It's not too late to catch 2014's Best Picture nominees on Chicago's silver screens.
The 2014 Oscar nominations are out. Even if you’re not one of the 6,000 Academy members to get a ballot, there’s still time to make an informed pick for the all-important category of Best Picture. Catch all nine nominees in these Chicagoland theaters to have your guesses ready before the Sunday, March 2, ceremony.
Dallas Buyers Club at The Logan Theatre | 2646 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Matthew McConaughey lost about 50 pounds to play the role of Ron Woodroof, an AIDS patient who smuggled unapproved treatment drugs from Mexico in the 1980s. He’s assisted by Rayon, a transgender woman played by a 114-pound Jared Leto. The two actors’ physical transformations and emotional ranges drive the drama, which is based on a true story. Additional nominations: Actor in a Leading Role (Matthew McConaughey), Actor in a Supporting Role (Jared Leto), Film Editing, Makeup and Hairstyling, and Writing (Original Screenplay).
The Wolf of Wall Street at Buffalo Grove Theater | 120 McHenry Rd., Buffalo Grove
Like the characters in his other rise-and-fall biopics, Martin Scorsese refuses to judge Leonardo DiCaprio’s Jordan Belfort, the stockbroker who stole millions from investors in a 1990s securities-fraud scheme. Instead, the director uses whirlwind editing and maximalist depravity to suck in his viewers, making them complicit in Belfort’s lust-, drug-, and greed-fueled crimes. Additional nominations: Actor in a Leading Role (Leonardo DiCaprio), Actor in a Supporting Role (Jonah Hill), Director (Martin Scorsese), and Writing (Adapted Screenplay).
American Hustle at Landmark’s Renaissance Place Cinema | 1850 Second St., Highland Park
Continuing the year’s retro trend, American Hustle leads the Academy Awards pack with a whopping 10 nominations. Set against a backdrop of late-'70s sleaze and political corruption, this crime comedy owes much of its energy to the audacious material culture of the era—Jennifer Lawrence’s rendition of “Live and Let Die” also helps. Additional nominations: Actor in a Leading Role (Christian Bale), Actress in a Leading Role (Amy Adams), Actor in a Supporting Role (Bradley Cooper), Actress in a Supporting Role (Jennifer Lawrence), Director (David O. Russell), Costume Design, Film Editing, Production Design, and Writing (Original Screenplay).
Gravity at La Grange Theatre | 80 S. La Grange Rd., La Grange
To say Gravity is action-packed would be an understatement. For 90 straight minutes, Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) is on the brink of death in open space—the only place besides a Dominick's parking lot where no one can hear you scream. Additional nominations: Actress in a Leading Role (Sandra Bullock), Director (Alfonso Cuarón), Cinematography, Film Editing, Music (Original Score), Production Design, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, and Visual Effects.
Philomena at Pickwick Theatre | 5 S. Prospect Ave., Park Ridge
Judi Dench, everyone’s favorite dame, stars in this true tale of an Irish woman searching for the son she was forced by Catholic nuns to give away. Despite the plot’s inherent drama, the film is very much a comedy—thanks to the always-hilarious Steve Coogan, who cowrote the film, in addition to costarring in it. Use this Groupon at Pickwick Theatre to catch the Best Picture underdog. Additional nominations: Actress in a Leading Role (Judi Dench), Music (Original Score), and Writing (Adapted Screenplay).
Her at Classic Cinemas Lake Theatre | 1022 Lake St., Oak Park
Her stands apart from many other sci-fi films by embracing—not indicting—our love of technology. Spike Jonze’s romance between a lonely man (Joaquin Phoenix) and his computer-operating system (the disembodied voice of Scarlett Johansson) is always treated as a genuine relationship rather than a fetish—one that has critics buzzing and Siri seething with jealousy. Additional nominations: Music (Original Score), Music (Original Song), Production Design, and Writing (Original Screenplay).
12 Years a Slave at Landmark's Century Centre Cinema | 2828 N. Clark St.
Adapted from the true story of a free black man kidnapped and sold into slavery in 1841, 12 Years a Slave has practically been deemed required viewing for anyone seeking to understand that brutalities and horrors of American slavery. Additional nominations: Actor in a Leading Role (Chiwetel Ejiofor), Actor in a Supporting Role (Michael Fassbender), Actress in a Supporting Role (Lupita Nyong’o), Director (Steve McQueen), Costume Design, Film Editing, Production Design, and Writing (Adapted Screenplay).
Captain Phillips at AMC Northbrook | 1525 Lake Cook Rd., Northbrook
One of six Best Picture nominees to be based on a true story, Captain Phillips follows the trials of an American ship captain whose unarmed vessel is overtaken by Somali pirates in 2009. Although Tom Hanks as Captain Phillips delivers a predictably strong performance, keep your eye on the four Somali Americans who make their acting debuts as the impoverished, somewhat reluctant pirates. Additional nominations: Actor in a Supporting Role (Barkhad Abdi), Film Editing, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, and Writing (Adapted Screenplay).
Nebraska at Century 12 Evanston | 1715 Maple Ave., Evanston
At first glance, Nebraska appears bleak, filled with black-and-white shots of cornfields and small-town decay. But a surprising tenderness permeates this stark, offbeat comedy, which follows David Grant (Will Forte) and his alcoholic father, Woody (Bruce Dern), on a road trip to Lincoln to claim a dubious “million-dollar prize." Along the way, they stop in Woody's hometown, where David discovers more about Woody's past and attempts to form a stronger connection with him. Additional nominations: Actor in a Leading Role (Bruce Dern), Actress in a Supporting Role (June Squibb), Director (Alexander Payne), Cinematography, and Writing (Original Screenplay).