforming it into something that is really worth watching, but the truth is that there was probably a good chance he would have seen the inevitable problems with the story and script, and would have decided to pass anyway. Above Suspicion (1943)I suppose that is why we call him The Master of Suspense, and not The Sometimes Suspense Man.

As a closing note, “Above Suspicion” was the final film for legendary German actor Conrad Veidt, who died tragically of a heart attack one month before this film’s release. Although mostly remembered today for his role as Major Strasser in “Casablanca”, he is an actor who should often be admired and studied by true film fans. His body of work is extensive, and his roles are always entertaining to watch, even when (as he so often did) he is playing a villain. This last performance of his is one of my favorites, not because it is his best or most popular, but because he gets to play someone a little different this time around. A someone who seems to be good-natured and upstanding, much like his own admirable self.

Nebraska (2013)-Alexander Payne



Alexander Payne’s new movie, “Nebraska” is about an aging Montana man named Woody (Bruce Dern) who believes he has won a million dollar sweepstakes in Nebraska. He convinces his son David (Will Forte) to drive him out to collect his prize, under protest of his wife, Kate (June Squibb). Actually that’s not at all what this film is about, but it is the background of the story that allows the real plot to emerge. This is really a movie about family, love, growing old, and finding peace within oneself.

Nebraska (2013)

Woody hasn’t ever been a stellar man. He’s not a great husband or father, and never has been. He’s an alcoholic that doesn’t want to stop drinking, and from the looks of things, he drank away any chance that ever existed for himself to live a fruitful life. His son, David, isn’t doing too much better either, which incidentally is one of the reasons why David agrees to drive his father out to Nebraska- to escape his own dreary life for a few days. When Woody drunkenly falls and splits his head open, they decide to hold up for the weekend in one of Woody’s brother’s houses. They also arrange a get together, bringing back all that is left of Woody’s extended family, since he doesn’t pass back through this way often. This fills the film with plenty of laughs at the ridiculous family events that we have all had to endure.

“Nebraska” is what I would call a simple movie about simple people. Of course so many of these characters remind us of people we know, our own families, and even perhaps ourselves, which makes everything that much funnier to watch.Nebraska (2013) The beauty of what Alexander Payne, and screenwriter Bob Nelson have done is that he has filmed in such a simple, uncomplicated style that he has actually enhanced his movie and lifted it to a higher level. It’s not a flashy “Hollywood” movie, and it fits perfectly because these characters aren’t flashy “Hollywood” people. His approach is absolutely brilliant, creating an end result that warms and delights from beginning to end.

It never hurts to have a good cast, and “Nebraska” has a great one. Bruce Dern has quite plainly never been better. He has completely transformed himself into this innocently simple man, and he genuinely seems as if he has lived the hard, pain filled life of Woody Grant. More of this role is done through actions than words, and Dern clearly knows how to evoke emotions that way. There are many scenes where he says nothing, or next to nothing, until finally releasing his one line. Whatever the goal- comedic or sadness- he hits it right on the money.

Nebraska (2013)

The supporting cast is equally good, headlined by Will Forte and June Squibb. Forte gets to play the lost-soul-of-a-son, wandering aimlessly through life with only his father to blame. June Squibb has the juicier role as Woody’s loud-mouthed, foul-talking wife, who has something to say about everything and everybody. She knows all the dirt and is not afraid to air things in the open. She also is extremely loving underneath her hard exterior, and Squibb plays it perfectly.

It’s hard not to be consumed by the world created in “Nebraska” because of the time and care that has been put into the entire production. The black and white cinematography by Phedon Papamichael makes the film feel as if you’re looking through some old photographs, and the music by Mark Orton, of the acoustic musical group Tin Hat, has a brisk, almost whimsical quality that keeps everything lighthearted. It is a film that won’t get old or tired as the years go by because it’s the irresistibly colorful characters and their real-life seeming situations that keep us smiling and laughing- even if it’s really our own lives at which we are laughing.

Her (2013)- Spike Jonze



Throughout my conversations with fellow film enthusiasts over the years, I have often come across those who will scoff at the idea of King Kong and Ann Darrow (Fay Wray) being one of the greatest film romances. If you find that you fall into this category of scoffers, perhaps Spike Jonze’s latest cinematic endeavor, “Her,” (2013) is not the film for you. True, there are no large, savage apes attempting to woo Miss Darrow in this film, but the unlikely romance between a seemingly ordinary man and his sultry, intelligent operating system does prove to be just as complicated…and just as sweet.

Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix) is an average, intelligent man, living in Southern California, at some point in the not-so-distant future. He is a sad, lonely man, trying to come to terms with his separation and pending divorce from his life-long love, Catherine (Rooney Mara).  He works as a surrogate card writer for those who are unable to find the right words to talk to their loved ones, but since his life has begun spiraling downward, he finds that he lacks some of his lyrical creativity from the past.

Her (2013)

In order to bring some order back into his life (or perhaps just to break up the monotony of evenings spent playing video games and having phone sex with random women), Theodore gets himself an operating system who calls herself Samantha (seductively voiced by Scarlett Johansson). There is an instantaneous connection between Theodore and Samantha, but (for obvious reasons) neither of them are quite sure how to move their relationship forward. Theodore embraces his new love, but is wary of the long-term complications that come attached. He does feel somewhat better after sharing the true facts of his new girlfriend with his long-time friend and neighbor, Amy (Amy Adams), who sees the advantages to Theodore’s situation, whilst experiencing marital problems of her own.

The numerous problems that come from having an actual relationship with an operating system seem obvious, but it’s not that simple. After all, every argument that one can make for why it doesn’t work can be thrown right out the window the moment that you see the way Theodore lights up when he hears Samantha’s voice, and by the joy that they share just being together.Her (2013) I can’t sit here and say that it isn’t weird to watch them evolve as a couple, but I would be lying to say that I wasn’t rooting for their love to last.

Of course there are three, somewhat simple reasons, that watching this film and these characters is so easy to do. Firstly, we have the great Joaquin Phoenix. There are a handful of actors working today that possess the dedication and ability to pull off any role at any time, and Phoenix is one of them. So much of this film requires him to sit, or stand, or walk somewhere while talking to Samantha, but the only thing that he can play off of is her voice. There are no eyes to stare into as he tenderly speaks his lines, no mouth to kiss while he lies in bed. He is alone, even when he is with her. In one of many famous scenes in the classic “Singin’ in the Rain” (1952), actress Lina Lamont (Jean Hagan) yells to her director that it’s hard to face the microphone while playing her love scene because, “Well, I can’t make love to a bush!” Perhaps Lina can’t, but Joaquin Phoenix sure can. I don’t even know where he would begin to prepare for a role such is this, and the fact that he makes it looks so easy is a true credit to himself as an actor.

Her (2013)

The second reason is filmmaker extraordinaire Spike Jonze. Love his films or hate them, you have to appreciate his creative abilities. His stories, characters, direction, dialogue, and even his song this time around (The Moon Song) all come from a creative place that most of us will never be able to fathom. He is a true visionary at a time when the cinematic world needs his gift dearly, and “Her” is just his latest in a line of immensely creative films, but it is also his best.

And then lastly we have Scarlett Johansson. Well, not Scarlett herself, but her voice anyway. I have always been of the opinion that voice acting doesn’t fall into the same league as physical acting. Even the best of voice performances can’t capture the same kind of passion and intensity, right? Wrong. In fact I couldn’t have been more wrong. Scarlett Johansson plays a character that is basically trying to prove that she is more than just a voice, and that is exactly what she has done. She is not a just a voice, she is a character, and a well-played one at that.

Her (2013)

“Her” is not a film for everyone, although I think everyone could take something from “Her”. In a world that continues to put technological progress on the front burner, it is not hard to imagine Theodore and Samantha’s world one day becoming a reality. And if their world can be real, so can their unusual, but unorthodox love. And all without any tragic end atop the Empire State Building.

The Academy Award Nominations Are Here! 2013

It’s that time of year again, and the Academy Award nominations have been announced. There were a few surprises, but for the most part everything played out just the way you might expect. 2013 seems to be a year with a handful of great movies, and too many great performances. Of the eight major categories (Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Adapted Screenplay and Original Screenplay) all 44 nominees came from 12 different movies-nine of which are the Best Picture nominees.

Captain Phillips (2013)

At the same time there are some big names missing that many had been expecting like Tom Hanks, Robert Redford, Emma Thompson and Oprah Winfrey. But I suppose that’s what happens when we are given so many wonderful acting performances all in one year. There just isn’t enough room for everyone.

Don’t forget, Oscar Sunday is March 2nd!

Here are the nominees:

Best Picture:

  1. “American Hustle”12 Years a Slave (2013)
  2. “Captain Phillips”
  3. “Dallas Buyers Club”
  4. “Gravity”
  5. “Her”
  6. “Nebraska”
  7. “Philomena”
  8. “12 Years a Slave”
  9. “The Wolf of Wall Street”

Directing:American Hustle (2013)

  1. David O. Russell for “American Hustle”
  2. Alfonso Cuaron for “Gravity”
  3. Alexander Payne for “Nebraska”
  4. Steve McQueen for “12 Years a Slave”
  5. Martin Scorsese for “The Wolf of Wall Street”

Actor in a Leading Role:Dallas Buyers Club (2013)

  1. Christian Bale for “American Hustle”
  2. Bruce Dern for “Nebraska”
  3. Leonardo DiCaprio for “The Wolf of Wall Street”
  4. Chiwetel Ejiofor for “12 Years a Slave”
  5. Matthew McConaughey for “Dallas Buyers Club”

Actress in a Leading Role:Blue Jasmine (2013)

  1. Amy Adams for “American Hustle”
  2. Cate Blanchett for “Blue Jasmine”
  3. Sandra Bullock for “Gravity”
  4. Judi Dench for “Philomena”
  5. Meryl Streep for “August: Osage County”

Actor in a Supporting Role:The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

  1. Barkhad Abdi for “Captain Phillips”
  2. Bradley Cooper for “American Hustle”
  3. Michael Fassbender for “12 Years a Slave”
  4. Jonah Hill for “The Wolf of Wall Street”
  5. Jared Leto for “Dallas Buyers Club”

Actress in a Supporting Role:Nebraska (2013)

  1. Sally Hawkins for “Blue Jasmine”
  2. Jennifer Lawrence for “American Hustle”
  3. Lupita Nyong’o for “12 Years a Slave”
  4. Julia Roberts for “August: Osage County”
  5. June Squibb for “Nebraska”

Animated Feature Film:Despicable Me 2 (2013)

  1. “The Croods”
  2. “Despicable Me 2”
  3. “Ernest & Celestine”
  4. “Frozen”
  5. “The Wind Rises”

Writing-Adapted Screenplay:Philomena (2013)

  1. “Before Midnight”-Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke
  2. “Captain Phillips”-Billy Ray
  3. “Philomena”-Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope
  4. “12 Years a Slave”-John Ridley
  5. “The Wolf of Wall Street”-Terence Winter

Writing-Original Screenplay:Her (2013)

  1. “American Hustle”-Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell
  2. “Blue Jasmine”-Woody Allen
  3. “Dallas Buyers Club”-Craig Borten and Melisa Wallack
  4. “Her”-Spike Jonze
  5. “Nebraska”-Bob Nelson

Cinematography:Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)

  1. “The Grandmaster”-Philippe Le Sourd
  2. “Gravity”-Emmanuel Lubezki
  3. “Inside Llewyn Davis”-Bruno Delbonnel
  4. “Nebraska”-Phedon Papamichael
  5. “Prisoners”-Roger A. Deakins

Costume Design:The Great Gatsby (2013)

  1. “American Hustle”-Michael Wilkinson
  2. “The Grandmaster”-William Chang Suk Ping
  3. “The Great Gatsby”-Catherine Martin
  4. “The Invisible Woman”-Michael O’Connor
  5. “12 Years a Slave”-Patricia Norris

Documentary Feature:

  1. “The Act of Killing”-Joshua Oppenheimer and Signe Byrge Sorensen
  2. “Cutie and the Boxer”-Zachary Heinzerling and Lydia Dean Pilcher
  3. “Dirty Wars”-Richard Rowley and Jeremy Scahill
  4. “The Square”-Jehane Noujaim and Karim Amer
  5. “20 Feet from Stardom”

Documentary Short Subject:

  1. “Cave Digger”-Jeffrey Karoff
  2. “Facing Fear”-Jason Cohen
  3. “Karama Has No Walls”-Sara Ishaq
  4. “The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life”-Malcolm Clarke and Nicholas Reed
  5. “Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall”-Edgar Barens

Film EditingGravity (2013)

  1. “American Hustle”-Jay Cassidy, Crispin Struthers and Alan Baumgarten
  2. “Captain Phillips”-Christopher Rouse
  3. “Dallas Buyers Club”-John Mac McMurphy and Martin Pensa
  4. “Gravity”-Alfonso Cuaron and Mark Sanger
  5. “12 Years a Slave”-Joe Walker

Foreign Language Film:The Great Beauty (2013)

  1. “The Broken Circle Breakdown”-Belgium
  2. “The Great Beauty”-Italy
  3. “The Hunt”-Denmark
  4. “The Missing Picture”-Cambodia
  5. “Omar”-Palestine

Makeup and Hairstyling:

  1. “Dallas Buyers Club”-Adruitha Lee and Robin Mathews
  2. “Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa”-Stephen Prouty
  3. “The Lone Ranger”-Joel Harlow and Gloria Pasqua-Casny

Music-Original Score:Saving Mr. Banks (2013)

  1. “The Book Thief”-John Williams
  2. “Gravity”-Steven Price
  3. “Her”-William Butler and Owen Pallett
  4. “Philomena”-Alexandre Desplat
  5. “Saving Mr. Banks”-Thomas Newman

Music-Original Song:Frozen (2013)

  1. Happy from “Despicable Me 2”-Pharrell Williams
  2. Let it Go from “Frozen”-Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez
  3. The Moon Song from “Her”-Karen O and Spike Jonze
  4. Ordinary Love from “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom”-Paul Hewson, Dave Evans, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen

Production Design:American Hustle (2013)

  1. “American Hustle”-Judy Becker, Heather Loeffler
  2. “Gravity”-Andy Nicholson, Rosie Goodwin and Joanne Woollard
  3. “The Great Gatsby”-Catherine Martin, Beverley Dunn
  4. “Her”-K.K. Barrett, Gene Serdena
  5. “12 Years a Slave”-Adam Stockhausen, Alice Baker

Short Film-Animated:

  1. “Feral”-Daniel Sousa and Dan Golden
  2. “Get a Horse!”-Lauren MacMullan and Dorothy McKim
  3. “Mr. Hublot”-Laurent Witz and Alexander Espigares
  4. “Possessions”-Shuhei Morita
  5. “Room on the Broom”-Max Lang and Jan Lachauer

Short Film-Live Action:

  1. “Aquel No Era Yo (That Wasn’t Me)”-Esteban Crespo
  2. “Avant Que De Tout Perde (Just Before Losing Everything)”-Xavier Legrand and Alexandre Gavras
  3. “Helium”-Anders Walter and Kim Magnusson
  4. “Pitaako Mun Kaikki Hoitaa? (Do I Have to Take Care of Everything?)”-Selma Vilhunen and Kirsikka Saari
  5. “The Voorman Problem”-Mark Gill and Baldwin Li

Sound Editing:All is Lost (2013)

  1. “All is Lost”-Steve Boeddeker and Richard Hymns
  2. “Captain Phillips”-Oliver Tarney
  3. “Gravity”-Glenn Freemantle
  4. “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug”-Brent Burge
  5. “Lone Survivor”-Wylie Stateman

Sound Mixing:The Hobbit

  1. “Captain Phillips”-Chris Burdon, Mark Taylor, Mike Prestwood Smith and Chris Munro
  2. “Gravity”-Skip Lievsay, Niv Adiri, Christopher Benstead and Chris Munro
  3. “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug”-Christopher Boyes, Michael Hedges, Michael Semanick and Tony Johnson
  4. “Inside Llewyn Davis”-Skip Lievsay, Greg Orloff and Peter F. Kurland
  5. “Lone Survivor”-Andy Koyama, Beau Borders and Brownlow

Visual Effects:Iron Man (2013)

  1. “Gravity”-Tim Webber, Chris Lawrence, Dave Shirk and Neil Corbould
  2. “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug”-Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton and Eric Reynolds
  3. “Iron Man 3”-Christopher Townsend, Guy Williams, Erik Nash and Dan Sudick
  4. “The Lone Ranger”-Tim Alexander, Gary Brozenich, Edson Williams and John Frazier
  5. “Star Trek Into Darkness”-Roger Guyett, Patrick Tubach, Ben Grossmann and Burt Dalton