Oscars 2014: reviews of best film nominees

Joaquin Phoenix and the voice of Scarlett Johansson star in this whimsical story about a digital love affair, directed by Spike Jonze

Dallas Buyers Club
‘Matthew McConaughey is terrific as the homophobe who helped transform HIV treatment in the US’

‘Director and co-writer Alfonso Cuarón brings an innocent’s freshness to the genre. The 3D is most brilliantly unnerving. It’s a trip no space spectacle fan should miss’

‘Bruce Dern is the best thing by a hundred country miles. Spiky, quirky, sometimes daydreamy, he bestows the illusion of unpredictability on a film which has none’

‘This odd-couple odyssey is forlorn, funny, poignant, instructive and utterly winning – a doleful, radiant, understated comedy of hope and faith’

12 Years a Slave
‘A breakthrough as amazing as advance word has suggested. Director Steve McQueen drives every scene straight to the core of its emotions’

The Wolf of Wall Street
‘Watching this is like being hit over the head for 179 minutes by a cocaine-overdosed Statue of Liberty. Director Martin Scorsese defends truth, justice and decency while offering, simultaneously, all the fun of the unfair’

American Hustle
‘David O Russell’s film has tremendous fizz (the disco-era fashions take centre stage) but is too vaudeville and tends to meander ruinously about’

Captain Phillips
‘Paul Greengrass presents us with a film in which many exciting things happen yet the movie is uncompelling. It never quite has the ring of truth’

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