Saturday, January 24, 2015

Middle of 2015 Oscars Race

Once upon a time there was a cinema award that was serious, self-congratulatory, and non-controversial. But as almost everything, it evolved to become non-serious, self-congratulatory and controversial. Some years the whirlpool attracts you and you end up enjoying all the fuzz and buzz, but most years you do not like what's going on. 2015 is one of the later for me. I like politics in movies stories but I do not like politics in cinema awards. Sigh.

But I'm just an spectator, even when I do not like the spectacle, still watch the game. Still play the guessing game. Still feel compelled to read everything about it. Still write about it. So, here I go with my ranting about the nominations and some middle of the race predictions. Sigh.

The Surprises

Believe that the biggest Oscar nomination surprise was how well Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel did, especially when everyone believes that films exhibited long before the awards season are forgotten -which we know is absurd when movie is good. Sorry but I don't agree, there was no surprise for me as I said movie was Anderson's best, even better than Moonrise Kingdom, and I'm really pleased that he is getting recognition. Now I'm looking forward to his next movie.

Marion Cotillard nomination was the most pleasant surprise for me and of course, I believe that is extremely well-deserved for her performance in Dardenne's Brothers Two Days, One Night.

Perhaps the biggest surprise came when Ida got a nomination in the cinematography category as definitively believe is extremely well-deserved as most of its black and white visuals are breathtaking, a true feast to your eyes. Awesome. In my awards and from those nominated, the race is between Ida, Mr. Turner and The Grand Budapest Hotel, but the winner by far is Ida.

Not everything/everyone can be nominated

Among all those that were not nominated, the most fun to read about undoubtedly is The Lego Movie starting with director's tweet with the photo of an Oscar made out of Legos. That's a clever way to call even more attention to your movie. I did not enjoyed movie even when has a more adult than children story. So, the non-nomination was not a surprise for me.

For me the biggest snub is Jake Gyllenhaal not nominated for his excellent performance in Nightcrawler. Know there were too many good performances in the lead actor category but yes, I agree with many that say that Bradley Cooper spot belonged to Gyllenhaal.

Another snub that is very hard to understand is about Jessica Chastain. She was in three high profile movies last year, Interstellar, The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby and A Most Violent Year. As a matter of fact, if you wish you can say that she was in five, as Cannes Eleanor Rigby movie has 3 versions, Them, Her and Him. She has great performances in all three and yes, she deserved a nomination in any of the two actress categories. Then, on the light side, we definitively will miss Chastain in the red carpet.

Then you have Interstellar by Christopher Nolan, who believe it or not, has NEVER get an Oscar nomination in the Best Director category. Movie is all right. It's entertaining but somehow believe movie looses when you realize that visually has some similarities to Gravity and Elysium; story wise is kind of original but not for Nolan's own movies as time-bending seems to be his obsession. Still, IF the Academy now nominates up to 10 movies, why not include a blockbuster? Well, if it wasn't a domestic blockbuster, surely was an international blockbuster when its foreign box office is about to reach US$500 million (which is MORE than what ALL eight Best Picture nominated films have made at domestic box office up-to-date).

Have no problem with Foxcatcher, Unbroken, Big Eyes, Gone Girl and Life Itself not getting nominations. To me Foxcather is broken and even do has great performances cannot agree with director's nomination (spot belonged to other director) as honestly, I hated his vision when making this story that gave me a really bad aftertaste that lasted days. Unbroken has a great story but the director needs to learn better her craft as there are too many moments where story went stall in the screen (the ocean scenes bordered on boring, especially when you compare them to Ang Lee's Life of Pi). Big Eyes looks and feels so average that is hard to believe is by Tim Burton. Believe Life Itself is relevant only to film critics and not for general audiences. Last we have Gone Girl, great entertaining movie with great story (especially if you haven't read the book) but nothing more, except for one outstanding performance by Rosamund Pike, so good that I am re-watching her old movies and some new ones, as definitively I'm seeing her with new eyes.

So, there are more snubs but that is all for today. Now let's play to the guessing game, the one that attempts to guess what Academy voters will do.

Best Picture
Winner: Boyhood
Should Win: Whiplash (ok, that's me, not Academy members!)
Could Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel or Birdman

IF Academy members react like American audiences, THEN American Sniper has a chance.

Winner: Richard Linklater for Boyhood
Should Win: Richard Linklater for Boyhood (yes, me and also my guessing)
Could spoil win: Alejandro González Iñárritu for Birdman

Actress in a leading role
Will Win: Julianne Moore in Still Alice
Should Win: Want to believe there is a race between Moore, Pike and Cotillard, with Pike or Cotillard winning

Don't doubt Julianne Moore is a great actress with many great performances BUT her performance in Still Alice is neither her best or a good performance (movie is so mediocre, deserves the Lifetime channel label). Great performances from nominees belong to Rosamund Pike and Marion Cotillard.

Actress in a supporting role
Winner: Patricia Arquette in Boyhood
Should Win: Patricia Arquette in Boyhood

Actor in a leading role
Winner: Michael Keaton in Birdman
Could Surprise and win: Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything
Should Win: Steve Carell in Foxcatcher (yep, it's me, Carell was so good as the most disgusting, despicable, unpleasant character, so believable)

Actor in a supporting role
Winner: J.K. Simmons in Whiplash
Should Win: J.K. Simmons in Whiplash

Foreign-Language Film
Will Win: Ida
Could Win: Leviathan

Will Win: Birdman (another for Emmanuel Lubezki)
Could Win: Unbroken (another for Roger Deakins) or better Dick Pope for Mr. Turner
Should Win : Ida

Original Screenplay
Will Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Could Win: Birdman
Should Win: Nightcrawler (yes, it's me) or okay, Wes Anderson for The Grand Budapest Hotel

Adapted Screenplay
Will Win: Whiplash
Could Win: The Imitation Game
Should Win: Whiplash (yes, me)

Definitively Gone Girl was a snub in this category.

Faster predictions
Boyhood deserves to win in Film Editing as just imagine the amount of film that there was after 12 years of filming but
Production Design should go to The Grand Budapest Hotel
Visual Effects should go to Interstellar (time bending scenes)
Sound Editing to Birdman, Sound Mixing to Whiplash
Costume Design to The Grand Budapest Hotel
Make Up and Hairstyling to Foxcatcher
Music Original Score to the Grand Budapest Hotel
Music Original Song to Glory
Documentary to Citizenfour
Live Action short film to Butter Lamp

So that's it for today. This post gave me the opportunity to share five of the fifteen creations from world's top artists; if you wish to see ALL go to the Oscars Art Gallery here.

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