The 87th Annual Oscars – We fall for gimmicks!
Every year we see a film or two that is the favorite (and one usually wins) the Oscar for best picture, and this year is no different. It is no surprise that the two films popping and whirring most, Birdman and Boyhood are roundly considered to be the front-runners. While both are good films, each has some pretty big drawbacks that should place them firmly in our best remembered films, like that movie where no one talked. What was that? It had the French guy…hmm. The point to best film is a movie that one will watch again, much less remember. There are some truly good films nominated this time, Selma, Whiplash, American Sniper and The Theory of Everything truly deserve to be there. Grand Budapest Hotel is likely the best film Wes Anderson will ever make that does not involve cussing animals. The most glaring omission is Nightcrawler. This is easily the best film of the year and it also deserved nominations for Actor, Supporting Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Director and Cinematography to go along with the nomination received for writing. That did not happen, though. Still, it won’t be as necessary for me to go off the board all the time this year. Let’s have some fun. Here’s who should win, regardless of nomination.
Film: Nightcrawler is the best character study I have seen in years. Gyllenhaal’s Lou Bloom is creepier than the killer he was chasing in the classic Fincher film, Zodiac. The picture painted shows how easy it is for someone of a singular determination and an absence of morals to weigh him down to achieve greatness in his chosen field. People looking to expound on the “if it bleeds it leads” miss the point of what people in plain sight of this guy saw him doing but were powerless to prevent.
Of the nominees: Selma should win here. It is a solid, educational and entertaining film.
Director: Dan Gilroy did something amazing with a limited budget: he made the most entertaining and memorable film of the year outside of Selma. His biggest sin is that he did it all outside of the mainstream.
Of the nominees: Grand Budapest Hotel is the first time Anderson found a story to match his own gimmick. Of course Eastwood would not be recognized here.
Actor: I have to go with Gyllenhaal here. As good as Redmayne is (and he IS great), Gyllenhaal creates a person, he doesn’t have the small luxury of imitating one.
Of the nominees: Redmayne and Cumberbatch both play someone of historic proportions, but Redmayne has this all the way.
Actress: Rosamund Pike is Gone Girl, and she gleefully creates a murderous Betty Crocker which will be watched and studied in future years. She is going to lose out to Moore in a lifetime achievement move, and it’s a shame. This is a role that most actresses dream of, and she knocks it out of the park.
Of the nominees: Pike.
Supporting Actor: Riz Ahmed is astounding as Rick Carey, the unlucky employee of Lou Bloom in Nightcrawler. He very much represents all of us as we are taken along somewhat helplessly by a sociopathic ambition.
Of the nominees: Ruffalo is the best thing about the otherwise droll Foxcatcher. He completely absorbs the wrestling lifestyle as well as the role of a loving older brother. He deserves this, but he should have plenty more chances because he is incredible every time out.
Supporting Actress: Arquette is the best thing about Boyhood, and if there was one way to show how significant of an achievement this film is, this would be the most appropriate one.
Of the nominees: Arquette.
Original Screenplay: There is no other story that is half as riveting as what Gilroy presents.
Of the nominees: Gilroy
Adapted Screenplay: Jason Hall pulls all the best out of what really is a good but not a well written story by Kyle and his wife. If American Sniper gets any sort of commendation, it is most deserved here. Theory… and Whiplash are excellent as well.
Of the nominees: Hall
Animated Feature: It is a travesty that The Lego Movie was not nominated here. It really is innovative and a treasure that is more watchable than the worthy but downer Dragon 2 and the wonderfully silly Big Hero 6. There is no scenario where this does not feel like the politics of studios.
Of the nominees: Big Hero 6.
Best Original Song: It’s not original to the movie, but “Hero,” by Family of the Year is as poignant and proper as anything released this year. It spoke more accurately for the boy in Boyhood than anything Linklater wrote for him to say.
Of the nominees: It’s so absurd to say this, but “Everything is Awesome” is more deserving than the powerful “Glory” from Selma. Great as they both are, both deserve to win.
It will be a little more fun to watch this year than years past. I can’t say I will feel that good if the favorites really do win, but I can dream a little for now. For now, I will let Ron Swanson say it for me.