Well it only took six months but I have now seen almost every picture up for an award last year and here is my report on who was deserving and what was nonsense. It was a good day to do this as stock markets are up world wide in the unrealistic hope that Greece will come to their senses, even though talks broke down again today. God, people are dumb. So instead of that level of stupidity, I thought it would be much more fun to write about how stupid some films were that were voted in last Oscars.
American Sniper- Clint Eastwood is one of the best directors working today and he's a million years old, bucking the trend that many directors find themselves as they get older and getting worse at their craft (Steven Spielberg I am talking about you). This film was well deserving of all the acolytes it got, and was a true bio-pic encompassing Chris Kyle's whole life from childhood on which helped you really understand who the character was. The ads were somewhat misleading making it seem much more dramatic than it was with many scenes more Call of Duty than Coming Home, which didn't affect BO so what do I know. However, had the action scenes been stressed more than the drama I thought it was, I would have seen it in the theater. But all in all, a best picture nominee for sure.
The Imitation Game- Benedict Cumberbatch was brilliant in this film about Alan Turing and how he helped break the enigma code only to be thrown away when his homosexuality was revealed. This was a toss up and, to be honest, as good as it was, I don't think it was Oscar deserving for best picture. Better films came out than this, but it was at the same time an impressive work and remain on the fence as to it's nomination.
Selma- This film, plain and simple, sucked. It was not well directed. It was not well plotted. It was a liberal, knee jerk reaction to have some black picture in the ranks when it clearly didn't belong. I hate, really hate, these kind of bio-pics. I would have liked to have seen MLK's childhood and upbringing, to see how he became this electric figure instead of this one part of his life, that while very significant, told me nothing about the man, just the situation he was in. A far better bio-pic this year, with a solid black cast, was Get On Up, about James Brown. That was a great movie and far more deserving than this rather dull film. I put this with other Oscar nominated pics like Lincoln and the Aviator which only focused on a narrow window rather than showing us the whole picture. These types of movie really need to stop and definitely have no place in the Oscar ranks.
The Theory of Everything- Here is a bio-pic that deserved all the awards it got. Eddie Redmayne was electric as Stephen Hawking that again, was a real bio-pic, showing him from the beginning of his career on, rather than just focusing on the moment he found out he was sick. We really got to know what Hawking was about and Redmayne nailed his performance. This was hands down, one of the best movies of the year.
Boyhood- I am not a huge Richard Linkletter fan and I really don't like Ethan Hawke, which is why I was really surprised how great this movie was. Filmed over 12 years, it followed the growing up of a child to adulthood in real time. Patricia Arquette nailed the mom role, Ethan Hawke was good for once and other than the way too long run time of 3 hours (a half hour of this could have been cut easily), this was a great movie that will resonate for some time.
The Grand Budapest Hotel- To say I hated every minute of this pretentious waste of time would be an understatement. There was nothing likeable about this film other than the look of it, which was gorgeous. The film itself was just awful with this being the last Wes Anderson film I will ever watch. I have yet to meet anyone who really liked this film, with many agreeing with me that it sucked hard. This not only had no business being up for Oscar's, it should have been up for some Razzie's. If this is passes for humor with the elite crowd, they need to get out more. Avoid at all costs.
Whiplash- Without a doubt, the most surprising film on the list for me. I expected it to be good, but not great, when I first watched it and boy was I wrong. This film was electric in a way that few other films on this list could have been with JK Simmons giving the performance of his career and Miles Teller, a rather obnoxious protagonist but still likeable in his own way, showing real skill. Anyone who watches this will remember the line "Are you rushing or are you dragging?" forever.
Birdman- Hands down the best picture of the year. No film soared (pun intended) like this with Michael Keaton fabulous as a washed up actor who may by insane or may really have super powers as he puts on a risky play to salvage his career. Shot in one long take (or the appearance of one ala Rope style) made this movie that much better than any other last year. A must see for film fans.
FILMS THAT MISSED THE CUT- Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain America, Snowpiercer, Get on Up, The Lego Movie, John Wick, Gone Girl, Draft Day, Interstellar, Still Alice and Top Five.
Steve Carell- Foxcatcher- The movie was mediocre at best, with yet another film too focused on a single part of the story and not the whole thing. Why would you not explore a billionaire's fate who would die behind bars? But Carell was fantastic in this role and deserved the spot.
Benedict Cumberbatch- Better role than movie, but again, well deserved.
Bradley Cooper- A tough role to play and Cooper nailed it. Great movie, great role.
Eddie Redmayne- Deserved to win, hands down.
Michael Keaton- The only real threat to Redmayne, Keaton was brilliant but lost by a hair.
David Oweloyo can shut the hell up about not being nominated because these five were just better.
Marion Cotillard- She had no business being here in a film seen by all of two people. I like her a lot but this nomination was just sad as other far more deserving actresses got shunned instead.
Reese Witherspoon- Wild was another mediocre film and this was not one of her best roles or performances. Unlike the Best Actor nominees, there were some real head scratchers here.
Rosamund Pike-The only nomination for the overlooked Gone Girl, Pike was fantastic in this femme fatale role that some loved, other like my fiancée hated, because SPOILER ALERT, she is one evil bitch who gets away with it at the end. I loved this movie and the part however.
Felicity Jones- Playing the harried wife of Hawking, Jones did an amazing job in this part and deserved her nomination.
Julianne Moore- Hands down, the best performance for the females as a sufferer of early onset Alzheimer's. Great job.
So there are the major awards. JK Simmons and Patricia Arquette both were well deserving for their wins in the supporting categories and Big Hero 6 deserved its win for best animated feature.
I would like to see a limit on the amount of dramas that get nominated every year because this year was just sad with several films on the best picture list that shouldn't have been there, even though one was a "comedy" even though it was NOT funny. Oscar organizers are talking about going back to just five nominees as instead of pictures that should have been nominated, and there were a lot, the voters instead went even deeper into dramas that few saw or even cared about. Let us hope that next year see some diversity and I don't mean just the color of the people nominated.