The Oscars dispenses its wisdom tonight. By tradition the award for the past year’s best film won’t go to the past year’s best film. This means 12 Years a Slave will probably win. Here’s a quick recap of the movies in contention and what our film critic Deborah Ross thought of them.
Wolf of Wall Street (Martin Scorsese)
‘It’s … three hours of the same events, over and over. Make a ton of money, get totally whacked on drugs, have sex with hookers. Make a ton of money, get totally whacked on drugs, have sex with hookers. And sometimes, for variety: make a ton of money, get totally whacked on drugs, buy a yacht, buy a helicopter, have the hooker stand a candle in your bum…’
12 Years a Slave (Steve McQueen)
Slavery was really really really really really really really bad. Thanks for clearing that up, Steve. Had no idea. I’ll unchain my maid now.
Nebraska (Alexander Payne)
Just because a film is slow, boring and black and white, doesn’t make it good. Don’t let the film buffs tell you otherwise.
Philomena (Stephen Frears)
‘Philomena is based on the true story of an Irish woman searching for the son stolen from her by the Catholic Church 50 years earlier, and although, as a cinematic experience, it could so easily have felt as if you were being repeatedly slapped round the head by a copy of Woman’s Own, it is, thankfully, quite a few notches up from that…’
Her (Spike Jonze)
The one Emily Maitlis really didn’t like.
American Hustle (David O. Russell)
The 70s one. With the hair.
Dallas Buyers Club (Jean-Marc Vallée)
‘Although you’ll have heard that Dallas Buyers Club is fantastic and Matthew McConaughey gives the performance of his career, I know you won’t believe it unless you hear it directly from me so here you are: it is fantastic and Matthew McConaughey gives the performance of his career. In fact, it may be the best performance of anyone’s career. It’ll blow your tiny minds. It blew my tiny mind. ‘That blew my tiny mind,’ I even said afterwards, so it has to be true…’
Captain Phillips (Paul Greengrass)
‘It’s based on the true 2009 story of the hijacking of a US container ship by Somali pirates, and the Navy Seal rescue mission that ensued — pirates, a word of advice: if you are going to kidnap Tom Hanks, America is simply not going to let you get away with it — and my heart was in my mouth throughout…’
Gravity (Alfonso Cuarón)
Now don’t be snobbish. 3D doesn’t mean third-rate. Gravity’s a film that succeeds in extracting excitement from one of the most familiar givens in our universe. And as we all know, to make the commonplace strange is what the greatest art is about. Which is why Gravity probably won’t win.