So I decided to start seeing movies late last year and early this year that looked like they would be nominated for best picture. It turns out that I saw three of the nine nominated and was able to see two more. Since I still don't know who will win at the time of this post, I'll comment on the films compared to one another and when I eventually see all of them I will rank them properly.
12 Years A Slave (2013) - An amazing film. Based on the memoir of Solomon Northup who was freeman living in New York state who was sold into slavery while traveling with other musicians. As the title explains, he spent the next twelve years trying to survive and finally getting back to his family in the north. Great acting by Chiwetel Ejiofor who I am sure will win best actor.
As this was the first of the five movies nominated from this year it is the best, but I do believe that this will win best picture. If not, then it deserved to win best picture.
Gravity (2013) - One of the best science fiction movies I have ever seen. A simple story about astronauts who have to get back to earth after a satellite exploded and is now spewing debris around the planet. The reason it is so good is because it is so simple. You can apply this story to anything else and it would still be a great film. Replace outer space with the ocean and it would still work. Except the special effects were great.
This isn't the best movie of the year, but will win all the technical awards. Of the five I've seen so far it would be third and I don't see it going any lower than that.
American Hustle (2013) - A really good film very, very loosely based on the ABSCAM operation of the late 1970's. Very funny in parts and really enjoyable. Jennifer Lawrence is so good, so funny, if she doesn't win supporting actress it is a crime. The acting was great, the costume and makeup terrific. A great film to watch.
Is this the best picture of the year? I would put it second since I felt that 12 Years A Slave was just a bit better, but there is a chance that this one could win best picture.
Dallas Buyers Club (2013) - A fictitious story based on real events. It takes place in the mid 1980's during the rise of AIDS. The main character gets diagnosed and eventually learns how to make a cocktail of herbs and vitamins that help keep his immune system strong, similar to what is done today. He then starts selling them to people who have AIDS but since the FDA won't allow him, he starts a club where everything is free provided you pay a membership fee. A great film that also reminds us how horrible the FDA is. Jared Leto is probably a lock for best supporting actor.
I would rank this film as fourth but just like Gravity, it will not go any lower. It is a very, very long shot for best picture if 12 Years A Slave and /American Hustle cancel each other out, but the odds of that are very slim.
Nebraska (2013) - A cute story about a semi-senile old man who thinks that a piece of junk mail is a million dollar lottery ticket. He keeps trying to walk from Montana to Nebraska so his youngest son decides to make a road trip out of it to try and bond. Not a strong comedy, more of a dramedy (don't care if it's not a real word, it is now!) which somehow got Bruce Dern nominated for best actor. I don't know how that happened. If anyone deserved recognition it would have been Will Forte who was really great in his role, not sure how he got passed over for that.
This would be ranked fifth and possibly falling a bit lower compared to the other films. It was a good film and falls in the top ten of the year, but it is not the best picture of the year.