We still have a few hours left until the Awards ceremony. Most important categories are still left to review, and everything will be decided tonight. I left “foreign movie”, “documentary” and “featured animation” as the categories I will write about after the ceremony because I didn’t manage to watch them all. However, most important categories of every ceremony: Best Director and Best movie will be the subject of the following text. They are connected and in many ways important, and I will write about them in the same post to avoid repeating myself.
Best director nominees are: Wes Anderson, Alejandro Gonzales Iñárritu, Richard Linklater, Bennett Miller and Morten Tydlum.
Best movie: Grand Budapest Hotel, Birdman or Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance, Boyhood, Foxcatcher, Imitation Game, Selma, Whiplash, Theory of Everything and American Sniper.
From that list American Sniper completely missed my taste and I would not consider it for the best movie. More detailed review why can be read HERE but I think that gross on the box-office in the recent weeks has risen Chris Kyle and his achievements in the war much higher than they objectively deserved. How much I disliked American Sniper, that much I loved Selma. Selma was a wonderful movie about civil rights and David Oyelowo in his role of Martin Luther King Jr. was brilliant. Selma was definition of everything positive about pride and patriotism, American Sniper pulled the exact opposite extreme.
Two movies that were more individual and more personal than social and often criticized Selma and AS, Theory of Everything and Whiplash are different movies by subject and approach entirely. Whiplash theme was extremes conflicting to fulfill ambitions, and the Theory of Everything was about the development of the relationship in an unusual circumstance and dismantling the same relationship when both participants have become tired with their choices. Of that bunch, Whiplash and Selma would make my short list with the best movie title, Theory of Everything and American Sniper would be crossed from the list. And now, the big guns are coming to town.
Movies that are nominated both in the category of the best movie and the best director have enough power to make the fight for the best movie even more interesting. Boyhood, Birdman, Grand Budapest Hotel, Imitation Game and Foxcatcher in that exact order would be contenders to Selma and Whiplash. Foxcatcher delivered in the aspect of scary roles of Channing Tatum and especially Steve Carell. They were the dynamic duo of the movie in which only entirely positive character, giving balance to the deranged duo was Mark Ruffalo as Dave. Hulk made peace with the world and the world shot him for it. He will make up for that in some Marvel flick, the Avengers are the first on the repertoire. Jokes aside, Foxcatcher was intriguing movie in which some serious shortcomings connect with the most dramatic event and the screenplay downplayed the pace and atmosphere which were by Miller’s filmmaking slow enough. I appreciate Miller and that particular atmosphere he does in his movies, but in this one he didn’t get me. I evaded the movie’s dynamic and if there was no Steve Carell I would probably miss the fox in the “Foxcatcher” completely.
Morten Tydlum made “Headhunters” and that was one fast and interesting crime movie in which his talents were carefully shown to the public unaware of them in the sea of Nordic crime waves. Imitation Game is first serious Tydlum’s attempt in Hollywood and he already made the nominations for the “Oscar” an aura of one interesting newcomer to the industry. An Aura that is similar to the one which Paul Thomas Anderson carried fifteen years ago. Imitation Game was carefully crafted. In some moments it was three movies in one. Turing as a centerpiece and all other figures as flies in a spider’s web. Cracking the code to victory. Intriguing, however, in this competition isn’t good enough. 2014 is crazy and fruitful year for the filmmakers. Imitation Game, as the title suggests, had too much pathos and it lacked originality.
The same could be said about Wes Anderson’s “Grand Budapest Hotel” but he did it intentionally. In his movie he stood on the shoulders of Wilder and Lubitsch and he looked into our faces and laughed in his satiric way. Anderson tends to do that and we will applaud him for it. The joke will, however, still be with us, but we won’t mind. There are some directors from which we love to be played. Grand Hotel Budapest was without question one of the funniest and loveliest movies of 2014 and he could be a dark horse in the director’s category, but I don’t think he has a chance in the best movie. Not in the shadow of upcoming “fight of the titans”.
I really can’t choose between those two in both categories of this text. Linklater vs. Iñárritu – Boyhood vs. Birdman. B. B. King would be proud, that fight of the Titans gave his name another meaning, both movies were royalties in their own aspects. Birdman dominates in the male acting performances, but Boyhood have the power of uniqueness and girl-power of Patricia Arquette as the reasons to fight. Linklater made this movie in the real 12 year period and that’s the argument before which most movies would just start the after-credits. However, that’s not the case with Birdman. He is also something unique, original by itself and it’s impossible to make a choice between these two geniuses of the rarities. Linklater is somebody I admire with all my heart. Hell, he managed to pull the trilogy of romantic movies which has something to say. After all teenage comedies on the subject he showed the world that love could be intelligent and now he managed to show us that the ordinary could be filmable too. Birdman doesn’t bother himself with that. There is nothing ordinary about it at all. Homage to Marlon Brando, biographical role of Michael Keaton, Emma Stone spitting on ordinary man and Keaton shooting critics in the head… Blood, truth and extremes of Birdman vs. ordinary life and growing up in 12 year period. Sprint vs. Marathon. Who will win. Rush or drag? Or the definition of it all in “Whiplash”? Selma marches around the corner… It’s really hard to tell. My voice goes to Linklater for the best movie and Iñárritu for the best director. I know, I choose as a pussy or a lawyer. But that choice seems fair to me. Enjoy your “Oscars” ladies, statues and gentlemen. I most certainly will. Gong bangs. The big night is starting!