I had full intention to live blog this year’s Academy Awards. I was attending a large, glamorous party at Seattle’s Cinerama Theater. The event was a fundraiser for the Gay City Health Project and Three Dollar Bill Cinema. They raised approximately $16,000 with the event, according to the email I got reviewing it this morning. However, after some pictures with men in gold suits and admiring many gentlemen in stunning evening gowns, my blogging was thwarted by my dead phone. So, instead of live blogging the event, I had a great time with my lovely date, getting drunk, cheering enthusiastically, and enjoying the year in movies!
We had a glorious night. My predictions were decent. Emma, looking ravishing in her red dress, was quite shocked by my accuracy. Checking my predictions, I was disappointed with some of my misses, as I should have known certain upsets were not going to happen. That’s still 18 out of 24, which is better than Gregory Ellwood of In Contention, and he’s been blogging about this stuff a lot longer than me.
Best Picture – Birdman
My prediction: Boyhood
Of course, I was not at all upset by this win at all. I loved the movie, and it was a very close #2 to my choice/pick Boyhood. The director fared very well, winning this, director and screenplay, and he deserves it.
Best Director – Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (Birdman)
I was correct! And I’m very glad I was. The talent it took to manage these long shots and great script deserves recognition. I do feel bad Richard Linklater missed out on everything, and Boyhood only managed to win one, very well deserved award.
Best Actor in a Leading Role – Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything)
Correct again! Still haven’t seen the movie, but the clips I’ve seen seem like he’s not only mimicking well but also his performance is notable. I still believe performance and career-wise Michael Keaton should have won, but Stephen Hawking and disability definitely had the showier role. And his joy was so adorable.
Best Actress in a Leading Role – Julianne Moore (Still Alice)
I was correct! And it’s a damn good thing I was. She received many standing ovations from the crowd at the party, and I’m still slightly hoarse from my enthusiastic cheering. Love her so much.
Best Actor in a Supporting Role – J.K. Simmons (Whiplash)
I was correct, which isn’t an accomplishment for someone who’s barely missed out on any award this year. He was loud and aggressive and an excellent slapper. And even though I really did want Edward Norton to win, Simmons is an actor I love seeing in anything. Glad he succeeded.
Best Actress in a Supporting Role – Patricia Arquette (Boyhood)
Correct! Mom was great, mom deserved this, and there was no one that outdid this honest performance this year.
Best Adapted Screenplay – The Imitation Game
My prediction: Whiplash
I was thinking Whiplash right up until the end. After winning 3 awards earlier in the show, I really expected this to be its fourth. I did love the actual winner’s speech, probably my favorite of the night. #stayweird
And for as so-so as the movie was, I think everyone needs to know the name and story of Alan Turing, not just gay and tech crowds. He saved thousands (if not millions) of lives by solving the Nazi enigma show, but due to his homosexuality (consensual sexual relationships, at that!), he was chemically castrated by the British government. This led to his suicide at the age of 41! The amount this brilliant man could have done with his continued years, we’ll never know. These are the costs of hate, people!
Best Original Screenplay – Birdman
Correct! This was one of the categories I was most guessing to miss. Boyhood and The Grand Budapest Hotel were both so popular and very well written, but I had the feeling this would win, and I was right.
Best Cinematography – Birdman
Correct! After being ignored by the Academy for all of his brilliant work, especially Children of Men and The Tree of Life, Emmanuel Lubezki won his second consecutive cinematography Oscar. He elevates the art continually. I will watch anything he has filmed!!!
Best Costume Design – The Grand Budapest Hotel
Correct! Milena Canonero won her fourth Oscar for this film. And these bright, gorgeous colors were well deserved.
Best Film Editing – Whiplash
Correct! The sharp, fast editing on this film was the standout portion for me. It helped the intensity come through for me, and in a film about drumming with a violent instructor, it helped with the brutally exhausting nature of the film. Cut to a bloody drum!
Best Makeup and Hairstyling – The Grand Budapest Hotel
My prediction: Guardians of the Galaxy.
I knew I should’ve guessed Budapest. I knew it was going to own the craft awards, and the Academy tends to love aging much more than scifi.
Best Original Score – The Grand Budapest Hotel
My prediction: The Theory of Everything
I love Alexandre Desplat, and I’m so glad he finally won an Oscar. And of the nominees, it’s a fine choice. The Theory of Everything had won so many score awards in the precursors that I thought it would repeat, but the Academy had other plans.
Best Original Song – “Glory” (Selma)
Correct! After snubbing in Director, Actor, Screenplay and Cinematography, Selma really deserved this. And where I personally preferred “Lost Stars” (when Keira Knightley sang it), “Glory” was a very close choice. John Legend and Common were fantastic in performance and gave great acceptance speeches. David Oyelowo crying after the performance was touching as well.
Best Production Design – The Grand Budapest Hotel
Correct! Just like in costumes, this is so well deserved in my eyes. The colors used blended together so well, and I loved that dining room, with the giant mural. Everything was so right for this movie and aesthetic. Special recognition to Mr. Turner, though. After watching it this weekend, those sets were beautiful–every single one!
Best Sound Editing – American Sniper
Correct! The Academy loves their gunshots
Best Sound Mixing– Whiplash
Correct! The sound is always important in a musical, and even more so in this film. It had to be loud, or it wouldn’t have had the effect it did.
Best Visual Effects – Interstellar
Correct! This film had the biggest effects of the year, and Christopher Nolan movies tend to have luck winning here. Knew this was going to be.
Best Animated Feature – Big Hero 6
My prediction: How to Train Your Dragon 2
This is the only award of the night I was truly disappointed in. Not only did I predict HTTYD2 for the award, I wanted it to win the Oscar, I was still hurting from The LEGO Movie‘s snub, and I was very sad when the predecessor didn’t earn an Oscar in 2010, but I just wasn’t huge on Big Hero 6. It was a good, wholesome, completely-forgettable movie that was probably my sixth favorite animated movie of the year, but this was a very good year for animation, and it did not deserve it, in my opinion. Even if they weren’t hot for Hiccup’s reunion with his mother, they could have chosen The BoxTrolls, a movie highly regarded by everyone reporting on seeing it. Or, they could have gone with Song of the Sea (which I’m going to see on Saturday) or Tale of the Princess Kaguya (which I just found out is at Scarecrow Video to rent) and recognized some foreign animation where everything doesn’t explode. And, then there’s the option of going back in time, giving The LEGO Movie the rightful nomination and eventual win, and righting this wrong.
But that’s just my opinion.
Best Foreign Language Film – Ida
Correct! With the cinematography nomination, it seemed so likely. However, I knew I could have been wrong, like in 2006 when The Lives of Others won over Pan’s Labyrinth, a movie with 6 nominations and wound up winning three that night! Or, in 2001 when No Man’s Land beat Amelie, the first foreign language film I ever saw. But I’m glad it was Ida. The taut, haunting Polish film won over the Academy with its stunning black-and-white cinematography, gripping story, and spectacular acting, including one of my choices for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Agata Kulesza.
This year’s slate of foreign language nominees are more intriguing than many years for my tastes:
- Tangerines (Estonia) – I like Estonians. They’re a kind people, or at least their foreign exchange students are. I look forward to seeing an Estonian film for the first time. I am not even familiar with any others. The story of a farmer harvesting his crop with battles raging nearby sounds like a good movie to me.
- Leviathan (Russia) – Saw this one on Sunday, actually, and it was good. I laughed quite a bit more than I expected. And looking back on a rather depressing movie, I’m still quite surprised. The acting was great, and the script, where long–too many plot points?–, was well written. Writer-director Andrey Zvyagintsev (who directed Golden Globe nominated The Return in 2003) and screenwriter Oleg Negin must have had a lot to say. I’m not very well versed in Russian politics and culture, so the references there were rather lost on me. I will single out the cinematography, which grabbed excellent shots like the one below, and I found Anna Ukolova’s portrayal of a long time friend and likely awful person to be very entertaining. She was gruff and real and emotional, and the character Angela would be played wonderfully by Kristen Johnston (with the right direction) in an American remake.
- Wild Tales (Argentina) – Time Magazine explained this movie as “six tales of apocalyptic revenge”. That sells me enough, but the trailer looks entertaining enough. Violence and Pedro Almodovar sweeten the deal.
- Timbuktu (Mauritania) – Mauritania’s first Oscar nominee looks to be a beautiful movie, and its inclusion on Vimeo’s Top 25 of 2014, which I reviewed a few weeks back, shows that it wasn’t just a few Academy members who enjoyed it.
But Mommy should have won it all!
Best Documentary – CitizenFour
Correct! It won everything else, so why not this too?
Best Short Film, Animated – Feast
Correct! I wasn’t wild about this Disney short, but it is the only one I saw.
Best Short Film, Live Action – The Phone Call
Correct! With Sally Hawkins and Jim Broadbent, I was pretty sure on this one.
Best Documentary, Short Subject – Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1
My prediction: The Reaper
If I would’ve taken the time to research these shorts, I would have chosen this one.