Overall we did pretty well on our predictions this year.

Here are the things we got right:

* Grand Budapest Hotel Art & Production Departments – lived on stage (easy ones really)

* Innaritu wins Best Director (many had Linklater here)

* Moore wins Actress (easy)

* Arquette wins Supporting Actress (easy)

* Simmons wins Supporting Actor (moderately easy, Norton was a legitimate threat I felt) – thrilled he won, made my night

* VFX -Interstellar (not so easy, Guardians of the Galaxy was legitimately a threat)

Where we were off:

* Best picture to Birdman.  I felt this was a jump ball, and I was expecting Boyhood to take it on the split between director and picture.  But – it appears that Birdman really carried the Academy in both areas.  I do think its fair to say that both movies were deserving, but if “artistry” in film is what is rewarded in this category – I do see how Birdman gets the nod, it was a much more difficult picture to pull off technically (one continuous shot, all those takes that have to be taken right – lighting, tracking, efx, etc…).  Boyhood was a great movie, and it was recognized as such.

* Best Actor – Redmayne (not Keaton).  This is still a head scratcher for me, not necessarily Redmayne winning – I felt it was him or Keaton.  But the head scratcher is that Redmayne won for an incredibly well delivered and ACCURATE portrayal of a historical figure.  Isn’t that exactly what David Oyelowo did?  EXACTLY???  I still can’t understand why Redmayne wins but Oyelowo can’t get a nom?  I felt that Keaton gave a great performance in a better film – but maybe my logic was backwards – perhaps Redmayne’s performance stands out even more in what was otherwise a pretty ordinary film (about an extraordinary man).

* Wes Anderson empty handed.  I felt he had a legitimate chance at a statue for this script.  Birdman definitely had a strong script.  Anderson’s career arc is interesting, he continues to push the edges of eccentricity – his most mainstream movies were probably Bottle Rocket and Rushmore (his first two).  His ability as a director and his commitment to film as an art form is unmatched in his generation of directors, truly. Grand Budapest was a really great movie, however it was an evolutionary step (not a revolutionary step) for Anderson in all areas, except perhaps in production and art – which were rightly rewarded.

* Best Adapted Screenplay – I thought Whiplash was a lock to win here, I felt it was such a great script with such great energy.  I was actually really surprised when Graham Moore won for Imitation Game.  I didn’t feel that was a particularly great script, though admittedly I don’t know the source it was adapted from – I was just judging the material as I perceived it.  The movie seemed to rely pretty heavily on Cumberbatch (who was his usual awesome self) and some other key cast members (Goode, Strong and Dance).  That said – after hearing the story of the writer and his reasoning for writing it – I was happy to see him win this award. And Whiplash got some very good recognition at the awards too.

* Cinematography – I felt it had to be Grand Budapest.  However I do see how Lubeski gets it here – upon reflection it was truly a huge cinematic acheivement for him to orchestrate the complex “single tracking shot.”  I think that really was remarkable, it may even have outdone his win from last year for Gravity.  I do feel really strongly about Yeoman – I loved the visual aesthetic of Grand Budapest, the lighting and filter use in that movie must have been very elaborate to create that world – I can’t even imagine how much time and energy went into that – but it was bested by yet another innovative and technically brilliant turn by Lubeski – Yeoman will have a statue one day soon.  Lubeski’s name is elite, if it wasn’t already.  For my film watching the bigs are Vittorio Storaro, Janusz Kaminski, Conrad Hall and Freddie Young (my personal fav) – Yeoman and Lubeski are both in that class. So is Pfister (now a director).


2 Responses to Oscars 2015 Recap

  1. Lutz Henckels says:

    In regards to the big awards (picture, director, actor, actress), I think winning is like catching lightning in a bottle. I think the timing of a release, the level of exposure or publicity, etc. all make a difference.

    Birdman seemed to be gaining momentum the last month, but if Oscar voting were just a bit earlier, I think Boyhood would have taken Best Picture.

    I still wish Michael Keaton had won. Not because Redmayne wasn’t deserving But because I don’t see Michael Keaton having another chance like Birdman again. Similar example: Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler. You know what came after The Wrestler for Mickey? Iron Man 2, and then 10 films I have never heard of. It’s certainly not a function of talent though. But some movie opportunities (particularly for older actors) are again, lightning in a bottle.

    Maybe I’m wrong though. Michael Keaton’s next 3 films: Spotlight from Writer/Director/Actor Tom McCarthy (absolutely fantastic talent), followed by Minions and Kong Island. Not sure about these last two, but hopefully Spotlight keeps Keaton on top.

  2. johnlally00 says:

    Agree. The timing and momentum and timing is always a key factor. Unless it’s Return of the King!! Right?! I think in Birdmans case, it was a greater triumph of artistry- where Boyhood was a great story told in an incredible way. It’s a good point on Keaton, a role like this for him is going to be hard to repeat. But I think if he wants to he can keep working on good stuff. I am counting days till Force Awakens!

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