Niagara Gazette

Night & Day

February 27, 2014

CALLERI: One sure thing, and a tough best picture race highlight Oscars


Niagara Gazette — If I were an Academy voter, I would choose “The Wolf Of Wall Street.” However, over my strong objection, “Gravity” will be the choice of the members.

There was a time in the land of hype and honey when Chiwetel Ejiofor was the front-runner for best actor. I said he would be nominated in my review of “12 Years A Slave.” His momentum has slowed considerably. Ejiofor has had to deal with Matthew McConaughey’s obnoxious, fast talking, good ol’ boy from “Dallas Buyers Club,” the same annoying, smarmy performance he’s been giving in movies his entire life, except that in this film, he’s much thinner. I’m not a fan of the picture because I reject its presenting the early stages of the AIDS epidemic as an antic caper comedy, and I question its facile take on the Federal government’s role.

Best actor nominee Leonardo DiCaprio gives a bravura comic performance in “The Wolf Of Wall Street.” Christian Bale’s nomination for “American Hustle” is an honorable inclusion and Bruce Dern winning for “Nebraska,” would be the feather in the cap of a wonderful career. He’s the sentimental favorite.

I would vote for DiCaprio. The Academy will select McConaughey.

Regarding the supporting actress category, I wrote that Lupita Nyong’o’s searing performance in “12 Years A Slave” was Oscar material. Jennifer Lawrence (“American Hustle”) has some momentum, and I like Sally Hawkins for “Blue Jasmine” and June Squibb for “Nebraska.” Nyong’o has my vote, and she will win. For supporting actor, Jared Leto, as the transgendered Rayon in “Dallas Buyers Club,” has all the momentum, and he’ll win, although I would vote for Bradley Cooper for “American Hustle.” I didn’t see anything in Leto’s performance that I haven’t seen from other actors playing the same type of character.

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