Nom­i­nees hob­nob ahead of Os­cars

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - OBITUARY -

on Fri­day, Mon­day’s lun­cheon was a chance to turn on the charm by prais­ing the Os­cars, the Academy of Mo­tion Pic­ture Arts and Sciences and the magic of Hol­ly­wood film­mak­ing.

“I’m go­ing to cel­e­brate no mat­ter what,” said Matthew McConaughey, the pre­sumed fron­trun­ner for best ac­tor for his role as an un­likely AIDS ac­tivist in the low-bud­get Dal­las Buy­ers Club, for which he won the Golden Globe and Screen Ac­tors Guild awards.

“This is my first time nom­i­nated and if I ever get nom­i­nated again, who knows,” he added. “But there will never be another first time, so I’m go­ing to en­joy this.”

Cate Blanchett, the fa­vorite to win best ac­tress for her role as a dis­graced so­cialite in Woody Allen’s Blue Jas­mine, said this nom­i­na­tion “cer­tainly took me by sur­prise. You’re part un­con­scious when you’re work­ing deeply, but it’s al­ways a thrill, par­tic­u­larly be­cause I’ve been away from the film in­dus­try for so long.”

Chal­leng­ing films

This year’s nom­i­na­tions re­flect a field crowded with high-qual­ity films and a large num­ber of strong per­for­mances that re­sulted in no­table ex­clu­sions. At the lun­cheon, many at­ten­dees lamented that Tom Hanks was not there for his ac­claimed role in the So­mali piracy thriller Cap­tain Phillips.

For the nine films nom­i­nated in the best pic­ture cat­e­gory, odds ap­pear to be strong­est for the bru­tal slav­ery drama 12 Years A Slave, space thriller Grav­ity and 1970s cor­rup­tion ca­per Amer­i­can Hus­tle, which have all won top prizes in the awards sea­son and lead the Os­car nom­i­na­tions.

One chal­lenge fac­ing 12 Years A Slave is the rep­u­ta­tion it has earned as a film that is hard to watch. But Bri­tish di­rec­tor Steve McQueen said he be­lieved he was win­ning the bat­tle against that no­tion.

“It just shows you that au­di­ences are in­ter­ested in chal­leng­ing films. Au­di­ences are in­ter­ested in films that give them a per­spec­tive of their his­tory,” said McQueen.

Ac­tor nom­i­nees made a point of prais­ing their di­rec­tors for their good for­tune, like best ac­tor nom­i­nee Leonardo DiCaprio and best sup­port­ing ac­tor nom­i­nee Jonah Hill, co-stars in Martin Scors­ese’s tale of fi­nan­cial greed The Wolf Of Wall Street.

“Money is never a con­cern to work with peo­ple like Martin Scors­ese,” said Hill, who took a pay cut and worked for union scale wages for his role as a drug-ad­dled swin­dling side­kick. “I would do what­ever ... I would paint his house if he asked me to.”

Producers for the 86th Academy Awards gave ad­vice on ac­cep­tance speeches at the show, hosted this year by co­me­dian Ellen DeGeneres: de­liver some­thing heart­felt and mean­ing­ful rather than a list of peo­ple to thank and make it quick.

At the lunch, though, nom­i­nees played it cool about their chances and what a win would mean for their ca­reers.

“Every­body re­gards the Os­cars as the ul­ti­mate stamp of ap­proval,” said Ny­ong’o, the Kenyan ac­tress nom­i­nated for her role as the hard­work­ing slave Pat­sey. “I don’t know. I guess, we’ll see.” – Reuters

‘every­body re­gards the Os­cars as the ul­ti­mate stamp of ap­proval,’ says 12 yearsaSlave nom­i­nee Lupita Ny­ong’o. ‘I guess, we’ll see.’ — aFP Photo

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