Tropic Sprockets by Ian Brockway
The 2014 Award Season
This past year was a "true story"-ish feast. Here are some of my picks
for the upcoming awards season. Starting with Best Actor, the heat of
the race is between Joaquin Phoenix in Spike Jonze's "Her" and Robert
Redford for his performance in "All Is Lost". Phoenix is a risk taker
and an iconoclast. Redford's performance is also a study in minimalist
drama. He does so much just by the force of expression.
In the Best Supporting Actor category, I think Barkhad Abdi will win,
for his earthy sincerity in "Captain Phillips" but Daniel Bruhl is a
close second for his eerie transformative performance in "Rush". Jonah
Hill's smarmy and arrogant Donnie in "The Wolf of Wall Street" might
For the Best Actress category, Cate Blanchett title role in "Blue
Jasmine" may well be a shoo-in. But let's not count out Emma Thompson as
author P.L. Travers in "Saving Mr. Banks" or Judi Dench as the
Regarding Supporting Actress, look for June Squibb in "Nebraska" or
Sally Hawkins as a touchy sister to Cate Blanchett's Jasmine.
Best Director will prove a closely contested category with such heavy
hitters like the legendary Woody Allen, Paul Greengrass, The Coen
Brothers, David O. Russell and Alfonso Cuaron. This category is a
squeaker and there might even be an upset, being that the diverse and
eclectic Spike Jonze is in the mix for his Kubrickian love story "Her".
If I had to pick a winner, I would bet on Cuaron or Russell; the Academy
often goes for iconic drama masters or blockbuster existential directors
who have made an impact.
The category of Best Picture is a toss up of sorts with so many films
that are all exceptional standing alone. While that is true, my visual
senses are telling me that the champion may well be "Gravity" for its
sheer iconic breadth in storytelling combined with a slick and
uncompromisingly visceral cinematography. The quirkily authentic "Inside
Llewyn Davis" is a contender as well as "Captain Phillips" for the
painstaking virtuosic story that no doubt will make you very
uncomfortable---a Greengrass trademark.
While the winners are undetermined as yet, there is no doubt that this
was the year of the "true story" film with many tales ( Blue Jasmine,
American Hustle, The Wolf of Wall Street, and even All Is Lost)
featuring an elitist "one percenter" under duress, which no doubt can be
both a catharsis and a temperature gauge for our national climate. In
nearly every film, we watch the mighty and the moneyed fall and root for
the underdog in his or her plight. These films clearly express that it's
no longer hip to be detached from our collective monsters, fiscal or
2014 is a diverse film year with many diverse authentic and meaningful
Watch for upsets.
Write Ian at firstname.lastname@example.org