So, I’ve been wiped out with a cold for a little less than a week. Very bad news for worthwhile productivity, but very good news as far as reaching my goal to watch most of the Oscar nominated films this year. Since Saturday, I have watched The Imitation Game, Foxcatcher, Whiplash, The Theory of Everything, and Being Alice. That means I have now seen all the Best Picture nominees, all the Best Actor in a Leading Role nominees, and all but one of the Best Actress in a Leading Role nominees. Why did I challenge myself to watch the majority of the Oscar nominated movies this year? Because I’m a firm believer that you need to be knowledgable on any subject you’re formulating opinions about. How can I say that so-and-so (cough Benedict Cumberbatch cough) deserves to win Best Actor this year if I did not fairly and objectively watch all of the other performances that are nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role this year? I can’t, so I watch them all.
Now, I am not a “certified” movie critic, nor have I ever claimed to be. I’m just a twenty-five year old from the midwest who has an English degree specializing in Literature, which immensely helps me break down works of art into themes, central concepts, and all other types of exciting components that go into film and literature. I did take a film critic class in college, and I’ve been hooked on writing my own movie reviews ever since. Writing my own reviews proves to not only be enjoyable for me but also helps me process the film as a whole. With that being said, I do have my own predictions and hopes for this year’s Oscars. So, I’ll dive a little deeper into that.
Best Picture Nominees:
- American Sniper
- The Imitation Game
- Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
- The Grand Budapest Hotel
- The Theory of Everything
Honestly, guys…in my mind, this is a toss-up. How do you rank and compare films with such diverse themes? In American Sniper, you are dealing with the current war overseas. With Selma, you’re dealing with the Civil Rights Movement. In The Imitation Game, you’re dealing with World War II and the inhumane treatment of homosexuals during that time. There’s no one single concept that proves to be more prominent than the others. Sure, certain people will utilize their own experiences and opinions in order to formulate which one is more important to them – but in reality, they are all referencing major, noteworthy issues. Obviously, the issues that a film focuses on is not the only factor that should go into consideration for a Best Picture Academy Award, but I think a lot of people will agree with me on it being difficult to rank these movies to ultimately figure out which one is “best.” For me, it is like picking which members of the Beatles is my favorite. You just don’t have one single answer. So, in short… I’m glad I don’t have the Academy’s job. Some say the Golden Globes are a good predictor of the Oscar winners. If that is the case, Boyhood will bring the win home. If you want to know my opinion, The Imitation Game, American Sniper, and Selma score the highest, and in that order. Boyhood isn’t far behind. Now that doesn’t mean the other films weren’t great because I think a lot of them were and they were filled with spectacular performances. Those are just the films that resonated with me the most. They struck chords within me and lit small fires in my soul – put very dramatically, but if you will. My best guess is the Academy will choose American Sniper. Why? Because it revolves with the war that is going on right now, and we Americans love to get behind an inspiring and patriotic story, especially in the war that we have all lived through and are still living through. Not to mention the movie was done exceptionally well and Bradley Cooper did one hell of a job portraying Chris Kyle.
Best Actor in a Leading Role Nominees:
- Steve Carell, Foxcatcher
- Bradley Cooper, American Sniper
- Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game
- Michael Keaton, Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
- Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything
Now, I already let my favorite slip earlier in this post, but if you have already forgotten it I have no problem with saying again that I think Benedict Cumberbatch should win Best Actor in a Leading Role for The Imitation Game at this year’s Oscars. Hands down – by far. I have yet to see a performance that downright impressive since Daniel Day Lewis’s portrayal of Lincoln in….well, Lincoln. Cumberbatch gave a heartbreaking portrayal of Alan Turing. His remarkable performance was right up there with Sean Penn’s in I am Sam, which I am still salty about considering Sean Penn didn’t take home the award that year. I love my Denzel…but yeah, anyways…I digress. Alan Turing was a man who painstakingly stumbled through social settings leaving behind an uncomfortable sense of confusion and inflated confidence, and the film never swayed away from that fact. Cumberbatch played this role perfectly, adding in verbal and physical ticks, and of course, not forgetting the arrogance that undoubtedly accompanied the brilliant mind that was Alan Turing. However, Cumberbatch’s was smart enough to play all of these traits of Turing in a way that drew a sense of empathy. You all the sudden were catapulted into your own memory of your awkward third-grade self stuttering your way through a lackluster opinion about the pink Power Ranger to your classmates — wait, maybe that was just me. Regardless, I undeniably felt the pain that went along with being Alan Turing when it came to him fumbling his way in and out of social situations. I felt his brilliantly driven personality being misunderstood in my core. I was brought to tears not only watching his personality being misunderstood, but when the audience comes to the understanding that his sexuality, a large part of his being, was being drug through the mud along with his name. Cumberbatch encompassed Turing’s personality even in his narration – the lingering pauses, the stuttering words, the flawless articulation. Cumberbatch’s performance was one of the best I’ve seen in one of the best films of the year – quite a gift to the film loving community, indeed.
On the other hand, I also think Bradley Cooper has a great chance at winning this year. His portrayal of Chris Kyle was poignant, and above all, he made Kyle’s family proud. That is what it all boils down to, right? Acting in the form of imitation is to get it right, and according to Chris Kyle’s family, Cooper in addition to Clint Eastwood, did Chris Kyle justice. Also, I’m sorry to say, the Oscars are notorious for giving actor’s “gimme” awards if they may have screwed them over in the past. Just look at Denzel Washington when he won for Training Day when he should have won for The Hurricane years earlier and he beat out Sean Penn for his performance in I am Sam; or Sean Penn years later when he won for Mystic River when he should have won for I am Sam a few years earlier, and he ended up beating out Johnny Depp for his performance in Pirates of the Carribeean: Curse of the Black Pearl. Bradley Cooper was nominated for his performance in Silver Lining’s Playbook (Actor in Leading Role) and his performance in American Hustle (Supporting Actor), and he did not win any one of them. American Sniper might just be his win, and rightfully so.
Of course, this is all just my speculation and opinion. I have been wrong many times, and right a handful of times, so take this with a grain of salt. Overall, I am pleased with the nominations this year, despite snubbing David Oyelowo for Best Actor in a Leading Role for Selma. Honestly…what were they thinking? Not saying he could have won, but I’m saying he at least deserved to be nominated. End of story. That performance brought me to tears. Again, I digress. I hope you all are excited to watch the results live in a few weeks when the Academy Awards air, in the mean time…I will continue to speculate 🙂