It’s that time of year again: awards season! Arguably the most extravagant and revered of all the awards shows has to be the Academy Awards, best known as the Oscars. Some very iconic films have had the distinguished honor of receiving a coveted Oscar in the 86 year run of the annual show. With all the amazing movies that released in the last year, there’s only so much time and money one has to see – and it’s practically impossible to see every single one of them, even the Oscar nominated ones alone! Haven’t seen all (or ANY) of this year’s nominated films? Treat yourself during a spare moment or make it a luxurious date night (sans kids – unless you’re checking out Frozen) to catch up so you can root for your favorite fair-and-square come March 2nd.
Here are five must-see Oscar nominated movies:
12 Years a Slave
Like the title suggests, “12 Years a Slave” is not a light-hearted watch. The movie, set in pre-Civil War United States, tells the story of Solomon Northup, a free black man who is abducted and sold into slavery. For twelve years, he endures cruelty from his malevolent owner as well as experiences kindness from the most surprising of places. Best Supporting Actress nominee Lupita Nyong’o shines like the star she is in her breakout performance.
Some movies star relative unknowns… and “American Hustle” is not one of them. Powered by the likes of Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams, Christian Bale and Jennifer Lawrence, the comedy-drama – loosely based on the 70s/80s FBI ABSCAM operation – is about two con artists (Christian Bale and Amy Adams) who are forced by an FBI agent (Bradley Cooper) to set up a sting operation on the corrupt politicians, including the mayor of Camden, NJ (Jeremy Renner). Jennifer Lawrence rounds out the bunch as Christian Bale’s unpredictable wife – and did we mention Bradley Cooper’s Jheri curls?!
Welcome to the age of technology: where an Oscar caliber movie tells the love story of a man and his new operating system. Spike Jonze’s futuristic love story “Her” is perfectly cast with Joaquin Phoenix as lonely writer Theodore Twombly who falls in love with “Samantha,” a Siri-like operating system, voiced by Scarlett Johansson. As strange as the premise may sound, the film is funny, sweet and Joaquin Phoenix slays his performance.
Wolf of Wall Street
Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese team up once again for another masterpiece – and this time they’ve brought on Jonah Hill to join in on the fun! Based on Jordan Belfort’s memoir of the same name, the movie chronicles the life of a wealthy New York stockbroker (Leo DiCaprio) and his inevitable fall involving crime, corruption and the federal government. (We’re not-so-secretly hoping Leo finally wins an Oscar for this one!)
Based on the real-life 2009 hijacking of the Maersk Alabama, “Captain Phillips” brings to the big screen the experience of being hijacked by Somali pirates. Tom Hanks breathes life to the title character as Alabama’s commanding officer Richard Phillips who has to save his crew after their unarmed cargo ship is taken over, led by Somali pirate captain Muse. The film takes you on a suspense-filled journey, complete with a gripping finale!
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