Oscar Nominations 2015: Nominees and Post-Mortem

E:  Well, that wasn’t so bad.  No, I didn’t foresee everything with the precision I’d have liked, but I actually guessed wrong less than I was expecting.  Let’s get to it!  Here’s a link to my predictions, in case you’re curious to compare them exactly, and another to the nominations themselves, including the categories I didn’t cover.

Best Supporting Actor 5/5

I predicted: Robert Duvall, Ethan Hawke, Ed Norton, Mark Ruffalo, J.K. Simmons (with Josh Brolin as the alternate)

The Academy Nominated: Duvall, Hawke, Norton, Ruffalo and Simmons

I was pretty confident of this one; really, it’s the only static slate in the bunch.  Five nominees, only one first timer, the frontrunner J.K. Simmons.

Best Supporting Actress 4/5

I predicted: Patricia Arquette, Kiera Knightley, Emma Stone, Meryl Streep, and “and even though most people think it’ll be Chastain, I’m guessing it’ll be either Swinton, Dern or Watts, with the slight edge going to Swinton.”

Oscar Nominated: Arquette, Dern, Knightley, Stone and Streep

I’m kicking myself a little bit over choosing Swinton over Dern; it was a close thing, and I went back and forth a bunch of times.  I was right in thinking that Chastain wasn’t the lock most pundits predicted, so there’s that?  And yay, I don’t have to see A Most Violent Year!  Super psyched about that one.  I’m pretty happy for Dern, though.  It seems like she really wanted it, if not for herself then for her movie.

Best Actor 3/5

I predicted: Benedict Cumberbatch, Ralph Fiennes, Michael Keaton, David Oyelowo, Eddie Redmayne  – only secure in Cumberbatch, Keaton and Redmayne with Jake Gyllenhaal, Steve Carell and Bradley Cooper as my alternates.

Oscar chose: Carell, Cooper, Cumberbatch, Keaton (so alliterative!) and Redmayne

Blech.  I hate being this wrong.  It’s pretty rare, really.  I’m pretty sure that the last time I got 2 wrong in an acting category was 10 years ago when Keisha Castle-Hughes category jumped into best actress.  I can’t say I’m surprised, though: I did say we had three very secure actors with a large group of others going in and out of the mix.  The numbers said that Jake Gyllenhaal was a sure thing, and I’m – I don’t want to say this like I wanted him not to get nominated, but my gut instinct that he wouldn’t was on target which at least is satisfying.  The fifth slot was completely up for grabs.  I’m happy for Carell and Cooper, and perhaps should have anticipated that Carell had a better shot than Fiennes for a comic turn; on the other hand, there’s clearly a lot of love for The Grand Budapest Hotel, so I wasn’t out in left field.  Though it’s no shame to loose out to any of these performances, I’m just bummed about Oyelowo.

Best Actress 4/5

I predicted: Amy Adams, Felicity Jones, Julianne Moore, Rosamund Pike and Reese Witherspoon, with Marion Cotillard and Jennifer Aniston as alternates.

The Academy nominated: Marion Cotillard, Jones, Moore, Pike and Witherspoon

This again annoys me because last week, I’d been thinking it was Cotillard, but after the Golden Globe win and news that Cotillard hadn’t been campaigning, I though the momentum had shifted to Adams.  In my previous post I spent a lot of time explaining why unlike most predictors, I didn’t expect Jennifer Aniston to get the nomination.  And she didn’t (sorry, Jen – I hope you get there eventually!). I was just off on who was going to replace her.

Best Director 3/5

I guessed: Wes Anderson, Damien Chazelle, Ava DuVernay,  Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Richard Linklater with David Fincher and Clint Eastwood as spoilers

The Academy Picked: Anderson, Inarritu, Linklater, Bennett Miller and Morten Tyldum

So, obviously I was way off on this one; my reasoning was off with the alternates, too, although considering that I didn’t even feel secure about Anderson (who picks up his first nomination) I’m happy that at least it wasn’t  2 out of 5.   Tyldum also picks up his first nomination; like I said, I didn’t love The Imitation Game as much as I wanted to, though the issues with that might be more with the screenplay than the direction.

Best Picture 8/8 (sort of)

I predicted: American Sniper, Birdman, Boyhood, Gone Girl, The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Imitation Game, Selma, The Theory of Everything, Whiplash

The Academy Nominated: American Sniper, Birdman, Boyhood, The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Imitation Game, Selma, The Theory of Everything, Whiplash

Ironically, the one thing I felt certain about this year in Best Picture was that there’d be 9 nominees, after each year of the more fluid new system resulting in that number of nominations.  Instead, there are 8.  I did pick all 8, and that wasn’t any easy thing – American Sniper, Selma and Whiplash were hardly assured of their slots, and they could have just as easily been replaced by Foxcatcher (which won a nod for direction) , Nightcrawler or Mr. Turner, which did very well in the lesser categories.

I am surprised at the almost total shut out of Gone Girl, not only from picture and director but especially from screenplay, where it was a favorite.  I’m not sure the Academy made any history today after all – no African American woman in director, no woman adapting her own novel in screenplay.  Well, other than Meryl Streep wracking up her 19th nomination, anyway.

We do have a pretty good number of first time nominees, which is enjoyable – Simmons, Arquette, Stone, Jones, Pike, Carell, Keaton, Cumberbatch and Redmayne for acting.  Linklater and Anderson pick up nods for directing and producing as well as the category where they’d previously been honored, screenplay; it’s a pretty good day for those multi-hyphenates!

I’m a little surprised to see mega-hit The Lego Movie snubbed in the Animated Feature category, but apparently this year is all about eschewing the blockbusters;  in addition to my predictions of Big Hero 6, The Box Trolls and How To Train Your Dragon 2, the Academy picked foreign offerings Song of the Sea and The Tale of the Princess Kaguya.  That film was even in the hunt for original screenplay, where it failed to make the list as well.  On the other hand, it did manage a Best Song nod for the omnipresent ear worm “Everything is Awesome.”   I’m also delighted to see that one of my favorite songs of 2014 — “Lost Stars” from music industry charmer Begin Again —  also made that list.  I look forward to hearing Adam Levine and Kiera Knightley perform it during the Oscar-cast.

And there it is!  Still fun, even though I had to find out about 7 hours late.  What do you guys think?  Who’s omission are you most bummed about?  Who’s surprise nomination makes you the happiest?  Sound off!


12 comments on “Oscar Nominations 2015: Nominees and Post-Mortem

  1. M says:

    So, admittedly Selma just went into wide release last weekend, and American Sniper may be timing things very well going wide this weekend, but to me this slate (both “normal” and animated) is just the academy once again attempting to distance themselves from anything that the public likes, or even recognizes. As the totals currently stand, the biggest hit of the best picture nominees is Budapest, sitting as the 53rd highest grossing move of the year.

    As we’ve discussed, Hollywood has a weird thing going. The movies they are making that are hitting at the box office are, in a lot of cases (*cough* transformers *cough*) crap, and in the others are from categories that Oscar steadfastly refuses to acknowledge can be good (sc-fi, super hero/comic book adaptation, fantasy and comedy). Heck, if you look at the top 20 at the box office in 2014, you have 3 that are crap (transformers, godzilla and tmnt), 4 superhero/comic (guardians, cap 2, x men:dofp and spidey 2), 3 animated (lego, big hero 6, dragon 2), 3 sci fi (more dystopian, but still – mockingjay, apes and divergent), 3 comedies (22 jump st, neighbors and ride along), and 1 fantasy (hobbit). That leaves Maleficent, Interstellar and Gone Girl.

    Maleficent got a big splat of a 49% from critics on Rotten Tomatoes, and only 72% from audiences, so it’s not even in the conversation. Interstellar looks to be out due to the academy’s unfathomable dislike of Chris Nolan. So that leaves Gone Girl, which was expected to do well, as it was a hit with both critics and audiences. And there’s the problem. The Academy is, in recent years, flat out disdaining movies that do well, and this is just the latest example.

    Looking at the movies at the top, things like Winter Soldier and Days of Future Past, were they not derived from comics, are the kind of movies that used to garner consideration for best picture. They should have this time, too. Bust Oscar is stubbornly trying to convince the public, year after year, that they know better.

    • E says:

      You know that I largely agree with you, both from my post and from our epic discussion at Dad’s birthday party, but I will quibble with one thing – The Winter Soldier and Days of Future Past were never the type of movie that was routinely nominated. I can think of The Fugitive getting a nod, and Star Wars, but mostly action movies aren’t Oscar’s bag. They tend to prefer what you might call more epic or artsy blockbusters – Saving Private Ryan, say, or Platoon. American Sniper fits into that mold, but what puzzles me about it is that so far audiences haven’t flocked to it, and critics haven’t liked it. Gone Girl was a hit with both, and should have a been a shoo-in. I think all the BP nominees will do better now that they’ve been nominated (which is kind of the point of the Oscars) and I’m hoping Selma in particular will get a great boost.

      You’d think that Unbroken would have been that movie, but the critics seem to like it even less than American Sniper. I’m not really sure, based on your review, what all the vitriol is about; it certainly doesn’t sound as terrible as it’s ratings on Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic would suggest. And I don’t even know what to tell you about Interstellar.

      Good reading on the topic, at least for the stats: http://www.boxofficemojo.com/news/?id=3999&p=s.htm

      • M says:

        Don’t forget the likes of Raiders of the Lost Ark, The French Connection, Bravehaert, ET, Gladiator, even Apollo 13… and those are off a super-quick scan. And yes, Braveheart and Gladiator are epics, but they are still similar enough, in my opinion.

        • E says:

          I very much like Captain America and the X-Men, but I don’t at all see them in the league of Raiders or ET or Apollo 13. (Maybe Toby Maguire’s Spiderman, though, and certainly Batman Begins and The Dark Knight.) I’m not a big fan of The French Connection, and even Braveheart and Gladiator… I don’t know. If your point is that historical action movies are allowed consideration in a way that comic book movies aren’t, I’d agree. But I wouldn’t put either of the 2014 films into the same space as Braveheart and Gladiator. Of course, neither of those Best Picture winners are the deepest epics I can think of. Perhaps we should have a big family re-watch and compare them. I might class The Hunger Games up there, though.

          I have a great comparison for you, though – Silence of the Lambs. Why does that get nominated when Gone Girl can’t? Answer might be that it wouldn’t get nominated today. My real fear is that it wouldn’t get made today. Would Terms of Endearment get made today? Would it be nominated if it was?

          • M says:

            Well, with it’s huge opening weekend, American Sniper has not only moved up to 26th on the year at the box office already, but it has pretty much guaranteed itself NO chance of winning best picture. Too bad.

            • E says:

              It didn’t exactly have that chance to begin with. The fact that it got nominated is feat enough, especially considering the reviews.

  2. M says:

    Also, I wonder if the Lego Movie was snubbed for animated because of the live-action sequence with Will Ferrell and the kid.

    • E says:

      Oh, that’s an interesting though. I’m pretty sure it was eligible, though.

    • MMGF says:

      The threshold is that 75% of a movie and a “significant number of the major characters” have to be animated to qualify for Best Animated Feature. I haven’t seen The Lego Movie yet, but I’m surmising that the live-action sequence doesn’t span 25% of the movie, and that most of the main characters are animated.

      • E says:

        There’s not nearly that much of the live action stuff. And we would have heard if it’d been disqualified, right? Although maybe there were a lot of Academy members thinking that, enough to sabotage it.

        • M says:

          Yeah, no where near 25% live action. And I didn’t really think it didn’t qualify, it was just me wondering if people didn’t vote for it because of that. Thanks for supplying the actual rule though, MMGF, I never knew what the exact qualification was.

          Still wondering if Phantom Menace qualifies…..

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