Best Picture

One of my goals for the 101 in 1001 list is to see all the best picture nominees for the oscars (and then attend an Oscar party!). I kept getting confused about when the nominations list actually comes out, so I was pleasantly surprised this morning to see that they were announced! So for my (and your?) edification, here are the best picture nominees:

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

So far I’ve seen Boyhood, most of The Grand Budapest Hotel, and The Imitation Game. I LOVED Boyhood so much. I thought it was so effective and wonderful. Perhaps the best way to describe how great Boyhood was is to relay this little tidbit: I was with my parents and my mother wanted to go see Boyhood. She tried to explain it to my dad, saying that it is a movie filmed over 11 years with the same actors. He said, “Oh, so it’s a documentary?”
“No. It’s fictional.”
“Oh, so the actors change?”
“No. It’s the same actors over 11 years.”
“Oh, so it’s a documentary.”
“No! It’s a fictional movie, and the actors age at the same pace as the characters.”
“That sounds so stupid. Why would anyone do that? I don’t want to see it. It sounds dumb.”
…My mom won out, thankfully. And not only did my dad love it, he cried at the end. (He claims allergies 😉 )

Anyhow. I thought The Imitation Game was engrossing and solid, but I definitely don’t think it warrants a best picture win. Benedict Cumberbatch sure is good at being a brilliant misanthrope (see: Sherlock Holmes also), and I love that Alan Turing’s genius contributions are getting more exposure, but it just wasn’t the amazeballs movie I wanted it to be.

Lastly, I remember enjoying what I saw of The Grand Budapest Hotel. I think I watched it on a plane and fell asleep at the end? It was quirky and enjoyable and weirdly beautiful. I guess it didn’t move me that much so as to deserve winning best picture (well, obviously I fell asleep, so was not super into it). But I didn’t see it in theaters and perhaps it lost a bit of it’s punch on the tiny airplane screen.

As I see the five remaining movies, I’ll update my opinion! (I’m sure you’re all waiting with bated breath…)

Since I last wrote I’ve seen both Selma and Whiplash. Selma was incredible. It was powerful and overwhelming and gave such an interesting and important view of the realities of the civil rights movement. It’s so relevant for today, as there are still so many ongoing problems with racism in our country. One of the things that struck me was just how vital *so many* people were to the movement. I didn’t realize that although Dr. King was indeed the face of a large part of the movement, that he relied so much on many, many other people both to accomplish things, and to keep him going. I thought David Oyelowo’s performance was outstanding. He embodied Dr. King, and not as a caricature or a mimic. He brought so much depth to what often feels like a monolithic characterization of Dr. King. I’m very sad that Oyelowo wasn’t nominated for best actor. Anyway, I would happily give this my vote for best picture.

Whiplash was also quite intense and excellent. I loved the music and have continued to listen to the soundtrack since seeing the movie. The movie put you in this kind of dark, rich, stressful, intense sonic world. It was also quite the mindfuck. You were never quite sure of the real motivation for anything J. K. Simmons’ character was doing. I wouldn’t quite say that I had nightmares afterwards, but I was absolutely in a very intense place throughout the night following the movie. This is definitely an interesting film with great performances, and it very much transports you to a whole other universe. If nothing else, I recommend listening to the soundtrack!

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