Salisbury Press

Friday, July 10, 2020

Movie Review: Your Oscar picks are showing

Wednesday, March 12, 2014 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

The 86th Academy Awards are over. The Oscars have been handed out. However, many of the movies that received Oscars are still playing in theaters.

First, though, here's the winner in the annual Lehigh Valley Press Focus section "Readers Pick the Oscars" contest ... the envelope (and-or email), please:

Mary Heber of Catasauqua.

She won by virtue of having the earliest entry because six other entrants also correctly picked all seven Oscar recipients in the contest: Mimi Brunner, New Tripoli; Lisa Kisslinger, Bethlehem; Gail Mosko, Hellertown; Timothy Boscoe, Bethlehem, Michael Nonnemacher, Allentown, and Judith Evens, Bethlehem.

Mary Heber receives tickets to movies at the Roxy Theatre, Northampton, a $50 Penn's Peak gift card and a Press prize package. She declined to have her photo taken for the Focus section.

The Press thanks the dozens who entered the contest.

Many entrants had only one incorrect pick, as did I, choosing, in my case, Amy Adams, when I had initially chosen the best actress recipient, Cate Blanchett, for "Blue Jasmine."

It was a great year at the movies in 2013. It was a record-breaker at the box office. It was a year for critically-acclaimed and or commercially-successful movies directed by and starring African-Americans, as well as for those starring women. And it was a year when six of the nine best-picture nominees were based on real events.

Alfonso Cuaron became the first Latin American director to receive a best director Oscar, for the breath-taking "Gravity," which received six other Oscars, in each of the technical categories it was nominated: visual effects, sound mixing, sound editing, cinematography and editing, as well as for music score.

Steve McQueen became the first black director to receive a best picture Oscar for the agonizingly excellent "12 Years A Slave," for which first-time feature film actor Lupita Nyong'o received a best supporting actress Oscar, and John Ridley received a best adapted screenplay Oscar.

Another big recipient was the insightful "Dallas Buyers Club" with both male nominees receiving statues: Matthew McConaughey, best actor; and Jared Leto, best supporting actor.

Audiences warmed up to "Frozen," which received Oscars for best animated feature and best song ("Let It Go").

Writer-director Spike Jonze received the best original screenplay Oscar for the enigmatic and fascinating "Her."

"20 Feet From Stardom," which gave long overdue recognition to 1960s pop-rock-Motown-R&B backup singers, received the best documentary Oscar.

"The Great Beauty," a glorious larger than life film about life, won the best foreign language film Oscar.

There were major Oscar shutouts.

Director Martin Scorsese's "The Wolf of Wall Street," with five nominations, director David O. Russell's "American Hustle," with 10 nominations, "Captain Phillips" and "Nebraska," each with six nominations, and "Philomena," with four nominations, received not one Oscar.

Snubbed in action with no nominations were Robert Redford, "All Is Lost"; Tom Hanks, "Captain Phillips"; James Gandolfini, "Enough Said," and Forrest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey, "The Butler."

Among the Oscar recipients, as of deadline, that are still playing at movie theaters in the Lehigh Valley are: "12 Years A Slave," "Dallas Buyers Club," "Gravity" and "Frozen."

Among Oscar nominees, "American Hustle," "Philomena" and "The Wind Rises," again as of deadline, are also still playing. Check screen times at area movie theaters. Each of the Oscar recipients, nominees and the aforesaid non-nominees are worth seeing.

Box Office, March 7: "300: Rise of an Empire" ruled, opening at No. 1, with $45 million, keeping "Mr. Peabody & Sherman" opening at No. 2, with a strong $32.5 million, keeping "Mr. Peabody & Sherman" opening at No. 2, with a strong $32.5 million, and putting a stop to the reign of "Non-Stop," dropping to No. 3, $15.3 million, $52.1 million, two weeks;

4. "The Lego Movie," $11 million, $224.9 million, five weeks; 5. "Son of God," $10 million, $41.4 million, two weeks; 6. "The Monuments Men," $3.1 million, $70.6 million, five weeks; 7. "3 Days To Kill," $3 million, $25.5 million, three weeks; 8. "Frozen," $3 million, $393 million, 16 weeks; 9. "12 Years A Slave," with its three Oscars boots, moved back to the Top 10 after more than three months, $2.1 million, $53.1 million, 21 weeks; 10. "Ride Along," $2 million, $129.9 million, seven weeks

Box Office, Feb. 28: Unlikely action hero Liam Neeson was "Non-Stop," which opened at No. 1 with $28.8 million, couldn't be stopped by "Son of God," opening at No. 2, with $25.6 million, and knocked "The Lego Movie" off the top block after three weeks in a row at No. 1 to No. 3, $20.8 million, and $209.1 million, four weeks;

4. "3 Days To Kill," $4.9 million, $20.7 million, two weeks; 5. "The Monuments Men," $4.9 million, $65.6 million, four weeks; 6. "RoboCop" $4.5 million, $51.2 million, three weeks; 7. "Pompeii," $4.3 million, $17.7 million, two weeks; 8. "Frozen," $3.6 million, $388.7 million, 15 weeks; 9. "About Last Night," $3.3 million, $43.7 million, three weeks; 10. "Ride Along," $3 million, $127.1 million, seven weeks;

Unreel, March 14:

"Need for Speed," PG-13: Nefarious deeds surround a trans-continental car race. Aaron Paul and Dominic Cooper star in the action-thriller.

"Veronica Mars," PG-13: The teen private eye returns, just in time for her high school reunion in Neptune, Calif. Kristin Bell stars in the drama comedy.

"Bad Words," R: Jason Bateman makes his big-screen directorial debut and stars in a comedy about an adult trying to win a spelling bee years later.

"Enemy," R: A man sees his doppelganger (lookalike) in the mystery thriller starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Isabella Rosselllini.

Read Paul Willistein's movie reviews at the Lehigh Valley Press web site,; the Times-News web site,; and hear them on "Lehigh Valley Art Salon," 6 - 6:30 p.m. Mondays, WDIY 88.1 FM, and, where they're archived. Email Paul Willistein: pwillistein@ You can follow Paul Willistein on Twitter and friend Paul Willistein on facebook.