The 87th Annual Academy Awards – Events: In Review

By: Kyle Grubb

Hey, I might as well cash in on this craze just like everybody else, right?

I don’t really have any set format for events yet. Still making this up as I go, folks. Woo hoo!

We're all just winging it.
We’re all just winging it.

In Preface:

Okay, I’m going to run down all of the categories, announce all of the winners, say who I thought should have won, and then explain myself. Pretty basic, but it’s the most logical way of me pounding through all of this. Bear in mind that I may not have opinions for all of these. For instance, I’m not much of a documentary kind of guy. I plan on saving the Big Six for the end, with all of the other categories being listed in alphabetical order.


In Detail:

Big-Hero-6-Movie-Reviews1

Animated Feature Film
Who I wanted to win: How to Train Your Dragon 2 (But really, The Lego Movie)
Who actually won: Big Hero 6
Now, don’t get me wrong: I liked Big Hero 6. It was a fun movie, was pretty funny, and was beautifully animated. I just don’t think it really had all that much depth to it. How to Train Your Dragon 2 was an infinitely deeper movie, in my opinion, with better performances, a better story, and was just a great journey. Let’s be honest, though, this award SHOULD have been The Lego Movie’s. Lego was not just my favorite animated movie of the year, but one of my favorite movies of the year, period. My only guess on why it was snubbed was because of (LIGHT SPOILERS) the non-animated sections near the end. Not sure if that disqualified it. As almost anyone that has seen the movie can agree, it was hilarious, heart-filled, and kinda oddly brilliant. This isn’t the place for that discussion, though.

Cinematography:
Who I wanted to win: Birdman
Who actually won: Birdman
I was pretty certain this category was a lock. Emmanuel Lubezki did some brilliant work with Birdman, and the often-discussed single-take-effect was awesome to watch unfold. While many of the other movies were gorgeously shot, no other movie did something so unique.

Costume Design:
Who I wanted to win: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Who actually won: The Grand Budapest Hotel
This category could really have gone to almost any of the five finalists. Still, I loved the costume design for GBH. Actually, I loved the movie in general. That might make me biased. You’d be hard pressed to make an argument why it didn’t deserve the award, though.

Edward Snowden Gives First Interview In Russia

Documentary (Feature):
Who I wanted to win: CitizenFour
Who actually won: CitizenFour
Honestly, CitizenFour was the only movie of the five I actually saw. I can’t really make much of an argument here…

Documentary (Short):
Who I wanted to win: N/A
Who actually won: Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1
I didn’t catch a single one of these short-form documentaries. Despite that, I agree that the subject matter for Crisis Hotline is definitely worthy of the focus it received.

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Film Editing:
Who I wanted to win: Whiplash
Who actually won: Whiplash
Did you see Whiplash? I saw nearly every film in this category (I haven’t caught American Sniper yet), and it just seemed to be the clear winner. That movie had me on the edge of my seat, and while much of that is to do with the great performances (we’ll get to that later), the editing gave the film such speed, tension, and intensity that it was hard to ever look away.

Foreign Language Film:
Who I wanted to win: N/A
Who actually won: Ida
I’m representative of everything that’s wrong with America today. Or, at the very least, I failed to see any of these movies…

Hair and Makeup:
Who I wanted to win: It was a total toss-up for me.
Who actually won: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Honestly, all three movies could have walked away with this one. GBH was great, but so were Guardians and Foxcatcher. Half of Steve Carrell’s performance in Foxcatcher was that fake nose, and a lot of the work done in Guardians was awesome. To be fair, though, I completely failed to recognize Tilda Swinton in The Grand Budapest Hotel. That speaks volumes.

interstellar_holy_shit_shot.0Music – Original Score:
Who I wanted to win: Interstellar
Who actually won: The Grand Budapest Hotel
What can I say: I’m a sucker for Hans Zimmer. I thought the score for Interstellar was one of the best parts of the movie. It took me on a journey just like the rest of the movie did. I can’t deny that Alexander Desplat did amazing work in GBH, though. And again, I love that movie, so I’m not too bummed out here.

Music – Original Song:
Who I wanted to win: Glory (Selma)
Who actually won: Glory (Selma)
Seriously, was there any doubt about this one? I actually found Selma to be one of the weaker Best Picture contenders this year (Which hurts my soul. I have countless respect for Dr. King), but that song was amazing. Everything is Awesome was quite the ear-worm, though.

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Production Design:
Who I wanted to win: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Who actually won: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Essentially, if you have a movie coming out the same year as a Wes Anderson film, just don’t bother trying for this award. You won’t win it.

Short Film – Animated:
Who I wanted to win: Feast
Who actually won: Feast
Another category where I only happened to catch the winning entry. Feast was great. I can’t really compare it to the other short films, though in theory they may not have been as good. All of them looked gorgeously animated from what I saw during the show, though.

Short Film – Live Action:
Who I wanted to win: N/A
Who actually won: The Phone Call
Taking a pass on this category here. Didn’t see any of them.

AMERICAN SNIPER

Sound Editing:
Who I wanted to win: Um…
Who actually won: American Sniper
I’m not going to lie: I’m the idiot who doesn’t really understand the difference between sound mixing and sound editing. They sound exactly the same. That being said, as I mentioned earlier, I never saw American Sniper. If you want to hear my opinion on sound work, though, let’s just look ahead towards…

Sound Mixing:
Who I wanted to win: Whiplash
Who actually won: Whiplash
This movie lives and dies by its sound. It’s a movie about jazz and drumming, for goodness sake, and it sounds amazing. Every time I listen to that final solo, I melt a little bit. The detail that went into perfecting the sound for this movie must have been insane. I know musicians that saw the movie and found it to be almost a 1:1 ratio in terms of seen hits to music played. That’s pretty rare in film, if you didn’t know. Especially when said film has crazy-ass drum solos.

Visual Effects:
Who I wanted to win: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Who actually won: Interstellar
This is another category where I’m not going to raise a fuss for not getting my way. Interstellar is more than worthy of this award. I was just so blown away with the attention to detail in Dawn. I mean, watch the hair of the apes when its raining. That shit is insane. I can’t even imagine the work that took. Also that movie was great, and so it kinda deserved some Oscar attention. But apparently the effects of Interstellar are extremely accurate in portraying various phenomena in space, so what do I know?

2014, THE IMITATION GAME

Writing – Adapted Screenplay:
Who I wanted to win: The Imitation Game
Who actually won: The Imitation Game
The Imitation Game was great. It was just released in a year where it was almost destined to get overshadowed. That doesn’t detract at all from the amazing screenplay, though. Wonderfully written, it makes me want to read the book that inspired it.

Writing – Original Screenplay:
Who I wanted to win: Birdman
Who actually won: Birdman
Have you ever tried to write anything creative? It’s not easy, just so you know. Now, have you ever tried to write anything creative with another person? Let’s just say that sharing a singular vision is incredibly difficult to do. Writing in a team of four? Completely impossible, or so I’d say. Somehow, though, this foursome managed to put their heads together, put each of their greatest skills forward, and deliver a nuanced, deep, interesting character study and cultural commentary. I still don’t understand how they pulled that off.

And now it’s finally time for the BIG SIX!

*sound effect, sound effect, sound effect*
*sound effect, sound effect, sound effect*

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Supporting Actor:
Who I wanted to win: J.K. Simmons
Who actually won: J.K. Simmons
This man was a force of nature in Whiplash. It’s always great to see somebody finally receive some well-deserved attention after a long career, and Simmons has long-since paid his dues. I was certain that he had this category locked less than a half-hour into the film.

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Supporting Actress:
Who I wanted to win: Keira Knightley
Who actually won: Patricia Arquette
I actually thought that Keira Knightley was the best part of The Imitation Game. I feel pretty alone in that sentiment. I loved her character, and thought she was amazing in the role. Honestly, I’m not the hugest fan of Boyhood. I’m not saying that it isn’t worthy of praise, because it absolutely is, but I still think the movie itself is the tiniest bit overrated. Arquette was great in it, though, even if I didn’t really like her character very much. I can’t complain too much.

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Lead Actress:
Who I wanted to win: Rosamund Pike
Who actually won: Julianne Moore
I never saw Still Alice, so I really can’t say anything about Julianne Moore’s performance. I’m sure she was amazing. I can say, though, that I did see Gone Girl, and Rosamund Pike was mind-blowing. Honestly, Gone Girl was easily in my top three films of the year, and she was a huge factor in that. I don’t want to say too much if you haven’t see the movie, but just trust me when I say that she kills it. Now all of you snooty folks can judge my poor taste in movies because I loved Gone Girl.

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Lead Actor:
Who I wanted to win: Michael Keaton
Who actually won: Eddie Redmayne
Seriously, good on Eddie. He was amazing in The Theory of Everything. Hands down, a fantastic performance. Totally deserving of the award. I just love Michael Keaton so much. He did such a fantastic job in Birdman, and I really wanted to honor what he did. They both were so great, though, that it could have gone either way without too much complaint. Redmayne’s Oscar Speech was really endearing, though.

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Directing:
Who I wanted (or at least really expected) to win: Richard Linklater
Who actually won: Alejandro G. Iñárritu
I was certain that Linklater had this category locked. Seriously. I thought that the Academy would honor Birdman with Best Picture, but give Linklater the directing award. The guy worked on a film for 12 years. Twelve years! That’s some serious vision and dedication. I’ve mentioned that I don’t think Boyhood is that amazing of a film, but it is an amazing cinematic feat. Putting all of that together, Linklater should have probably nabbed this one. Not saying Iñárritu isn’t deserving of the award. Just sharing my surprise.

Birdman

Best Picture:
Who I wanted to win: Birdman
Who actually won: Birdman
Birdman was amazing. The acting was incredible across the board, the writing was fantastic, the cinematography was unique and imaginative, and it all came together into a cohesive film that had a lot to say. Frankly, I would have been a bit upset if something else won. Not saying some of the other nominees weren’t great, but I thought this was far and away the most deserving choice. I don’t want to spend too long talking about this though. I really loved Birdman, though, and I’m glad it won.


In Addition:

1.)  I really enjoyed Neil Patrick Harris’s hosting job. I thought he was a nice mix between the classier hosts and some of the more risque ones in recent memory. While a good number of the jokes fell flat, I blame the material more than him. Somehow, as a grown man, he still has a boyish charm that seems to elevate him past some of his foibles.

2.) I’m getting a bit annoyed at most of the winners using their speech as a soap box for their political or social stances. Look, I get it, you are very passionate about something. That’s wonderful. I just don’t want every other speech to be about somebody pointing out some slight in society. Look, we know they’re there. We’re watching this show to ESCAPE all of that for 3 hours. Talk about it on the internet like everybody else. Okay, maybe I’m just being a little bit critical about all of this. After all, I did love J.K. Simmons demand that we all take a stand and call our parents. That’s the kind of social movement I can get behind.

3.) Who knew Lady Gaga could clean up so well. Actually, I’m sure Lady Gaga fans knew that. I didn’t, though. She did amazingly during the Sound of Music tribute. Also, hearing Julie Andrews say “my dear Lady Gaga” was hilarious. Yes, I know everybody else mentions that. I still found it funny, and wanted to share.

4.) At some point, I think we have to start feeling bad for John Travolta. He’s clearly losing touch with reality. Either that, or has developed some serious social anxiety. Poor Idina Menzel and Scarlett Johansson. Still, I can’t wait to see what weird thing he does next year. Maybe this’ll become a yearly tradition.

Keep em coming, John.
Keep em coming, John.

In Summation:

All in all, the Oscars were a bit tame this year. Most of the favorites picked up their awards, Harris did a fine but forgettable job hosting, and the movies were pretty good but none seemed to stand out as future classics. Basically it was just another year of the Academy honoring itself. A lot of political declarations, awkward moments, and little mistakes here and there. Nothing to write home about. I was happy with almost every decision, and in a way that’s disappointing. There were no surprises this year. The only real surprise I had was about Linklater losing out on Best Director. Other than that, I feel like I could have done pretty damn well with an Oscar Party Ballet Sheet.

5 in a line gives me a Yahtzee, right?
5 in a line gives me a Yahtzee, right?

Final Score: 6/10

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