Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Oscars: First Half of 2014 Ends with a Few Possibilities and Lots of Hope


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…

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedmanhttps://www.showbiz411.com
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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