Caitlin Rickard: The road to gold

With the Olympics winding down this week, I’m sure the throngs and throngs of you who read this column believe the title to be related to this year’s winter affair in Sochi.
Feb 26, 2014
Caitlin Rickard

With the Olympics winding down this week, I’m sure the throngs and throngs of you who read this column believe the title to be related to this year’s winter affair in Sochi.

Do you know whom you’re talking about?

First of all, the Olympics are actually really boring – I wish I had more room to explain, but I fear I would put myself to sleep in the process anyway.

Second, the winter games are like the sad, backup excuse the Olympics came up with in order to garner more money and hype for the impending summer games. I’m sure the Olympic committee or whoever is in charge was like, “We’ve just got to show places like Sochi, Russia, some love!” Why? Have you guys seen the pictures of the conditions from over there?

Now that I’ve rambled and wasted half of mine and your time and most of my space, I’ll reveal my true intentions: a preview of next week’s 86th annual Academy Awards.

Fear not fans, there will also be a follow-up story next week to quench your thirst on Sunday evening’s event, as well as to inform you of the new Oscar winners and, more importantly, to reminisce on the best outfits and worst speeches.

And while Amy Poehler and Tina Fey don’t have hosting duties for this soiree, the next best possibility for this scenario does: Ellen DeGeneres. The clear winner for best daytime talk show host in my book, Ellen will undoubtedly bring tons of humor and fun to the show, so I’m really looking forward to what she has up her sleeve.

Yesterday, the Academy announced the full list of presenters for the evening and let me say, it’s a doozy. I can’t begin to name every celebrity set to grace the stage or imagine how hoity-toity that party is going to be. Presenters range from classics like Glenn Close, Harrison Ford, Sidney Poitier and Goldie Hawn to crowd pleasers like Anne Hathaway, Channing Tatum, Brad Pitt and Kate Hudson. And that’s only the tip of the iceberg in the field of 50.

Additionally, the Oscars are known to differentiate itself by throwing in a bit of pizzazz with memorable musical performances, usually those numbers up for Best Song. Queue past acts from Adele, Beyonce, and Barbra Streisand, to name a few.

This year, Pharrell, U2, Pink, Bette Midler and Idina Menzel are among the so-far stellar list set to take the stage. If you haven’t heard “Let It Go” from Frozen, be prepared for Menzel to knock your socks off and move you to tears.

And finally the main event: the awards honoring the year’s best efforts in film and acting.

I won’t bore you with my speculation and assessments of each, but I will offer my favorites. I’ll further entice you by sticking to the main core topics of acting and film and won’t divulge on categories like directing, sound effects and foreign language film, though I did watch one of the foreign films, in French, in it’s entirety, and it was amazing. But, I digress.

Spoiler (and sad fact): my opinion in no way alters the voting or outcome.

For the lead actor, I don’t know how you choose. Christian Bale gained 40 pounds for American Hustle, Matthew McConaughey lost 40 pounds for Dallas Buyers Club, Leonardo DiCaprio did more drugs than the 1970s and ‘80s decades combined and Chiwetel Ejiofor was physically and psychologically tortured and hung portraying a slave in the 1800s.

The actresses this year took slightly less of a beating. Amy Adams had to slip in and out of accents and Sandra Bullock was strung into wires and hoisted for 16 hours a day pretending to be in space. Then there’s Meryl Streep. However, these will all give way to this year’s undoubted champion (quote me on this), the regal Cate Blanchett will win for Blue Jasmine. The film is not for everybody, but her role in it is.

In the supporting categories you will see two of these four on stage: Barkhad Abdi, Jared Leto, Jennifer Lawrence or Lupita Nyong’o. Personally, I believe it will be the two that are a little easier to pronounce, but not for that reason, but because J-Law again brought it in her role for American Hustle and because Leto plays a pretty flawless woman for a guy that’s in a rock band in real life.

As far as my top films on the year, I’ve got to stick with American Hustle, August: Osage County, Captain Phillips, Gravity, Her, 12 Years a Slave and The Wolf of Wall Street. I realize this is six of the nine nominees up for Best Picture, but hey, with those odds, the winner is bound to be one of my choices.

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