Oscars 2014 – Best Actor

For the “What is Acting” portion of this post, please refer to my previous post HERE!

I wish everyone in this category could win, because they were all that good. But I guess being a “nominated” actor is not a bad thing either. It will have to do, for four of them.

There are two front runners here, and it is impossible to say for sure who has the greater chance at the Oscar, it could go either way. But no matter who wins, it would be a well-deserved win.

And the nominees are…

Christian Bale – American Hustle


Ok, so I have made no secret about the way I feel about this film and everyone in it, so it is only a repetition when I say what I must say…OMG I looove Christian Bale in this film!!!

I could not believe how he made himself look in this film. And OMG…he totally, and I mean completely embodied this guy that is nothing like the Christian Bale we know. I find Christian to be one of the awesomest actors of our time. He completely becomes his characters and is never the same way twice…except when he is playing Batman sequels. Do you want to see a talented actor at work? See Christian Bale!

Christian Bale was born in Pembrokeshire, Wales on January 30, 1974, to an English-born mother, Jennifer (James), and a South African-born father, David Bale, whose own parentage was English. Christian’s father was a commercial pilot, and the family lived in different countries throughout Bale’s childhood, including England, Portugal, and the United States. Bale acknowledges the constant change was one of the influences on his career choice.

His first acting job was a cereal commercial in 1983; amazingly, the next year, he debuted on the West End stage opposite Rowan Atkinson in “The Nerd”. A role in the 1986 NBC mini-series Anastasia: The Mystery of Anna (1986) caught Steven Spielberg‘s eye, leading to Bale’s well-documented role in Empire of the Sun (1987). For the range of emotions he displayed as the star of the war epic, he earned a special award by the National Board of Review for Best Performance by a Juvenile Actor.

Bale worked consistently through the 1990s, and toward the end of the decade, with the rise of the Internet, Bale found himself becoming one of the most popular online celebrities around, though he, with a couple notable exceptions, maintained a private, tabloid-free mystique.

Bale roared into the next decade with a lead role in American Psycho (2000), director Mary Harron‘s adaptation of the controversial Bret Easton Ellis novel. In the film, Bale played a murderous Wall Street executive obsessed with his own physicality – a trait for which Bale would become a specialist.

The Machinist (2004) gained attention mainly due to Bale’s physical transformation – he dropped a reported 60+ pounds for the role of a lathe operator with a secret that causes him to suffer from insomnia for over a year.

Bale’s abilities to transform his body and to disappear into a character influenced the decision to cast him in Batman Begins (2005), the first chapter in Christopher Nolan‘s definitive trilogy that proved a dark-themed narrative could resonate with audiences worldwide. The film also resurrected a character that had been shelved by Warner Bros. after a series of demising returns, capped off by Batman and Robin’s massive commercial and critical failure. A quiet, personal victory for Bale: he accepted the role after the passing of his father in late 2003, an event that caused him to question whether he would continue performing.

Bale would earn his first Oscar in 2011 in the wake of The Fighter (2010)’s critical and commercial success. Bale earned the Best Supporting Actor award for his portrayal of Dicky Eklund, brother to and trainer of boxer “Irish” Micky Ward, played by Mark Wahlberg. Bale again showed his ability to reshape his body with another gaunt, skeletal transformation

In his personal life, he devotes time to charities including Greenpeace and the World Wildlife Foundation.

– IMDb Mini Biography

Bruce Dern – Nebraska

AFI FEST 2013 Presented By Audi Screening Of "Nebraska" - Red Carpet

Bruce Dern has such an interesting history. I hope that this film puts him back on the map where he belongs, because he is a really good actor. I am so happy for him that he is nominated. His character in this film had me cracking up in parts but also brought home the very real reality about caring for our aging parents, wanting to spend more quality time with them and wanting to know more about their past and what brought us all to this present moment. We don’t always face this truth or want to, but it’s glaring us in the face and Bruce Dern put in an excellent performance portraying it.

Bruce Dern had established himself as the movies’ premier heavy, playing sociopaths, psychotics and just plain criminals by the time he was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for Coming Home (1978). Some perceptive critics had noted that Dern was a finer actor than his roles generally allowed one to believe, repelled as one was by the neurotic persona that Dern was able to project and that casting directors capitalized on.

Jack Nicholson, a close friend, claimed that Dern was the best of the new breed of actors who had been born just before World War II and were coming into their own in the 1970s. Unlike his screen image, Dern had come from a patrician background: his grandfather had been governor of Utah and a secretary of war under Franklin D. Roosevelt. When allowed to step out of his on-screen persona to assay the millionaire Tom Buchanan in the 1974 remake of The Great Gatsby (1974), he acquitted himself quite well.

Some critics said that “Gatsby” would have been better if Dern rather than Robert Redford had played the title role. Others pointed to his fine work as Nicholson’s brother in The King of Marvin Gardens (1972) to establish a case that he was an underappreciated and underutilized talent. By the time Dern appeared as the cuckolded Marine in “Coming Home,” a consensus had emerged that Dern was a fine actor. He won an Oscar nod for the role, then fell victim to the infamous “Oscar curse” that has claimed other winners, most famously in the case of 1969 Best Supporting Actor winner Gig Young, Dern’s co-star in They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? (1969).

Dern, like Young before him, was determined to break out of supporting roles. Like Young, who had been cast repeatedly as a light comedian in his career, Dern had also become typecast, but as a psycho, surpassing even Anthony Perkins in those types of roles. Dern was determined to break out of the ghetto he had found himself in before “Coming Home.” He failed, and his career suffered.

Up through his Oscar nomination, Dern had starred in 26 films in 11 years since graduating to steady employment in A-pictures withWaterhole #3 (1967). After the 1979 Oscar nod, he would appear in only a dozen feature films in the next 11 years, not counting TV movies. None of them brought him stardom or much acclaim. Dern’s star was seriously dimmed.

Since the 1990 high point of the second wave of his career, Dern has stayed steadily employed, but has never again generated much critical acclaim, nor made any inroads towards reclaiming his crown as the cinema’s premier sociopath. A fine actor, who will be remembered most vividly for such psycho/killer roles such as the rustler leader who gunned down John Wayne in The Cowboys (1972), Dern’s career serves as a cautionary tale for those actors who try to escape the ghetto of typecasting. While nothing restricts an actor’s artistic development as much as typecasting, unless they can turn that type into superstardom, trying to break out of the type can prove to be career suicide.

– IMDb Mini Biography 

Leonardo DiCaprio – The Wolf of Wall Street

Cast member Leonardo DiCaprio arrives for the premiere of the film "The Wolf of Wall Street" in New York

If you have not seen this film, this scene alone gives a pretty good idea of how hateful of a character this Jordan Belfort was. Leonardo captured his essence completely and entirely. He did such an excellent job, I absolutely hated him. Leonardo, like Christian Bale, has an amazing array of awesome and completely embodied performances to his name. And like I said of Christian; Do you want to see a talented actor at work? See Leonardo DiCaprio

Leonardo DiCaprio is an American actor whose portrayal of doomed suitor Jack Dawson in Titanic (1997) made him a generation’s definition of a heartthrob. Throughout his career, DiCaprio has demonstrated a high level of dramatic versatility, from his breakout film role as a mentally-challenged teenager in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (1993), through his work with Martin Scorsese in Gangs of New York (2002) and The Departed (2006). More recently, DiCaprio earned critical notice for his starring roles in Christopher Nolan‘s Inception (2010) and J. Edgar(2011), for which he received a Golden Globe nomination.

Born on 11 November, 1974 in Los Angeles, California, DiCaprio is the only child of Irmelin (Indenbirken) and former comic book artist George DiCaprio. His father is of Italian and German descent, and his mother, who is German-born, is of German and Russian ancestry. His parents signed him with a talent agent when he was a child, and DiCaprio began appearing on a number of television commercials and educational shows. Although the budding actor had small roles in such TV series as Roseanne (1988) and The New Lassie (1989), DiCaprio’s made his film debut in Critters 3 (1991), a low-budget horror movie.

In 1992, DiCaprio joined what became the final season of Growing Pains (1985), playing a homeless boy who was invited to move in with the Seavers. The sitcom’s cancellation coincided with an upswing in his career, including the starring role in the film adaptation of Jim Carroll‘sThe Basketball Diaries (1995) and his heightened portrayal of Romeo in Baz Luhrmann‘s Romeo + Juliet (1996). Although DiCaprio’s Romeo raised his profile with audiences, his turn in the box office record-breaking Titanic (1997) graduated the actor to A-list status.

The majority of DiCaprio’s post-Titanic career demonstrates a high level of selectivity in his choices. In addition to numerous collaborations with Scorsese, DiCaprio has also starred in films directed by Steven Spielberg (Catch Me If You Can (2002)), Ridley Scott (Body of Lies(2008)), and Sam Mendes (Revolutionary Road (2008)), in roles that encompass a wide emotional and dramatic range. This continues to be the case, evident in his upcoming film appearances as a mustache-twirling villain in Django Unchained (2012), soon to be followed by his performance as tragic literary character Jay Gatsby in The Great Gatsby (2013).

As someone who has gone from bit parts in television commercials to one of the most respected actors in the world, DiCaprio has had one of the most diverse careers in cinema. DiCaprio continues to defy conventions about the types of roles he will accept, and with his career now seeing him leading all star casts in action thrillers such as The Departed (2006), Shutter Island (2010) and Christopher Nolan‘s Inception(2010), DiCaprio continues to wow audiences by refusing to conform to any cliché about actors. DiCaprio is not merely a former teen heartthrob turned leading man, he is one of the most respected, daring and challenging actors working today.

DiCaprio is passionate about environmental and humanitarian causes, having donated $1,000,000 to earthquake relief efforts in 2010, the same year he contributed $1,000,000 to the Wildlife Conservation Society.

– IMDb Mini Biography

Chiwetel Ejiofor – 12 Years a Slave


Here is another British actor that is taking the world by storm. The first time I saw Chiwetel was in Dirty Pretty Things and I thought “I like this guy”. I then saw him in “Kinky Boots” a totally different role and I was impressed at the complete switch he had made. This was obviously an actor who knew his craft. Since then, I have seen him in several projects and he has totally convinced me that he really is an actor that knows his craft. I love him in everything he does. Chiwetel is a front runner in this category, but he is up against some stiff competition.

Chiwetel Ejiofor was born in London’s Forest Gate, to Nigerian parents.[10] His father, Arinze, was a doctor, and his mother, Obiajulu, was a pharmacist. His younger sister is CNN correspondent Zain Asher.

In 1988, when Ejiofor was 11, during a family trip to Nigeria for a wedding, he and his father were driving to Lagos after the celebrations when their car was involved in a head-on crash with a truck. His father was killed, but Ejiofor survived. He was badly injured, and received scars that are still visible on his forehead. Ejiofor began acting in school plays at the age of thirteen at Dulwich College and joined the National Youth Theatre. He then got into the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art but had to leave after his first year, after getting a role in Steven Spielberg‘s film Amistad. He played the title role in Othello at the Bloomsbury Theatre in September 1995, and again at the Theatre Royal, Glasgow in 1996 when he starred opposite Rachael Stirling, who played Desdemona.

He has received numerous acting awards and nominations, including the BAFTA Orange Rising Star Award in 2006, five Golden Globe Award nominations, and the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actor for his performance in Othello in 2008. In 2008, Ejiofor was presented with an OBE by Queen Elizabeth II for services to the arts. Ejiofor is known for his portrayal of Okwe in Dirty Pretty Things (2002), The Operative in Serenity (2005), Lola in Kinky Boots (2005), Luke in Children of Men (2006), Dr. Adrian Helmsley in 2012 (2009) and Solomon Northup in 12 Years a Slave (2013), for which he has already received the BAFTA Award for Best Actor.

He is considered “one of the greatest actors of his generation”, and his performance as Othello has been hailed as the best of his generation

Matthew McConaughey – Dallas Buyers Club

Matthew McConaughey

The first time I saw Matthew McConaughey was in Time to Kill and I just loved him then, and I still do now. I respect his choice of roles and the fact that he totally does acting for acting’s sake, choosing to do Independent Films for the creativity instead of sticking to studio films for the big bucks. (See his Independent Spirit Award acceptance speech for Magic Mike here) I love that he is now on HBO in True Detective. I love that he completely throws himself into his roles. He is a front runner in this category but Chiwetel is sure to give him a run for his money. Should be interesting!

Matthew McConaughey, the youngest of three boys, was born in Uvalde, Texas. His mother, Mary Kathleen “Kay” (née McCabe), was a kindergarten teacher, and later a published author, and his father, James Donald McConaughey, was a gas-station owner who ran an oil pipe supply business and once played NFL football for the Green Bay Packers. McConaughey’s mother and late father divorced and re-married each other several times.His ancestry includes English, Irish, Scottish, Swedish, and German. He is a relative of brigadier general Dandridge McRae. McConaughey had a Methodist upbringing.[12][13][14]

McConaughey moved to Longview, Texas, where he attended Longview High School. While in high school, he was voted most handsome in the Longview Lobo Yearbook. Showing little interest in his father’s oil business, which his two brothers later joined, Matthew was longing for a change of scenery, and spent a year in Australia, washing dishes and shoveling chicken manure. Back to the States, he attended the University of Texas in Austin, originally wishing to be a lawyer. But, when he discovered an inspirational Og Mandino book “The Greatest Salesman in the World” before one of his final exams, he suddenly knew he had to change his major from law to film. He graduated in the spring of 1993 with a Bachelor’s degree in Radio-Television-Film. He began his acting career in 1991, appearing in student films and commercials in Texas and directed short films as Chicano Chariots (1992). 

McConaughey started the just keep livin foundation, which is “dedicated to helping teenage kids lead active lives and make healthy choices to become great men and women”. He also rescued various pets stranded after the flooding of New Orleans from Hurricane Katrina


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