Oscar Predictions 2015

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The Academy Award nominations were announced yesterday at 8:30 a.m. EST. As per usual, there were some surprises. But, there was a lot more outrage on social media this year than in previous years. Admittedly, I contributed to it. Here are my reactions to the nominees.

Box Office Figures

Of the eight Best Picture nominees, ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ is the highest-grossing box picture with $59.1 million. ‘The Imitation Game’ ranks second with $42 million (and still running). The remaining nominees haven’t even crossed the $30 million mark. ‘American Sniper’ is going into wide release today and seems poised to cross that $30 million threshold. The eight movies nominated for Best Picture earned a combined $203 million, which is what the 10th highest grossing film of 2014 (‘The Amazing Spiderman-2’) made.

Foxcatcher

‘Foxcatcher’ got a nomination for Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, and Best MakeUp. But not Best Picture? The last time a director received a nomination for a film that wasn’t up for the big prize was in 2007 for ‘The Diving Bell and the Butterfly’.

Selma

Outside of the Best Picture category, ‘Selma’ received a nomination for Best Original Song. Wait. What? What about David Oyelowo for Best Actor? He effortlessly found the humanity in this iconic figure. Ava DuVernay for Best Director? She would have made history as the first female filmmaker of color. The last Best Picture nominee to receive only one nomination outside that category was ‘Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close’. And that was actually one of the worst movies of that year. ‘Selma’ was only shown in screenings before it opened in LA/NY on Christmas Day. The larger voting population didn’t receive copies of screeners and that could have hurt the film’s chances of nominations in other categories. Patton Oswalt said it best.

Selma Tweet

The Lego Movie

‘The Lego Movie’ received a nomination for it’s catchy song ‘Everything is Awesome’. When I saw the movie back in February, I was certain that it was going to win the Oscar for Best Animated Feature. It wasn’t even nominated. Did its February release date hurt the picture’s chances? Did the live action segment at the end throw people off? Director Phil Lord’s tweet about that snub made me laugh.

The Lego Movie Tweet

American Sniper

This is probably the most divisive of the Best Picture nominees. I caught it last night, and I’m just as split on the film (had I reviewed it, I would have given it 3 stars). Bradley Cooper has earned three consecutive nominations for Best Actor (the last time this happened was with Renée Zellweger in 2004).

Gone Girl

There wasn’t much love for ‘Gone Girl’. Gillian Flynn was shut out for her screenplay adaptation of her novel. Trent Reznor didn’t receive a nomination for that terrifically creepy score.

Best Actor

Thirty years from now, film fans are still going to be talking about Jake Gyllenhaal’s performance in ‘Nightcrawler’, and Tom Hardy’s performance in ‘Locke’. Neither was nominated for Best Actor. My friend Becky expressed her outrage on one of these omissions.

Becky's Tweet

Best Documentary

‘Life Itself’, the widely praised documentary on the life and career of film critic Roger Ebert was one of the most life affirming films I’ve seen in a long time. And, of course, it was completely overlooked by the Academy. Director Steve James has yet to be recognized by these folks. And this is the guy who made one of the best documentaries of all time – ‘Hoop Dreams’. But, ‘Finding Vivian Maier’, co-directed by Charlie Siskel (Gene Siskel’s nephew) received a Best Documentary nomination. Even in death, their rivalry remains unequivocal.

Best Foreign Language Film

The biggest Academy fail, in my opinion, is the omission of Xavier Dolan’s masterpiece ‘Mommy’. It won the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival. It was one of the most talked about movies at the Toronto International Film Festival. There wasn’t a better foreign language film in 2014. ‘Mommy’ was my 2ndfavorite film of 2014, and any other year, it would have topped my Best Of list. I’m also surprised that ‘Force Majeure’ did not make the cut.

No People of Color

All twenty acting nominees are white. The last time this happened was 1998.

Surprises That Didn’t Suck

The inclusion of ‘Ida’, and ‘Mr. Turner’ in the Best Cinematography category was encouraging. I consider these two the best-shot films of 2014, but I was skeptical about their chances of being nominated in this category. I was also thrilled to see the love-it-or-hate-it ‘Inherent Vice’ get a Best Adapted Screenplay nomination.

This year’s ceremony on February 22nd will be hosted by Neil Patrick Harris. I will post my predictions in a couple of weeks (there are a few titles I need to catch up on – mainly the short films).

The complete list of nominations is included below.

Best Picture 

‘American Sniper’
‘Birdman’
‘Boyhood’
‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’
‘The Imitation Game’
‘Selma’
‘The Theory Of Everything’
‘Whiplash’

Best Director


Alexandro G. Iñárritu, ‘Birdman’
Richard Linklater, ‘Boyhood’
Bennett Miller, ‘Foxcatcher’’
Wes Anderson, ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’
Morten Tyldum, ‘The Imitation Game’

Best Actor


Steve Carell, ‘Foxcatcher’
Bradley Cooper, ‘American Sniper’
Benedict Cumberbatch, ‘The Imitation Game’
Michael Keaton, ‘Birdman’
Eddie Redmayne, ‘The Theory Of Everything’

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’

Best Supporting Actor


Robert Duvall, ‘The Judge’
Ethan Hawke, ‘Boyhood’
Edward Norton, ‘Birdman’
Mark Ruffalo, ‘Foxcatcher’
J.K. Simmons, ‘Whiplash’

Best Supporting Actress

Patricia Arquette, ‘Boyhood’
Laura Dern, ‘Wild’
Keira Knightley, ‘The Imitation Game’
Emma Stone, ‘Birdman’
Meryl Streep, ‘Into The Woods’

Best Foreign Language Film


‘Ida’
‘Leviathan’
‘Tangerines’
‘Timbuktu’
‘Wild Tales’

Best Documentary  Feature


‘Citizenfour’
‘Finding Vivien Maier’
‘Last Days Of Vietnam’
‘The Salt Of The Earth’
‘Virunga’

Best Animated Feature


‘Big Hero 6’
‘The Boxtrolls’
‘How To Train Your Dragon 2’
‘Song Of The Sea’
‘The Tale Of Princess Kaguya’

Best Original Screenplay

‘Birdman’
‘Boyhood’
‘Foxcatcher’
‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’
‘Nightcrawler’

Best Adapted Screenplay


‘American Sniper’
‘The Imitation Game’
‘Inherent Vice’
‘The Theory Of Everything’
‘Whiplash’

Best Cinematography


‘Birdman’
‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’
‘Ida’
‘Mr. Turner’
‘Unbroken’

Best Makeup and Hairstyling


‘Foxcatcher’
‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’
‘Guardians Of The Galaxy’

Best Original Score

‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’
‘The Imitation Game’
‘Interstellar’
‘Mr. Turner’
‘The Theory Of Everything’

Best Film Editing

‘American Sniper’
‘Boyhood’
‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’
‘The Imitation Game’
‘Whiplash’

Best Production Design

‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’
‘The Imitation Game’
‘Interstellar’
‘Into The Woods’
‘Mr. Turner’

Best Sound Editing
‘American Sniper’
‘Birdman’
‘The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies’
‘Interstellar’
‘Unbroken’

Best Sound Mixing

‘American Sniper’
‘Birdman’
‘Interstellar’
‘Unbroken’
‘Whiplash’

Best Visual Effects

‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’
‘Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes’
‘Guardians of the Galaxy’
‘Interstellar’
‘X-Men: Days Of Future Past’

Best Costume Design


‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’
‘Inherent Vice’
‘Into The Woods’
‘Maleficent’
‘Mr. Turner’

Best Original Song

Lost Stars, ‘Begin Again’
Grateful, ‘Beyond The Lights’
I’m Not Gonna Miss You, ‘Glenn Campbell: I’ll Be Me’
Everything Is Awesome, ‘The Lego Movie’
Glory, ‘Selma’

Best Documentary Short


‘Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1’
‘Joanna’
‘Our Curse’
‘The Reaper’
‘White Earth’

Best Animated Short


‘The Bigger Picture’
‘The Dam Keeper’
‘Feast’
‘Me And My Moulton’
‘A Single Life’

Best Live Action Short


‘Aya’
‘Boogaloo And Graham’
‘Butter Lamp’
‘Parvaneh’
‘The Phone Call’

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