My Own 87th Academy Awards

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by Brian Surber

Since  Oscar night is upon us, I figured it was my duty to share with you all my picks for this years awards. I will tell you where my vote would go and a few of the films the Academy was too….let’s say, silly….to include.

The nominees will be presented in order of what I would vote for. I have to have seen at least 2 of the nominees for said category to qualify. Films I have not seen will be marked by an *.

Enjoy and comment below if the mood strikes you.

Best Picture

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1. Boyhood
2. Whiplash
3. Selma
4. Birdman
5. The Grand Budapest Hotel
6. The Imitation Game
7. The Theory of Everything
8. American Sniper
notable omissions: Interstellar, Gone Girl, Wild.

–Boyhood is absolutely the film of the year! A masterpiece of humanity. There is no other choice. But if there was it’s the startling and refreshing Whiplash, a film that brings the audience to its feet.

Best Director

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1. Richard Linklater – Boyhood
2. Alejandro G. Iñárritu – Birdman
3. Bennet Miller – Foxcatcher
4. Wes Anderson – The Grand Budapest Hotel
5. Morten Tyldum – The Imitation Game
notable omissions: Ava DuVernay- Selma, Damian Chazelle- Whiplash, Phil Miller and Chris Lord- The Lego Movie

–The thought of going back to a single film year after year with such precision and focus to carry out a specific vision is nothing short of breathtaking. Plus he made those “Before” films. Those are okay, I guess.

Best Actor

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1. Eddie Redmayne – The Theory of Everything
2. Michael Keaton – Birdman
3. Steve Carell – Foxcatcher
4. Benedict Cumberbatch – The Imitation Game
5. Bradley Cooper – American Sniper
notable omissions: David Oyelowo- Selma, Jake Gyllenhaal- Nightcrawler, Miles Teller- Whiplash

–It’s Keaton’s comeback year and the trophy would be his if it wasn’t for Redmayne’s complete transformation. Body, mind, and soul are given to Eddie’s performance, it’s really quite beautiful.

Best Actress

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1. Rosamund Pike – Gone Girl
2. Reese Witherspoon – Wild
3. Julianne Moore – Still Alice
4. Marion Cotillard – Two Days, One Night
5. Felicity Jones – The Theory of Everything
notable omissions: Essie Davis- The Babadook, Tessa Thompson- Dear White People

–Julianne Moore should win to commemorate her brilliant career, and while she’s good in the film she isn’t the best on this list. Reese Witherspoon gives the best performance of her career in Wild and Rosamund Pike takes the most difficult role of the year and runs with it. The confidence Pike shows in her performance in Gone Girl can’t be beat this year.

Best Supporting Actress

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1. J.K. Simmons – Whiplash
2. Edward Norton – Birdman
3. Ethan Hawke – Boyhood
4. Mark Ruffalo – Foxcatcher
5. Robert Duvall – The Judge
notable omissions: Shia LaBeouf- Fury, Logan Lerman- Fury

–I mean, come on.

Best Supporting Actress

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1. Patricia Arquette – Boyhood
2. Emma Stone – Birdman
3. Laura Dern – Wild
4. Meryl Streep – Into the Woods
5. Keira Knightley – The Imitation Game
notable omissions: Carrie Coon- Gone Girl, Agata Kulesza- Ida, Emily Blunt- Edge of Tomorrow

–The heart and heartbreak of the best film of the year, yeah, she gets my vote.

Best Original Screenplay

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1. Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr. & Armando Bo – Birdman
2. Richard Linklater – Boyhood
3. Wes Anderson and Hugo Guinness – The Grand Budapest Hotel
4. Dan Gilroy – Nightcrawler
5. E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman – Foxcatcher
notable omissions: Jennifer Kent- The Babadook, Phil Miller, Chris Lord, Dan Hageman, and Kevin Hageman – The Lego Movie

–Every aspect of Birdman is a marvel, and the script is one of the most impressive. Vibrant, witty, relevant, and cutting. The scene between Riggan and the theater critic alone earns this award. Everyone of these nominees is a brilliant script, very strong category.

Best Adapted Screenplay

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1. Damien Chazelle – Whiplash
2. Graham Moore – The Imitation Game
3. Anthony McCarten – The Theory of Everything
4. Paul Thomas Anderson – Inherent Vice*
5. Jason Hall – American Sniper
notable omissions: Gillian Flynn- Gone Girl, Nick Hornby- Wild, Bong Joon-ho and Kelly Masterson- Snowpiercer, Lukas Moodysson- We Are the Best!

–Powerful and precise at every level, the Whiplash script is just bursting with the same tension that is displayed on screen.

Best Animated Feature

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1. How to Train Your Dragon 2
2. The Tale of Princess Kaguya*
3. The Boxtrolls*
4. Song of the Sea*
5. Big Hero 6
notable omissions: The “Motherfucking” Lego Movie

–This still stings. But if we are giving it to something other than that little movie about blocks, let’s go with the outstanding sequel to what is turning into a great franchise. Plus, this will make up for the fact that the first film was nominated against Toy Story 3.

Best Cinematography

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1. Emmanuel Lubezki – Birdman
2. Dick Poop – Mr. Turner
3. Lukasz Zal and Ryszard Lenczewski – Ida
4. Robert Yeoman – The Grand Budapest Hotel
5. Roger Deakins – Unbroken
notable omissions: Selma, Gone Girl

–An entire movie, spanning two weeks, in one single shot. Done deal. Though, this is also a really strong category. Ida is shot like a series of haunting photographs and Mr. Turner looks as beautiful and sweeping as one of the title character’s paintings.

Best Costume Design

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1. Milena Canonero – The Grand Budapest Hotel
2. Jacqueline Durran – Mr. Turner
3. Colleen Atwood – Into the Woods
4. Mark Bridges – Inherent Vice*
5. Anna B. Sheppard – Maleficent*
notable omissions: Selma

–The most spot-on costumes of the year belong to Wes Anderson’s most spot-on film. Like all of Anderson’s works, the film is detailed almost to a fault – almost – and the vibrant costumes are no exception.

Best Film Editing

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1. Tom Cross – Whiplash
2. Sandra Adair –
Boyhood
3. Barney Pilling – The Grand Budapest Hotel
4. Joel Cox and Gary D. Roach – American Sniper
5. William Goldenberg – The Imitation Game
notable omissions: Birdman, Gone Girl, The Raid 2: Berandal

–Whiplash’s editing style is a character all by itself. It carries you and controls you, mesmerizing. The challenge of putting a 12 year project together into a 3 hour cohesive and beautiful film makes Adair’s work a close second.

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

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1. Elizabeth Yianni-Georgiou and David White – Guardians of the Galaxy
2. Bill Corso and Dennis Liddiard – Foxcatcher
3. Frances Hannon and Mark Coulier – The Grand Budapest Hotel
notable omissions: Mr. Turner

–Drax’s makeup alone is stunning.

Best Original Score

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1. Hans Zimmer – Interstellar
2. Alexandre Desplat – The Grand Budapest Hotel
3. Gary Yershon – Mr. Turner
4. Johann Johannsson – The Theory of Everything
5. Alexandre Desplat – The Imitation Game
notable omissions: Birdman, Gone Girl

–Interstellar is Zimmer’s best score. It’s a rising, spectacular piece of music. The Grand Budapest Hotel’s score is crazy-fun, though.

Best Original Song

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1. Glory – Selma
2. Everything is Awesome – The Lego Movie
3. Lost Stars – Begin Again
4. Grateful – Beyond the Lights
5. I’m Not Gonna Miss You – Glen Campbell…I’ll Be Me*
notable omissions: Yellow Flicker Beat – The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part I, Split the Difference – Boyhood

–A song that’s so incredibly power and rich, Glory speaks to the past and present. At a close second, Everything is Awesome is…well…

Best Production Design

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1. Adam Stockhausen and Anna Pinnock – The Grand Budapest Hotel
2. Suzie Davies and Charlotte Watts – Mr. Turner
3. Nathan Crowley and Gary Fettis – Interstellar
4. Dennis Gassner and Anna Pinnock – Into the Woods
5. Maria Djurkovic and Tatiana Macdonald – The Imitation Game
notable omissions: Snowpiercer, and The Lego Movie

–That hotel, though. Each set holds it’s own personality in The Grand Budapest Hotel, and the use of miniatures is really inspired. The sets in Mr. Turner feel the most real, authentic, and beautiful, but it comes up short.

Best Sound Editing

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1. Richard King – Interstellar
2. Martin Hernandez and Aaron Glascock – Birdman
3. Alan Robert Murray and Bub Asman – American Sniper
4. Brent Burge and Jason Canovas – The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
5. Becky Sullivan and Andrew DeCristofaro – Unbroken
notable omissions: Godzilla, Whiplash, Gone Girl

–Some hated the sound in Interstellar. I didn’t.

Best Sound Mixing

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1. Craig Mann – Whiplash
2. Gary A. Rizzo, Gregg Landaker, and Mark Weingarten – Interstellar
3. Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montano, and Thomas Varga – Birdman
4. John Reitz, Gregg Rudloff, and Walt Martin – American Sniper
5. Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montano, and David Lee – Unbroken
notable omissions: The Lego Movie, Edge of Tomorrow, Godzilla

–Every crash, boom, pound of those drums hits like a bullet.

Best Visual Effects

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1. Paul Franklin, Andrew Lockley, Ian Hunter and Scott Fisher – Interstellar
2. Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, Daniel Barrett and Erik Winquist – Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
3. Stephane Ceretti, Nicolas Aithadi, Jonathan Fawkner and Paul Corbould – Guardians of the Galaxy
4. Dan DeLeeuw, Russell Earl, Bryan Grill and Dan Sudick – Captain American: The Winter Soldier
5. Richard Stammers, Lou Pecora, Tim Crosbie and Cameron Waldbauer – X-Men: Days of Future Past
notable omissions: Godzilla

–The effects in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes are revolutionary. But Interstellar took you inside a black hole! And the knowledge that a lot of the effects were practical makes them all the more special.

Awards Tally:

Whiplash – 4
Boyhood – 3
Interstellar – 3
Birdman – 2
The Grand Budapest Hotel – 2
Gone Girl – 1
Guardians of the Galaxy – 1
How to Train Your Dragon – 1
Selma – 1
The Theory of Everything – 1

Now, that would be a successful Academy Awards!

Enjoy the show and again, feel free to comment.

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