Blog: Reactions to the Oscar Nominations

by Ken B.

AUGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHH! *flips table*

Ahem… excuse me…

OK, let’s get started. The Oscar nominations were announced today, and boy, do we have a lot to talk about. I’ll share my thoughts on some of the results – a boldfaced nominee denotes that I correctly predicted a particular film, individual, or group as a nominee.

BEST PICTURE

  • American Sniper
  • Birdman
  • Boyhood
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • The Imitation Game
  • Selma
  • The Theory of Everything
  • Whiplash

SCORE: 8/8
THOUGHTS: Dear Academy,

You had ten slots. You used eight. I don’t care what you put in instead. But if The Theory of Everything was one of the eight best movies you’ve seen this year…

BEST DIRECTOR

  • Wes Anderson – The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • Alejandro G. Iñárritu – Birdman (Or, as the Academy put it, Birdman (Or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance). Every time.)
  • Richard Linklater – Boyhood
  • Bennett Miller – Foxcatcher
  • Morten Tyldum – The Imitation Game

SCORE: 3/5
THOUGHTS: All men. It’s not like there was a woman this year that made an excellent, highly praised, end-of-year movie that’s been picking up awards steam.

BEST ACTOR

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

SCORE: 3/5
THOUGHTS: Yeah, it’s not like there was a transformative performance this year by someone playing Martin Luther King, Jr., or a highly-praised actor giving a great performance in an Academy-loved movie that hasn’t gotten an Oscar nomination since the late ‘90s.

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

SCORE: 4/5
THOUGHTS: Need to see Still Alice. Hope it opens wide soon.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

  • Robert Duvall – The Judge
  • Ethan Hawke – Boyhood
  • Edward Norton – Birdman
  • Mark Ruffalo – Foxcatcher
  • J.K. Simmons – Whiplash

SCORE: 5/5
THOUGHTS: I got ‘em all!

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

  • Patricia Arquette – Boyhood
  • Laura Dern – Wild
  • Keira Knightley – The Imitation Game
  • Emma Stone – Birdman
  • Meryl Streep – Into the Woods

SCORE: 4/5
THOUGHTS: I’ve noticed just now that all 20 acting nominees this year are white. And all five directorial nominees are men. That liberal Hollywood, ‘eh?

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

  • Birdman
  • Boyhood
  • Foxcatcher
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • Nightcrawler

SCORE: 4/5
THOUGHTS: Watching the stressed pronunciation of Birdman’s screenwriters was a bit of a struggle.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

  • American Sniper
  • The Imitation Game
  • Inherent Vice
  • The Theory of Everything
  • Whiplash

SCORE: 4/5
THOUGHTS: Whiplash was still able to get in, despite that whole mess with the Academy about whether or not it was original or adapted.

BEST ANIMATED FILM

  • Big Hero 6
  • The Boxtrolls
  • How to Train Your Dragon 2
  • Song of the Sea
  • The Tale of the Princess Kaguya

SCORE: 4/5
THOUGHTS: The other week, I caught up with How to Train Your Dragon 2 (although I haven’t seen the first. It’s a long story). It’s fine. But how do movies like that get in and (in arguably the morning’s biggest shock – you can hear the audience gasp in the video) movies like The Lego Movie get snubbed?

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

  • Ida
  • Leviathan
  • Tangerines
  • Timbuktu
  • Wild Tales

SCORE: 4/5
THOUGHTS: I saw someone predicting Corn Island, the Georgian entry, would get nominated.

BEST DOCUMENTARY

  • Citizenfour
  • Finding Vivian Maier
  • Last Days in Vietnam
  • The Salt of the Earth
  • Virunga

SCORE: 2/5
THOUGHTS: I’m beginning to believe, with his latest exclusion in this category for Life Itself (what the heck, Academy?), that Steve James really, really, really ticked some people off in the Documentary Branch of AMPAS. One of the most praised working documentarians is still at zero when it comes to Best Documentary nominations.

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE 

  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • The Imitation Game
  • Interstellar
  • Mr. Turner
  • The Theory of Everything

SCORE: 4/5
THOUGHTS: Haven’t caught up with Mr. Turner or The Imitation Game yet (I’ll do my hardest to see at least the latter ASAP), but I have seen all the other movies and heard their scores in context, and I have to say they all fit very well. I would be genuinely happy if any of them won. One of the few things with this list of nominees at this year’s Oscars that I actually am genuinely happy about.

BEST ORIGINAL SONG

  • “Everything is Awesome” – The Lego Movie
  • “Glory” – Selma
  • “Grateful” – Beyond the Lights
  • “I’m Not Gonna Miss You” – Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me
  • “Lost Stars” – Begin Again

SCORE: 3/5
THOUGHTS: At least The Lego Movie got something.

BEST SOUND EDITING

  • American Sniper
  • Birdman
  • The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
  • Interstellar
  • Unbroken

SCORE: 2/5

BEST SOUND MIXING

  • American Sniper
  • Birdman
  • Interstellar
  • Unbroken
  • Whiplash

SCORE: 3/5

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN

  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • The Imitation Game
  • Interstellar
  • Into the Woods
  • Mr. Turner

SCORE: 4/5

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

  • Birdman
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • Ida
  • Mr. Turner
  • Unbroken

SCORE: 3/5
THOUGHTS: Very pleased to see Ida get into cinematography – I heard it as a possibility, but I didn’t think it would happen in the end. I’m glad to be wrong here, as that movie is breathtakingly shot. Also, Cheryl Boone Isaacs’ mispronunciation of Mr. Turner cinematographer Dick Pope’s name made everyone’s day.

BEST MAKEUP/HAIRSTYLING

  • Foxcatcher
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • Guardians of the Galaxy

SCORE: 2/3

BEST COSTUME DESIGN

  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • Inherent Vice
  • Into the Woods
  • Maleficent
  • Mr. Turner

SCORE: 4/5

BEST EDITING

  • American Sniper
  • Boyhood
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • The Imitation Game
  • Whiplash

SCORE: 3/5

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

SCORE: 3/5

TOTAL SCORE: 76/106 (72%)

While it’s by far my best score in the three years I’ve been doing this, it doesn’t mean I didn’t see mounds of disappointing omissions. But that comes with every year, and I suppose in the future, such a trend will continue. Whatever. Awards shows don’t mean anything. Blah.

MISCELLANEOUS STATISTICS:

  • Number of things I labeled a “virtual lock” that I really shouldn’t have: 7
  • Number of things I called a “Biggest Threat” that I really should’ve had more confidence in: 5

MISCELLANEOUS OBSERVATIONS:

  • Does anyone find a vague mixture of disappointment and suspicion that Selma got two nods, and Best Picture was one and Best Song was the other? That may be the least sincere Best Picture nomination I’ve seen in a very long time, by the same Academy unwilling to recognize the strengths of the film’s performances, direction, writing, cinematography, and editing, among other things.
  • No one would have even thought this kind of a showing for American Sniper was feasible until a few weeks ago.
  • Every year, we usually have a nominee or two in the acting prizes that didn’t get any of the “notable precursors”. This year, we had a feeling it would be in Supporting Actress. But we didn’t believe it would be Laura Dern in Wild.
  • Interstellar got more nominations than Selma.
  • The Theory of Everything got more nominations than Selma.
  • Does anyone think that the “big six” (Picture, Director, Actor/Actress, and supporting performer) categories are more or less decided right now? Boyhood, Linklater, Keaton, Moore, Simmons, and Arquette. We’ll see.
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel is a very good movie. I’m happy it made out so well.
  • Early mornings are early morning-y for Cheryl Boone Isaacs and reading the teleprompter. Entirely understandable. But still funny.
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