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Who should take home an Oscar?

Chris shares his picks for the Academy Awards

film critic

Published: Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Updated: Wednesday, February 26, 2014 23:02

chris campbell

Mikayla Kapp photo

Christopher Campbell

The Academy Awards ceremony airs on ABC at 6:30 p.m. Mountain Standard Time on March 2. Having reviewed all but one film nominated for Best Picture on my blog — that film being “Philomena” because it was never in Logan — I decided to write my predictions for who and what will win this year.

First of all, know that what I think and what the Academy thinks are probably different. According to Oscars.org, the awards are decided among people in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. These are professionals who work in the film industry, who know exactly what it takes to make great movies.

I myself am just a film critic, an outside observer. The only experience I have had in filmmaking, aside from YouTube videos, is as an extra in “High School Musical 3,” and that is hardly enough experience to know exactly how people in the Academy think. While I will try to put myself in their shoes, my own biases are also going to be there.

Another thing to note is that I am not listing all of the awards. I have not seen every single film that was nominated for every single thing, and even if I did, listing all of them would take up way too much space. A more complete list, including the best actors and actresses, will be on my blog within the next few days: criticalchristopher.blogspot.com.

Writing Original Screenplay

Nominees: Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell for “American Hustle”; Woody Allen for “Blue Jasmine”; Craig Borten and Melisa Wallack for “Dallas Buyers Club”; Spike Jonze for “Her”; Bob Nelson for “Nebraska”

My choice: Spike Jonze for “Her”

When I first heard of this film, I thought it sounded very weird. When I started seeing excellent ratings for the film, I became incredibly curious, and when it finally came to Logan, I had to see it.

The script is so well-written and the characters so well-developed that it makes a very odd concept believable. The story is ultimately about a man who has an intimate relationship with his computer in a not-too-distant future when artificial intelligence is real. That definitely sounds like a stupid premise, but once the computer starts talking, I could see why he would fall in love with “her.”

Writing Adapted Screenplay

Nominees: Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke for “Before Midnight”; Billy Ray for “Captain Phillips”; Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope for “Philomena”; John Ridley for “12 Years a Slave”; Terence Winter for “The Wolf of Wall Street”

My choice: Terence Winter for “The Wolf of Wall Street”

The film is about the rise and fall of a very shady Wall Street tycoon named Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio). While it is very long-winded — at just more than three hours long — and filled with a little too much sex and nudity for my taste, it was written in a very unique way. It is one of those movies that knows it is a movie.

There are several scenes in which DiCaprio’s character breaks the fourth wall to talk to the audience. His language is conversational, and it is easy to see why people would fall for his charm. The film shows how despicable he is, but the dialogue makes him likeable.

Directing

Nominees: Martin Scorsese for “The Wolf of Wall Street”; Steve McQueen for “12 Years a Slave”; Alexander Payne for “Nebraska”; Alfonso Cuaron for “Gravity”; David O. Russell for “American Hustle”

My choice: Steve McQueen for “12 Years a Slave”

McQueen’s direction for this film is uncomfortable to watch, which is one of the reasons the film is so great. It is about a very serious issue that needs to be remembered so we, as human beings, do not do it again. One scene from this film that sticks out to me involves a man waiting in a very precarious situation. It is one long shot that takes about two minutes of him just standing there, trying to survive.

Best Picture

Nominees: “American Hustle”; “Captain Phillips”; “Dallas Buyers Club”; “Gravity”; “Her”; “Nebraska”; “Philomena”; “12 Years a Slave”; “The Wolf of Wall Street”

My choice: “Dallas Buyers Club”

This was a very hard choice for me. While some of these films are better than others, it all came down to four: “Dallas Buyers Club,” “Gravity,” “Her” and “12 Years a Slave.” If “Dallas Buyers Club” does not win, I am confident it will be one of the other three.

While “Dallas Buyers Club” is not the best constructed movie, it is socially relevant and very eye-opening. It deals with AIDS in the 1980s, when the disease was still newly discovered. It discusses the incorrect assumption people had at the time that only homosexuals could get AIDS, and it goes into how unfair the Food and Drug Administration can be. Furthermore, it portrays homosexuals very tastefully. They are very human in the film, and this fact is not polarizing no matter what political orientation one may have. Overall, I walked out of the theatre with the feeling that I had learned a lot.

Christopher Campbell is a fellow Aggie film buff who has written reviews for several publications. He has been involved in the National Society of Collegiate Scholars (NSCS) and Psi-Chi. He is currently majoring in psychology and minoring in Portuguese. Send any feedback to topherwriter@gmail.com, check out his blog at criticalchristopher.blogspot.com or follow him on Twitter @ChrisCampbell02. 

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