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Friday 22 August 2014

What you really need to know about the Academy Awards

It's the ultimate bluffer's guide to 2014's best films.

Deirdre Reynolds

Published 27/02/2014 | 02:30

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george clooney sandra bullock gravity
'12 Years A Slave'
'Dallas Buyers Club'

Dallas Buyers Club, 12 Years a Slave and The Wolf of Wall Street are just some of the blockbusters battling it out to bag the top prize at the 86th Academy Awards.

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It looks set to be a bumper year for Ireland at the Oscars too after six nominations.

Despite being snubbed at the Golden Globes, Michael Fassbender is tipped to take Best Supporting Actor for his turn as a plantation owner in 12 Years A Slave.

U2 are favourites to nab Best Original Song for 'Ordinary Love' from Mandela: A Long Walk To Freedom. And Philomena is up for four awards. Ahead of the big night, we present the ultimate bluffer's guide to the best films at the Oscars.

American Hustle

(138 minutes)

Who's in it: David O Russell assembles the dream ensemble of Amy Adams, Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence.

The plot in 10 words: Ab-fab look at the '70s Abscam sting.

Oscar hopes: Best Supporting Actress nominee J Law will be hoping not to trip up and make it two-in-a-row.

Do say: "If it's good enough for AO Scott's Top Movies of 2013, it's good enough for me!"

Don't say: "I don't get what all the fuss is about."

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Captain Phillips

(134 minutes)

Who's in it: Tom Hanks and a cast of non-actors including Barkhad Abdi give it socks for director Paul Greengrass.

The plot in 10 words: True story of an American ship hijacked by Somali pirates.

Oscar hopes: Former limo driver Abdi is up for Best Supporting Actor at least.

Do say: "I am the captain now!"

Don't say: "Any relation to Captain Birdseye?"

 

Dallas Buyers Club

(117 minutes)

Who's in it: Jared Leto makes his comeback alongside Matthew McConaughey and Jennifer Garner in Jean-Marc Vallée's flick.

The plot in 10 words: Cowboy Ron Woodroof battles HIV by smuggling drugs from Mexico.

Oscar hopes: Having nabbed the Golden Globes for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor, McConaughey and Leto are the ones to beat.

Do say: "And the McConnaissance continues!"

Don't say: "Man, I wish I was that skinny."

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Gravity

(91 minutes)

Who's in it: Mexican director Alfonso Cuarón captures George Clooney and Sandra Bullock in all their 3D glory.

The plot in 10 words: A medical engineer and astronaut get stranded during a spacewalk.

Oscar hopes: With 10 nominations, it's likely to take home the most hardware.

Do say: "The teardrop scene will blow your mind!"

Don't say: "I saw it in 2D."

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Her

(126 minutes)

Who's in it: Scarlett Johansson's voice stars opposite Joaquin Phoenix in Spike Jonze's 'RAM-com'.

The plot in 10 words: A lonely divorcé falls for an intelligent computer system.

Oscar hopes: Oscar buzz about ScarJo's vocal performance in the flick proved wide of the mark.

Do say: "Something, something, 'existential'."

Don't say: "I tried internet dating once."

 

Nebraska

(115 minutes)

Who's in it: Director Alexander Payne dramedy stars stalwarts Bruce Dern, Will Forte and June Squibb.

The plot in 10 words: A boozed-up OAP believes he's become a junk-mail millionaire.

Oscar hopes: The black and white movie's best hope is for cinematography.

Do say: "If anyone orders Merlot, I'm leaving."

Don't say: "That reminds me to play EuroMillions."

 

Philomena

Who's in it: Judi Dench and Steve Coogan shine in Stephen Frears' adaptation of 'The Lost Child of Philomena Lee' by Martin Sixsmith.

The plot in 10 words: True story of Philomena Lee whose son was forcibly adopted.

Oscar hopes: Nailing a working-class Dublin accent, Dame Judi is the dark horse in the Best Actress race.

Do say: "Pass the Kleenex."

Don't say: "Philo-mania."

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12 Years a Slave

(134 minutes)

Who's in it: Everyone from Chiwetel Ejiofor to Brad Pitt and our own Michael Fassbender took direction from Steve McQueen.

The plot in 10 words: Born free, Solomon Northup was abducted and sold into slavery.

Oscar hopes: Only Dallas Buyers Club can stop it from winning best film, director and actor.

Do say: "I haven't cried as much since Roots."

Don't say: "The book was better."

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The Wolf of Wall Street

(180 minutes)

Who's in it: Scorsese's latest stars Leo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill and lots of naked extras.

The plot in 10 words: Jordan Belfort makes Gordon Gekko look like a saint.

Oscar hopes: Looks like three-time Oscar loser Leo is going to miss out again.

Do say: "Margot Robbie really captured the lasciviousness of '90s Wall Street."

Don't say: "Boobies!"

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Irish Independent

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