Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Top five Oscar nominations wishlist.

Tomorrow at 8:30 AM, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will announce their nominations for the best achievements in film of 2014. For the first time in their history, the Academy will be announcing all 24 categories at once, and man, are we all excited for it!

Recently, expert Oscar predictors have released what they think will be nominated in all the categories, and some have even released wish lists for films that they wish to see nominated.

In light of this, I decided to do the same thing, and give you my top five nominations I want to see most. I only have a couple of rules for how I went through with this.

1) The film must not be a longshot (ie. a performance from Ida getting in), and must have some legitimate chance at making it in.
2) The wish list cannot include any guaranteed locks.
3) The wish list cannot have any one film receiving more than one slot.

With that said, here’s my list.

5. Wes Anderson for The Grand Budapest HotelBest Director
I’m probably cheating a little bit by including this, but unlike most prognosticators, I’d argue this nomination isn’t as safe as we assume. There’s no doubt that the film’s incredible staying power and passionate fanbase are very vocal, but I fear that in spite of how beloved the film is, Anderson’s comparatively idiosyncratic style may be left out of the final five. The film owes much of its charm and thematic strength to Anderson’s stylistics as an auteur, and to see him make it in here would be incredibly satisfying.

4. Josh Brolin in Inherent ViceBest Supporting Actor
I’m not particularly crazy about the film, but Brolin was one of the best things about it. He gives such a darkly comical performance, his character being irrepressibly violent, and boasting an egotistical sense of superiority. I doubt the Academy is going to go for the film, but Supporting Actor is weak enough and Brolin’s reviews are strong enough, that I dare to say he could actually pull it off. His chief competition for the fifth and final slot comes in the form of Robert Duvall in The Judge, and if the Academy doesn’t go for that film, hopefully Brolin will eke it out to the top five.

3. SelmaBest Film Editing
It was very hard deciding which category I most wanted this film to make an appearance in. I debated choosing Ava DuVernay to show up in directing, and also Original Screenplay for Paul Webb’s fantastic script, but I ultimately decided to go for Spencer Averick, whose editing was an essential for conveying every gut-wrenching impact of disturbing violence onscreen, and kept a core and necessary balance between the focus on the march in Alabama and its many participants, as well as the demons surrounding Dr. King himself. I don’t expect the film to be shut out of any of these categories, but with how shaky Paramount’s campaign with this film has been, and with the film’s absence in numerous major guilds, you never know.

2. “Yellow Flicker Beat” from The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1Best Original Song
In spite of “The Hanging Tree” ultimately being the more popular song, and not being eligible for this category, I think this song still has a good shot at making it in. Admittedly its buzz is owed to the overwhelming popularity of its writer and performer Lorde (who I’m convinced can do no wrong), but the song is just as strong on its own, driven by mixtures of dark minimalism and pulsing percussion beats, complimented beautifully by Lorde’s lyrics and vocals. No Hunger Games film has ever been acknowledged in this category (or by the Academy in general), despite being recognized by the Golden Globes three times in a row, but with a category as potentially wide open as Original Song, I hope that this film will be the first to break the trend.

1. How to Train Your Dragon 2Best Original Score
It was never going to be anything else! I’ve been a hardcore fan of this film ever since seeing it in June, and I’ve long championed John Powell’s contributions to the first film as being among the greatest film scores to grace cinema, and the second film’s score, rather than being the blatant rehash so many sequel scores are, is a great continuation and expansion that not only features at least ten new themes at play, but equally matches the quality of the original. The fact that the first score was able to earn - and it was hard-earned - a surprise nomination in the category was nothing short of a miracle, and I don’t quite expect Powell to pull it off again (though I will be expecting the more inspired IFMCA’s to give him his due), but I would be ecstatic to see it happen. The category isn’t completely set in stone. Everyone agrees that The Imitation Game, Interstellar, and The Theory of Everything are the safest bets, but beyond that, it’s trickier to call. They could go for scores such as The Homesman, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Big Eyes, Unbroken, or even (sadly) Gone Girl, but the slate of contenders is limited enough, and the Dragon scores have very vocal fan bases. I’m not brave enough to predict it, but don’t be shocked if it manages to make it in.

Honorable Mentions:
Amy Adams in Big Eyes – Best Actress
The Book of Life – Best Animated Feature
X-Men: Days of Future Past – Best Visual Effects

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