Who says the Oscars are boring?
The 87th Academy Award nominations were announced Thursday, and with them came some shocks, both good and bad. Here I’ll give a quick rundown of my thoughts.
I knew my top film from 2014 “Captain America: The Winter Solider” wasn’t going to get any love here (although it did score a Visual Effects nod), buts some of the other films from my Top 10 list did earn the nomination, including the amazing “Birdman” and “Imitation Game”, as well as “Boyhood”. A surprising and welcome addition was “Whiplash”, and a snub I am surprised but not crushed by is “Foxcatcher”. “Selma” earned a nomination for Best Picture and that’s about it, but more on that in a second. “The Grand Budapest Hotel” continues its momentum ride, earning a Best Picture nod on its way to nine total nominations, tied for most with “Birdman”.
Alejandro González Iñárritu and Richard Linklater both got their expected nominations for “Birdman” and “Boyhood”, respectively, but the biggest surprise to most people is that “Selma” director Ava DuVernay’s name is not on the ballot. Replacing her is Bennett Miller for “Foxcatcher” (rare to see a director get nominated for a film that is not). I am not saddened or shocked by this move, as I thought Miller handled his real-life subject matter better than DuVernay, but still, some are upset. Morten Tyldum for “The Imitation Game” and Wes Anderson for “The Grand Budapest Hotel” round out the group, the first time either man has scored a Best Director nomination.
Oh, hello there, Bradley Cooper. Cooper is by and far the biggest surprise on this list, as it seemed David Oyelowo was a lock for his portrayal of Martin Luther King, Jr. in “Selma”. I am shocked by the lack of Oyelowo, both because of how great his performance was, and the fact that the Academy loves biopic pieces (Michael Keaton is the only actor in this group who did not portray a real-life person). Also, Steve Carell earned a nomination for his chilling, career-defining role in “Foxcatcher”. Admission: I was freaking out that Carell wasn’t going to get nominated, but now I can say “Michael Scott has an Oscar nomination”, so that’s pretty cool. Jake Gyllenhaal’s name was in discussion for his creepy work in “Nightcrawler”, but I guess one psychopath was enough for the Academy.
The probable winner of this category, Julianne Moore, got her nomination for her role as a professor struggling with early onset Alzheimer’s. The women Moore will likely beat out include Marion Cotillard, Felicity Jones, Rosamund Pike and Reese Witherspoon. Of those names, only Cotillard surprises me, as it seemed Jennifer Aniston had a lot of buzz. Golden Globe winner Amy Adams will have to wait another year to get her 6th career nomination.
Best Supporting Actor
Probably the least surprising category. All five guys were nominated in the category at the Golden Globes, with J.K. Simmons taking home that trophy, and likely come February will have his name read at the Oscars, too. My vote would go to Edward Norton who was mind-blowingly good in “Birdman” as an egocentric actor, but beggars can’t be choosers. The hype-train didn’t stop for 84-year-old Robert Duvall, who scored his 7th nomination for “The Judge”, and to that I say… *shrugs* (it’s an OK movie certainly elevated by him and Downey’s chemistry).
Best Supporting Actress
This one features one of the biggest surprise nominations in Laura Dern. There was little talk about her getting nominated for “Wild”, but apparently the Academy saw her work better than Jessica Chastain’s in “A Most Violent Year” (a film that earned as many nominations as “Dumb and Dumber To”). I love that Emma Stone got nominated, I roll my eyes at Meryl Streep’s obligatory yearly nod, and I continue to applaud Patricia Arquette’s work in “Boyhood”, and she is the clear front-runner.
“The Lego Movie” not getting a nomination for Best Animated Film is shocking, even though it did get a Best Song for “Everything is Awesome”. Many people are up-in-arms about “Selma” only getting two nominations (Picture and Song) and to that I only say that in my personal opinion, everything in every category that was nominated over it was more deserving, except Cooper over Oyelowo (Cooper got a Best Picture nod, too,a for “Sniper” so it really seemed fair to give Oyelowo the Actor slot). I didn’t love “The Grand Budapest Hotel” but after it won Best Comedy at the Globes I knew a big day at the Oscars was inevitable (again, NINE nominations!). I’m so glad Tom Cross got nominated for his amazing editing job in “Whiplash”, I’m thrilled and astonished “Transformers: Let’s Blow Up the World Again” didn’t get a single visual and sound nomination, and I’m happy to see “Whiplash” and “Nightcrawler” get Screenplay nods, even if “Whiplash” did steal “Gone Girl”’s Adapted slot.
Neil Patrick Harris will host the 87th Annual Academy Awards on Sunday, February 22, 2015 on ABC.