Thursday, January 15, 2015

87th Academy Award Nominations Pt. 1




It’s that time again, the nominations for the 87th Academy Awards to celebrate the year of 2014 in films. There’s some surprises and some not-so-surprises as it’s definitely been a whirlwind year. A year that saw a 12-year project finally be unveiled along with stories of a man trying to make his comeback, stories about real-life events involving a sniper, a decoder, Martin Luther King Jr., Stephen Hawkins, and a mentally-ill millionaire. Other stories involve a young drummer trying to make it and another young man talking about his life in a hotel. There’s a lot of stories that are being told as here are the films and individuals nominated for Oscars.

Part 1

Best Picture

American Sniper – Clint Eastwood, Robert Lorenz, Andrew Lazar, Bradley Cooper and Peter Morgan

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) – Alejandro González Iñárritu, John Lesher and James W. Skotchdopole

Boyhood – Richard Linklater and Cathleen Sutherland

The Grand Budapest Hotel – Wes Anderson, Jeremy Dawson, Steven M. Rales and Scott Rudin

The Imitation Game – Nora Grossman, Ido Ostrowsky and Teddy Schwarzman

Selma – Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Christian Colson and Oprah Winfrey

The Theory of Everything – Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Lisa Bruce and Anthony McCarten

Whiplash – Jason Blum, Helen Estabrook and David Lancaster

What Will/Should Win: Boyhood-Richard Linklater and Cathleen Sutherland

Boyhood was a project twelve years in the making as it chronicles a boy’s growth from first grade to high school as it was shot in the course of twelve years by its writer/director Richard Linklater. It’s a film that is described by some as an experience as Linklater casted the same actors and have them appear on set a few months every year to play into a boy and his growth into a man.

Dark Horse: Whiplash-Jason Blum, Helen Estabrook, and David Lancaster

Damien Chazelle’s film about a young jazz drummer who tries to make it at a music conservatory only to endure the abuse of his teacher is a compelling story. One of which that plays into what a young man will take to become one of the best. It’s a film that came out of Sundance with a lot of buzz as it’s definitely a major long shot as it’s going up against far more known films by established filmmakers or films made by studios.

Best Director

Wes Anderson – The Grand Budapest Hotel

Alejandro González Iñárritu – Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Richard Linklater – Boyhood

Bennett Miller – Foxcatcher

Morten Tyldum – The Imitation Game

Who Will Win: Richard Linklater-Boyhood

There’s no question into what Richard Linklater did with this film as it has this slice of naturalism in the way he captures a boy’s growth with his older sister and mother as well as his father. All of which is told through twelve different years as it captures elements of nostalgia but also into many things that people can relate into the idea of growing up.

Who Should Win: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu-Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

What Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu did with his fifth film was create something that is very surprising as it is a film that seems like it was shot in one continuous take. Though it’s a style that’s been done before, what Inarritu did that was so interesting it to showcase a man trying to stage his comeback and cope with personal and professional struggles. Even as it takes place in the world of Broadway as there’s a lot of tracking shots and everything that feels like it is shot in real time though the story takes place in the span of a few days.

Dark Horse: Morten Tyldum-The Imitation Game

Morten Tyldum is a newcomer compared to the filmmakers he’s going up against as the Norwegian director has made his English-language debut with a story about the mathematician Alan Turing and how he and his colleagues helped cracked the Nazi’s Enigma code. It’s a story that has all of the tropes to create a compelling drama though it is a film that is often tailor-made for the Oscars as it’s the one film that doesn’t have as many risks or daring visuals as the other films.

Best Actor

Steve Carell – Foxcatcher

Bradley Cooper – American Sniper

Benedict Cumberbatch – The Imitation Game

Michael Keaton – Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Eddie Redmayne – The Theory of Everything

Who Will/Should Win: Michael Keaton-Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Michael Keaton is one of the finest actors in the face of the Earth as his performance as Riggan Thomson in Birdman is a tour-de-force as it plays into an actor’s attempt into staging a comeback. Keaton displays a lot of humility and turmoil into a man who is famous for being a superhero as he copes with not being a good father to his daughter as well as the fear of failure. It’s really something that should be seen as a win for Keaton would be justified for the veteran actor.

Dark Horse: Benedict Cumberbatch-The Imitation Game

Benedict Cumberbatch has been a name on the rise for the past few years as his performance as Alan Turing is considered one of his best. Especially for someone who was quite complicated as he was also a homosexual that was later persecuted for his sexual preference. It’s a performance that definitely has elements that Oscar voters like but his competition is fierce.

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 Will Win: Julianne Moore-Still Alice

Julianne Moore is a name that is often filled with great performances as her role as a woman who is suffering from early stages of Alzheimer’s disease is considered one of her finest. Especially as in the hands of someone like Moore who can create characters that are very engaging as it plays to a woman losing herself while trying to not let the disease control her. Her win will definitely be deserving though Moore has another performance from the same year that should get more noticed in David Cronenberg’s Maps to the Stars as an aging child star.

Who Should Win/Dark Horse: Marion Cotillard-Two Days, One Night

There is probably no actress as of right now that is as gifted or as more prolific than Marion Cotillard. Her performance in the Dardenne Brothers’ film as a woman trying to convince co-workers to forgo their bonuses so she can get back to work is a performance for the ages. Especially as Cotillard plays a role with no sense of vanity nor any sense of showiness but rather display with a sense of realism into a woman coping with depression. It’s the performance that should win but since it’s a performance that isn’t in English nor is a mainstream film. It’s likely to be the major long shot despite Cotillard getting other accolades from various critics prizes including the New York Film Critics Circle.

Best Supporting Actor

Robert Duvall – The Judge

Ethan Hawke – Boyhood

Edward Norton – Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Mark Ruffalo – Foxcatcher

J. K. Simmons – Whiplash

Who Will/Should Win: J.K. Simmons-Whiplash

J.K. Simmons is a longtime veteran actor that has been getting a lot of exposure over the years through his collaboration with Jason Reitman. For his performance as a famed jazz drummer instructor who expects the best in his students. It’s a performance that is considered very fierce as he knows what it means for someone that wants to be the best as well as do whatever to get that person there. Even if it means having to push them to their core to the brink of madness. It’s a performance that is scary yet it’s one that always delivers as an award for Simmons is very deserving.

Dark Horse: Robert Duvall-The Judge

Robert Duvall is already an Oscar winner for Best Actor in 1983’s Tender Mercies while is one of those actors who can never give a bad performance. In the role of a judge who is accused of murder, Duvall plays a man who is known as a powerful judge in a small town as he is being defended by his son despite their contentious relationship. It’s a role that someone like Duvall can pull off but he’s going against other actors who are more deserving.

Best Supporting Actress

Patricia Arquette – Boyhood

Laura Dern – Wild

Keira Knightley – The Imitation Game

Emma Stone – Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Meryl Streep – Into the Woods

Who Will Win: Patricia Arquette-Boyhood

Patricia Arquette’s performance as a single mother of two children goes through many transformation as someone who is eager to have a life of her own but bad decisions and personal frustrations showcase a realism into a woman coping with responsibilities. Even as she deals with some of these bad decisions and how it would affect the lives of her own children as it’s a performance that does deserves some major notices.

Who Should Win: Emma Stone-Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

While Emma Stone does have a long career ahead of her through her likeable charm and not taking herself so seriously. Her performance as the daughter of Riggan Thomson is definitely the best thing she’s done as she displays a young woman trying to deal with her father making a comeback while being a recovering drug addict. It’s a performance that is very quiet at times while showcasing what a young woman is going through as she copes with the fact that her dad wasn’t the greatest father ever as well as knowing he’s putting everything on the line.

Dark Horse: Laura Dern-Wild

Laura Dern’s performance as Cheryl Strayed’s mother is key to the story of Cheryl Strayed coping with death and mistakes in her life. Though Dern’s performance is only told through flashbacks, it is a performance that plays into how important she was to Strayed. Dern’s nomination is definitely deserving though she is in some very big competition as she is the long-shot.

Best Original Screenplay

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) – Alejandro González Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr. & Armando Bo

Boyhood – Richard Linklater

Foxcatcher – E. Max Frye & Dan Futterman

The Grand Budapest Hotel – Wes Anderson & Hugo Guinness

Nightcrawler – Dan Gilroy

Who Will/Should Win: West Anderson & Hugo Guinness-The Grand Budapest Hotel

The story about the life of a prestigious hotel in the early half of the 20th Century run by a charming concierge is definitely one of Wes Anderson’s finest stories. Even as it’s told from multiple perspectives from different time periods as it plays into the life of a hotel and how a concierge and his young protégé tried to retrieve a famous painting that featured a will from an old woman. It’s a story filled with lots of humor and other quirky things as it’s definitely one of Anderson’s more accessible and adventurous stories.

Dark Horse: Dan Gilroy-Nightcrawler

Dan Gilroy’s story about a young man who decides to take part in the world of night crawlers is definitely a gripping story. Especially one that is about ambition and obsession without any regards for morality as it’s also a very dark character study. It’s great to see that Gilroy is being recognized though he is a major long-shot against the writers he’s going up against.

Best Adapted Screenplay

American Sniper – Jason Hall from American Sniper by Chris Kyle, Scott McEwen & Jim DeFelice

The Imitation Game – Graham Moore from Alan Turing: The Enigma by Andrew Hodges

Inherent Vice – Paul Thomas Anderson from Inherent Vice by Thomas Pynchon

The Theory of Everything – Anthony McCarten from Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen by Jane Wilde Hawking

Whiplash – Damien Chazelle from his short film of the same name

Who Will Win: Graham Moore-The Imitation Game from the book Alan Turing: The Enigma by Andrew Hodges

The story of Alan Turing and his staff trying to crack the Enigma code is an interesting one as it also plays into aspect of Turing’s own life including his homosexuality. It’s the kind of material that Oscar voters seem to enjoy as it has a lot of drama as well as bits of history.

Who Should Win/Dark Horse: Paul Thomas Anderson-Inherent Vice from the novel by Thomas Pynchon

Paul Thomas Anderson’s take on Thomas Pynchon’s novel is definitely the oddest film to ever come out from a major studio. Even though it revolves around a private detective searching for a former girlfriend’s lover, it is one that is very strange and full of twist and turns. Yet, it’s very thrilling as well as being very funny as it’s really the odd duck of the films nominated in the category. The idea of the film likely to win is really a long one.

Best Animated Film

Big Hero 6 – Don Hall, Chris Williams and Roy Conli

The Boxtrolls – Anthony Stacchi, Graham Annable and Travis Knight

How to Train Your Dragon 2 – Dean DeBlois and Bonnie Arnold

Song of the Sea – Tomm Moore and Paul Young

The Tale of the Princess Kaguya – Isao Takahata and Yoshiaki Nishimura

What Will Win: How to Train Your Dragon 2

The sequel to the 2010 film about a young Viking and his dragon has a broader story filled with dazzling images and animation that definitely makes Dreamworks Animation a top animation studio. Even as it’s a film that is bigger but with a very engaging story that is going to make the film the likely candidate to win the award.

What Should Win: The Tale of Princess Kaguya

The famed Studio Ghibli animation studio from Japan features the long-awaited return of Isao Takahata in his first film in 14 years as it is in an adaptation of the famed Japanese folk tale. The film is told in a unique animated style that harkens back to a more old-school approach to hand drawn animation as it’s something only Takahata and Studio Ghibli could do.

Dark Horse: Song of the Sea

The Cartoon Saloon studio from Ireland has been making waves in the world of animated films with very interesting stories that is told in hand-drawn animation. The film revolves around old Celtic myth involving two children who try to get home in a strange and mystical world. It’s a story that is interesting yet it’s going up against films that have gotten more attention as it’s the big long-shot.

Best Foreign-Language Film

Ida (Poland) – Paweł Pawlikowski

Leviathan (Russia) – Andrey Zvyagintse

Tangerines (Estonia) – Zaza Urushadze

Timbuktu (Mauritania) – Abderrahmane Sissako

Wild Tales (Argentina) – Damián Szifrón

What Will Win: Ida

Pawel Pawlikowski’s film about a young woman who goes on a road trip with her aunt in 1960s Poland is a very entrancing story told with such rich visuals as well as dealing with dark pasts about the young woman’s family. It’s the kind of story that is obviously inspired by the works of Ingmar Bergman as it plays into a woman dealing with her guilt as well as her niece learning about a world that is foreign to her as she is about to become a nun.

What Should Win: Leviathan

Andrey Zyvagintsev’s take on the story of Job is a compelling one that got a lot of attention at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival. The film is set in modern-day Russia as it plays into some of the social issues the country is having as it relates to land ownership and power. It’s the kind of film that is willing to take some risks as it would be a momentous victory for Russia despite the growing political conflict it is having with the rest of the world.

Dark Horse: Tangerines

Zaza Urushadze’s film set in the Abkhazia War of the early 90s plays into the life of a village torn apart by war. It’s a film that definitely has a lot of ideas about the idea of anti-war yet it’s the one film that is definitely a long shot as Estonia is a country that hasn’t gotten a lot of attention in the world of international films. A win for this film would help its industry.

Best Documentary

Citizenfour – Laura Poitras, Mathilde Bonnefoy and Dirk Wilutsky

Finding Vivian Maier – John Maloof and Charlie Siskel

Last Days in Vietnam – Rory Kennedy and Keven McAlester

The Salt of the Earth – Wim Wenders, Lélia Wanick Salgado, David Rosier, Julia de Abreu, Fakhrya Fakhry, Andrea Gambetta and Christine Ponelle

Virunga – Orlando von Einsiedel, Joanna Natasegara and Jon Drever

Who Will/Should Win: Citizenfour

Laura Poitras’ film about Edward Snowden and the NSA spying scandal was a surprise film that premiered at the 2014 New York Film Festival as it plays into the world of global surveillance. The film features recorded interviews with Snowden and other famed cyber warriors as it showcases a new world that is becoming more prevalent. Especially as cyber terrorism has finally been seen in the eye of the public as a win for this film would be a controversial yet historical one.

Dark Horse: Virunga

Orlando von Einsiedel’s documentary about the Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo and its preservation might not seem like an interesting doc in comparison to its other nominees. It is still a film that explores a group of people trying to save the park amidst the chaos surrounding armed conflicts and exploration for oil as it is an environmental film.

(End of Pt. 1) - Pt. 2 - (Pt. 3)

© thevoid99 2015

5 comments:

Chris said...

I loved Force Majeure, so disappointed it missed out on a foreign film nom. I liked the Russian humour in Leviathan. Didn't care much for Ida, so hope Leviathan wins. Go Boyhood!!!

Brittani Burnham said...

I know it's too much to hope for, but I would love it if Rosamund Pike won. That would make me so happy.

thevoid99 said...

@Chris-I have Force Majeure in my external hard drive as I was going to see it this month. I'm disappointed it didn't get nominated. I just hope Leviathan wins.

@Brittani-I would be ecstatic if Pike wins the Oscar. I just hope she does that little jump to secure that victory as it would be a win for the film itself which was undeservedly snubbed!

Wendell Ottley said...

Love the predictions. Can't wait to see how well you do.

thevoid99 said...

@Wendell Ottley-Thank you. I hope I do well in those predictions as I just finished the 2nd part as I'm going to make it three parts as it will relate to music and the shorts.