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March 1, 2014 - 9:14pm

The Filter Staff Picks: 2014 Academy Awards



Allen Donne

Best Picture: “12 Years A Slave”
It’s easy to neglect an ugly portion of American history. “12 Years A Slave,” however, forces us to not only examine that ugliness but witness it. We sympathize with the inhumanity that Northup, the protagonist, and other slaves face. We see slavery through another lens. The film is uncomfortable and brutal but, above all, beautiful in its execution. “12 Years A Slave” is probably the only picture everyone must see on the list of nominations.

Best Actor/Actress: Leonardo DiCaprio
After about 20 years, it’s finally going to happen: Leonardo DiCaprio will win an Oscar. This prediction may be clouded by my own pity for him, but DiCaprio’s role in “The Wolf of Wall Street,” was so dynamic and convincing. Audience members saw the character transformation of a regular American wanting to make it on Wall Street. In the process, Jordan Belfort (the protagonist played by DiCaprio) becomes clouded by money, drugs and women. We saw him rise and fall. He was funny when he needed to be and pitiable in tough times. The Oscar committee should just give it to him.

Best Supporting Actor/Actress: Jennifer Lawrence
While Jennifer Lawrence fulfilled her role and more in “American Hustle,” she may win the Oscar for displaying her versatility. Lawrence, known more for both her approachable personality and role in “The Hunger Games,” was persuasive in her character. Playing the wife of a cheating con-artist, Lawrence is unpredictable, crazy and the “Picasso of passive-aggressive karate.” It was a side many had never seen from the actress. Given this and the fact everyone seems to love her, she will probably win the Best Supporting Actress.

Best Animated Feature: Frozen
Anyone who doesn’t believe “Frozen” is the best animated feature must’ve been living under a rock for the past few months. This was the best Disney animated film to link songs cohesively since the Disney Renaissance. Everyone talked about the film. Everyone sang its catchy songs – they even ended up on the radio. Everyone asked each other if they wanted to build snowmen just because of this film. “Frozen” even achieved the milestone of being the third highest grossing animated movie of all time. It’s simply not a competition.

Chloe Gilke

Best Picture: “12 Years a Slave”
It may have been painful to watch, but “12 Years a Slave” was a visceral masterpiece, and easily the best picture of 2013.

Best Actor: Matthew McConaughey (“Dallas Buyer’s Club”)
Matthew McConaughey singularly erased disastrous rom-com Failure to Launch from my pop culture memory with his powerful turn as a AIDS patient/drug dealer in “Dallas Buyers Club. Sorry, Leo-- maybe next year.

Best Actress: Meryl Streep (“August: Osage County”)
Picking between Meryl Streep and Cate Blanchett is like asking a mother to pick only one favorite child. But her performance in “August: Osage County” was absolutely electric, so I think Meryl might edge Cate out on this one.

Best Supporting Actor: Jared Leto (“Dallas Buyer’s Club”)
“Dallas Buyers Club” actor sweep, please. Jared Leto’s performance is heartbreaking and lives up to all the hype.

Best Supporting Actress: Lupita Nyong’o (“12 Years a Slave”)
Lupita Nyong’o is an absolute powerhouse, but J. Law could “hustle” a win as well.

Best Animated Picture: “Frozen”
Disney’s best in years. If this one doesn’t win, I don’t think I will ever be able to “let it go!”

Lejla Bajgoric

Best Picture: “12 Years A Slave”
The emotional impact and brutal honesty of the film are its distinguishing qualities. If the winner is chosen based on impact, “Slave” is sure to continue the momentum from the Critics’ Choice Awards and snag the Oscar.

Best Actor/Actress: Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club) and Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine)
Both McConaughey and Blanchett executed their roles in such memorable, meaningful ways. This does mean, unfortunately, that Leonardo DiCaprio (The Wolf of Wall Street) will be walking away from the Oscars empty-handed once again.

Best Supporting Actor/Actress: Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club) and Sally Hawkins (Blue Jasmine)
Continuing the trend from best lead role, I suspect that the Supporting Actor/Actress category will be dominated by films Dallas Buyers Club and Blue Jasmine as well – by Jared Leto and Sally Hawkins, respectively.

Best Animated Film: “Frozen”
The latest Disney princess tale, with its twists, turns and stimulating plot all orchestrated in musical form, stands out as the strongest contender in this year’s list of nominees.

Adam DePollo

Best Picture: “Her”
I have to admit that I didn’t actually see “12 Years a Slave,” and seeing as it’s at the top of just about every list for this category, I must be missing something. But, of the films I did see, “Her” wins by a landslide. The film was visually stunning, but combine Spike Jonze’s directing with one of Joaquin Phoenix’s best performances and you have nothing short of a masterpiece.

Best Actor/Actress: Matthew McConaughey (“Dallas Buyers Club”) and Amy Adams (“American Hustle”)
Both Matthew McConaughey and Amy Adams delivered powerful performances this year, truly becoming their characters on the screen. McConaughey’s personality, in particular, really meshed well with his role as an AIDS patient-turned-drug smuggler in “Dallas Buyers Club.”

Best Supporting Actor/Actress: Jared Leto (“Dallas Buyers Club”) and Lupita Nyong’o (“12 Years a Slave”)
Leto underwent even more of a transformation than McConaughey in preparation for his role as an AIDS-stricken transgender woman in “Dallas Buyers Club” while delivering an equally potent performance. I already admitted to not having seen “12 Years a Slave,” but by all accounts Nyong’o’s performance was electrifying, so I’ll agree with Chloe here.

Best Animated Picture: “The Wind Rises”
I’m going to have to go with the dark horse in this category. “Frozen” was unquestionably one of the best Disney movies in years, but Hayao Miyazaki is a master filmmaker and, seeing as “The Wind Rises” is supposedly going to be his final film, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Academy picks it to honor his long career of making exceptional movies.