Nebraska Review

Posted 10 years ago by myetvmedia

Alexander Payne’s unassuming black and white, road-trip movie ‘Nebraska’, has garnered 6 Academy Award nominations in a year that boasts heavy competition. Payne is no stranger to the Oscar podium, winning Best Adapted Screenplay for both ‘Sideways’ (2004), and ‘The Descendants’ (2011). While it might be a longshot for ‘Nebraska’ to take home Best Picture, the performances are definitely deserving of the recognition. This will be 77 year old Bruce Dern’s second Oscar nomination for Best Actor. He was nominated in 1978 for ‘Coming Home’.

Academy Award Nominations for ‘Nebraska’:

Best Picture

Best Director Alexander Payne

Best Actor Bruce Dern

Best Supporting Actress June Squibb

Best Original Screenplay Bob Nelson

Best Cinematography Phedon Papamichael

‘Nebraska‘ also sets itself apart from the competition joining just 8 other B&W films to be nominated for a Best Picture Academy Award since 1970, including ’Schindler’s List’ (1993), ‘Good Night, and Good Luck’ (2005) and ‘The Artist’ (2011).

Woody Grant is a millionaire. Or so he believes after a flyer arrives in the mail claiming he has won a substantial prize. The only thing standing in the way between him and his riches are a few States, a revoked drivers licence, and some pessimistic family members. Luckily, his youngest son, David, agrees to take him to Lincoln, Nebraska, to claim his prize. Along the way they stop in Woody’s home town, and it is not long before the purpose of their trip gets out, turning Woody into something of a local celebrity. With his newfound notoriety comes a whole set of challenges. However, each hurdle Woody and David face they take on with an increased level of solidarity. We watch as their relationship develops from one fraught by emotional distance to include a newfound quiet respect for one another. While Payne exploits the many comedic opportunities,  the heart of the story revolves around the developing father-son relationship. The road trip provides the opportunity for David to get to know his father as an individual, learning about his life outside of his role as a disappointing alcoholic father.

Filled with exceptional performances across the board, Nebraska’s many award nominations come as no surprise. ‘Nebraska’ has already received 5 Golden Globe and 3 BAFTA nominations. Bruce Dern is exceptional as Woody Grant. June Squibb delivers her performance as Kate Grant with a comedic grace seldom seen. Will Forte and Bob Odenkirk are well cast as the Grant brothers. Writer, director, producer Payne has proven himself an adept storyteller of roadtrip movies (‘Sideways’, ‘About Schmidt’) and ‘Nebraska’ is no exception.

– Astrid Handling

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