12 Years a Slave: Based off the 1853 memoir written by Solomon Northurp. Director Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave follows the story of a free black man from New York who is abducted by slave traders and forced to work on plantations in Louisiana. This film is not for the faint of heart, vividly depicting the brutal and savage reality of slavery in the South. Winner: Best Picture; Actress in a Supporting Role (Lupita Nyong'o); and Adapted Screenplay.
Dallas Buyer’s Club: Matthew McConaughey gives arguably his best performance as Ron Woodroof, a wild-living rodeo cowboy diagnosed with HIV and given only 30 days to live. Ron’s determination to fight the disease leads him to the discovery of alternative treatments, and eventually the creation of an underground pharmaceutical operation for fellow AIDS patients who are discontented with their current treatments. The movie deals with strong themes of endurance, dignity and the will of human beings to survive. Winner: Best Actor (Matthew McConaughey); Actor in a Supporting Role (Jared Leto); and Makeup and Hairstyling.
Gravity: After the tragic destruction of their shuttle, medical engineer Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) and astronaut Matt Kowalski (George Clooney) lose all communication with Earth and must fight for survival by plunging deeper into the vastness of outer space. This cinematographic masterpiece by Alfonso Cuaron is, if nothing else, a visual treat for the eyes.Winner: Best Director (Alfonso Cuaron); Original Score; Cinematography; Film Editing; Sound Editing; and Sound Mixing.
Blue Jasmine: After the failure of her marriage to a wealthy New York businessman, narcissist Jasmine Francis moves in with her middle-class sister and struggles to adjust her life to one without wealth or privilege. Director Woody Allen strikes again with a film that seamlessly mixes dark comedy and heavy-handed drama. And Cate Blanchett does a superb job in leading an exceptional cast. Winner: Best Actress (Cate Blanchett).