Once again, Carbusters has rated the movies nominated for Best Picture based on their depiction of transportation.
Points are given for showing characters walking, riding bicycles and taking public transportation. Points are taken away for showing characters driving or riding in cars. If cars are used to show status or to depict freedom and independence, points are lost. However, a movie gains points by showing traffic jams and car accidents.
Eight of the nine nominated films were reviewed: 12 Years as a Slave was excluded since it’s set in the 1840s, before the use of the internal combustion engine automobile.
Our pick for the 2013 No-Car Oscar award goes to Her, set in a futuristic Los Angeles with a main character who doesn’t own a car. Below are the ratings for all eight films.
Depicts LA in the near future with raised pedestrian concourses, gleaming subway stations, and clean, comfortable trains that whiz you out of the city. The main character (Joaquim Phoenix) is never shown driving or riding in a car. Neither is his girlfriend, but that’s another story.
Carbuster Record: Her now holds the record for highest score earned in our No-Car Oscar ratings!
American Hustle (+24)
Director David O. Russell continues his strong car-free movie making, finishing second this year after clinching last year’s No-Car Oscar for his movie Silver Linings Playbook.
Gravity (- 8)
While floating in space, George Clooney’s character waxes about his 1967 Corvette back on earth and Sandra Bullock’s character describes her single-occupancy car commute and how she deals with grief by driving around aimlessly.
Philomena (- 26)
Irish birth mother Philomena does not adopt public transit while searching for her son in Washington, DC.
Captain Phillips (- 30.5)
When Tom Hanks’ character is on land, he’s never in anything smaller than an SUV. And when his Navy Seal rescuers first arrive on the scene, they are shown in a fleet of black Chevy Suburbans used as symbols of invincibility.
Dallas Buyers Club (- 37.5)
Hard to expect a lot of alternative transportation in a movie set in Texas, circa 1985, although the movie did earn points for showing Matthew McConaughey’s character selling his car to raise money.
Nebraska (- 42.5)
Bruce Dern’s character repeatedly says, “I always wanted a new truck.” There’s lots of driving in this movie including the ending where driving a new, used truck through your home town is portrayed as a sign of having made something of yourself.
Wolf of Wall Street (- 51)
Owning more cars and better cars is equated with success while riding a bus or subway is equated with being a loser.
Carbusters Record: This movie now holds the record for lowest No-Car Oscar score ever received!