Monday, April 22, 2024

Oscar Race Waits for 3 Hour “Wolf” With Anticipation and Antipathy


Is “The Wolf of Wall Street”  any good? Martin Scorsese has delivered a three hour movie, and the entertainment press won’t see it until Friday. By then we’ll have had awards announced by the New York Film Critics Circle and the National Board of Review, er, Fans (they’re a paid membership non professional group).

Last week, Scorsese screened the film for Paramount execs and friends with a dinner afterwards at ’21’. Over the weekend, Paramount screened “Wolf” for members of the Screen Actors Guild in Los Angeles. It’s hard to say what’s going on here exactly. “Wolf” will be a box office hit. But is it Oscar material or just outrageous, over the top fun?

So now we narrow down the lists without really knowing much about “Wolf of Wall Street.” So it has to stay out of the mix for now. Here’s what I like going into the week.

Best Picture: 12 Years a Slave and Gravity are cinches. So are August Osage County and Philomena. Blue Jasmine remains solid. American Hustle is too good to be left off the list. That’s six films right there. I am still hanging in for The Butler, Nebraska, and Inside Llewyn Davis. That’s nine. The toss ups are Saving Mr. Banks, which isn’t the cinch some think it is, and Dallas Buyers Club. That’s eleven. On the outside: Wolf, plus Lone Survivor, and Her, a movie I really adore. That leaves out Mandela, although not Idris Elba. All is Lost is lost, but not Robert Redford.

Best Actress: Easy peasy. Cate Blanchett, Meryl Streep, Emma Thompson, Judi Dench, Sandra Bullock. Strong sixth place goes to Amy Adams for “American Hustle.”

Best Actor: Without Leo the list is still rough and tumble: Chiwetel Ejiofor and Robert Redford are the killers. Bruce Dern comes in right behind them. Then what? I like Forest Whitaker. And Oscar Isaac. But Matthew McConnaughey is hot. And Idris Elba gave a “towering performance” according to the New York Times. That begs the question about Tom Hanks, whose performance in “Captain Phillips” is as good as anything this two time Oscar winner has done.

Best Supporting Actor: Jared Leto probably has it sewn up from “Dallas Buyers Club.” But there’s Tom Hanks again, from Saving Mr. Banks. And Michael Fassbender from 12 years. Will Forte from “Nebraska.” Barkhad Abdi from “Captain Phillips” is also strong. I also liked Bobby Cannavale from “Blue Jasmine,” David Oyelowo from “The Butler,” and who knows? George Clooney may sneak in from “Gravity.” And don’t forget Chris Cooper’s beautiful work in “August Osage County.”

Best Supporting Actress: Oprah, Oprah Oprah. You can’t beat that performance in “The Butler.” But there’s Lupita N’yongo from “12 Years.” Octavia Spencer and Melonie Diaz from “Fruitvale Station.” June Squibb from “Nebraska.” Sally Hawkins in “Blue Jasmine.” Jennifer Lawrence from “American Hustle.”

Stay tuned, kids. It’s going to be wild couple of weeks.


Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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