When I spend days devoted to writing, I need breaks to get my mind off of my own stories, and give myself some motivational juice and inspiration that, yes, film is the correct career choice.  So during these breaks, I like to read news articles on films, watch clips, and find interesting things to preoccupy my mind from film… with film.  What a beautiful field.

Anyways, during these breaks, I thought a cool thing to do for this somewhat confusing blog is to create these segments where we can break down scenes and how great they are.  Sometimes, a film can be remembered and even immortalized for one single scene from The Godfather’s baptism/take down of the families scene to Titanic’s “I’M THE KING OF THE WORLD”.  These scenes are what keeps older films and classics fresh in our minds as their ability to execute a scene perfectly is what keeps the legacy of any film growing.  So the first movie I want to break down is CHILDREN OF MEN, one of my favorite films of all time.

Written and directed by Alfonso Cuaron, who’s the favorite right now to win the Oscar for his work in GRAVITY, this film, to me, is truly his masterpiece.  Grand themes, epic scale, and risky choices, CHILDREN OF MEN arguably gave Cuaron the confidence to shoot a film like GRAVITY.  So one can maybe make the argument that without CHILDREN OF MEN, there is no GRAVITY.  It’s probably not legitimate, but whatever.

This film is famous for two scenes, the sudden onslaught brought upon their car where, and the seven minute continuous action sequence where the camera follows the leads through a chaotic gun fight between rebels and the army.  Though those two scenes are accomplishments and deserve its recognition, but I’m going to focus on the opening scene of CHILDREN OF MEN.

Once you get past the studio credits (I couldn’t find one without that I liked), you’re quickly thrown into the world of CHILDREN OF MEN.  I remember watching this film for the first time in theaters, and I was mesmerized by it, quickly being sold without knowing anything about the film.  But when you rewatch the scene over and over, you start picking up the genius behind its set up and how it tells you so much about the film within the first two minutes.

The first thing the opening scene does is give us the audio of news reports without showing us any images.  It automatically throws the audience into an intriguing state, clearly realizing something important must be happening if we start off with this.  The first image we see is a tiny coffee shop packed with people watching the same news report as we first heard.

No one is conversing, reading a newspaper, or really ordering anything outside of our main protagonist (which we’ll get back to in a bit).  All eyes are glued on the screen, giving us the impression that people care.  Seeing that the reports are centered around the tragic death of the youngest person alive, we are given pieces of information that provide us less exposition and more curiosity and interest.
We asks questions right away like:

-Why is he the youngest person?
-What is happening in this world?
-Why are people so afraid, so sad, so depressed by this news?

But the genius of this scene is to not stay here, but to follow our protagonist, Theo, played by the great Clive Owen.  Another great aspect of the scene above is that though everyone is clearly invested into the death of baby Diego, he wouldn’t give his own two cents about the story.  He orders his coffee, takes a glimpse at the television, and leaves.  It shows us that there’s something to this character, his apathy, his depressing body language.  He walks out of the coffee shop, and we’re sent into futuristic London, a dark, greyish atmosphere that looks unsettling and unsafe.

We see a future that is realistic in terms of society’s advancement in technology but also how grounded it is in making sure that this world is believable.  If not, we lose ourselves in disbelief, thus losing our ability to integrate ourselves in the story of a world where it’s impossible to not create life.  If we don’t believe in the surroundings, we won’t believe in the story.  We also see how big the story of baby Diego is as it’s playing through large screens that also act as windows of large stores and buildings, an advancement that we could easily believe take place in the year 2027.

We follow Theo, using a hand held shaky cam (shaky cam is always done intentionally) to give us the feeling of chaos.  If done with a dolly or a moving track, we lose the feeling of fear and disturbance.  The fact that the camera follows Theo, watches him pour whiskey or whatever alcoholic beverage he chooses, into his coffee, and gives us the view of the other side elicits a tense and insecure feeling, making the viewer all the more fearful of this world.  The pouring of alcohol in his coffee also gives us a better understanding that Theo most likely does suffer from some kind of depression, regardless of it being the current state of society or his own situation, which would be totally believable considering what we’ve witnessed already in the last minute or so.  That’s the vision and the purpose of this opening scene.  To make everything believable from the what transpires next through all the way to the end.  We must believe in this world, we must believe that cruelty, violence, and the existence of peace between humans has all but disappeared.

As the camera turns, unstably, to the other side of Theo, we watch him pour his whiskey into his coffee.  And as we are about to ask questions about Theo and his  mental state, his potential depression, and why is he like this during a time that should expose imminent emotion…  BOOM!  The coffee shop that he was just in explodes.  He reacts in ways that all other humans in the scene would react, ducking, quickly covering, and protecting themselves from potential danger and hurt.  This shows us a very real Theo, human, and that he’s aware of his surroundings.  Now if you continue past this opening scene, Theo goes back to his apathetic and dark ways, showing you that even though he just luckily survived and cheated death by mere seconds, he’s still this way.  But this scene above is crucial because it shows us that Theo does have capabilities in expressing human reactions, but even after a traumatic event like a terrorist bomb, he’s back to normal, thus giving us more questions including why is he still like this or moving into a bigger and more important question: is he just used to this kind of life and this kind of world?  But before we can ask those questions, we get the strongest image and the final image of the opening scene:

Now this scene is crucial in so many different ways.  First off, it’s a shocking, brutal, and disturbing image that isn’t grotesque or all too gory, which is the most effective way to showcase violence: allow the viewer to imagine it.  A woman walks out of the coffee shop holding her ripped off arm, screaming in pain and in fear.  What I love most about this scene, besides from the obvious, is that the camera consciously leaves Theo, though we’ve been in his perspective this whole time.  I believe they do this to show us a few things.  The first is to get a better shot of the woman.  Duh.  But when you think more about this scene, it’s a metaphor of Theo’s current state.  He’s broken.  He’s hurt.  But he’s still alive.  It’s obvious that something happened to Theo that shows us that something is wrong, but this is a reminder to Theo that something is wrong with him.  It’s an image that Theo will most likely not forget, and more of a reflection of who he is.  It’s also seems like a metaphor on the current state of society.  Broken, hurt, and clear in terrible shape, but still alive.  This woman survived, against all odds, and though it seems as if life has all but left from her, she still can overcome.  Society still has hope, but only if it figures out how to instill hope and believe in it.  And that’s the major theme in this film: hope, belief, and faith.

The opening sequence of CHILDREN OF MEN is so great not just because of everything we’ve discussed before, but because of how efficient it is in displaying all these different elements, thoughts, and providing a clear world in such a short amount of time.  One of the things I’ve learned through the cruel world of screenwriting is that showing is better than telling.  This is a great example of that, and within two minutes, we are given all the motivation we need to keep watching.

The story revolves around something we as humans can attach to in representing hope.  As a new baby has been born, the world can find hope and use that image of life to believe again.  The opening scene represents the entire film, but you wouldn’t be aware of that until you rewatch CHILDREN OF MEN over and over again.  It’s depth and its awareness is what separates itself from most movies. Alfonso Cuaron and Emmanuel Lubezki are masters of story telling through imagery and vision, and the opening scene of CHILDREN OF MEN is a prime example of their skill level.

Here is one of the famous two scenes to CHILDREN OF MEN, but I urge you to go watch the film in its entirety to really experience this masterpiece.

And here’s how they executed this specific scene.


Like I’ve said numerous times before, 2013 was a spectacular year for movies, especially with the slate of films that were released in the fall.  It was excruciating to compile this list, let alone conclude on ten films.  Most likely, this list will change throughout the years, but for now, here are my ten favorite films of 2013.


Seeing this film before even knowing what it was about, I was thrown into a dark and morally conflicting world where we dive into child abduction and kidnapping in a painful and humanistic manner.  Denis Villeneuve’s direction, Roger Deakins’ cinematography, and Aaron Guzikowski’s tightly written script works in all manners, creating an thriller wrapped within multiple themes of religion, tragedy, and what we’re willing to do for our own family, even if it’s criminal.  PRISONERS is a refreshing take on cliche genre, and is a multiple viewing considering how dense the film is.  I specifically love Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal’s performances, and this cast works very well together.  It’s a film that deserves more recognition and is an entertaining but an investigation on the relationship between action and reaction.


In simple words, Asghar Farhadi, the director of THE PAST, is a genius.  The way we layers his films, creating an intimate world between a facet of characters all intertwined within difficult relationships.  This film, another dense and pact cinematic experience, is the epitome of careful and detail outlining with the pace moving beautifully and slowly revealing the truth about the overlying situation and the reality of these flawed characters.  It’s an immense accomplishment, surrounding itself with multitudes of conflict, and the infatuation we as humans have with our past and its inability to propel ourselves to progress.  It’s a film many should watch, and can help us understand ourselves in ways that we may never have wanted to discover.  That’s the purity in cinema.


The best documentary I’ve seen this year is STORIES WE TELL created by the talented Sarah Polley, and it’s obvious why I would appreciate a film like this.  The story, being centered around her family’s ill-structured dynamic, it’s another tale of misfortune, reveling in the past, and the ability to let go.  There are multitude of revealings that happen throughout the film, and once they all hit, the message works so well in tune, emphasizing how truth is as fragmented as our own stories, only connecting to what our memory serves us to remember.  It’s a great work of art, and I hope this film moves towards legendary status.


A roller coaster ride of an experience with an emotional punch packed within, GRAVITY, Alfonso Cuaron’s most recent picture, is something to behold.  The visuals on this film will easily be regarded as the best that’s ever been done, but the film doesn’t work just because of its special effects, but it’s hinged on Ryan Stone’s growth into surviving and living, rather than peacefully disappearing from existence.  The entire film is a metaphor to how tragedy can inflict our souls, and how we have two options to make: either to overcome or to wither.  Stone’s surmounting hurdles and obstacles are life’s way of making things never easy, but the power of motivation and the will to live can overcome, and the way it all works together creates a powerful and moving piece of work.


The most polarizing film of 2013, THE WOLF OF WALL STREET is a grand example of a mastermind and auteur of everything cinema.  Yes, it’s a hypnotic and gratuitous watch, infused with sex, drugs, alcohol, and all kinds of debauchery that posts a lost ability to reflect but more to just witness.  But the film is a satire and a commentary of all things evil, and the methods these scums of the States have used throughout time to steal from whoever they can manage.  But we don’t see the victims because Jordan Belfort doesn’t see the victims.  We don’t see character growth because there is no character growth.  We see only one perspective, the shallow and inconsiderate kind, which of these men, to, at the end of day, realize that this kind of life is fraudulent and unkind to all involved.

5.  HER

This is the love story of our generation, our inability to discover true and human relationships, and rely on our computer screens or iPhones to fulfill the emptiness within our souls.  HER is a reflection on our society’s infatuation with illusion, the mere existence we share with someone on the other side.  Spike Jonze creates a world where this has become the standard, not just acceptable behavior.  The film is based in the very near future, not resembling a vast different skyline of Los Angeles or greater technology.  But the near future is a reflection of how close we are to actually falling in love with our computers, and finding our strongest connection with software.  If we really think about it, the behavior we exhume is awkward and definably questionable, but those who dissociate themselves from it are almost looked at outcasts.  HER, with a simple touch of human love and how conflicted we are as people, is an incredible achievement in story telling.  Hail all parties involved as this film will last throughout time.


Eloquent, graceful, distant, and emotionally careful, 12 YEARS A SLAVE will be the most important film that has come out in the 2000s.  Steve McQueen’s direction is clearly felt, easily having a large creative hand in how the product eventually results.  You’ve got one of the great ensembles piece of the year, with each performance pulling its weight and taking us on this journey of Solomon Northup.  It takes a few viewings to truly understand the grandness of it all, to appreciate the exact execution it took to pull of a passionate, moving, and somber tale one man’s story in a culture that has haunted American history.  It deserves Best Picture, not just for how great the film is, but for important it will be to finally reward this kind of artistry tackling an issue that should’ve been tackled a long time ago.


In my opinion, the greatest trilogy I’ve ever seen, BEFORE MIDNIGHT is the icing on the cake, the completed work of three progressive films that get better and better.  A simple and private story of two people falling in love, it’s a realistic but yet also hopeful take on relationships and how love, as twisted as it is, is the only thing we really have in this world that stays throughout time.  Richard Linklater, with the writing aid of Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy (who play the leads) have enabled us with a new range of filmmaking, ignoring the cliche rules and standards of new age American cinema, allowing us to divulge in words and their eloquent ways of expression.  It’s a study that should be constantly taught in film schools and all media classes as the epitome of risky story telling.  It works so well, and is one of the best films of 2013.


The battle between #1 and #2 was as difficult as ever, but in the grand scheme of things, both films will be in my all time favorites so it’s really a redundant conversation, but it shows just how good SHORT TERM 12 really is.  It’s a film that nails the honesty and the truth of disturbed and pained children and teenagers, and how the victimization of innocence is what truly ruins this country.  But really, it’s a story of appreciation and finding the good in people.  Stripping away all reputation and background from an individual, and giving each and every person a chance is what’s important here.  Destin Cretton does an invaluable job of displaying these difficult stories where tortured teenagers must find ways to survive, regardless of it being healthy or legal.  The performances from each member of its cast including Brie Larson, Keith Stanfield, and John Gallagher Jr. are all essential components to this vast success of storytelling.  It’s a film that I’ll show my kids, and I hope they’ll show theirs.  It’s a recommendation I’ll always make to people because it’s a true human story, and regardless of what we have or haven’t gone through, we can all understand the difficulties of living with pain, no matter how small or big we think they are.  SHORT TERM 12 is a film you must watch.


It’s hard to really explain my love for this film, from its grand themes of love, identity, individualism, and the road to happiness, but each and every individual that has seen this film has its own personal affection for it and with very good reason.  It’s one of the best films I’ve ever seen.  It’s a visual display of the power in sexual chemistry, and how overpowering it can be to find love within our physical hunger and appetite.  It’s a thesis of conversations ranging from the beauty of art, the difficulties of maturity, literature, food, and all things important in our daily lives.  It’s a reflection of relationships, and how there’s always that one person that has captured our breaths in ways that no other partner ever has.  It creates this small, intimate world of Adele that infatuates our need to find and discover.  Not just in our sexual exploration or our human interactions, but within ourselves, and to find what completes us and makes us whole.  To label this film a “sex infused lesbian movie” is unjust and unfair.  The film is so much more than that, and deserves an audience willing to explore these thoughts and ideas that provide great detail of the difficulties of living.

One can only hope 2014 emulates something similar to 2013.  What a great year for cinema.

BEST FILMS OF 2013: #20-11

Best films of 2013: #20-11.

Honorable Mentions: Mud, The Spectacular Now, Nebraska, Frances Ha


A classic horror film with top notch scares and a tense, frightening plot will always get the better of me, and with THE CONJURING, it is easily one of the scariest films I’ve ever seen.  Outside of it’s bone chilling techniques and torturing long sequences, the film itself is done with precision and quality.  James Wan is a master of the scary, and add in great performances from the always reliable Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, and Lily Taylor, this is an exception horror film that’s irresistibly terrifying.


You can always appreciate Tom Hanks and the kind of work he brings to the table, but the last scene with him breaking down in the infirmary is easily his best work as an actor.  CAPTAIN PHILLIPS is more than just pirates taking over a ship.  It brings upon the ideals of American success, the dreams the world has for itself, and what it takes for people to get a sense of that ideal.  It’s a tense, fast pace adventure with excellent performances from Hanks and first timer Barkhad Abdi.  Overall, it’s an achievement to execute a film like this that provides an ample of opportunities to twist and create subjectivity, but Paul Greengrass is so much better than that.


A documentary like BLACKFISH is so important because it promotes change.  The waves that this little film has created is enough motivation for documentary filmmakers to truly believe that their film can create a difference in our saddening society.  Following the story of Tilikum, an orca taken from its habitat and placed in captivity at Sea World, and the trainer that was killed by Tilikum, it reveals the blanket of secrets and dark antics the “family-fun” corporation has consistently performed to keep the money coming in.  Animal captivity is a tragic situation that deserves more discussion, and BLACKFISH has become the fuel in what should become the blazing fire.


Though I feel this film doesn’t deserve a Best Picture win, it is still, in my opinion, one of the best films of 2013, mostly because of the top notch performances that surround AMERICAN HUSTLE.  You can’t get a better cast than this, and each provide a flawed and deeply infuriating character that keeps you glued to the screen.  The plot is insanely complex, and if you miss one scene, your most likely lost, but it’s a sight to behold.  David O. Russell continues his impressive streak of modern America folklore, bringing out the ugliness in our humanity, but dazzling it with a touch of love and… Jennifer Lawrence.


There’s nothing like a Coen Brothers’ film, and with INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS, the story about a man wrapped within self-loathing and pity, is beautiful, unflinching, and daring, especially with how the character unravels.  There’s much to be said about success, and how we define exactly where we want to be.  But it’s clear where we all don’t want to be, and with Llewyn, it seems that’s the only place he wishes to be at, hurting those that he encounters, and pushing away any possible form of progress from himself.  Anyone pursuing a career like show business know the difficulties of climbing that steep mountain, but Llewyn refuses to take that climb, and somehow expects to reach the peak without breaking a sweat.  He’s the definition of talent without passion, skills without drive, and it’s heartbreaking to watch, but also expected.  Add that with one of the best soundtracks I’ve ever heard, and well, you got a great film.


Though not widely released until January 31st, catching this film at Telluride, and having a small release in 2013, it’s a classic love story executed finely by Jason Reitman.  These are one of those films that don’t deliver some insane technique or brilliant writing.  In simplistic terms, it’s a romance based on pure love and chemistry.  Nothing more, nothing less.  Most of LABOR DAY occurs in a house, so all we see are these characters, in dying need of love and care, embrace each other, though from the outside, it’s a criminal taking hostage of a family.  It’s such a moving film with tear-jerking moments, and if anything, it’ll make you crave peach pie afterwards.


We all expected this film to have great lines, brilliant improv, and a lot of fun to poke at their own supposed selves, but the greatness of THIS IS THE END is that it takes a wild turn into a religious-infused apocalyptic dread, and the way we see everything unfold gives you assurance that Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg have much more talent than we give them credit for.  The cameos help, that ridiculous cast really helps, but what works here is the utter ridiculousness that continually raises as the film progresses, knowing that what they sold the audiences on (lots of barking at each other, playing themselves) would eventually get old.  It’s a smart and well-crafted film that is laugh out loud hilarious.  One of the best ensemble comedies in recent memory, it’ll be something that we watch years down the road.


A heartbreaking and gut-wrenching experience, FRUITVALE STATION exclaims to its audience the unfairness in which lives are lived based solely on culture and stereotype.  But more than that, it’s a tragic story about a young man trying to remake his life, doing the right thing, and to unfortunately not see how those drastic decisions would’ve played out.  First time writer-director Ryan Coogler takes this story and doesn’t fine tune it or mess around.  He takes that one fatal day and speaks volumes with it, raising its quality and its ability to speak for many issues without taking a stance on all of them.  With it’s final scene bringing me to tears, it’s a film that can be a intricate moving piece to real African-American films in today’s society.


Sometimes, simple works best.  Nicole Holofcener’s ENOUGH SAID is exactly that, and what’s so great about it is that it’s centered around great characters, not necessarily great story.  James Gandolfini and Julia Louis-Dreyfus work magically together, having the audience to believe that these are real relationships, brought in with our human flaws and our uncontrollable behavior.  It’s a love story, but not between male and female, but between families, friends, and that subtle feeling of loss and trying to replace it with something imperative.  It’s a hilarious script with plenty of touching moments, and it deserves more attention.


This is a film that I’ll show my kids, and no, not because I want them to run away and build their own house deep into the woods to escape my utter dread and embarrassment (which really could happen), but because of its ability to resemble innocence in youth, and the meanings and sacrifices we make as we continue to grow older.  THE KINGS OF SUMMER is a hilarious, well written film that entails the journey of a boy who hates restriction, but more so, unhappiness, and we can find unhappiness right around the corner.  Dealing with our problems head on is the act of maturity that we all must face, and the film greatly exhibits both sides of execution.  The characters are loveable but also flawed, and what we see here is a classic coming-of-age story with some of the best improved scenes you’ll see this year.  Not forgetting Biaggio, easily one of the most memorable characters in 2013, THE KINGS OF SUMMER will definitely be one of those films that I watch every year and appreciate what it represents: defiance in youth.

*Tomorrow will be the BEST FILMS OF 2013 #10-1.

2014 Oscar Nominations Predictions

I kind of dislike myself on how much I love awards season, even though it really is trivial to award one individual or film in a subjective art like cinema, but nonetheless, it happens.  There’s a science to this whole process, and since watching the Academy Awards since I was a little kid, I’ve learned a few things on the way.  But this year feels like a year that we just have no idea what’s going to happen.  There are so many great films in play with an exponential amount of dynamics and situations, it’s really hard to gauge exactly how the Academy feels about anything.  But these are the few things I’m sure of at this precise moment:

*The American Hustle love will continue with AT LEAST 3 acting nominations.

*Gravity will receive the most nominations out of any film.

*Best Actor has EIGHT legitimate candidates, and the 2-3 left out will cause chaos.

*The only safe, IMO, for Directing is Alfonso Cuaron.  Last year’s shock fest with Bigelow and Affleck’s absence tells me there’s no guarantees with the Directors’ Branch voting before DGA nomination.

So for some reason, I’ll try and predict 22 out of the 24 categories (minus short films).  And here we go…

American Hustle
12 Years A Slave
Captain Phillips
The Wolf of Wall Street
Dallas Buyers Club
Alternate: Inside Llewyn Davis, Blue Jasmine, or Lee Daniel’s The Butler

Matthew McConaughey – Dallas Buyers Club
Bruce Dern – Nebraska
Chiwetel Ejiofor – 12 Years A Slave
Leonardo DiCaprio – Wolf of Wall Street
Tom Hanks – Captain Phillips
Alternate: Christian Bale (American Hustle) or Robert Redford (All Is Lost)

Cate Blanchett – Blue Jasmine
Emma Thompson – Saving Mr. Banks
Sandra Bullock – Gravity
Judi Dench – Philomena
Amy Adams – American Hustle
Alternate: Meryl Streep (August: Osage County) or Brie Larson (Short Term 12)

Supporting Actor
Jared Leto – Dallas Buyers Club
Barkhad Abdi – Captain Phillips
Michael Fassbender – 12 Years A Slave
Bradley Cooper – American Hustle
James Gandolfini – Enough Said
Alternate: Daniel Bruhl (Rush) or Jonah Hill (Wolf of Wall Street)

Supporting Actress
Lupita Nyong’o – 12 Years A Slave
Jennifer Lawrence – American Hustle
Oprah Winfrey – The Butler
June Squibb – Nebraska
Julia Roberts – August: Osage County
Alternate: Sally Hawkins (Blue Jasmine) or Octavia Spencer (Fruitvale Station)

David O. Russell – American Hustle
Alfonso Cuaron – Gravity
Steve McQueen – 12 Years A Slave
Spike Jonze – Her
Paul Greengrass – Captain Phillips
Alternate: Alexander Payne (Nebraska) or Martin Scorsese (Wolf of Wall Street)

Original Screenplay
Spike Jonze – Her
Eric Singer & David O. Russell – American Hustle
Bob Nelson – Nebraska
Woody Allen – Blue Jasmine
Joel & Ethan Coen – Inside Llewyn Davis
Alternate: Alfonso & Jonas Cuaron (Gravity)

Adapted Screenplay
John Ridley – 12 Years A Slave
Tracy Letts – August: Osage County
Terrence Winter – Wolf of Wall Street
Billy Ray – Captain Phillips
Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke, Richard Linlakter – Before Midnight
Alternate: Steve Coogan (Philomena), Destin Cretton (Short Term 12)

American Hustle
12 Years A Slave
Captain Phillips
The Wolf of Wall Street

Inside Llewyn Davis
12 Years A Slave
Captain Phillips

Production Design
12 Years A Slave
The Great Gatsby
The Desolation of Smaug

Sound Mixing
Lone Survivor
Inside Llewyn Davis
Captain Phillips

Sound Editing
Captain Phillips
Star Trek Into Darkness
Inside Llewyn Davis

Costume Design
American Hustle
12 Years A Slave
The Great Gatsby
The Invisible Woman
The Desolation of Smaug

Original Score
All is Lost
12 Years A Slave
The Book Thief

Foreign Language Film
The Great Beauty (Italy)
The Hunt (Denmark)
The Broken Circle Breakdown (Belgium)
The Missing Picture (Cambodia)
An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker (Bosnia)

Documentary Feature
The Act of Killing
Stories We Tell
The Square
20 Feet from Stardom

Animated Feature
The Wind Rises
Monster University

Visual Effects
The Desolation of Smaug
Iron Man 3
Pacific Rim
Star Trek Into Darkness

Makeup & Hair
American Hustle
The Great Gatsby
Dallas Buyers Club

“Let It Go” – Frozen
“Ordinary Love” – Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
“My Lord Sunshine” – 12 Years A Slave
“Happy” – Despicable Me 2
“Atlas” – Hunger Games: Catching Fire

*The nominations will be announced tomorrow morning 5 a.m. PT/8 a.m. ET.