Thursday, February 27, 2014

2013 Awards Circuit: Nebraska Review

2013 Awards Circuit

Nebraska Review
The 2013 Awards Circuit will be a collection of reviews of films that are in some kind of award running within the months of January through March. Not only will this prepare me for the big night (AKA Oscar Night), but it will also allow me to catch up with some of the critically acclaimed films I missed in 2013. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoy watching and writing them.

"Nebraska" is an offbeat  comedy about a man named Woody Grant (Bruce Dern) you thinks he won a million dollars. However, his son (Will Forte) deduces that it was junk mail his father found in his mail box. Woody's mind no longer goes all the up to the top floor and he dedicated to going to Lincoln Nebraska from Montana to collect his winnings. So he recruits his son (named David) so that he can drive him from Montana to Nebraska to collect the money. David ends up learning a lot about his father as they pass through his hometown on the way to collect the fake earnings.

This film was directed by Alexaner Payne and I think this could possibly be his best directoral work to date. I say this as a huge fan of "Sideways," I am so convinced that I want to buy "Nebraska" ASAP so that I can watch it and "Sideways" back-to-back. Payne has always been an overly talented artist, but he hit a high note unlike I have ever seen from him before. There is a style to "Nebraska" that is completely addicting. Told in black-and-white, the texture of the film is wonderful to look at. The certain ticks and camera usage in the film is equally stunning. Watching Payne playing with his camera is just half the fun of watching "Nebraska."

I can honestly say that Bruce Dern has a very good shot at winning a golden statue on Sunday. I understand that Lead Actor is always incredibly competitive and I know Leo and Matthew are the favorites right now, but Dern could be a darkhorse win to consider. His work as Woody Grant is absolutely captivating. Woody has had a tough life. He's beginning to lose it mentally, he's a Korean War veteran, he's had problems with alcohol, etc. Dern makes all of his character come to life and more. The mannerisms Dern creates are shockingly realistic. He is the heart and the soul of the entire movie and he relishes it. 

Will Forte is usually a comedy guy. In fact, one of my earliest and fondest memories of Forte was his work as the German brother from 2006's "Beerfest." With all that said, his work in "Nebraska" is a gigantic leap forward in range and talent. This is the most tame and solemn work we have ever seen from Forte, but that is not a bad thing at all. Forte makes himself completely believable as a son trying very hard to support and help his father. Forte is able to make us buy into the emotions he creates and its stellar work. I can't say that I really knew anything about June Squibb before "Nebraska," but she nearly stole the show. Squibb plays Kate Grant, Woody's wife. She has the best dialogue in the entire film and its clear she had a great time delivering it. She is yet another actor I wouldn't count out of the Oscar running quite yet.

For fans of "Election," "Sideways," and "The Descendants," "Nebraska" is another great piece of art by Alexander Payne. All of his best qualities are on display here and he directs an incredible cast of actors. I can already tell that this Sunday could be a very competitive year for all the major nominations and I can't wait to see how it all shakes out. This is further proof of how delightful 2013 was in the theaters and I am glad to have been apart of it.

Also, look for Stacy Keach in a small but effective role in this, he nails it. I cannot wait to see him "Sin City: A Dame To Kill For" later this year.


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