A flashy, star-studded, '70s-set based-off-a-true-story dramedy, made by one of Hollywood's most exciting new directors. Does that sentence describe American Hustle, one of this year's biggest Oscar-nominated films, or Argo, last year's winner for Best Picture? Actually, it's both. The two movies may have very different plots, but in terms of style, setting, and more, they're practically identical.
If the similarities between Hustle and Argo seem odd, they shouldn't, because the two films are just one example of how this year's crop of Oscar-nominated movies is an exact replica of last year's. Get ready for some serious déjà vu.
'American Hustle' is the New 'Argo'
American Hustle: A ’70s-set dramedy about a secret government operation, with crazy fashions and an all-star cast. Based off a true story.
Argo: A ’70s-set dramedy about a secret government operation, with crazy fashions and an all-star cast. Based off a true story.
How Similar? Almost identical, give or take a few deep-V dresses. Despite Hustle director David O. Russell having said that Argo “is not the kind of movie I’m ever going to make,” the two films are a little too close for comfort.
'The Wolf of Wall Street' is the New 'Les Miserables'
The Wolf of Wall Street: A three-hour-long, controversial “comedy” about a stockbroker’s descent into corruption. Air quotes are for the lack of laughter.
Les Misérables: A three-hour-long, controversial “drama” about an ex-convict living through French political turmoil. Air quotes are for Russell Crowe’s performance.
How Similar? Pretty close, despite, you know, the plot. Both films got flack for their length and repetitiveness; did Wolf need so many Quaalude scenes? Did Les Mis have to have that many close-ups? Other similarities: Both Jordan Belfort and Jean Valjean’s pursuit by the law; themes of morality and wealth; the many, many prostitutes.
'Philomena' is the New 'Amour'
Philomena: An emotional, heartbreaking British drama about an elderly woman’s search for her long-lost son.
Amour: An emotional, heartbreaking French drama about an elderly woman’s aftermath of a stroke.
How Similar? Very. Both films are often tough to watch, due to their protagonist’s tragic circumstances. Still, each film contains moments of joy and laughter. Both Philomena and Amour earned an Oscar nomination for their lead actresses.
Image: The Weinstein Company
'Gravity' is the New 'Life of Pi'
Gravity: A beautifully-filmed tale of one woman’s survival in space after a terrible, unforeseen accident leaves her stranded.
Life of Pi: A beautifully-filmed tale of one boy’s survival at sea after a terrible, unforeseen accident leaves him stranded.
How Similar? In themes, extremely; there’s survival, of course, as well as hope, perseverance, and self-reliance. Also, both films are visually stunning, and Gravity’s Alfonso Cuarón is likely to win Best Director, just as Life of Pi’s Ang Lee did last year.
Image: Warner Bros.
'12 Years a Slave' is the New 'Zero Dark Thirty'
12 Years a Slave: A brutal but important film about the horrors of American slavery that includes several scenes of torture.
Zero Dark Thirty: A brutal but important film about the hunt for Osama bin Laden that includes several scenes of torture.
How Similar? Somewhat. The two movies were their respective year’s most talked-about, due to their unflinching takes on the dark side of American history. Still, plotwise, 12 Years a Slave and Zero Dark Thirty are pretty different.
Image: Fox Searchlight
'Dallas Buyers Club' is the New 'Lincoln'
Dallas Buyers Club: A biopic focusing on part of the life of Ron Woodroof, a man with AIDS who smuggled illegal drugs into the country.
Lincoln: A biopic focusing on part of the life of Abraham Lincoln, the U.S. President who worked to abolish slavery.
How Similar? More than you’d think. While their plots differ drastically, both are well-made films boosted by high-quality acting. Jared Leto and Matthew McConaughey are this year’s Tommy Lee Jones and Daniel Day Lewis. It makes sense, trust us.
Image: Focus Features
'Captain Phillips' is the New 'Django Unchained'
Captain Phillips: A heart-pounding thriller about one man’s fight for survival after pirates board his ship, starring A-list actor Tom Hanks.
Django Unchained: A heart-pounding thriller about one man’s quest for revenge after his wife is sold to a cruel plantation owner, starring A-list actor Jamie Foxx.
How Similar? Not too much. Django is a lot more fun to watch than Captain Phillips, and the latter film has a few less curse words. Still, both movies have big-name stars, high tension, and tales of survival in the worst of circumstances.
'Nebraska' is the New 'Silver Linings Playbook'
Nebraska: An offbeat dramedy about a mentally addled man, whose family and friends humor his belief that he won a million-dollar sweepstakes.
Silver Linings Playbook: An offbeat dramedy about a mentally addled man, whose family and friends humor his belief that he’s going to win back his estranged wife.
How Similar? Surprisingly, a good amount. At first, the films seem as different as can be, but their hearts are similar. Also, Bruce Dern is this year’s Bradley Cooper — an Oscar-nominated performance that everyone loved, but is just a little too odd to win.
Image: Paramount Vantage
'Her' is the New 'Beasts of the Southern Wild'
Her: Colorful and inventive, it’s the story of a lonely man who falls in love with an operating system.
Beasts of the Southern Wild: Colorful and inventive, it’s the story of a young girl whose life in bayou Louisiana is altered when her father becomes ill.
How Similar? A bit. Each movie is visually stunning and a marvel of acting, with the main characters’ getting pulled into fantasy-ish worlds. Otherwise, Her and Beasts couldn’t be more different.
Image: Warner Bros.