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Wild Bill Ketelhut provides the "blog" to this anti-blog

Wild At Heart

We are just around the corner from the 86th Academy Awards and I am way ahead of my viewing than I normally am. For the first time in years I have seen all the nominees for the top 6 awards prior to the ceremony and have 14 of the 24 categories where I have seen every nominee in them. Only the short documentary section is blanked for me.

This is a very good year for film and I think they did a decent job with the nominations. I know most of my favorites won't probably win but for the big six, here are my choices. I love the movie "Her" for best picture as it was the only film that I saw that really got me thinking after seeing it. You know that film that inspires you so much you are just a bit speechless afterwards. I think this is as close to a perfect film as you can get this year but it is a little too quirky for the top award with the Academy. I'm just glad to see it nominated. Too bad "Inside Llewyn Davis" didn't get the nomination here.

Bruce Dern is my choice as best actor for "Nebraska" which is an amazing film as his best role ever. This is just a simple little film much like Lynch's "A Straight Story" and his portrayal of Woody is incredible. The range of emotions he portrays from his stubbornness to get to Nebraska to his moments of friendship with old friends, his character is never untrue and totally believable. We know he is not all there and doesn't always understand what is going on, but he has many lucid moments along the way which are delivered with pin point accuracy.

Cate Blanchett as best actress in "Blue Jasmine" is the younger female equivalent of Dern's performance. She is really smart but socially inept. She loves her sister but thinks so much as upward mobility she has serious trouble with her more blue collar life choices. The ending with her on the bench just sums up everything about her and makes a powerful ending in one of the best later Woody Allen films. She is probably the winner here.

The Supporting actor award is harder for me as I like both Jared Leto and Bradley Cooper but I must admit a soft spot for Barkhad Abdi for "Captain Phillips". Perhaps it is because it feels like they got a real African pirate to play the role, but this is a great first film and I feel it is just the most powerful of the performances in this category.

Supporting Actress is a close call for me also. I think I lean a bit towards Lupia Nyong'o for "12 Years A Slave" over Lawrence just because I really thought she brought a lot of character to the film and it was hard to keep my eyes off her performance whenever she was on the screen.

The last is my easiest choice for with Alfonso Cuaron winning best director for "Gravity" which is the most beautiful looking film on the Academy Award list. No other film has the same reach or look. This is an amazing film much in the way "Apollo 13" was in it's day. I think this film will take a number of the technical awards and deservedly so.

I think Gravity will win the most Oscars because of the technical nominations though I don't think any film will get more than 5 awards. I hope the public will support the films on this list. People always complain about the lack of originality in Hollywood with it's sequels, etc but looking at the best original scripts for "American Hustle", "Blue Jasmine", "Dallas Buyers Club", "Her" and "Nebraska" shows some great quality if you make the effort. Let's not forget "Inside Llewyn Davis", "Mud", "Gravity, "Fruitville Station" and "All Is Lost" as other great original films this year. I also hope people will track down stuff like the short film "Helium" which tells a wonderful story of a dying young boy who is given hope of an amazing afterlife by a janitor, "The Great Beauty" which is just a visual tour de force even if the plot can be challenging at times or the documentary "20 Feet From Stardom" about some amazing background singers who might even be better than the acts they sing for. It was a great year for film and I look forward to seeing who will win this year.

If you are not into film, here are some good concerts to check out this week:

Wednesday (2/26) - Pau Simon and Sting @ Palace of Auburn Hills

Friday (2/28) - Commander Cody Band @ Callahans, Irish Rovers @ Ford Community and Performing Arts Center

Saturday (3/01) - Taj Mahal @ Magic Bag, Big Head Todd and the Monsters @ Royal Oak Music Theatre

Sunday (3/02) - Stanley Clarke @ Majestic Theatre

Monday (3/03) - Richard Thompson @ the Ark