HAPPY NOMINATION DAY EVERYONE! Every year, the Academy manages to pull surprises out for the Oscar nominations, both elating and cringe worthy. This year, we enlisted our friend Chelsea (the monster behind the dearly missed #Top3 game on twitter) (who is also film student & producer of an upcoming documentary & TV show, but really #Top3) to help us break down our reactions to the nominations. Let’s get to it, shall we?
American Sniper, Birdman, Boyhood, The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Imitation Game, Selma, The Theory of Everything, and Whiplash
Kim: Chels, I know you loved Birdman, and I fully expect you to school me, but I just can’t with that movie. I respected a lot of the PARTS of the movie but as a whole? Meh. What was it trying to SAY? I didn’t get anything from the story. It lost me when it turned to the fantastical in the third act. Also, as a snobby New Yorker who works in the theatre district, the way it messed with the Geography of it TRULY irked me (there’s no way any door in the St. James would spill out into Times Square) but I know that’s just me. I found it pretentious as a film, to be honest.
The lesson we’ve learned from all the Sniper nods is that old white men will never abandon their love for Clint Eastwood.
Selma gets best pic but nothing else other than original song? Makes sense.
I’ve expressed this before, but my problem with this year’s crop of films is that while many of them (MOST OF THEM) were outstanding acting showcases or feats of directing, very few of them feel BEST PICTURE to me. These movies have to stand in the Pantheon of ALL TIME great movies, you know? And for me, that means the picture has to have EVERYTHING or it has to make a great impact on film making from here on out.
For me, my favorite of the year is The Imitation Game and it’s definitely the most traditional of all the nominees. It fired on all cylinders. Great acting from top to bottom, an important story with an excellent screenplay, high emotional impact, lovely pacing and a terrific score. It’s everything A Beautiful Mind THOUGHT it was.
Outraged at the snubs for both the lady driven pictures, Wild and Gone Girl. Everyone said that when the picture race expanded beyond 5 that it would allow more mainstream movies in, which is rarely the case. Were the nominators scared of Amazing Amy? How is it that everyone wanked themselves over 127 Hours and James Franco vs elements but Reese Witherspoon and Wild only scrounge up two acting noms? LADIES that’s why.
Sage: I haven’t seen American Sniper but I already know it’s some jingoistic bullshit from a senile old man who talks to chairs. I’d rank Imitation Game over Theory of Everything because of the genre-blending that happens in it. It’s a cool spy movie that also happens to be an intense character study. Budapest isn’t even my favorite of the Anderson films, though it’s perhaps the most ambitious. Would rather see Wild here though.
I promise I’ll finish Whiplash today.
With the way these nominations played out, it adds a weird context to the strong possibility of Boyhood winning for being – essentially – a love letter to growing up white and male in America. Regardless, I appreciate the work and I love Linklater and I feel that it’s a wholly original project that could have been fucked up so many times along the way. It’s a true feat that it wasn’t.
Chelsea: Overall, this is a strong pack of nominees this year. I’ll be spending the next six weeks gushing over Boyhood so get ready. I had a feeling American Sniper would make it in. I won’t judge without seeing it but BCoop has been on a roll and never underestimate Eastwood. The academy loves him and war films. Whiplash was the only other real “surprise” this year but when you break down the main components of the film then it’s not shocking. White men struggles in the arts, similar to Black Swan but not nearly as dark (or compelling in my opinion). The film thrives because of JK Simmons’ performance but at its bare bones, it’s just another safe and boring choice. It should be happy it was invited to the party. It is lovely seeing Wes Anderson get the love he deserved even though I’m apathetic to Budapest. If this makes up for the lack of Moonrise Kingdom love, then I’ll survive.
Kim, we just need to have a knockout round with Birdman. That would be a fun discussion. I’m thrilled to see Birdman help lead the pack. It’s a film student’s wet dream (just ask half the students and teachers in my department). It’s been quite polarizing to audiences as of late. Its structure and form is what enhances the content and the story is harder to decipher if you don’t understand its form and how the director is trying to tell this story of a man’s spiral into insanity.
Kim: To me, Birdman is just what Abed’s Jesus movie would have been if Shirley had not intervened. Meta for meta’s sake. And yes, I’d like to discuss this further, but does that mean I’d have to see it again?
Chelsea: What really stands out is how much these award shows LOVE biopics. 1/2 of the nominees this year are based on the real lives and struggles of white men and the most influential person of color in U.S. history. Would it have killed them to consider any female biopics like Wild? Thank God Theory of Everything is equally Jane and Stephen Hawking in terms of story and performance.
When it comes down to the actual awards though, it’s Boyhood‘s to lose. Budapest & Birdman can give it a run for their money but good luck. You take this average American family and show how time affects them and how parents shape their children, particularly the relationship of the mother and her son and how he views her life as he ages. The most simple of concepts shows how life is important no matter how hard and mundane it can be. And it’s the only film of this whole bunch that balances the gender of each characters. Patricia Arquette and Lorelei Linklater are just as fully formed and respected in their characters as Ellar Coltrane and Ethan Hawke. My feminist heart just soars. The scope of the film, story, performance, seamless editing, and commitment make it stand out in the pack. We will be talking about this masterpiece for years to come. Extraordinary filmmaking and deserves all the praise it’s received.
Alexandro G. Iñárritu, Birdman
Richard Linklater, Boyhood
Bennett Miller, Foxcatcher
Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Morten Tyldum, The Imitation Game
Kim: Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaay Middle aged white men? How did Miller pull this off??? Didn’t everyone hate Foxcatcher?
Sage: YAWN. Miller is the only surprise here. Coming off of that buzz, Foxcatcher was basically a disappointment. And the direction wasn’t particularly noteworthy. I haven’t seen Selma but you haaaaaaaaave to be kidding me. It won’t happen, but I kind of wish it would win so Ava could have her Argo fuck yourself moment.
Chelsea: Thrilled to see Linklater here and so ready for him to win. He should’ve been nominated last year for Before Midnight and previously for Before Sunset. He has been the most consistently interesting director over the past two decades and I anxiously await to see what he does next. Team Boyhood!
As for everybody else, I’m glad to see Inarritu as he too is one of the most innovative directors of the year. And again, it is wonderful to see Wes Anderson finally get some recognition even if I’m not the biggest fan of the film. He’s more than deserving of the nomination. I loved Capote and Moneyball but I’m not sure what Bennett Miller is doing here or even Tyldum for that matter. In a year when there were two great female directors in Ava DuVarnay and Angelina Jolie, they just had to go with the boring old white guys again?
Steve Carell, Foxcatcher
Bradley Cooper, American Sniper
Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game
Michael Keaton, Birdman
Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything
Kim: The category with the most upsets, with Cooper and Carell pushing out Gyllenhaal and Oyelowo. As soon as Sniper started racking up tech noms, I knew Cooper was gonna get in and Jake was toast, which is unfortunate. Jake’s performance in Nightcrawler was the best of his career and deliciously unsettling. I was surprised about Carell as it seemed everyone had cooled on that pic. But yay for Michael Scott.
I am adamantly against Keaton winning just on merits of it being a “comeback”. You’re an actor and you made a film. That’s the job. Yes, he’s good, but Cumberbatch and Redmayne act circles around him. Speaking of those Brits, CAN THEY SHARE?
In our great performances post, I compared Redmayne to DDL in My Left Foot. It’s an extraordinary performance physically and emotionally. My only fear about him is his relative youth (and he LOOKS younger than he is) and the fact he is new-ish on the scene. Best Actor winners tend to be Older and more grizzled lately, with few young exceptions (Adrien Brody). Can Eddie do it?
Sage: I just…what possessed Bradley Cooper to make this movie?
Honestly, I think Carell came through because people like the idea of him getting a nomination, not entirely due to the performance. Redmayne is pretty much a lock, but let this be the first of many nods for BC. Apparently the guaranteed recognition for biopics only applies to white people. Sorry, David O.
Chelsea: Again, I will reserve judgement for American Sniper and Bradley Cooper until I actually see the film. BCoop has been delivering wonderful work since Silver Linings Playbook so I’m not gonna tarnish him before I see him.
I think Michael Keaton was wonderful in conveying his crazy actor side in Birdman. The film is so frantic and Keaton really captures that actor wanting to make a comeback in a world he just does not understand. I have no problem with an actor making a comeback with an Oscar. We didn’t have the McConaissance last year for nothing.
Carell isn’t really a surprise to me since he got the GG & SAG noms and I’m not surprised to see Gyllenhaal dropped from the category, just disappointed.
I too have been making the My Left Foot comparison to Redmayne since before I saw the film. I fully expect him to win and DDL won his Oscar for My Left Foot at 32, same age as Redmayne and he seems to be doing alright.
Marion Cotillard, Two Days One Night
Felicity Jones, The Theory of Everything
Julianne Moore, Still Alice
Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl
Reese Witherspoon, Wild
Kim: Aniston tried REALLY hard for that fifth spot. I watched Cake last night and it’s OKAY. The movie, actually, I found to be dull as doornails. Aniston was covered in prosthetic scars, weight gain (or fake weight) and no make-up. It was a blatant PLEASE TAKE ME SERIOUSLY kind of role. She’s ALWAYS had the skills and I hope this just brings her more dramatic work. I love you always, gal pal Rachel Green.
I also caved and watched Still Alice last night. You win, Julianne Moore. It’s a magnificent performance and it IS high time she won. (Though I would have given it to her for The Hours over Jones for Chicago). I will say though that Witherspoon is the best she’s ever been in Wild and this would be WAY more interesting if she didn’t have an Oscar already. Speaking of that…people giving her performance in Walk the Line shade? Baby, baby, baby…she’s awesome and shut the fuck up.
Sage: Julianne Moore has this, but I’m happy to see the rest of these names. I saw Two Days, One Night two weeks ago and Marion was there. She told the audience about the process of these filmmakers and now I want to give her award just for dealing with it. Not only would she have to cry in a scene, she’d have to cry when she put on her LEFT boot, not her right, thank you very much. And somehow she turned in a nuanced, naturalistic performance. Reese was a knock out. It’s so cool to see actresses we’ve grown up with (her, Knightley, etc.) reaching the peaks of their careers. GO ELLE WOODS.
Chelsea: So many great ladies in this category and we still have so many more that could’ve been in here. I’m sad Aniston missed out but I can’t be mad cause Cotillard is always a respectable choice. She was snubbed two years ago for Rust and Bone and I’m glad she’s back this year. Aniston will continue acting, producing, and directing great projects and I’m glad to see her championing other women. She and Reese Witherspoon are my heroes right now in the producing field. Not taking any of the usual gender biased shit from the industry and creating their own opportunities. Witherspoon is a force in Wild and if Julianne Moore wasn’t so overdue then I’d say it’d be between them both. I’ll be watching Still Alice either tonight or tomorrow. (Kim was live-texting me last night about it and I got so excited while I was falling asleep.) My favorites in this category though are Rosamund Pike and Felicity Jones. Those two were my FAVORITE performances of the year and I would shit my pants if they somehow caused an upset. Jones was Redmayne’s equal in Theory of Everything and now I want to read the novel it was based on. Pike somehow made her psychopathic Amy so sympathetic that by the end I was cheering for her even after she committed these heinous acts. Fantastic category for sure!
Best Supporting Actor
Robert Duvall, The Judge
Ethan Hawke, Boyhood
Edward Norton, Birdman
Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher
J.K. Simmons, Whiplash
Kim: No surprises, this has been the line-up all year. Simmons deservedly takes it. But can we talk about when Hawke, Norton, and Ruffalo will all win Oscars? I need it for all of them.
Sage: I’d like to swap out Duvall for Tatum in Foxcatcher but NOBODY ASKED ME.
Chelsea: This is actually the most boring category for me this year. Ruffalo and Duvall are complete fillers. Luckily JK Simmons has this in the bag. As you can tell from above, I’m not a big Whiplash fan but I will burn things to the ground if Papa MacGuff doesn’t win. I wanted his insane Fletcher to torture the LYFE out of Miles Teller. One moment he was terrifying and the next he was sucking you in with his sweet stories and gaining your trust. Flawless performance. Hawke and Norton played their usual type very well in their respective films. If I had to pick my runner-up in this category, Hawke would be my man. It was heartwarming watching him grow as a father and become the man he should’ve been a decade earlier.
Best Supporting Actress
Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
Laura Dern, Wild
Keira Knightley, The Imitation Game
Emma Stone, Birdman
Meryl Streep, Into the Woods
Kim: LAURA DERN edges out Chastain, and I’m fine with it. (Actually, I screamed with joy when her name was read.) She was LUMINOUS in Wild and people complaining that she doesn’t have that much screen time? Allow me to remind you that Judi Dench won an Oscar for 8 fucking minutes of screen time. Bye.
I’m not really understanding where all the love for Stone’s performance came from? She’s good, but it really seems like it’s riding the tails of all the Birdman love. (See what I did there?)
Sage: In my mind, I’m considering this also a nom for Laura Dern’s work in TFIOS. Beautifully tragic moms for the win. Speaking of, Patricia Arquette is my “will win” for this category.
Chelsea: I do think TFIOS helped Dern get her surprising and welcomed nomination. She’s been hitting the awards circuit hard and I’m glad it didn’t go to waste. She plays two wonderful mothers in both films and I’m so glad she is getting good roles. I hate that we had to lose Chastain in this category because we all know she’s in my Top 3 for lyfe but I’m glad Dern was her replacement.
I’ve been saying this for a long time but had Les Mis not come out a couple of years ago, Meryl and Into the Woods would be a force this awards season. She crushed it as the Witch and I am in awe of her voice. Glad to see Emma Stone make the cut. I feel for her so hard as this young adult with a shitty dad and she’s just at her breaking point with him. Her major moment was heart wrenching when she just explodes on him and makes for a sweet scene later when she is showing him a Twitter account she made for him.
We all know this is Patty’s award though. Her journey as a mother is unlike any other and it is just a privilege to be able to watch her. I left this film wanting to hug my mother and shouting “I will be so pissed off when she’s snubbed at the Oscars.” Thank you for not pissing me off Oscars!
Best Adapted Screenplay
American Sniper, Jason Hall
The Imitation Game, Graham Moore
Inherent Vice, Paul Thomas Anderson
The Theory of Everything, Anthony McCarten
Whiplash, Damien Chazelle
Kim: Again I point out the lack of Gone Girl and Wild. Hornby’s screenplay for Wild is FANTASTIC and truly captured the voice of the book. That’s NOT easy with a memoir. Whiplash‘s move to adapted had to have shoved Gillian Flynn out, no? And really what the fuck with American Sniper and now I have to go see it. What wins here???
Sage: Inherent Vice is kind of a cool surprise. It’s not a straightforward property to adapt. So if it deserves a nod, why not Wild? Again, American Sniper is garbage. I honestly can’t fucking believe I’ve had to read this title so many times.
Chelsea: So disappointed Gone Girl wasn’t nominated. This is the one category I thought it had a chance in. When you can make a film that’s equally as compelling as the novel then you deserve props. Gillian Flynn had to gut her work to put it on the screen and it’s a shame she won’t be recognized. My guess is that it’ll go to one of the Brit biopics. Bored with the rest.
Best Original Screenplay
Birdman, Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr. & Armando Bo
Boyhood, Richard Linklater
Foxcatcher, E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman
The Grand Budapest Hotel, Wes Anderson & Hugo Guinness
Nightcrawler, Dan Gilroy
Kim: WHAT THE EFF with Foxcatcher? I thought it was based on a book? Clearly I am dumb. Also the fact that the nominators had to read out Birdman‘s full name every time just reinforced its pretentiousness. Will Boyhood be looked at as a screenplay or just Linklater’s extreme dedication? Thrilled to see Nightcrawler here.
Sage: I’d be happy with Budapest taking this. Nightcrawler got nominated for that date scene, but it’s not wordy enough to win. Boyhood might come out on top, considering the collaboration and constant revision involved. That movie is such a moving target. Which reminds me: Boyhood‘s editing deserves serious recognition.
Chelsea: This is where the fight among the frontrunners will come into play. Birdman vs. Boyhood vs. Budapest. My heart wants it to be Boyhood but I think Budapest will take it. It’s such a tight script and perfectly packaged that you just can’t ignore it. Birdman took the Globe though so I can’t disregard it. It feels more like a visual piece than the text. Lovely seeing Nightcrawler here!
Best Animated Film
Big Hero 6
How to Train Your Dragon 2
Song of the Sea
The Tale of Princess Kaguya
Kim: I just have to point out the audible gasp in the room when The Lego Movie was left out. I expect How to Train Your Dragon to take this.
Sage: The Lego Movie was one of the funniest, most original, most uplifting movies of the whole year and completely ageless. I have no idea what they were thinking.
Chelsea: I actually got really excited when The Lego Movie wasn’t nominated. Not a fan and I guess the Academy doesn’t like films that have commentary on rich white businessmen in power. Wonder why? How To Train Your Dragon 2 though!!! One of the absolute best films of the year and I will cry if it wins.
Kim: I watched HTTYD2 over Christmas and was surprised both at how DARK it got and at my strange crush on Hiccup.
Best Original Song
“Everything Is Awesome” from The Lego Movie
“Glory” from Selma
“Grateful” from Beyond the Lights
“I’m Not Gonna Miss You” from Glen Campbell…I’ll Be Me
“Lost Stars” from Begin Again
Kim: “Lost Stars” was the last nominee read, and I had a rage tweet all composed that I had to delete, thank GOD. It will lose to “Glory” from Selma, but that’s fine. Can we just have Knightley and Levine perform it on the show?
Sage: I THOUGHT I SAW YOU OUT THERE CRYING. OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHHHHHHH
Chelsea: My favorite nomination is “Everything is Awesome” because now I can think about Tegan & Sara/Lonely Island possibly performing at the ceremony. It’s no secret that T&S is my favorite band and they always give such a good performance plus they have never performed this song live with Lonely Island and this combination on stage would make my LYFE. I have zero shits to give about this category otherwise.
Best Original Score
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
The Theory of Everything
Kim: Will Desplat cancel himself out? His score for the Imitation Game is my favorite of the year. I’m fine with Theory of Everything taking this one too. Can we stop encouraging Zimmer from doing things?
That was the score of Interstellar. Which was also The Dark Knight. Which was also Inception.
Sage: Out of Desplat’s two, I prefer Budapest. But yes, they will cancel each other out. Going with Kim’s pick of Theory of Everything.
Chelsea: Normally I’d be team Desplat but I really loved the score for Theory of Everything and I think it will win. If not that then Budapest cause it was dorky and delightful.
And those are our nominees, because most of us wouldn’t dare discuss the tech awards (Chelsea would and probably will). Leave your thoughts in the comments? Who was snubbed? Who are you most delighted by?