2014 Oscars: the Best Pictures

Reviews and release dates for all of this year’s Best Picture nominees

2014 Oscars: the Best Pictures

The list is out and there are no real surprises – even though critics on Twitter are declaring it a #Snubpocalypse because of those who weren't given a nod. Some believe the films 'Inside Llewyn Davis', 'The Butler' and 'Saving Mr Banks' deserved a spot on the list, but there's only space for nine Best Pictures, and here they are. We've rounded up the Time Out reviews and the release dates for you so you can make sure you're up to date by the time the Academy Awards ceremony rolls around on March 2 (although the notoriously late release dates in Japan mean you'll only get to watch six of them on the big screen before the big event).

American Hustle

‘"Some of this actually happened," quips an introductory title card, as the film launches into a fictionalised, digressive account of the FBI’s notorious Abscam sting of the late 1970s. But ultimately story is secondary to director David O. Russell’s delicious detailing of character and milieu.’ Read review
Release date: January 31

Captain Phillips

‘The true story of a cargo ship skipper whose vessel was overrun by pirates off the coast of Somalia in 2009. It gives British director Paul Greengrass, the man at the helm of "United 93" and the first two "Bourne" films, licence to indulge two of his favourite storytelling pastimes: high-stakes tension and real-world politics. It also sees Tom Hanks playing an unexceptional guy at the heart of an exceptional crisis.’ Read review
Release date: November 29, 2013

Dallas Buyers Club

‘It’s getting difficult (enjoyably so) to keep track of the many shades of guff Matthew McConaughey seems hell-bent on exploring these days. Conveniently – and a touch calculatingly – they’re all on display in the stirring "Dallas Buyers Club", a one-stop shop of the actor’s newfound fluidity. He starts off desperate and rascally, hopping rodeo fences to escape gambling debts. It’s a bleak, sunbaked 1986 and Ron Woodroof (McConaughey), a bottom-scraping drug addict, is about to hear the death sentence of an HIV-positive diagnosis.’ Read review
Release date: February 22


‘The word "breathtaking" is bandied about a lot, but when was the last time a film truly had the power to leave its audience gasping for air, pinned to their seats, sick and dizzy? In "Gravity", Sandra Bullock and George Clooney play nervous newbie astronaut Dr Ryan Stone and seasoned pro Matt Kowalsky, whose work on the Hubble Space Telescope is violently interrupted by a catastrophic debris collision.’ Read review
Release date: December 13, 2013


‘Siri, you’ve got company: Meet Samantha – the ultimate in chatty, user-friendly operating systems. The gentleman who’s installed her on his computer, Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix), is won over by her sense of humour and sultry voice (courtesy of Scarlett Johansson). She seems to appreciate his sensitivity and his smarts. Love, naturally, blooms.’ Read review
Release date: June 28


‘Alexander Payne is the compassionate, thinking face of American comedy. His new film is shot in black and white and takes the name of his home state as its title. It's an intimate road movie about one family, yet it also lingers on the landscapes and fabric of an old-time, dying vision of the American Midwest.’ Read review
Release date: February 28


‘Steve Coogan is Martin Sixsmith, a resolutely hard-nosed ex-BBC journalist trying to find his feet in the early 2000s after an unhappy stint in the shadows of politics. Judi Dench is Philomena, chalk to his cheese: she's an ageing, working-class Londoner who grew up in Ireland and whose late-life admission that she had a baby taken away from her in an convent as a young woman finds her travelling to Ireland and the US with Sixsmith, who's intent on turning her life into column inches.’ Read review
Release date: March 15

The Wolf of Wall Street

‘This is without doubt the funniest movie of Scorsese’s career – earlier efforts like "The King of Comedy" and "After Hours" may have been brilliant, but their chuckles were chillier and more unsettling. "The Wolf of Wall Street" plays modern tragedy as epic farce, reminding us just how much fun Scorsese can be when he’s in a playful mood. It also proves – equally unexpectedly – that Leonardo DiCaprio can do comedy, too.’ Read review
Release date: January 31

12 Years a Slave

‘With the release of "Django Unchained" and now this more restrained slavery-era biopic, much has been made of America’s post-Obama willingness to "face up to its own past". But, like Quentin Tarantino before him, British artist turned director Steve McQueen knows that this idea offers only false comfort: "12 Years a Slave" has absolutely no interest in reconciliation, in forgiveness, in making slavery history. McQueen’s film may be stylistically traditional, but its outlook is as confrontational and uncompromising as any ripped-from-the-headlines drama.’ Read review
Release date: March 7

By Time Out writers
Please note: All information is correct at the time of writing but is subject to change without notice.


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