Saturday, February 7, 2015

Oscars 2015: If I Had A Ballot

Hello, Bloggers, as part of my Oscar coverage, I figured that I would share my thoughts on what my personal Oscar ballot would look like if I was a voting member of the Academy and I will even acknowledge those who would've almost made the cut. Here we go:

Best Picture:
Birdman
Boyhood
Gone Girl
Guardians Of The Galaxy
Interstellar
The LEGO Movie
Locke
Obvious Child
Starred Up
Whiplash

Despite Starred Up being ineligible, I still feel that it wouldn't be out of place if it was actually nominated as it is powerful filmmaking at its finest. Also, just to spice things up, I figured that I'd include Guardians of the Galaxy, Interstellar, and The Lego Movie to create a balance between larger and smaller films.

HM: The Babadook, Calvary, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Ida, Life Itself, Pride, The Way He Looks

Best Director:
Damien Chazelle, Whiplash
Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu, Birdman
Jennifer Kent, The Babadook
Richard Linklater, Boyhood
David MacKenzie, Starred Up

Not only would I have included Innaritu and Linklater for their revolutionary directing work, but Jennifer Kent, who made her breakthrough by using a monster movie as a character study, Damien Chazelle, who made a movie about drums and music seem like warfare, and David MacKenzie, who gave us a no holds barred look into prison life. 

HM: David Fincher, Gone Girl, Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Christopher Nolan, Interstellar

Best Actor:
Pierre Deladonchamps, Stranger By The Lake
Jake Gyllenhaal, Nightcrawler
Tom Hardy, Locke
Michael Keaton, Birdman
Jack O’Connell, Starred Up

So many great leading male performances, so few slots. While I was pleased with who the Academy actually nominated and still kept Michael Keaton, there were still other performances that I would've loved to see get recognized. Some of which had no fighting chance like Jack O'Connell's Brando turn in Starred Up, Pierre Deladonchamps for his literal and figuratively full-bodied turn in Stranger By The Lake, and Tom Hardy's one-man-show in Locke. Of course, Jake Gyllenhaal isn't forgotten either for his best work to date as sociopath Lou Bloom in Nightcrawler. 

HM: Ben Affleck, Gone Girl, Bradley Cooper, American Sniper, Ralph Fiennes, Grand Budapest Hotel, Brendan Gleeson, Calvary, Matthew McConaughey, Interstellar, Channing Tatum, Foxcatcher, Miles Teller, Whiplash 

Best Actress:
Marion Cotillard, Two Days, One Night
Julianne Moore, Maps To The Stars
Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl
Jenny Slate, Obvious Child
Agata Trzebuchowska, Ida

While I am applauding Julianne Moore's amazing work in Still Alice, because I am a sucker for those neurotic ice queen roles, I went with her turn as psychotic Hollywood diva Havana Segrand in Maps To The Stars. Marion Cotillard and Rosamund Pike also find their way onto my ballot along with two breakthrough performances: Jenny Slate's hilariously layered turn in Obvious Child and Agata Trzebuchowska for her subtle yet powerful work as the titular dynamic nun in Ida.

HM: Jennifer Aniston, CakeEmily Blunt, Into The Woods, Essie Davis, The Babadook, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Belle, Reese Witherspoon, Wild

Best Supporting Actress:
Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
Carrie Coon, Gone Girl
Agata Kulesza, Ida
Emma Stone, Birdman
Tilda Swinton, Snowpiercer

Since Agata Trzebuchowska and Kulesza's characters are like two halves of the same, I figured it'd be fitting that they'd both be recognized. Despite her and Rosamund Pike never sharing the same scenes, Carrie Coon is a welcoming presence everytime she is on screen as the protagonist's stern yet sardonic sister Margo "'Go" Dunne. In my opinion, it was 'disorder' that Tilda Swinton wasn't nominated for her scene-chewing turn as corporal Mason in Snowpiercer,  who is like a shoe claiming to be a head. 

HM: Laura Dern, Wild, Kim Dickens, Gone Girl, Anna Kendrick, Into The Woods, Kelly Reilly, Calvary, Imelda Staunton, Pride, Naomi Watts, Birdman

Best Supporting Actor:
Ethan Hawke, Boyhood
Ben Mendelsohn, Starred Up
Edward Norton, Birdman
Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher
J.K. Simmons, Whiplash

As you can see, my lineup is almost similar to the Oscars, but that is because most of the supporting male performances that are getting recognized are some of the best of the year, in my opinion. However, if Ben Mendelsohn actually was nominated, I feel he would've given frontrunner J.K. Simmons a run for his money. 

HM: Josh Brolin, Inherent Vice, Michael Fassbender, Frank, Chris O'Dowd, Calvary, Christophe Paou, Stranger By The Lake, Tyler Perry, Gone Girl

Best Adapted Screenplay:
Gone Girl
The Imitation Game
Inherent Vice
Obvious Child
Wild

Best Original Screenplay:
Birdman
Boyhood
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The LEGO Movie
Whiplash

Even though it was recognized in the Adapted category, because it was put in the Original category everywhere else, Whiplash makes this already stacked category.

Best Cinematography:
Birdman
Grand Budapest Hotel
Ida
Interstellar
Stranger By The Lake

With the exception of Interstellar and Stranger By The Lake, it seems that I am in sync with the Academy in terms of this category. Interstellar, I felt, was beautifully shot by Hoyte von Hoytema. Stranger By The Lake was also beautifully shot too, but to contrast with the evil that lies beneath the surface, behind the sunny Eden-esque paradise. 

Best Editing:
Birdman
Boyhood
Interstellar
Locke
Whiplash

Best Production Design:
Divergent
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Into The Woods
Only Lovers Left Alive
Snowpiercer

As I said in my review of Only Lovers Left Alive, they managed to use the different settings and make it feel like they are characters themselves. While it may not be as in your face, it is still very inventive in my opinion. It seems that Tilda Swinton is like a good luck charm for this category as not only was Grand Budapest Hotel's colorful PD nominated, but Snowpiercer for its different train cabbages that are like different worlds. 

Best Costume Design:
Divergent
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Inherent Vice
Into The Woods
Snowpiercer

Some may seem surprised by my inclusion of Divergent on my ballot given the film's reception, but I just loved how they color-coded the different factions like in the book. 

Best Visual Effects:
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Guardians of the Galaxy      
Interstellar
Into The Woods
X-Men: Days of Future Past

Best Makeup:
Grand Budapest Hotel
Guardians of the Galaxy
Into The Woods
Snowpiercer
X-Men: Days of Future Past

Best Song:
“I Love You All” by Michael Fassbender, Frank
“Beating Heart” by Ellie Goulding, Divergent
“The Hanging Tree” by Jennifer Lawrence, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay-Part I
“I Won’t Let You Go” by Snow Patrol, Divergent
“Everything Is Awesome” by Tegan and Sara ft. The Lonely Island, The LEGO Movie

Best Original Score:
American Sniper
Birdman
Gone Girl
Interstellar
Only Lovers Left Alive

Best Ensemble:
Birdman
Foxcatcher
Gone Girl
Inherent Vice
Into The Woods

Best Sound:
Birdman
Interstellar
Starred Up
Stranger By The Lake
Whiplash

I decided not to divide the sound categories and just recognize which films had the best use of sound in general. Of course, Whiplash makes it on here since it is a film about music as well as Interstellar and Birdman. In a way, I felt that the filmmakers of Starred Up used the harsh sounds the characters make like the slashing of a knife to help add to the intense atmosphere. But Stranger By The Lake creates an intoxicating aura that can be heard in the background with the sounds of birds chirping mixed with men panting as they are engaged in sexual activity.

Best Foreign Language Film:
Force Majeure (Sweden)
Ida (Poland)
Stranger By The Lake (France)
Two Days, One Night (Belgium)
The Way He Looks (Brazil)

So that is what my ballot would look like if I was a member of the Academy. If you agree or disagree with any of my picks, please feel free to write your thoughts in the comments section.  My Oscar coverage will continue once the BAFTA Awards roll around tomorrow. Until then, thanks for reading!