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22 February 2015

My Picks for the 2015 Academy Awards

My taste in movies obviously matched that of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences this year, because I have seen almost all of the films nominated in the eight categories I normally consider. I have linked below my reviews of the films I have written about on this blog.

Best PictureWhiplash [8/8 watched]
Best Director: Richard Linklater, Boyhood [5/5 watched]
Best Actor: Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything [5/5 watched]
Best Supporting Actor: J. K. Simmons, Whiplash [5/5 watched]
Best Actress: Julianne Moore, Still Alice [4/5 watched]
Best Supporting Actress: Patricia Arquette, Boyhood [4/5 watched]
Best Original ScreenplayThe Grand Budapest Hotel [5/5 watched]
Best Adapted ScreenplayWhiplash [5/5 watched]

Picking my favourite Best Picture nominee was particularly challenging because other than American Sniper, which didn't impress me much, I liked all of the nominated films and was only really able to narrow it down to a top four: Boyhood, The Imitation Game, The Theory of Everything and Whiplash. Although the biopics of Alan Turing and Stephen Hawking share certain similarities, both thematically and in subject matter, the other two are really quite different. Ultimately, though, I thought that the two biopics were well-made, compelling films and that Boyhood was an astonishing piece of work, Whiplash was the film that excited, captivated and entertained me the most. It was also the film for which I had almost no expectations when I entered the screening.

If I couldn't vote for Boyhood as Best Picture, I do think Richard Linklater truly deserves the Best Director award. Sure, there is some tough competition —Wes Anderson's Grand Budapest Hotel is a meticulously detailed, impeccably choreographed masterpiece and Alejandro González Iñárritu's Birdman is bonkers but brilliant — but my vote is for Linklater, although I had hoped Christopher Nolan would get a nod for Interstellar, which I loved.

I think Best Actor will come down to Redmayne vs Keaton and I think the former's total transformation into Hawking should win him the award. Maybe Steve Carell will win best nose job for his performance in Foxcatcher; I think David Oyelowo deserved Carell's spot in the line-up for his portrayal of Martin Luther King Jr in Selma. All of the Best Supporting Actor nominees were great, but I think J. K. Simmons clinches it (Mark Ruffalo was easily the best thing in Foxcatcher).

I haven't seen Two Days, One Night, but of the four films I've seen that appear in the Best Actress category, Julianne Moore's performance in Still Alice blows the others out of the water, great as Rosamund Pike was in Gone Girl and Felicity Jones was in The Theory of Everything. Of the Best Supporting Actress nominees, other than Meryl Streep (whose Into the Woods I haven't seen), Patricia Arquette should win for her role as the mother in Boyhood. I wouldn't feel too bad if Emma Stone clinched it for Birdman, however.

Finally, in the writing categories, I hope The Grand Budapest Hotel wins Best Original Screenplay, not least because I feel it ought to win one of the major categories. My vote goes to Whiplash in the Best Adapted Screenplay category, but major kudos should go to Paul Thomas Anderson for translating the oft-thought-unfilmable Thomas Pynchon to the big screen.

Finally, the awesome infographic that features the dress worn by every Best Actress Academy Award winner — evs — has been updated to include Cate Blanchett's 2014 dress. Very cool.


My reviews of the nominated films: American Sniper, Birdman, Boyhood, Foxcatcher, Gone Girl, The Imitation Game, Selma, Still Alice, The Theory of Everything and Whiplash.

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