The 87th Academy Awards in Bulk, Biased and Brutal Review.

Every year the Academy Awards scrutinise the years “BEST PICTURE” nominees to advise us which they think is the top of the pops, the king of the mountain, the cream of the crop if you will. And, almost every year they pick the worst movie to get Best Picture.Last year with the selection of “Gravity” the Academy betrayed us all, some are now too afraid to even bother watching the nominated films in case they are traumatised by yet another colossal disappointment. But we say not this year, never forgive and never forget.

SO, here at CablaGoobla we have taken the metaphorical bullet for you all and trudged through every single film  nominated for Best Picture. Eight films, sixteen hours in total. There were eye rolls, tears shed, joyous laughter and violent cursing, so here I present you with the fruits of my labour. Enjoy.

Now we can all wait for the results on February 22nd hosted by Neil Patrick Harris.

grand budapest

Directed by Wes Anderson, Written by Wes Anderson & Hugo Guinness

If you haven’t seen this film yet, I recommend you view it ASAP! Another wonderful masterpiece by Wes Anderson, who I know isn’t to everyone’s tastes but is one of my favourite directors.

Focusing on the history of The Grand Budapest Hotel this film follows the tales of Anderson’s rich and delightful characters. Through misadventure, deaths, war, prison breaks and first loves this film is a journey that will have you laughing at the wit of M. Gustave (played by Ralph Fiennes) one minute than gasping at the ingenious climaxes the next.

The detail and precision that went into this film is up to the usual Wes Anderson standard of finesse, I would go so far as to say this is now my favourite of all his films (a title that has been held by Rushmore for a decade).

Academy Award chances; although highly deserving of Best Director and in my opinion a top two for Best Picture, I am doubtful the Academy will justly present The Grand Budapest with this honour (based purely on past winners and also Eastwood being nominated for American Sniper).But, it has my vote and let’s not forget Margaret and David from the movie show (RIP) also sung many a praise in it’s direction.

the imitation game

Directed by Morten Tyldum, Written by Graham Moore (adapted from the book by Andre Hodges)

If you’re not a history aficionado here’s what you need to know; during the Second World War the Nazi’s developed and used the most sophisticated system of encryption ever seen on Planet Earth. Their machine (named Enigma) encoded all important communications between German operations, it had a number of settings that were changed each day, a possible 150 million million (that’s not a typo) different settings existed; the code was widely believed to be unbreakable.

Cue Benedict Cumberbatch who plays Alan Touring aka the most brilliant mind in 1940s Britain / the world. But this isn’t just a movie about spies, war and breaking the most difficult code in history – it is HIS story. A story that was overlooked, buried and hidden from the world until a few years ago.

This film is brilliantly made, a bit slow at times and don’t expect an all out war or spy film, it’s a very personal and touching story of one man who became entangled with the likes of Churchill and MI6. The plot is thrilling in the sense of a seemingly impossible code needs to be broken, but changes every day, and every day the Nazi’s are conquering Europe and tens of thousands of lives are lost, it is not a deadline that I envy. Alan Touring was a genius, that can not be debated, but this film also follows his personal struggles as a Homosexual man in an era where being gay was a criminal offence.

In summary – Cumberbatch is fantastic, Keira Knightley (who I hate with a passion) is actually bearable in a supporting role, killer score / soundtrack, challenging, inspiring and exceeding clever, just like Touring himself.

Oscar chances – This was a very very good film, however I am unsure it will get the “Best Picture” award. My cynicism lays within the fact that it is a depiction of the Allied Victory of WWII that does not come with the sub heading “How America Saved the World.” Yes I do believe the Academy is that fickle. Best Original score is a possible win for this as well as well as Best Actor (which is a tough one this year) but Cumberbatch is much deserving of the title.

theory of everything

Directed by James Marsh, Written by Anothony McCarten (adapted from the book by Jane Hawking)

A film about the life and work of renowned physicist Stephen Hawking, oh sorry did I say it was about his work, I meant it focuses purely on his debilitating disease and personal life.
I try to avoid being cruel or harsh with my reviews, but this was BY FAR the dullest and least brain stimulating film I have seen in a long long while. This is surprising (and I mean this seriously) considering it follows the life of one of the most brilliant minds of our age and his groundbreaking theories on time and space.

Noooooo, this movie decided that the genius work of Hawking was pretty non-pertinent and decided instead to be a two hour montage of Eddie Redmayne portraying a man losing all of his bodily functions. Neither touching nor inspirational The Theory of Everything is 100% bleak, the only part I liked was a montage at the end that had the highlights of the film backwards, which was very cleverly edited. I recommend instead of drudging your way through the swamp that is this film, you just watch that single five minute section. Again, you would think this movie would pull on the heart strings, WRONG AGAIN.This is coming from a woman who cried in “Real Steel” (yes I mean the Hugh Jackman robot boxing moving). The relationship between Jackman and his fighting robot was scripted better and more intense than any of the character relationships in The Theory of Everything.

I would also like to add that it felt like it went FOREVER. I kid you not, at one point in the movie I was distracted by thinking about doing the dishes… a chore that I am sure you will all agree is THE WORST. So, like it’s good friend dishwashing, this movie is a front-runner for the category of “Most painful and boring two hours spent this week.”

Academy Award chances, ummm I honestly can’t find a positive, but I will leave this clip of the wise and powerful Winslet to sum up my thoughts…

Ah Winslet, so wise.
whiplash

Directed & Written by Damien Chazelle

Whiplash is a story about a young drummer Andrew (Miles Teller) who is enrolled in a high standard,high pressure music conservatory in New York City. The film follows his pursuit of greatness as a jazz drummer under the guidance of his brutal mentor Fletcher (J.K Simmons).

I went into this movie very skeptical, I am not a fan of jazz and didn’t know much about the story before the film started. But I was pleasantly surprised, I absolutely LOVED this movie. The music,  and tension that fills this film is absolutely electric. The script, cinematography and editing suck you in to the close up world of aspiring musicians in what is arguably the most competitive and cut-throat city in the world. If Tom Cross doesn’t take the Best Editing gong it will be a crime against perfectionism.

The two leading actors are brilliant, the young Miles Teller who plays Andrew is 100% convincing and in my eyes, one to watch in future.

Academy Award chances, well this ones a bit tricky.. I think it is certainly deserving of recognition, for Best Picture I think the lack of big names in the cast may hold this little guy back, but for me it’s the editing that truly sets this film apart from all the others, Tom Cross; consider yourself backed. I truly think JK Simmons (who many of you will know as Schillinger the neo nazi from “Oz”) deserves Best Supporting Actor!

birdmanDirected by Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Written by Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Nicolas Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris & Armando Bo.

If slow burn drama is your jam than this film is going to be right up your alley! Starring Michael Keaton as a washed up actor famous for his youthful role as the superhero “Birdman” this movie is a rollercoaster of fierce words and fiercer delivery.

Keaton, Edward Norton, Naomi Watts and Emma Stone deliver their lines like punches to the face and the whole film has a backing track scored by Antonio Sanchez that hits every beat as hard. The cinematography is beyond brilliant, leading and luring you through the lives of the main players, backstage and on stage of the play the film centers around.

As I mentioned earlier this is a slow burn drama, without significant events or even a real climax so it’s not going to be for everyone, I’ll admit towards the end I did find myself becoming distracted. But it kept pulling me back in with those long tracing camera shots and punchy, fast dialogue, one of my favourites this year.
In terms of it’s Academy Award chances I would rate this as a high chance, specifically for it’s Direction and Cinematography.

boyhood

Directed & Written by Richard Linklater

Most of you have probably already read my review of Boyhood which can be found (here).

But for the sake of continuity I will wrap it up in this bulk piece. Richard Linklater (Before Sunrise Trilogy) wrote and directed this film which was made over twelve years. I loved this movie (except the terrible characterisation of the main characters mother, played by Patricia Arquette) and found it touching, engaging and beautifully made.

HOWEVER, my co-contributor here at CablaGoobla was really not a fan and I can totally understand why. This is a film that you will either love or hate, and it seems like the big wigs in Hollywood are leaning towards love.

Academy Award chances; well Boyhood took the Best Picture (Drama) award at the Golden Globes and is tipped to do pretty well for itself at the Academy Awards. Given the film was made over a decade I feel a few Oscars are definitely deserved for this hard working and dedicated ensemble. Also Patricia Arquette has my backing to take out Best Supporting Actress; just because her character is in my opinion a pretty terrible cop out doesn’t mean she didn’t play her exceedingly well!

SelmaDirected by Ava DuVernay, Written by Paul Webb.

Selma follows Martin Luther King Jnr leading a campaign for equal voting rights for African Americans in Alabama 1965. This is a VERY brief explanation of the setting but being the history nerd that I am (and having coincidentally written a major essay about this last year) I really have to restrain myself from going on a full blown history lesson here. After the Birmingham Church bombing perpetrated by the KKK that killed four young girls, the eyes of the world were on Alabama and it’s disgustingly racist Governer; George Wallace (played by Tim Roth).

The film followes the strategy, campaigning and protests surrounding this explosive era in the Civil  Rights Movement led by the incredible Martin Luther King Jnr. (played very well by David Olelowo)

Although an incredibly powerful story the movie somewhat misses the mark. That being said how can any recreation truly capture the powerful spirit of MLK and his associates. It felt like this film was just banking on the power of it’s real life characters and events rather than working to create a movie that could do them true justice.

Also, as with most movies based on history there are many true life characters who were involved in this epic series of demonstrations that are regretfully not included.But that’s just me being a historical accuracies fanatic.

All in all, if you’re really interesting in MLK and the Civil Rights Movement in general there are much better ways to learn about it than this film. It’s oooookay but it lacks charisma, which is really unfortunate given it is about one of histories most charismatic and inspirational characters.

Awards chances; well given the competition I don’t think this is going to take out Best Picture. I think it does have a good chance for taking out best original song; “Glory” by John Legend and Common.
American SniperDirected by Clint Eastwood, Written by Jason Hall (adapted from the book written by Chris Kyle, Scott McEwen & James Defelice.

Bradley Cooper plays Chris Kyle (Bradley Cooper); the real life Navy SEAL sniper remembered as the greatest marksman in US military history in this raw, heart wrenching and anxiety provoking film.

I’m generally not a fan of war films, but Clint Eastwood has done a phenomenal job with this film. It had me gripped from start to finish. Not only about the military life of Kyle, the movie follows his journey at home and the strain his commitment to the Navy Seals puts on his marriage to Taya (Sienna Miller). Sienna Miller was ROBBED with her lack of nomination for this role, and I think Cooper might be a shoe in for best actor with this.

Well played Clint Eastwood, you had my crying like a baby and breaking out in cold sweats, this film was by far the most surprising of all the nominees for me.Ye be warned though, it will leave you in emotional turmoil and is not for the faint of heart.

Award chances; well aside from Sienna Miller not being nominated (which is bullshit) I think Eastwood has a pretty good shot at Best Director, I think this may take out Best Picture as well.

In summary, each of these films is incredibly original (except The Theory of Wasting Time) and it is going to be difficult to judge them in a parallel fashion, I do not envy the Academy this year but I am confident they will probably make the wrong choices…. I think Best Actor is going to be a very hard one to watch as Cumberbatch & Cooper are closely matched….Can they defeat the Winslet rule of Oscars? Best Director is another category that I will be biting my nails over, can’t wait for the big night!

I have my list of predictions for each and every category but I am going to keep them to myself, I feel like if I publish them and get them all wrong it will tarnish the great name of CablaGoobla forever.

For those of you who committed to reading this entire blog, I would like to thank you all, and leave you with a special gift 🙂

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