2015 Oscar Nominations


Everything is NOT awesome.

The nominations for the 87th Academy Awards were made this morning. It’s kind of embarrassing how excited that I get to hear the nominees, especially considering I’m not in contention for any of them. Sadly, best movie goer is yet to be a category. At this point, I probably get more excited for the nominations than Meryl Streep does; at this point it’s probably old hat to her.

I usually have a pretty good idea of what is going to be nominated – I read enough about movies to have a general idea which films have Academy buzz surrounding them and which don’t – so I’m usually not terribly surprised by who gets the nod. I may not agree, but there is rarely anything shocking. This year, however, my mouth actually dropped open when I was reading the list of nominees for best animated feature. If there was ever a movie that I thought was a lock to get a nomination – and probably win – this category, it was The LEGO Movie. It was one of my favorite movies of last year and it managed to charm almost all the kids and adults that I know. And yet, when the nominees were announced, The LEGO Movie was conspicuously absent. It received a nomination for best original song, but no love in the animated film category. This was a huge snub.

I was not alone in my surprise; seconds after the names of the nominees were read, Twitter exploded with shock over The LEGO Movie’s omission. Apparently I am not the only person who is far too invested in the Oscars. We’ll never know for sure why The LEGO Movie didn’t connect enough with voters to get at least a nomination – perhaps the commercialism underlying the movie turned them off or the live-action sequences were held against the film – but I’ll be curious to hear the other theories as to what happened. I will say though, it’s a nice change of pace to be outraged by something so frivolous. The last few months have had a lot for people to get upset about and if The LEGO Movie being ignored is what the people of Twitter are riled up about, that means that we’re getting a break from the other awfulness of the world.

As usual, this year I will valiantly try to complete my Oscar death race by seeing every single film that was nominated. We’re talking every film – not just the big categories. I give just as much attention to the nominees for best sound mixing as I do for best picture. I’m in decent shape this year; I’d seen a fair number of these films and performance before today and I had a good idea of what I had left to do. As always, it’s the Best Documentary (long feature and short feature) and Best Foreign Film that prove to be the most difficult to track down. The closest I’ve ever come to finishing the Oscar death race was two years ago when I was missing only two foreign films and the documentary shorts. I’m not sure how close I’ll come this year, but at least I now know what films I have to try and track down. That’s half the battle.

Here is the full list of the 2015 Oscar nominees; the movie in bold I have seen, in case you want to chart my progress.

Best Picture

The Imitation Game
The Theory of Everything
The Grand Budapest Hotel
American Sniper

Best Actress

Julianne Moore, Still Alice
Reese Witherspoon, Wild
Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl
Felicity Jones, The Theory of Everything
Marion Cotillard, Two Days, One Night

Best Actor

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

Best Director

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 Foreign Film

Ida (Poland)
Wild Tales

Best Documentary Feature

Last Days in Vietnam
Finding Vivian Maier
The Salt of the Earth

Best Animated Feature

Big Hero 6
How to Train Your Dragon 2
The Boxtrolls
Song of the Sea
The Tale of Princess Kaguya

Film Editing

American Sniper
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game

Best Song

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)
The-Dream, “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

Best Cinematography

Emmanuel Lubezki, Birdman
Dick Pope, Mr. Turner
Robert D. Yeoman, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Ryszard Lenczewski and Łukasz Żal, Ida

Roger Deakins, Unbroken

Costume Design

Colleen Atwood, Into the Woods
Anna B. Sheppard, Maleficent
Milena Canonero, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Jacqueline Durran, Mr. Turner
Mark Bridges, Inherent Vice

Makeup and Hairstyling

Guardians of the Galaxy
The Grand Budapest Hotel

Production Design

Adam Stockhausen and Anna Pinnock, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Suzie Davies and Charlotte Watts, Mr. Turner
Dennis Gassner and Anna Pinnock, Into the Woods
Nathan Crowley, Gary Fettis, and Paul Healy, Interstellar
Maria Djurkovic, The Imitation Game

Sound Editing

American Sniper

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies


Sound Mixing

American Sniper


Visual Effects

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Guardians of the Galaxy
X Men: Days of Future Past
Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Short Film, Live Action

Oded Binnun and Mihal Brezis, Aya (Chasis Films)
Michael Lennox, director, and Ronan Blaney, Boogaloo and Graham (Out of Orbit)
Hu Wei and Julien Féret, Butter Lamp (La Lampe au Beurre de Yak) (AMA Productions)
Talkhon Hamzavi and Stefan Eichenberger, Parvaneh (Zurich University of Arts)
Mat Kirkby, director and James Lucas, The Phone Call (RSA Films)

Short Film, Animated

Daisy Jacobs and Christopher Hees, The Bigger Picture (National Film and Television School)
Robert Kondo and Dice Tsutsumi, The Dam Keeper (Tonko House)
Patrick Osborne and Kristina Reed, Feast (Walt Disney Animation Studios)
Torill Kove, Me and My Moulton (Mikrofilm in co-production with the National Film Board of Canada)
Joris Oprins, A Single Life (Job, Joris & Marieke)

Documentary Short Subject

Perry Films, Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1
Wajda Studio, Joanna
Warsaw Film School, Our Curse
Centro de Capacitación Cinematográfica, The Reaper (La Parka)
Weary Traveler, White Earth

I guess it’s good that I have the long weekend coming up; I’ve got some work to do. Reviews for the nominated films will be tagged Oscars 2015.

The 2015 Oscar ceremony will be February 22, 2015 on ABC.

2014 Oscar Nominations


It’s one of my favorite days of the year – it’s Academy Award Nomination Day! I get surprisingly giddy for today, considering that I have no real vested interest in the outcome. I have my favorites, of course, but in the grand scheme of things I know that on some level that this has no lasting impact on my life.

But love doesn’t have to make sense and I do love me some movies. So while it isn’t 100% logical, I always get super excited to see who and what are up for the Oscar, followed by anxiety when I have to try to track down some more obscure foreign films and documentaries to complete my annual “Oscar Death Race” to see everything that is nominated.

I’m actually in pretty good shape this year overall – I have seen all of the Best Picture nominees already and am missing only two from the Acting categories (still need to see Blue Jasmine; Mike – we have until March 2). I’m a little annoyed that Joaquin Phoenix didn’t get a Best Actor nod, but I honestly don’t know who I would remove from that list to make room for him. No nominations for Tom Hanks or Robert Redford either, so at least Phoenix is in good company. I’m relieved that the Academy didn’t fall for the schmaltz that was Saving Mr. Banks. The documentaries look to be fairly accessible this year – most are out on DVD or will be shortly – but I am concerned about finding two of the foreign films (Omar and The Missing Picture) as they may be in film purgatory (not in the theaters and not yet streaming or on DVD). This year the animated films are also looking like a potential problem with the nomination for Ernest & Celestine and The Wind Rises. Not sure where I’m going to find them either. This could be the year where I finally break down and take a trip to NYC just to see some films. Perhaps I can combine that with my 2014 Pop Culture Resolution of going to visit the Alamo Drafthouse. Thank goodness I have until the beginning of March to get all this done. I know, I know. First world problems.

My reviews for nominated films will all be tagged with Oscars 2014 to make them easy to find on the blog. A full list of nominees can be found here, but the “major” award nominees are listed below. This has been a fantastic year for movies and I look forward to seeing who ultimately wins. I predict a showdown between American Hustle and 12 Years a Slave.

Best Supporting Actor
Barkhad Abdi – Captain Phillips
Radley Cooper – American Hustle
Michael Fassbender – 12 Years a Slave
Jonah Hill – The Wolf of Wall Street
Jared Leto – Dallas Buyers Club

Supporting Actor
Sally Hawkins – Blue Jasmine
Jennifer Lawrence – American Hustle
Lupita Nyong’o – 12 Years a Slave
Julia Roperts – August: Osage County
June Squibb – Nebraska

Original Song
Alone Yet Not Alone – Alone Yet Not Alone
Happy – Despicable Me 2
Let It Go – Frozen
The Moon Song – Her
Ordinary Love – Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

Adapted Screenplay
Before Midnight
Captain Phillips
12 Years a Slave
The Wolf of Wall Street

Original Screenplay
American Hustle
Blue Jasmine
Dallas Buyers Club

Best Animated Feature Film
The Croods
Despicable Me 2
Ernest & Celestine
The Wind Rises

Best Documentary Feature
The Act of Killing
Cutie and the Boxer
Dirty Wars
The Square
20 Feet From Stardom

Best Foreign Language Film
The Broken Circle Breakdown
The Great Beauty
The Hunt
The Missing Picture

Best Director
David O. Russell – American Hustle
Alfonso Cuaron – Gravity
Alexander Payne – Nebraska
Steve McQueen – 12 Years a Slave
Martin Scorsese – The Wolf of Wall Street

Best Actress
Amy Adams – American Hustle
Cate Blanchett – Blue Jasmine
Sandra Bullock – Gravity
Judi Dench – Philomena
Meryl Streep – August: Osage County

Best Actor
Christian Bale – American Hustle
Bruce Dern – Nebraska
Leonardo DiCaprio – The Wolf of Wall Street
Chiwetel Ejiofor – 12 Years a Slave
Matthew McConaughey – Dallas Buyers Club

Best Picture
American Hustle
Captain Phillips
Dallas Buyers Club
12 Years a Slave
The Wolf of Wall Street

The 86th annual Academy Awards ceremony will be Sunday March 2, hosted by Ellen DeGeneres.

2013 Golden Globe Nominations

As far as I’m concerned, all you need to know about the legitimacy of the Golden Globes can be stated in one sentence.

They do not consider Mad Men in the conversation for Best Drama.

In other words, the Golden Globes are pretty meaningless.

The nominations are determined by the Hollywood Foreign Press and they are notorious for giving nominations to unworthy candidates and their seemingly haphazard standards not only in how they make their nominations, but in how they categorize different films and television shows; the Globes has separate categories for dramas and comedies in films, so the two don’t compete against one another. But in the television categories, everyone is thrown together in the supporting actor and actress categories, regardless of the genre of their program, which leads to some very weird match-ups. They are particularly bad when it comes to the television nominations, but they have an overall preference for what they consider to be young and pretty upstarts and for movie stars slumming it on the small screen; the Emmys have the same fixation with the latter, but the Golden Globes is even worse about it.

In my opinion, the Golden Globes are barely a step up from the People’s Choice Awards and the MTV Movie Awards, which isn’t saying much. I don’t think anyone in the business takes the awards very seriously; it is nice to win and be nominated, but it just doesn’t have the prestige of some of the other awards out there. This doesn’t mean that they don’t get things right, but there are always plenty of nominations that make you shake your head. Awards in generally are kind of silly anyway.

However, the Golden Globes ceremony can be a lot of fun to watch. It’s one of the few times television and movie stars are in the same room running elbows with each other and the free flowing alcohol sometimes makes for some fun speeches and good reaction shots in the audience. It isn’t an accident that NBC advertises the ceremony as “the most unpredictable party of the year.” Everyone is there just to have a good time. It’s all an exercise in futility, but as long as everyone is in on the joke, it can be a fun night. This year I’ll definitely be tuning in as two of my favorite ladies are hosting: Amy Poehler and Tina Fey. They are always funny and are a good team.


The 2013 nominations are listed below; my predicted winners are in bold. Note that these are not necessarily who I think should win, but my best guess on how the American Foreign Press will vote. Many of the films haven’t been released yet, so I haven’t seen them all.



“Django Unchained”

“Life of Pi”


“Zero Dark Thirty”



“Exotic Marigold Hotel”

 “Les Miserables”

“Moonrise Kingdom”

“Salmon Fishing in the Yemen”

“Silver Linings Playbook”



Ben Affleck, “Argo”

Kathryn Bigelow, “Zero Dark Thirty”

Ang Lee, “Life of Pi

Steven Spielberg, “Lincoln”

Quentin Tarantino, “Django Unchained”



Daniel Day-Lewis, “Lincoln”

Richard Gere, “Arbitrage”

John Hawkes, “The Sessions”

Joaquin Phoenix, “The Master”

Denzel Washington, “Flight”



Jessica Chastain, “Zero Dark Thirty”

Marion Cotillard, “Rust & Bone”

Helen Mirren, “Hitchcock”

Naomi Watts, “The Impossible”

Rachel Weisz, “The Deep Blue Sea”



Emily Blunt, “Salmon Fishing In The Yemen”

Judi Dench, “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”

Jennifer Lawrence, “Silver Linings Playbook”

Maggie Smith, “Quartet”

Meryl Streep, “Hope Springs”



Jack Black, “Bernie”

Bradley Cooper, “Silver Linings Playbook”

Hugh Jackman, “Les Miserables”

Ewan McGregor, “Salmon Fishing In The Yemen”

Bill Murray, “Hyde Park On Hudson”



Amy Adams, “The Master”

Sally Field, “Lincoln”

Anne Hathaway, “Les Miserables”

Helen Hunt, “The Sessions”

Nicole Kidman, “The Paperboy”



Alan Arkin, “Argo”

Leonardo DiCaprio, “Django Unchained”

Philip Seymour Hoffman, “The Master”

Tommy Lee Jones, “Lincoln”

Christoph Waltz, “Django Unchained”




“A Royal Affair”

“The Intouchables”


“Rust and Bone”



“Zero Dark Thirty”


“Django Unchained”


“Silver Linings Playbook”



“Anna Karenina”


“Cloud Atlas”

“Life of Pi”






“Hotel Transylvania”

“Rise of the Guardians”




“For You”

“Not Running Anymore”

“Safe and Sound”




Television Series – Drama

“Breaking Bad”

“Boardwalk Empire”

“Downton Abbey: Season 2”


“The Newsroom”


Actress In A Television Series – Drama

Connie Britton, “Nashville”

Glenn Close, “Damages”

Claire Danes, “Homeland”

Michelle Dockery, “Downton Abbey: Season 2”

Julianna Margulies, “The Good Wife”


Actor In A Television Series – Drama

Steve Buscemi, “Boardwalk Empire”

Bryan Cranston, “Breaking Bad”

Jeff Daniels, “The Newsroom”

Jon Hamm, “Mad Men”

Damian Lewis, “Homeland”


Television Series – Comedy Or Musical

“The Big Bang Theory”



“Modern Family”



Actress In A Television Series – Comedy Or Musical

Zooey Deschanel, “New Girl”

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “Veep”

Lena Dunham, “Girls”

Tina Fey, “30 Rock”

Amy Poehler, “Parks And Recreation”


Actor In A Television Series — Comedy Or Musical

    Alec Baldwin, “30 Rock”

Don Cheadle, “House Of Lies”

Louis C.K., “Louie”

Matt Leblanc, “Episodes”

Jim Parsons, “The Big Bang Theory”


Miniseries Or Motion Picture Made For Television

 “Game Change”

“The Girl”

“Hatfields & McCoys”

“The Hour”

“Political Animals”


Actress In A Miniseries Or Motion Picture Made For Television

Nicole Kidman, “Hemingway & Gellhorn”

Jessica Lange, “American Horror Story: Asylum”

Sienna Miller, “The Girl”

Julianne Moore, “Game Change”

Sigourney Weaver, “Political Animals”


Actor In A Miniseries Or Motion Picture Made For Television

Kevin Costner, “Hatfields & Mccoys”

Benedict Cumberbatch, “Sherlock”

Woody Harrelson, “Game Change”

Toby Jones, “The Girl”

Clive Owen, “Hemingway & Gellhorn”


Actress In A Supporting Role In A Series, Miniseries Or Motion Picture Made For Television

Hayden Panettiere, “Nashville”

Archie Panjabi, “The Good Wife”

Sarah Paulson, “Game Change”

Maggie Smith, “Downton Abbey: Season 2”

Sofia Vergara, “Modern Family”


Actor In A Supporting Role In A Series, Miniseries Or Motion Picture Made For Television

Max Greenfield, “New Girl”

Ed Harris, “Game Change”

Danny Huston, “Magic City”

Mandy Patinkin, “Homeland”

Eric Stonestreet, “Modern Family”


The Golden Globes will take place on January 13, 2013 on NBC.