Yesterday, before the big night last night, I decided to post my picks for the 2015 Academy Awards. Like most people I was unable to catch all of the films nominated, but that didn’t stop me from predicting the winners of the films I had seen (and even some I hadn’t).
Let’s see how I did.
Ok, so I got one right, but to my credit it was the most important award. I liken this to going eight and eight for the season but still winning the Super Bowl. At least that’s what I’m going to keep telling myself.
Allow me to take up some space on your screen and defend what was going on though my head at the time.
I still think this should’ve went to The Grand Budapest Hotel, but I understand Birdman taking this one. Certainly both films did some interesting things in the camera work department. Birdman obviously merged some surrealist elements within the film to make it a sort of Magical Realist piece. Not to mention the “one-take” method they managed to pull off. Overall very ambitious and well done. Still, my issue with the win is that Birdman primarily takes place in one setting. It’s basically a backstage dramedy. Because of this, due to the film’s enclosed space and lack of diverse settings it didn’t allow for a wide range of camera work. Compare this to Grand Budapest which moves to a number of different settings such as trains, hotels, a monastery, small villages, etc. Wes Anderson and Robert Yeoman were able to bring that signature look they’ve been known for in a film that probably provided them with a number of challenges.
Best Adapted Screenplay:
I really thought this was going to be the only award American Sniper would win. A screenplay adapted from a very popular and rather controversial book to some. I’ll steer away from political contention and say that, although good, this film had no chance to win Best Picture, namely because of some questionable shot and music choices that made me feel I was watching a Michael Bay film at times.
On the other hand, I’ll turn my car right into the political discussion and drive it off the ledge by saying I don’t think this film was a victim of any sort of political stance as I’ve heard some in the media suggesting. I got the same message in American Sniper as every other war film I’ve ever seen. War is Hell, it’s fucks people up and should be avoided. Anyone that got the opposite of that, well I don’t know what movie you were watching.
Best Original Screenplay:
Again, another instance where I completely understand the Academy’s choice. Birdman is a damn good script. Still, maybe it’s because I’m an English Lit major, I just felt The Grand Budapest Hotel was written so well. Smart and extremely funny the whole way through.
I admit even in my Facebook post that I had not seen Wild, but I had heard this might be Reese Witherspoon’s second grab at the golden statue since she won for Walk the Line. Based on her reaction when her name was not called, I assume she heard the same. From what I’d heard about Wild, this is a film fully propelled by Witherspoon as opposed to Walk The Line where she was basically sharing the spotlight with Joaquin Phoenix.
Still, is there a film Julianne Moore isn’t absolutely amazing in? Yet this is her first Oscar win. Surprised me too.
I was just really rooting for Michael Keaton to win this Oscar. His lost reminded me of when Bill Murray’s portrayal in Lost in Translation lost out to Sean Penn in Mystic River. Both Murray and Keaton are the same type of actor in my opinion. Both have been in the game for years and primarily play roles that don’t get a lot of attention from the Academy. The stars finally align and they get that one shot late in the game only to have it swept out from under them.
This is not to say Eddie Redmayne didn’t deserve the Oscar. His portrayal of Steven Hawking had all the things the Academy has come to love; a transformative portrayal of an exceptional real-life character who is stricken with some physical or mental plight that they must overcome. Redmayne delivered in spades and it’s a life changing win for him, but, dammit, I really would have liked to see Keaton get that Oscar after the years he’s put into the biz.
I wrote a post pretty much outlining why I felt Boyhood absolutely had to win an Oscar. Upon seeing Birdman, despite the monumental process it took to make Boyhood, I found it to be a more solid film. Still, I think Linklater was completely snubbed on this win for the same reasons I outlined in my post. That level of commitment deserves something.
The one I got right! Although I never got around to seeing Imitation Game or Selma (for some reason Selma isn’t playing in a lot of theaters out here in AZ), this was hands down a great film. Great performances from a stellar cast, an original story with enough art house appeal to make it feel fresh. Enough said.
EXTRA: Best Original Song:
I didn’t add this pick namely because I had only heard two songs, “Everything is Awesome” and “Glory”. Before the awards I was completely rooting for “Everything is Awesome”. After seeing the live performance and watching David Oyelowo absolutely drenched in tears I couldn’t believe how wrong I was.
I mean, listen to the lyrics of “Everything is Awesome”. It’s a song about utter conformity. It’s even used in the film ad nauseam in an attempt to keep everyone in Legoland subjugated. It’s like the happy-go-lucky musical version of the Oceania National Anthem.
“Glory” is the absolute opposite. It’s a song about hope and fighting against oppression.
Here’s an excerpt:
One day when the glory comes
It will be ours, it will be ours
One day when the war is won
We will be sure, we will be sure
Seriously, I have no idea what I was thinking here.