This year, the 87th academy award ceremony comes to you live from Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre in Los Angles on February 22. Comedic actor Neil Patrick Harris will be your host, and what a talent this man is, his opening for the 82nd academy Awards in 2010 is the perfect reference, just YouTube it, it’s great. With that confirmed then, it sure looks like things are going to get off to a ripping start, with some startling, and classy entertainment; because remember, the Oscar Awards are all about that touch of class. Unlike the Golden Globes, just saying, but who cares about them?
Award winning speculations, well some of these earlier front runners will have you gripping your teeth with angst excitement, and feeling like there is something missing. A questionable top ten to follow then: Foxcatcher, Boyhood, Selma, The Imitation Game, Wild, Birdman, The Theory of Everything, Unbroken, American Sniper, Whiplash, with Boyhood favourite to come out winners. Not to say that this list is exactly wrong, but the missing quality is highly questionable.
For example, The Lego Movie is not in there, and why? It’s had great reviews, it’s turned the haters into lovers of the mad idea of a Lego animated film, it’s visually dazzling, very charming and very funny. It has neat jokes about paying 17 bucks for a coffee, so some social engagement with intelligent humour, and also you’ve got Will Ferrell playing ‘Lord Business’, even the name’s making you laugh, so that’s enough said. Well at least Unbroken was snubbed, it did look one of the weaker movies up for potential nomination, but let’s not forget that this was Angelina Jolie’s first film as a director, so it’s only early days for her.
American Sniper, which was directed by Clint Eastwood, who was snubbed for a ‘Best Director’ nomination, and stars Bradley Cooper who got a nomination for best actor, could have also been replaced. Eastwood is known for taking an acute approach to dealing with the subject matter that he has at hand, and his directing style very much comes with a done and dusted attitude, nothing fanciful. With American Sniper Eastwood has decided to deal with the subject of the Iraq war.
It has been criticized for having a clumsy and disjointed narrative; that echoes the glorification of American patriotism, in that it fails to show the complex nature of war and its many vicious sides. It heavily concentrates on Cooper’s character, which portrays a sniper overly eager to be engaged in cold blooded killing. From that you’d assume that Eastwood condones this as the right idea of justice, given that the other side of the war is given no voice. It carries that all American hero complex, which is overwhelmingly alarming, and Cooper himself denied that the film makes no political statements; as if it wasn’t problematic enough already. Therefore the view stays firm, American Sniper should have been snubbed instead.
Whiplash is the most intriguing film from the list, it is a film about a drummer. A film about drummers, you say, how boring! You’d be amazingly surprized! J.K Simmons who should walk away with the Oscar for ‘Best Supporting Actor’, for his relentless and passionate performance as Fletcher. He is the drum tutor at one the best music schools in the US, and his performance brings out all the real questions of success and failure, with the quixotic idea that pain leads to pleasure in the shape of great success. It’s a music tuition film that plays out like a war movie.
As for surprises and unique transformations, Steve Carell who is one of America’s best loved comedic actors has gained a ‘Best Actor’ nomination for his much more serious role as football coach John Du Pont in Foxcatcher. His transformation is incredible; this performance shows real genuine acting intelligence in terms of versatility, it’s actually beautiful to see. This puts him head and shoulders above that British guy Gervais in terms of comedic actors stretching their acting abilities. If he wins then no qualms are necessary.
A delightful surprise was to see that Marion Cotillard, nominated for ‘Best Female Actor’ in Two Days, One Night. Sadly Ava Du Varney, who directed Selma, missed out on a nomination for ‘Best Director’. She would have been the first African American female, and the fifth female to have gained the nomination. Something that rather highlights the majority of the nominees being predominantly white and male, a fact that reminds you of one of America’s longest and largest problems.
Inherent Vice was snubbed for ‘Best Picture’, oh that word snubbed seems so tacky, and especially when used in relation to such a stylish film, well at least it was nominated for ‘Best Director’, that being Paul Thomas Anderson and it was also nominated for ‘Best Adapted Screenplay’, so not too bad really.
Visual effects and 3D stuff yay! Well of course it’s been a great year for Marvel, with Guardians of The Galaxy, Caption America the Winter Soldier and X-Men Days of Future Past, all nominated for ‘Best Visual Effects’. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is also in there, and naturally Interstellar is all over the shop with these kinds of nominations, ‘Best Sound Effects’, ‘Best Original Score’, perhaps not the best storyline, but modern day cinema is also about the visual and sound experience too, and this has to be one of Nolan’s masterpieces.
Peter Jackson’s latest Hobbit movie was snubbed, but maybe Jackson and his extraordinary imagination has received enough recognition for the time being. Who will be this year’s Halle Berry and more importantly which movie will win ‘Best Picture’? That’s what everybody truly cares about. This year’s Oscars will also be a fantastic display of musical talent and performances coming from the likes of the mighty Rita Ora, and Common is collaborating with the mesmeric voice of John Legend, that’s the touch of class we’re talking about. Enjoy, and be in awe of the 87th Oscar Academy Awards, it’s bound to be a magical night. For more about this year’s Oscar Awards, click here.
Words by Michael Barrett