So how’d Lito do with his Oscar nomination predictions?

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THOUGHTS ON THE OSCAR RACE!

So, there were a lot of things that were surprising; some in good ways and some were very crushing. It’s not unusual to be annoyed with an Oscar submission or two… or three on an average year, but this year… the few that there were cut to the bone and do put a lot of valid question into the reasoning behind their choices. I’m going to break down the major categories (Animated Feature, Screenplays, Acting, Directing, and Picture). Love to know what your thoughts are. I may respond 😉

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE (I predicted 3/5)

The Nominees Are…

Big Hero 6

The Boxtrolls

How to Train Your Dragon 2

The Sea Song

The Tale of the Princess Kaguya

THOUGHTS: The Lego Movie SNUBBED! NOT OKAY! NOT COOL… Everything is NOT AWESOME! Okay, so the song got nominated, but still… this was just BAD. I mean the friggin’ BOXTROLLS gets nominated… a far more mediocre effort. Yikes, that was bad stuff. I am happy I was right in predicting the Studio Ghibli effort, The Tale of the Princess Kaguya to get in the mix. Isao Takahata is one of the great animators and it’s high time he gets nominated. I can’t wait to see the film. I think (and hope) Big Hero 6 is the frontrunner now. How to Train Your Dragon 2 won the Golden Globe… but man was it unworthy to do so. It was a decent film at best and to be honest, I don’t think needed to be made. But the win is a toss-up between those two, I think.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY (I predicted 4/5)

The Nominees Are..

American Sniper

The Imitation Game

Inherent Vice

The Theory of Everything

Whiplash

THOUGHTS: This pretty much went as expected. I was HORRIFIED to see Gone Girl snubbed in this category. In fact, the movie overall was highly snubbed. Not cool. Even detractors can cede to the craftiness and driving energy of the script. Gillian Flynn was robbed. One of the big ouchies of the day for me. Whiplash in here is excellent! The Imitation Game is probably the frontrunner.

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY (I predicted 4/5)

The Nominees Are…

Birdman

Boyhood

Foxcatcher

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Nightcrawler

THOUGHTS: Well, I thought Selma would sneak in, but no they went for Foxcatcher (unhappy face). Birdman and Boyhood will duke it out. Boyhood’s probability of winning Best Picture puts it ahead in the race, but Birdman could easily get it. Or maybe a surprise win by Grand Budapest? Nightcrawler’s (sole) nomination here is a happy inclusion.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS (I predicted 3/5)

The Nominees Are…

Patricia Arquette in Boyhood

Laura Dern in Wild

Keira Knightley in The Imitation Game

Emma Stone in Birdman

Meryl Streep in Into the Woods

THOUGHTS: Well, Laura Dern’s surprise nod was a happy one. Although, I am seeing the film this weekend FINALLY (with my new fella, btw) I had thought Rene Russo would surprise, but the Academy cooled on Nightcrawler (sadly). Arquette, Stone, and Streep were givens with Arquette in prime position to win (and deservedly, I think). I thought Keira Knightley might have got the boot, but she rode The Imitation Game lovefest all the way. She was good, but I don’t know about the Oscar nod. I thought Jessica Chastain would be there for A Most Violent Year, but I suppose the movie either came out too late or they just didn’t love it… or both. She’ll undoubtedly have other chances in the future though. You know who never got any credit this season? Kim Dickens in Gone Girl, as the police investigator, she took a stock role and made it electrically alive in every moment. That’s worthy acting, but I knew it would never happen. I’m mostly satisfied with this.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR (I predicted 5/5)

The Nominees Are…

Robert Duvall in The Judge

Ethan Hawke in Boyhood

Edward Norton in Birdman

Mark Ruffalo in Foxcatcher

J.K. Simmons in Whiplash

THOUGHTS: The most easily called category of the year. Simmons is a lock for the win and with good reason. What can I say? I still need to see Duvall’s work, but I think this is a fine lineup.

BEST ACTRESS (I predicted 4/5)

The Nominees Are…

Marion Cotillard in Two Days, One Night

Felicity Jones in The Theory of Everything

Julianne Moore in Still Alice

Rosamund Pike in Gone Girl

Reese Witherspoon in Wild

THOUGHTS: Well, I had predicted Jennifer Aniston although honestly, in my gut, I saw the snub coming. I thought nah… at the last minute Amy Adams will come in and get the nod for Big Eyes, but that didn’t happen and YAY!!!! Marion Cotillard FINALLY gets her second nomination after being snubbed for Nine and Rust & Bone in previous years. I am going to be seeing the film VERY soon.. (like tonight). Julianne Moore is still the one to beat, and while she is amazing in the film, I still can’t get the icy brilliance of Rosamund Pike out of my head. I am gonna finally see Wild, but glad Felicity Jones made it. She was actually very good. Essie Davis was GREAT in The Babadook, but she was sadly ineligible due to the film premiering on DirecTV first. Once I catch up on a few more performances, I will generate my own list.

BEST ACTOR (I predicted 3/5)

The Nominees Are…

Steve Carell in Foxcatcher

Bradley Cooper in American Sniper

Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game

Michael Keaton in Birdman

Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything

THOUGHTS: Wow… this was a category to have thoughts on… first of all two big snubs. Those were… David Oyelowo for his riveting turn as Martin Luther King in Selma and Jake Gyllenhaal for his transformative creeper in Nightcrawler. Oyelowo, if anyone did NOT deserve to suffer the Selma backlash. He should have stayed out of it. And as much as I respected Carell’s work, the character was paper thin and had major character development issues. I think he should have sat out or perhaps been considered for Supporting Actor. Channing Tatum was really the lead. I was (kind of surprised and a little happy) to see Bradley Cooper make the list. He really was terrific in American Sniper. Did he deserve the nod over Gyllenhaal?… I think probably not. Keaton, Redmayne, and Cumberbatch deserve to be here with the first two men fighting for the win. I hope Keaton gets the honor he deserves. He’s quietly, my favorite performance of the lot.

BEST DIRECTOR (I predicted 4/5)

The Nominees Are…

Wes Anderson for The Grand Budapest Hotel

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu for Birdman

Richard Linklater for Boyhood

Bennett Miller for Foxcatcher

Morten Tyldum for The Imitation Game

THOUGHTS: This is another category where yeah… I’ve got some thought and a side of beef! Okay, so it’s quite the topic that Selma director Ava DuVernay was screwed over… and I’m sorry, but I’m going with the bandwagon to file a formal complaint against the Academy for committing complete and utter bullshit to one of its worthiest candidates. DuVernay handled Selma passionately and confidently, sticking to her guns and work like a true professional and not apologizing for what she had to say or how she said it despite the fact that her statement may not be super popular. Also, I thought she was not pompous with how she delivered her slice of docu-fiction. This is a travesty and much like how they unjustly ripped off Kathryn Bigelow and Ben Affleck two years ago for Zero Dark Thirty and Argo (though the latter won Best Picture) This is where the Academy lost 100 points from me.

Also, Whiplash director Damien Chazelle, I think should have been here, but knew it wouldn’t happen. Many people swore Clint Eastwood’s 11th hour momentum for American Sniper would find him here, but I’m not surprised, I knew the film would be up for Best Picture and Bradley Cooper’s Best Actor nod was a huge victory by itself. Gone Girl director David Fincher was snubbed and should have been given more consideration. He took what could’ve been dicey grocery store fiction and made it into a stylish and engaging thriller that one will remember… whether you hated it or loved it! Richard Linklater has this one in the bag. Inarritu has a worthy nomination and will win someday, I hope. He’s one of the best directors working today. I’m glad I stick to my guns and predicted that Morten Tyldum would be nominated. But the surprise inclusion of Foxcatcher’s Bennett Miller was a huge sucker punch to my gut! I’m NOT HAPPY about this! While I thought Foxcatcher was okay… Miller’s direction, while visually handsome and extracting some superb performances, had a sloppy direction in terms of story focus and overall levity of meaning or impact with his final product. I do place that blame mainly on his shoulder and an Oscar nomination is the last thing he deserved for it. I respect the man and think he’s a good filmmaker, but man… the fact he took several worthier spots! Hell, Nightcrawler’s Dan Gilroy would have been an infinitely better choice. And Wes Anderson being here is cute and admirable, but I’m not sure an Oscar nomination was totally necessary… yep… lotsa thoughts there.

BEST PICTURE (I thought there’d be 9 slots… there are 8)

The Nominees Are…

American Sniper

Birdman

Boyhood

The Grand Budapest Hotel

The Imitation Game

Selma

The Theory of Everything

Whiplash

THOUGHTS: Well, Selma at least got a Best Picture nod. Good! American Sniper’s last minute momentum paid off, but it hardly deserves to be in this mix. Whiplash’s inclusion caused me to do a backflip. I took a ballsy chance predicting it and I’m glad it paid off. It’s my personal favorite of the year. I saw the Nightcrawler snub happening, but I didn’t think it would totally tank (with just one nomination). Gone Girl was a film many Oscar strategists felt would be snubbed. I didn’t. I thought it’d make it in seeing as it was one of the only big hits of the list and got great reviews. But it was a film that painted men in a bad light and showed us the dark, dark side of female empowerment. And suggested that many men, could be like Ben Affleck’s character. Some also may not have bought the ending, but whatever reason, Gone Girl was one of the year’s best and I think was unjustly snubbed.

Boyhood is the favorite and will likely win. Birdman and even The Grand Budapest Hotel are giving Linklater’s film a run for its money, but these two challengers do have some major quirks and Oscar doesn’t usually do quirky very often, like almost never. The Imitation Game could build some steam, and The Theory of Everything would be shoo-in years when the movie-loving would wasn’t so conscientious of the fact that films like it are constant Oscar-fodder. Those days are cooling off a bit. Still, this is a pretty safe lineup overall, but in the end I really liked all of these films, obviously some more than others. There are couple I LOVED, but I knew would never be here, like Snowpiercer and Under the Skin and even Interstellar to a degree. And I am happy that at least Foxcatcher lost the Best Picture nomination. It’s a B- movie and it getting as many nominations as it did bothered me. I still think the ought to go back to just five nominees or actually do ten films… not this somewhere from five to ten baloney.

Thoughts… thoughts… thoughts… my own personal picks and top films coming soon!

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