Cinema Cindy Reviews: The 2014 Oscars

Cinema Cindy Reviews: The 2014 Oscars
By CYNTHIA BIDDLECOMB

First off, I must say that the one category I felt the most passion about this year was Best Original Screenplay and I am ecstatic the Academy felt as I did, that “Her” was worthy of that award.

This fine screenplay won for subtly exploring human intimacy, how we fall in love, whether artificial intelligence could ever be a substitute for another human being, and showing a lonely soul learning to open his heart. In that way it reminded me of “Lars and the Real Girl.” The screenplay was masterful. congratulations to Spike Jones.

On to the other awards. As anticipated, “Gravity” swept the technical awards: Visual Effects, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing and Film Editing. I should not have been surprised, but truly was, that “Gravity” also took Cinematography, Original Score, and Directing.

These seven awards have made me appreciate all the more, what went into making the film and creating the suspense that had me on the edge of my seat for two hours. Over all, I was very surprised that “American Hustle” did not score a single Oscar.

Its 10 well-deserved nominations will have to be its own prize. “The Great Gatsby,” though not a great rendition of one of my favorite novels of all time, was awarded for its lavish costume design and production design.

I remember thinking after we saw it, that it would have to be considered for those two awards at the very least.

“Dallas Buyers Club” had to win for hair and makeup, given how skilled it was at showing the slow deterioration and physical wasting away of the characters. (They were dying from AIDS.) In the same film, the amazing roles played by Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto were quite deservedly honored by their peers.

Cate Blanchett had stiff competition for Best Actress, but truly deserved the Oscar for her compelling portrayal of a woman slowly coming apart in Woody Allen’s “Blue Jasmine.”

I was especially pleased that “12 Years a Slave” won for Best Adapted Screenplay, given the book it was based on was a memoir published in 1853 and successfully converted to the screen 160 years later, an amazing feat for any screenwriter.

The buzz before the Oscars was that “12 Years a Slave” would take Best Actress in a Supporting Role, and indeed, the lovely Lupita Nyong’o won!

But the surprise was that the buzz about it taking Best Picture also proved to be true. Perhaps, with so many outstanding films nominated for Best Picture this year, and not a one of them head and shoulders above the others, it took a courageous film about one man’s experience of kidnapping and slavery to stand above the rest for speaking truth to this very real American experience.

We all had our favorite films, and many of us chose not to watch this depiction of a horrid chapter in our history, but we have to agree such a film was deserving of recognition.

Beyond these comments, I must add what a joy it was to see some of the greats still walking among us: Sidney Poitier, Kim Novak, Goldie Hahn and others. Ellen DeGeneres did a fine job as host, building community and making the audience relax into the party. The show was well worth the 3.5 hours we spent watching. Now that another Oscars is over, I have some Oscar nominated foreign films and animated films to catch up on!

Editor’s Note: Local film buff Cindy Biddlecomb reviews films for the Los Alamos Daily Post as “Cinema Cindy.”

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