Carey Mulligan as Daisy Buchanan and Leonardo DiCaprio as Jay Gatsby in Baz Luhrmann’s “The Great Gatsby,” planned for release in May.

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Movies likely to make the best picture list at the 2014 Oscars

  • Article by: GLENN WHIPP
  • Los Angeles Times
  • March 2, 2013 - 8:41 PM


Now that Ben Affleck has shaved his good-luck Oscar beard, we believe it’s safe to officially close the book on the 2012-13 awards season so we can take a peek at the treasures that await. What will the coming best picture race look like? Here are 10 candidates:

“The Great Gatsby” (May 10): Delayed from last year and, like all of Baz Luhrmann’s high-style, high-wire movies, guaranteed to be divisive, “Gatsby” could well be this year’s “Les Misérables” (without the singing) — a lavish, emotionally over-the-top, sweeping spectacle that aims to hold a mirror to modern times. Its schedule bump might prompt some doubts, but “Titanic” moved back its release date, too, and it made out OK. Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, Tobey Maguire.

“Monuments Men” (Dec. 18): It’s a World War II action-thriller about a special platoon charged with saving art from the Nazis. Tension + higher purpose + George Clooney = best picture? That equation worked this year with “Argo,” didn’t it? Director: Clooney. Cast: Daniel Craig, Clooney, Cate Blanchett.

“The Wolf of Wall Street” (late 2013): The fifth collaboration between Martin Scor­sese and Leonardo DiCaprio has sex, drugs and securities fraud, not to mention mob elements, along with a script from Terence Winter, who, judging from his work on “The Sopranos” and “Boardwalk Empire,” knows his way around the subject. Cast: DiCaprio, Matthew McConaughey.

“Nebraska” (late 2013): Director Alexander Payne’s road trips (“About Schmidt,” “Sideways”) never disappoint. This one follows a son reluctantly taking his irascible dad from Billings, Mont., to Lincoln to claim a magazine sweepstakes prize. Likely to be low-key, but that could work in its favor. Cast: Bruce Dern, Will Forte.

“Captain Phillips” (Oct. 11): Tom Hanks plays a cargo-ship captain taken hostage by Somali pirates. Director Paul Greengrass (“United 93,” “Bloody Sunday”) knows how to craft compelling cinema from true stories, and it’s about time the academy recognizes him for something. Hanks’ presence should help pave the way. Cast: Hanks, Catherine Keener.

“Foxcatcher” (late 2013): Director Bennett Miller follows his Oscar-nominated “Moneyball” with an altogether different true story — the relationship between paranoid chemical fortune heir John du Pont and an Olympic gold-medal wrestler who was his longtime friend. For Steve Carell, in particular, this has the potential to be a career-changer. Cast: Carell, Mark Ruffalo.

“Labor Day” (late 2013): While out shopping for back-to-school clothes, a woman and her 13-year-old son come across a bleeding man in need of help. They bring him home and … it gets complicated. Adapted from Joyce Maynard’s poignant, coming-of-age novel. Director: Jason Reitman. Cast: Kate Winslet, Josh Brolin.

“August: Osage County” (fall): The movie has the pedigree — Tracy Letts adapted his Pulitzer- and Tony-winning play about a dysfunctional family coming together after a crisis. And it’s being released by Weinstein Co., so there’s that. But dramas centered on family conflict often turn into tonal train wrecks. An iffy proposition, but, with this year’s Oscar-winning producers Clooney and Grant Heslov on board, it’s one that cannot be discounted. Director: John Wells. Cast: Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Juliette Lewis.

“Gravity” (Oct. 4): George Clooney (he’s everywhere!) and Sandra Bullock play astronauts dealing with a mission gone bad. Alfonso Cuarón (“Children of Men”) is one of our most gifted directors, and this will need critical raves to break through the academy’s tendency to short-sheet sci-fi.

“Fruitvale” (TBD): Indie drama about the last day in the life of Oscar Grant, the 22-year-old Bay Area man shot dead by a transit officer. Like “Beasts of the Southern Wild” last year, “Fruitvale” took Sundance by storm, winning the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award. Weinstein Co. bought the devastating drama at the festival, and based on the buzz and reviews, it probably will become a fixture in the upcoming award season. Director: Ryan Coogler, Cast: Michael B. Jordan, Octavia Spencer.

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