Without doubt, 2013 offered up many excellent reasons to visit the local cinema. Films tackling such weighty subject matter as H.I.V, slavery, and, well…weightlessness, and Hollywood a-list studs trading in there six packs and super hero capes for cinched belts, and super glued comb-overs, have left us with an exceptional list of nominees for the upcoming 2014 Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild awards. Such a tightly packed group of outstanding films, and so many mesmerizing, indeed often surprising, performances, make it even more difficult than usual to single out any one over the other to take home the prize. With that acknowledgment in mind, here are my picks for the winners in some of the major categories.
SCREEN ACTORS GUILD AWARDS
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
This category is as close a call as any, with superb performances delivered across the board. However, for me it comes down to two nominees, Chiwetel Ejiofor for his portrayal of Solomon Northtup in Fox Searchlight’s 12 Years A Slave, and Matthew McConaughey for his role as Ron Woodroof in Focus Feature’s Dallas Buyers Club. Both actors did great justice to their films delicate subject matter, turning in equally sensitive and moving performances. Although I was blown away by McConaughey’s remarkable transformation as a gaunt and recalcitrant AIDS patient, I have to give the edge to Ejiofor for the simple, and often brutal honesty of his performance.
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
With names like Streep, Dench, Blanchett, Thompson and Bullock, this category certainly wins the award for “Most Intimidating List of Nominees”. Great company aside, the award should go to Cate Blanchett for her role as Jasmine, in Sony Picture Classic’s Blue Jasmine. As a woman on the edge, Blanchett delivers a brilliant, textured performance that leaves the audience both exhausted and spellbound.
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
Jared Leto for his portrayal of Rayon Dallas Buyers Club. Nuff said….
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
As hard as it is, at times, to watch, Lupita Nyong’o’s hypnotically heartbreaking portrayal of the slave girl Patsey in 12 Years A Slave makes it even harder to turn away, and places her at the forefront of an impressive group of veteran nominees.
Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
Another difficult one to call, considering the incredible level of talent and number of powerhouse performances among the nominated casts. I’m going to go with Columbia Picture’s American Hustle for the sheer joy of watching an entire cast stretch, bend, push and fling themselves into out of the ordinary roles, creating extraordinary performances as a result.
GOLDEN GLOBE AWARDS
Best Motion Picture, Drama
The outstanding performances delivered by the entire cast – in particular those of Chiwetel Ejiofor and Lupita Nyong’o mentioned previously – are more than enough to put this film in serious contention for the Best Picture nod. Add to that the sometimes brutal, often tragic and always unapologetic storyline, delivered with paradoxical elegance by such exquisite cinematography, and there is no doubt that 12 Years A Slave comes out the winner in this category.
Best Motion Picture, Musical Or Comedy
Once again, for the utter pleasure of watching such collaborative versatility and commitment, I have to go with American Hustle as my pick to take the prize in this category.
Best Actor In A Motion Picture, Musical Or Comedy
From the first moments of the film where Batman teases his comb over to accommodate an ill-fitting toupee and then seals the deal with spirit-gum, I was completely riveted by Christian Bale’s performance in American Hustle. I have always admired Bale’s talent and this adventurous departure from the norm did nothing but bolster that admiration. Bale maintains an understated honesty and delivers a nuanced and restrained performance in a role that could have easily been taken over the top in the hands of a lesser talent.
Best Actress In A Motion Picture, Musical Or Comedy
Uhhh….Meryl Streep. Nuff said…
For the same reasons the film is worthy of Best Drama, I think Steve McQueen will take the this award for his superlative direction of 12 Years A Slave (And, I mean, c’mon his name is Steve McQueen….)
Hard to challenge John Ridley for 12 Years A Slave, but since I gave McQueen the best director award, I’m going to go with Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell for American Hustle as the dark horse duo to take this category.
The Golden Globe Awards can be seen this Sunday January 12, 8pm ET, on NBC and the Screen Actors Guild Awards on the following Saturday, January 18, 8pm ET, on TNT and TBS.
In addition to being a writer, Mr. Billig is also a Juilliard trained actor, a twenty plus year veteran of both stage and screen, and a longstanding member of SAG-AFTRA, and the ACTORS EQUITY ASSOCIATION.