28 February 2014 - Oscars 2014 coming up
Screenwriting guru Robert McKee on this year's Oscar contenders
Oliver Gettell (The Los Angeles Times)
Asked to examine the storytelling methods of this year's front-runners for the Oscar for best picture — "Gravity," "12 Years a Slave" and "American Hustle" — McKee said each one exemplifies a different, equally valid approach.
"Gravity," McKee said, is "a marvelous piece of action writing" and an example of a classical approach. "There's an inciting incident, things go wrong, it's woman against nature and woman against herself to find the courage to survive. It is a piece of absolute classic storytelling."
"12 Years a Slave," on the other hand, "takes advantage of the fact that this is a biography and, therefore, is able to be a little more minimalist in the storytelling, a little more repetitious," McKee said, adding a bit of jargon: "In genre it's sometimes called a pathetic plot or a plot of suffering, and what's at stake is the character's willpower. … Because [the film] is based upon a biography, the audience's attitude is, 'I don't need a classical story. I need to know in depth what was it really like.'"
Garry Maddox (The Sydney Morning Herald)
There are certainties – you can put the house on Frozen for best animated feature and Gravity for best visual effects – but there are still some delicious questions to be answered.
After acknowledging two movies about American slavery last year – Django Unchained and Lincoln – will Oscar voters honour 12 Years A Slave with best picture? Or will they respond more to the ambition, technical brilliance and philosophical depth of Gravity? Let's start with the big one ...
BEST PICTURE - Rule out Nebraska and Dallas Buyers Club first. Then cross out Philomena, Captain Phillips and the under-rated Her. While two raucous portraits of American life, American Hustle and The Wolf of Wall Street, could spring an upset, the choice is really down to an emotional real-life drama about a man hijacked into slavery and a brilliantly inventive action movie set in space.
Likely winner: 12 Years A Slave.
Should win: Gravity.
An unbearable truth
Betsy Sharkey (The Los Angeles Times)
Come Sunday night, director Steve McQueen's critically praised rendering of the true story of Solomon Northup, a free black man kidnapped and sold into slavery in the Antebellum South, may win the Academy Award for best picture.
So why isn't everyone talking about "12 Years a Slave" around the water cooler, on the street, over coffee?
It is arguably the most revered film in recent memory that so few have seen. Those who do watch it often leave theaters in a hush, finding it difficult to explain how they feel about what they've witnessed on the screen.
And the winner is...
Sean O'connell (Cinema Blend)
Oscar wins tend to lead to bigger paydays for actors, directors and other creative talents. It’s a big part of the reason why the annual Oscar race is as cutthroat as it has become. Having the description "Academy Award winner" ahead of your name drives up your asking price. So we knew that Sandra Bullock – already a huge star – would earn more bank following her Oscar win for The Blind Side. We just never imagined that the sky literally would be the limit for the former Speed star.
Bullock, according to a report in THR, stands to earn more than $70 million for her participation in Alfonso Cuaron’s Oscar-nominated space thriller Gravity… a movie that earned Bullock her second nomination. It will be her biggest payday to date. Bullock reportedly earned $20 million upfront to carry Cuaron’s lost-in-space picture. But the actress brilliantly agreed to take "15 percent of first-dollar gross," meaning the better the movie does (financially speaking), the better Bullock does.
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"28 February 2014 - Oscars 2014 coming up", La Clé des Langues [en ligne], Lyon, ENS de LYON/DGESCO (ISSN 2107-7029), février 2014. Consulté le 07/12/2023. URL: https://cle.ens-lyon.fr/anglais/key-story/archives-revue-de-presse-2014/28-february-2014-oscars-2014-coming-up