Oscar Sunday 2015 | My Favorites

2015 Oscar nominees for Best Picture

Last year I wrote a post about the upcoming Academy Awards in which I mentioned some of my predictions, but mainly talked about my personal opinions about the nominees. Today, I was going to do the same thing, but then realized I don't really want to try to guess what a bunch of people have decided to vote for—I have been disappointed/annoyed/infuriated by them plenty of times. So I'm going going to tell you about my favorites, and I would love to know what yours are as well!

Now, before I get into this let me say a couple of things. First of all, I don't believe in the whole "this person was nominated 5 times and should have won 3 years ago" shenanigans—there is a lifetime achievement award for that. I believe in evaluating work within the particular film. And second of all, I'm not going over every single category—only the ones that interest me the most. That would normally include Cinematography as well, but somehow I haven't seen most of the films nominated there. Now, onto the nominees.

Best Visual Effects

The Nominees: Captain America: The Winter SoldierDawn of the Planet of the ApesGuardians of the GalaxyInterstellarX-Men: Days of Future Past

I've heard so many people talk about how glorious the visual effects were in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, but though I do think they were impressive, I can't say that I ever forgot about the fact that I was looking at CGI. Interstellar on the other hand had me completely immersed in its world. From space horizons and the black hole, to the landscapes of far away planets this film not only looks real, but is also beautifully imaginative. I doubt another movie will steal the award, but if that happens I'll be severely confused.

Best Original Score

The Nominees: Alexandre Desplat for The Grand Budapest Hotel, Alexandre Desplat The Imitation Game, Hans Zimmer for Interstellar, Gary Yershon for Mr. Turner, Jóhann Jóhannsson for The Theory of Everything

My question is: what happened to nominating Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross for Gone Girl? I definitely thought that score fit the movie perfectly and told a story of its own. That being said, I'm rooting for Hans Zimmer (as I usually am). The man is a genius, and his score for Interstellar is fantastic. 

Best Adapted Screenplay

The Nominees: Jason Hall for American Sniper, Graham Moore for The Imitation Game, Paul Thomas Anderson for Inherent Vice, Anthony McCarten for The Theory of Everything, Damien Chazelle for Whiplash

Once again, my question is: what happened to Gone Girl? Gillian Flynn did a fantastic job adapting her own novel. The subtle changes she made worked out for the better, every character came through the way they were meant to, and I will go as far as saying the ending made more sense in the movie than it did in the book. Definitely a snub here. My other favorite is, of course, Whiplash—my favorite movie of 2014. Give Damien Chazelle some love—he deserves it. I had to remind myself to breathe while I was watching that film, and the screenplay had a lot to do with that. Also, the things that J.K. Simmons said in this one... those alone deserve an award.

Best Original Screenplay

The Nominees: Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr. & Armando Bo for Birdman, Richard Linklater for Boyhood, E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman for Foxcatcher, Wes Anderson and Hugo Guinness for The Grand Budapest Hotel, Dan Gilroy for Nightcrawler

To me, Birdman is an obvious leader here, by a mile. Yes, The Grand Budapest Hotel is impressive, but Birdman is just on another level. From dialogue to overall structure, and the fact that this film is pretty much about EVERYTHING, the screenplay is brilliant. I really have nothing else to say. It's perfect.

Best Supporting Actor

The Nominees: Robert Duvall for The Judge, Ethan Hawke for Boyhood, Edward Norton for Birdman, Mark Ruffalo for Foxcatcher, J.K. Simmons for Whiplash

Naturally, J.K. Simmons. His performance as Fletcher (or as Jeremy Jahns likes to call him "King Dick of the Universe") is intense, terrifying, and flawless. A lot of people agree that he pretty much "makes" Whiplash, and I absolutely cannot imagine anyone else playing this role. If he does not win, it will be a sign that the apocalypse has officially begun. Zombies are coming.

Best Supporting Actress

The Nominees: Patricia Arquette for Boyhood, Laura Dern for Wild, Keira Knightley for The Imitation Game, Emma Stone for Birdman, Meryl Streep Into the Woods

I'm not going to lie, I'm not super invested in this category this year. I'm pretty sure Patricia Arquette beats everyone, by far. However, that's also because I don't think anyone comes close to the emotional or physical scope of her role in Boyhood. As much as I want to root for my forever-woman-crush Keira Knightley, I just don't think her role gave her many opportunities to showcase emotional depth. 

Best Actor

The Nominees: Steve Carell for Foxcatcher, Bradley Cooper for American Sniper, Benedict Cumberbatch for The Imitation Game, Michael Keaton for Birdman, Eddie Redmayne for The Theory of Everything

Alright, prepare for the rant. Dear Academy... WTF?! Did everyone space out while they were watching Nightcrawler? Or are we too uptight / politically correct / whatever the hell else to nominate someone for playing a sociopath? I mean, Jake Gyllenhaal is a different person in this film! He is the definition of this category. And yet, there is a nomination for Steve Carell's role in Foxcatcher? REALLY? If you can't tell, I'm upset about this. Out of the choices given, I'm going with Michael Keaton for Birdman, because he was outstanding in it. He is the only person I was OK with getting the award over Gyllenhaal. You know, BEFORE Gyllenhaal got majorly robbed of his nomination. I can't even.

Best Actress

The Nominees: Marion Cotillard for Two Days, One Night, Felicity Jones for The Theory of Everything, Julianne Moore for Still Alice, Rosamund Pike for Gone Girl, Reese Witherspoon for Wild

Alright, so the only two films I've actually seen in this category are Gone Girl and The Theory of Everything, and out of those two I would definitely side with Rosamund Pike. That being said, from what I've seen of Still Alice, Julianne Moore absolutely kills it and deserves the award. I don't feel like I can really form a fair opinion here without watching all of these though. 

Best Director

The Nominees: Alejandro González Iñárritu for Birdman, Richard Linklater for Boyhood, Bennett Miller for Foxcatcher, Wes Anderson for The Grand Budapest Hotel, Morten Tydlum for The Imitation Game

Foxcatcher strikes again! This nomination spot should have gone to Ava DuVernay for Selma. However, I'm hoping Alejandro González Iñárritu gets this one for Birdman. As I've said before, this film is simply brilliant. I have never seen anything like it—every shot is a work of art, a masterpiece. 

Best Picture

The Nominees: American Sniper (Clint Eastwood), Boyhood (Richard Linklater), Birdman (Alejandro González Iñárritu), The Grand Budapest Hotel (Wes Anderson), The Imitation Game (Morten Tyldum), Selma (Ava DuVernay), The Theory of Everything (James Marsh), Whiplash (Damien Chazelle)

As I have already mentioned, Whiplash is my favorite film of 2014 (and currently one of my favorite films ever), so of course I want it to win best picture. I would throw a party if it won best picture. It's not just the acting, or the screenplay, or the cinematography, or the way it made my heart race,—it's all of those things, as well as the questions the film asks. I truly believe art should make you think and feel things, and Whiplash does that easily. I will also be content if the award goes to Birdman for all the reasons I've already mentioned in this post. 

Who are you rooting for this Sunday? Do you wish some the nominees were different?