Oscar Olympics 2014 (Men’s Gold Medal Final)
by Stella Braintree
Come watch thespians in their natural (and sometimes Botoxed) state on their ultimate quest for Oscar gold – Lifting our spirits with each muscle flex as they compete for recognition, a possible HBO deal — and even more glory than a Wheaties box — a cut of the gross! See artists oozing blood, sweat and tears to entertain us… make us laugh and cry… unite us for one night a year! (And if you think that’s cool, just wait ’til you see who they’re wearing!)
Viewing any of the below “Best Actor in a leading role” performances may cause sweaty palms; rapid heart-rate; tissue-dabbing-related eyestrain; bloating due to excess popcorn consumption; laughter-induced bladder leakage; a chronic fear of Wall Street traders … and hyper-inspiration.
And the nominees are:
Christian Bale – American Hustle
Over the years, his physical transformations (bulking up for Batman Begins/The Dark Knight; losing 63 pounds for The Machinist) and ease for accents kept him in the spotlight. He won an Oscar for The Fighter (a role demanding major weight loss and a South Boston dialect). For American Hustle (as a con-man forced to join an FBI sting), he sports a comb-over, pot-belly, and speaks thick New-Yawkese, utterly eclipsing himself. (Co-stars Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper got noticed, too!)
Could it be a dark night for Bale, or will he bask in Oscar’s glow?
Bruce Dern – Nebraska
He paid his dues at New York’s Actor’s Studio, pounded Broadway’s pavement, and by the early-‘60s was a television fixture playing chip-shouldered cowboys and degenerate sidekicks. In 1964, he poked his head in the movie door with Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte and Hitchcock’s Marnie. Bruce has worked steadily in TV, earning praise for several films: The Cowboys (with Duke Wayne), They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?, Black Sunday, The Great Gatsby, Smile, and was a Best Supporting Actor nom for Coming Home.
Now he’s up for pull-at-your-heartstrings, Nebraska: a comedy about a cantankerous phantom-sweepstakes winner and his frustrated son (Will Forte; co-star June Squibb plucked a nod). Holy mackerel! Dern’s career hasn’t been so sweet in years – But what’s that they say about older grapes? Btw, his daughter, Laura Dern (mom is Oscar-nom Diane Ladd) got the family acting chops and racked up her own honors.
Will he choose the big sweepstakes prize, or go for the Oscar behind door #2?! Better watch the show!
Need more Bruce? You can see him in the upcoming thriller, Cut Bank.
Leonardo DiCaprio – The Wolf of Wall Street
His fine acting in This Boy’s Life put him on the path to fame; he was still a teen when he impressed audiences with What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. But Leo’s stowaway sketcher in Titanic really drew him into movie stardom. As his range developed, he cranked out Gangs of New York. Catch Me If You Can, The Aviator, The Departed, Django Unchained…
The Wolf of Wall Street is his 5th film directed by Martin Scorsese. His character’s not just a scheming stockbroker, he’s a powertrip personified, and DiCaprio’s performance nabbed him a fourth nom. (Co-star Jonah Hill got his own nod.) Hmmm… An accomplished actor who’s also bankable? Something tells me his career will be a good long-term investment.
Is it Leo’s year to float off with an Oscar? You’ll have to check it out!
Producer? Broadway star? Which hat will he wear next?
The Wolf of Wall Street
Chiwetel Ejiofor – 12 Years a Slave
The handsome London-raised actor performed in theater as a pre-teen. Like Christian Bale and Leonardo DiCaprio, he got noticed by Steven Spielberg, who gave him a role in Amistad. His talent (dude can go from a drag queen to Othello) snagged him such films as Love Actually, 2012, and American Gangster — He’s even won a Lawrence Olivier Award and got an OBE from QEII!
Oh, here’s a tip: His name is pronounced CHEW-ih-tell EDGE-i-oh-for. Think we’ll be hearing that a lot.
Does this Kinky Boots star plan to walk all over his competition? Better tune in!
12 Years a Slave
Matthew McConaughey – Dallas Buyers Club
He’s acted in three Richard Linklater films, including The Newton Boys and Bernie; however, his big break was in 1993’s Dazed and Confused. Soon, he was one of tinseltown’s busiest actors, making such hits as: A Time to Kill, Contact, Magic Mike, The Lincoln Lawyer, Mud. In recent years he began tweaking his appearance, most obvious in Dallas Buyers Club (lost 47 lbs!?!) where he plays a homophobic HIV patient who smuggles medication to save lives. (Co-star Jared Leto also got a nom.)
Matthew’s taken some ribbing for his laid-back off-screen image — The whole “Alright, alright, alright” stoner-boy thing. Forgive me if I refuse to participate…
Then again —
Will he light up the joint with a colorful speech? Guess you’ll have to watch the Oscars!
So, which of the 5 conquering film heroes will capture gold? Who’ll tear up the track to cream the competition? Dern’s a fast runner, but could Ejiofor have the edge? What if Dern and DiCaprio come to blows? What if Judi Dench has to break it up? Might Bale beat McConaughey in the weight loss games? Who’ll stop at nothing to claim victory in the dust?! Who’ll stop me from using bad metaphors?! Whose reaction-face will become the next meme? Oh, man, I’m so stoked right now! Whatever the outcome, let’s cheer ‘em on and hope it inspires next year’s champs!
Best of luck to all the Oscar nominees!
StellaTags: 12 Years A Slave, Academy Awards, American Hustle, Bruce Dern, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Christian Bale, Dallas Buyers Club, Hollywood, Leonardo DiCaprio, Matthew McConaughey, Nebraska, Oscars, Stella Braintree, The Wolf of Wall Street