Movie Bloggers Roundtable


The Movie Bloggers Roundtable is a new feature where I join up with four esteemed movie bloggers and we share our thoughts on a certain subject. Everyone on the panel will share their thoughts and feelings on the topic of the day and then we share them with you. The panel may change from post to post and hopefully we will get a wide range of opinions and perspectives.

With the Oscar ceremony set for tomorrow night tons of conversations are swirling about the nominees and potential winners. Today we are going to chime in on the big prize – Best Picture. Joining this roundtable is Mark from Marked Movies, Ruth from Flixchatter, Chris from Terry Malloy’s Pigeon Coup, and Sati from Cinematic Corner. I can say without hesitation that I LOVE THESE BLOGGERS. If you haven’t visited their sites you should! So here is today’s Oscar-centered question:

Who WILL win this year’s Oscar for Best Picture and who SHOULD win it?


Keith (Keith & the Movies)

Who SHOULD win Best Picture:
For me this is an easy one to answer. Alfonso Cuaron’s “Gravity” was one of the most captivating and thrilling motion picture experiences I’ve had in a while. The visual artistry on display is unquestionable. Cuaron and his amazing team have created one of the most stunning and stimulating canvases you’ll ever see. But there’s also a stirring story of perseverance and personal rebirth that I found so satisfying. I’ve seen “Gravity” four times and each time I’ve left with a full heart and a full appreciation for Cuaron’s amazing accomplishment. It deserves to win Best Picture.

Who WILL win Best Picture:
While we may have a good race going for the Best Picture Oscar, there’s one film in the running that seems perfectly in line with what the Academy loves. It’s a historical piece, it deals with an emotionally charged subject, and its been a hot topic since its debut. I’m talking about “12 Years a Slave” and I believe it will win the big prize. Thankfully “12 Years” is a really good film. It’s not getting Oscar hype just because of the subject matter. It’s very well-made and it features some breathtaking performances. It’s not perfect, but it’s right up Oscar’s alley and I think it will hold off its competition.

Ruth (Flixchatter)

Who SHOULD win Best Picture:
Gravity. On top of being a technical marvel, it’s a film unlike any other in that it gives you a full immersive experience as you watch it. It’s got drama, suspense, humor, and despite being set entirely in space, an organic quality that’s stirring and emotionally gratifying. It’s a film that will be talked about for years to come, both by film students and casual moviegoers.

Who WILL win Best Picture:
12 Years A Slave. No doubt it’s one of those important films of the decade and made by a filmmaker who’s been a critical darling despite this being only his third feature. Its genre and subject matter of slavery is quite popular in the Academy, and it’s been gaining traction in other award circles.

Mark (Marked Movies)

Who SHOULD win Best Picture:
In what is one of the most hotly contested Oscar races in quite some time, it’s a tough call to predict which film will walk away with the coveted Best Picture award. Frankly, I find it shocking that the Coen brothers’ “Inside Llewyn Davis” never even received a nomination but again, it shows the strength of the competition this year. Personally, I think Spike Jonze’s “Her” should win as it would confirm the academy’s appreciation and support for original filmmaking. I don’t think there’s a more original movie amongst the nominees this year and “Her” certainly stands out on its own terms. That’s being said, it won’t win.

Who WILL win Best Picture:
In choosing the winner I think the academy will be deciding on the importance of the film itself and for that reason it’ll come down to two films; One will be “Gravity” for its astounding achievements and advancements on the use of 3-D but I think that will most likely be recognised in the technical departments, leaving the likes of “12 Years A Slave” to walk away victorious with the big award. The academy seem to love a solid historical drama and Steve McQueen’s film has that edge of quality and importance that will sway the voters’ decision.

Sati (Cinematic Corner)

Who SHOULD win Best Picture:
Gravity. Cuaron’s film is beautiful in every way – a technical marvel with an elegant story that makes the movie so timeless and relatable. It is a wonder and the one that has a heart.

Who WILL win Best Picture:
12 Years a Slave. The Academy loves movies about history, filled with emotional moments. And everyone during this Oscar season seem a bit too afraid to reward something other than ‘the most realistic movie about slavery ever made’.

Chris (Terry Malloy’s Pigeon Coup)

Who SHOULD win Best Picture:
It’s a pretty strong year this year and I don’t think you could begrudge any of the films a win to be honest. Each brings plenty to the table and are all well worth your time. I went back and forth between a few of them as to which I thought should win and I finally decided on Gravity.

I still think it has its problems – The script is dodgy and George Clooney thinks he’s still in a coffee advert, but it’s a film that makes you realise why you love the cinema. It’s one of the most immersive cinematic experiences I’ve ever had and actually makes good use of 3D. Any film that does that deserves to win in my eyes!

Who WILL win Best Picture:
Although there has been talk of American Hustle and Dallas Buyers Club being dark horses for the award, I see it as a straight fight between 12 Years a Slave and Gravity. These were the two cinematic juggernauts towards the back end of 2013/start of 2014 and I’d be very surprised if one of the others won.

It’s difficult to separate them but I think 12 Years a Slave is just going to nick it. It just fits the bill. The setting, the subject matter, the strong performances, the great directing; it’s the kind of thing the Academy normally laps up, and it wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest to see Steve McQueen picking up the well deserved Oscar.

So what is the consensus?

4 of 5 believe “Gravity” SHOULD win Best Picture


A unanimous 5 of 5 believe “12 Years a Slave” WILL win Best Picture

12 years BANNER

I want to thank Ruth, Mark, Sati, and Chris for participating in this inaugural Movie Bloggers Roundtable. You have heard our thoughts, now we want to hear yours. Do you like the feature? More importantly, who do you think SHOULD win Best Picture and who WILL win Best Picture. Please share you thoughts in the comments section below.

Top 5 Performances of 2013 – Lead Actor

A light painting of the year 2013 written against a black background

This is it – the final ‘Best of’ list for the 2013 movie year. For me, narrowing down this particular category to just five was the most difficult of any of these best performance lists. It pained me to leave off so many great performances from 2013, but someone decided that Top 5 lists can only feature five picks so I’m sticking to it. No need to drag this out any further. Here are my five favorite performances from a lead actor:

#5 – Robert Redford – “All is Lost


All is Lost” may be a film that feels too familiar for some but I felt it had more to it than you may first perceive. But regardless of that, no one can doubt the incredible work from 77-year old Robert Redford. It’s such a physically demanding role and we immediately notice Redford’s 100% commitment. But being he is the only cast member, he is tasked with having the audience invest in him and he definitely succeeds. Considering there are only three lines of dialogue in the entire film, it is amazing how much he tells us through expressions and gestures. It’s just brilliant work.

#4 – Bruce Dern – “Nebraska


What a joy is was to watch the great Bruce Dern in Alexander Payne’s “Nebraska“. Dern’s career started in 1960 and since then he has shown a wide range of mostly supporting roles. But here he gives one of the saddest yet most endearing performances of the year. His character isn’t the warmest or the nicest. Yet over time you begin to sense he’s more than we may think. Payne’s script brilliantly hides little details about the character and the audience gets to put the pieces together as we go. But it’s Dern that keeps us fixated and invested. With so many big and showy performances this year Dern probably won’t take home an award. But he’s certainly worthy of one.

#3 – Oscar Isaac – “Inside Llewyn Davis


I’ve always been a fan of Oscar Isaac and I was thrilled to see him get the lead role in the Coen brothers film “Inside Llewyn Davis“. He certainly didn’t disappoint. There are so many things I loved about Isaac’s work. First, he’s the perfect fit for the Coen’s signature unique and slightly offbeat lead character. But Llewyn Davis is much more than that and Isaac masterfully peels back all of these layers. Another beautiful element to this performance can be found in the music. Isaac performed all of his own songs and the musical scenes in the film were all recorded live, never dubbed. It’s just another reason this performance was so good.

#2 – Chiwetel Ejiofor – “12 Years a Slave

12 years

Perhaps the most daring and courageous performance of the year came from British actor Chiwetel Ejiofor. What tremendous work he does in Steve McQueen’s gripping and bold “12 Years a Slave“. There is nothing disingenuous or halfhearted about Ejiofor’s depiction of Solomon Northup. With amazing commitment and a ton of emotion he brings this reflective and unsettling story to life. There are so many scenes that will cut deep and stay with you well after the credits role. You immediately connect with him. You root for him. You hurt with him. If done poorly this role could have sunk the whole film. Ejiofor never allows that to happen.

#1 – Mads Mikkelsen – “The Hunt


Regardless of the criminal omissions by the Award types, Mads Mikkelsen’s performance in “The Hunt” was my favorite of the year. The story itself is tough and unsettling and it needed a good actor to give the film the gut-punch it was looking for. Mikkelsen is the perfect guy. It is painful to watch what his character endures both physically and emotionally. Mikkelsen’s performance invests us in this man’s story, his plight, and his emotional state as things unfold. We watch and shutter as this man’s life is changed forever. This is an immensely crowded field full of great actors and performances. It says a lot that Mads Mikkelsen is at the top of that field. Brilliant work. HONORABLE MENTIONS: Tom Hanks (“Captain Phillips“), Hugh Jackman (“Prisoners“), Christian Bale (“American Hustle“), Joaquin Phoenix (“Her“), Michael B. Jordan (“Fruitvale Station“), Ben Stiller (“The Secret Life of Walter Mitty“), Jude Law (“Side Effects“) So what do you think? Who did I miss or who did I rate too high? Please take time to share your thoughts in the comments section below.