Category Archives: 2015 Academy Awards

Oscars 2015: Best Supporting Actor/Actress

Foxcatcher Mark Ruffalo

The supporting acting categories this year have been a bit predictable, with the frontrunners being very clear throughout all of Oscar season. While the winners definitely deserve the prize, what’s more interesting here is who didn’t get in, and further raises questions about how to categorize an actor as lead or supporting as part of an Oscar campaign. This is something that has bugged me about the Oscars as of late, and although I’m more irked by the screenplay categories, supporting roles can be seen as something worth discussing in terms of classification.

Best Supporting Actor: The Nominees

Edward Norton, Birdman

Ethan Hawke, Boyhood

J.K. Simmons, Whiplash

Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher

Robert Duvall, The Judge

In a role that has netted him critical acclaim, best supporting actor seems locked up with Simmons. He is terrifying in Whiplash. It’s a turn that comes so late for the veteran actor, who hasn’t had a role like this before. For the rest of the nominees, their place hasn’t been so secure. Edward Norton seemed like the only lock when we were talking about this five months ago. He is the closest we have to a runner-up. Ethan Hawke received a big push from Boyhood‘s continued success late in the year, and Robert Duvall managed to squeeze in for a great role in an okay movie. The Foxcatcher acting categories continue to frustrate me, but it’s here where I would have thrown in Steve Carell, who could have campaigned for either. Ruffalo is great, though, so I’m not complaining. Absent from this category is Miyavi, whose turn in Unbroken could’ve diversified the list. One of the Selma men, too, either Tom Wilkinson or Tim Roth, could’ve had a shot as well.

My Predictions: Best Supporting Actor

Should Win: J.K. Simmons, Whiplash

Will Win: J.K. Simmons, Whiplash

Could Win: Edward Norton, Birdman

Should Have Been here: Miyavi, Unbroken


Best Supporting Actress: The Nominees

Emma Stone, Birdman

Keira Knightley, The Imitation Game

Laura Dern, Wild

Meryl Streep, Into the Woods

Patricia Arquette, Boyhood

As far as supporting actress is concerned, this one is a bit more interesting. Here we have a diverse list of nominees spanning young and old, from unrecognized movies as well as acclaimed ones. The frontrunner here of course is Patricia Arquette, whose time and dedication to her role in Boyhood should net her her first Oscar. This one, too, is pretty much locked up, with Emma Stone as a potential spoiler. If the Academy goes Boyhood-crazy come Sunday (and they definitely could), Emma Stone could walk away with the statue. For the rest of the list, they went pretty predictable with Kiera Knightley, for a performance in a movie I loved that I wasn’t blown away with. And of course we have to throw in a Meryl Streep for balance. Surprising is Dern, whose screen time is very limited in Wild, but she gives a great performance nonetheless. I was expecting them to throw in Rene Russo instead for Nightcrawler, or keep with the Globes and nominate Jessica Chastain.

My Predictions: Best Supporting Actress

Should Win: Patricia Arquette, Boyhood

Will Win: Patricia Arquette, Boyhood

Could Win: Emma Stone, Birdman

Should Have Been Here: Jessica Chastain, A Most Violent Year; Carrie Coon, Gone Girl

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Posted by on February 13, 2015 in 2015 Academy Awards


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Oscars 2015: Best Actress


Poor Rosamund Pike. Any other year she would win by a landslide, and I’m not just saying that because Gone Girl was my favorite movie from last year. She is straight-up chilling as Amy Dunne, in a film that deserves more recognition. But I’m not going to get beat up about it (Pike will have her chance), because the actress who will no doubt win is simply amazing.

The Nominees:

Felicity Jones, The Theory of Everything

Julianne Moore, Still Alice

Marion Cotillard, Two Days, One Night

Reese Witherspoon, Wild

Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl

This category is pretty much locked down, with Julianne Moore emerging quickly as frontrunner. Her performance is great, and she definitely deserves it (five Oscar nominations and not one win yet!), but let’s all appreciate how excellent this list of nominees is. Rosamund Pike was this year’s breakout star, and I’m sure she’ll score down the line. But the overall lack of nominations for Gone Girl is surprising (that’s a story for another day). She’s my pick to win, but I had a hard time choosing between her and Witherspoon, who commands her role as Cheryl Strayed in Wild, another one of my favorites from 2014Witherspoon has won before for Walk the Line, so I’m guessing they’re giving her a break this year. Surprising addition is Marion Cotillard for the Dardennes’ fantastic Two Days, One Night, which I finally got the chance to see. Spoiler: she’s great. But this list of women is great because every character is a powerful female, which I definitely appreciate. Last year was great for well-written female characters, and I’m glad they are getting their due.

My Predictions:

Should Win: Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl

Will Win: Julianne Moore, Still Alice

Should Have Been Here: Honestly, this list is perfect as is

My Personal Nomination: Jenny Slate, Obvious Child

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Posted by on February 11, 2015 in 2015 Academy Awards


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Oscars 2015: Best Actor



While three of the acting categories are pretty much guaranteed at this point, Best Actor still remains interesting. Here we have a showdown between young and old, two snubbed nominees who deserve to be here, and one lone wolf who could have gone supporting. But overall we have a great list of men who gave great performances last year. Here’s my breakdown:

The Nominees:

Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game

Bradley Cooper, American Sniper

Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything

Michael Keaton, Birdman

Steve Carell, Foxcatcher

This is a very good list of nominees, but there a few startling omissions, chiefly David Oleyowo and Jake Gyllenhaal. I’m a bit surprised that Steve Carell made it in for Foxcatcher, as he could have gone back and forth between Supporting or Lead, and edged out say, Robert Duvall. But I’m glad he’s here, considering all the buzz he received last year that seems to have faded. Bradley Cooper is also a surprising nominee given the lack of previous nominations for American Sniper, but the Academy fell in love with the film and Cooper’s performance. I wouldn’t discount Cumberbatch or Cooper at this point, honestly.

But this is a race that will boil down to young vs old, between Keaton and Redmayne, both first time nominees. Redmayne has been picking up awards right and left for his performance as Stephen Hawking, which is well deserved. But if I could choose, I’d give it to Keaton, a veteran who delivers his best performance ever in Birdman.

My Predictions

Should Win: Michael Keaton, Birdman

Will Win: Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything

Should Have Been Nominated: David Oleyowo, Selma

My Personal Nomination: Jack O’Connell, Unbroken

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Posted by on February 8, 2015 in 2015 Academy Awards


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Ranking the Best Picture Nominees

Every year there are notable omissions, but this year’s Best Picture nominees are a pretty fair bunch. Predictably so, every film deserves to be there, but there can only be one winner. Without further ado, here’s my personal ranking of all eight Best Picture nominees.

8. The Theory of Everything

James Marsh’s Stephen Hawking biopic is about as by-the-books as they come, but it’s still a great affecting look into one of the most influential men in the scientific world. Propelled by an outstanding performance by Eddie Redmayne, the film delves deep into his marriage with Jane, played by the excellent Felicity Jones, and how his disease affected their life. It’s your typical well-done British biopic, but don’t let the biopic cliches keep you away.

7. Selma

I’m shocked that David Oleyowo isn’t being recognized for his work as Martin Luther King Jr. This film couldn’t have come at a better time, too (and would’ve gained a lot more traction had screeners been sent out). It’s relevant, poignant, and resembles a time not so different from the one we are in now. Ava DuVernay handles the film with delicacy, but she isn’t afraid to pull back the curtain and show us the behind the scenes look at blacks’ fight for voting and equal rights. Her direction is impeccable, with great attention to detail and sweeping moments.

6. The Grand Budapest Hotel

While not as charming as his last feature, The Grand Budapest Hotel seems like the culmination of everything Wes Anderson has done thus far. With all of his signature quirks and quips, the film is a joyride from beginning to end. It’s a hilarious tale that never lets up, bolstered by Ralph Fiennes’s charismatic Gustave H. Beautiful cinematography and production design solidify Anderson as one of the finest indie directors of his time.

5. American Sniper

The biggest box office hit and most controversial film of the bunch, Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper is his best film since Unforgiven. A brutal look at the life of Chris Kyle, a sniper in the Iraq war with over 200 confirmed kills, American Sniper goes deep into Kyle’s psyche, showing the harrowing effects of war. It’s a moving yet tense film, with scenes back home juxtaposed with breathtaking war scenes. Bradley Cooper flexes his muscles as Kyle, offering a performance that asks so much of him and lets him deliver on every level.

4. Whiplash

The “little indie that could,” Whiplash is a treat. It’s a tense psychological glance into the pursuit of perfection, and what you sacrifice for it. What’s great about Whiplash is that it never succumbs to music indie drama cliches. This is a movie that is supposed to make you uncomfortable, and it sure does thanks to JK Simmons’s performance. The best villain of the year, his creative insults and brutality scare the viewer, but they don’t scare Andrew in his pursuit to be an excellent drummer, and he’s sure to gain the recognition he deserves come Oscars day.

3. The Imitation Game

The trailer for The Imitation Game makes it seem like this year’s The King’s Speech, and in many ways it is. It’s Weinstein’s darling, a British biopic about an influential man in history who overcame obstacles, but the similarities stop there. The Imitation Game avoids what made The Theory of Everything just okay by trusting its performers and interweaving plotline. There aren’t any wasted scenes, every scene is carefully calculated, like Turing himself. It’s very well-directed and scored, but would be nothing without Benedict Cumberbatch, who turns in a beautiful and remarkable performance that gives the film the emotion needed.

2. Birdman

Birdman is insane, and I love it. The film never misses a beat and is firing on all cylinders for its two hour run time. Innaritu gives the film such an infectious rhythm that you’ll be tapping your feet the whole time. Michael Keaton delivers the comeback of the year as Riggan, a washed up actor staging a Broadway play. It’s a reflection of Keaton’s career while also being something completely new. Supporting roles courtesy of Emma Stone and Edward Norton keep it afloat, and Birdman features my favorite sequence of the year: Riggan parading through Times Square in his underpants.

1. Boyhood

By now you’ve definitely heard of Boyhood’s 12-year shooting time span, and how Ellar Coltrane literally grew up on screen. While many are dismissing its gimmick, there’s no denying the beauty behind Boyhood’s simplicity. It’s such a low-key, unique film that is a wonder to watch unfold on screen. Boyhood stresses the importance of those moments that define us, that make us who we are, and it’s the best coming of age tale this century. Linklater’s attention to detail helps him nail those moments with little details, quirks, or a line of dialogue that we know is important. Boyhood will be different for everyone who watches it, but the universality is what unites every viewer. Whether you’re Mason, his sister Sam, or his mother (the amazing Patricia Arquette), everyone can relate in a different way. There’s such beauty in its universality that it almost transcends the limitations of film. We might even forget we’re watching a film and not a child’s home videos. What Linklater has done is fantastic, and it sounds impossible, yet the script allows the film to grow just as its protagonist does, delivering one of the most unique films I’ve ever seen.


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Posted by on January 25, 2015 in 2015 Academy Awards


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