Oscars 2014: Nebraska review and trailer – an exquisitely observed drama about family life

Starring Bruce Dern and June Squibb, Alexander Payne's touching drama follows elderly Woody and his relationships with his hectoring wife Kate and son Davey


Starring: Bruce Dern, June Squibb, Will Forte, Bob Odenkirk


Director: Alexander Payne

Though shot in arty monochrome and featuring some starkly beautiful images of the US Midwest, Nebraska is not just a study of a specific place but an exquisitely observed drama about family life.

It begins in Montana, where the elderly Woody (Bruce Dern) has received a letter telling him he has won a million dollars in a publishing sweepstake. His family are fully aware that this is some kind of mailing scam, but when Woody makes several attempts to make the journey by foot, his son Davey (Will Forte) agrees to drive him to the nearby state capital to collect his “winnings”. After some colourful distractions, Davey and his father spend the night in Woody’s old home town, which is where this lovely and, at time, poignant comedy finds its feet.

Once Woody’s hectoring wife Kate (June Squibb) rejoins the story, Nebraska reveals itself as a delicate examination of past lives and roots. And in Stacy Keach’s horribly overbearing neighbour, of the people we quite deliberately leave behind.

Watch coverage of the Oscars 2014 this Sunday from 11:30pm on Sky Movies