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I'd Like to Thank the Academy - Cinemaholic Movie Reviews
one person's obsessive addiction to film
I'd Like to Thank the Academy

Normally I post this on the same day the nominees are announced, which, this year, was actually yesterday. I didn't have the time until now. Excuse me for having a life!

Anyway, what's with all these nominations -- four! -- for a movie called Mr. Turner? This one hasn't even been released locally yet, one of the very few true disadvantages of living outside of Los Angeles. I won't be able to speak to any of those nominations as a result. Ditto American Sniper, which has six nominations, including Best Picture.

The most nominations, however, go to a deserving film: Birdman, which got nine. Oh wait -- it's tied with The Grand Budapest Hotel. Whaaat! It's completely ridiculous that film, which is fun but nothing special, got nine nominations, but the excellent Selma got all of two. What the shit?

This is all meaningless bullshit, obviously. But it doesn't stop me from obsessing over it anyway! So. Let's start.

Actor in a Leading Role

Steve Carell, Foxcatcher
Bradley Cooper, American Sniper
Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game
Michael Keaton, Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything

WHO I THINK WILL WIN: This might be the toughest call of any race this year. If we go by the one who is both deserving and the most overdue for Oscar love -- which happens -- then we'd have to say Michael Keaton.
WHO I THINK SHOULD WIN: My vote does go to Michael Keaton, actually.
WHO I THINK SHOULD NOT WIN: Even though Eddie Redmayne does a good job, I just don't want The Theory of Everything to win any Oscars, as it is easily the most overrated of all the films nominated this year.

Actress in a Leading Role

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

WHO I THINK WILL WIN: Judging by the current momentum, probably Julianne Moore -- again in a film I have not yet had a chance to see. What bullshit! But she's great and, like Michael Keaton, overdue for Academy recognition.
WHO I THINK SHOULD WIN: Hard to say without having seen Still Alice, but I suspect Julianne Moore will indeed be deserving. Although Reese Witherspoon would not be a bad choice either, as she's excellent in Wild.
WHO I THINK SHOULD NOT WIN: Rosamund Pike? Really? This is just another example at the end of an infinite line of examples that prove there are not enough great parts for women in Hollywood. Or movies in general.

Actor in a Supporting Role

Robert Duvall, The Judge
Ethan Hawke, Boyhood
Edward Norton, Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher
J.K. Simmons, Whiplash

WHO I THINK WILL WIN: This is the most predictable winner in any category this year. J.K. Simmons is so going to win this award.
WHO I THINK SHOULD WIN: And J.K. Simmons deserves it, actually.
WHO I THINK SHOULD NOT WIN: I haven't even seen The Judge and I still know that movie is the least Oscar-worthy among this list -- and I didn't even like Foxcatcher.

Actress in a Supporting Role

Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
Laura Dern, Wild
Keira Knightley, The Imitation Game
Emma Stone, Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Meryl Streep, Into the Woods

WHO I THINK WILL WIN: This will probably go to Patricia Arquette. She's not any better than Ethan Hawke was in Boyhood, but it's a matter of the competition in the category.
WHO I THINK SHOULD WIN: I would vote for Laura Dern, who unfortunately is likely to get overlooked here -- and she shouldn't be.
WHO I THINK SHOULD NOT WIN: Meryl Streep is great and all, but this might be the most ridiculous Oscar nomination she's ever received. It's like she's just programmed into the Academy's automatic nomination-generator. A nomination for this particular role is preposterous. And now that she's been nominated 19 times -- more than anyone else in Oscar history -- you'd think she might get bored and just start staying home.

Animated Feature Film

Big Hero 6, on Hall, Chris Williams and Roy Conli
The Boxtrolls, Anthony Stacchi, Graham Annable and Travis Knight
How to Train Your Dragon 2, Dean DeBlois and Bonnie Arnold
Song of the Sea, Tomm Moore and Paul Young Isao Takahata and Yoshiaki Nishimura
The Tale of the Princess Kaguya,

WHO I THINK WILL WIN: I'm going to guess Big Hero 6, just because Disney tends to have the edge, but How to Train Your Dragon 2 is likely a strong contender as well.
WHO I THINK SHOULD WIN: I couldn't say. This might be the first year ever that I haven't seen any of the nominated animated features. I only saw three animated features in 2014, and none of them were nominated -- not even, oddly, the rather popular Lego Movie.
WHO I THINK SHOULD NOT WIN: Honestly, given that I haven't seen any of these, I don't care.


Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), Emmanuel Lubezki
The Grand Budapest Hotel, Robert Yeoman
Ida, Lukasz Zal and Ryszard Lenczewski
Mr. Turner, Dick Pope
Unbroken, Roger Deakins

WHO I THINK WILL WIN: Although one could be justified in calling the cinematography in Birdman excessively showy, it's one of the defining elements of the film, and actually genuinely impressive. It's the most memorable and therefore the winner.
WHO I THINK SHOULD WIN: Ida, the only foreign film on this list, has its own stunning cinematography -- but even I would still vote for Birdman. It's just too thrilling to watch.
WHO I THINK SHOULD NOT WIN: The Grand Budapest Hotel deserves neither nine nominations nor this award. That doesn't mean the cinematography is bad (it's lovely, actually); it's just got nothing on the competition.

Production Design

The Grand Budapest Hotel, Adam Stockhausen (Production Design); Anna Pinnock (Set Decoration)
The Imitation Game, Maria Djurkovic (Production Design); Tatiana Macdonald (Set Decoration)
Interstellar, Nathan Crowley (Production Design); Gary Fettis (Set Decoration)
Into the Woods, Dennis Gassner (Production Design); Anna Pinnock (Set Decoration)
Mr.Turner, Suzie Davies (Production Design); Charlotte Watts (Set Decoration)

WHO I THINK WILL WIN: If there's anything that truly defines The Grand Budapest Hotel (or any Wes Anderson film, which tends to be a succession of dioramas), it's the production design. And if there's any Oscar it's likely to win, it's this one.
WHO I THINK SHOULD WIN: This might be the one instance in which I actually agree with the Academy regarding The Grand Budapest Hotel.
WHO I THINK SHOULD NOT WIN: Into the Woods doesn't need any Oscars. It was fun, but, come on.

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

WHO I THINK WILL WIN: This one might go to The Grand Budapest Hotel as well. With nine nominations, it's bound to win one or two of them, and these are the types that film would get.
WHO I THINK SHOULD WIN: You know what? I wouldn't be devastated by any of these three films winning in this category. They all have great costumes.
WHO I THINK SHOULD NOT WIN: Well, among the three I actually saw, anyway. I haven't had a chance to see Mr. Turner yet, and I couldn't be bothered to see Maleficent -- which, based on what I've read, really doesn't need any Oscar recognition. We all know it won't get any anyway.


Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Richard Linklater, Boyhood
Bennett Miller, Foxcatcher
Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Morten Tyldum, The Imitation Game

WHO I THINK WILL WIN: This is likely a tight race between Iñárritu and Linklater. Linklater might have the edge.
WHO I THINK SHOULD WIN: This might be one of the few instances in which I would advocate for a split between Best Picture and Best Director. I do not believe Boyhood deserves Best Picture, but the direction is still an extraordinary and unprecedented achievement. Linklater gets my vote in this category.
WHO I THINK SHOULD NOT WIN: Wes Anderson didn't even deserve to be nominated. Nine nominations for The Grand Budapest Hotel makes it sound like a far greater film than it really is.

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

WHO I THINK WILL WIN: It's hard not to imagine Boyhood winning in this category. No one else has cut together twelve years worth of footage into a wonderfully affecting film, and it's gotten a lot of attention for that very reason.
WHO I THINK SHOULD WIN: Wild! Why the fuck was it not nominated in this category? I was more impressed by the editing in that film than that in any other film last year. A close second, however, would be Whiplash, which is so finely tuned that not a single second is wasted on screen. And unlike Boyhood, it's not overlong.
WHO I THINK SHOULD NOT WIN: Again with The Grand Budapest Hotel! I'm starting to resent that movie.

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

WHO I THINK WILL WIN: For the transformation of Steve Carell alone, this will likely go to Foxcatcher.
WHO I THINK SHOULD WIN: I may resent The Grand Budapest Hotel, but it was still far better than Foxcatcher. And it does have great styling.
WHO I THINK SHOULD NOT WIN: The Guardians of the Galaxy was fun, but . . . really? No.

Music (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

WHO I THINK WILL WIN: It will be interesting to see whether Hans Zimmer, a nine-time nominee who has previously won only for The Lion King, wins on name recognition alone. But, what the hell do I know? I really didn't pay much attention to the score in any of these films.
WHO I THINK SHOULD NOT WIN: The Theory of Everything still doesn't deserve any Oscars.

Music (Original Song)

"Everything Is Awesome," from The Lego Movie, Music and Lyric by Shawn Patterson
"Glory," from Selma, Music and Lyric by John Stephens and Lonnie Lynn
"Grateful," from Beyond the Lights, Music and Lyric by Diane Warren
"I'm Not Gonna Miss You," from Glen Campbell...I'll Be Me, Music and Lyric by Glen Campbell and Julian Raymond
"Lost Stars," from Begin Again, Music and Lyric by Gregg Alexander and Danielle Brisebois

WHO I THINK WILL WIN: People do love "Everything Is Awesome," even though it's actually not that awesome, and it's the sole nomination The Lego Movie got. But anyone with half a brain can see that "Glory" is the superior track among this bunch. Academy voters may on average have half a brain, but that's still enough.
WHO I THINK SHOULD WIN: "Glory" is a better song than all the rest of these put together, with deeply affecting lyrics.
WHO I THINK SHOULD NOT WIN: Listen to "Grateful" and you'll find it's a particularly dull track.

Visual Effects

Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Dan DeLeeuw, Russell Earl, Bryan Grill and Dan Sudick
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, Daniel Barrett and Erik Winquist
Guardians of the Galaxy, Stephane Ceretti, Nicolas Aithadi, Jonathan Fawkner and Paul Corbould
Interstellar, Paul Franklin, Andrew Lockley, Ian Hunter and Scott Fisher
X-Men: Days of Future Past, Richard Stammers, Lou Pecora, Tim Crosbie and Cameron Waldbauer

WHO I THINK WILL WIN: This is a slam dunk for Interstellar.
WHO I THINK SHOULD WIN: And I would agree with the Academy on this one. Interstellar is a largely flawed film, but it's stunning to look at.
WHO I THINK SHOULD NOT WIN: Guardians of the Galaxy has decent effects, but "decent" is hardly Oscar-worthy. I'm baffled it even got nominated -- except maybe, like Meryl Streep, superhero movies are just programmed into the Academy's automatic nomination machine.

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

American Sniper, Written by Jason Hall
The Imitation Game, Written by Graham Moore
Inherent Vice, Written for the screen by Paul Thomas Anderson
The Theory of Everything, Screenplay by Anthony McCarten
Whiplash, Written by Damien Chazelle

WHO I THINK WILL WIN: This might be the non-acting consolation prize for Whiplash.
WHO I THINK SHOULD WIN: I don't care how implausible Whiplash is, it's a truly great movie, and it would be nothing without its script. It gets my vote here too.
WHO I THINK SHOULD NOT WIN: Inherent Vice? Just . . . no. Amazingly, it's even less deserving of this award than The Theory of Everything.

Writing (Original Screenplay)

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance),
The Grand Budapest Hotel,

WHO I THINK WILL WIN: I think Boyhood might just get this one.
WHO I THINK SHOULD WIN: And I vote for Boyhood here too.
WHO I THINK SHOULD NOT WIN: Everyone but me seemed to like Foxcatcher, but you know what? Foxcatcher was dull. Period.

Best motion picture of the year

American Sniper, Clint Eastwood, Robert Lorenz, Andrew Lazar, Bradley Cooper and Peter Morgan
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), Alejandro G. Iñárritu, John Lesher and James W. Skotchdopole
Boyhood, Richard Linklater and Cathleen Sutherland
The Grand Budapest Hotel, Wes Anderson, Scott Rudin, Steven Rales and Jeremy Dawson
The Imitation Game, Nora Grossman, Ido Ostrowsky and Teddy Schwarzman
Selma, Christian Colson, Oprah Winfrey, Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner
The Theory of Everything, Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Lisa Bruce and Anthony McCarten
Whiplash, Jason Blum, Helen Estabrook and David Lancaster

WHO I THINK WILL WIN: Although there's only eight Best Picture nominations this year, and there could be as many as ten, it's still ridiculous -- it's really a race between two films: Birdman and Boyhood. I wish I could say three, and that Whiplash were a contender, but I just don't think that film will win. Apparently Variety reports the odds are slightly better for both The Imitation Game and The Grand Budapest Hotel than for Birdman, but I still can't see those winning. In other words, Boyhood it is.
WHO I THINK SHOULD WIN: Whiplash, all the way. But the Academy can rarely be counted on to make the right choice in the Best Picture category.
WHO I THINK SHOULD NOT WIN: If The Theory of Everything wins Best Picture, just kill me right then. Ha ha! Thankfully I don't need to worry because it won't.

(Nominations for foreign language film, documentary feature, documentary short, animated short, live action short, sound editing, and sound mixing were also announced, but I don't know enough about them to make any worthwhile observations.)

The 87th Academy Awards telecast will air on ABC Sunday, February 22 at 4 p.m. Pacific Time.


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