So – The 87th Annual Academy Awards happened last night and, overall, I believe this has been the most exciting Oscar outcome in many years. As we’ve discussed before, the Oscars are arguably the most predictable award there is and it’s usually a very feasible task to correctly predict the outcome of most categories. The Academy is mostly formed of very old, very white industry men and the results are usually in accordance with that fact. If you checked Hollywood Reporter’s “Brutally Honest Oscar Ballot” series this year you probably had a very upsetting insight into how most members act towards their duty. If not, don’t miss it – it’s highly entertaining and brings some understanding of how things are played under Oscar’s skirt.
What about this year’s biggest surprises? Even though I ended up losing bets on some categories I couldn’t be happier to see some of my favorites, who mostly aren’t the usual Oscar fare, snatch awards from bigger contenders.
First, the good:
“Birdman” took the Oscars by an avalanche this year. It won Best Picture, Director, Original Screenplay and Cinematography. This isn’t my favorite movie of the year but there’s no denying it’s a masterpiece. Everything about it is ingenious and so, so original I believe we’ll be teaching around it for years to come. Michael Keaton lost Best Actor to Eddie Redmayne, who gave an amazing performance, and this was a very tough call. We can only hope Keaton gets another chance in the future because he’s a very deserving guy.
“The Grand Budapest Hotel” took home the awards to Costume Design, Makeup and Hair, Original Music and Production Design. Wes Anderson is my favorite director and I’m always in awe of how consistent and faithful to his vision he is. This movie is candy for the soul, as usual, and it absolutely deserved all of these awards. I’ll remain hopeful for the day Wes snatches a much deserved Best Director award.
It’s worth noting that this was also the first win for Alexandre Desplat, arguably the busiest composer in Hollywood – he’s worked on many Oscar winners from “Argo” to “King’s Speech”. He was nominated for two movies this year, “Grand Hotel” and “Imitation Game” and has been nominated 8 times since 2007 so I’m really glad he finally took a much deserved award home.
It was an amazing outcome for “Whiplash” as well – no movie has resonated with me more than this one in many years and most people thought it didn’t stand a chance in any category other than Best Supporting Actor – which J.K. Simmons deservedly won – but it ended up winning Editing, Sound Mixing and the afore-mentioned Best Support Actor. It’s a win for everyone when quirky, niche movies like this manage to stand up to the big guns.
Now the “I don’t know what to think of this” section:
“Boyhood” was a big favorite in many categories and ended up just taking an award for Best Supporting Actress. I’m personally not a big fan of this movie. The idea behind it is great but is it so impressing and disrupting to take Best Picture and Best Director? Will we be talking about it in ten years? I don’t think so. There was only one other category I really believe it deserved and that was Editing because what challenge can be bigger than coherently editing 12 years of material? Editing is a character in “Whiplash”, as is its music, but this was a tough one to swallow since I don’t think we’ll ever again see another movie shot during 12 years. But again – will we be talking about this movie’s editing in ten years? I don’t think so.
And finally, the not so great:
“American Sniper” was a huge success this year. A movie about a war hero (?) directed by an 84 year-old Clint Eastwood that has grossed over $400 million worldwide so far. It was a likely upset in many categories and only took Sound Editing home. I personally dislike this movie very much so as far as I’m concerned all is cool.
(Also – what did everyone think of NPH’ hosting? I had huge hopes he’d trail Billy Crystal’s path but IMO it fell way short. On that same note, the Oscars had a 16% audience drop from last year’s show.)
What did you think of this year’s outcome?