Home Movies Oscars: First Half of 2014 Ends with a Few Possibilities and Lots...

It’s June 30th. The year is half over and, as Sting’s singers shout in “The Last Ship”: “Whadda we got?” Not much, but that’s always the case.

This is totally subjective. I’m going by what I’ve seen so far, not what’s been released. The two may not overlap.

So far there is a smattering of Best Picture candidates. Wes Anderson’s “Grand Budapest Hotel” leads that pack, followed by Richard Linklater’s “Boyhood,” John Carney’s “Begin Again,”  and Amma Asante’s “Belle.”

Two films played in Cannes that seem like cinches down the road this fall: Bennett Miller’s “Foxcatcher” and Damien Chazelle’s “Whiplash.” They are each brilliant. So is the original two-movies-in-one version of “The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby” from Ned Benson. These three films are going to require smart audiences, like from the 1970s. Are they out there? I hope so.

Woody Allen’s “Magic in the Moonlight” is next around the bend in a summer of action fare, super heroes, sequels, and movies about wind up toys.

In documentaries, we’ve had Joe Berlinger’s “Whitey Bulger,” Steve James’ take on Roger Ebert in “Life Itself,” and Mike Myers’ “Supermensch” about Shep Gordon as standouts.

Anyone in the lead for acting kudos? Mark Ruffalo in “Begin Again,”  and “Foxcatcher”; Patricia Arquette in “Boyhood,” Steve Carell in “Foxcatcher,” Gugu Mbatha-Raw in “Belle,” Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy in “Eleanor Rigby,” J.K. Simmons in “Whiplash.”

A special nod to Catherine Keener, just for being herself. She’s a gem as usual in “Begin Again.”

More to come, certainly…

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