Thursday, January 15, 2015

Nominations for the 87th Academy Awards

The nominations for the 87th Academy Awards, which will be held on Feb. 24, were announced this morning from Los Angeles.

On the whole, this year's choices did a pretty good job of recognizing the best in film from 2014. As always, my gripes were less with the films chosen than with those omitted.

Below, you'll find the list of all the films nominated, plus my thoughts at the end on which films should not have been nominated and what should have gotten a nod instead.

Check back on the site during the week before the Oscars for my picks on which films I think will and should win.

Best Picture
American Sniper, Birdman, Boyhood, The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Imitation Game, Selma, The Theory of Everything, Whiplash
Thoughts: For starters, I think it was pathetic that Selma only got two Oscar nominations (one of which was for a song), but thankfully it was included in the Best Picture roster. The other choices were mostly good, although I'd replace The Theory of Everything and The Imitation Game with Inherent Vice and Foxcatcher. Would have loved to have seen Mr. Turner or Under the Skin get a nod as well, but that was never going to happen.

Best Director
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (Birdman), Richard Linklater (Boyhood), Bennett Miller (Foxcatcher), Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel), Morten Tyldum (The Imitation Game)
Thoughts: This was a decent enough selection for the directing category, but I would have replaced Wes Anderson and Morten Tyldum with Ava DuVernay (Selma) and Paul Thomas Anderson (Inherent Vice). I was glad Bennett Miller got the nod, though it's strange that he got a directing nomination, but Foxcatcher wasn't in the Best Picture category.

Best Actor
Steve Carell (Foxcatcher), Bradley Cooper (American Sniper), Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game), Michael Keaton (Birdman), Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything)
Thoughts: Well, here was a category that included a highway robbery. How did the Academy not nominated David Oyelowo for his stellar work as Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma? Very disappointing. In this category, I would have removed Cumberbatch and Cooper (although both were very good) and replaced them with Oyelowo and Timothy Spall in Mr. Turner. Two other noteworthy performances that did not make the cut: Ralph Fiennes in The Grand Budapest Hotel and Jake Gylenhaal in Nightcrawler. Also, no Joaquin Phoenix for Inherent Vice, but that was a very long shot anyway.

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)
Thoughts: On the whole, this category was good, though I might have nominated Marion Cotillard for The Immigrant, rather than Two Days, One Night. Also, I'd remove Felicity Jones and replace her with Scarlett Johansson in Under the Skin.

Best Supporting Actor
Robert Duvall (The Judge), Ethan Hawke (Boyhood), Edward Norton (Birdman), Mark Ruffalo (Foxcatcher), J.K. Simmons (Whiplash)
Thoughts: A pretty decent - and mostly expected - group here. As much as I like Robert Duvall, I don't think it was necessary to nominate him for The Judge. I would have preferred for Josh Brolin to sneak in there for Inherent Vice or any of the numerous worthy supporting performances in Selma.

Best Supporting Actress
Patricia Arquette (Boyhood), Laura Dern (Wild), Keira Knightley (The Imitation Game), Emma Stone (Birdman), Meryl Streep (Into the Woods)
Thoughts: The only slight surprise here was Laura Dern's nomination for Wild, in which, admittedly, she was very good. Of course, Meryl Streep is a great actress - one of the best, in fact - but I would have replaced her with Jessica Chastain's performance in A Most Violent Year.

Best Original Screenplay
Birdman, Boyhood, Foxcatcher, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Nightcrawler
Thoughts: Overall, a solid selection. I would likely have included Mr. Turner or Selma somewhere, but I can't complain too much about this category.

Best Adapted Screenplay
American Sniper, The Imitation Game, Inherent Vice, The Theory of Everything, Whiplash
Thoughts: Other than trading out The Theory of Everything for Gone Girl, these are good choices. And yay for Inherent Vice.

Best Cinematography
Birdman, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Ida, Mr. Turner, Unbroken
Thoughts: It's pretty ridiculous that the absolutely gorgeous The Immigrant didn't get a nomination in this category. I would have taken that one over Unbroken, but otherwise good choices.

Best Foreign Film
Ida, Leviathan, Tangerines, Timbuktu, Wild Tales
Thoughts: It's difficult to criticize picks in this category because the Academy must choose from films nominated by the specific countries of origin. That being said, I would have like to have seen these films in the mix: Winter Sleep, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night or Two Days, One Night. Surprisingly, Canada's acclaimed Mommy (not yet released in the U.S.) didn't make the cut. Wild Tales, Tangerines and Timbuktu also haven't screened here yet, but Ida and Leviathan were good choices.

Best Documentary
Citizenfour, Last Days in Vietnam, Virunga, Finding Vivian Maier, The Salt of the Earth
Thoughts: All I can say about this category is - where the hell is Life Itself, the wonderful documentary about the late Roger Ebert? It's a joke that this film was not nominated.

Best Animated Film
Big Hero 6, How to Train Your Dragon 2, The Tale of the Princess Kaguya, The Boxtrolls, Song of the Sea
Thoughts: So, yes, it is pretty shocking that The LEGO Movie, which was the perceived frontrunner, didn't even make the cut. That being said, while I enjoyed that film, I've saved most of my tsk-tsking for other categories.

Best Documentary Short Subject
Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1, Joanna, Our Curse, White Earth, The Reaper

Best Short Film, Animated
Feast, The Bigger Picture, A Single Life, The Dam Keeper, Me and My Moulton

Best Short Film, Live Action
Boogaloo and Graham, Aya, Butterlamp, Parvenah, The Phone Call

Best Production Design
Into the Woods, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Interstellar, The Imitation Game, Mr. Turner

Best Sound Mixing
American Sniper, Birdman, Interstellar, Unbroken, Whiplash

Best Sound Editing
American Sniper, Birdman, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Interstellar, Unbroken

Best Editing
Nominees: American Sniper, Boyhood, The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Imitation Game, Whiplash

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 Original Song
"Glory" (Selma), "Lost Stars" (Begin Again), "Everything is Awesome" (The LEGO Movie), "I'm Not Gonna Miss You" (Glenn Campbell: I'll Be Me), "Grateful" (Beyond the Lights)

Best Original Score
The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Imitation Game, Interstellar, Mr. Turner, The Theory of Everything

Best Costume Design
The Grand Budapest Hotel, Inherent Vice, Into the Woods, Maleficent, Mr. Turner

Best Makeup and Hair Styling
Foxcatcher, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Guardians of the Galaxy

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