2015 Oscar Thoughts, #1

Today the Oscar nominations came out. There were a few surprises, and the usual bellyaching about snubs. Whatever…. BTW, I’ve posted the nominations below.

Best Picture
Only 8 nominees for Best Picture out of 10. No Into the Woods, no Big Eyes. That’s good. Otherwise, it’s all the usual suspects, with a surprise inclusion of Whiplash.

Best Actor
No surprises here, though Steve Carell’s nomination for Foxcatcher should have gone to Ralph Fiennes for his high-wire performance in The Grand Budapest Hotel. That was a stellar performance that looked too easy, and was comedy, and high comedy no less. The academy doesn’t tend to notice such accomplishments.

Nothing against Carell, but it’s normal to applaud comics who go serious, and do a genuinely good job. It’s that combined with the collective surprise of everyone that got Carell the nod.

Best Actress
Sorry, Jennifer (Aniston). No Cake jokes here, but this isn’t your year. Also, Amy Adams, who just won the Golden Globe for best comedy performance (in a non-comedy—go figure) in Big Eyes, wasn’t even nominated. Good decision. Instead of Jennifer or Amy, we have Marion Cotillard for Two Days, One Night. Cotillard is France’s Meryl Streep, with more emotion, and is a world-class actress. I’m glad she was recognized.

Best Supporting Actor
Glad Mark Ruffalo wasn’t passed over for his fine work in Foxcatcher. He has no chance of winning, but this time the nomination is the award. J.K. Simmons is a lock.

Best Supporting Actress
Glad that Laura Dern was nominated for Wild, but she could have easily been nominated for her equally fine work in The Fault in Our Stars. If it wasn’t for Patricia Arquette’s lock on the Oscar for Boyhood, this could have been Dern’s year.

Best Director
No Christopher Nolan (Interstellar), a bit of a surprise considering the technical achievement of the film (see last year’s director, and the year before!) No Ava DuVernay for Selma. Some are bemoaning the Academy’s not nominating the first African-American woman in this category, as if that were reason enough for a nomination. Of course this kind of skewed reasoning (to give a nomination for any other reason than the work itself) is behind many bad choices in nearly every year. What should be discussed is why the directing wasn’t considered good enough to be included. Are the film’s reputed historical inaccuracies the reason? Is the directing good, but others are simply better?

This kind of argument reminds me of when The Color Purple was nominated for 11 Oscars and won none. People were crying foul for all sorts of reasons. I took a careful look at all the categories and agreed that while each person nominated deserved a nomination (or nearly all, to be honest), that there was simply someone better in every category that year. That’s not snubbing. That’s simply losing. In Selma’s case, there is ample reason to believe that not enough folks saw it before nominations were due. Racism? Let’s try to remember last year’s Best Picture, shall we?

Perhaps the only other surprise was the omission of The Lego Movie from the list of nominations for Best Animated Film. It most certainly should have been there, and arguably should have won. But those that say the Academy is too married to traditional animation techniques and is a little too old or slow to pick up all the humor in the lightning-paced film—those folks might be right. Apparently not everything is awesome.
______________________________________________________________________________________________________

2015 Academy Award Nominations

Best Picture
“American Sniper”
“Birdman”
“Boyhood”
“The Grand Budapest Hotel”
“The Imitation Game”
“Selma”
“The Theory of Everything”
“Whiplash”

Best Actor
Steve Carell, “Foxcatcher”
Bradley Cooper, “American Sniper”
Benedict Cumberbatch, “The Imitation Game”
Michael Keaton, “Birdman”
Eddie Redmayne, “The Theory of Everything”

Best Actress
Marion Cotillard, “Two Days, One Night”
Felicity Jones, “The Theory of Everything”
Julianne Moore, “Still Alice”
Rosamund Pike, “Gone Girl”
Reese Witherspoon, “Wild”

Best Supporting Actor
Robert Duvall, “The Judge”
Ethan Hawke, “Boyhood”
Edward Norton, “Birdman”
Mark Ruffalo, “Foxcatcher”
J.K. Simmons, “Whiplash”

Best Supporting Actress
Patricia Arquette, “Boyhood”
Laura Dern, “Wild”
Keira Knightley, “The Imitation Game”
Emma Stone, “Birdman”
Meryl Streep, “Into the Woods”

Best Director
Alejandro González Iñárritu, “Birdman”
Richard Linklater, “Boyhood”
Bennett Miller, “Foxcatcher”
Wes Anderson, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
Morten Tyldum, “The Imitation Game”

Best Animated Feature Film
“Big Hero 6″
“The Boxtrolls”
“How to Train Your Dragon 2″
“Song of the Sea”
“The Tale of the Princess Kaguya”

Best Adapted Screenplay
“American Sniper,” by Jason Hall
“The Imitation Game,” by Graham Moore
“Inherent Vice,” by Paul Thomas Anderson
“The Theory of Everything,” by Anthony McCarten
“Whiplash,” by Damien Chazelle

Best Original Screenplay
“Birdman,” by Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris Jr. & Armando Bo
“Boyhood,” by Richard Linklater
“Foxcatcher,” by E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman
“The Grand Budapest Hotel,” by Wes Anderson & Hugo Guinness
“Nightcrawler,” by Dan Gilroy

Best Cinematography
“Birdman,” Emmanuel Lubezki
“The Grand Budapest Hotel,” Robert Yeoman
“Ida,” Lukasz Zal and Ryszard Lenczewski
“Mr. Turner,” Dick Pope
“Unbroken,” Roger Deakins

Best Visual Effects
“Captain America: The Winter Soldier”
“Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”
“Guardians of the Galaxy”
“Interstellar”
“X-Men: Days of Future Past”

Best Documentary Feature
“Citizenfour”
“Finding Vivian Maier”
“Last Days in Vietnam”
“The Salt of the Earth”
“Virunga”

Best Documentary Short Subject
“Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1″
“Joanna”
“Our Curse”
“The Reaper (La Parka)”
“White Earth”

Best Film Editing
“American Sniper,” Joel Cox and Gary D. Roach
“Boyhood,” Sandra Adair
“The Grand Budapest Hotel,” Barney Pilling
“The Imitation Game,” William Goldenberg
“Whiplash,” Tom Cross

Best Original Song
“Everything Is Awesome,” from “The Lego Movie,” by Shawn Patterson
“Glory,” from “Selma, by John Stephens and Lonnie Lynn”
“Grateful,” from “Beyond the Lights,” by Diane Warren
“I’m Not Gonna Miss You,” from “Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me,” by Glen Campbell and Julian Raymond
“Lost Stars,” from “Begin Again,” by Gregg Alexander and Danielle Brisebois

Best Production Design
“The Grand Budapest Hotel,” Adam Stockhausen and Anna Pinnock
“The Imitation Game,” Maria Djurkovic and Tatiana Macdonald
“Interstellar,” Nathan Crowley and Gary Fettis
“Into the Woods,” Dennis Gassner and Anna Pinnock
“Mr. Turner,” Suzie Davies and Charlotte Watts

Best Live Action Short Film
“Aya”
“Boogaloo and Graham”
“Butter Lamp (La Lampe au Beurre de Yak)”
“Parvaneh”
“The Phone Call”

Best Animated Short Film
“The Bigger Picture”
“The Dam Keeper”
“Feast”
“Me and my Moulton”
“A Single Life”

Best Sound Editing
“American Sniper,” Alan Robert Murray and Bub Asman
“Birdman,” Martin Hernández and Aaron Glascock
“The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies,” Brent Burge and Jason Canovas
“Interstellar,” Richard King
“Unbroken,” Becky Sullivan and Andrew DeCristofaro

Best Sound Mixing
“American Sniper,” John Reitz, Gregg Rudloff and Walt Martin
“Birdman,” Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño and Thomas Varga
“Interstellar,” Gary A. Rizzo, Gregg Landaker and Mark Weingarten
“Unbroken,” Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño and David Lee
“Whiplash,” Craig Mann, Ben Wilkins and Thomas Curley

Best Costume Design
“The Grand Budapest Hotel,” Milena Canonero
“Inherent Vice,” Mark Bridges
“Into the Woods,” Colleen Atwood
“Maleficent,” Anna B. Sheppard and Jane Clive
“Mr. Turner,” Jacqueline Durran

Best Foreign Language Film
“Ida” (Poland)
“Leviathan” (Russia)
“Tangerines” (Estonia)
“Timbuktu” (Mauritania)
“Wild Tales” (Argentina)

Best Makeup and Hairstyling
“Foxcatcher,” Bill Corso and Dennis Liddiard
“The Grand Budapest Hotel,” Frances Hannon and Mark Coulier
“Guardians of the Galaxy,” Elizabeth Yianni-Georgiou and David White

Best Original Score
“The Grand Budapest Hotel,” Alexandre Desplat
“The Imitation Game,” Alexandre Desplat
“Interstellar,” Hans Zimmer
“Mr. Turner,” Gary Yershon
“The Theory of Everything,” Jóhann Jóhannsson

The 87th Academy Awards will air on February 22.

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About Mark DuPré

Full-time (associate) pastor at a Christian church. Part-time film professor at Rochester Institute of Technology. Husband for 40 years to the lovely and talented Diane. Father to three children and father-in-law to three more amazing people. I preach, teach, counsel, write and plan in my real job. I teach a subject I love at RIT in my "other job," which is a lot of fun most of the time.... I play piano for our local college choir, and sing and play at church occasionally. I also have a film-related website at www.film-prof.com.
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