Thursday, January 15, 2015

Oscar Nominees: Best Picture

My predictions: 8/8, though I predicted ten
My ballot: Come back in February!
The nominees: American Sniper, Birdman, Boyhood, The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Imitation Game, Selma, The Theory of Everything, Whiplash

I can’t tell you how frustrating it is to me that we have eight nominees, especially for archival and historical purposes. But there’s nothing to be done about that. I predicted all of these nominees but I don’t think that “American Sniper” and “Whiplash” necessarily count since I thought “Gone Girl” and “Nightcrawler” would get in ahead of them. Those two films flatlined with one nomination each, actress and screenplay, respectively, effectively taking them out of the awards conversation for this year. “American Sniper” and “Whiplash,” however, made it in late despite missing out on a few key pieces of the awards race, and Clint Eastwood’s DGA nod couldn’t secure him a director nomination today. The most strange and puzzling thing is the inclusion of “Selma,” which clearly missed out in every race where it could have contended except for Best Original Song, and then ended up with a nomination here. It’s hard to find statistics, but the three closest examples I can think of are “A Serious Man,” nominated only for Best Original Screenplay, “The Blind Side,” nominated only for Best Actress, which it won, and “War Horse,” which earned six nominations in total but none for anything major. One of the year’s best films didn’t have the best director, screenplay, acting, or even anything technical other than a song. Maybe no one saw it and they just voted for it anyway, but it’s clear that it’s a movie of the moment and not necessarily a true Best Picture. The big snub here is “Foxcatcher” considering the fact that it did score for director and screenplay. At the head of the pack are “Birdman” and “The Grand Budapest Hotel” with nine nominations, followed by “The Imitation Game” with eight, “Boyhood” and “American Sniper” with six, “The Theory of Everything” and “Whiplash” with five, and, of course, “Selma” with two. More thoughts to come!

My current bet to win: I’m sticking with Boyhood.

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