January 15, 2015

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: 87th Academy Awards Nominations


THE GOOD
-This is one of the more unique Best Picture fields that we have had in a while.  Sure, the category definitely could have used a blockbuster (Gone Girl? Or even a long shot like Guardians of the Galaxy?), but it’s nice to see that we have two films that were known quantities by January (Boyhood and Whiplash), a box office success story from March (The Grand Budapest Hotel), a true cinematic achievement (Birdman) and the zeitgeist movie of the moment (Selma) to go along with the typical Oscar fare.

-Foxcatcher may have missed on a Best Picture nomination, but this quietly fantastic film did score a surprise nomination for director Bennett Miller and a much-deserved nomination for Steve Carell’s performance along with Supporting Actor (Mark Ruffalo), Original Screenplay and Makeup & Hairstyling nominations.

THE BAD
-An Editing nomination for Birdman and an Adapted Screenplay nomination for Gone Girl were considered safe bets.  Both somehow were missing, and that’s a shame because both displayed exemplary work.

-Jessica Chastain had a huge year with well-received performances in A Most Violent Year, Interstellar, Miss Julie and The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby.  I have only seen Interstellar, but even in that one film she gave an Oscar nomination worthy performance.  She didn’t get a single nomination.

-Hoyte van Hoytema helped Interstellar to be one of the most gorgeous looking films in recent memory.  Oscar voters followed the ASC’s lead in not giving him any reward.

-Godzilla has story, acting and pacing issues, but it had easily the best sound design of the year and some very good visual effects work.  It didn’t get a single Oscar nomination.

THE UGLY
-This was a very good set of Oscar nominations on the whole, but not everything was awesome.  The LEGO Movie may have got an Original Song nomination for the catchy “Everything is Awesome”, but in the Animated Feature category, where it was considered the frontrunner, it was nowhere to be found.  Big Hero 6 and How to Train Your Dragon 2 are solid efforts, and the foreign films in this category tend to be good too.  However, The LEGO Movie is one of the most original animated films in recent memory, and plays really well on rewatch, which isn’t something like the unique film and former winner of the category, Rango, can say.  It doesn’t look good on the Oscar voters without this among the nominees.

-The documentary category continues to shortlist some really great films only to have voters not vote them into the final stage.  Excellent documentaries such as The Case Against 8, The Internet’s Own Boy, The Kill Team and Life Itself were nowhere to be found this morning.  Something needs to be changed in this category’s voting process.


In terms of predictions, I had a very great day.  I went 95 for 121 in all categories (78.5%, which is a new personal best surpassing my 72.1% total from the 85th Academy Award Nominations) and 37 for 43 in the Big 8 categories (86%, which is 0.4% off from my personal best set last year).  I also got Best Supporting Actor and Best Production Design completely right.

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