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Oscars: Get to know a Best Picture nominee: “The Wolf of Wall Street”


Directed by: Martin Scorsese

Written by: Terence Winter

Main cast members: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie, Matthew McConaughey, Kyle Chandler, Rob Reiner, Jon Bernthal, Cristin Milioti, Jean Dujardin, P.J. Byrne, Jon Favreau, Christine Ebersole, Shea Whigham, and Joanna Lumley

Number of Oscar nominations in total: 5

Other nominations besides Best Picture: Best Director (Scorsese), Best Actor (DiCaprio), Best Supporting Actor (Hill), and Best Adapted Screenplay (Winter)

Notable precursor wins: Won Best Actor in a Comedy/Musical at the Golden Globe Awards, Won Best Actor in a Comedy at the Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards, and Won Best Adapted Screenplay from the National Board of Review

Chances at winning Best Picture: Slim to none, quite frankly

Chances at other Academy Award wins: A shutout is pretty likely, though DiCaprio has an outside chance to pull the upset in the Best Actor race

ANALYSIS OF OTHER OSCAR NOMINEES: 12 Years a Slave, American Hustle, Captain Phillips, Dallas Buyers Club, Gravity, HER, Nebraska, and Philomena

The Wolf of Wall Street is the ninth (and final) film in my “get to know a Best Picture nominee” series, and it’s one last nominee that realistically has to look at the very nomination itself in this category as the only award that it can count on. For the longest time, it was sort of an awards season X factor, as no one quite knew if it would come out in 2013, let alone if it would be Oscar worthy. Well, it got in just under the wire and turned out to be easily the liveliest of the Best Picture contenders, inspiring some early talk that it could win. That hasn’t sustained, but Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio did get nominations as well, with the latter still having an outside chance of a victory in Best Actor. The likely result is a shutout for the movie, but it’s a memorable flick and an out of the box nomination from the Academy, regardless of anything else.

Working in The Wolf of Wall Street’s favor is how enthusiastic fans of the movie are and how successful it has been at the box office. This is a big hit and the most overtly funny flick in the lineup, so it’s able to differentiate itself from a lot of the more independent and serious minded films making up the nominees. The presence of DiCaprio and Scorsese certainly doesn’t hurt either. They took home the big prize once before for The Departed, so they have a track record at least. The odds aren’t on this movie’s side, but it’s definitely not going to be the least voted for of the nominees, I’ll say that.

If you’re looking for something that’s not in this film’s favor, it’s the fact that it has courted controversy like no other nominee this year, as well as the content of the film itself. Some have even mistakenly believed that DiCaprio, Scorsese, and scribe Terence Winter were endorsing the behavior of Jordan Belfort. The problem there is that it took the focus off of the movie, immensely hurting its chances to emerge victorious anywhere. Had it come out a little earlier (like the originally intended November release date, for example), The Wolf of Wall Street might have been able to overcome this bump in the road, but as it stands now, it was a crippling blow. Factor in how this flick pushed the limits of the R rating, and you were likely never going to get enough voters to go for it. Honestly, the nomination itself is applause worthy, considering how out there things got.

the wolf of wall street leo dicaprio 600x350So will this movie win Best Picture? Sadly, it’s got no chance. This is a three horse race between 12 Years a Slave, American Hustle, and Gravity, with no room for anyone else. It is what it is, in that regard. The Wolf of Wall Street is a unique nominee, but it’s not going to be taking home this Oscar. To find out what will win however (and it’s really down to either 12 Years a Slave or Gravity, though American Hustle could certainly pull off the last minute upset), tune in to the Academy Awards, just over a week away now. Stay tuned, as the answers will be coming your way shortly…

That it’s it for my “get to know a Best Picture nominee” pieces, but in the coming days I’ll be looking at the acting categories, so fear not, there’s still more to come!

ANALYSIS OF OTHER OSCAR NOMINEES: 12 Years a Slave, American Hustle, Captain Phillips, Dallas Buyers Club, Gravity, HER, Nebraska, and Philomena

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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