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Oscar 2015 Nominations

oscar2015It’s that time of the year again, when a bunch of self absorbed millionaire narcissists get together to self flagellate themselves at just how important and cool they are. No, I’m not talking about Prime Ministers questions (distant cymbal clash) I am of course referring to the Academy Awards, the only pointless award strand that I actually pay any attention to – what can I say, it’s a tradition. So begins my annual, utterly pointless and meaningless quest to see as many nominated films as possible prior to the ceremony, rather depressingly this means I must try to see American Sniper which sounds absolutely hideous. Before we begin yes of course I have seen this and I’m still processing the experiment, I like Soderbergh and everything but (initially) I honestly can’t discern any point to this fruitless exercise, the Raiders thing was cool and everything but YOU’VE GONE TOO FAR THIS TIME STEVE (shakes fist). Anyway, you know the drill by now, right? I’ve listed all the nominees below and those I’ve seen are in bold, those I predict will win are in italics, those I think should win are underlined.

Best Film


I mean, what was he thinking? Taking out the deliberate, elegant longeurs and re-cutting the masterpiece to be more….swift? Jesus christ, I just….can’t…….grrgh. So any eight nominees this year then, when did that change? Seems like an arbitrary number but who am I to second-guess the wisdom of the Academy. I think, and hope that Boyhood could sneak a coup this year, good news for Linklater of course but he will then get $100 million projects thrown at him which could disrupt his mojo. Good to see Whiplash in here as well;

American Sniper – Clint Eastwood, Robert Lorenz, Andrew Lazar, Bradley Cooper and Peter Morgan

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) – Alejandro G. Iñárritu, John Lesher and James W. Skotchdopole

Boyhood – Richard and Cathleen Sutherland

The Grand Budapest Hotel – Wes Anderson, Scott Rudin, Steven Rales and Jeremy Dawson

The Imitation Game – Nora Grossman, Ido Ostrowsky and Teddy Schwarzman

Selma – Christian Colson, Oprah Winfrey, Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner

The Theory of Everything – Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Lisa Bruce and Anthony McCarten

Whiplash – Jason Blum, Helen Estabrook and David Lancaster

Best Actor


He’s done this before you know, he’s a repeat criminal when he went and recut Heavens Gate. Someone needs to revoke his DGA card or something. Faintly surprised to see Carell in here, its a creepy, attention seeking performance but it felt like a supporting role to me. No Fiennes for Grand Budapest Hotel has got twitter all a flutter, I reckon Keaton must just fly off with it;

Steve Carell – Foxcatcher

Bradley Cooper – American Sniper

Benedict Cumberbatch – The Imitation Game

Eddie Redmayne – The Theory of Everything

Michael Keaton – Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Best Actress


Why…I mean….just…….what…..why do you keep cutting HAL into the Dawn Of Man sequence? That disrupts the whole connotation chain of the film what is he trying to suggest? There’s just…..just no logic to this. Pleasantly surprised to see Pike in the frame for the big gong, but Witherspoon seems to have a good deal of momentum with her return to ‘serious’ acting. Then again, Moore might have the trump card, with a role as a Alzheimers sufferer as we all know Oscar loves disability;

Marion Cotillard – Two Days, One Night

Felicity Jones – The Theory of Everything

Julianne Moore – Still Alice

Rosamund Pike – Gone Girl

Reese Witherspoon – Wild

Best Director


Whats’ next Steve? A recut of Strangelove with all those silly Peter Sellers impersonations consigned to the cutting room floor? How about a family friendly recut of The Shining? I can’t help think they’ve missed someone out here but I can’t think whom (No, not Nolan, I loved Interstellar but it wasn’t exactly best directed material), in terms of achievement its got to be Linklater for sheer persistence and patience hasn’t it?

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) – Alejandro G. Iñárritu

Boyhood – Richard Linklater

Foxcatcher – Bennett Miller

The Grand Budapest Hotel – Wes Anderson

The Imitation Game – Morten Tyldum

Best Supporting Actor


You know what? I bet he and his mate Gus Van Sant get together and cackle with glee at their little experiments, hideous incompetents that they are. Soderbergh even echoed Sant’s equally pointless 1998 remake of Psycho as you can see here. Very strong field this year with Ruffalo, Norton and Simmons turning in exceptional work, but maybe veteran Duvall could show these young whippersnappers how its done? Nah, I reckon Simmons has got this;

Robert Duvall – The Judge

Ethan Hawke – Boyhood

Edward Norton – Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

 Mark Ruffalo – Foxcatcher

 J.K. Simmons – Whiplash

Best Supporting Actress


J.J. Abrams has made his own version of 2001 y’know, he hasn’t been working on that next installment of the most stultifying overpraised film series in recorded history – see here. Meryl Streep gets the obligatory nomination, Knightley is a bit of surprise as she’s OK in The Imitation Game but it wasn’t exactly a memorable role. I hope the Academy sees sense with Arquette though, who got one of the most heartbreaking scenes of the year;

Patricia Arquette – Boyhood

Laura Dern – Wild

Keira Knightley – The Imitation Game

Emma Stone – Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Meryl Streep – Into the Woods

Visual Effects


No Transformers eh? Finally some sanity prevails. Same with Battle Of The Five Armies and its tedious digital carnage. I think only Interstellar actually achieved anything beyond your industry standard shock and awe, like say designing a constellation in a mainframe that real scientists are using to study cosmology – that’s an achievement.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier – Dan DeLeeuw, Russell Earl, Bryan Grill and Dan Sudick

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes – Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, Daniel Barrett and Erik Winquist

Guardians of the Galaxy – Stephane Ceretti, Nicolas Aithadi, Jonathan Fawkner and Paul Corbould

Interstellar – Paul Franklin, Andrew Lockley, Ian Hunter and Scott Fisher

X-Men: Days of Future Past – Richard Stammers, Lou Pecora, Tim Crosbie and Cameron Waldbauer

Original Screenplay


Finally some love for Nightcrawler which has been hideously snubbed, I’ve just remembered Glyenthaal has also been severely overlooked in favour of the omnipresent Cumberbatch.

The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) – Written by Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr. & Armando Bo

Boyhood – Written by Richard Linklater

Foxcatcher – Written by E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman

The Grand Budapest Hotel – Screenplay by Wes Anderson; Story by Wes Anderson & Hugo Guinness

Nightcrawler – Written by Dan Gilroy


Adapted Screenplay


Finally some love for Inherent Vice? OK, I haven’t seen it yet but it does seems to have been overlooked, I’d like to see Whiplash take this although I’m not sure what it was adapted from, other than Chazelle’s short film that he made to drum up (pun intended) support for the full feature. Weird.

American Sniper – Written by Jason Hall

The Imitation Game – Written by Graham Moore

Inherent Vice – Written for the screen by Paul Thomas Anderson

The Theory of Everything – Screenplay by Anthony McCarten

Whiplash – Written by Damien Chazelle


Animated Feature


Along with Fiennes (and maybe Spall for Mr. Turner) the biggest upset is no Lego Movie? I haven’t seen any of the others but c’mon, everyone loved that movie and it was a lot of fun, not to mention the galactic box-office. Not that box-office has any bearing on nominations of course, I’m not suggesting that. Big Hero 6 seems to have a lot of affection, so I’m going with that;

Big Hero 6 – Don Hall, Chris Williams and Roy Conli

The Boxtrolls – Anthony Stacchi, Graham Annable and Travis Knight

How to Train Your Dragon 2 – Dean DeBlois and Bonnie Arnold

Song of the Sea – Tomm Moore and Paul Youn

The Tale of the Princess Kaguya – Isao Takahata and Yoshiaki Nishimura



This is a tricky one, a real surprise to see not only a foreign film in here but also a B&W picture – when was the last time that happened? Mr. Turner and Birdman are also very strong contenders, and I’d love to see Deakins finally win. Decisions, decisions……I’m going with Birdman;

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) – Emmanuel Lubezski

The Grand Budapest Hotel – Robert Yeoman

Ida – Lukasz Zal and Ryszard Lenczewski

Mr. Turner – Dick Pope

Unbroken – Roger Deakins

Costume Design


A purely arbitrary choice here, one of these nominees has worked with Kubrick in the past, so that’s my ridiculously stupid nominee. Then again, the Academy loves a good period pic so Mr. Turner might pick up some gold for the snubbed Leigh;

The Grand Budapest Hotel – Milena Canonero

Inherent Vice – Mark Bridges

Into the Woods – Colleen Atwood

Maleficent – Anna B. Sheppard and Jane Clive

Mr. Turner – Jacqueline Durran

 Documentary Feature


A particularly pathetic effort from me here, I’ve not seen any of these – EDIT – well, I’ve managed two since initial publication. No Ebert respect for Life Itself seems like a cruel snub, maybe some of those two star review chickens have come home to roost. CitizenFour has been getting some outstanding plaudits, and with the Sony Hack this seems the most prescient in the Academy’s eyes. So I’m going with that;

CitizenFour – Laura Poitras, Mathilde Bonnefoy and Dirk Wilutzky

Finding Vivian Maier – John Maloof and Charlie Siskel

Last Days in Vietnam – Rory Kennedy and Keven McAlester

The Salt of the Earth – Wim Wenders, Juliano Ribeiro Salgado and David Rosier

Virunga – Orlando von Einsiedel and Joanna Natasegara



Great to see Whiplash in here, fighting for itself among the bigger boys. That films marriage of image with sound is fantastic, particularly during the musical scenes, so I’d love to see it win this.

American Sniper – Joel Cox and Gary D. Roach

Boyhood – Sandra Adair

The Grand Budapest Hotel – Barney Pilling

The Imitation Game – William Goldenberg

Whiplash – Tom Cross

Foreign Language Film


Another poor show, I really must got round to catching up with Leviathan. I’ve heard great things about the Argentinian picture Wild Tales, amusing to see the world cinema likes of Godard or Nuri Bilge Ceylon  snubbed again. Also, no swansong nomination for Miyazaki with The Wind Rises?

Ida – Poland; Directed by Pawel Pawlikowski

Leviathan – Russia; Directed by Andrey Zvyagintsev

Tangerines – Estonia; Directed by Zaza Urushadze

Timbuktu – Mauritania; Directed by Abderrahmane Sissako

Wild Tales – Argentina; Directed by Damián Szifron

Musical Score


Whilst my favorite score was another fruitful collaboration between Zimmer and Nolan I suspect it won’t prevail, so I’m opting for Desplat and the only gong that The Imitation Game will take home all evening.

The Grand Budapest Hotel – Alexandre Desplat

The Imitation Game – Alexandre Desplat

Interstellar – Hans Zimmer

Mr. Turner – Gary Yershon

The Theory of Everything – Jóhann Jóhannsson


OK, enough of the thinly spread japes, I can see what Soderbergh is trying to say with his tinkering, showing us that films deliberately paced and molded like 2001 just wouldn’t fly (no pun intended) in todays modern, ADD accelerated times. Taken on those terms it’s a fun little exercise, and I forgive him for his impertinence if he gets back in the chair and actually starts making some movies again. C’mon Steve, we’ve missed ya……here are the rest without commentary;

Documentary Short Subject

Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1 – Ellen Goosenberg Kent and Dana Perry

Joanna – Aneta Kopacz

Our Curse – Tomasz Śliwiński and Maciej Ślesicki

The Reaper (La Parka) – Gabriel Serra Arguello

White Earth – J. Christian Jensen

Make Up & Hairstyling

Foxcatcher – Bill Corso and Dennis Liddiard

The Grand Budapest Hotel – Frances Hannon and Mark Coulier

Guardians of the Galaxy – Elizabeth Yianni-Georgiou and David White

Original Song

“Everything Is Awesome” from THE LEGO MOVIE – Music and Lyric by Shawn Patterson

“Glory” from SELMA – Music and Lyric by John Stephens and Lonnie Lynn
“Grateful” from BEYOND THE LIGHTS – Music and Lyric by Diane Warren


“I’m Not Gonna Miss You” from GLEN CAMPBELL…I’LL BE ME – Music and Lyric by Glen Campbell and Julian Raymond

“Lost Stars” from BEGIN AGAIN – Music and Lyric by Gregg Alexander and Danielle Brisebois

Production Design

The Grand Budapest Hotel – Adam Stockhausen (Production Design); Anna Pinnock (Set Decoration)

The Imitation Game – Maria Djurkovic (Production Design); Tatiana Macdonald (Set Decoration)

Interstellar – Nathan Crowley (Production Design); Gary Fettis (Set Decoration)

Into the Woods – Dennis Gassner (Production Design); Anna Pinnock (Set Decoration) 

Mr. Turner –  Susie Davies & Charlotte Watts (Set Decoration)

Animated Short Film

The Bigger Picture – Daisy Jacobs and Christopher Hees

The Dam Keeper – Robert Kondo and Dice Tsutsumi

Feast – Patrick and Kristina Reed

Me and My Moulton – Torill Kove

A Single Life – Joris Oprins

Live Action Short 

Aya – Oded Binnun and Mihal Brezis

Boogaloo and Graham – Michael Lennox and Ronan Blaney

Butter Lamp (La Lampe au Beurre de Yak) – Hu Wei and Julien Féret

Parvaneh – Talkhon Hamzavi and Stefan Eichenberger

The Phone Call – Mat Kirkby and James Lucas

Sound Editing

American Sniper – Alan Robert Murray and Bub Asman

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) – Martin Hernández and Aaron Glascock

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies – Brent Burge and Jason Canovas

Interstellar – Richard King

Unbroken – Becky Sullivan and Andrew DeCristofaro

Sound Mixing

American Sniper – John Reitz, Gregg Rudloff and Walt Martin

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) – Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño and Thomas Varga

Interstellar – Gary A. Rizzo, Gregg Landaker and Mark Weingarten

Unbroken – Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño and David Lee

 Whiplash – Craig Mann, Ben Wilkins and Thomas Curley


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