You may remember Jennifer Lawrence’s fall of the 2013 Academy Awards, or Ellen’s infamous ‘selfie’ of 2014 as the stand out moments of ceremonies past. The 2015 Academy Awards in comparison seemed fairly uneventful, mirroring the slightly disappointing list of nominees and winners. We have compiled a list of short reviews of the winners, just in case you’re in need of a catch up!
Best Picture: Birdman (Alejandro González Iñárritu)
Birdman deservedly won four of its nine Oscar nominations this year, bringing Iñárritu Best Director, and Lubezki Best Cinematography. If Birdman is still sitting patiently on your watch list, I thoroughly recommend that you go to the cinema to see it in its full glory. The disorientating cinematography throws into question the actualities of the narrative from the get go, an effect that simply cannot be recreated by a blurry copy with Asian subtitles on your laptop. Don’t waste your time looking for cuts in the shot; the editing is seamless, allowing the audience to be totally captured by Keaton and his co-stars. Birdman is a contemporary classic that surely will go down in history as a masterpiece of cinema magic.
Best Actor in a Leading Role: Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything
Perhaps it’s the lasting bitterness that Michael Keaton lost, or maybe it’s my lack of love for Eddie, but sadly I think this win was wholeheartedly undeserved. When I first saw the trailer for The Theory of Everything I cried, and so naturally, I rushed to the cinema with soaring expectations and a massive box of tissues. Yes, Eddie Redmayne did manage to very successfully imitate Stephen Hawking. Yes, this is a very tragic story that holds uplifting morals. But no, it does not have to be two hours long. If your desperate to know the story, watch the trailer – the film is essentially the trailer but two hours longer. Sorry, Eddie.
Benedict Cumberbatch was also nominated for his portrayal of Alan Turing in The Imitation Game. This is absolutely worth catching up on. Although visually it isn’t hugely exciting (other than Benedict’s lovely face, of course), the narrative and performances from the entire cast are thrilling.
Best Actress in a Leading Role: Julianne Moore, Still Alice
Sadly, The New Picture House isn’t yet screening Still Alice so I’ll not see it until I go back home! Although I’m sure Julianne Moore is great, because isn’t she always? Felicity Jones was also nominated for her role in The Theory of Everything, and maybe it was her role as the baddie in The Worst Witch, but I’m just not sure I trust her. But kudos to her for sort of pulling off the role of the cheating wife of a disabled man. Rosamund Pike was nominated for her role in Gone Girl, standing as the film’s only nomination. While it’s adaptation from the book was slated, Pike and Affleck were fantastic. If you missed out on seeing Gone Girl, I highly recommend it! Not Fincher’s best, but a real return to his dark, twisted thrillers of the 90s.
Of course, the list of nominees and winners is far too long to detail them all individually, but I reckon that the following films are the standouts, and shouldn’t be missed!
American Sniper (Clint Eastwood, 2014)
This is a film that tore the critics in two, but regardless of where you stand on the controversy, American Sniper is absolutely worth a watch. Eastwood lays out his clear dichotomy of good and bad, and so long as you read from the same moral compass as the director, there is little ambiguity in the heroism of the protagonist. If not, then this will be an interesting watch that may just ruffle your feathers!
Foxcatcher (Bennet Miller, 2014)
Although a little slow paced, this is a fantastic retelling of a true story. Steve Carell was nominated for Best Actor with this performance and it’s hard to see why he didn’t win. Don’t worry if you’re not a fan of sports movies, this is more a tale of psychological suffering than a Space Jam.
Boyhood (Richard Linklater, 2014)
Boyhood has broken away from all Hollywood cinema traditions and filmed the fictional lives of a family from 2002 to 2013. It is truly heart-warming and provides the most realist narrative and portrayal of characters yet. There has never been anything like Boyhood, and I don’t think there ever will be.
I wish I could go on, but I fear this article may end up longer than the ceremony itself! If you have placed any of these films on your watch list, I wholeheartedly recommend you dust them off and give them a go!
All images sourced from Pinterest.