Thursday, 15 January 2015

Oscar Nominations 2015: My Quick Opinion

Ah, the Oscars. An awards ceremony that supposedly honours the best films (which, typically, is more a case of being released at the right time, ticking the right boxes, and knowing the right people rather than about actual top quality) of the past year. And now we have 2014-15s nominees, with these being the most nominated films:
9 - Birdman
6 - Boyhood
4 - Mr Turner

Of all the films nominated this year the one that is really bugging me is 'The Imitation Game'. It has 8 nominations, including Best Picture and Director. Which is a little confounding as it is an unremarkable film (I didn't hate/dislike it - it simply shouldn't be in contention). The only reason it's there is because it's ticking the right boxes to please the Academy.

And whose space is it taking? In my opinion, 'Gone Girl's. That film has been almost completely overlooked. It's sole nomination is for Rosamund Pike (who deserves to be there).

Meanwhile, it's a nice surprise to see 'The Grand Budapest Hotel' here. Especially after it was released early last year (films like that usually get forgotten in favour of something released in the Autumn/Winter).


Best Picture

It's good to see 'Transformers: Age of Extinction' didn't have its way after it's misplaced belief it was a Best Picture contender. Instead it'll have to settle for the Razzies, which is where it belongs.

Of the lot, 'Whiplash' is my favourite and very much deserves to be there. I have little issue with both 'Boyhood' and 'The Grand Budapest Hotel' being there. Both are good films. I don't mind 'American Sniper' taking up a slot (there's enough room). It's not the best Iraq War drama, but I did enjoy it. 'Birdman' I can see why it is there I just didn't like it very much, despite being able to appreciate how it is all put together. But it's inclusion isn't bothering me so much. Which leaves the two biopics. I get the impression 'The Theory of Everything' is there to make up the numbers but I don't think it should really be there. It's a generic, straight-forward biopic. Which can also be said of 'The Imitation Game'. Now this is the one that is bothering me because it has had some serious momentum coming into this. It's not likely to win, but it has been treated as one of the big films this awards season and that bothers me. It simply shouldn't be here for this category as well as some of the others (I'll get to them).

There is probably little surprise to the films I think should be here but aren't. The first is 'Gone Girl'. The second would be 'Foxcatcher'. Both are far superior to the likes of 'The Imitation Game'. Among films nominated elsewhere, 'Mr Turner' was a more worthy Best Picture nominee, yet it is tossed aside. In fact, there are so many films from the past year that I rated as better than 'The Imitation Game'.

As for who I think will win, I'd say 'Boyhood' as that seems ot be the decision everywhere else. I won't complain if it does.


Director
Birdman - Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu
Boyhood - Richard Linklater
Foxcatcher - Bennett Miller
The Grand Budapest - Wes Anderson
The Imitation Game - Morten Tyldum

*sigh* No comment on 'The Imitation Game's inclusion here.

It's good to see 'Foxcatcher' here. Now if only 'Gone Girl' joined in. 'Birdman', again, I'm not sure about considering how, in my review, I pinned most of the problems on Inarritu yet he is also the one to credit for what the film does right. 'Boyhood', fine. 'Grand Budapest', fine.

I'd expect 'Boyhood' to get this one as well.


Lead Actress
Julianne Moore - Still Alice
Felicity Jones - The Theory of Everything
Rosamund Pike - Gone Girl
Reese Witherspoon - Wild
Marion Cotillard - Two Days One Night

Currently, I've only seen three of these performances. Guess which one I'd like to see win? I can't comment on any glaring omissions just yet. I'll wait until I see at least one of the other performances. I should also note that Cotillard's inclusion I wasn't expecting.

I'd bet on Julianne Moore getting this one. It's the performance with the most momentum it seems. I haven't the performance, so I can't actually say what I think of it.


Lead Actor
Michael Keaton - Birdman
Eddie Redmayne - The Theory of Everything
Benedict Cumberbatch - The Imitation Game
Steve Carell - Foxcatcher
Bradley Cooper - American Sniper

Cumberbatch's performance is, at least, one of the more deserving parts of 'The Imitation Game'. He does well. But I'd lean more towards Carell in this category. Even if he wasn't playing against type, his performance as John du Pont is excellent. I'd also put both Redmayne and Keaton before Cumberbatch.

Looking at the omissions, I'm disappointed Ralph Fiennes isn't there for 'The Grand Budapest'. I was hoping he would sneak in. I also though Chadwick Boseman's turn as James Brown in 'Get on Up' was worth a look. As was Jake Gyllenhaal in 'Nightcrawler'.

I've also seen some people upset that David Oyelowo has been ignored for 'Selma'. I'm not in a position to judge.

Redmayne seems to have the most momentum going into this, so I'm going to say he's the one who'll end up winning.


Supporting Actress
Patricia Arquette - Boyhood
Emma Stone - Birdman
Kiera Knightley - The Imitation Game
Meryl Streep - Into the Woods
Laura Dern - Wild

Patricia Arquette seems the most likely to win this one. Which, of the nominees, would make sense. I'm assuming Meryl Streep is there because she is Meryl Streep. It wasn't her best performance and Emily Blunt was better in the film, she just isn't here because she would be counted as the lead. A pity. Keira Knightley's performance wasn't bad in 'The Imitation Game', but I didn't think it was anything noteworthy (now it just looks like I'm picking on that film simply because I can). However, I really feel that Laura Dern shouldn't be on the list.

What surprises me is that Jessica Chastain isn't there for her performance in 'A Most Violent Year'. I thought she was ebter in that than the five nominees here were in their films.


Supporting Actor
J.K Simmons - Whiplash
Edward Norton - Birdman
Ethan Hawke - Boyhood
Mark Ruffalo - Foxcatcher
Robert Duvall - The Judge

Simmons appears to be the favourite for his typically angry Simmons performance... which was an intense performance. I can see why it has been seen as a favourite. I'd vote for it too. The other performances I don't have an issue with their presence in the list.


Animated Film
The Tale of Princess Kaguya

I've only seen two of these so far, but it's an interesting category. Ideally, 'The Lego Movie' would be here, and I'd have put it there at the expense of 'How to Train Your Dragon 2' (which will probably win). I had the opportunity to see 'Big Hero 6' but Sundays are inconvenient and it would have been a '3D' showing. So I'll have to wait until the end of the month. I'm looking forward to it.

As for 'Kaguya' and 'Song of the Sea', I'd very much like to see both. One is Studio Ghibli and the other from the director of 'The Secret of Kells'. Need I say more?


Original Screenplay

Not a bad selection of films here, especially with 'Nightcrawler's sole nomination. Hard to choose here, but I'd expect 'Birdman' to take this one.


Adapted Screenplay

>:(  It has contaminated another category! Go away! There is definitely no reason for 'The Imitation Game' to be here! I'm guessing it's here because it 'tackles' (forces in at the very last minute) stuff to do with homosexuals in the 1940s. Pah! It's take up a 'Gone Girl' sized space.

The only other one I've seen here is 'The Theory of Everything' and I guess I could point the finger at that as well. By now, though, my irritation has latched onto the other generic biopic.

As for who I'd like to see win, hopefully 'Whiplash'. And it has a good chance of doing so.


Cinematography
Ida

You can rule out 'Unbroken' winning this as, like so many previous years, Roger Deakins is only here to be nominated.

Personally, I'd like 'Mr. Turner' to get this one as the film is made to look like a painting itself, which I appreciated.

However, I don't know who has the best chance of winning this one.


Original Score
The Grand Budapest Hotel - Alexandre Desplat

The Imitation Game - Alexandre Desplat

Interstellar - Hans Zimmer

Mr Turner - Gary Yershon
(I couldn't find the soundtrack for this on YouTube)

The Theory of Everything - Johann Johannsson

All scores I like (well, except 'Mr Turner', but that's because I haven't listened to it properly and so cannot remember it). Yes, even 'The Imitation Game' (a brief respite for the film). My favourites here would be 'Interstellar', followed by 'The Theory of Everything'. But I think they'll give it to 'Grand Budapest'.


Original Song
"Everything is Awesome" - The Lego Movie

"Glory" - Selma

"Grateful" - Beyond the Lights

"I'm not Gonna Miss You" - Glenn Campbell: I'll Be Me

"Lost Stars" - Begin Again

I can't say I think much of these songs. By default, 'Everything is Awesome' is my favourite. If not, then 'Glory'.


Make-Up and Hairstyling

'Guardians of the Galaxy' has a lot of make-up in it, but the trouble is that it it frequently looks like make-up. 'Foxcatcher's use was much less but worked well and so I'd give it to that.


Costume Design

I'd assume this is between 'Grand Budapest' and 'Mr Turner'. I wasn't impressed by 'Into the Wood's while 'Maleficent' is filling out the nominee list.


Production Design

I think this one is going the way of 'Grand Budapest'. It's design certainly stands out. 'Interstellar' had some nice details in its design, as did 'Mr Turner'. I guess 'The Imitation Game' isn't out of place here. As for 'Into the Woods', forget about it.


Visual Effects

Apes first. Wormholes next. Then Space Avengers. Then Earth-based ones. The the would-be ones (if only Marvel had the film rights).


Film Editing

I would have expected 'Birdman' to be here. But no, instead we have... Wait! You!
Okay, I guess the editing wasn't bad in the film. But, as I frequently hear, having the editing nomination does bode well for whoever wants the Best Picture win. Oh dear. But not to worry, 'Boyhood' will probably get that. And this.


Sound Editing


Sound Mixing

Odd that 'Interstellar' is here seeing as people have complained about the sound in places. Though it is also the one I'd like to see win. Other than that, I have no idea who is likely to get either of the sound wins.


Documentary (Full Length)
Citizen Four
Last Days in Vietnam
The Salt of the Earth
Finding Vivian Maier

I've only seen 'Virunga', and it's a solid documentary.


Short Film (Animated)
The Bigger Picture
A Single Life
The Dam Keeper
Me and My Moulton

I've only seen 'Feast' here. It's okay.



I haven't seen any of the following, so there is little point in me discussing them:

Foreign Language Film
Ida
Leviathan
Tangerines
Wild Tales
Timbuktu


Documentary (Short)
Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1
Joanna
Our Curse
White Earth
The Reaper


Short Film (Live Action)
Boogaloo and Graham
Aya
Butterlamp
Parvenah
The Phone Call


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