Happy New Year, everyone! Things are definitely getting exciting in this year's Oscar race. I've managed to catch a few more contenders (although I still have plenty left to see), all potential Best Picture nominees:
American Hustle is a fun romp and should see itself mentioned several times when the nominations are announced this coming Thursday morning. Along with a likely Best Director nomination, David O. Russell will probably garner nods for a few of his actors, Christian Bale and Jennifer Lawrence, particularly, both of whom have Oscars on their mantles from previous Russell films.
August: Osage County is another ensemble acting feast. Meryl Streep seems assured of yet another nomination, and Julia Roberts could receive her first nomination since her Erin Brockovich win well over a decade ago.
12 Years a Slave is to slavery what Schindler's List is to the Holocaust, and knowing the Academy's penchant for epic tragedies of this nature, I expect many nominations for Steve McQueen's beautiful film. In fact, its beauty makes it a real contender in several of the technical categories, too.
Lastly, Philomena may scrape in to the Best Picture list, but it's screenplay has a far better shot, as does its star Judi Dench, who delivers a brilliant performance from start to finish.
It seems unlikely that I'll manage another post before the Oscar nominations are announced, but at the very least, I'll try to get my nomination predictions posted by Wednesday night. Let's see how much of a fool I make of myself this year.
Time now to take a look at another Best Picture nominee from the 1934 race...
The Thin Man
W.S. Van Dyke
Albert Hackett and Frances Goodrich
(based on the novel by Dashiell Hammett)
William Powell, Myrna Loy, Maureen O'Sullivan, Nat Pendleton, Minna Gombell
Former detective Nick Charles (Powell) is approached by inventor's daughter Dorothy Wynant (O'Sullivan) to investigate the disappearance of her father. With the aid of his wealthy wife Nora (Loy) and his trusty dog Asta, Nick reluctantly comes out of retirement, partly for a lark and partly because he can't bear to see the police screw up the investigation.
As a detective story, there's nothing too extraordinary about the plot. Granted, there are some clever twists and turns, but it's relatively brief, rather straightforward and includes the stereotypical detective-invites-all-the-suspects-to-dinner-to-reveal-the-real-culprit conclusion. You might even say that The Thin Man has elements of a procedural TV show if it weren't for the fact that television didn't exist when it was produced.
Powell steals the show, despite some occasional hammy moments, including several scenes which he ends by sporting a gaping open-mouthed expression. I also felt slightly concerned about his possible alcoholism, but he nonetheless scores plenty of laughs from his drunken behaviour, so ... all's well that ends well?