I love watching movies. And I like watching the award shows, but think they are only really worth watching if you have seen the nominated movies, so for the last few years I have made an effort to try and see at least all the Best Picture nominations prior to the Oscars.
This year I thought I wasn’t going to make it given that Selma disappeared from my local screens before I had a chance to see it. Fortunately it popped up at a mid-town Manhattan theater this week so I was able to cross it off the list—just in time given the Oscar ceremony is on this Sunday (22nd February).
Of the eight movies nominated there weren’t any that I disliked but there were definitely some that would not make my list of top movies for the year.
My favorites were TheTheory of Everything, American Sniper and Whiplash, each in their own way powerful depictions of human nature backed up by extraordinary performances from Eddie Redmayne, Bradley Cooper and JK Simmons.
Next would be TheImitation Game and Selma both of which were fascinating from the historical perspective and well acted but didn’t quite provide the ‘wow’ feeling at the end that signals I’m really impressed.
Then there is Boyhood. Yes, the idea was novel – use the same boy actor over 12 years as he matures, but the storyline was almost non-existent. I watched this one On demand at home and thought it was enjoyable enough but was pleased I hadn’t gone to see it at a theater. I fail to see what the huge attraction is that puts it in the Best Picture category.
Which leaves The GrandBudapest Hotel and Birdman. Both had their positive points, the magnificent sets, scenery and costumes of The Grand Budapest Hotel, and Michael Keaton, Emma Stone and Edward Norton’s performances in Birdman, but neither story appealed. I have to admit I’m not a fan of the type of comedy in The Grand Budapest Hotel—if it hadn’t been nominated I probably wouldn’t have watched it—and I thought the magical elements in Birdman were both unnecessary and detracted from the story.
The one movie that I was surprised not to see on the list was Foxcatcher. Despite not being at all interested in wrestling, I thought it was an excellent movie. Steve Carell’s performance was mind-blowing, he was so creepy, I felt myself tense up whenever he came on screen. And strangely, it has a Best Director nomination which often goes along with a Best Picture nod while American Sniper, The Theory of Everything, Whiplash and Selma have all been left out of that category.
So who would I like to see win? I’ll be rooting for The Theory of Everything or American Sniper for Best Picture, Eddie Redmayne or Bradley Cooper for Best Actor, Julianna Moore for Best Actress (Still Alice), JKK Simmons for Best Supporting Actor, Emma Stone for Best Supporting Actress and Foxcatcher for Best Director.
What about you? What were your favorite movies this year?