Reaction: The Nominations (87th Academy Awards)

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Well, you can’t be shocked by the amount of surprises that The Academy showed us this morning when the nominations were announced. The first surprise was how The Lego Movie wasn’t nominated for Best Animated Feature. Seriously, I thought that was a lock for a nomination, but it wasn’t acknowledged by The Academy. Then as the categories were getting announced, I noticed a few trends: American Sniper was receiving a lot of love (the exact opposite that I expected), Gone Girl and Selma was getting NOTHING, and how Birdman and The Grand Budapest Hotel were cleaning up the show (they both lead with 9 nominations). There are two other things that I noticed: with Bradley Cooper’s nomination for American Sniper, he’s been nominated three years in a row! Not too shabby at all. And finally, that there is not one film nominated for Best Picture that grossed over $100 million. Doesn’t that defeat the original purpose of expanding the Best Picture nominations? Anyway, let’s take a closer look at the Big 8 Categories:

Best Picture

  • American Sniper
  • Birdman
  • Boyhood
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • The Imitation Game
  • Selma
  • The Theory of Everything
  • Whiplash

First and foremost, there were only 8 nominees, instead of the 9 that a lot of people predicted. That being said, what surprised me was how Foxcatcher didn’t get a nomination. It’s even stranger because Bennett Miller was able to snag a Best Director nomination, which USUALLY means the film will get a Best Picture nod. On top of that, Steve Carell got a Best Actor nomination, so there was love for the film, but no Best Picture nod. Strange. Anyway, I’m so happy that Whiplash got a Best Picture nomination because it was one of my favorite films of the year, but it was certainly a smaller film that wasn’t getting the support or campaign from Sony Pictures Classics (who supported Foxcatcher instead). And finally, it was good to see Selma get a nomination, but for a movie that was receiving a lot of momentum heading into the Oscar nominations, it really limped its way into the big award. More to come about that.

Best Director

  • Alejandro Inarritu (Birdman)
  • Richard Linklater (Boyhood)
  • Bennett Miller (Foxcatcher)
  • Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel)
  • Morten Tyldum (The Imitation Game)

While it was sure that Inarritu, Linklater, and Anderson was going to receive nominations, the final two were a bit up in the air. I’m glad Tyldum received a nod, reassuring The Imitation Game’s strength through awards season, but Miller was certainly the surprise here. The way The Academy supported American Sniper, I couldn’t believe that it received a Best Picture nod without a Best Director nod to Clint Eastwood. And Miller gets in without a Best Picture nod for Foxcatcher? Seriously, something doesn’t make sense here. Also, Ava DuVernay (Selma) was snubbed, which would’ve been the first African American female nominated for this category. This year’s Oscars is certainly a white-wash. To be fair, I haven’t seen Selma yet so maybe it didn’t deserve the nominations that a lot of people predicted.

Best Actor

  • Steve Carell (Foxcatcher)
  • Bradley Cooper (American Sniper)
  • Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game)
  • Michael Keaton (Birdman)
  • Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything)

The snub: David Oyelowo of Selma. This is going to be a hard pill to swallow for fans of Selma, because Oyelowo was considered a lock for a nomination. Still, this race is between Keaton and Redmayne (who both won on the Golden Globes) with the edge going to Keaton. But if Keaton loses at the SAG Awards, then it’ll be a whole new ball game for Best Actor.

Best Actress

  • Marion Cotillard (Two Days, One Night)
  • Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything)
  • Julianne Moore (Still Alice)
  • Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl)
  • Reese Witherspoon (Wild)

The snub: Jennifer Aniston (Cake). That was really it. I feel like there wasn’t enough people who saw Cake and therefore Aniston didn’t get enough votes. Though it wasn’t like Two Days, One Night was a big movie but The Academy loves her so they swung her way.

Best Supporting Actor

  • Robert Duvall (The Judge)
  • Ethan Hawke (Boyhood)
  • Edward Norton (Birdman)
  • Mark Ruffalo (Foxcatcher)
  • J.K. Simmons (Whiplash)

These were the nominees expected and The Academy came through. Nothing else to say here.

Best Supporting Actress

  • Patricia Arquette (Boyhood)
  • Laura Dern (Wild)
  • Keira Knightley (The Imitation Game)
  • Emma Stone (Birdman)
  • Meryl Streep (Into the Woods)

The snub: Jessica Chastain (A Most Violent Year). While Chastain can be considered a snub, these five women who received the nomination are all deserving. I’m glad Laura Dern snuck into the category because she was great in Wild. And this is Streep’s 19th Oscar nomination. Just wow!

Best Adapted Screenplay

  • American Sniper
  • The Imitation Game
  • Inherent Vice
  • The Theory of Everything
  • Whiplash

Again, I was a fool to think The Academy wasn’t going to go for American Sniper, but I guess that’s what happens when I don’t get to see a movie before the nominations. I’m glad that Whiplash got a nomination here, but I really felt Wild and Gone Girl would get a nod. But like I said above, there was love for American Sniper and none for Gone Girl.

Best Original Screenplay

  • Birdman
  • Boyhood
  • Foxcatcher
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • Nightcrawler

The snub: Selma and Mr. Turner. Mike Leigh has been nominated five times before for his screenplays, so I was a bit surprised to see that Mr. Turner wasn’t in the mix for Best Original Screenplay. And of course, the lack of love for Selma from The Academy. I am glad that Gilroy’s Nightcrawler got in here because that was certainly one of the most underrated films of the year.

So those are the major awards. Some other things to point out: I couldn’t believe that Life Itself wasn’t nominated for Best Documentary. It was about the best movie critic of all time for crying out loud! And to me, I always look at the Film Editing category to see which films are really in the race for Best Picture. All five Best Editing nominations are also in for Best Picture, so in a way that’s a better standard than Best Director (especially from the past few years). And finally, Roger Deakins gets his 11th nomination for his cinematography work for Unbroken. He has yet to win. Come on Academy, throw the guy a bone! That’s all for now.

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