I am taking the liberty to include my 2 eurocents on a couple of the nominees for best film.
This is a gem of a film, perfectly balanced, fine acting by no one I ever heard of. Set in the Missouri Ozarks with Jennifer Lawrence as Ree, a 17-year old girl looking after her catatonic mother and two young siblings on no discernible income. To save the family home from the bailiff, she sets out on a journey to find her missing father. An amazing performance from Lawrence who seems far too young for such depths, but like her character, she plunges into some pretty deep and nasty waters and comes up shining.
Check out this interview with Jennifer Lawrence in the Globe and Mail.
My memory had latched onto a description of this film as a psychological thriller about a rivalry between ballet dancers. There is some truth in this description, in the same sense that you could describe the sinking of the Titanic as an accident at sea. An outstanding portrayal by Natalie Portman of the mental breakdown of a fragile, ambitious, emotionally stunted dancer seeking perfection. The film is brutal, distressing, occasionally ridiculous and cheesy, with frequent pit stops in the horror movie genre. Barbara Hershey is genuinely scary as the manipulative mother. It’s not comfortable viewing.
The Telegraph features a short clip of Natalie Portman talking about the role.