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Thoughts on the 87th Oscar Nominations

January 15, 2015

By John Corrado

The Oscars

With Birdman and The Grand Budapest Hotel leading the charge and amassing nine each, the 87th Oscar nominations were unveiled this morning.  As usual, the list was rounded out by a mix of deserving frontrunners, along with some good surprises and a few unfortunate snubs, evoking passionate responses across Twitter.

The eight films in the running for Best Picture are American Sniper, Birdman, Boyhood, The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Imitation Game, Selma, The Theory of Everything and Whiplash.  The Best Director nominees are Alejandro G. Iñárritu (Birdman), Richard Linklater (Boyhood), Bennet Miller (Foxcatcher), Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel) and Morten Tyldum (The Imitation Game).

Let’s start with the positives.  For the second year in a row, I loved every one of these Best Pictures nominees, and am glad to see all of them recognized.  At this point, we really couldn’t have asked for a better frontrunner than Boyhood, and Whiplash, the little film that could, is now a five time nominee.  There’s a lot of stuff here worth celebrating.

Some of the surprises I’m most happy about?  Laura Dern’s Best Supporting Actress nomination for Wild, which nicely compliments Reese Witherspoon’s deserving inclusion in the Best Actress category.  Marion Cotillard’s recognition for Two Days, One Night is another welcome surprise.  Although it’s become somewhat expected over the last few weeks, it’s still great to see Wes Anderson get his first nominations for Best Director and Best Picture, an honour that is long overdue.  It’s also nice to see adapted and original screenplay nominations for Nightcrawler and Inherent Vice, respectively.

One of the nicest surprises is the Best Animated Feature category, where the rock solid nominees are Big Hero 6, The Boxtrolls, How To Train Your Dragon 2, Song of the Sea and The Tale of the Princess Kaguya.  As you can tell, that glorified toy commercial The Lego Movie didn’t make the cut, which I couldn’t be happier about.  It’s the most overrated film of 2014, and I’m really getting tired of people talking like it was robbed.  I’m glad it’s not there, and I sincerely hope the annoying earworm “Everything is Awesome” doesn’t win Best Song, because it shouldn’t even be nominated.  There, I said it.

Easily the biggest disappointment of the morning was the lack of more nominations for Selma.  The film absolutely deserves its recognition for Best Picture and Best Song, where it should triumph for the powerful track “Glory,” but it’s disheartening that director Ava DuVernay and actor David Oyelowo weren’t nominated for the film.  Another strange turn of events is that Foxcatcher was unable to crack the Best Picture field, despite Bennet Miller being nominated for Best Director.

Although I can’t argue with the five nominees, Jake Gyllenhaal delivered one of the best performances of last year in Nightcrawler, and would have deserved recognition.  Ditto Amy Adams in Big Eyes, and Lana Del Rey’s song for the film.  The Roger Ebert tribute Life Itself is still my favourite documentary of 2014, and absolutely should have been nominated.  The same can be said of Force Majeure, which seemed like the frontrunner for Best Foreign Language, but is strangely missing from the final list.

Overall, I have some mixed feelings about these nominations.  I mean, I like all of the films and performances being recognized in the major categories, but these shutouts are hard to ignore.  Maybe it’s time we go back to having an even ten nominations for Best Picture, and with this expanded field, it only seems fair that the directing and acting categories start to allow more nominees as well.  I don’t know.

Either way, I still think it’s important to celebrate the films that did make the cut, and please see below for a complete list of nominees in all 24 categories.

Best Picture 
American Sniper
The Imitation Game
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Theory of Everything

Best Director
Richard Linklater for Boyhood
Alejandro González Iñárritu for Birdman
Bennett Miller for Foxcatcher
Wes Anderson for The Grand Budapest Hotel
Morten Tyldum for The Imitation Game

Best Actor
Steve Carell for Foxcatcher
Benedict Cumberbatch for The Imitation Game
Bradley Cooper for American Sniper
Michael Keaton for Birdman
Eddie Redmayne for The Theory of Everything

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

Best Supporting Actor
Robert Duvall for The Judge
Ethan Hawke for Boyhood
Edward Norton for Birdman
Mark Ruffalo for Foxcatcher
J.K. Simmons for Whiplash

Best Supporting Actress
Patricia Arquette for Boyhood
Laura Dern for Wild
Keira Knightley for The Imitation Game
Emma Stone for Birdman
Meryl Streep for Into the Woods

Best Original Screenplay 
Birdman (Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Armando Bo)
Boyhood (Richard Linklater)
Foxcatcher (E. Max Frye, Dan Futterman)
The Grand Budapest Hotel (Wes Anderson, Hugo Guinness)
Nightcrawler (Dan Gilroy)

Best Adapted Screenplay
American Sniper (Jason Hall)
The Imitation Game (Graham Moore)
Inherent Vice (Paul Thomas Anderson)
The Theory of Everything (Anthony McCarten)
Whiplash (Damien Chazelle)

Best Animated Feature
Big Hero 6
The Boxtrolls
How to Train Your Dragon 2
Song of the Sea
The Tale of the Princess Kaguya

Best Foreign Language Film
Wild Tales

Best Cinematography
Birdman (Emmanuel Lubezki)
The Grand Budapest Hotel (Robert D. Yeoman)
Mr. Turner (Dick Pope)
Unbroken (Roger Deakins)
Ida (Lukasz Zal, Ryszard Lenczewski)

Best Editing
The Imitation Game
The Grand Budapest Hotel
American Sniper

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

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

Best Makeup and Hairstyling
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Guardians of the Galaxy

Best 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)

Best Original Song
“Everything is Awesome” from The Lego Movie
“Glory” from Selma
“Grateful” from Beyond the Lights
“I’m Not Gonna Miss You” from Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me
“Lost Stars” from Begin Again

Best Sound Mixing
American Sniper

Best Sound Editing
American Sniper
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

Best Visual Effects
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Guardians of the Galaxy
X-Men: Days of Future Past

Best Documentary Feature
Finding Vivian Maier
Last Days in Vietnam
The Salt of the Earth

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

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

Best Short Film Live Action
Boogaloo and Graham
Butter Lamp
The Phone Call

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