So one of my traditions around this time of year, is pretending that I am a member of the Academy Awards and telling you who I would vote for to win in each of the categories up for awards (save the short films, unless I have actually seen them, this year I have not). Later in the week I will write out my actual predictions but this will be all about who I want to win. I will only pick from the movies nominated and will not give my personal choices outside of that (though I may make reference to them in some cases). So I will list the category and who I would vote for and write a brief piece about why. I will not list all the nominees (I’ll save that for my predictions piece) just the film I want to win. So lets do it!
Only 2 of the 8 nominated films actually placed on my Top 10 list (Selma being the other) though I can honestly say that all but 2 would have made my Top 20, so there is really no way I see that I will be mad at who actually wins here. However for me the clear cut choice is Boyhood, Richard Linklater’s masterpiece that captures boyhood in a bottle and brilliant shows the passage of time right in front of our eyes. Some people though it was boring but I found it to be fascinating and honest and it really dug deep. Boyhood will be the movie that will last the test of time and will be talked about for years to come and it is more deserving than any of the nominated films to take the top prize in my books.
Eddie Redmayne * The Theory of Everything
My top choice of course would have been David Oyelowo for his brilliant portrayal of Martin Luther King in Selma, however there was once portrayal of another famous man from history that was nearly equally as good. Eddie Redmayne in every way, shape and form truly becomes Stephan Hawkins, in a performance that most have been both physically and mentally exhausting. Redmayne captures Hawkins in all parts of his adult life from a young healthy college kid, to a sick young man, to a wheel chair bound adult, who’s body has been destroyed by ALS. Its an astonishing performance from a young man, who has never shown us anything close to the brilliance he shows here!
Marion Cotillard * Two Days and One Night
You could give this award to any of the 5 actress’s nominated and you would not get a compliant from me, but the standout of a very excellent group is Cotillard. She plays a woman on the verge of losing everything, who most go around to 16 co-workers and pretty much beg for her job back. Cotillard who also gave a brilliant performances in last years The Immigrant as well, is quickly becoming one of the finest working actress’s in Hollywood today. Her performance in Two Days and One Night is so amazing because every time you find yourself going against her, she brings you right back to her side with the desperation in her eyes. This is acting at its finest and it would be a grand surprise if she was able to take home the Oscar!
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
J.K Simmons * Whiplash
Well I hate to sound like a broken record here and agree with everyone else, but sometimes a performance truly is that good and in the case of Simmons in Whiplash, there is nobody else even close! Simmons foul tempered, perfectionist, music teacher, who pushes his students to the extreme is kind of performance that would be easy to go way over the top on. Simmons a great actor of many years is to wise for that and he makes sure to show the human side to what is otherwise a monster of a man. Everything about this performances in my tempo!
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Patricia Arquette * Boyhood
The other 4 nominee’s might as well go home because they are simply not in the same league as Arquette here. Arquette playing the single mother in Boyhood who is left with the task of raising her two children, while trying to get her life together is a thing of beauty. She digs deep giving us a whole host of emotional breaking points on many different ends of the scale. When we finally get to her son leaving her for college, Arquette all put seals the deal for winning her first Oscar and rightfully so.
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
I would be fine with a Boyhood or a Foxcatcher win here but when I look at what the category is called “Original” than I have to give my nod to Night Crawler. This is a movie that takes us to a place that has yet to be explored by the movies yet, however is a fast growing part of our society. In the modern era were we live everything in the moment, it ends up costing us more than we might think. Night Crawler’s screen brilliantly digs deep into that process as it watches an action news type guy, go to the extremes to bring us the up to the minute news story. Its scary, funny and deeply disturbing, and one of the most well written screenplays of 2014.
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Paul Thomas Anderson usually takes the ideas from his source material and turns them into to something uniquely his own, but with Inherent Vice he uses the source material almost as is, all while adding his Anderson like touches, making for a film that is unique in every way. The screenplay may be hard to follow for those who simply don’t want to take the time to get invested in the film but for anyone who does allow this film to take them over, it is a powerful, funny as hell, twisted tale that well leave you head in a cloud of smoke, wondering how Anderson has once again created a masterpiece of writing.
Richard Linklater * Boyhood
First off Linklater deserves this award for the fact that he has gone his whole brilliant career without ever winning this award. However even if that wasn’t the case he would still be my pick here. I mean it took 12 YEARS TO FILM THIS DAMN THING! 12 YEARS! He did something that has never been done before and it turned out to be one of the masterpieces of the current decade. Boyhood is a film that will be talked about for years and duplicated often and that makes this all the more Linklater’s award.
All the other films had fine camera work but sorry this belongs to Birdman by a mile and a half! The cinematography is like a secondary character in Birdman and it showers over every single scene of the movie. Filmed like its a single shot for the entire movie, this is a work of stunning art, that even the Birdman haters can’t deny. Brilliance in this field!
BEST COSTUME DESIGN
The Grand Budapest Hotel
A part of me wanted to give this to Inherent Vice, just because I feel like that movie should be rewarded for anything it is up for but even I can’t deny that Budapest Hotel truly deserves to win this award. Much like the film itself, the costumes stand out for the vibrant color and attention to detail. It perfectly captures the WW2 era style of clothing, while still making it uniquely Wes Anderson.
BEST FILM EDITING
I have to say that I find it stunning and absurd that two of the best uses of editing in film in 2014, Edge of Tomorrow and Birdman, are not nominated for this award! With that said Boyhood gets my pick because it is equally as impressive an edit job as those two mentioned films. They had to take pieces from 12 years of footage and edit it all together perfectly so that, everything seem real and like it was the passage of time. They did a brilliant job.
BEST HAIR AND MAKEUP
Guardians of the Galaxy
I am a fan of the big flashy makeup, but only when it is done correctly and boy does Guardians do it correctly. I mean the whole movie is basically a show case for the brilliant makeup work of the film, as you seen the stunning blue, greens and purples of the many creators that inhabit the its world. But it is the masterful work on Drax that is the show stopper here. Making Bastista a blue skinned beast, with red popping red veins all over his body…a work of art!
BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
The Grand Budapest Hotel
From the moment I laid eyes on the beauty that was Wes Anderson’s Grand Budapest Hotel set, I knew it was going to be my #1 choice come the end of the year. Wes Anderson is known for always having stunning production work, but he out does even himself this time. Everything from the stunning pink Hotel, right down the snowy maze during the films chase scene, is gorgeous beyond words. You could literally take any frame of this movie and turn it into a picture. Another piece of brilliance in the field.
Well I would have personally giving this award to Under the Skin, which was foolishly not even nominated here. Either were tremendous scores for Inherent Vice and Gone Girl. Of all the nominee’s for this category the only one I can still even remember is Interstellar so that gets my vote based on that fact alone. However the score for Interstellar by Hans Zimmerman is really solid and did add nicely to the movie. At this point Zimmerman can do this stuff with ear plugs but that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t be rewarded still.
Everything is Awesome * The Lego Movie
Yeah yeah yeah Glory is an uplifting song for a movie that mattered and should have been up for a lot more awards but you know what I don’t hear Glory being song every single day by a classroom full of children (I am an ECE in the real world). Everything is Awesome much the same as last year’s Let It Go, wasn’t just a catchy tune it a kids movie, it was a revolution to young children. That and well the song is just AWESOME!
BEST SOUND EDITING
Look it is no secret that I hated American Sniper and if I was a member of the voting academy I would have not given Sniper anywhere near the nominations it got. However with that said I would still have American Sniper in this category. The sounds of the guns and the tanks and the various military machinery and weapons is really well done here and really has a realistic and scary feel to it. Its the attention to detail here that is so impressive and truly makes this a standout in the sound categories.
BEST SOUND MIXING
This whole movie is basically just one giant sound mix if you think about it! You regularly have a band playing loud musically instruments, of various nose levels, all while J.K Simmons hot headed teacher is barking orders and losing his mind. The fact that both sounds come through so clearly and make the movie what it is, I would say this is the best pieces of sound mixing of the nominee’s. The whole movie depends on it!
BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
All I have to say is those waves that were the size of mountains, nearly made me piss my pants, they were so scary looking!
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
The Tale of the Princess Kaguya
I still can’t get over the fact that The Lego movie wasn’t even nominated here! How does something so stupid even happen! I mean this category has always been a joke since it first became a thing (think Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs snubbed, Bee Movie nominated over The Simpsons Movie, pointlessly giving it to Pixar every year even if they don’t deserve it!). Still I have give them some credit for they nominated what I felt was the actual best animated movie of the year, this wonderful through back to hand drawn animation, that finally features a REAL princess we can all be proud of!
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
I have not been able to see any of the nominee’s here so I will not make a choice. However I think it was an absolute outrage that Life Itself wasn’t nominated here.
BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
I have only seen two of the nominated films here and once again I call outrage that Force Majure wasn’t among the nominees here. Ida however was a wonderful film from Poland that was filmed in stunning black and white, was only 80 mins in length and told a brilliant and well thought out story about a young women trying to connect with her past, to help move into the future. I can’t imagine any of the other nominee’s matching it here anyway.