I am very excited for the 2015 Oscars on Feb 22. The films produced this year are innovative, fun, sad and punchy. I do not consider myself a film expert, but I was an electronic media productions major my freshman year, so that has to count for something.
The Oscars are voted on by the members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. These members include actors and actresses, directors, film editors, music producers, costume designers or anyone endorsed by their respective branch executive committee. Keeping this in mind, a film worthy of Best Picture must be robust and well-rounded.
Due to the nature of this article, I will not delve into every detail of each film. I am not even going to talk about every film. I removed four films, and then critiqued the remaining four.
Keep in mind that this article is not a disclosure of my favorite movie. If that was the case, I would write “Whiplash” and be done with it.
Be forewarned, I usually disagree with the Academy’s winner for Best Picture. That being said, I may not be correct in my winning film choice. But if you ask me about it, I’ll definitely say the Academy is made up of a bunch of fools and I’m right.
Synopsis: A young jazz drummer tries to become one of the “greats” at a prestigious conservatory while under brutal criticism from his jazz band director.
This is the most stressful film I have seen in a long time. I had my hands covering my mouth every time J.K. Simmons opened his. The film is unique, but has an unpolished script. The protagonist’s love interest has minimal screen time, and is eventually dropped from the story because he “wants to be great.” The film also ends without falling action or a legitimate resolution. “Whiplash” sounded promising, but lacked a mature story that can be properly resolved.
Synopsis: The actor who played “Birdman” from the late ’80s tries to become relevant once again through acting in a Broadway play.
One word: Meta. The actors play characters that mimic their own lives, or at least the lives of their acting peers. Even the film itself is meta, as Michael Keaton is attempting to place himself back in the spotlight with this film. The nature of “Birdman” helps the script feel more real and invisible transitions between difficult steadicam shots are a testament of the dedication to director Alejandro Iñárritu’s film crew. However, I struggled to believe that “Birdman” was once a legitimate superhero in this story.
Synopsis: A glimpse into a typical boy’s life and the family experiences that shape him into a young man.
Director Richard Linklater took on a big risk with this film. This movie began filming in 2002, which would cast Patricia Arquette as Olivia Evans before she was Kissin’ Kate Barlow. The story may show some parallels in some of our own lives, however, the film simply does not pay off. The story becomes boring, and the actors seem uninterested. As the daughter and son grow up, it becomes obvious the older actors and actresses lacked real talent. Like the story of a caterpillar turning into a butterfly, this protagonist turns into an ugly moth.
“Grand Budapest Hotel” (R)
Synopsis: A news reporter inquires about a hotel’s origins and hears the tale of how a young lobby boy became the concierge.
With the elite cast choices by the director, Wes Anderson, and a charming story, this biopic is the most balanced and well-rounded film of the nominees. It is fun, immersive and has a beautiful soundtrack. With every new character that is introduced, half of the fun is realizing that a goofy character is played by the Green Goblin, or Voldemort himself. Anderson has a very specific style of directing movies, and he knocks us off our feet again with this tale within a tale within a tale. This is my choice for Best Picture.