Or: How to create the Oscar Movie Marathon
So the 2015 Oscar Nominations are up, which means that it’s time for my annual Oscar Nominee Marathon, in preparation for the 87th Awards. I remember in 2009 when the list was expanded to include up to 10 nominees, though you see that this year only 8 were chosen. Ignoring controversy, selection, etc, these nominees are a selection of some of the best Films from the past calender year.
The Imitation Game
The Theory of Everything
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Julianne Moore, Still Alice
Reese Witherspoon, Wild
Rosamund Pike, Gone GirlBest Actor
Felicity Jones, The Theory of Everything
Marion Cotillard, Two Days, One Night
Michael Keaton, Birdman
Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything
Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game
Steve Carell, Foxcatcher
Bradley Cooper, American Sniper
Best Supporting Actor
J.K. Simmons, Whiplash
Edward Norton, Birdman
Ethan Hawke, Boyhood
Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher
Robert Duvall, The Judge
Best Supporting Actress
Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
Emma Stone, Birdman
Keira Knightley, The Imitation Game
Meryl Streep, Into the Woods
Laura Dern, Wild
Richard Linklater, Boyhood
Alejandro González Iñárritu, Birdman
Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Morten Tyldum, The Imitation Game
Bennett Miller, Foxcatcher
Best Adapted Screenplay
Graham Moore, The Imitation Game
Anthony McCarten, The Theory of Everything
Damien Chazelle, Whiplash
Jason Hall, American Sniper
Paul Thomas Anderson, Inherent Vice
Best Original Screenplay
Alejandro González Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Armando Bo, Birdman
Richard Linklater, Boyhood
Wes Anderson and Hugo Guinness, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Dan Gilroy, Nightcrawler
Dan Futterman and E. Max Frye, Foxcatcher
Best Animated Feature
Big Hero 6
How to Train Your Dragon 2
Song of the Sea
The Tale of Princess Kaguya
Gregg Alexander, Danielle Brisebois, Nick Lashley, and Nick Southwood, “Lost Stars” (Begin Again)
John Legend and Common, “Glory” (Selma)
Shawn Patterson, Joshua Bartholomew, Lisa Harriton, and The Lonely Island, “Everything Is Awesome” (The Lego Movie)
Diane Warren, “Grateful” (Beyond the Lights)
Glen Campbell, “I’m Not Gonna Miss You” (Glen Campbell … I’ll Be Me)
Best Original Score
Johann Johannsson, The Theory of Everything
Alexandre Desplat, The Imitation Game
Alexandre Desplat, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Hans Zimmer, Interstellar
Gary Yershon, Mr. Turner
Emmanuel Lubezki, Birdman
Dick Pope, Mr. Turner
Robert D. Yeoman, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Ryszard Lenczewski and Łukasz Żal, Ida
Roger Deakins, Unbroken
So I decided to take a more mathematical approach to my Oscar list this year, I matriculated the data into the nominees in each category on the left, and the movies they were nominated in on the top row. Obviously for Best Picture and Best Animated Picture, this will jut cross to their-self. On the bottom is a frequency chart for total nominations
The Following are my picks for what I believe are the best viewing experiences for the Oscar, based on their collection of nominations, and also the categories the nominations where in. The merits are based off of the three critiquing criteria: Plot, Character, Setting. In that spirit, I have only looked at categories that I think directly relate two those 3 story merits.
It’s important to me! Alright? Maybe not to you, or your cynical friends whose only ambition is to go viral. But to me… To me… this is – God. This is my career, this is my chance to do some work that actually means something. – Riggan
Birdman is an obvious choice. Best picture, Best Actor, Best Director – Picture, Actor/Actress and Director, the trifecta! – Best Supporting Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Cinematography. Based on those categories, I expect it to be a tour de force of amazing characters running through a gripping plot, surrounding by an inspiring setting. That, and I totally dug the Michael Keaton Batman.
Edit: Just finished watching Birdman last night, and wow am I reeling. It deserves the 7 nods I pointed out, plus the 2 more nod’s it got in other categories. Keaton is amazing, and is backed up by a wonderful cast. The film’s cinematography never lets up and the writing is compact and poignant.
2. The Imitation Game
Do you know, this morning I was on a train that went through a city that wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for you. I bought a ticket from a man who would likely be dead if it wasn’t for you. I read up, on my work, a whole field of scientific inquiry that only exists because of you. Now, if you wish you could have been normal… I can promise you I do not. The world is an infinitely better place precisely because you weren’t. – Joan Clarke
I love Movies with Mathematicians. Ever since A Beautiful Mind, there has been a serious lack of mathematicians and respectable engineers on screen (Numbers and Big Bang Theory do not count at all). Also it has Butterscotch Cumberbund, er, Benedictus Bayernquatsch, I mean Bendersnatch Cumberbuckle. You know who I mean. The man has played a renowned detective, an intergalactic terrorist, and a primal dragon. I’m excited to see him play genius/troubled mathematician. Expect great characters, and a gripping plot that is actually based on the true events surrounding the Enigma Machine.
You know how everyone’s always saying seize the moment? I don’t know, I’m kind of thinking it’s the other way around, you know, like the moment seizes us. – Nicole
All it took was one viewing of the trailer to get me hooked on this movie – and also I’m a big sucker for Ethan Hawke, but I digress – something about the premise of the movie and feel of it gives it a charming quality. The idea of a simulated documentary of a child growing up gives it a lot of room to explore the “coming of age” motif. At least, I pretty sure it is simulated, otherwise – again fanboy here – Ethan Hawk should also get an award for being in the right place and the right time, picking a charismatic kid to document growing up. Also, not a typical setting per se, but I have always been intrigued by the idea of how the world changes around you as you grow up. Super high hopes for this one.
4. The Theory of Everything
There should be no boundaries to human endeavor. We are all different. However bad life may seem, there is always something you can do, and succeed at. While there’s life, there is hope. – Stephen Hawking
Not one, but TWO mathematicians in one Oscar season? Excitement rising! The motif of the brilliant mind trapped in a damaged body is a favorite for writers, as much as for non-speculative writers as in, but in this case, Stephan Hawking is not just a story, but a true hero himself. His story alone, without the scientific and research breakthroughs are inspiring enough. But a story that encompasses all the aspects of Sir Stephen Hawking himself. Nerdy Site Note: Ironically, despite the movie’s name, Stephan Hawking in fact did not believe in a single unified theory, IE The Theory of Everything
5. The Grand Budapest Hotel
To be frank, I think his world had vanished long before he ever entered it – but, I will say: he certainly sustained the illusion with a marvelous grace! – Mr. Moustafa concerning Mr. Gustave
Let’s start with the fact that I enjoy Wes Anderson’s films completely. Something in the “rapid fire and always layered with a veneer of cleverness and class” dialogue. Or the hurry up and wait breakneck rhythm of his pacing, smoothly transition from break neck speed to lackadaisical serenity. Or the witty yet damaged characters. Or the beautiful and surreal locations. Wes Anderson is the king of a style of movies that he created himself, a genre that seems timeless in presentation and execution. If the reader has not had a chance to experience a Wes Anderson film, you can’t go wrong with Grand Budhapest Hotel. (Also, have to make a plug for my favorite Wes Anderson flick below, Fantastic Mr. Fox)
I was there to push people beyond what’s expected of them. I believe that’s an absolute necessity. – Terence
I’ve always thought JK Simmons was a powerful actor, He’s a sort of movie staple, appearing in iconic parts with his distinctive voice, Jonah Jameson from Spider Man, Juno’s dad in Juno, heck he’s Tenzin in Legend of Korra! That’s all I’m here for: JK Simmons voice and some intense drumming.
7. American Sniper
I’m willing to meet my creator and ask for every shot that I took. – Chris Kyle
Cause everything that I’ve done, I feel like, somehow has been credited to Dave and I feel like it’s time to distance myself from him, you know, become my own person. – Mark Shultz
Foxcatcher, the small part I’ve seen so far, is going to be a showcase of amazing characters, The lead trio, Carrell, Tatum, and Ruffalo, play intense characters, and in Carrell’s case, almost indistinguishable from himself. But granted, being a giant Office fan, I’ll always recognize Steve Carrell’s voice inflections. Ruffalo, of course, is intense and an acting Chameleon, so much so that I did not recognize him in his first scene and had to pull up the old faithful, that is, IMDB. Tatum seems to be the snubbed one here: With no nomination, with Steve Carrell receiving the Best Actor nod, and Mark Ruffalo getting the Best Supporting Actor nod, Tatum performance seems to have been completely ignored by the Academy, seeming to reinforce the stereotype that the Academy wishes to create this barrier between “pop” actors and “serious” actors. An artificial “Low Class/High Class Dichotomy” which, ironically enough, is a major theme in Birdman. Tatum’s performance is understated and intense, and begs you to take a closer look beyond the gruff wrestler’s surface, and begs you as the viewer to take a closer look beyond the actor’s surface as well.
Why I didn’t add certain movies to my list
It won a best picture nod, but was not nominated anywhere else. Comes off as self righteous “Oscar Bait” ie a Film formulated to get critical praise and a script written around a hot button topics, and casted with high profile actors. I can’t really add this to my list except for the fact that it got nominated, nor does the trailer look interesting. But the trailer below explains the Oscar Bait syndrome perfectly.
C. The Judge
Robert Duval get’s nominated for best supporting actor, but just like Wild, was not nominated anywhere outside that. However, it is lead by the one, the only, Robert Downey Jr., and again, seemed to be most likely affected by the “Artificial Dichotomy” I mentioned before. Personally I will watch, but I am not adding it specifically to the list.
1. Into the Woods
2. Inherent Vice
Nominated for best adapted screenplay from the 2009 novel by Thomas Pynchon. Probably a great watch for anyone writing in the crime/mystery/cop/detective genres.
Nominated for best original screenplay. Also about a journalist, played by my boy Jake G. Sure to be dark and deep.
4. Mr. Turner
Best Animated Features
I am included the Animated features for a few reasons. First, animated movies are story boarded, and so there is often a lot of materials writers can view on how to take an idea and express it on screen, useful for a writer trying to do the same thing, but to paper. Second, by the simple fact that every frame is an animation and not camera, the director/animators intent is more clear. This helps with the idea of compact writing and setting. Last, I just love animated flicks, okay?
7. Big Hero Six
Has the advantage of being cute, action packed, and adapted from a graphic novel. Even if it is predictable, it is a good representation of its Genre
8. How to Train your Dragon 2
Some complained this was not as good as it’s prequel, but I disagree. Also, Toothless is one charismatic son of a gun.
9. The Boxtrolls
Hidden underground world in an animated flick? Young child transplanted from home? Hero’s journey? Of course.
10. Song of the Sea
The animation is amazing, the story seems haunting. Already sold. Also another Hero’s journey.
11. The Tale of Princess Kaguya
It’s studio Ghibli. I’m sure the animation is painfully beautiful, and the story will make me cry.
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