Sunday, January 18, 2015

Oscar nominations get praise, criticism, per usual

In the hours and days (OK, even minutes) after the annual Academy Award nominations are announced, a large swath of emotions seem to emanate from Hollywood and beyond — particularly on social media. Declarations of elation for one nomination is quickly followed (or is preceded) by outrage over the exclusion of another.

I admit, to my partial shame, of getting caught up in following such discussions. I’ll click on links reading about the surprises and snubs in various categories, and the general reaction from a small portion of the media I can stand to absorb in the days that follow. Sometimes, I wonder why I even care what films get how many nominations, and which actors get left out of a particular list of nominees. I’m sure that despite his exclusion from the nominees for Best Director, Clint Eastwood (a two-time Oscar winner in the category) is sleeping just fine at nights.

Still, I find myself interested in Hollywood’s award season, and hoping that long overlooked actors (Michael Keaton and Julianne Moore, among this year’s crop) will get some love from the Academy, come awards night on Feb. 22. And yes, I find it baffling that some films or actors get overlooked. To this day, I still can’t believe “Shakespeare in Love” beat out “Saving Private Ryan” for Best Picture.

On that note, here’s a glance at a few of the Oscar’s major categories of the night, and my less-than-expert opinions.


“American Sniper”



“The Grand Budapest Hotel”

“The Imitation Game”


“The Theory of Everything”


Three of these films (“Birdman,” “Boyhood” and “The Grand Budapest Hotel”) made my top five favorites of the year, so I’m good if any of them win. But I suspect “Boyhood” will emerge victorious.


Alexandro G. Iñárritu, “Birdman”

Richard Linklater, “Boyhood”

Bennett Miller, “Foxcatcher”

Wes Anderson, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”

Morten Tyldum, “The Imitation Game”

Ditto the previous statement, but I’m happy to see Linklater and Anderson get their first directing nominations after years of solid work in the industry. Linklater will probably take the award home for 12 years of devotion to his highly personal movie.


“Big Hero 6”

“The Boxtrolls”

“How to Train Your Dragon 2”

“Song of the Sea”

“The Tale of Princess Kaguya”

My pick: “The Lego Movie.” Wait, it’s not nominated?! Oh, nice one, Academy. Well, it’s still my pick.


No, this isn’t a hybrid award, but just to save on space and time, I’m going with Michael Keaton for “Birdman” and Julianne Moore for “Still Alice.” Upsets could happen, but both are the favorites and overdue to pick up an Oscar. That goes especially for Moore — a five-time nominee.

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