Tag Archive: oscars 2015


 

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Here are the nominees for Best Picture:

American Sniper

Birdman

Boyhood

The Grand Budapest Hotel

The Imitation Game

Selma

The Theory of Everything

Whiplash

Who Should Win: I’m trying not to let my opinion be corrupted now by reading other people’s thoughts and go back to my gut when I saw each film myself.  Most ambitious concept? Boyhood. Most important? Selma. Best all around craft in front of and behind the camera? The Theory of Everything.  Most fun to we actor types? Birdman.  The most ‘traditionally Best Picture-y’ film of the bunch is ‘The Theory of Everything’ so let’s go there.

Who I’m Cheering For: My brutally honest opinion is I’m cheering for Selma.

Who Will Win: Years without a runaway Best Picture open the door for dark horses. As they have with the guilds, Boyhood and Birdman split their votes down the middle, leaving the door open for American Sniper to win.

Enjoy the show!

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Here are the nominees for Best Actress:

Marion Cotillard – Two Days, One Night

Felicity Jones – The Theory of Everything

Julianne Moore – Still Alice

Rosamund Pike – Gone Girl

Reese Witherspoon – Wild

Who Should Win: While I normally feel meh about ‘career achievement’ awards, Julianne Moore is a respectable choice, with no shame given to Amazing Amy and Reese Witherspoon.

Who I’m Cheering For: As a man, I’m still too terrified to vote for Rosamund Pike.  I’m kidding.  I’m cheering for Julianne Moore. (looking over my shoulder…)

Who Will Win: Julianne should provide one of Sunday’s feel good moments.

Here are the nominees for Best Actor:

Benedict Cumberbatch – the Imitation Game

Michael Keaton – Birdman

Eddie Redmayne – the Theory of Everything

Steve Carell – Foxcatcher

Bradley Cooper – American Sniper

Who Should Win: One last time, this is one of those years were a strong case could be made for all five of these guys.  Carell for going so far outside of his known wheelhouse, Redmayne for his physical commitment, Cooper just for being nominated three years in a row (as Josh Lucas puts more pins in his Bradley Cooper voodoo doll).  This feels like the extremely rare year where a ‘comic actor’ will be respected for giving the best performance.

Who I’m Cheering For: Umm…really?

Who Will Win: Hate to say it, but my gut says Bradley Cooper…

 

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Here are the nominees for Best Supporting Actress:

Patricia Arquette – Boyhood

Laura Dern – Wild

Keira Knightley – the Imitation Game

Emma Stone – Birdman

Meryl Streep – Into the Woods

Who Should Win: Hm.  Meryl is the definition of ‘legacy nominations’, I felt like Laura Dern’s character was more important to the story than the actual performance.  I’d argue Arquette’s was really a lead performance, so that leaves two.  I’d barely put Keira over Emma because of what each character meant to the story that was being told.

Who I’m Cheering For: As I noted in my reviews, both Keira and Emma showed things in their performances that were new (and good).  I’d be happy for either of them, but…

Who Will Win: Has Patricia Arquette lost any award yet?  I don’t think so…

Here are the nominees for Best Supporting Actor:

Robert Duvall – the Judge

Ethan Hawke – Boyhood

Edward Norton – Birdman

Mark Ruffalo – Foxcatcher

J.K. Simmons – Whiplash

Who Should Win: It would be really hard to go wrong with any choice this year, but really Simmons stands above the rest.

Who I’m Cheering For: The first ballot Character Actor Hall of Famer of course!  Go J.K.!

Who Will Win: The worthy ‘congrats on a great That Guy career’ star of the moment, J.K. Simmons.

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Here are the nominees for Best Adapted Screenplay:

Jason Hall – American Sniper

Graham Moore – the Imitation Game

Paul Thomas Anderson – Inherent Vice

Anthony McCarten – the Theory of Everything

Damien Chazelle – Whiplash

Who Should Win: Another tough category where I can easily see the case for every nominee.  Based on the story being told, my gut says ‘the Imitation Game’.  Making ‘the father of computers’ interesting is no easy cinematic feat.

Who I’m Cheering For: P.T.A. just out of lifelong appreciation and fandom for his individuality.

Who Will Win: Not the first time you’ll hear me say, I won’t be surprised if American Sniper pulls this one out.  It’s (very obviously) a fan favorite.

Here are the nominees for Best Original Screenplay:

Alejandro G. Inarritu, Nicolas Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr & Armando Bo – Birdman

Richard Linklater – Boyhood

E. Max Frye & Dan Futterman – Foxcatcher

Wes Anderson & Hugo Guinness – The Grand Budapest Hotel

Dan Gilroy – Nightcrawler

Who Should Win: Wes Anderson had made many ‘Wes Anderson’ films before, Birdman (to its fault in this category) feels very ‘improv’ed’ at times, so in a vacuum I’d say Nightcrawler.

Who I’m Cheering For: The auteur in me is cheering for Wes.

Who Will Win: If Birdman runs through every category, it starts here.  But the wind seems to be blowing in Wes Anderson’s direction at the moment.

 

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Here are the nominees for Best Director:

Alejandro G. Inarritu – Birdman

Richard Linklater – Boyhood

Bennett Miller – Foxcatcher

Wes Anderson – The Grand Budapest Hotel

Morten Tyldum – The Imitation Game

Who Should Win: Probably the nominee I have the strongest opinion about this year.  Has Wes won this yet?  Cause (like all his films) I can’t imagine anyone else doing ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’.  But having said that, ‘Birdman’ is the most original of the nominees.  Inarritu should win this.

Who I’m Cheering For: Inarritu.  He made the filmmaker’s film this year.

Who Will Win: Richard Linklater of course, just to spite me and make me look petty and foolish.

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Bradley Cooper gets his third nomination in a row as the title character in this Oscar nominee.  To address the personal elephant in the room, ‘Can I separate our obviously different ideologies from Clint Eastwood’s craft?’ The answer: I (try to) do it all the time when it comes to art.  Saying this film is superior to ‘Jersey Boys’ and ‘J. Edgar’ in not a debate in my opinion.

Based on the true story of the most ‘successful’ sniper in U.S. military history, Cooper puts on the weight and takes on the Texas accent to play Chris Kyle, the All-American hero who goes from cowboy to assassin.  Sienna Miller is for the second time this awards season barely recognizable as the wife of an American hero whose life is cut short.

is this film a pure propaganda piece?  I’ve heard that argument, but I saw it more as a character piece (Chris eventually feels the psychological effects of war and all the murders he’s committed in the name of country). Eastwood and Cooper are both golden boys for their generations, so if voting blocs get splintered, they have to be serious dark horse candidates for Oscar.

We shall see…

‘Theory of Everything’

 

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Based on Jane Hawking’s book, ‘The Theory of Everything’ is the love story of Stephen and his college sweetheart.  Eddie Redmayne gives a knockout performance as the brilliant physicist who most of us know only from our image of him in his current physical state.

Felicity Jones plays Jane and (in my opinion) the story of the movie is truly hers.  When he’s given two years to live, she defies her family and marries him anyway.  When his body starts to betray him, she’s there through every operation.  When Homewrecker McGee from ‘Boardwalk Empire’ shows up, she holds onto her marriage until they both realize it’s over.

I’m not a science person, but the God vs. Science subplot in there was also laid into the story well.  And especially in the courtship part of their romance, there is some outstanding cinematography.  Solid craft all over, it’s a worthy Best Picture nominee.

‘Birdman’

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‘You confuse love with admiration.’

Can I stop right there?  Please?  Alright, I’ll write a full review…

No surprise why so many actors/artists/Hollywood types love this one.  The original Dark Knight, Michael Keaton, stars as a past his prime movie star who tries to return to relevancy by staging a Broadway play.

The rest of the cast: Amy Ryan (why isn’t she working more?) as his ex wife who genuinely loved the man more than he loved himself, Zach Galifianakis playing the straight man as the lawyer holding it all together, Naomi Watts as the beautiful actress with self esteem issues (fighting off a million inside jokes).

And also nominated for golden men: Emma Stone, evolving out of different versions of the ‘nerd dream girl’ to play the fresh out of rehab daughter of Keaton’s character.  Between this and doing ‘Cabaret’ on Broadway, she’s taking advantage of the chance to show she has some range.

And in the future Malik Aziz role, Edward Norton as the smart and talented Method actor who is an arrogant, unrepentant asshole.  Personally, I’m kind of ‘over’ actors spoofing their reputations for a laugh, but thank God we got to see Edward Norton playing ‘Edward Norton!’  None of you who know me well will be surprised that the ‘movie star or actor’ scene Keaton and Norton have about halfway through is one of my favorites this year. Any other year, I think Norton would be a shoo in for the Oscar, but not this year.

Everything revolves around Keaton though and he carries the weight.  It’s not even a Batman bias here; it’s really fun watching him play a comedic lead again.  ‘Birdman’ isn’t one of the frontrunners for Best Picture by accident.  I haven’t even touched on the great cinematography or the drum score (my God).  Yeah, I was all in on this one from frame one.

‘The Imitation Game’

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For better in this case, I knew next to nothing about Alan Turing going into ‘The Imitation Game’, so I could watch this film with fresh eyes.  The Cumberbatch headlines an all star English cast in this story of a man who is considered the father of the computer.

Set in World War II England, the film tells the tale of how Turing, clearly a brilliant mathematician, had to overcome his complete lack of social skills to lead a team of geniuses in their quest to crack the Nazi code system known as Enigma.  And he had to do this while masking his homosexuality (which at the time was still an actual crime).  The film isn’t about that per se, but I did find it interesting that it took the time to touch on how much things have changed, or not changed in terms of our attitudes on homosexuality and sexism (through the use of the Keira Knightley character).

Anyway, I liked this one more than I was expecting.  My attitude on this may be ‘colored’, but I always associate Cumberbatch with Sherlock and Khan, so this was a nice reminder that he’s also capable of playing brilliance as a different type of outcast.  And I know Keira does a lot of period dramas, but she had some (different) notes to play here as an actor besides being pretty, which was a welcome sight.

Favorite scene in this one was the scene where he actually explains the title.  I won’t spoil it for you; check out the film if you want to know.

‘Boyhood’

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One of the lead horses for Best Picture.  No one can deny the ambition or not be impressed that Linklater actually pulled this off.

I don’t remember who I should credit for this but I think it’s true: where you’re at in life directly impacts how you take ‘Boyhood’ in.  If you’re close to having an empty nest, I think it hits you the hardest.  If you’ve still got little ones at your ankles still, you’ll feel it but in a different way.  And so on.

Patricia Arquette has been running away with the awards so far, that’s unlikely to change.  Personally I was most impressed by Gregg Popovich with the shocking turn as the evil stepfather (I know only some of you will get that joke).

I thought it was telling the Producer’s Guild went in another direction, but we’ll know soon enough if that really means anything.  Still a classic Linklater film.