Friday, February 20, 2015

My Thoughts on Best Picture

Thanks to everyone who read my post about women in entertainment earlier this week. Like I said, it was off-topic for me (although I have posted about TV and movies several times before), but I’m really proud of that post.

And as promised, here’s my thoughts on each of the Best Picture nominees. I had planned to post this on Tuesday, but I saw that Theory of Everything was out on DVD/On Demand this week, so I waited until I had a chance to watch that film before I posted. I’ve also taken the liberty of listing them in order of best to worst IMHO.

  1. Birdman: This was the first of the BP films I saw and it’s my favorite. I really enjoyed just about everything in this movie, from the storyline (has-been actor trying to find success again), to the acting (everyone is superb, especially Michael Keaton and Emma Stone), to the camera work (long, winding shots that follow conversations down hallways). I think this movie has something for everyone: it has a nice balance of humorous and serious material, and unlike a lot of critically acclaimed movies, it isn’t violent or too vulgar. It’s one of the favorites for Best Picture and it is definitely my pick.
  2. The Grand Budapest Hotel: This was just adorable. It’s actually only the second Wes Anderson movie I’ve seen, but I can see he has a very particular style which I like. I really enjoyed this movie, but it didn’t strike me as a Best Picture film. I appreciate that it was much lighter and more jovial (but still with a bit of a darker side) than the other nominees, but overall the word I would use to describe it is “cute” (in the best of ways).
  3. The Theory of Everything: I thought this film was lovely. Eddie Redmayne was remarkable as Stephen Hawking, and Felicity Jones was equally strong as Hawking’s wife. Hawking’s/Redmayne’s physical deterioration was incredible and hard to watch, but the cinematography and soundtrack really helped lift up the movie from something that could be quite depressing. A very good movie, but not quite strong enough to earn Best Picture.
  4. Whiplash: This one is kind of an underdog, but it’s a strong movie that’s worth seeing. The acting is incredible (J.K. Simmons will almost definitely win for Best Supporting Actor), which helps you get invested in the story and the characters. However, there are basically only four characters in the whole movie, and only two of them actually matter. Also, the scope of the movie is quite narrow: a young student at a music conservatory who dreams of being the best drummer in the world is pitted against an intense and unorthodox teacher who holds his student’s future in the palm of his hand. That’s it, that’s the whole movie. But it’s worth watching, especially if you have ever studied music or love jazz.
  5. The Imitation Game: On the one hand, I’m very grateful to have learned about Alan Turning and his genius and unquestionably outstanding contribution to World War II. On the other hand, it was a pretty boring movie. It builds and builds like it’s going to be great, but there’s never any suspense (we know his machine will work and we’ll win the war). And while this was a true story about a real man who was homosexual, and it is incredibly unjust what happened to him and thousands of other gay men, as a story line it felt kind of jammed in with the rest of the movie. So overall: meh.
  6. Boyhood: We rented this from Redbox last Saturday night and I’m really glad we did (versus seeing it in theaters), because it was very long, kind of boring, and at times, depressing. I do appreciate what director Richard Linklater did here, with shooting it over 12 years so we actually get to see the actors grow up over the years, but nothing much happens. I guess there is a kind of beauty in seeing an average family age and go through what an average family goes through in a decade, but it doesn’t make for a very entertaining movie. It’s worth seeing, but I would suggest lowering your expectations (maybe that was part of the problem for me, that I expected to be blown away).

So while I haven’t met my goal of seeing all the Best Picture nominees before the Oscars, I’m really happy with my efforts (6 out of 8 ain’t bad). I have chosen not to see American Sniper yet, partly because I don’t like war movies, but mostly because it looks really intense and hard to watch. I was saving it for last, but now I think I’ll wait until it’s on DVD. And I’d really like to see Selma, I just haven’t gotten to it yet/ it hasn’t been showing at the right theaters and times. So I guess I’ll wait for that to come out on DVD too.

Have you seen any of the Best Picture nominees yet? Which was your favorite? I can’t wait to see who wins on Sunday!

P.S. Here’s a perfect companion piece to Monday’s post about the lack of women in the Best Picture: 12 Women Who Had the Perfect Response to Sexist Questions from

Have a splendid weekend, friends!

1 comment:

  1. Grand Budapest Hotel was my absolute favorite! I love Wes Anderson's film style and think it's just amazing what he is able to accomplish without a huge Hollywood budget. The acting was phenomenal. The word that always comes to mind when I think of it is delightful. Hope you have a great weekend!