First off, here's the list in case you missed it: http://oscar.go.com/nominees
My dad and I had a discussion the other day about how the Oscars recently have become much more political than they once were. Everything they do is interpreted one way or another, and as a result, they have been playing things really safe in recent years. Particularly in the post-Dark Knight era, as we'll call it. Well, this year they have completely thrown safe out the door, instead focusing on some of the ACTUAL best movies of the year, with the comedies Birdman and The Grand Budapest Hotel leading the way. Which, to me, is AWESOME. Kudos to the Academy on these choices.
I'm also very impressed by the solid showing from The Imitation Game. Coming in third with 8 nominations, The Imitation Game is easily the biggest winner of the nominations because there really wasn't that big of a marketing campaign behind it. I'm sure that's about to change, though.
So there's a whole outcry already going on how the Academy is racist for not giving Selma more than its 2 nominations. I may address this issue in an editorial at a later date, but I may not. To me this group of individuals has a "if you're not with us, you're against us" type of mentality, so it may be best to avoid this. However, I will say the reason it was snubbed was, in large part, because of its depiction of LBJ, which is not even remotely historically accurate. The movie portrays LBJ in a very negative light, when in fact he was very controversial for supporting the Civil Rights movement more than any other president before him. It reminds me a lot of Saving Mr. Banks historically inaccurate story that received a lot of criticism which lead to only two or three nominations. And no wins. So please. Selma's snubbing is not the end of the world. I promise.
Also, I'm sure Angelina Jolie is feeling a little hurt, too. Easily the most heavily marketed Christmas Day release this year, Unbroken was a major snub with its meager three nominations. I have not viewed this movie yet, however it was something of a bust at the box office, and when you combine that with the criticism it received, you have a snub. But still. What a shame.
Look. I haven't seen Big Hero Six, the HEAVY favorite to win Best Animated Feature. But, why wasn't The Lego Movie even nominated??? I get that it was a February release. I understand that we can forget those movies. But The Boxtrolls? Seriously? SERIOUSLY???? There is no universe in which Boxtrolls is a better movie than Lego Movie. None. What a truly damn shame.
Can we also take a moment to talk about how Big Eyes was completely snubbed? I know I had my quarrels about this movie and it was kind of imperfect, but it still deserved a nominations for Best Supporting Actor and original song if nothing else. But that's just me. And I feel bad for Amy Adams still....
OH MY GOD WHIPLASH GOT 6 NOMINATIONS. I can't believe this little indie film that virtually no one has heard of got 6 nominations. But I just saw it, and I gotta say....it deserves each and every one of them. Not only that, but it deserves to win all six of these categories. Including Best Picture. You heard that right. Now we'll see how many wins the Academy decides to hand this little indie film that is also the best film of the year.
So the reason why The Grand Budapest Hotel is a big surprise, to me, is its release date. Very rarely do you see a March release receive so many nominations at the end of the year. Hell, look at the lack of nominations this year for The Lego Movie. And yet...here's a movie released in March with 9 nominations. Tied with Birdman for the most nominations from the Academy this year. That is very impressive. And a big surprise. We'll just have to wait and see how many wins it actually gets.
Ok so Theory of Everything is down here because it's Oscar bait. I thought this movie was merely good, and I'm really worried that it's actually going to win some of these categories. This movie is Oscar baiting to the MAX. Which is really freaking frustrated to see this movie achieve its entire purpose for being, because it will always lead to more movies with this strategy. Whatever. I don't think it will win anything. It shouldn't. But God if this wins Best Actor and Best Score like it did at the Globes....
Best Original Song was a surprisingly disappointing category. The Academy had a chance to get major figures in the music industry like Lorde and Lana Del Rey to show up and perform at the show, (increase their numbers a bit!) but instead we get random nominations for several movies that don't even show up in any other category.
Jake. Gyllenhaal. Easily the biggest snub of these nominations was a lack of a nomination for Gyllenhaal's work in Nightcrawler. Yes, the movie is not perfect. Yes, the movie might not deserve much of anything in terms of other nominations. However, Jake Gyllenhaal absolutely deserved a spot in the Best Acting category for Nightcrawler. Remember when I said in my review of the movie that it was likely going to be forgotten about come Oscar season? Ya....it really makes me sad to be right in this instance. I think he should've been nominated instead of Steve Carell, who instead should've been nominated for Best Supporting Actor because.....well....his character is a supporting actor! IT GRINDS MY GEARS, PEOPLE. GRINDS. MY. GEARS. He didn't even have to win too! I would've just been happy with a nomination. But nope! Sigh....
So there you have it. My thoughts on the Oscars. Overall I am impressed with the list. To me, the Academy has really given the art films a chance this year, focusing on them instead of the Oscar-baitey movies. (Despite Theory of Everything getting five nominations) I just hope that this trend continues from the nominations to the actual wins. We'll just have to wait and see!