Sometimes I wish they'd split these categories up into Drama and Comedy like the Golden Globes does. There are so many good roles, but it's really rare for this to go to a comedic one.
Amy Adams is the lone nominee without a previous Oscar to her name, but she'll probably have to wait a little bit longer unless there is an upset. She has 5 nominations now. This is her first nomination for a leading role, but its probably the weakest role she's been nominated for so far. It works fine within the context of the film but nothing about it jumps out as a star turn, the way she did in Doubt and The Master. Still, she's a great actress who will probably get her day at some point.
People seem to be particularly down on Sandra Bullock in Gravity, and maybe they could have cast it better in a perfect world, but I didn't have much of an issue with her performance. Everything else about the film was sold so well that everything worked.
Like Jacki, I haven't seen August: Osage County, so I can't say much about it, so that just leaves us with Cate Blanchett and Judi Dench, neither of whom can seem to ever do any wrong and I'm really kind of in awe of both of them.
Amy Adams – American Hustle as Sydney Prosser
Cate Blanchett – Blue Jasmine as Jeanette "Jasmine" Francis
Sandra Bullock – Gravity as Dr. Ryan Stone
Judi Dench – Philomena as Philomena Lee
Meryl Streep – August: Osage County as Violet Weston
I know Cate Blanchett will win, and she was really great in Blue Jasmine, but my heart is kind of with Judi Dench here. Philomena really stuck with me a lot more than Blue Jasmine did, so by virtue of it being a better film, I'll go with Judi Dench as Philomena Lee.
And now on to the fellas...
Has anyone ever turned their career around in such a short span of time as Matthew McConaughey? He used to do nothing but shit, now he does nothing but gold. Mud, Dallas Buyers Club and a smaller role in The Wolf of Wall Street from the guy who was in the likes of The Ghosts of Girlfriends Past. It's really a remarkable turnaround, one I don't think anyone ever saw coming. He really does light up the screen in Dallas Buyers Club, and the only reason I'm not picking him is not because he wasn't good but just because someone else was a little bit better. It happens. But I think he'll have a nice consolation prize tonight to sooth this Orlando Weekly snub.
Christian Bale is in a similar situation, but to a lesser extent. He was the best part of American Hustle (well, aside from Louis CK's incomplete story and the science oven), but it's not as strong a role as the rest.
Agg, sorry to say it Leo, but you're in the same boat. The Lemmons scene is goddamn genius but the film didn't hold together for three hours.
The first thing I ever remember seeing Bruce Dern in was The 'Burbs. As a 10 year old I thought he was great in that and as a 30 year old I thought he was great in Nebraska. I guess you'd have to call that range?
Chiwetel Ejiofor brought everything he had and put out an all-time great performance, one that will probably be talked about for the rest of our lives and beyond.
Christian Bale – American Hustle as Irving Rosenfeld
Bruce Dern – Nebraska as Woody Grant
Leonardo DiCaprio – The Wolf of Wall Street as Jordan Belfort
Chiwetel Ejiofor – 12 Years a Slave as Solomon Northup
Matthew McConaughey – Dallas Buyers Club as Ron Woodroof
I'm torn between Bruce Dern and Chiwetel Ejiofor, but leaning towards Ejiofor as Solomon Northup enough to call him the winner here.