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The 2014 Academy Awards Nominations

The announcements just went out today, so let’s see what we’ve got.

Best Picture
American Sniper
Birdman
Boyhood
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
Selma
The Theory of Everything
Whiplash

American Sniper walked away with a surprising number of nominations. Clearly, I won’t be able to skip that one as I had planned. The Theory of Everything and The Imitation Game are both mediocrities, content to merely be good enough. They were clearly made for the purpose of Oscar-baiting, and I’m disappointed (but certainly not surprised) that the Academy took the bait.

Selma only got two nominations, and a whole lotta ink has already been spilled about that. Some say that it was a racist move on the part of old white Academy voters. Others say that the film was at a disadvantage because it wasn’t finished early enough to get screeners out in a timely manner. I say that it was a really good movie that got snubbed by the Academy, just the way things happen every year. Seriously, people, get with the program. Hell, there are so many other snubs this year alone that are worth far more rage, and we’ll be getting to them shortly.

And anyway, the point is moot because Boyhood is most likely going to win. It’s picked up just about every other award that’s worth a damn, and the only movie that ever stood even a remote chance of beating it is Birdman. All the other nominations are just window dressing.

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

Ooh, Nolan got snubbed for Best Director yet again. That had to hurt. I also notice that David Fincher got shut out which surprises me. Bennett Miller and Morten Tyldum both salvaged stories that might otherwise have fallen flat, but Gone Girl was a master class at doing more with less.

Props are of course due to Wes Anderson, but my pick is Alejandro González Iñárritu. The odds are against him — Best Picture and Best Director typically go to the same movie — but no film this year was crafted with more style or innovation than Birdman. Not even The Grand Budapest Hotel, which is really saying something.

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

I still can’t believe that Steve Carell is getting so much attention for his Foxcatcher performance. Giving him the award would be useless because the makeup did all the work for him. It would be like giving Meryl Streep the Oscar for The Iron Lady (oh, wait). Benedict Cumberbatch? Gag me. I love the guy, but I can’t stress this enough: Everything he did here, he’s already done better previously. If he wins the award, it’ll only be because the Academy can’t give him a statue for “Sherlock.”

Worst of all, these two got nominated instead of David Oyelowo (Selma) and Jake Gyllenhaal (Nightcrawler). What the hell were the Academy voters snorting?!

I can’t comment on Bradley Cooper because I haven’t seen the movie, but he’s certainly earned his trophy by this point. But not nearly as much as Michael Keaton, who’s more than paid his dues by this point. All of that said, the best performance on this list has to be Redmayne’s. I’m sorry, I honestly can’t believe I’m saying it, and I’m not sure I want to live in a world where Redmayne would win Best Actor over these other guys, but his performance as Stephen Hawking was truly masterful.

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

Haven’t seen Still Alice yet, and I regret my calculated risk in missing out on Two Days, One Night. Jones and Witherspoon were both solid in their respective roles, but Pike was on a whole ‘nother level.

Best Supporting Actor
Robert Duvall, The Judge
Ethan Hawke, Boyhood
Edward Norton, Birdman
Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher
J.K. Simmons, Whiplash

Robert Duvall gets nominated for shitting himself on camera? Ethan Hawke’s character is classified as a supporting role? What the flying fuck is this?!

Norton did solid work, so I don’t mind his nomination. Ditto for Simmons, though I really wouldn’t want to see him win for such an awful caricature of a music teacher, especially when musical education is in a very fragile place right now. And anyway, Ruffalo gave by far the best performance out of anyone else on this list. It’s his.

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

First of all, Keira Knightley should not be on this list. As with Cumberbatch, there’s nothing she did in Imitation Game that she hasn’t already done better elsewhere.

Secondly, as with Ethan Hawke, I’m disappointed that Patricia Arquette is only listed as a supporting actress when her performance was such a crucial part of Boyhood. Then again, if she got nominated for Best Actress, she’d have to lose to Rosamund Pike.

Instead, Arquette has to lose to Dern, Stone, or Streep. Personally, if any of those three are going to beat Arquette, I hope it’ll be Stone. Her performance was easily better than anyone else’s, save Arquette. I really, REALLY want to believe that the Academy will know better than to give Streep the award for the Witch. But as I said before, they already gave Duvall a nomination for shitting himself on camera, so I guess anything’s possible.

(Side note: I notice that The Grand Budapest Hotel didn’t get a single acting nomination, even though it tied with Birdman for most nominations. Curious, no?)

Best Adapted Screenplay
American Sniper (Jason Hall)
The Imitation Game (Graham Moore)
Inherent Vice (Paul Thomas Anderson)
The Theory of Everything (Anthony McCarten)
Whiplash (Damien Chazelle)

Still haven’t seen American Sniper or Inherent Vice. To hell with The Theory of Everything and its godawful pacing. Whiplash would be a good choice, except for the decision to have the main character practice with a metronome and then take that out in later drafts. Such a boneheaded move in so many ways. I’d give this one to the crackling dialogue of The Imitation Game.

Best Original Screenplay
Birdman (Alejandro González Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Armando Bo)
Boyhood (Richard Linklater)
Foxcatcher (E. Max Frye, Dan Futterman)
The Grand Budapest Hotel (Wes Anderson, Hugo Guiness)
Nightcrawler (Dan Gilroy)

It’s tough to decide whether Boyhood should get the award, since the script was assembled piecemeal over twelve summers. Though I can tell you right now that Foxcatcher told the least interesting version possible of its story, and it was adapted from the memoirs of Mark Schultz, so what the hell is it even doing here? The Grand Budapest Hotel had a decent screenplay, though its tinkering with different time periods got very distracting. As for Birdman, I can’t bring myself to get past its high art/low art bullshit with regards to theatre and cinema.

Nightcrawler, on the other hand, was a very effective and creative thriller that was superbly presented all around. That’s the one that should win.

Best Cinematography
Birdman (Emmanuel Lubezki)
The Grand Budapest Hotel (Robert D. Yeoman)
Ida (Ryszard Lenczweski; Lukasz Zal)
Mr. Turner (Dick Pope)
Unbroken (Roger Deakins)

Oof. Trying to pick between Birdman and The Grand Budapest Hotel. What a dilemma. Also, I haven’t seen Unbroken, but I’d love to see that film win just so Roger Deakins can FINALLY walk away with an Oscar.

Best Costume Design
The Grand Budapest Hotel (Milena Canonero)
Inherent Vice (Mark Bridges)
Into the Woods (Colleen Atwood)
Mr. Turner (Jacqueline Durran)
Maleficent (Anna B. Sheppard)

Best Film Editing
American Sniper (Joel Cox, Gary Roach)
Boyhood (Sandra Adair)
The Grand Budapest Hotel (Barney Pilling)
The Imitation Game (William Goldenberg)
Whiplash (Tom Cross)

The Imitation Game got nominated instead of Birdman?! Sweet Jesus Christ, who did the Weinsteins bribe this year?!

Best Makeup and Hairstyling
Foxcatcher
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Guardians of the Galaxy

Best Music (Original Score)
The Grand Budapest Hotel (Alexandre Desplat)
The Imitation Game (Alexandre Desplat)
Interstellar (Hans Zimmer)
Mr. Turner (Gary Yershon)
The Theory of Everything (Jóhann Jóhannsson)

Okay, Academy, seriously. Whiplash got so many nominations everywhere else, and it doesn’t get a nomination for Best Score. Yet the cacophony of Interstellar got a nomination, and The Theory of Everything and The Imitation Game are once again given nods over far superior films.

What the sweet and sour fuck is going on this year?!

Best Music (Original Song)
“Lost Stars” from Begin Again
“I’m Not Gonna Miss You” from Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me
“Everything is Awesome” from The LEGO Movie
“Glory” from Selma
“Grateful” from Beyond the Lights

I’m glad that Begin Again got nominated, but it really should have been “Tell Me If You Wanna Go Home.” “Lost Stars” is good, but nowhere near the best song in the movie. Not that it matters, since the Academy will likely give the award to “Everything is Awesome!!!” in a nod to the vox populi.

Best Production Design
The Grand Budapest Hotel (Adam Stockhausen; Anna Pinnock)
The Imitation Game (Maria Djurkovic; Tatiana Macdonald)
Interstellar (Nathan Crowley; Gary Fettis, Paul Healy)
Into the Woods (Dennis Gassner; Anna Pinnock)
Mr. Turner (Suzie Davies; Charlotte Watts)

Best Sound Editing
American Sniper
Birdman
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
Interstellar
Unbroken

Best Sound Mixing
American Sniper
Birdman
Interstellar
Unbroken
Whiplash

Best Visual Effects
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Guardians of the Galaxy
Interstellar
X-Men: Days of Future Past

Best Animated Feature Film
Big Hero 6
The Boxtrolls
How to Train Your Dragon 2
Song of the Sea
The Tale of Princess Kaguya

Excuse me while I get my megaphone.

*ahem* WHERE THE FUCK IS THE LEGO MOVIE?!?!?!

Best Foreign Language Film
Wild Tales (Damián Szifrón; Argentina)
Tangerines (Zaza Urushadze; Estonia)
Timbuktu (Abderrahmane Sissako; Mauritania)
Ida (Pawel Pawlikowski; Poland)
Leviathan (Andrey Zvyagintsev; Russia)

Best Documentary Feature
CITIZENFOUR
Finding Vivian Mayer
Last Days in Vietnam
The Salt of the Earth
Virunga

And not a single fuck is given about Jodorowsky’s Dune. At this point, I’m not even shocked.

Best Documentary (Short Subject)
Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1
Joanna
Our Curse
The Reaper
White Earth

Best Short Film (Animated)
The Bigger Picture
The Dam Keeper
Feast
Me and My Moulton
A Single Life

Best Short Film (Live Action)
Aya
Boogaloo and Graham
Butter Lamp
Parvaneh
The Phone Call

***

And that’s the whole godforsaken list. Please feel free to leave your own commentary below.

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