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My 2015 Oscar Selections

Oscars-2015-nominees

That time of the year when we all Movie Buffs are all excited about the Oscar Awards! With almost all other major Awards being announced already the anticipation for the big awards are getting palpable! 

The Oscars are scheduled on 22nd February 2015 this time round and sadly I would be missing out watching them LIVE as I would be out on my Rajasthan Motorcycle Ride! I am sure they would quite fun this time too with Actor Neil Patrick Harris scheduled to host the ceremony for the first time. He is quite a veteran of hosting Award Nights having hosted  Tony Awards and Primetime Emmy Awards multiple times.

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I was lucky to watch some of the nominated movies on the Big Screen like Foxcatcher, The Theory of Everything and How to Train Your Dragon 2. Watched rest of the movies in the comfort of my home perched on my couch with some popcorn and my wife for company! Even though we watched much fewer movies in 2014 than 2013 but we surely had a lot of fun watching all of them! 2015 has started on a grand movie-watching note; I have already watched 56 movies so far and even though I would be off movies for 1 full month as I am travelling to India for a vacation, 2015 would definitely end up with a lot of movies for me!

And now for some 2015 Oscars Trivia, Facts and Figures! This I find very exciting each time I write this annual post!

Nominees
The 2015 Oscar Nominees!

 1. Meryl Streep picked up her 19th nomination. Her nod for Into the Woods is the most for any actor, male or any female. This lady is simply incredible! Jack Nicholson follows with 12 total nominations.

2. Bradley Cooper earned his third consecutive nomination for American Sniper. He was previously nominated for Best Supporting Actor for American Hustle (2014) and Best Actor for Silver Linings Playbook (2013). He’s now one nomination away from tying Marlon Brando for the most consecutive acting noms.

3. Speaking of Cooper, he’s actually nominated twice. He’s one of the producers of American Sniper, which was nominated for Best Picture.

4. Alexandra Desplat is also a double nominee, but in the same category. The composer was nominated twice for Best Original Score for The Grand Budapest Hotel and The Imitation Game. The last person to pull off such an achievement was Steven Soderbergh who was nominated for Best Director for Erin Brockovich and Traffic in 2000.

5. Edward Norton stars in two of the Best Picture nominees, Birdman and The Grand Budapest Hotel. He’s also nominated for Best Supporting Actor for Birdman.

6. Only four other actors appear in nominated films. They are Reese Witherspoon (Inherent Vice, Wild), Andy Serkis (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies), Mark Ruffalo (Begin Again, Foxcatcher), and Chris Pratt (Guardians of the Galaxy, The LEGO Movie). Though, none of their films are up for the main award.

7. Diane Warren earned her 7th Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song. If she loses she will be 0 for 7, continuing her losing streak.

8. Common and John Legend became the fifth hip-hop act to ever be nominated for Best Original Song. They follow Eminem, M.I.A., Pharrell, and Three 6 Mafia.

9. Not a single winner from the 2014 Oscars was nominated this year. Though, Matthew McConaughey was the only winner with a notable contender (Interstellar). However, several losers, including Desplat, producer Scott Rudin, and Streep, were nominated again.

10. None of this year’s nominees picked up the big five (Best Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, and Screenplay). The last film to be nominated for all five was American Hustle. And the last film to win all five was The Silence of the Lambs.

11. Estonia and Mauritania earned first-ever Foreign Language nominations. Their competitors were nominated multiple times before: Argentina (6), Poland (9), Russia (5).

12. How to Train Your Dragon became the first franchise to have all its films nominated for Best Animated Feature. Only one sequel (Toy Story 3) has ever won the award.

13. Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel) picked up his first-ever Best Director nomination. His previous nominations were for Best Original Screenplay (Moon Rise Kingdom, The Royal Tenenbaums) and Best Animated Feature (Fantastic Mr. Fox).

14. Three Best Picture nominees were featured on the Black List. The annual survey of buzzy, unproduced screenplays, included American Sniper, The Imitation Game, and Whiplash. Foxcatcher, which is up for several awards, was also featured on the Black List.

15. Boyhood star Ellar Coltrane wasn’t even born when director Richard Linklater released Dazed and Confused. The seminal 1993 film went on to produce three Oscar winners (Ben Affleck, McConaughey, and Renee Zellweger). Coltrane, who was born in 1994, was only seven years old when Boyhood first started production. (He’s currently 20 years old.)

16. Speaking of Boyhood, despite being filmed over 12 years, it only took 39 days to complete.

17. Laura Dern is only nine years older than Reese Witherspoon. Dern, who was nominated for Best Supporting Actress, plays Witherspoon’s mother in Wild. Witherspoon was also nominated for Best Actress.

18. With her Best Actress nomination for Two Days, One Night (2014) Marion Cotillard became one of six performers with multiple Oscar nominations for foreign language films; the others are Marcello Mastroianni (Italian), Sophia Loren (Italian), Liv Ullmann (Swedish), Javier Bardem (Spanish) and Isabelle Adjani (French). Both of Cotillard’s nominations (she won for La Vie en Rose (2007)) were for performances in French.

19. Robert Duvall became the oldest male acting nominee in Oscar history. Previously, Hal Holbrook held this distinction.

20. Two films received nine nominations; Birdman (2014) and The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014). Edward Norton stars in both films.

21. For the first time in Oscar history, eight films are nominated for Best Picture at this ceremony.

22. The domestic box-office total of all the Best Picture nominees at the time of nomination were revealed was $201 million. That’s the lowest since the field expanded past five nominees.

23. Fox Searchlight was the most successful studio at the Oscars, in the terms of nominees. They had both of the top-nominated films in Birdman (2014) and The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014) plus two nods for Wild (2014).

24. Best Actor nominees Benedict Cumberbatch and Eddie Redmayne both played Stephen Hawking (Cumberbatch in Hawking (2004), Redmayne in The Theory of Everything (2014) (for which he was also nominated)). Best Supporting Actor nominees Edward Norton and Mark Ruffalo both played Bruce Banner/The Hulk (Norton in The Incredible Hulk (2008) and Ruffalo in The Avengers (2012) and Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)).

25. Bennett Miller’s Oscar nomination marks the first time since the expansion of the Best Picture category to a possible 10 nominated films in 2010, that a director receives a Best Director nomination for a film that is not also nominated for Best Picture (Foxcatcher (2014).

And now some controversies & snubs! The Academy just can’t live without them!

1. For only the third time since 1995, the 20 Academy Award acting nominations were only for white actors and actresses. The first was in 1998 and second was in 2011.

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2. Oscar missed out on its chance to make history this year by not nominating Selma director Ava DuVernay, who would have become the first black woman recognized in that category.

3. With the exception of “Selma,” which gratifyingly received a nod for best picture, the plots of the nominated movies mostly hewed to a monotonous story line, centered on great men either in fact or in the making, whether it’s the Iraq war hero Chris Kyle in “American Sniper,” Stephen Hawking in “The Theory of Everything,” Alan Turing in “The Imitation Game” or the tortured artists played by Michael Keaton and Miles Teller in “Birdman” and “Whiplash.”

4. Every nominated best director, screenwriter, screenplay adapter and original score composer is a white man suggesting that there is an inherent lack of female representation in the Oscars this year beyond the Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress categories.

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5. ‘Gone Girl’ didn’t make the cut for Adapted Screenplay which was a big shock to me considering it was arguably one of the biggest books-turned-films of 2014.

6. “The Lego Movie” may have been one of the most talked about flicks of 2014, but it wasn’t enough to earn it a nomination for Animated Feature Film and this was the biggest shocker for the movie community worldwide!

Co-director Philip Lord seemed to take it well though and even made his own Oscar statue out of Legos!

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7. Honorable Snubs: Jake Gyllenhaal for ‘Nightcrawler’ and Jennifer Aniston for ‘Cake’

And now for the major nominations, my choices and the predictions! (I have not included all the nominations and only the ones which I feel I am good enough to predict the winners)

Best Picture

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“American Sniper”
“Birdman”
“Boyhood”
“The Grand Budapest Hotel”
“The Imitation Game”
“Selma”
“The Theory of Everything”
“Whiplash”

Will Win: “Boyhood”
Could Win: “Birdman” or “The Imitation Game”
Should Win: “”Boyhood”
Should have Been Here: “Gone Girl”

My Choice: “Boyhood”

For the obvious reason – the sheer amount of hardwork, vision and planning which has gone into making this movie! Plus it is a very entertaining movie too! I loved it thoroughly…My brief review:

This one is definitely one of the most innovative concept movies of our times! Filmed over 12 years with the same cast, Richard Linklater’s movie is a groundbreaking story of growing up as seen through the eyes of a child named Mason who literally grows up on screen before our eyes. This one ranks as one of the best coming-of-age movie I have watched. The concept is captivating, entertaining, intelligent and very interesting! You feel like living all the way through with the characters & literally growing up with them! I am sure this one would be sweeping many awards come 2015! My rating 4.5/5…

 

 

Best Director

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Alejandro González Iñárritu, “Birdman”
Richard Linklater, “Boyhood”
Bennett Miller, “Foxcatcher”
Wes Anderson, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
Morten Tyldum, “The Imitation Game”

Will Win: Richard Linklater, “Boyhood”
Could Win: Alejandro González Iñárritu, “Birdman”
Should Win: Richard Linklater, “Boyhood”
Should have Been Here: Ava DuVernay, “Selma”

My Choice: Richard Linklater, “Boyhood”

 

 

Best Actor

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Steve Carell, “Foxcatcher”
Bradley Cooper, “American Sniper”
Benedict Cumberbatch, “The Imitation Game”
Michael Keaton, “Birdman”
Eddie Redmayne, “The Theory of Everything”

Will Win: Michael Keaton, “Birdman”
Could Win: Eddie Redmayne, “The Theory of Everything”
Should Win: Eddie Redmayne, “The Theory of Everything”
Should have Been Here: Jake Gyllenhaal, “Nightcrawler”

My Choice: Eddie Redmayne, “The Theory of Everything”

Eddie was simply incredible in portraying this great man named Stephen Hawking and displayed the emotions of angst, frustration and happiness perfectly! He definitely deserves this award! My brief review of the film:

This movies sheds light on of the most brilliant minds of our times – Stephen Hawking and is a depiction of his early life plus how he got afflicted with the disease & became the legend he is today…Eddie Redmayne has done a simply fabulous job and would definitely win the Oscar (it is Academy’s favourite type of role) and Felicity Jones is equally brilliant in her depiction of Hawking’s wife. The funny moments keep the movie interesting & one can feel the pain of Hawking about he would have felt then; the mind in perfect order but the body completely jammed! The supporting cast has done a very good job too. This is a must-watch for all biopic genre fans and for everybody (like me) who want to know more about Hawking! My rating 4/5…

 

 

Best Actress

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Marion Cotillard, “Two Days, One Night”
Felicity Jones, “The Theory of Everything”
Julianne Moore, “Still Alice”
Rosamund Pike, “Gone Girl”
Reese Witherspoon, “Wild”

Will Win: Julianne Moore, “Still Alice”
Could Win: Reese Witherspoon, “Wild”
Should Win: Julianne Moore, “Still Alice”
Should have Been Here: Jennifer Aniston for ‘Cake’

My Choice: Julianne Moore, “Still Alice”

No debate none whatsoever this year for this particular award! Moore nailed it with her performance in Still Alice! My brief review of the film:

This one is a drama film starring Julianne Moore in the role of Alice, a renowned linguistics Columbia professor diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease. Julianne has done such a superb job that you can feel the pain of her slow decline into the deadly disease and the challenges she faces with each passing day! Definitely one of the most stunning performances by an actress in recent times…I found the ending a bit underwhelming though with the sudden closure. Kristen Stewart has also done a very decent job. This one would definitely win a lot of awards for Moore! My rating 4/5…

 

 

Best Supporting Actor

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Robert Duvall, “The Judge”
Ethan Hawke, “Boyhood”
Edward Norton, “Birdman”
Mark Ruffalo, “Foxcatcher”
J.K. Simmons, “Whiplash”

Will Win: J.K. Simmons, “Whiplash”
Could Win: Edward Norton, “Birdman”
Should Win: J.K. Simmons, “Whiplash”
Should have Been Here: Josh Brolin, “Inherent Vice”

My Choice: J.K. Simmons, “Whiplash”

 

 

Best Supporting Actress

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Patricia Arquette, “Boyhood”
Laura Dern, “Wild”
Keira Knightley, “The Imitation Game”
Emma Stone, “Birdman”
Meryl Streep, “Into the Woods”

Will Win: Patricia Arquette, “Boyhood”
Could Win: Emma Stone, “Birdman”
Should Win: Patricia Arquette, “Boyhood”
Should have Been Here: Jessica Chastain,  “A Most Violent Year”

My Choice: Patricia Arquette, “Boyhood”

 

 

Best Animated Feature Film (I haven’t watched “Song of the Sea”)

Animated-Feature

“Big Hero 6″
“The Boxtrolls”
“How to Train Your Dragon 2″
“Song of the Sea”
“The Tale of the Princess Kaguya”

Will Win: “How to Train Your Dragon 2”
Could Win: “Song of the Sea”
Should Win: “How to Train Your Dragon 2”
Should have Been Here: “The LEGO Movie” (!)

My Choice: “How to Train Your Dragon 2”

My brief review of the film:

The film takes place five years after the first film, featuring Hiccup and his friends as young adults and they explore new lands during their flying expeditions and face completely new challenges! they have matured and the times have changed but the sense of adventure is still the same! The emotional bond between the dragons and humans are stronger now as well as the self-belief to achieve the unattainable! the CGI Graphics are simply stupendous and the movie moves at a very fast pace throughout! the emotions never go overboard and this remains an equally enjoyable fun ride like the first one! I thoroughly enjoyed it and recommend it to all animation genre fans! My rating 4/5…

 

 

Best Original Song

Original-Song

“Everything Is Awesome,” from “The Lego Movie”
“Glory,” from “Selma”
“Grateful,” from “Beyond the Lights”
“I’m Not Gonna Miss You,” from “Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me”
“Lost Stars,” from “Begin Again”

Will Win: “Glory”
Could Win: “Everything Is Awesome”
Should Win: “Glory”

My Choice: “Glory”

 

 

Best Foreign Language Film (I haven’t watched “Timbuktu” and “Wild Tales”)

Foreign-Language

“Ida” (Poland)
“Leviathan” (Russia)
“Tangerines” (Estonia)
“Timbuktu” (Mauritania)
“Wild Tales” (Argentina)

Will Win: “Ida”
Could Win: “Leviathan”
Should Win: “Leviathan”
Should have Been Here: “Force Majeure” (Sweden)

My Choice: “Tangerines”

My brief review of the film:

This one is an Estonian-Georgian film War film about story of some men during the 92-93 War in Abkhazia. The movie is filled with some very intense scenes coupled with a lot of humour & heartbreaking moments! The script is very well-written and conveys a very simple & poignant message! The story progresses from Hatred to humanity in a very subtle manner and during the end scenes my eyes were moist! It is a mind-blowing scene and forces you to think “what’s the point”! I just loved this movie and after a very long time a movie got a 5/5 rating from my side! needless to say it is a must-watch movie!

 

So as the cliche goes, may the best film or artiste win and hope the Academy wouldn’t throw any major surprises this time but I am sure they definitely have something up their alley as they always do each year!

It was a great year for all us movie buffs as all Screener prints of the nominated films came out quite early thanks to all the Pirates! and we didn’t wait till very long!

My dear friend Nafees Ahmed was my partner-in-rhyme this time for all my Awards discussions and big thanks to him for sharing all those movies and recommendations with me!

Also big thanks to all the members of our Facebook Page – 1 Minute MOVIE Review for the fun, meaningful and sometimes bakar discussions about all those movies! Keep participating is all I can say!

So till the time we meet again…

Cheers to life…

Till then ride safe and have safe sex…

Inquilab Zindabad…

Hasta la Victoria Siempre…

3 Comments

  1. Well, I thought Benedict Cumberbatch was absolutely outstanding in “The Imitation Game”. Never let me down even for a single moment.
    And while I dig “Boyhood” for the sheer vision, I did find my interest slipping at more than a couple of times.

  2. Kaafi zyada mehnat ki hai aapne Trivias and Snubs par n they’re interesting too.wonderfully written, though i would love to read why you choose particular nominee from nomination, kind of suggestion .

  3. Superb Jha Saab.
    Totally loved it and hats off to you man and your love towards movies!
    This year (2014) had been my lowest in numbers and quality too – I I will try and pick up the whole list – will watch them soon too – not even 30% of those movies that I have seen this year so far. But will be watching the Oscars live as always – will take my notes too  
    Keep up the good work man!

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