Thursday, January 15, 2015

Oscar Nominations: Birds, Boys, Grand Hotels, But A Girl And a King Are Gone

As I'm typing this, it's been nearly two and a half hours after the Academy Award nominations have been announced.

The main talking point is likely to be Boyhood snagging six nominations, and being the odds-on favorite to get Best Picture. It's a coming of age story that's literally 12 years in the making, but the story and direction have been two of many reasons why it is now the favorite.
Birdman is also kind of a gimmick because it seems to be one long take, but it also has nine nominatons, and might steal Original Screenplay and maybe Best Actor.
The Grand Budapest Hotel, now playing on HBO's side channels (HBO2 and HBO Comedy mainly), also did well with nine nods. While it's a candy colored look at the adventures of a concierge between the wars, I still say Moonrise Kingdom was better.

Now let's look at the snubs....

Selma getting shut out of Direction, Actor and Adapted Screenplay will be discussed for weeks, The whispering campaign against it apparently worked, which proves once and for all that there's no difference between political campaigns and Oscar campaigns. Those who were upset that the movie allegedly lied about President Johnson's commitment to civil rights must feel justified a bit. It did make Best Picture, but Ana DuVerney and David Oyelowo more than deserved to make the final cut. Besides, the movie made it clear Johnson was worried about losing a lot of Southern Democratic voters if he was too agressive to make sure Blacks could vote without unfair barriers. However, Selma and a meeting with Governor Wallace changed his mind.
It might get Best Song, as it did at the Globes, but I suspect Glen Campbell could win that award because of sentimental reason. It's from I'll Be Me, his documentary of his final tour as he's battling Alzheimer's.

As expected, Rosamund Pike got in for Best Actress for Gone Girl. Her portrayal of a wronged wife was unforgettable, but Gillian Flynn should have gotten a nod for Adapted Screenplay, and it was one very good film.

Some are complaining Jennifer Aniston should have been in for Cake, thanks to her aggressive campaigning. However, the movie was not well received, or seen widely.

It's also too bad Lorde didn't get in the Best Song race for "Yellow Flicker Beat" from Mockingjay. I bet "The Hanging Tree" would have made it, but it's not eligible because the lyrics are part of the book. As I said, it'll be between Selma and I'll Be Me.

The Lego Movie got Best Song for "Everything is Awesome", but it wasn't awesome enough to get Best Animated Feature? Is it because there's too many superheroes in it, or is it because there's a section that isn't animated? It's still a great mix of CGI and stop action animation. It's also on HBO, so see for yourself.

It's also a crime that Life Itself, the story of Roger Ebert, didn't make Best Documentary, and Force Majeure got snubbed from Best Foreign Language Film. This will wind up being good news for CitizenFour and Leviathan, respectively.

Now to some surprises:

Whiplash getting in Best Picture race along with Adapted Screenplay and Supporting Actor. That shows it's getting recognition as a story about how far someone will go for perfection.

Nightcrawler with Jake Gyllenhaal makes Original Screenplay, even though it has been in very limited release. Some were hoping for him getting an acting nod, along with Rene Russo.

Inherent Vice gets Adapted Screenplay, even though it's really puzzling. It clearly took Gone Girl's spot. That category should be a very close race

Oscar is finally saying "Make Mine Marvel":  three of its films are up for Visual Effects. It could be between Interstellar and Guardians of the Galaxy, with Dawn of the Planet of the Apes as a dark horse, Guardians will be an easy choice for Makeup/Hairstyling, despite a challenge from Grand Budapest Hotel.

Also, Big Hero 6 is up for Best Animated Feature. That category may be more obscure than recent years because there's no Disney/Pixar nominee (since Big Hero 6 is considered Marvel). Two of the nominees, Princess Kayuga and Song of the Sea, have had limited releases. If it wins, How To Train Your Dragon 2 could be the comeback story of the year. While it was more popular overseas, the movie didn't get a lot of attention in the states. It's readily available through DVD and streaming, and it's likely to get a second look.

I'll likely be back after the Critics Choice Awards are given out. Boyhood should get Best Picture here, since the critics have already rewarded it in city awards for weeks. If Selma does well, this will make the Academy look bad,

Update:  Boyhood and Birdman did dominate the Critics Choice Awards, but it looks like Boyhood is headed towards Best Picture come Oscar time. Michael Keaton's victory means we could have a real race for Best Actor. It all depends on what will happen with the Screen Actors Guild awards later this month. Selma got Best Song again, which means it could be the favorite for that category. It should be in the race for more, of course. Three movies that weren't nominated did wind up making an impression:  The Lego Movie for Animation, Life Itself for Best Documentary (which was expected), and  Force Majeure for Foreign Film,

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