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Popcorn & Prejudice: A Movie Blog

Seattle Times writer Moira Macdonald muses on moviegoing. Email Moira: mmacdonald@seattletimes.com.

February 28, 2014 at 9:58 AM

Oscar countdown: ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’

And here we are, at the end of our Best Picture alphabetical journey, with Martin Scorsese’s “The Wolf of Wall Street.” This one’s kind of the oddball in the category: of all the nominees, this is the one I’ve heard the most negativity about (some people hate this film, and you wonder how the many older Oscar voters will respond to its flat-out raunchiness). But this is a Scorsese film, and though he hasn’t won often (just once, for directing “The Departed,” but he has a total of 12 career nominations), he’s well-respected in the Academy. Yet another nonfictional honoree this year, “Wolf of Wall Street” is based on a memoir by former stockbroker¬† Jordan Belfort, whose rags-to-riches-to-prison-to-motivational-speaker saga is told in the film — and who is brought to startling life by Leonardo DiCaprio as a man both amoral and wildly charismatic. Constantly rumored to be delayed until 2014, the film was a late entry in the Oscar race; but it’s done well at the box office — if not on Oscar night.

Still in theaters? Yes, several, including Thornton Place, Meridian, Sundance Cinemas and Lincoln Square.

Total U.S. box office: $113 million

Total Oscar nominations: Five, for best picture, director, actor (DiCaprio), supporting actor (Jonah Hill), and adapted screenplay.

Best chance for a win: I think this is one of those films that’ll go home empty-handed. DiCaprio’s due for an Oscar — this is his fourth acting nomination, without a win, and he had a strong year with both “Wolf” and “Great Gatsby” — but Matthew McConaughey (who has a tiny, vivid role in “Wolf”) seems unstoppable. Adapted screenplay is an outside shot, but I see that one going to either “Philomena” or “12 Years a Slave.”

Odds of this movie creating some fabulous Oscar-night weirdness: No word on whether Belfort himself will show up, but it would certainly be odd if he did. (Would he pose for photos, alongside Captain Richard Phillips and Philomena Lee, the other real-life subjects of Best Picture movies who could conceivably show up?) And really, for this film to win any of the major awards would be a huge upset, and very unlikely.

Fun fact: According to the Los Angeles Times, “The Wolf of Wall Street” is the first major motion picture to be distributed entirely digitally.

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