Oscars Nominations: Shocks and Surprises….

Today saw the announcement of the nominations for Hollywood’s most coveted prizes, the Academy Awards, as per usual supplying us with shocks and inclusions many did not see coming!! The major shock being the late emergence of American Sniper of which didn’t receive a great deal of nominations in the Baftas or Golden Globes, which managed to bag 6 nominations including Best Actor (for Bradley Cooper, his third Oscar nomination in consecutive years) and Best Picture. The two big winners of the day have been Birdman and The Grand Budapest Hotel which garnered 9 nominations each, followed closely by British film, The Imitation Game. As I mentioned in my previous blog post regarding the Bafta nominations, the Oscars again clearly showed the rise of British Acting talent, with five Brits bagging nominations in the top acting categories including; Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything), Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game), Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything), Keira Knightley (The Imitation Game) and Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl)… On the whole, the nominations went the way I had predicted, however the absence of the LEGO movie in the animation category really did shock me as I thought it was a shoo-in to win the award!

The race for Best Picture is interesting, with the exclusion of some really good films including the likes of Foxcatcher, Nightcrawler and Gone Girl. Not to mention the critically acclaimed A Most Violent Year, of which earns an 89% score on rotten tomatoes and 80 metascore yet fails to secure any Academy Award nominations… This is a race that seems to be between Boyhood and Birdman as many would have suspected from the beginning, with The Theory of Everything and The Imitation Game a fair way behind the top two. A dark horse maybe could be Wes Anderson’s wonderful Grand Budapest Hotel which unlike most of his other films is achieving awards season success and even claimed the Golden Globe for Best Picture (Musical or Comedy) ahead of Birdman.

The Best Actor category is packed with strong talent and amazing performances. A contest which will no doubt be a close, hard fought battle. Michael Keaton was the early favourite but following the Golden Globes Eddie Redmayne looks to be hot on his heels with his turn as Stephen Hawking in the excellent The Theory of Everything. And thats before mentioning Steve Carrell’s switch from Hollywood funny man to atmospheric millionaire sociopath John du Pont in Foxcatcher, a whole world away from his character Brick in the two Anchorman films. Benedict Cumberbatch and Bradley Cooper also provide tough competition in the category, so tough in fact that the ever amazing Jake Gyllenhaal missed out for one of his best performances as Lou Bloom in Nightcrawler. With many calling it the toughest Best Actor category in a generation, many other notable actors were left just short including British Actors David Oyelowo (Selma), Ralph Fiennes (The Grand Budapest Hotel). On the other hand the Best Actress race is less competitive with Julianne Moore looking to storm the category after picking up every award going so far for her role in Still Alice, the rest of the pack were relatively certain except maybe for Marion Cotillard who took the last spot ahead of Jennifer Aniston who many thought would get her first Oscar nomination…

Paul Thomas Anderon’s stoner romp Inherent Vice was one of the films that faired much better than many would have predicted, nabbing two nominations for best costume and best adapted screenplay respectively, arguably stealing the space from Gone Girl. David Fincher’s thriller adapted from Gillian Flynn’s novel of the same name didn’t fair all that well for the good reviews it received with even Fincher’s regular collaborator Trent Reznor (lead singer for Nine Inch Nails) missing out on the Best Score category of which he has triumphed in twice before for his work on both The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and The Social Network (both directed by David Fincher).

A further battleground for nominations was in the Best Director category. Similarly to the Best Picture category it looks like Birdman will again be going head to head with Boyhood as Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu and Richard Linklater are the two early favourites to pick up the award. Bennett Miller was the surprise inclusion who rightly earns a nomination for his eerie work on Foxcatcher, who along with Wes Anderson and Norwegian Director Morten Tyldum make up the rest. The category is most definitely a male dominated environment with the two lead female Directors of the year; Angelina Jolie (for Unbroken) and the probably slightly more deserved Ava DuVernay (who would have been the first female black director to receive an Oscar nomination) missing out nominations after a huge amount of hype. Academy Awards favourite Clint Eastwood may also have been hoping for a nomination following the last minute success of American Sniper and his nomination for the Director’s Guild of America Award.

With the exception of the LEGO movie (which I’m still gutted for and shocked at it’s snub by the Academy) most of the favourites for the categories are still in contention, and in a year full of great films and performances alike this year’s awards seem to be up with there with the best. The build up and anticipation for the big event starts now!!

My Predictions:

Below I have made a few of my predictions as to what I think will/should win in all the given categories (ranking them in order of favourites for the bigger categories and picking what I think could be a dark horse)!! You may disagree but I reckon I should get most of them…

Best Picture:

  1. Boyhood
  2. Birdman
  3. The Imitation Game

Dark Horse: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Best Director:

  1. Richard Linklater (Boyhood)
  2. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (Birdman)

Dark Horse: Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel)

Best Actor:

  1. Michael Keaton (Birdman)
  2. Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything)

Dark Horse: Steve Carrell (Foxcatcher)

Best Actress: 

  1. Julianne Moore (Still Alice)
  2. Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl)

Dark Horse: Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything)

Best Supporting Actor:

  1. J.K. Simmons (Whiplash)
  2. Edward Norton (Birdman)

Dark Horse: Mark Ruffalo (Foxcatcher)

Best Supporting Actress:

  1. Patricia Arquette (Boyhood)
  2. Emma Stone (Birdman)

Dark Horse: Keira Knightley (The Imitation Game)

Best Original Screenplay

  1. Birdman
  2. Boyhood

Dark Horse: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Best Adapted Screenplay

  1. The Imitation Game
  2. The Theory of Everything

Dark Horse: American Sniper

Best Animated Feature: How to Train Your Dragon 2

Best Foreign Language Film: Ida

Best Original Score: The Theory of Everything – JoHann JoHannsson

Best Original Song: Selma ‘Glory’

Best Sound Editing: American Sniper

Best Sound Mixing: American Sniper

Best Production Design: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Best Cinematography: Birdman

Best Makeup and Hairstyling: Foxcatcher

Best Costume Design: Into the Woods

Best Film Editing: Boyhood

Best Visual Effects: Interstellar

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