BEST OF & TOP FILMS FOR 2014

2014 was an exceptional year in cinema. It was a year where a lot of solid work was released throughout the entire year and we did not have to wait until after the summer blockbuster season to see quality films. Wes Anderson’s charming The Grand Budapest Hotel arrived in the early spring, and Richard Linklater’s magnificent Boyhood and the intense Whiplash from Damien Chazelle debuted at Sundance to rave reviews. The summer had two decent blockbusters in Guardians of the Galaxy and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, but the spring and summer also gave us some wonderful indies — Obvious ChildLocke, Dom Hemingway and Under the Skin — to name a few. Then, the wonderful highlights of the fall and winter, including the masterpiece from Alejandro González Iñárritu Birdman, David Fincher’s Gone Girl and Paul Thomas Anderson’s wacky adaptation of Pynchon, Inherent Vice. Another great year for film.

Now, I tried and tried and to get my so-called “Top Ten List” down to just ten films, but I was constantly stuck at 11, so I am sticking with eleven top films. Another thing is, I regret the fact I did not see more documentaries and foreign language films. A lot of the foreign films I cannot wait to see, Leviathan and Wild Tales, have still not been released in Austin and will be counted for 2015 films.

I have listed my “Just Missed” films right before my top films list. After that, I have my “best of” for 2014, which includes best actor, actress cinematography, etc. Just my opinion. No bullshit. Here we go and yes, this list goes up to “11.”

JUST MISSED

  • Selma
  • Ida
  • Foxcatcher
  • Obvious Child
  • Dom Hemingway
  • The Drop
  • Calvary
  • Edge of Tomorrow
  • Enemy
  • A Most Wanted Man
  • The Skeleton Twins

TOP TEN (ELEVEN)

11. Locke

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This is one of those pleasant little surprises. A simple film, about a man, telephone calls and driving in a car, but what Tom Hardy and writer-director Steven Knight constructed and delivered here is pure cinematic joy. Hardy is at the top of this game and gives his finest performance in his young career. Locke is a fascinating film and it is amazing how the team here presented so much suspense, drama and high-level production value all coming out of a BMW is an unbelievable feat.

10. Only Lovers Left Alive

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I got to see this at last years SXSW film festival and this romantic, dry vampire film, from the great Jim Jarmusch, did not disappoint, but Jarmusch rarely does. Starring Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston as aging vampire lovers, this film is as much about our debilitating effects on culture and history as it is about friendship and romance. Lovely, hilarious film from Jarmusch and Swinton and Hiddleston’s chemistry is off the charts.

9. Under the Skin

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What to say about this mesmerizing, beautifully difficult film from Jonathan Glazer. Scarlett Johansson gives her best performance and is full of nuance and artistic freedom. She completely submits herself to playing a mysterious woman in Scotland, driving around, seducing random men. The film is a stunner to be honest with you, one that will not leave your mind for days, even months afterwards. A true artistic achievement, with a haunting score form Mica Levi.

8. Inherent Vice

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Paul Thomas Anderson adapting the classic novel form Thomas Pynchon. He made a film that is a trip, an atmospheric ride and a total time shift back to the early 70s. It is a film that will only get better with age and multiple viewings, and one that you eventually give up on trying to unravel the plot and soak up the vibes and environment. Great performances from Phoenix and Brolin, and one memorable cameo from Martin Short. A film I cannot wait to dive into again.

7. A Most Violent Year

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J.C. Chandor is three-for-three in my book. After his debut Margin Call and the minimalist All Is Lost, Chandor harkens back to the great films of Sidney Lumet with this crime melodrama that breathes and bleeds New York City. A film focused on character and narrative, but still includes some hair-raising suspense sequences. A Most Violent Year is the type of film you just do not see that often anymore and thankfully Chandor brings his expert craftsmanship to this wonderful world and film.

6. Whiplash

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I did not get to see Whiplash until a little over a month ago, and it floored me. Intense, intense, intense. A film with two of best performances of the year with Miles Teller as the student drummer and J.K. Simmons as the instructor. Wow, what a film. It makes you feel the pain in your hands that Teller feels and you will be completely terrified of Simmons character. I think I had nightmares of him yelling at me. What are you willing to do and go through to achieve greatness?

5. Nightcrawler

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Dan Gilroy’s Nightcrawler was a dig into mainstream news culture and our overall media obsessed world we not only live in, but seem to desire. The film really dealt with ethics and definitely had a Taxi Driver and Network vibe and influence to it. Jake Gyllenhaal continues his run of exceptional, top-notch work as he plays Lou Bloom with a nerdy, diligent, obsessive work ethic, where there is no way he is not going to get what he wants and he is going to succeed at all costs.

4. Gone Girl

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The satire of the year. The date movie of the year. The film that only received one Oscar nomination. What a disgrace? David Fincher has out done himself once again by presenting Gillian Flynn’s bestselling novel, which she adapted as well, as a darkly funny, complex piece on the state of marriage in the modern, technology age. Rosamund Pike and Ben Affleck are fantastic, and Fincher continues to show why he was one of the finest directors working in Hollywood.

3. Boyhood

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This is another film I got to see at last years SXSW film festival and I was completely floored by the subtle quality and brilliance of what I had seen. A slice of life piece of filmmaking from one of the more honest, everyday life filmmakers working toady — Richard Linklater. It is funny, touching, terrifying and dramatic, but more than anything, it is honest. A technical marvel and an achievement unlike anything I have seen before. Linklater’s Boyhood is one of the more memorable and important films of the last couple of decades. A beautiful film from a brilliant director.

2. The Grand Budapest Hotel

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Finally, a Wes Anderson film is getting some much deserved Academy love, although that is all not to important, but it is nice to see. I have been a huge fan of Anderson since I first saw Bottle Rocket and Rushmore, and this crime-comedy-character study of Gustave H., in The Grand Budapest Hotel, is one of his finest achievements. A film where all of his eccentric elements have come together and what we have received is an absolute joy of cinema.

1. Birdman or (The Unexpected Ignorance of Virtue)

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In my humble opinion, a no-brainer for best film of the year. A film unlike any other and one that is steeped in character development, actors, theater and the challenges of creating art, both on and off-screen, that has not been done before. Keaton, as well as the rest of this brilliant cast, give their finest performances, Iñárritu directs the hell out of this picture and the great Emmanuel Lubezki does even more astonishing work than his previous lensing on Gravity. A non-stop ride for two hours that flies by and never lets up. It is an adrenaline rush like no other. The film is the head dog amongst a year of fine cinematic achievements. Birdman is unlike anything ever made before and a film that is deserving of the highest of accolades.

BEST OF FOR 2014

BEST PICTURE:  Birdman; runner up: The Grand Budapest Hotel

BEST DIRECTOR:  Alejandro González Iñárritu (Birdman); runner up: Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapset Hotel)

BEST ACTOR:  Michael Keaton (Birdman); runners up: Tom Hardy (Locke) & Jake Gyllenhaal (Nightcrawler)

BEST ACTRESS:  Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl); runner up: Jenny Slate (Obvious Child)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR:  J.K. Simmons (Whiplash); runner up: Edward Norton (Birdman)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS:  Patricia Arquette (Boyhood); runner up: Rene Russo (Nightcrawler)

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY:  Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl); runner up: Paul Thomas Anderson (Inherent Vice)

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY:  Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel); runner up: (Birdman) all 4 of them

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY:  Emmanuel Lubezki (Birdman); runners up: Robert Yeoman (The Grand Budapest Hotel) & Bradford Young (A Most Violent Year & Selma)

BEST FILM EDITING:  Sandra Adair (Boyhood); runner up: Kirk Baxter (Gone Girl)

BEST SCORE:  Antonio Sanchez (Birdman); runner up: Mica Levi (Under the Skin)

MOST OVERLOOKED PERFORMANCES: Jenny Slate (Obvious Child); Rene Russo (Nightcrawler); Agata Kulesza (Ida); Miles Teller (Whiplash); Jude Law (Dom Hemingway); Philip Seymour Hoffman (A Most Wanted Man); Bill Hader (The Skeleton Twins)

MOST DISAPPOINTING FILM (BUT HAVE TO SEE IT AGAIN): Interstellar

Photo credits by IMDB, ropeofsilicon.com, A24 films and fox searchlight.

Final Oscar Predictions: Who Will & Should Win

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Oscar voting ending yesterday. The votes are in, being tallied and this Sunday night we will find who wins at the 87th Academy Awards. Last year ended with fairly exciting results, with a race to the finish between eventual Best Picture winner 12 Years a Slave and its main competition Gravity. This year, we have many races that will be even more heated going into the big night. Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Editing, Best Foreign Language Film and maybe, just maybe, Best Actor and Best Cinematography, but Best Actor is probably all wrapped up. In the guilds and critics eyes, it is a three picture race between Birdman, Boyhood and The Grand Budapest Hotel, with the late surge and box office success of American Sniper also adding some heat.

This has been an exciting and exhausting year during the awards season. A year where the Academy has shown their old, white ways, and with today’s release of an elderly Oscar voter’s ignorant, asinine reasons for voting, which you can read here, lessens the importance of Hollywood’s big end all show. That is not to say it is not fun to watch the actual program and focus on the films being nominated, but to think that you can narrow hundreds and hundreds of films down to “8” pictures or “5” nominees in multiple categories is ridiculous. The Oscars are highly subjective and will never truly place significant high or low value or be considered a determining factor when it comes to film history. The show and awards are great for filmmakers, actors and producers careers, but when it comes to the quality of the films, history claims that. Look at the horrible choice in having Crash win over Brokeback Mountain, or Rocky over Taxi Driver, or Kramer vs. Kramer over Apocalypse Now, or, and do not get me started, Dances with Wolves over GoodFellas.

I love covering the awards season, but it should be about the quality of the films, acting, writing, cinematography, and not about box office results, politics, campaigning and status in the business. I know, that is wishful thinking, but that is how it should be. Oh well, on with the show.

I have listed all of the categories below, with my picks of “who will win” and “who should win.” I believe that all eight nominated films will at least take home one award throughout the night and there will be one glaring, exciting and/or disappointing surprise Sunday night. I can feel it. I just hope the surprise is Michael Keaton taking home Best Actor… Let it fly!!!

BEST PICTURE

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

WILL WIN:  Birdman

SHOULD WIN:  Birdman

BEST DIRECTOR

  • Alejandro González Iñárritu (Birdman)
  • Richard Linklater (Boyhood)
  • Morten Tyldum (The Imitation Game)
  • Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel)
  • Bennett Miller (Foxcatcher)

WILL WIN:  Alejandro González Iñárritu (Birdman)

SHOULD WIN:  Alejandro González Iñárritu (Birdman)

BEST ACTOR

  • Steve Carell (Foxcatcher)
  • Bradley Cooper (American Sniper)
  • Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game)
  • Michael Keaton (Birdman)
  • Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything)

WILL WIN:  Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything)

SHOULD WIN:  Michael Keaton (Birdman)

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)

WILL WIN:  Julianne Moore (Still Alice)

SHOULD WIN:  Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

  • Robert Duvall (The Judge)
  • Ethan Hawke (Boyhood)
  • Edward Norton (Birdman)
  • Mark Ruffalo (Foxcatcher)
  • J.K. Simmons (Whiplash)

WILL WIN:  J.K. Simmons (Whiplash)

SHOULD WIN:  J.K. Simmons (Whiplash)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

  • Patricia Arquette (Boyhood)
  • Laura Dern (Wild)
  • Keira Knightley (The Imitation Game)
  • Emma Stone (Birdman)
  • Meryl Streep (Into the Woods)

WILL WIN:  Patricia Arquette (Boyhood)

SHOULD WIN:  Patricia Arquette (Boyhood)

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

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

WILL WIN:  Graham Moore (The Imitation Game)

SHOULD WIN:  Damien Chazelle (Whiplash)

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

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

WILL WIN:  Wes Anderson & Hugo Guinness (The Grand Budapest Hotel)

SHOULD WIN:  Wes Anderson & Hugo Guinness (The Grand Budapest Hotel)

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

  • Tangerines
  • Ida
  • Leviathan
  • Timbuktu
  • Wild Tales

WILL WIN:  Ida

SHOULD WIN:  Leviathan

ANIMATED FEATURE FILM

  • Big Hero 6
  • The BoxTrolls
  • How to Train Your Dragon 2
  • Song of the Sea
  • The Tale of the Princess Kaguya

WILL WIN:  How to Train Your Dragon 2

SHOULD WIN:  The Tale of Princess Kaguya

DOCUMENTARY (FEATURE)

  • CitizenFour
  • Finding Vivian Maier
  • Last Days in Vietnam
  • The Salt of the Earth
  • Virunga

WILL WIN:  CitizenFour

SHOULD WIN:  CitizenFour

FILM EDITING

  • Joel Cox and Gary D. Roach (American Sniper)
  • Sandra Adair (Boyhood)
  • Barney Pilling (The Grand Budapest Hotel)
  • William Goldenberg (The Imitation Game)
  • Tom Cross (Whiplash)

WILL WIN:  Sandra Adair (Boyhood)

SHOULD WIN:  Sandra Adair (Boyhood)

CINEMATOGRAPHY

  • Emmanuel Lubezki (Birdman)
  • Robert D. Yeoman (The Grand Budapest Hotel)
  • Ryszard Lenczewski and Lukasz Zal (Ida)
  • Dick Pope (Mr. Turner)
  • Roger Deakins (Unbroken)

WILL WIN:  Emmanuel Lubezki (Birdman)

SHOULD WIN:  Emmanuel Lubezki (Birdman)

ORIGINAL SCORE

  • Alexandre Desplat (The Grand Budapest Hotel)
  • Alexandre Desplat (The Imitation Game)
  • Hans Zimmer (Interstellar)
  • Johann Johannsson (The Theory of Everything)
  • Gary Yershon (Mr. Turner)

WILL WIN:  Alexandre Desplat (The Grand Budapest Hotel)

SHOULD WIN:  Alexandre Desplat (The Grand Budapest Hotel)

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

WILL WIN:  “Glory” from Selma

SHOULD WIN:  “Glory” from Selma

SOUND MIXING

  • American Sniper
  • Birdman
  • Interstellar
  • Unbroken
  • Whiplash

WILL WIN:  Whiplash

SHOULD WIN:  Whiplash

SOUND EDITING

  • American Sniper
  • Birdman
  • The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
  • Interstellar
  • Unbroken

WILL WIN:  American Sniper

SHOULD WIN:  Birdman

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

WILL WIN:  Interstellar

SHOULD WIN:  Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

COSTUME DESIGN

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

WILL WIN:  Milena Canonero (The Grand Budapest Hotel)

SHOULD WIN:  Milena Canonero (The Grand Budapest Hotel)

PRODUCTION DESIGN

  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • The Imitation Game
  • Interstellar
  • Into the Woods
  • Mr. Turner

WILL WIN:  The Grand Budapest Hotel

SHOULD WIN:  The Grand Budapest Hotel

MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING

  • Foxcatcher
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • Guardians of the Galaxy

WILL WIN:  The Grand Budapest Hotel

SHOULD WIN:  The Grand Budapest Hotel

ANIMATED SHORT FILM

  • The Bigger Picture
  • The Dam Keper
  • Feast
  • Me and My Moulton
  • A Single Life

WILL WIN:  Feast

SHOULD WIN:  The Bigger Picture

LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM

  • Aya
  • Boogaloo and Graham
  • Butterfly Lamp (La Lampe au Beurre de Yak)
  • Parvaneh
  • The Phone Call

WILL WIN:  Parvaneh

SHOULD WIN:  The Phone Call

DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT

  • Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1
  • Joanna
  • Our Curse
  • The Reaper (La Parka)
  • White Earth

WILL WIN:  Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1

SHOULD WIN:  Joanna

Photo credits by IMDB.

Alejandro G. Iñárritu wins the DGA

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This past Saturday, Alejandro González Iñárritu won Best Director at the Directors Guild of America Awards for his mesmerizing work on the best film of last year Birdman. The film is beginning to look like the frontrunner going into the Oscars in a couple of weeks. Ballots are out now, so it is in the hands of the Academy. Hopefully that don’t make a mess out of the awards as they did with the nominations. Birdman has now won the PGA, SAG and DGA. The biggest competition to it is Richard Linklater’s wonderful Boyhood, which has won the ACE and this Sunday, took home Best Picture, Best Director and Best Supporting Actress (Patricia Arquette) at the BAFTA Awards. The Writers Guild will announce their winners this weekend, and I would not be surprised if Mr. Anderson wins one for his fantastic The Grand Budapest Hotel. 

In the last five years, the winner of the PGA and BAFTA have gone on to win the Oscar. The exception here is that the PGA and BAFTA were split between Birdman and Boyhood. Then, the DGA went to Iñárritu and Best Director at the BAFTA’s went to Linklater, but remember a couple of years back, Ben Affleck won the DGA for Argo, but was not even nominated for Best Director at the Oscars. Then you have Boyhood winning the Drama category at the Golden Globes, while The Grand Budapest Hotel won the Comedy/Muscial category, beating out the predicted favorite Birdman. It is really all about these three films in the Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best Editing and Best Cinematography categories. Formats and historical tendencies might be out the door this year. And, Birdman did not receive a Best Editing nomination at the Oscars, so there is that.

These three films — Birdman, Boyhood and The Grand Budapest Hotel, have the most guild and critic support going into the Oscars, and I just have a feeling we will be in for a few surprises come Oscar night. I honestly think the awards love will be spread throughout these three films and rightly so. I am not ready to predict the winners just yet, but I expect multiple victories for all three of these fine films. Throw out the history books, it is going to be an exciting Academy Awards night.

Photo credit by hitfix.com

BIRDMAN takes the PGA!!!

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Some great, kind of ecstatic news from last night, as Alejandro González Iñárritu’s wonderful Birdman took home the top prize at the Producer’s Guild of America Awards last night. Wow! It seemed that Richard Linklater’s fantastic Boyhood was all but set to take this one and move right along to the Oscars, but this throws a little kink in that assumption. Could Birdman be close to a frontrunner right now? Does this mean that the race is, which I still believe is, wide open? This was a wonderful surprise and great news for my favorite film of the year. I do love Boyhood and I think it is a massive achievement and a wonderful, beautiful film, but this is Birdman for christ sakes! Birdman is the top of the class this year and if it takes the SAG Best Ensemble, which I believe it will, it is going to skyrocket to frontrunner status, or at least it will be in a neck-and-neck race with Boyhood. Gimme a break on the American Sniper talk people, but the Academy is their own, different, weird little breed and anything goes with them and their most prestigious of awards shows. But, these are people who make films and are in the business, like the many of the Academy, and not just critics. The Birdman win just threw some life into the awards season home stretch and it will be real interesting to see what happens tonight with the SAG awards and later on with the DGA, which should really shed some light on where all of this might end up come Oscar night. We shall see. Thanks PGA!!!

Photo credit by IMDB.

2015 Academy Awards Nominations

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Here is the complete list of 2015 Academy Awards nominations. I’ve bee too sick, fighting the flu all week, to write a full on analysis this evening, been in bed all day, but it is safe to say there were a few surprises. A very male-centric, white Oscars this year. I am still very happy that Birdman, The Grand Budapest Hotel and Boyhood faired very well. Yes, so glad Wes Anderson finally received a Best Director nomination. I will write an analysis piece sometime this weekend. Enjoy.

BEST PICTURE

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

BEST DIRECTOR

  • Alejandro González Iñárritu (Birdman)
  • Richard Linklater (Boyhood)
  • Morten Tyldum (The Imitation Game)
  • Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel)
  • Bennett Miller (Foxcatcher)

BEST ACTOR

  • Steve Carell (Foxcatcher)
  • Bradley Cooper (American Sniper)
  • Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game)
  • Michael Keaton (Birdman)
  • Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything)

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)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

  • Robert Duvall (The Judge)
  • Ethan Hawke (Boyhood)
  • Edward Norton (Birdman)
  • Mark Ruffalo (Foxcatcher)
  • J.K. Simmons (Whiplash)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

  • Patricia Arquette (Boyhood)
  • Laura Dern (Wild)
  • Keira Knightley (The Imitation Game)
  • Emma Stone (Birdman)
  • Meryl Streep (Into the Woods)

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

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

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

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

ANIMATED FEATURE FILM

  • Big Hero 6
  • The BoxTrolls
  • How to Train Your Dragon 2
  • Song of the Sea
  • The Tale of the Princess Kaguya

DOCUMENTARY (FEATURE)

  • CitizenFour
  • Finding Vivian Maier
  • Last Days in Vietnam
  • The Salt of the Earth
  • Virunga

FILM EDITING

  • Joel Cox and Gary D. Roach (American Sniper)
  • Sandra Adair (Boyhood)
  • Barney Pilling (The Grand Budapest Hotel)
  • William Goldenberg (The Imitation Game)
  • Tom Cross (Whiplash)

CINEMATOGRAPHY

  • Emmanuel Lubezki (Birdman)
  • Robert D. Yeoman (The Grand Budapest Hotel)
  • Ryszard Lenczewski and Lukasz Zal (Ida)
  • Dick Pope (Mr. Turner)
  • Roger Deakins (Unbroken)

ORIGINAL SCORE

  • Alexandre Desplat (The Grand Budapest Hotel)
  • Alexandre Desplat (The Imitation Game)
  • Hans Zimmer (Interstellar)
  • Johann Johannsson (The Theory of Everything)
  • Gary Yershon (Mr. Turner)

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

SOUND MIXING

  • American Sniper
  • Birdman
  • Interstellar
  • Unbroken
  • Whiplash

SOUND EDITING

  • American Sniper
  • Birdman
  • The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
  • Interstellar
  • Unbroken

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

COSTUME DESIGN

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

PRODUCTION DESIGN

  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • The Imitation Game
  • Interstellar
  • Into the Woods
  • Mr. Turner

MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING

  • Foxcatcher
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • Guardians of the Galaxy

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

  • Tangerines
  • Ida
  • Leviathan
  • Timbuktu
  • Wild Tales

ANIMATED SHORT FILM

  • The Bigger Picture
  • The Dam Keper
  • Feast
  • Me and My Moulton
  • A Single Life

LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM

  • Aya
  • Boogaloo and Graham
  • Butterfly Lamp (La Lampe au Beurre de Yak)
  • Parvaneh
  • The Phone Call

DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT

  • Crisis Veterans Hotline: Press 1
  • Joanna
  • Our Curse
  • The Reaper (La Parka)
  • White Earth

Photo credits by IMDB.

FINAL 2015 Academy Awards Predictions

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Here they are. My FINAL Academy Awards predictions before the big announcement tomorrow morning. Enjoy!

BEST PICTURE

  1. Boyhood
  2. The Imitation Game
  3. The Grand Budapest Hotel
  4. Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
  5. The Theory of Everything
  6. Whiplash
  7. American Sniper
  8. Selma
  9. Nightcrawler

  10. Gone Girl (*if 10)
  • Next 5: FoxcatcherUnbrokenA Most Violent Year, Interstellar, Mr. Turner

I am pretty confident these will be the nine. The only other two films that could sneak in are Gone Girl or Foxcatcher.

BEST DIRECTOR

  1. Richard Linklater (Boyhood)
  2. Alejandro González Iñárritu (Birdman)
  3. Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel)
  4. Morten Tyldum (The Imitation Game)
  5. Damien Chazelle (Whiplash)
  • Next 3:  Clint Eastwood (American Sniper), Ava DuVernay (Selma), James Marsh (The Theory of Everything)

Three locks with Linklater, Iñárritu and Anderson. Those last two spots are anyones guess. I am going with Tyldum, Academy love for The Imitation Game and DGA nod, and Chazelle, the BAFTA nod and for being the exciting new talent. I would not be surprised if Eastwood, the DGA nod, gets in at all, and i would be delighted if DuVernay, Fincher or Dan Gilroy get in. Fincher should be in there no matter what, but that is just my personal opinion.

BEST ACTOR

  1. Michael Keaton (Birdman)
  2. Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything)
  3. Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitiation Game)
  4. Jake Gyllenhaal (Nightcrawler)
  5. David Oyelowo (Selma)
  • Next 3: Bradley Cooper (American Sniper), Steve Carell (Foxcatcher), Ralph Fiennes (The Grand Budapest Hotel)

Keaton, Redmayne and Cumberbatch are locks. Like with the director category, the last two spots are up for grabs. I am sticking with Gyllenhaal, SAG nod, and Oyelowo for portraying a legendary historical figure. That means pushing poor Steve Carell out, but watch out for Cooper. It would be his third Oscar nomination in a row and since the Academy loves the film, it really might happen.

BEST ACTRESS

  1. Julianne Moore (Still Alice)
  2. Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything)
  3. Reese Witherspoon (Wild)
  4. Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl)
  5. Jennifer Aniston (Cake)
  • Next 3: Amy Adams (Big Eyes), Marion Cotillard (Two Days, One Night), Hillary Swank (The Homesman)

No change here. The only mild surprise would be Adams or Cotillard getting in over Aniston, which would be fine by me, but I do not see it happening.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

  1. J.K. Simmons (Whiplash)
  2. Edward Norton (Birdman)
  3. Ethan Hawke (Boyhood)
  4. Mark Ruffalo (Foxcatcher)
  5. Robert Duvall (The Judge)
  • Next 3: Josh Brolin (Inherent Vice), Christoph Waltz (Big Eyes), Tom Wilkinson (Selma)

The only thing that could change or be a surprise here is if Carell gets his nomination here, like at the BAFTA’s.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

  1. Patricia Arquette (Boyhood)
  2. Emma Stone (Birdman)
  3. Keira Knighley (The Imitation Game)
  4. Meryl Streep (Into the Woods)
  5. Rene Russo (Nightcrawler)
  • Next 3: Jessica Chastain (A Most Violent Year), Tilda Swinton (Snowpiercer), Carmen Ejogo (Selma)

Arquette, Stone, Streep and Knightley are locks. Since A Most Violent Year has been vastly overlooked this year, I am going with the highly admired and much deserved Rene Russo over Jessica Chastain. The only reason is the love and lack of love for the films. Russo deserves it.

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

  1. Richard Linklater (Boyhood)
  2. Wes Anderson & Hugo Guinness (The Grand Budapest Hotel)
  3. Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Armando Bo (Birdman)
  4. Dan Gilroy (Nightcrawler)
  5. E. Max Frye & Dan Futterman (Foxcatcher)
  • Next 3: Mike Leigh (Mr. Turner), Ava DuVernay & Paul Webb (Selma), J.C. Chandor (A Most Violent Year)

That last spot could be a toss up between Foxcatcher and Mr. Turner. Gut says Foxcatcher, although Mike Leigh has been nominated for screenplays 5 times.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

  1. Graham Moore (The Imitation Game)
  2. Anthony McCarten (The Theory of Everything)
  3. Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl)
  4. Damien Chazelle (Whiplash)
  5. Jason Dean Hall (American Sniper)
  • Next 3:  Nick Hornby (Wild), Paul Thomas Anderson (Inherent Vice), Joel Coen, Ethan Coen, Richard LaGravenese, William Nicholson (Unbroken)

The only change is possibly Wild sneaking in over American Sniper, but if Sniper gets a best picture nod, it is most likely getting one here too.

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

  1. Emmanuel Lubezki (Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance))
  2. Roger Deakins (Unbroken)
  3. Robert D. Yeoman (The Grand Budapest Hotel)
  4. Dick Pope (Mr. Turner)
  5. Hoyte von Hoytema (Interstellar)
  • Next 3: Lukasz Kal & Ryszard Lenczewski (Ida), Oscar Faura (The Imitation Game), Benoît Delhomme (The Theory of Everything)

Watch out for either Ida or The Imitation Game, the latter received an ASC nomination.

BEST FILM EDITING

  1. Sandra Adair (Boyhood)
  2. Barney Pilling (The Grand Budapest Hotel)
  3. William Goldenberg (The Imitation Game)
  4. Douglas Crise & Stephen Mirrione (Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance))
  5. Tom Cross (Whiplash)
  • Next 3: Kirk Baxter (Gone Girl), John Gilroy (Nightcrawler), Joel Cox & Gary Roach (American Sniper)

I really want Gone Girl to get in this category or Nightcrawler. Either one might sneak in, but I am sticking with these five.

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

  1. Ida (Poland)
  2. Leviathan (Russia)
  3. Wild Tales (Argentina)
  4. Timbuktu (Mauritania)
  5. Force Majeure (Sweden)
  • Next 4: Tangerines (Estonia), The Liberator (Venezuela), Accused (The Netherlands), Corn Island (Georgia)

BEST DOCUMENTARY 

  1. CITIZENFOUR
  2. Life Itself
  3. The Overnighters
  4. The Last Days in Vietnam
  5. Virunga

BEST ANIMATED FILM

  1. The LEGO Movie
  2. How To Train Your Dragon 2
  3. Big Hero 6
  4. The Boxtrolls
  5. The Tales of Princess Kaguya

BEST COSTUME DESIGN

  1. The Grand Budapest Hotel
  2. The Imitation Game
  3. Maleficent
  4. Into the Woods
  5. Mr. Turner

BEST MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING

  1. The Theory of Everything
  2. The Grand Budapest Hotel
  3. Guardians of the Galaxy

BEST MUSIC – ORIGINAL SCORE

  1. The Grand Budapest Hotel
  2. The Imitation Game
  3. The Theory of Everything
  4. Interstellar
  5. Gone Girl

BEST MUSIC – ORIGINAL SONG

  1. “Glory” Selma
  2. “Lost Stars” Begin Again
  3. “Mercy Is” Noah
  4. “Big Eyes” Big Eyes
  5. “Everything is Awesome” The LEGO Movie

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN

  1. The Grand Budapest Hotel
  2. The Imitation Game
  3. Birdman
  4. Mr. Turner
  5. Into the Woods

BEST SOUND EDITING

  1. Fury
  2. American Sniper
  3. Godzilla
  4. Interstellar
  5. The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

BEST SOUND MIXING

  1. Birdman
  2. American Sniper
  3. Into the Woods
  4. The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
  5. Unbroken

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

  1. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
  2. Guardians of the Galaxy
  3. Interstellar
  4. The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
  5. Godzilla

Photo credits by IMDB.

2015 BAFTA Nominations

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Wes Anderson’s excellent The Grand Budapest Hotel leads the way with 11 nominations at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts awards, while Birdman and The Theory of Everything each received 10 nominations. The big news though is the snubbing of Ava DuVernay’s Selma and Angelina Jolie’s Unbroken, where both films did not receive a single nomination. Not looking good for either film, although Selma will receive some Oscar love, Unbroken is going to be outside the big one. A little surprised that Selma did not get a single nomination. Not even for David Oyelowo… Great, great news for The Grand Budapest Hotel. It is looking more and more like a lock for multiple Oscar nominations and I really hope Wes Anderson gets that Best Director nom he deserves. Also, good news for Damien Chazelle, director of Whiplash, receiving Best Director nod here and will it be either Marsh or Tyldum, or neither in the Best Director at the Oscars and the DGA. BAFTA went with Marsh and they seemed to love The Theory of Everything more then The Imitation Game. The Academy is the other way around it appears. Not much love for Gone Girl either, except for Best Actress Rosamund Pike, and Best Adapted Screenplay Gillian Flynn. Go Rene Russo too!!! Here is a complete list of the BAFTA nominees. The BAFTA’s will be handed out on February 8th. Enjoy!

Best Film

  • Birdman
  • Boyhood
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • The Imitation Game
  • The Theory of Everything

Best Director

  • Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (Birdman)
  • Richard Linklater (Boyhood)
  • Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel)
  • James Marsh (The Theory of Everything)
  • Damien Chazelle (Whiplash

Best Actor In A Leading Role

  • Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game)
  • Ralph Fiennes (The Grand Budapest Hotel)
  • Jake Gyllenhaal (Nightcrawler)
  • Michael Keaton (Birdman)
  • Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything

Best Actress In A Leading Role

  • Amy Adams (Big Eyes)
  • Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything)
  • Julianne Moore (Still Alice)
  • Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl)
  • Reese Witherspoon (Wild

Best Actor In A Supporting Role

  • Steve Carell (Foxcatcher)
  • Ethan Hawke (Boyhood)
  • Edward Norton (Birdman)
  • Mark Ruffalo (Foxcatcher)
  • J.K. Simmons (Whiplash

Best Actress In A Supporting Role

  • Patricia Arquette (Boyhood)
  • Keira Knightley (The Imitation Game)
  • Rene Russo (Nightcrawler)
  • Imelda Staunton (Pride)
  • Emma Stone (Birdman

Best Original Screenplay

  • Alejandro González Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Armando Bo (Birdman)
  • Richard Linklater (Boyhood)
  • Wes Anderson & Hugo Guinness (The Grand Budapest Hotel)
  • Dan Gilroy (Nightcrawler)
  • Damien Chazelle (Whiplash

Best Adapted Screenplay

  • Jason Hall (American Sniper)
  • Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl)
  • Graham Moore (The Imitation Game)
  • Paul King (Paddington)
  • Anthony McCarten (The Theory of Everything

Outstanding British Film

  • ’71
  • The Imitation Game
  • Paddington
  • Pride
  • Theory of Everything
  • Under the Skin

Best Documentary

  • 20 Feet From Stardom
  • 20,000 Days On Earth
  • Citizenfour
  • Finding Vivian Maier
  • Virunga

EE Rising Star Award

  • Gugu Mbatha-Raw
  • Jack O’Connell
  • Margot Robbie
  • Miles Teller
  • Shailene Woodley

Outstanding Debut By A British Writer, Director Or Producer

  • Elaine Constantine (Northern Soul)
  • Gregory Burke, Yann DeMange (’71)
  • Hong Khaou (Lilting)
  • Paul Katis, Andrew De Lotbiniere (Kajaki: the True Story)
  • Stephen Beresford, David Livingstone (Pride

Best Film Not In the English Language

  • Ida
  • Leviathan
  • The Lunchbox
  • Trash
  • Two Days, One Night

Best Animated Film

  • Big Hero 6
  • The Boxtrolls
  • The Lego Movie

Best Original Music

  • Antonio Sanchez (Birdman)
  • Alexandre Desplat (The Grand Budapest Hotel)
  • Hans Zimmer (Interstellar)
  • Johann Johannsson (The Theory of Everything)
  • Mica Levi (Under the Skin

Best Cinematography

  • Emmanuel Lubezki (Birdman)
  • Robert Yeoman (The Grand Budapest Hotel)
  • Lukasz Zal, Ryzsard Lenczewski (Ida)
  • Hoyte van Hoytema (Interstellar)
  • Dick Pope (Mr. Turner

Best Editing

  • Douglas Crise, Stephen Mirrione (Birdman)
  • Barney Pilling (The Grand Budapest Hotel)
  • William Goldenberg (The Imitation Game)
  • John Gilroy (Nightcrawler)
  • Jinx Godfrey (The Theory of Everything)
  • Tom Cross (Whiplash

Best Production Design

  • Rick Heinrichs, Shane Vieau (Big Eyes)
  • Adam Stockhausen, Anna Pinnock (The Grand Budapest Hotel)
  • Maria Djurkovic, Tatiana McDonald (The Imitation Game)
  • Nathan Crowley, Gary Fettis (Interstellar)
  • Suzie Davies, Charlotte Watts (Mr. Turner

Best Costume Design

  • Milena Canonero (The Grand Budapest Hotel)
  • Sammy Sheldon Differ (The Imitation Game)
  • Colleen Atwood (Into the Woods)
  • Jacqueline Durran (Mr. Turner)
  • Steven Noble (The Theory of Everything)

Best Makeup and Hair

  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • Guardians of the Galaxy
  • Into the Woods
  • Mr. Turner
  • The Theory of Everything

Best Sound

  • American Sniper
  • Birdman
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • The Imitation Game
  • Whiplash

Best Special Visual Effects

  • Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
  • Guardians of the Galaxy
  • The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
  • Interstellar
  • X-Men: Days of Future Past

Best Short Film

  • Boogaloo And Graham
  • Emotional Fusebox
  • The Karman Line
  • Slap
  • Three Brothers

Best Short Animation

  • The Bigger Picture
  • Monkey Love Experiments
  • My Dad

Photo credits by IMDB.