Earlier this week nominations for the 2015 Academy Awards were announced. You might have heard- shit is a little pasty white this year. And you might have thought- aren’t they always? And you might have realized- well 12 Years a Slave did win last year, so…not really an issue, right?
Not debatable, the films, actors & directors nominated are mostly white this year and the films they are involved with have to do largely and almost exclusively with #whitepeopleproblems. But I’m not going to spend time talking about the lack of diversity with this year’s nominations. I haven’t seen Selma yet, but I doubt that whether or not it got nominated for some Oscars makes it more or less of a great movie. The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was making us think he didn’t exist. The greatest trick the Oscars ever pulled was fooling us into thinking they made good decisions and those decisions mattered. It’s an awards show. Awards have been flawed since the dawning of time. Back in the day, Eve beat Adam for the Best Dressed award, but you know that that shit was super subjective. I see these awards show as more entertainment than validation.
Now, moving on.
As for the stuff that did get nominated, much like last year, a lot of the films have been released fairly recently. So as a result, we’re going to do some Oscar watching, Oscar predicting, Oscar thinking incrementally- doing it as we see the movies and performances nominated. I’m only focusing on the bigger categories, picture, best actor/actress in both leading and supporting roles and best director. And maybe I’ll throw in another wildcard here and there. Hell, I might even cram in some talk about Interstellar and/or Chef.
Giddy Up America’s Talkin’ Oscars: Part One
The Imitation Game
the Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game – Best Picture, Best Actor in a Leading Role (Benedict Cumberbatch,) Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Kiera Knightly,) Best Director (Mortem Tyldum)
Boyhood – Best Picture, Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Ethan Hawke,) Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Patricia Arquette,) Best Director (Richard Linklater)
The Grand Budapest Hotel – Best Picture, Best Director (Wes Anderson)
Let’s start here, with The Grand Budapest Hotel and let’s give it a hearty, really? Because, really? It was good and all but it A) doesn’t seem Oscar-worthy and B) doesn’t seem all that different from any other Wes Anderson movie. It’s weird that his nominations start here (I don’t think he’s been nominated before- actually, he has, but never for any of the big dog awards.) What makes this movie stand out from his others? If anything, I thought Moonrise Kingdom was better and that The Grand Budapest Hotel felt almost annoyingly similar to it. I like Anderson movies. I appreciate the tone, style and flow of them. His first movie, Bottle Rocket, is one of top 5 favorite movies. But I guess I just find it weird that now he gets nominated and he does so for a movie I don’t think is his best. 2001’s The Royal Tennebaums is probably his best and that was only nominated for Best Writing. I just don’t get this one.
Although, if Ralph Fiennes had been nominated for Best Actor, I would be cool with that.
The Imitation Game should really just happy with A Honor to be Nominated Status because I can’t see them winning any of the majors that they are nominated for and nor should they. It honestly has less to do with them and more to do with their competition. From what I’ve gathered, each of these major categories has at least one or two pretty stout & heavy front-runners and none of them are from team Imitation Game. Ol’ Benny C Batch was good, but not the best and my darling Kiera was perfectly good as well. But yes, good. Not great. Same could be said for the movie- it was really good. I liked it, I’ll watch it again, I’ll recommend it to friends. But no, no winners here.
The same can most definitely not be said for Boyhood, which is effin’ amazing. Wow. So good. I can’t think of another movie that I’ve seen in recent years that I emotionally connected with and bonded with at such a high level. That movie hit me, shook me, spoke to me. My parents rented it this weekend and watched it twice. And no, not because Ma Dukes fell asleep the first time, but because they liked it so much that they wanted to watch it again. That’s saying something.
Boyhood being filmed over 12 years is nuts and only sweetens the deal. You really grow up with the main character, Mason Jr. and you do so in a completely organic way. Now I haven’t seen Birdman yet and that may change everything, but as of now, as of right this minute- I am completely on board with Boyhood sweeping all the nominations they are up for. Hawke and Arquette are straight up rock stars and Linklater more than deserves to be given dap for managing the project-all the way from the whole filming it over 12 years thing to real-time writing a story that would work with his vision and the scope of the project. You better be good Birdman, because right now, I’m team Boyhood all the way.
Part One Final Verdict:
No’s for The Grand Budapest Hotel & The Imitation Game
Yes’s across the board for Boyhood