The race is on! Actor Chris Pine and Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs have let loose the 2015 Oscar nominations! Who’s in? Who’s out? Here are the top five categories and my very preliminary two cents worth!
BEST PICTURE (including total number of nominations for each)
The Grand Budapest Hotel (9)
The Imitation Game (8)
American Sniper (6)
The Theory of Everything (5)
The surprisingly tedious “American Sniper” doesn’t belong here. “Into The Woods”–the movie version of Stephen Sondheim’s dark fairytale musical masterpiece with Meryl Streep leading a team of actors who can REALLY sing–does. I’d have also included “Foxcatcher” the true life dark fairytale about Olympic wrestlers which at least earned a nomination for its director Bennett Miller. And where are the stories about WOMEN??? I’m looking for GIRLHOOD. AMERICAN STRIPPER. How about BIG EYES ? Tim Burton’s little known tale of Margaret Keane the woman behind the big-eyed paintings was also better than “American Sniper.”
Marion Cotillard–“Two Days One Night”
Felicity Jones –“The Theory of Everything”
Julianne Moore–“Still Alice”
Rosamund Pike– “Gone Girl”
This is the weakest category with a dearth of major, meaty roles for women, made weaker by the inclusion of Reese Witherspoon’s oddly unexpressive performance in “Wild,” and the omission of Jennifer Aniston who earned some buzz (but reportedly may have campaigned too hard) for the little seen “Cake.” The film was not screened in time for critics awards in Boston.
Steve Carell– “Foxcatcher”
Bradley Cooper–“American Sniper”
Benedict Cumberbatch–“The Imitation Game”
Eddie Redmayne–“The Theory of Everything”
This is one of the strongest categories, but Bradley Cooper’s merely adequate work in this conventional film isn’t Oscar worthy, and David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King Jr. in “Selma” would have been a better choice. In fact, no people of color were nominated in any of the acting categories, and Ava DuVernay who directed “Selma” was also overlooked; a nomination for best director would have made her the first black woman ever nominated in that category. Timothy Spall would also have been a better choice in the role that won him best actor honors at the Cannes Film Festival, “Mr. Turner.” Ralph Fiennes was uniquely hilarious in “The Grand Budapest Hotel” perfectly channeling Wes Anderson’s smart, serio/wacky tone. And Jake Gyllenhaal’s vampire-like videographer in “Nightcrawler” was also terror-ific.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Patricia Arquette– “Boyhood”
Keira Knightley–“The Imitation Game”
Meryl Streep–“Into The woods”
LOVE that Laura Dern was included here in a moving turn as Witherspoon’s character’s mother. LOVE that the often underestimated and overlooked Keira Knightley was included here too. HATE that there weren’t more big roles for WOMEN.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Robert Duvall–“The Judge”
Again, a very strong category for men. Nice to see J.K. Simmons– who just won a Golden Globe for his role as a bullying music teacher– break through the assorted smaller roles and TV commercials to be recognized for this unforgettable character. Would have left out Robert Duvall and substituted Channing Tatum for his surprisingly complex and explosive turn as thick-jawed Olympic wrestler in “Foxcatcher.”
For the complete list of nominations, click here.
The OSCARS will be telecast on Sunday night 2/22 on ABC!