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2014 Awards Season: Oscars - Nominations

January 17th, 2015

Birdman poster

The Oscar nominations were announced early in the morning, when all sensible people were asleep. There were some surprises, as well as some results that would have been surprises had it not been for the previous Awards Season nominations. Seventeen films earned two or more nods, led by Birdman and The Grand Budapest Hotel, both of which picked up nine nominations, while The Imitation Game was right behind with eight.

The categories and nominations are...

BEST PICTURE

DIRECTING

BEST ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE

BEST ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

BEST ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

BEST ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

BEST WRITING - ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

BEST WRITING - ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

BEST DOCUMENTARY - FEATURE LENGTH

BEST DOCUMENTARY - SHORT FILM

  • Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1
  • Joanna
  • Our Curse
  • The Reaper (La Parka)
  • White Earth
SHORT FILM - LIVE ACTION

  • Aya
  • Boogaloo and Graham
  • Butter Lamp (La Lampe au beurre de yak)
  • Parvaneh
  • The Phone Call
SHORT FILM - ANIMATED

  • The Bigger Picture
  • The Dam Keeper
  • Feast
  • Me and My Moulton
  • A Single Life
BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN CINEMATOGRAPHY

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN PRODUCTION DIRECTING

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN COSTUME DESIGN

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN MAKEUP

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN VISUAL EFFECTS

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN EDITING

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN SOUND EDITING

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN SOUND MIXING

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN MUSIC - ORIGINAL SCORE

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN MUSIC - ORIGINAL SONG

Notes and Reactions...

Going category by category, my initial reactions were.

    Best Picture:

  • Most of the list of eight nominees are hard to argue with. Birdman,
  • Boyhood, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Selma, and Whiplash all earned overwhelmingly and enthusiastically positive reviews.
  • On the other hand, the reason to expand the list from five Best Picture nominees to a potential of ten was to give films that don't normally get Oscar attention a chance at the big prize. This would include Guardians of the Galaxy or Top Five, or even The LEGO Movie. It isn't to give the extra nominations to busted Oscar-bait like American Sniper.
  • Foxcatcher earned five Oscar nominations overall, but not for Best Picture? Strange.
  • Despite Birdman's lead in the overall Oscar nominations, it appears Boyhood is the favorite here.
  • Directing:

  • Bennett Miller earned a nomination for Foxcatcher, but Foxcatcher didn't earn a Best Picture nomination? Strange.
  • Ava Duvernay was snubbed for Selma, which is one of the most infuriating snubs of the night.
  • Best Picture and Best Director usually align, so Richard Linklater is likely the favorite to win for Boyhood. That said, I want Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu to win for Birdman.
  • Best Actress in a Lead Role:

  • Julianne Moore is the overwhelming favorite to win for Still Alice.
  • Some thought Jennifer Aniston would be nominated for Cake, but while she is earning a lot of praise for her character, the overall reviews are mixed.
  • Best Actor in a Lead Role:

  • Michael Keaton is expected to win for Birdman, but Eddie Redmayne could make it a two-horse race.
  • One could argue Jake Gyllenhaal was snubbed for his performance in Nightcrawler. However, David Oyelowo was the bigger snub here, but that's a common thread for Selma. Regardless, Bradley Cooper is likely the actor one would wish to oust.
  • Speaking of Bradley Cooper, he became the 21st actor to earn three Oscar nominations in a row and the first since Renee Zellweger.
  • Best Actor in a Supporting Role:

  • J.K. Simmons is widely considered the favorite to win for Whiplash, so much so that I'm not even sure you could name someone else.
  • Best Actress in a Supporting Role:

  • This is one of the least competitive races, as Patricia Arquette is running away from the pack and if she doesn't win for Boyhood, it will be a huge shock.
  • Original Screenplay:

  • This looks like a two-horse race between Birdman and Boyhood. I want Birdman to win, but I think Boyhood has the advantage.
  • Yet another category where Selma was snubbed.
  • Adapted Screenplay:

  • Gone Girl was snubbed in this category. This is one of the reasons I had to walk away when I was first working on this.
  • As for the actual nominees, Graham Moore is the overwhelming favorite to win for The Imitation Game. In fact, if you asked most experts what their second favorite choice was, most picked Gone Girl.
  • Feature-Length Animated Film:

  • Really?
  • The LEGO Movie was widely considered the Oscar favorite, and it didn't even get a nomination, but The Boxtrolls did? I've watched the movie for a review (look for it tomorrow) and it is good, but it is not Oscar-worthy.
  • How to Train Your Dragon 2 seems to have a pretty big lead over Big Hero 6, but those two films should be reversed.
  • Song of the Sea and The Tale of the Princess Kaguya are typical Oscar picks. They are films not aimed at wide audiences, so Oscar voters think they are more prestigious.
  • Foreign Language Film:

  • Ida and Leviathan are the two biggest competitors for this Oscar.
  • On the other hand, Force Majeure is the biggest snub.
  • Documentary: Feature Length:

  • Life Itself is a huge snub in this category, as many people thought it would be the Oscar winner.
  • Without Life Itself, CitizenFour is the overwhelming favorite to win.
  • Documentary: Short Film
    Short Film: Live Action
    Short Film: Animated

  • These three categories are notoriously difficult to predict. It will take a bit of research to come up with even an educated guess.
  • Cinematography:

  • Birdman will likely run away with this award.
  • The most surprising nomination is Ida, not because it doesn't deserve it, but because Foreign-Language films rarely earn nominations outside of their one category.
  • Production Design:

  • The Grand Budapest Hotel is a film where the production design is practically the lead character, so it has a good shot at winning.
  • Into the Woods is a close second. No other film is really in the running.
  • Costume Design:

  • Like above, only this time Into the Woods is ahead of The Grand Budapest Hotel and those two are well ahead of the competition.
  • On the other hand, I wouldn't mind if Maleficent won.
  • Makeup:

  • If Guardians of the Galaxy doesn't win, they need to retire every Oscar voter and start from scratch.
  • Visual Effects:

  • Interstellar is the poshest of the nominees, so that will likely give it an edge.
  • On the other hand, I'm rooting for Guardians of the Galaxy.
  • Editing

  • I'm surprised Birdman wasn't nominated, because it was shot and edited to look like it was a single continuous shot. That is not easy to do.
  • Boyhood will likely win here.
  • Sound Editing:

  • Every single year, I have to research the difference between the two sound categories. It's like I have a hole in my brain where that information is supposed to be stored. If I'm correct, Sound Editing is for sound effects, while Sound Mixing is for placing those effects in the audio track to maximize the effect.
  • ... Yes, I cut and paste that part every year. It saves time.
  • Like I said in a previous category, Interstellar is the poshest of the nominees and that will help it win.
  • Sound Mixing:

  • Like I said in a previous category, Interstellar is the poshest of the nominees and that will help it win.
  • Original Score:

  • Alexandre Desplat earned two nominations in this category, one for The Grand Budapest Hotel and the other for The Imitation Game.
  • This might result in vote-splitting giving the award to Hans Zimmer and his BWAAAAA!. This is so overused that it is at the point of self-parody.
  • Original Song:

  • "Glory" from Selma is seen as the favorite to win here, but after The LEGO Movie got snubbed, the Oscar voters might give the win to "Everything Is Awesome" to make up for that mistake.

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Filed under: Awards Season, Maleficent, How to Train Your Dragon 2, Selma, Interstellar, The Boxtrolls, Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, The Lego Movie, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, X-Men: Days of Future Past, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Big Hero 6, Into the Woods, Unbroken, The Judge, Foxcatcher, Begin Again, Gone Girl, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Finding Vivian Maier, Boyhood, Inherent Vice, Ida, Life Itself, Last Days in Vietnam, Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), The Theory of Everything, Whiplash, The Imitation Game, Mr. Turner, Wild, American Sniper, Nightcrawler, Beyond the Lights, Turist, Kaguyahime no monogatari, Top Five, Song of the Sea, Leviafan, Glen Campbell: I'll Be Me, A Most Violent Year, CitizenFour, Still Alice, Virunga, Meryl Streep, Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke, Renée Zellweger, Paul Thomas Anderson, Wes Anderson, Jennifer Aniston, Steve Carell, Bradley Cooper, Marion Cotillard, Benedict Cumberbatch, Laura Dern, Robert Duvall, Dan Futterman, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Keaton, Keira Knightley, Richard Linklater, Bennett Miller, Julianne Moore, Edward Norton, Rosamund Pike, Eddie Redmayne, Mark Ruffalo, J.K. Simmons, Emma Stone, Reese Witherspoon, Alexandre Desplat, Hans Zimmer, Damien Chazelle, Felicity Jones, Gary Yershon, Armando Bo, Nicolas Giacobone, David Oyelowo, Dan Gilroy, Johann Johannsson, Morten Tyldum, Anthony McCarten, Ava Duvernay, E. Max Frye, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr., Graham Moore, Jason Hall