Part 2 of our Oscars Best Picture preview ahead of Sunday evening's ceremony when this year's Academy Awards get handed out... VOTE at the bottom for your favourite to win the top prize...
Quentin Tarantino loves an homage - whether it's to 1970s gangster flicks, wartime blockbusters or, in this case, the good old western. As with all his projects, he's managed to court controversy with this one, fielding questions about American history with his tale of a black slave taken under the wing of a bounty hunter. Nobody's got any problem, though, with the scene-stealing antics of Tarantino's favourite actor, German Christoph Waltz, hoping to repeat his Oscar success for 'Inglourious'... And I haven't met a single person to have come out of a 'Django' screening with anything bad to say!
Tom Hooper, overlooked in the Best Director shortlist, has obviously put his all into this glorious big screen adaptation of Victor Hugo's book, or rather, the record-breaking musical that bears its name. Anne Hathaway seems all but a shoo-in for Best Supporting Actress for her winsome, toothless take on Susan Boyle's Fantine, but credit must also go to Hugh Jackman for his compassion and strength as Valjean, and even Russell Crowe, channelling all his musical insecurities into a surprisingly effective Javert. And with Eddie Redmayne crying, loving and singing all the while, too... well, what's not to love? It's an exhausting, emotional rollercoaster of films LIKE THEY USED TO MAKE... and no doubt, in any other year, etc etc...
Life of Pi:
One of this year's several 'unfilmable' books to have made it to the big screen, under the awe-inspiring vision of Ang Lee. Once again, this respected director has managed to be both poetic and epic, even working with a make-believe tiger. His best choice of all, though, was in his decision to give the role of Pi, on whom everything depends, to the untested Saraj Sharma, a debut actor who knocks it out of the park. This may be a sentimental choice for Best Picture in a year of a politics and history, but Ang Lee is one of the front runners to pick up the personal gong in his category...
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